Pray For Yourself

Reuben Esh

Апостол Рубен Эш. Apostle Reuben Esh

I came back from a couple of trips overseas just recently as most of you have heard.  I just came back from India.  We just had a wonderful time over there.  I took a team over there from the States.  There has been a number of people who said, I just want to go with you overseas.  I wasn’t sure how that would work out because when I go it’s usually not to do work, its usually to preach the Gospel.  Usually we don’t need more than one or two preachers, so I never saw a good opportunity for that until this trip to India.  So, I said, we’ll take a few of these people who’ve been asking me to go along.  And, this ministry that I work with over there, formed some evangelistic teams that would go out into the villages, while I was holding a pastor’s conference.  We really had a good time.  India is so unusual, so unlike any other place on the face of the earth.  You have to be there to grasp how odd, how weird and how different this place really is.  It is so different from American culture, it is hard to fathom.

Sermon. Audio. MP3 format. Duration 81 minute.

Truth, Light & Life Mission

January 6, 2012. Preached in Penn Laird, VA

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It’s different from African Nations, you know Africa had that European influence for all those years but India is just a strange place. Strange customs, food is extremely strange.  I don’t mind curry once, but to have it three times a day for ten days–you know that after 30 meals of curry you are just about tired of it.

India has strange gods, 330 million gods they worship, that they have names for.  You when the Bible says “thou shalt not have any gods before Me”, and you do, there are some real consequences to that.  A lot of that has demonic oppression.  So, when the Gospel is preached in India, even though there is real resistance to the Gospel and so much persecution, at the same time, I have never seen an area where the people are so open to the Gospel as India.  The people are so oppressed they are looking for a way out. They are desperate for a way out.  When God starts moving it becomes a really neat thing to watch.

We were scheduled to go back into the mountains.  This is a mountain region in India where there are 30 million people who have never heard the Gospel.  It’s different from the rest of India in the sense that these are tribal people.  They are not like the lowland people. They are an entirely different group with an entirely different language.  They are very primitive, very few have electricity. Their huts are just grass huts.  They live off what they can gather out of the mountains.  We were scheduled to go back there and had permission from Forest Service to go back there.  Somehow some head Hindu got wind that we were coming and He was there to meet us and put a stop to this thing.  He said you can’t go back there. It is too dangerous.  They had the police there and they determined that if we got hurt, President Obama would come looking for us and they would get into trouble.  They said, “you can’t go”.   That was a disappointment.

We were going to pack back with meals and visit about 3 different villages and I was really disappointed and so was everyone else.  All of a sudden, we packed up and prepared to leave, and there is a song we sing at home called “God is leading us on”. That song rose up on my spirit and I knew that ahead of us was going to be one of the greatest breakthroughs we have ever had as far as a part of the trip over there.

The man who was supposed to pack us back was a village chieftain in the area and he said, “I want you to come to my village”. We got there and everybody came out of their huts (over 100 people). They were really checking us out.  They had never seen a white person before.  We thought we would impress them by telling them we were from America.  They said, “We’ve never heard of such a place”.  So, they weren’t that impressed with that.  Anyway we began to share the Gospel with them.  It was really neat.  We asked how many of them wanted to accept the Lord. Every one of them said, “we want to accept Jesus”.

Now, its one thing for someone to tell you they want to accept Jesus, but its another thing to see the power of God move on the people as they are accepting the Lord.  I warned the guys who went over there with me, “You be ready, in these church services anything could happen. At any moment things could start breaking loose.” Even as we were leading people in the sinner’s prayer, demons would start manifesting and coming out of people.  It was really an experience for the team that was with us.  That village, after we led them to the Lord, a rejoicing broke out and they started dancing.  The village chief came up to us at the end.  We had given them some blankets.  He said, “we thank you for the blankets, we thank you most of all for telling us about your God.  We ask you to come back and teach us more about this Jesus”. So we arranged for a pastor who lives three hours away to come back there monthly for the next six months to start a church there.  They had never heard the name of Jesus before.  I had always wanted to do that.  I’m not really an evangelist, but there is enough of an evangelist in me to get a real thrill out of that.  We had a really good time in India.  Thank you for your prayers and support while we were over there.

Let’s go to Luke chapter 18.  I want to read a couple of verses to you, beginning with verse 9, this is almost like I am going to preach last night’s message again.  I am going to spin off of that in another direction.  Do you know it’s hard for the Lord to hear the prayers of a proud person?  In fact it’s safe to say it’s practically impossible. It’s very important if you want your prayers answered to be humble.

9 And he spake this parable unto certain which trusted in themselves (Luk 18:9 KJV)

Now this describes what a proud person is.

9 And he spake this parable unto certain which trusted in themselves that they were righteous, and despised others:1 (Luk 18:9 KJV)

I talked a little bit about despising.

10 Two men went up into the temple to pray; the one a Pharisee, and the other a publican.11 The Pharisee stood and prayed thus with himself, God, I thank thee, that I am not as other men are, extortioners, unjust, adulterers, or even as this publican.12 I fast twice in the week, I give tithes of all that I possess.13 And the publican, standing afar off, would not lift up so much as his eyes unto heaven, but smote upon his breast, saying, God be merciful to me a sinner.14 I tell you, this man went down to his house justified rather than the other: for every one that exalteth himself shall be abased; and he that humbleth himself shall be exalted. (Luk 18:10-14 KJV)

Dear Heavenly Father, tonight I ask for your precious anointing to come and minister to us according to the needs that we have.  In Jesus’ name. Amen.

There’s one man that walked away justified.  There’s two men who went to the temple. They both prayed a prayer. They both had heart conditions that had separated them from God. They both went to the same place. They were both sinners. They were both praying to the same God. But, only one walked away justified.  He was justified because he was honest before the Lord about where he was at. He said, “I’m a sinner and I need your mercy”.  Not a very impressive sounding prayer, but it was impressive to the Lord.  This was not a dynamic, earthshaking, everybody in the Synagogue saying, ‘this guy is reaching heaven’ prayer.In fact, the Pharisee’s prayer might have sounded better to most human ears. But this man touched God.  He walked away justified.

Now let’s go the next day. The publican comes back and says, “yesterday’s prayer worked, let’s try it again”.  Do you think that would have worked on the next day?

See, what we’ve done is to make a formula out of this, and have said this is how to reach God by praying this way.  We’ve introduced false humility and everything else that doesn’t work.

Now, the title of this message is kind of strange.  It’s called, “PRAY FOR YOURSELF”.

It’s strange, because we have an obligation as believers to pray for others.  I hear there are intercessors here. There is an obligation in the word of God to pray for others.

I had the Lord speak to me some time ago. He said this, “Many believers don’t know how to pray for themselves. They want the man of God to pray for them.” So, I got to thinking about that.

Brothers and sisters, this message is not taking away from your obligation to pray for others.  This message is designed to help you pray for others. One of the things we need to understand is before you can really be used as an intercessor, to get to the heart of God for other people there are areas where you need to break through yourself.  That’s why I have entitled this “PRAY FOR YOURSELF”.

We must be able to pray through things, pray through situations.  I wrote seven different prayers that apply to seven different areas of life.  I want you understand up front that these are not religious formulas or religious routines that you can pray like the Rosary and be blessed when you do it.  It’s not going to work like that.  But this is a pattern of how to pray, things to pray for, areas of life to pray for.  Not only for yourself but for others.

I take these prayers and pray them over myself. I pray them over my family.  I pray them over our affiliation.  Many times I don’t take these prayers and read them word for word out loud. I use them as a pattern. These are seven different prayers that apply to seven different areas of life that I can target like Truth, Light and Life mission church.  I’m going to target them with this prayer right now.  I may take the church in Montana and target them with this prayer.

We’ve had some testimonies. Some people in our church asked how do you pray about this  or how do you pray about that? That’s when I came up with this list. Its not something that you want to restrict God to the words on this page. But it’s a pattern you can use.  You know Jesus gave us a pattern. He gave us the “Lord’s Prayer”.

Now here is what would happen at home. I’m not making fun of my dad, because he didn’t know any better. Every once in a great while he thought it would be time for a little bit of spirituality in the house and usually he would pull out the old German Prayer book.

Then, you talk about torture, we’d get down on our knees and have this humdrum go on for about 35 minutes. I couldn’t wait for that thing to get over. Now that’s just praying the prayers out of a prayer book. There wasn’t much happening. That’s not what the Lord wants us to do. It would always end up (and this happened in a lot of the churches I went to) with us reciting the Lord’s Prayer.  Really, that is not what the Lord’s Prayer is for. It was not intended to be recited word for word as a prayer to the Lord to reach heaven. It’s a pattern of different areas of life that that God has given you to pray for. You need to pray about your daily bread. You need to pray about being able to forgive others before you ask God to forgive you. That’s what the Lord’s prayer is all about.  So, I want to look at some different areas tonight that are patterns of things to pray about. These prayers were birthed during a time in my life where I had a concern about some things not only for me personally but for other people.  I was concerned about areas like sanctification, protection (protection from deception) (in the natural, God’s safety and protection) and in the days to come.  I was concerned about health, I’m getting older. I’m still younger than most of you, but I am getting older. I can say that in this church. The older I get the more people I run into that have health issues. So, I’m thinking we need to start hitting that now. We need to start praying about that now. So these prayers address some of those things.

Let’s get into this tonight with the first one here.

1.         Pray for God to search and sanctify your heart.

This is based on Psalm 139:23

KJV  Psalm 139:23 Search me, O God, and know my heart:

He is inviting the Lord to know his heart. That is pretty impressive to me. Most of us, do we really want the Lord to know our heart? He wanted God to know his heart. Why did he want God to know his heart?  He said “know my heart” and then he gave God permission to do something else. He said “try me”,  “you put the test to me”. That is really pretty dangerous stuff to pray. The first week I introduced this prayer to our people and they started praying this. The testimonies the next weekend weren’t that thrilling. We had people coming to church saying, “there were things showing up in my life that I didn’t know were there”.

When you give God permission to know your heart and to try your heart, what He does is turn the heat on at times because He wants those things to bubble to the top(bring them to the surface). You know why He brings them to the surface?  Then you can skim off the impurities. Part of the process has to do with you cooperating with the skimming process.  This is what is called sanctification.

David said:

23 Search me, O God, and know my heart: try me, and know my thoughts:

24 And see if there be any wicked way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting. (Psa 139:23-24 KJV)

Now, this is going to be the most unpopular prayer I’m going to talk to you about tonight. But, it’s probably the most important prayer you will ever pray. I’ll tell you why.

When you want to draw closer to God you must give Him permission to go into your life and expose the things that are blocking you from going closer to God.  See, David was a man after God’s own heart. He said, ‘I’ve got to be close to the heart of God’. He had one intent in life. That was to pursue the heart of God. “I’ve got to be close to the heart of God.”  He was willing to allow God to come in and bring anything in his life to the surface that he wasn’t aware of. Most of us have stuff in our lives that we are not aware of. Right?  Some of us have stuff we are aware of, probably most of us. But, to give God that right, to come in there and to expose those things, to bring them to the surface is really a part of the sanctification process.

How does a person get sanctified?

You can say, “well, brother, it’s something that the Holy Spirit does”. And He does. The Bible talks about a work of regeneration by the Spirit of God.

We can say, “it’s something that happens by the blood of Jesus”.  And He does.

We can say, “I happens by the washing of the water of the Word of God”.  And it does.

But, part of that sanctification process (a very important part) is your part.  You see, the apostle Paul said in 2 Corinthans chapter 7:

KJV  2 Corinthians 7:1 Having therefore these promises, dearly beloved, let us cleanse ourselves from all filthiness of the flesh and spirit, perfecting holiness in the fear of God.

Yes it is something God does, without God’s help, without the blood and the Word and the Spirit, you could never be sanctified. But, by God without your help, you will never be sanctified.  See, there is a cooperation that takes place between you and heaven where you invite God to come in. And, when He puts His finger on something in an honest heart you will say, “you’re right Lord, I can’t cleanse myself.  I’m asking for Your Grace to come in and take care of this situation.”

So, This next portion, this first prayer is only for those who are really serious about growing closer to the Lord.  It is not for people playing games. I am not encouraging everybody in this place to pray this prayer unless you mean it. And it’s really interesting what’s been happening in our church since a number of people said they were going to pray this prayer. Things started rising to the surface. The heat got put on. But, you know something?      Our church isn’t the same as it was a month ago or two months ago or six months ago.  People are drawing closer to the Lord.  That is good news.

How many of you have enough intestinal fortitude to say, “I’ll pray this prayer with you”?  If you do, I want you to stand to your feet. I’ll lead you in it right now. If there are those who can’t stand to their feet, that’s fine.

I feel the anointing. Now you talk to God like you mean it.

Dear Heavenly Father, You have invited me to be a part of the Bride of Christ. Only You can make me worthy of that calling. Search my life, search my heart, for anything that displeases you, whether it’s vain imaginations, character flaws, unsanctified emotions, evil desires, carnality, wrong attitudes, rebellion or any other hidden sin. Please grant me the conviction and the repentance to lay an axe to the root of these sins. Let me be completely sanctified by the blood of Jesus, by the washing of the water by the word, and a work of regeneration by Your Spirit.

That’s a good prayer to pray.  When  things begin to arise next week don’t take it upon yourselves to rid yourself of those things.  Ask the Lord for Grace. Acknowledge what’s there.  Be honest with the Lord. Ask Him for repentance. Ask Him for cleansing. It is only by His Grace that we can be washed, cleansed and sanctified and redeemed from all the filth that is there.

Something that is just amazing to me. I have very rarely spoken about this. And I don’t know that I ever will speak about this. It has to do with what I was before I got saved.  Most of you don’t have a clue. That’s OK with me. It’s OK with the Lord. I was a wicked evil person. I did what most sinners do. There is no way, based on what I did, that I should be where I am at in my walk with God in the things He has called me to do.  That doesn’t matter to Him because of the Blood. That’s what the Apostle Paul said. “There’s no way I should be where I am at and getting done what I am getting done”.  That’s just really good!!  When you realize you really don’t have that much in it. It’s just because of the mercy of God, the Grace of God and the goodness of God that you can walk with God and experience His Grace and the anointing of His power. That’s really good.

The next prayer:

2. Prayer for love of the truth

I got bothered not long ago by the reality of deception that is not only in the world but in the body of Christ. I’m talking about flat out deception.  For some reason the Lord has a strange way of once in a while putting me in a place where I wonder, “how in the world did I ever end up here?”.

This happened to me again a couple of months ago. I walk away from that. I’m talking about church settings. I walk away from that. I say, “Lord how can I keep from getting into this mess?

These people in this mess are flesh and blood just like me.

What will keep us from deception? Jesus warned against deception that was coming in the last days. It’s a reality. It’s here. The deception of the last days is here. You can focus on the negative side of it and wonder how can I come out of it without being deceived? Apparently the Lord wants us to become aware of the reality of it or He wouldn’t had talked so much about it. The apostle Paul warned let no man by any means deceive you. I have an obligation and a responsibility to make sure I am not deceived. What is interesting is that I have been deceived. I’ve been talked into things I shouldn’t have been talked into. I’ve been gullible about things I shouldn’t have gullible about.  I’ve had people give me promised I believed and their intent was to deceive me.

Some months ago I said I have to pray about this stuff. I must not be deceived. I have an obligation not to be deceived. I need the discernment to know when people are lying to me. I can’t be gullible.

Talking about gullible, let me throw some names out at you. How many of you ever heard of Mixigo? How about Jetson? This is going back 20 or 30 years. Lets get closer and go back about 15 years.  How about Amway? How about Shaklee?  How about Conklin? I could go on and on. What I am rattling off is multilevel marketing. Some of these people have good products. I use Shaklee to this day. With these products comes a whole marketing scheme that says “you sign up under me and get enough people to sign up under you there will come a point where you don’t have to work.” I’ve had friends, family members, one after another get into this. Some of them even quit their jobs. I haven’t met a person yet that could make it. Apparently there are some that have made it. Some of them are living pretty good. When it comes to this how gullible are we going to be?

I’m being a little negative, but I want to bring some practical things into this subject of “take heed that you not be deceived.” We need to be careful how we get talked into things and what we get talked into, buying these things hook line and sinker.  Some things could be a trick of the Devil.

I had a man come to me. He said, “I’ve got this investment.  I could make a lot of money”.  But he wanted me to pray about it. I prayed and the Lord said, “don’t get involved in it. You tell that man not to get involved in it.”  And I did. He got to rationalizing what I told him. Like I didn’t quite mean what I said.  So he put some money into it. Then he put more into it. The last time I heard he was in for over $500,000 that he probably will never see again. He’s still not sure that I heard from the Lord on that.

Here’s the reality of it. We can put ourselves under lying spirits where we will believe about anything. The most important asset you can have spiritually… We’ve got a wonderful inheritance as saints of God, we’ve heard a lot about the power of God, the gifts of the Spirit, the fruit of the Spirit, and the Grace of God.  Did you know there is something more important than the Grace of God? It’s called a love for the truth.

A love for the truth will take you to the grace of God. A love for the truth will take you to the power of God. We need a love for the truth. If you don’t have a love for the truth there is something you can do about that. He sheds His love abroad in our hearts by the Holy Ghost. I think it is a good idea for us to ask for a love of the truth; “Lord give me a love for truth. Fill my heart with a love for the truth. Give me discernment.”

I want you to pray this prayer with me, because it is an important one to pray. It’s a short prayer.  Now remember when you pray this in the future you don’t have to pray it word for word. It’s just a pattern to give you an example how to pray for yourself. If your are a pastor, you can pray this over your congregation. You can pray this over your children. You can pray this over your spouse. You can pray this for your friends. We need a love for the truth. It is the most important asset that you can have. It will take you into the rest of the things God has for you.

Let me take you back. There have been times I have been gullible enough to believe something. I bought into it. You give that thing a week or two.  All of a sudden there is an uneasiness. It just starts churning in here [points to belly]. Give that thing another week. All of a sudden there is something wrong with that thing. Now what is that? That’s called a love for the truth. I believe that’s the reason the elect cannot be deceived. They may buy into something. They may give in to it.  Now, the Bible says that unless the days are short… I don’t know what all that means. But I know your most important protection from deception is integrity, a good and honest heart.

Let’s pray this,  Those of you who want to stand up may.

Dear Heavenly Father, you’ve commanded me to take heed that no man deceive you. I ask You for discernment to know the truth, to know the difference between worldly wisdom and the wisdom from above. Place in my heart a love for the truth. Help me to receive it without getting offended. I need the help of your ministering spirits; The spirit of wisdom, Knowledge, Understanding, Counsel, Discretion and the Fear of the Lord to make me have a quick understanding in all Your ways. Amen.

God’s ways are not our ways, but you can have quick understanding.  Say, “Quick understanding”. I like to have quick understanding of all of God’s ways.

3     Now the next one here is to:  Pray for a healthy Life.

This is what Exodus says:  You are to serve the Lord your God and I will keep sickness away from the midst of thee. There shall none cast thy young and there shall be none barren.  Thy days I will fulfill.

There is a problem with that scripture.  It is Old Testament.  That’s what people tell you. “That’s Old Testament brother.”  Let me give you the New Testament verse that makes this Old Testament verse valid in your life.

All the promises of God are Yea and Amen in Him (Jesus).

All of them. Now, there is something that is not talked a lot about in the churches today. That is the conditions behind the promises. The modern day Christian says, “well brother the truth is the condition is faith”.   I believe you have to have the faith to believe the condition too.   Let me give you a promise.  There’s some pretty negative promises in the word of God in Deuteronomy 28 especially the last half of the chapter.  All the promises, remember?  All the promises of God are yea and amen. Remember those promises about your children being carried off into captivity and this curse coming at you and you will be the tail and not the head.  All that stuff. Those promises are a reality.  Now here’s what we need to understand is the conditions behind the promises.  Here it says, “you shall serve the Lord your God. Then He will bless your bread, your water, He will take sickness…” It doesn’t say you will never get sick.  It does say, “He will take sickness away from the midst of you.”

The older I get, the more people I know the more new names I learn. They are not good names. I had never in my life heard the word Gout before, until I ran into a fellow by the name of brother Rodes. He was up on Pennsylvania one day and just limping around and I said, “what’s going on?”  He said, “gout”. I said that doesn’t sound like something I want. I had never heard of it before. But, the older I get the more names I come to know about. Some of them are pretty serious names, names like cancer, Parkinson’s, Alzheimer, ADHD…

There are so many names for things.  There is another name I want you to think about and it is the name of JESUS.  Every knee will bow to that name.  Because He humbled Himself that name has been highly exalted. That’s a good thing. I think we need a revelation of the person behind the name.  Do you know that? Those seven sons of Sceva used that name but they didn’t know Him real well.

I want you to pray this with me. We don’t need to pray all these, but  I want us to pray this one.  I want you to stand to your feet if you can.  Let’s pray this:

Thank you Father for the name of Jesus, a Name greater than all other names, Greater than sickness, disease, generational infirmities.  In that name I ask you for healing power and protection. I ask you to deliver me from the evils of physical affliction. Preserve my body, my soul, and my spirit so that I can serve You with a full and healthy life until Jesus returns. Bless all the physical components of my body, my skin, my organs, my muscles, my brain, my bones, my digestive, respiratory, urinary, reproductive, nervous, circulatory systems.   Amen.

Last night I told you not to despise.  There is something I grew up despising.  It is called health class in school. That was something I just went through the motions to pass. I was very bored by the human body parts that they would describe.  I actually had to go back and get a health book to put all the parts of the body I put in this prayer.

I believe it is a good idea to lay hands on yourself.  I bless my body. I have a job to do, the Kingdom of God to serve.  I have a job to do and I need a healthy functioning body to get this job done.  I do that.  I lay hands on myself. I may seem odd and strange and weird to you, but I’ll tell you why I did it.  Because you are not there to do it for me. If you were there to lay hands on me, I wouldn’t need to lay hands on myself. Anyway, that’s what I call rational thinking.

I did this one time.  This is really interesting to me. I had a test I had to pass. The kind of sprung it on me.  I sold a building in an area that I wasn’t licensed in.  I didn’t know I needed to be and found out I wasn’t. The building was about to get delivered and I needed this license to get this building built or they wouldn’t let me do it. I had to get this license now. I just scheduled it, went in to take the test at one of those testing stations.  The examiner said, “did you take the schooling for this?” I said, “no”. He said this is a 4 hour test and nobody has ever passed this test the first time they had come in without taking the schooling.  I’m not the brightest bulb on the block. I’m just not, I had an 8th grade education and I don’t know that much. I’m just not that sharp or that bright. In order to pass that test, it was in a field that had nothing to do with building pole barns, which is what I do. It was about building houses. For me to pass that test was an impossibility. In the natural I couldn’t do it.  I went out and laid hands on myself. I said, “I call forth wisdom to rise up within me. Lord, You know the answers to this test. I need Your help. I have a contract with somebody and I need to fulfill that contract. I need Your help so I can pass this test.”  The examiner printed off the report when I got done 4 hours later. He said, “I can’t believe this. You have just made it. 70%.” I don’t know why the Lord didn’t give me 90%. I just know 70 was a miracle.

Let’s go to the next one here.

This one is interesting to me.  I split this one out from the Healthy Life because it is something different.

It has to do with

Praying for safety and protection.

When I put this together I had in mind, not only today but the future. We’re going to need the help of God to come through. We are. Our children are going to need the help of God. There are situations in the natural you are not going to be able to get through by yourself. You are going to need God’s help. At the same time when you pray for safety and protection it’s very important to understand that we have an obligation in the matter. That is to stay in the safety zone in the will, plan and purpose of God.

Psalm 91 says: “because He has set His love upon Me”.  Notice the condition, “because He set His love upon Me, I will deliver him”.

Here is another condition, “because he has known My name”14 “Because he has loved Me, therefore I will deliver him; I will set him securely on high, because he has known My name.”

Here is another condition:   15 “He will call upon Me, and I will answer him; I will be with him in trouble; I will rescue him, and honor him.

It is important to recognize the conditions and put as much faith in the conditions as in the promises.  So much of the word of faith movement has been standing on the promises. We also need to stand on the conditions.  We need faith to meet those conditions, Grace to meet those conditions.

There is something that is rarely taught in the churches today that is very true.  It is this truth. You can die before your time. Not only that, if you are called of God, the enemy really wants to take you out. That’s a reality. John 10:10, the thief comes to steal kill and destroy.  Ephesians 6:2,3, If we honor father and mother we can live long on the earth.

Here’s the bad news.  Its possible, through sin, through carelessness, through irresponsibility, to leave the door open to that thief. Something I’ve got a problem with; say you’ve got a young man with a new hotrod and He’s going to try this thing out. He’s driving down the road at a speed that is no longer safe. He’s getting outside the boundaries of the white line and the two yellow lines.  Those things were put there by God. We say they were put there by man. Romans 13 tells me they were put there by God. So, we are responsible to stay between the lines.  But this fellow is young and reckless.  He get’s across the lines at a high rate of speed and is killed.

Now, here is my problem.  Three days later at the funeral, the preacher stands up and said “in God’s sovereign plan”.  That’s my problem, I call that deception. There is a lot of deception behind that stuff. Then Grandma sees a rainbow the same day and says “this confirms it”.  I call that fantasy.

Those things are not easy to say. My wife lost a brother in a car accident because somebody got outside those lines. The reality is that we just can’t go along with this deception. We are responsible as God’s people to stay inside that safety zone. Not only in the natural, but also in the Spiritual realm. There are conditions in Psalm 91 to be in the secret place of the Most High. There is a secret place close to the heart of God where nobody can touch you unless God allows it. That is the place you want to walk in, in the future.

It is important to pray for the blood of Jesus to be upon you and over your home. It’s important to ask for angelic protection, but it is much more important to be in the will of the Lord in that safety zone He has. That’s what this prayer is for. That is a good prayer to pray but I’m going to let you do that sometime in the future.

Dear Heavenly Father, Thank you for heaven’s angels and the covering of the blood of Jesus over my life. By the authority of the name of Jesus and the power of the broken body of Christ I break the plans of my enemies off of my life. Whether from Satan, or from evil men, no weapon formed against me shall prosper and I condemn every tongue that has risen against me in judgment. Direct all my steps, correct me when I err, and keep me within the safety zone of your protection. Protect me and my possessions during any natural, supernatural, or man-made disasters. Let no evil befall me during times of famine, drought, war, plagues, pestilences, destructions, persecutions, or any other evil thing and deliver me according to the promises of Psalms 91.

Let’s go to the next one.

5 Pray for the Grace to fulfill God’s calling.

I had something interesting happen to me recently. I’m not on a negative kick here at all. I had some verses that kept popping up in my mind that I just don’t hear talked about in this modern day easy gospel that we have.

Verses like “run that you may obtain”. That means if you don’t run you probably won’t obtain, like, “Strive to enter at the straight gate. Without the striving, we’re told in Christianity, “just easy does it, let God do it for you”, “The battle belongs to the Lord”.

There is an element of truth to that. But, what about that striving, what about that reaching?

Paul said, “reach forth to the things that are before”. What about verses like in Hebrews where it talks about “take more earnest heed to the things we have heard lest at any time they should slip.” Apparently, it is possible for the inheritance of God to elude our grasp. Run, Reach forth to the things that are before. Why should I reach forth? Because there are things there that are just outside your grasp. You have to put some effort into reaching for it.

What do all those verses mean?

The content, satisfied person will not do a lot of reaching or striving or earnest hearing. Pay more earnest heed. Be a little bit more careful how you hear.

We’ve all got a calling. Every person in here has a calling. “Many are called but few are chosen.” That choosing has to do with God putting His approval upon how you responded to the calling. If you are a daddy, you have a calling. If you’re a mother, you’ve got a calling. My wife has a very high calling. And, she is doing a good job. There is a calling every person has. Maybe you say, “I don’t have children. I’m not a preacher.” Are you an employee? You know, there’s a calling on your life. Are you an employer? There’s a calling on your life.

To enter into the fullness of that calling we need something called Grace. That’s what Grace will do for you. The Grace to overcome the desires of the flesh. Well, there are people who have lost their calling. They missed out because of the desires of the flesh. They did not harness those desires. The cares of life? You need Grace to overcome the cares of life. You need Grace to overcome the distractions that come along with the cares of life. You need Grace to overcome the deceitfulness of riches. The preacher just told me today, “God is dealing with me about time.” We need Grace to redeem the time, to utilize our time. We need Grace to overcome the lack of discipline, lack of abilities.

Is says here in 2 Peter, “Wherefore the rather brethren, give diligence to make your calling and election sure, if you do these things (what are these things? There’s a whole lot of them listed there) you shall never fall”. If you do these things…. .

I want you all to pray this prayer with me. Stand to your feet if you would. Every one of you today has a calling. You may not know exactly what it is or where all the Lord wants to take you. But you have a calling. You be faithful right where you are at right now. The Lord will increase your knowledge of the call He has on your life. Recognize and realize that without the Grace of God you cannot obtain but with the Grace of God all things become available to you. That’s wonderful. That’s wonderful.

Let’s pray this.

Dear Heavenly Father, You’ve called me to a high calling. For me to fulfill that calling and to impact those you have called me to impact I need Your Grace. As a rightful heir give me the diligence to apprehend the fullness of the inheritance of the saints. Let me not allow spirituality to slip away lest I become a castaway, but grant me the courage and the boldness to be found faithful and obedient to the true gospel. Give me mercy and love and compassion and the anointing to compel others to serve you. Allow me to disciple others by encouragement, exhortation, edification, and admonishment through the Word and by the Spirit. But, most of all let me be an example to the believers by my manner of life, my doctrine and my level of intimacy with you.

That’s good. You know there is nothing that stands out more than a person that desires a relationship with God than a person who has a relationship with God. Intimacy. I just know, now this is back in the old days of BC years. Do you know what BC years are? They are before Christ. I worked for somebody, this fellow had something. I knew he had something. I’d watch him. I’d watch him like a hawk. Every once in a while I’d throw some remarks in his way to see how he would act. I had that much admiration for this man about the way he would handle situations on the job that if he had ever asked me If I wanted to accept the Lord Jesus into my life, I would have said yes, but he didn’t ask me. So he never had the privilege of doing that. That’s why it took me another 4 or 5 years to come to the Lord. I would have come a lot earlier if he had known to do that. I don’t know why he didn’t. He planted in my life the seeds. I give him real credit for leading me to the Lord, even though he never preached to me. Something in me said, “I’ve got to have what he has.” You’ll be amazed at what people pick up on in you about your relationship with the Lord. You’ll be amazed.

I was an employer for a lot of years and had some good Christians working for me. I’d pick up on some remarks that came up the chain. Many of you know pastor Sam. He’s a good example of a brother who walks what he preaches. We ended up having to fire a guy because he had a streak of rebellion in him. We warned him several times, but ended up sending him down the road. A couple of years ago, he ran into one of the people who worked for our company. He said, “I really enjoyed working for that Sam fellow. I learned so much from him. You know those Christians have this phrase ‘ What would Jesus do?’ When I go around on the job and run into situations that I don’t know how to handle I ask myself, “what would Sam do?””. I thought that was pretty good. That’s a compliment. That’s from an unbeliever.

6. Pray for the strength to resist temptation.

KJV 1 Corinthians 10:13 There hath no temptation taken you but such as is common to man: but God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear it.1

What’s the way of escape? I had a fellow come to me some time ago and he one of my problems is that when I get tempted I just give in. He said to me, “will you pray for me that I don’t get tempted anymore?” He thought he had revelation that If he stopped getting tempted he would stop sinning. I said, “brother, I can’t do that. I don’t have enough faith for that”. But I said, “I’ll pray for you to have enough strength to say no the next time you are tempted.”

See, that’s the way of escape. You need the Grace of God to be able to do this. You need deliverance and victory. James says this: “we sin because we are drawn away by our lust.” Do you know what it’s a good idea to do? When you have a weakness in a particular area ask the Lord to do a circumcision on you, on your heart. Have Him go in there and cut that thing right out of you, whatever it is. Take the sword of the Spirit and cut that thing out. When lust is gone the desire for sin will be gone.

You see, I like to lay hands on myself. Do you know why? I need things like loyalty. I need things like faithfulness. I need things like courage. There are times when I don’t have the courage to do what I need to do. That’s a good time just to lay hands on yourself anywhere you are. It doesn’t matter where you are. Say, “courage, rise up in Jesus’ name”. I call courage forth. See, it’s in you. The kingdom of God is in you. It was put in you when God saved you. The Spirit of God and everything that comes with it, the attributes of God, the Grace of God, the mercy of God, the love of God, the whole package, the whole deal is in you. When you lay hands on yourself you’re calling on that stuff to come forth. It’s got to rise up.

Doctor Hansen told me that one time the Lord told him to enter a war-torn country and talk to the parliament of that country and it was off limits and he couldn’t go into it. He went to the border to meet with the person who was supposed to take him on in to the government. That fellow never showed up. Doctor Hansen said, “I was so scared it took six weeks of laying hands on myself to get enough courage to go.” He said it took the spirit six weeks. He fasted until the fear left. He said, “I went to the border of that country to meet with this fellow. He never showed up. He had sent me an e-mail telling me “I will be there on such and such a day to meet you”. He got to the border and finally, someone pulled up to him in a van and said “get in”. He got in, they drove for a while, met another man, switched vehicles and went somewhere else and switched vehicles. It was a long chain of events. Finally, he arrived at the house of the man who was supposed to meet him, knocked on the door. The man inside came to the door and his face turned white as a sheet and he said, “what are you doing here?” Doctor Hansen said, “you sent me a letter”. The man said, “I never sent you a letter.” Doctor Hansen said, “then who are these men who brought me here?” He answered, “I don’t know anything about it.” That is interesting to have something like that happen to you.

He got in front of that government and told them to repent. God brought a revival. What’s that got to do with what I’m talking about, I’m not sure. Oh, lay hands on yourself. He had laid hands on himself and said, “I command that spirit of fear to leave and courage to rise up.” That’s a good idea. This flesh that needs to be brought under subjection to the Spirit of God, the kingdom of God that’s in you.

Let’s go to this last one here.

Let’s pray this. This is a good prayer to pray.

Dear Heavenly Father,

As a believer I face times of testing and temptation. There are times when I have failed to pass the test and to resist the temptation. I do not ask you to remove the temptation. But I do ask you to remove the lust of the eyes, the lust of the flesh, and the pride of life. Replace it with a Godly sorrow over sin and help me to see sin as exceedingly sinful. Equip me with the armor and the weapons of our warfare so I can stand against the wiles of the devil and resist the temptations of sin. Help me to be loyal to your kingdom in all that I do.

Now, this last one really covers a lot of ground

7. Pray for an increase of the fullness of God

KJV Ephesians 3:19-20 And to know the love of Christ, which passeth knowledge, that ye might be filled with all the fulness of God. 20 Now unto him that is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that worketh in us,

This thing about the fullness of God is something that the Lord is really expanding in me. I remember getting saved in a Mennonite church and being told that I got the Holy Spirit at that time. They told me that was all there was to it, you get the whole package at the new birth. Then I had somebody tell me about the second work of Grace and I said, “I need the second work of Grace”. So, I pursued the baptism of the Holy Spirit. And when I got that, I thought I had it all. But I am coming to the conclusion that that I just don’t have it all. The further I get into this thing, the more I see things that God wants me to have. This thing is so vast. The promises are there but to get the manifestation of them working and operating, talk about the fullness of God. If you were filled with the fullness of God would there be anything more to get? I just know the Lord wants us to get this thing activated.

Here’s a key kingdom principle to understand. Jesus said in Luke chapter 11.

Luke 11:24 When the unclean spirit is gone out of a man, he walketh through dry places,

And after a while he (unclean spirit) comes back to check out the place that he left. It was swept and garnished, but it’s empty. Not filled, no replacement.

Jesus had just got done casting out a devil just prior to this and is talking about it. His emphasis is not devils. His emphasis is a kingdom principle. As we get delivered from things, as God sanctifies us, as He does heart surgery by the sword of the Spirit, cuts things out of your life that don’t belong there, there’s an obligation that we have to fulfill that area that’s being left void, allow that to be filled with the things of God. The presence of God, The increase of ministering spirits, the angels of God, the seven spirits of Isaiah 11:2. Those things are all included in the fullness that God has for us. It’s amazing to me the things He desires to put in us, the things He desires to increase in us.

Let’s do one more prayer in closing.

I want us to really put our heart into this one. This is really an important prayer. It talks about asking God to fill you, first of all it says “increase in me a hunger and desire for spiritual things”. I met somebody who is really spiritual last week. I’m not that spiritual yet. I had a fellow at my house. It was 60 some degrees. The sun was shining on my pond. I said, “there’s fish in that pond. Help yourself to the fishing line and get yourself some fish”. He said, “That pond stuff doesn’t interest me any more”. I’m not that spiritual yet. I’ll tell you, I am interested in spiritual things. It’s good when someone comes to the understanding that spiritual things are more important than carnal things. That really has to be in our lives if we want the fullness of the Spirit. What’s most important to you is what you will focus on and draw your attention to. And that’s what’s going to get in you. I enjoy fishing, but I was probably out at that pond maybe three or four times this year. I just have other interests. Don’t tempt me too much or I might go.

Let’s really ask the Lord to give us a hunger for spiritual things.

Dear Heavenly Father,

Please increase within me a hunger and a desire for spiritual things. Let the presence and the leading of the Holy Spirit be enlarged in me. Let me experience an overflow of the fruit of the Spirit, especially love and joy and peace. Let the manifestation of the gifts of the Spirit operate with greater clarity, greater power, and greater accuracy. As knowledge is increased in the earth expand in me the level of wisdom, knowledge and understanding of your Holy Word. Let all murmuring, complaining and backbiting be replaced with an attitude of gratitude and a spirit of worship for the King of Kings and Lord of Lords.

Amen.

Benediction:

Father we thank you for that precious anointing of your Spirit. Thank you for the wonderful inheritance of the saints that you have made available to us. We are so grateful tonight for the love of the Spirit, the understanding of the things you have given us. And knowing that even beyond our understanding is a whole world that will take eternity to draw from. Father, I am so grateful for this church body here, for the apostle you placed here in Virginia both for preserving his life and revealing the things you have revealed to us. We are so thankful that you imparted even though there is nothing in our lives that makes us deserving of these things, yet because of your mercy and your Grace you have made them available. Father, for that I am so grateful. Thank you so much for your goodness, in Jesus Name.

Transcription by Richard Noel

More sermons by Reuben Esh are available at  http://botmi.org/#