TRANSCRIPTION | Wednesday, February 3, 2021 | Prayer Changes Things

 


 

Pastor Johnny Hood

Hi, friends, Pastor Johnny here. I've been asked to share this evening on the subject of prayer and possibly share some stories where God has answered prayer during the time of our ministry. As we're getting ready to share about prayer, I think it'd be good that we would pray and ask the Lord to help us during this time, if you join with me. Father, we come to you today in the wonderful name of Jesus Christ, the name that's above every name. Lord, we look to you today as we share your Word. I have notes in front of me, but God, I need inspiration, and I need anointing. I want you Lord to inspire me here, inspire me as I speak, and help us God to receive the word that you have, so that it will have the effect in our lives that you desire. So we ask this in the mighty name of Jesus, and we trust it to be done, amen.

 

Pastor Johnny Hood

Before I began today, I would like to take the opportunity to thank everyone for allowing me for the privilege of serving as care pastor. What a joy it is, for Joyce and I. We've made so many friends and built some strong relationships and for this type of ministry, in this season of our life, we are so thankful to you and to God. So we just, we just give the Lord Praise today. And I want to share hopefully today on the subject of prayer that you will be encouraged, and you would be challenged to continue to pray and seek the face of our Lord. Before I begin, I would like to start off by saying the same thing I did the last time I was asked to speak on the subject of prayer, and that is that I'm not God's best example, or I’m not really in his top 10. I've had some victories through prayer, and I've had some failures because of the lack of prayer. But I'm convinced today as I stand here that prayer changes things.

 

Pastor Johnny Hood

James 5 and 16 says, “Confess your faults one to another and pray one for another that you may be healed. The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man avails much.” So I'm glad that it mentions confess your faults, because I know I have some. And he lets us know that we don't have to be faultless, he just asked us to confess our faults or admit our faults. The prayers of a righteous man avails much, whether he's praying for himself or he's praying for others.

 

Pastor Johnny Hood

Elijah was a man of like passions as we are, and was subject to disorder in his passions, as we are. Righteous in the Gospel sense is not loving or approving of any known iniquity. In fact, Psalm 66 and 18 says, If I regard iniquity in my heart, the Lord will not hear my prayer. Effectual and fervent is producing or able to produce a desired effect, a pouring out of our heart, passionate or intense, this kind of prayer always changes things. This kind of prayer brings the unseen, the kingdom of God, on the scene, or into our lives where we and other people need it. So God's kingdom is seen, or made manifest and or experienced. Prayer changes the mind of God. I don't know if you've ever thought about that before. But some people think that everything is just already determined by the Lord and no use praying about it. What's going to be is going to be, but I believe the scripture bears out that prayer changes God's mind. In fact, in Exodus 32:9-1010, the Bible says, “And the Lord said to Moses, I have seen this people, and behold, it is a stiff necked, or hard hearted people. Now therefore, let me alone, that my wrath may wax hot against them and that I may consume them, and I will make you a great nation.” We find then recorded in Exodus 32:11-13, Moses began to pray and in fact asked God to change his plan, or to change his mind. Exodus 32:14 records the fact that the Lord relented and did not bring upon the people the disaster he had threatened. Often what God does in our lives is, is predicated on what we do. God is sovereign, as we very well know. He knows and he controls the future. But somehow, God sometimes allows our prayers to affect future events, yet still work out his ultimate plan in our lives. If that were not so, we would not have 2 Chronicles 7:14. The Bible reads like this, “If my people which are called by my name shall humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and I will forgive their sin and will heal their land. Israel suffered for their sins, but many were spared. And Israel continued as a nation because Moses prayed, and God changed his mind. The prayer of 2 Chronicles will spare countless lives and impact an individual’s destiny, because prayer changes things.

 

Pastor Johnny Hood

Someone once said, prayer is a mighty instrument not for getting man's will done in heaven, but for getting God's will done on Earth. Some things are predestined. Things that are predetermined or predestined at a certain time, there's not any need for us to pray and ask God about those things. We just accept those things as being predetermined by the Lord, such as the time and the place of our existence, where and when we would live in this society, the plan of our redemption, or the time of Christ's return. But prayer does change things. It changes many events and circumstances in our lives. James 5:17 goes on to say, Elijah prayed that it not rain, and for three and a half years, it did not rain. Verse 18, says that he prayed again, and the heavens opened. Isaiah 38, Hezekiah was sickened to death. And Isaiah said unto him, set the house in order, for you shall die and not live. Now friends, that's more than a doctor's report. That was God that sent the message to him, that he was going to die and not live. But Hezekiah didn't just accept this, he humbled himself, and he prayed. And the Lord sent back to him and said, I've heard your prayers, and I've seen your tears. And I will add on to your days, 15 years. Now that's a pretty good deal. We can call on the Lord and he can change his mind, and he can help us in our times of need. That's why he encourages us to continue to seek his face.

 

Pastor Johnny Hood

Who knows what God might change his mind about some event in our life or some circumstance, and really help us in our time of need. I believe that God wants to do that. And that's why he's asked us to turn our face toward him and call upon his name. Prayer is not a dictation to the Lord. John 15:7 said, If you abide in me and my words about in you, you shall ask what you will and it shall be done unto you. God knew that we would understand the context. And that is that God's only going to give us good gifts. Such faith desires only the will of God. You see, when we believe in God and trust in Him, after studying his word, and see what his will is, we're going to want the the will of God in our lives. And that's what our desire is going to be. And that's why God Is able to make that promise to us that we can ask to him, and it's going to happen in our lives is because we're going to be asking for the proper things. Sometimes in our immaturity, we don't know what to ask for. So, we just trust the Lord then that he's a loving father and he's going to give what's best for us in our lives. We trust that we depend on that. And that's what God was expecting us to learn, so that we would call on him and trust him to give us the right thing in our lives. 

 

Pastor Johnny Hood

Jesus didn't dictate to God in his prayer. In Luke 22:42. The Bible says that Jesus said, Father, if it'd be possible, let this cup pass from me. Nevertheless, not my will, but Thy will be done. You see, Jesus didn't dictate what the answer should be. He just made his requests known to the Lord. And that's what you and I are supposed to do is make our requests known unto the Lord, because he knows what's best for us. And we can trust our loving father to give us those things that were in need. Prayer does have some contingencies. Scripture that I'm not going to go to each one of these, but I will give them to you for your reference, and give you just a little highlight about what they say. But John 14 and 13 says it like this, we're to ask in Jesus' name. When we're praying, we need to pray in Jesus' name.

In John15 and 7, were to be in a state of obedience. In James 1:5-7 we’re to ask in faith, and James four and three, were to have the right motives when we pray. And then finally, in John in five and 14, were to ask according to his will. The Scripture says in John 5:14, “And this is the confidence we have in him, that if we asked anything according to His will, he hears us. And if we know that he hears us, whatsoever we ask, we know that we have the petitions that we desired of him.” Again, this goes back to the will of God, it goes back to praying in his will, not just asking for all sorts of things, but praying according to God's will. And when we do that, we have confidence that God hears our prayers, and that he's going to answer and give us those petitions, because God is going to bring about his will in our lives.

 

Pastor Johnny Hood

Prayer is cooperation with God. His power is released through prayer. When we pray we make it possible for his power to be released for our benefit. Someone said, prayer delights God's ear, it melts his heart and opens his hand. My, isn’t that wonderful to know that when we pray, God is touched, and he wants to open his hand to us, and give us the desires of our heart. Again, according to his will. When we fail to pray, we limit God's blessing by our own weaknesses. James, chapter four, passage of Scripture, I want to mention a couple of verses here. Scripture reads like this, “You lust and have not. You kill and desire to have and cannot obtain. You fight and war yet you have not because you ask not. You ask and you receive not, because you ask amiss, that you may consume it upon your lust.” What God is speaking to us about here is selfish desires, things that we just want to happen for our own pleasure, our own success but has nothing to do with the will of God.

 

Pastor Johnny Hood

When God's told us to ask and we shall receive, when he's told us that he'll give us the desires of our heart, can you just imagine we're about ready to see the Super Bowl, it would be like Tom Brady and Patrick mahomes, both asking God to let them win the Super Bowl. Here we have two different individuals praying a prayer and only one's going to be able to win. So I believe in cases like that, we have to see that those would be selfish desires. What about if they both prayed God, just let me use the best of my ability to be the best I can, and may the best man win? How about that? That would be a prayer that would get answered. But we can't just ask for every selfish desire that comes into our mind and expect God to answer that. We have not oftentimes because we ask not. But when we do ask, we need to make sure again, that it’s according to the will of God. And if so, we can walk in confidence knowing that God's going to grant the desires of our heart.

 

Pastor Johnny Hood

You see, one of the main things I like about prayers, that prayer changes me. In prayer, I get real. Because when I'm alone with God, all pretense is gone. He knows my heart. He knows what's going on in my heart even before I begin praying. And as I pray, he knows what's going on. In prayer, he speaks to me. It may not be in an audible voice, but his Spirit speaking to the deepest part of my consciousness. God, I get real, and God begins to speak to me and deal with me. And if there's anything there, that's not like him, he reminds me in a gentle way of that. And he causes me to repent of attitudes and actions that aren't like him. Prayer keeps me honest. When I've been in God's presence, I'm different. I feel confident about the future, and I'm sensitive to the needs of others around me. I find myself more loving, and long suffering. Try this on for size, Matthew six and 44, love your enemies. Bless them that curse you, do good to them who hate you, and pray for them who despitefully use you and persecute you. Friends, whenever we start praying that way, we'll find that a change comes over us. Prayer makes us God conscious. Prayer changes me. So, the next time you feel the spirit of smack coming on, just pray for those that despitefully use you, and you'll see that God lets you see that you need to love them, and you can make things better between you, or you at least have the willingness to to attempt to do it that way, rather than the spirit of smack. 

 

Pastor Johnny Hood

I told a friend of mine just the other day that was going through an upset, said that he kind of felt like the spirit of smack. And I said, well, I've felt that before, but God's never given me permission to use that. And you see, whenever I began to pray, as I said, it makes me more God conscious. When I pray and begin to get close to the Lord, the light of the Lord shines to me and I see the Lord, and I see myself, and it causes me to know that I'm in no position to smack anyone. I'm in a position to ask the Lord to help me. It's me, Lord, standing in the need of prayer. So prayer changes me. I'm thankful today that prayer changes me.

 

Pastor Johnny Hood

Prayer has so much to do with relationship. God wants a deep personal relationship with us. The heart of prayer is the will of our father. Part of that will is simply coming to him. He desires our love, our attention, our fellowship, he desires, a time of communion, an intimate time of personal exchange and involvement. And finally, a release of his will and presence in the earth through prayer. Isn't that what we want? That's what we desire today. So I encourage us to keep on praying, to keep on calling on the Lord and making our petitions known to Him, because he cares about us. 

 

Pastor Johnny Hood

Throughout our ministry, I've seen marriages restored, I've seen sickness healed, I've seen lives changed, selfish lifestyles, turn to a selfless servant, financial matters resolved, broken relationships restored, all because someone prayed. I know that there was a relationship that I prayed about that was broken, and it just seemed like it was never going to be healed. I would pray about that, and sometimes I wouldn't pray about that anymore. It slipped my mind that I'd been praying about that for a long time. But you know, God was still working. He was still working because I had prayed, and not bragging on my prayers, but the fact that I prayed about it. I believe God reached out, and he made a way, and that relationship got restored. And so I know that God answers prayers. I know that God, if we continue to call on Him that we're going to see results of prayer. So I encourage you again, to continue to pray and call on the Lord.

I mentioned earlier that I've had some victories because of prayer, and I've had some defeats because of the lack of prayer. I'd like to say this today that in this season of my ministry, if I could just look back and do it all over again, I would pray more, and I would stress less. As I have learned, which let me say prayer does have to be learned, the disciples asked Jesus to teach them how to pray. We have to learn to pray. And as we are learning, we will learn to trust in the Lord. We will learn to lean on him for the results that we're asking about. We will depend on him more for the results and not our own abilities. Prayer changes things. And I'm glad that prayer changes me. How about you?

 

Pastor Johnny Hood

I'm going to end with the same note I did last time I spoke to you, in prayer we learn to trust. So again, with Lauren Daigle’s song, which is close to my heart, “I will put my trust in you. When you don't move the mountains I'm needing you to move. When you don't park the waters I wish I could walk through. When you don't give the answer as I cry out to you. I will trust, I will trust, I will trust in you.” Prayer changes things, and prayer changes me. I'm glad today. 

 

Pastor Johnny Hood

It's gonna be my privilege today to lead you in a time of communion. And so if you have the elements for communion today, I'd like to ask you to get those. And I want to share with you just for a moment, please. Communion presents us with a special opportunity to restore our communion with Jesus and renew the intimacy with him that ought to characterize our daily experience. The bread represents the broken body of Jesus Christ, which is broken for you. And I want to ask you today to take the bread and I want to ask you to break the bread. Through his broken body, he has provided spiritual, emotional, and physical healing. I want to ask you today to break the bread, to take and to eat. And as often as you do it, you do share your faith in the Lord's death until he come. And in the juice, represents the blood of Jesus Christ, which was shared on the cross of Calvary for your sin and for mine. In the Old Testament, it says it's the blood that makes atonement. In the New Testament. without the shedding of blood there is no forgiveness. The life of every creature is in the blood. So I ask you today to take and to drink. And as often as you do it you do show your faith in the Lord's death until he come. Thank you for being with us today. God bless.

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