Jesus Christ said, “It is written, My house shall be called a house of prayer.”

When Prayer Gets Personal

TEXT: Psalm 69:13

But as for me, my prayer is unto thee, O Lord, in an acceptable time: O God, in the multitude of thy mercy hear me, in the truth of thy salvation.

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We are in a series of messages titled “Praying Through the Bible: A Series on Every Passage and Verse Regarding Prayer in the Bible”. The purpose of this series is to encourage and motivate you to pray to the God of the Bible. We highlighted each of these over 500 verses and passages in the Prayer Motivator Devotional Bible. So far, we have done 59 messages in this series.

This is message #60, titled “When Prayer Gets Personal”

Some of us who have been saved for a while have come across the type of Christians who treat spiritual things as if they are subjects in textbooks. They love to teach about evangelism, they love to study about evangelism, they love to even strategize about how to do evangelism, but they rarely ever go out and evangelize the lost. They love to teach about prayer, they love to study about prayer, they love to talk about prayer, but they rarely pray. In other words, prayer has not become personal for them.

Today, I want to talk to you about when prayer becomes personal. The Psalmist says, “But as for me, my prayer…” Notice how he says “my prayer.” He is not concerned about what every body else is praying. He is concerned that God hears his prayer. I am reminded of Matthew 6:6 where Jesus commanded us, “Thou, when thou prayest, enter into thy closet, and when thou hast shut thy door, pray to thy Father which is in secret; and thy Father which seeth in secret shall reward thee openly.” This verse puts us in the mind of shutting out the world in order to focus on prayer — our prayer.

The Psalmist goes on to say, “My prayer is unto thee.” It was his prayer, and now we see him giving it to God. Whatever is on his heart and mind, he is turning it over to God. He gets his message across and then leaves it in God’s hands.

What are we to do with our personal prayers?

1. Wait for them to be answered at the acceptable time. Our text reads, “In an acceptable time…” The psalmist is saying, ‘Lord, when You say the time is right, then answer my prayer. Not in my time. Answer it the way you want and not the way I want. I’m giving it to you.’

The word “acceptable” means adequate enough to satisfy a need. God’s time is not our time. His thoughts are not our thoughts. He does things according to His will and not ours. We may find ourselves getting upset when God does not answer our prayers according to our timetable, but the Bible lets us know that He will answer them at the “acceptable” time.

Do you remember when Lazarus died and was laid in his tomb? Mary was distraught. She told Jesus that if He had just been there, her brother would not have died. But Jesus went to the tomb, three days after Lazarus’ death, and cried out in a loud voice, “Lazarus, come forth.” And Lazarus walked out of his grave. God answers prayer according to His time.

Martin Luther said, “None can believe how powerful prayer is, and what it is able to effect, but those who have learned it by experience. It is a great matter when in extreme need to take hold on prayer. I know whenever I have prayed earnestly that I have been amply heard, and have obtained more than I prayed for. God indeed sometimes delayed, but at last He came.”

Oftentimes, we are just like Mary. When God doesn’t answer our prayers when we want Him to, we grumble and complain. We say, ‘God if You had just been listening to me — if You had answered my prayer when I wanted it to be answered — I wouldn’t be going through all of this trouble right now.’ But the Bible says we serve a good, loving, merciful, kind God. There is an “acceptable time” for our prayers to be answered, and He knows that time.

1. So we see that we must wait for our prayer to be answered at the “acceptable time”.

What else are we to do with our personal prayers?

2. Wait for them to be answered in the multitude of God’s mercy. The Psalmist prays, “O God, in the multitude of thy mercy hear me.” The word “multitude” means the condition or quality of being numerous or plenteous.

God operates according to the “multitude of His mercy towards us.” God did not have to save us, but because of His mercy and grace, He did. He does not have to answer our prayers, but because of His love for us, He does. It is because of His abundant mercy and grace that the Bible tells us that we have “all the riches of Christ.”

Because of the multitude of mercy that God shows toward us, He can look down at us and say, ‘Despite your faults, despite your imperfections, despite your sins, I am going to answer your prayer and bless you anyway.’ Even though David sinned greatly, God still called him, ‘a man after my own heart.’ Even though Samson sinned greatly, God allowed him to triumph over his enemies at the end of his life. Even though Peter denied Christ three times, Jesus never retracted His promise to build His church upon ‘this rock.’ Even though Paul was a murderer and hater of Christians, God used him to be the greatest evangelist and Biblical writer of the first century church.

Charles G. Finney said, “Persons never need hesitate, because of their past sins, to approach God with the fullest confidence. If they now repent, and are conscious of fully and honestly returning to God with all their heart, they have no reason to fear being repulsed from the footstool of mercy.”

That is what it means to have the multitude of God’s mercy on your life: where God looks past your failures and decides to use you and bless you anyway. You may not think that you deserve to have that prayer answered. Let me encourage you to keep on praying and asking for it anyway, because God can answer it according to the multitude of his mercy.

What ought we to do with our personal prayers?

1. We ought to wait for them to be answered in the acceptable time.
2. We ought to wait for them to be answered in the multitude of God’s mercy.

3. We ought to wait for them to be answered in the truth of God’s salvation. That is what the Psalmist prays; he says, “hear me, in the truth of thy salvation.” Some scholars believe that this psalm was actually composed during the time of the Exile. Thus, the ‘salvation’ referred to here is the end of the 70 year period in which the Jews were captive in the land of their enemies. Their ‘salvation’ or deliverance was to leave the land of the foreigners and go back to the Promised Land.

Are you in an ‘exile’ situation right now? Are you being held captive by a ‘besetting sin’ that you seem to be unable to shake off? Are you being held hostage by the devil’s lies? The devil wants to keep you in bondage to him. He wants to keep you believing his lies. He wants you to think that, ‘No, you can’t be delivered; you can’t be saved; you can’t be blessed; you can’t have your prayers answered.’

It is at these times that you need to call out to God for salvation. If you do not know Jesus Christ as your Savior, then you need to get that issue settled first. If you are already a believer, then you need to ask God for deliverance regarding your specific situation. You may have to pray for deliverance for a long time before it comes. There is nothing wrong with asking for the same thing over and over again. Remember the widow who kept coming to the unjust judge? Unlike that judge, God wants to hear our prayers. He loves to see us consistently coming to Him asking for deliverance and salvation.

We need to learn to give it all to God in prayer. Giving our cares and worries to God will lift a burden off of our souls. That is why this psalmist tells us that he gave his prayer to God. When we don’t turn our burdens and cares over to God, we do ourselves a tremendous disservice because we are clinging to problems which only God can solve. This causes us to worry, to fret, and to become dissapointed when things do not turn out the way we think they should. I once saw a sign hanging in an insurance office which read:

Good morning, I am God. I will be handling all of your problems today and I won’t be needing your help. So, relax and enjoy your day.

The Bible tells us to cast all our burdens on Him because He cares for us. Why don’t we commit to doing that today? Let’s pray and let God handle our problems. He will answer our prayers at the acceptable time. He will answer our prayers in the multitude and abundance of his mercy. And He will be our true salvation from the difficult situations that we face.

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Now, if you are with us today, and you do not know the Lord Jesus Christ as your Saviour, your first prayer needs to be what we call the Sinner’s Prayer. Please understand that you are a sinner, just as I am, and that you have broken God’s laws. The Bible says in Romans 3:23: “For all have sinned and come short of the glory of God.” Please understand that because of your sins, you deserve eternal punishment in hell. Romans 6:23 says “the wages of sin is death… This is both physical death and spiritual death in hell. That is the bad news.

The good news is found in John 3:16 which says, “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.”

If you believe that Jesus Christ died on the cross for your sins, was buried, and rose from the dead, and you want to trust Him for your salvation today, please pray with me this simple prayer: Holy Father God, I realize that I am a sinner and that I have done some bad things in my life. For Jesus Christ sake, please forgive me of my sins. I now believe with all of my heart that Jesus Christ died for me, was buried, and rose again. Lord Jesus, please come into my heart and save my soul and change my life today. Amen.

If you just trusted Jesus Christ as your Saviour, and you prayed that prayer and meant it from your heart, I declare to you that based upon the Word of God, you are now saved from Hell and you are on your way to Heaven. Welcome to the family of God! I want to congratulate you on doing the most important thing in life and that is receiving Jesus Christ as your Lord and Saviour. For more information to help you grow in your newfound faith in Christ, go to Gospel Light and read “What To Do After You Enter Through the Door”. Jesus Christ said in John 10:9, “I am the door, by me if any man enter in, he shall be saved, and shall go in and out, and find pasture.”

God loves you. We love you. And may God bless you.