Prayer Is The Tool

June 25, 2002 PM
Pastor Chris Abernathy
Columbus, Georgia

If you would, turn with me in your Bibles to the book of Exodus chapter thirty. The book of Exodus chapter thirty. And when you reach the book of Exodus chapter thirty, please signify by saying amen.

Praise the Lord. Tonight we’re going to be talking about prayer. We’re going to be coming from the book of Exodus chapter thirty, talking about prayer.

And when you reach Exodus thirty, please stand for the reading of the word. In Exodus thirty and verse one it says,

1. And thou shalt make an altar to burn incense upon: of shittim wood shalt thou make it.

2. A cubit shall be the length thereof, and a cubit the breadth thereof; foursquare shall it be: and two cubits shall be the height thereof: the horns thereof shall be of the same.

3. And thou shalt overlay it with pure gold, the top thereof, and the sides thereof round about, and the horns thereof; and thou shalt make unto it a crown of gold round about.

4. And two golden rings shalt thou make to it under the crown of it, by the two corners thereof, upon the two sides of it shalt thou make it; and they shall be for places for the staves to bear it withal.

5. And thou shalt make the staves of shittim wood, and overlay them with gold.

6. And thou shalt put it before the vail that is by the ark of the testimony, before the mercy seat that is over the testimony, where I will meet with thee.

7. And Aaron shall burn thereon sweet incense every morning: when he dresseth the lamps, he shall burn incense upon it.

8. And when Aaron lighteth the lamps at even, he shall burn incense upon it, a perpetual incense before the LORD throughout your generations.

9. Ye shall offer no strange incense thereon, nor burnt sacrifice, nor meat offering; neither shall ye pour drink offering thereon.

10. And Aaron shall make an atonement upon the horns of it once in a year with the blood of the sin offering of atonements: once in the year shall he make atonement upon it throughout your generations: it is most holy unto the LORD.

Let us pray.

Most holy and gracious heavenly Father, we thank You for who You are and for what You do. Father, hide Your servant behind the cross, that Your people would see You and not me. And Father, as I decrease I ask that You would increase. Dear Jesus, let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be acceptable in Thy sight, oh Lord, my strength and my Redeemer. In Jesus’ Name. Amen.

You may be seated in the house of God tonight.

Our objective tonight is to develop a prayer habit, and more effective prayer life by sharing principles of prayer, and challenging believers to pray a matter through through it’s conclusion.

When we look at the word to “develop,” it means to bring or to come to an active or visible state, or to a state of maturity; to come into existence, or even to construct.

Jesus asked the disciples to tarry for Him while He went away to pray. How important is it to pray? In order to get results, we have got to learn how to pray.

Even when we come for intercessory pray, I have noticed how must of us can pray for five or ten minutes, but we can’t even pray for the twenty minutes before we get ready to get up and get into worship. You don’t want to talk to me tonight.

You see, but I’m not the one that’s supposed to pray you into results. You are the one that is supposed to pray yourself into a place of results.

You see, as your under-shepherd, I am your teacher. And therefore I must teach you how to pray. But it’s up to you, and it’s your job to get into a place where you develop a habit of prayer, where you come into a place where your relationship with God is thus and so that you are praying without ceasing, in other words, an attitude of prayer. Not an attitude of flesh, but an attitude of prayer.

A habit is a regular tendency. You see, when the Bible says that we need to pray without ceasing, unless you’ve gone through something you don’t know what that really means. You see, but when you’re in the midst of a battle and you’re in the midst of warfare, the more you pray the better your results is going to be from your prayer time.

But if I’m going through something, but if I allow myself to come out of that relationship because of my situation and circumstance, then I’m going to find myself constantly in a place of going through, and never coming out of that place. It’s going to happen over and over and over and over again.

But tonight we have to learn how to construct that place of prayer. You see, many of us think that we know how to pray, but we have no discipline in our prayer life. You see, if I’m going to really be an intercessor, if I’m really going to be somebody that prays, I’ve got to have discipline in my prayer life.

You see, Jesus asked the disciples. He said, “Could you not tarry with Me for an hour?” In other words, “Is there no discipline...” Oh, you don’t want to talk to me tonight.

You see, I’ve got to learn how to get discipline in my prayer life. It’s not about whether I’m going through or not. It’s about my relationship. That’s what it’s all about. You see, when I have a real relationship with somebody I want to spend time with that person. Do you hear what I’m saying?

If I have a real prayer life, then I want to spend time with my God. I don’t want it to be a boring time. But I want it to be a time where (glory to God) He comes into me and I go into Him. I abide in Him, and His Word abides in me.

You see, too many of us, when we come to the house of God, our faith is all the way down on the ground. See, because a lot of us are looking for man to do something for...

Let me tell you something. I can’t do nothing for you. But He can do everything for you. He’s the El Shadai God. He’s the God of more than enough. I’m not enough for you. He’s more than enough for you. Oh, somebody hears me now.

Developing a prayer life takes sacrifice, and it takes time. God allows us to find ourselves out. And many of us have prayer famines in our lives. You see, we have prayer famines in our lives. Our prayer life is dry. And so therefore we cannot tarry for five, ten, fifteen, twenty, twenty-five, thirty, thirty... Let alone an hour. We can’t tarry for five minutes in prayer, because our prayer life has a famine in it.

But in order to get my prayer life watered, I’ve got to get into a place where I say, “God, I’m committing this time to You. And I’m asking You to meet me right where I am. Not that I’m asking You to be a “bless-me” God. But I’m asking for a relationship with You.”

We’re guilty of disobedience and negligence. We need to construct and make prayer a regular tendency in our lives. God wants to do business with us on a deeper level. But first He must deal with our rebellion. You don’t want to talk to me tonight.

In the book of First John, chapter one and verse nine, it tells us (glory to God) that if we confess our sins He’s faithful and just to forgive us of our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.

You see, when once God can deal with our rebellion, then we can really establish a prayer life. But as long as we allow our flesh to stay in a place of rebellion, our prayer life still doesn’t mean anything. We’ve got to learn how to get this flesh under subjection.

You see, you know people that really want to pray. Because they’ll come at the appropriate time to pray. You don’t want to talk to me. It’s tight, but it’s right. It’s real. I’m telling you something that you can take for the rest of your life.

See, when somebody really wants to pray, when there are no circumstances beyond their control, they’ll be there for prayer time. But see, when they really don’t want to pray, then they’re going to make every kind of excuse in the world why they could not make prayer. You don’t want to talk to me. But I’m going to talk to you tonight.

He said, “My house shall be called a house of,” what? Prayer. He didn’t say, “My house shall be called a house of blessing.” He said, “My house shall be called a house of prayer.”

Come on, give God some glory tonight.

Now I need to say this because some of you have not heard this before. But when we look at the tabernacle, when we look at what was going on here in Exodus chapter thirty, that tabernacle in the wilderness, it represents three basic areas of our lives. Listen.

The Outer Courtyard surrounded by a high curtain represents the externally visible part of our being, being the body. It represents the body. It represents (glory to God) this physical flesh that you’re able to see.

The Holy Place is a place of daily activity within the confines of the tent, like the structure. And it represents the soul. It’s a place (glory to God) that represents the soul. It represents the intellect of man.

And the Holy of Holies represents the spirit, or our capacity for communion with the Lord.

You see, you’re not going to commune with the Lord with your flesh or with your soul. You’re going to commune with the Lord with your spirit.

The Bible says out of your belly shall flow rivers of living water. In other words, out of your spirit is going to flow rivers of living water. That is where your relationship with God must be. It can’t be a mind thing. It’s got to be a heart thing.

You see, I can quote Scriptures all day long. But except it be right here, it don’t mean nothing. And even when we’re practicing and we’re reading (glory to God) from a piece of paper about different prayers, even though I might not know by memory exactly what it says, I still have got to be sincere about what I am saying for it to get through this ceiling. Otherwise it’s going to hit the ceiling and bounce back and bounce back and bounce back. And we’ll wonder why there are no results.

But when it’s from the heart... Whether you’re reading it don’t matter. It’s going to reach the third heaven. When there’s sincerity about it, God’s going to make sure He hears. He said His eyes are open and His ears are intent to the prayers of His people. He’s going to listen for what you have to say, as long as your heart is in it.

In Exodus thirty, verse one through verse ten, these qualities are outlined here, and are of great significance regarding the practice of prayer.

Intercession is as much the taking of a position as it is the making of a petition. Intercessory prayer is as much of taking a position as it is making a petition. You’re not just making a petition, but you are taking position in the spirit realm. You are taking what’s rightfully yours.

The Bible says in Ephesians you’re seated in heavenly places in Christ Jesus. You’re taking your position. You’re saying, “Satan, you have no victory. You have no rule over me. You are under my feet. And I’m not under yours.”

In Exodus thirty and verse six... Look at that verse. It said,

6. And thou shalt put it before the vail that is by the ark of the testimony, before the mercy seat that is over the testimony, where I will meet with thee.

In other words, the altar of incense was positioned between the Mercy Seat and everything else in the tabernacle. It was the last component the high priest saw before entering into the Holy of Holies.

An intercessor’s position is both before God and between God and the person for whom is being interceded for.

See, as an intercessor you’ve got to understand where you are. You are not just standing here in the flesh praying words. But you are standing before God, so that you can petition for someone else that’s standing behind you. You have become a mediator.

And when I pray with this in mind, when I’m praying for my loved ones that are not saved, then I will have a clearer and better understanding of where I am in prayer. I’m not just praying something hoping that God will hear me, hoping that I’ll hit something in the dark. I know my position.


When we look at Abraham, when he was praying for Sodom and Gomorrah, he was in a position as intercessor. And his position was between those that were in Sodom and God. And he said, “God, if You can find fifty.”

God said, “Fifty’s okay.” And the number just kept on dwindling.

Let me tell you something. After while as an intercessor you are going to understand your position so much until you come to the place where when you’re asking God for mercy on a people, God has already shown you that judgment is already about to fall, and they ain’t no need of praying no more. You don’t want to talk to me tonight.

Sometimes even as an intercessor you’ve got to let the judgement of God fall. See, too many times we ask for mercy on people. And therefore we’re in a position of asking and asking God for mercy, and asking God for mercy. And then they’re never coming to the place of salvation. Why? Because we’re standing in between what God is trying to do.

Sometimes God got to shake them up to get them right. Shake them. Shake them to get them right. Sometimes it’ll take them having to fall on their knees for themselves and saying, “Lord, I’m sorry.” Do you hear what I’m saying?

See, but when you get to that point where you are truly an intercessor, you’ll know in your spirit when God is telling you to move out of the way and let judgment fall. And if judgment must first begin where? It must begin at the house of God.

See, you’ve been praying for folks. But you don’t understand your position of where you are.

I have someone that’s dear to me. And I’ve been praying for them for a long time. And I have prayed for them. And they got saved. But see, they want to still stay in they mess.

See, I don’t believe in that once saved, always saved stuff, no matter what nobody say. See, to me you got to live something. You got to have some type of picture about you, about your salvation, what you do.

So I’ve been praying. And I’ve been saying, “Lord, just have mercy on them.” Because I’m not looking at their salvation. But I’m looking at all their other family members. And I’m seeing how sad they are and how sad they will be if something happens to them. But then I got to realize, “Now God, there’s got to come a time when they have got to pay for their sin.”

See, but if I stay in that position and I keep blocking God from doing what He’s doing, I’m going to wind up vexing myself just like Moses did. And I’m going to walk in a place of disobedience to God, trying to protect somebody else. And I won’t be able to enter my promised land. You don’t want to talk to me.

You’ve got to understand that you’ve been called to pray. Many of us in here, we think that we only supposed to pray for ourselves. And every time we get down on our knees, the first person we ask Him to bless is me, myself, and I. The first person we ask for God to deliver is me. The first person we ask for God to touch is me. And we been down on our knees for five, ten, fifteen minutes. And we ain’t got to sister so and so yet. We ain’t got to brother so and so yet. We still on me.

But see, that’s not where your blessing is. See, even though you may be going through a hard place, your blessing is praying for somebody else to come out of their situation.

I’ve got to get into a place where I persevere. Perseverance in prayer. You remember the man that came to his neighbor’s door. And he asked his neighbor for a loaf of bread. And it was late. His neighbor came to the door like, “Bam!” It was either the door or the window, one of them. It shut it up.

But he kept a knocking. He kept a knocking. And finally he wore the man down. And he said, “Here, take this bread,” and closed the window or door behind him. But he got what he needed because he persevered.

See, many of us give up too easily. Stop giving up so easily. I cannot give up too easily. I’ve been through too much. You don’t understand. I’ve been with God for too long. I can’t give up now. I got to press on towards the mark of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus. I got to persevere. Perseverance in prayer.

You remember how Jacob wrestled with God? He said, “I can’t let You go until You bless me.” In other words, “I can’t let You go until I get some sort of result in my life.”

Why do we let go so quickly? Because we don’t believe that God is going to answer the prayer anyway. In order to get God to answer prayer, we’ve got to pray in faith. The Bible says in James with nothing wavering. If I’ll waver in my prayer life, I’m not going to receive anything from God.

And though we have a prophet in the house, two of them, three of them, a whole bunch of them, still can’t get nothing from God. And mad at everybody else.

See, there comes a point in your walk where God is requiring you to be more mature. See, He’ll make you wait on purpose. He don’t care what you say. The answer ain’t no, but it’s to wait. But we don’t like to wait. We rather give it up and start something else before we wait too long. But that’s a sign of immaturity.

God knows what you have need of before you even ask. He knew you needed it. But you didn’t have the patience to wait on it. So now you’ve settled for Ishmael. You could have waited for the real thing. But now you got the fake and the phony.

See, when you pray about something, and when God blesses you with it, He’s going to bless you with the real thing. See, when God blesses you...

Let me tell you all something. I heard a preacher say every good and perfect gift comes from above, down from the Father of Lights. If it’s a gift from God that He is giving to us, like a house, car, job, if it was really from Him, can’t nobody... I don’t care what they say. They can’t take it away. God is not an Indian giver.

But if they come and take it that meant that I couldn’t afford it in the first place, or I wasn’t supposed to get it. And let me tell you something. If you were not supposed to get it before you got it, there was an unction in you that you should not have gotten it.

But now you trying to talk about you walking by faith. But He gives us what? Wisdom. It’s a fine line. A fine line.

Perseverance. Perseverance. Perseverance. Praying without ceasing. But am I willing to pray without ceasing, until God reveals His will about the situation?

You see, when I learn to pray without ceasing, even though I may be asking God for something in prayer, when I have an attitude of prayer, He’ll let me know whether or not it’s His will that I receive that thing that I’m praying for at that time, wether it be fore me or not, or whether I need to wait a little while longer. But see, if my attitude changes, then I’m going to miss God.

(Are you all hot in here, or is it just me?)

A willingness to pray. Persistence in prayer. Persistence.

Saints of God, the reason I’m preaching this message tonight is because I’ve been watching. And everybody wants the Lord to bless our church. Everybody wants us to have a new church. But nobody really wants to pray.

See, when you really asking God for something, you got to make a commitment to prayer. Oh, don’t get quiet on me now.

You know, I have more people asking me about the new building and all of this. And I say, well, to myself, “Well, I sure ain’t seen you in prayer.” Hello, somebody.

See, God wants us to come together, together in prayer and seeking Him. Seeking Him for His will. Seeking Him for what He really wants, how He wants it, and when He wants it.

If we’re going to get anything from the Lord, it’s going to demand a sacrifice.

Another reason why I preached this sermon tonight is because many of us have committed ourselves to the intercessory prayer team. But I have not seen you. Hello, somebody. Oh, you might as well say hallelujah.

See, when God knows that you want something, you won’t let nothing stop you from getting it. But if you really comfortable, and ah, it don’t really matter, then there’ll be no sacrifice. God is calling for more sacrifice. He already knows you got a need in your house. But He has a need in His house. He’s looking for somebody to stand in the gap and make up the hedge.

If you have said you would be on the intercessory prayer team, then not just me as your pastor, but God as your Father, He’s been looking for you. He’s calling your name. And He’s asking you, “Where are you?” It’s sort of like Adam in the garden. He said, “Adam, where are you?” But Adam was hiding.

Don’t hide any more. It’s time to pray. Make a new commitment. Say, “Lord, I’m going to pray. Lord, I’m not going to try to put it off on somebody else. I’m going to pray. Lord, I’m not going to just keep on asking somebody else to pray for me. I’m going to pray for myself. I’m going to pray for everybody else. Everybody I know by name, I’m going to call them out by name, Jesus. I don’t know what they need, but You know what they got need of.”

New commitment in prayer. That’s what God is saying. That’s what He’s calling for.

Don’t lift your hand, but how many of you are ready for the commitment and the challenge?

Saturday mornings the church is open for everybody from five to six. Intercessory prayer starts at Friday nights at six-thirty to seven o’clock. Intercessory prayer starts on Tuesday night at seven o’clock to about seven-twenty or seven-twenty-five. Sunday morning intercessory prayer starts at ten-thirty a.m.

We need a new commitment. There is nothing more important in your life. I don’t care what it is. It’s not more important than praying. Prayer has got to precede you before you go forth. Before you do anything you’ve got to pray.

It’s not in there sitting in some place waiting for a credit application to be approved. (Tongues.) Let them approve it, Jesus. Let them approve it. That ain’t what I’m talking about. We prayed and God moved. I just wanted to get a little smile out of some of you all looking all dry.

But we’re talking about praying, even when you don’t feel like it. Yes, Lord Jesus. Even when you don’t feel like it.

Don’t tell me, “Well, pastor, I pray at home.” I mean, that’s the biggest cop out and excuse. God moves corporately too. When we come together for corporate intercession, this place ought to be saturated.

All these tongue talkers we got in here. All these tongue talkers. And all you can hear is one person praying in English and about two people praying in the Spirit. And everybody else sitting there looking. “I wish they’d hurry up and finish praying.” As soon as praise and worship start, “We should hurry up and stop singing. I’m tired.”

Saints, it’s got to be better than this. We want so much from God. We want so much from God. Can we sacrifice?

I want a show of hands now. How many going to sacrifice and come out to pray when they can come out to pray? If they’re not working at that time, they’re going to get up, get dressed, and come on out to the house of the Lord, and not say, “You know, I got to... Oh, oh, I got to run and do this. Oh, I got to run and do that. Oh.”

That’s what it requires. If you want results in your life, you have to pray. We pray to get results.

Don’t just spend time on your knees. The effectual, fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much. In other words, that’s the one that’s going to really get answered.

We have commitments all over the house for prayer. And I’m so glad about it. I’m so glad about it. I’m so glad about it.

There’s nothing that you can’t pray your way out of. Nothing. Nothing. Nothing. Nothing at all.

And don’t let your job be something that is a stumbling block for you, to where you say, “I can’t pray. I don’t have time.” You got a lunch break. Take about twenty minutes. Eat. At least ten minutes to pray. But put some kind of prayer time in there. Pray.

And we will go higher. We’ll go to the next level. God will move mountains and stumbling blocks out of the way. And we don’t have to worry about the “bless-me” line. Because you already know you blessed.

You say, “Pastor, you ain’t doing nothing but confirming what the Lord done already told me.” Oh, I love those kind. But it’s the kind that when they be looking at me like, like, “What in the world is he talking about?” You ain’t been in prayer. Pray. And you’ll know what I’m going to say before I even say it.

Saints come up to me and say, “Pastor, I already knew you was going to... I was in that today. I was in that Word today. We were talking about that today.” Because of prayer.

“Why do you keep saying this, pastor, over and over and over again?” Because I want to make sure you’ve heard it tonight, that when I stand before God as an under-shepherd, that He would never say to me, “Why didn’t You tell My people to pray?”

How many of you do not have your prayer language? In other words, how many of you do not pray in tongues? Thank You, Lord. How many of you... Now listen. How many of you really want to pray in tongues? Okay. You’re going to receive a teaching on this, on praying in the Spirit. I’m going to set it up.

Now let me tell you something. If there’s sin in your life... Not... I’m talking about unconfessed sin or something that you don’t want to come out of or whatever. Then it’s not going to happen. But when you’re at a point where you’re giving it up and you’re giving it all to the Lord, it’s going to happen.

And when you pray in the Spirit, the devil don’t have a clue what you talking about. But you can pray for the understanding.

We’re going to be talking about prayer and staying in prayer, seeking the Lord diligently, earnestly, that we may get results in our lives.

Come on, give God a handclap of praise.

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