TEXT: Matthew 14:22-27
22 And straightway Jesus constrained his disciples to get into a ship, and to go before him unto the other side, while he sent the multitudes away.
23 And when he had sent the multitudes away, he went up into a mountain apart to pray: and when the evening was come, he was there alone.
24 But the ship was now in the midst of the sea, tossed with waves: for the wind was contrary.
25 And in the fourth watch of the night Jesus went unto them, walking on the sea.
26 And when the disciples saw him walking on the sea, they were troubled, saying, It is a spirit; and they cried out for fear.
27 But straightway Jesus spake unto them, saying, Be of good cheer; it is I; be not afraid.
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 completed 134 messages in this series.
This is message #135 titled, The Power of Praying Alone (Part 3)
The story is told of how new believers in an African tribe were very earnest and consistent in carrying out their private devotions. Each one had a separate spot in the thickets surrounding their village where they would go to pour out their heart to God. Over time, the paths to these places became well worn. As a result, if one of these believers began to neglect prayer, it was soon apparent to the others because the path would once again become overgrown. These observant believers would kindly remind the negligent one, “Brother, the grass grows on your path.”
Perhaps, you need to ask yourself today if the grass has grown on your path. In other words, have you been spending time alone with God as you should? In this mini-series, we have been looking at Jesus’ example of getting alone to talk with the Heavenly Father. So far, we have learned the necessity of being determined to get alone with God. This may involve clearing your schedule of other things that are also important with the understanding that nothing is as important as communicating with the Creator of the Universe. Second, we have learned that praying alone puts us in a place of peace even when there is trouble and chaos around us.
Today, we will look at one of the key results of praying alone and the peace that comes with it as shown through Jesus’ actions. Before Jesus went up into the mountain to pray, He dismissed His disciples and sent them ahead of him to the other side of the Sea of Galilee. The Bible tells us that as Jesus was in prayer, “The ship was in the midst of the sea, tossed with waves: for the wind was contrary. And in the fourth watch of the night Jesus went unto them, walking on the sea. And when the disciples saw him walking on the sea, they were troubled, saying, It is a spirit; and they cried out for fear. But straightway Jesus spake unto them, saying, Be of good cheer; it is I; be not afraid.”
The Sea of Galilee was well-known for its sudden storms. As you will recall, there was another instance in Scripture in which the disciples encountered a storm at sea. However, in that situation, Jesus was in the boat with them and He calmed the storm with just His words. This time, however, Jesus is not with the disciples. They are facing this storm alone.
Where was Jesus? The English Bible commentator John Trapp said, “Whilst the disciples were periling, and well-nigh perishing, Christ was praying for them: so he still is for us, at the right hand of the Majesty on high.” This re-emphasizes the main point of our last message — getting alone with God in prayer will allow you to find peace when there is trouble and turmoil in the lives of others around you.
One of the benefits of praying alone, however, is not what happens during prayer, but what happens after prayer. Notice what we see in Jesus’ actions: He walks on the boisterous waves toward His disciples who are frightened. They have never seen anyone walk on water before, and they think it is a ghost or a spirit. Now, they are not only afraid of the wind and waves, but they are afraid of the one walking on the wind and waves. The Bible says they “cried out for fear.” As Jesus comes toward them, He calmly says, “Be of good cheer; it is I; be not afraid.”
Compare the reactions of Jesus and the disciples to the predicament of the storm. The disciples are scared and fearful. Jesus is calm and cheerful. Jesus and the disciples were coming from two different places spiritually speaking. Jesus was coming out of communion with God while all the disciples could see around them were the tumultuous wind and waves.
The lesson we can learn from Jesus’ example is that praying alone has practical application. It is not just an activity that begins and ends in private. The results of our private prayers ought to show up in our public lives. When others around you are fearful about life, you can be fearless because you have been talking to the God who has not given us a spirit of fear. When others around you are worried, you can be free from worry because you have been talking to the God who says to cast all your cares upon Him. When others around you are anxious about the future, you can be free from anxiety because you have been talking to the God who says, ‘take no thought for the morrow.’ When you meet people who do not know where they will get their next meal from or how they will pay their utility bills, you can comfort them because you have been talking to the God who already knows our needs before we ask Him, and He says that He will supply all of our needs according to His riches in glory by Christ Jesus.
You see, real prayer will make a difference in your life. If you want to be a better husband or wife, I encourage you to pray. If you want to be a better son or daughter, I encourage you to pray. If you want to be a better co-worker or boss, I encourage you to pray. If you want to be a better follower of Christ, I encourage you to pray.
Private prayer will often change your perspective on the terrible events that are happening in the world. Soren Kierkegaard said, “Prayer does not change God, but it changes him who prays.” Once you have adopted God’s perspective through prayer, you will be able to rise above the negativity around you and reach out and encourage others. Jesus Christ was the all-powerful Son of God. He was not afraid of the storm on the sea. In the midst of the storm, He was able to comfort and encourage the disciples. Notice: the Bible does not say that Jesus calmed this storm. This storm kept on raging. Perhaps Jesus wanted the disciples to realize that as long as they had Him — no matter what was going on around them — they did not have to be afraid.
Anne Herring, a singer and songwriter and one of the pioneers of the contemporary Christian music movement, was speaking at a music seminar in Hawaii. She said the question that she is asked the most by aspiring songwriters is how is she able to write such powerfully anointed music? She said her answer is simply this: “I spend time alone with the Lord.” One attendee at the seminar felt the Lord was clearly telling him the formula for writing anointed music. He said, “If I wanted to be used in music, I had to make it a priority to spend time with the Music-maker — the Lord — who is the Source of all creativity.”
Whatever field you are in, you can benefit greatly from spending time alone with the Lord. If you want God to use you to rise above your circumstances and the negativity in your environment, spend time alone with the Lord in prayer. If you want to be an encouragement, blessing, and help to both sinners and saints, then spend time alone with God in prayer. Through spending time alone in prayer to God like Jesus did, you can become a powerful servant of the Lord and a great blessing to the body of Christ.
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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. First, 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.”
Second, accept the fact that there is a penalty for sin. The Bible states in Romans 6:23: “For the wages of sin is death…”
Third, accept the fact that you are on the road to hell. Jesus Christ said in Matthew 10:28: “And fear not them which kill the body, but are not able to kill the soul: but rather fear him which is able to destroy both soul and body in hell.” Also, the Bible states in Revelation 21:8: “But the fearful, and unbelieving, and the abominable, and murderers, and whoremongers and sorcerers, and idolaters, and all liars, shall have their part in the lake which burneth with fire and brimstone: which is the second death.”
Now this is bad news, but here’s the good news. Jesus Christ said in John 3:16: “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.”
Just believe in your heart that Jesus Christ died for your sins, was buried, and rose from the dead by the power of God for you so that you can live eternally with Him. Pray and ask Him to come into your heart today, and He will.
Romans 10:9-13 says, “That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved. For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation. For the scripture saith, Whosoever believeth on him shall not be ashamed. For there is no difference between the Jew and the Greek: for the same Lord over all is rich unto all that call upon him. For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.”
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! Congratulations 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 Society.com 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.