Lessons from a Future Prayer (Praying Through the Bible #147)

TEXT: Matthew 24:15-22

15 When ye therefore shall see the abomination of desolation, spoken of by Daniel the prophet, stand in the holy place, (whoso readeth, let him understand:)

16 Then let them which be in Judaea flee into the mountains:

17 Let him which is on the housetop not come down to take anything out of his house:

18 Neither let him which is in the field return back to take his clothes.

19 And woe unto them that are with child, and to them that give suck in those days!

20 But pray ye that your flight be not in the winter, neither on the sabbath day:

21 For then shall be great tribulation, such as was not since the beginning of the world to this time, no, nor ever shall be.

22 And except those days should be shortened, there should no flesh be saved: but for the elect’s sake those days shall be shortened.

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 146 messages in this series.

This is message #147 titled, Lessons from a Future Prayer

Sometimes, when we think about prayer, we think about it only in spiritual terms. We think that prayer is a high and lofty matter and that God is not concerned with the minuscule inconveniences of our daily lives. We think that God does not want to be bothered by the “little things”, although we spend much of our time fretting and worrying over these things.

In our passage for today, Jesus Christ is giving His disciples a brief glimpse into what the future holds for the world in general and for the people of Israel in particular. He says that in the last days there will be wars, conflicts between nations, persecution of Christians, diseases, epidemics, famines, earthquakes, and false prophets. Speaking of Israel’s future, He says that the “abomination of desolation” — the antichrist sitting in the Temple and declaring himself to be God — will usher in a period of terrible persecution for the Jews. It is then that He advises, “Let them which be in Judaea flee into the mountains: Let him which is on the housetop not come down to take anything out of his house: Neither let him which is in the field return back to take his clothes.”

In the midst of His discussion of earth-shaking, history-shaping events, Jesus is attentive to the personal needs of those who will be alive in those days. He says, “woe unto them that are with child, and to them that give suck in those days! But pray ye that your flight be not in the winter, neither on the sabbath day…” God bears a special concern for the welfare of His people even in the darkest days of history. He is not oblivious to the fact that they will experience suffering and pain. And so He urges them to “pray” for their needs during that time — that their flight would not be in winter, that they would not have to flee on the Sabbath day, that pregnant women and babies would find a reprieve. Matthew Henry states, “Christ bids his disciples to pray for themselves and their friends, that, whenever they were forced to flee, it might be in the most convenient time. Christ’s bidding them pray for this favour, intimates his purpose of granting it to them…” He goes on to say, “Though the ease of the body is not to be mainly consulted, it ought to be duly considered; though we must take what God sends, and when he sends it, yet we may pray against bodily inconveniences, and are encouraged to do so, in that the Lord is for the body.”

The Jews who will flee from persecution in the winter will find their way difficult because of the weather. Of course, there is nothing that humans can do about the weather, but we can pray that God would use the weather to our benefit. In the Old Testament, God often used the weather to display His power, to protect His people, to give them the edge needed for victory in battle, or to communicate with them in a supernatural way. Often, these manipulations of the weather came as a response to the prayers of his people.

Next, Jesus advises that the Jews who will flee from persecution pray that their flight not be on the Sabbath. This was a visceral issue for the Jews. During the Jewish uprisings that followed the close of the Old Testament period and the death of Alexander the Great, the Jews were constantly attacked by the generals who took over the portions of Alexander’s empire that bordered Palestine to the north and south. The Jews repeatedly faced the dilemma of whether to flee or stay put if they were attacked on the Sabbath. Those who fled believed they were breaking the law. Those who stayed were slaughtered. And so, for the sake of the Jews, Jesus tells them to pray that they do not have to flee on the Sabbath.

Even in the midst of terrible situations, God has a way of taking care of those who belong to Him. He still wants to hear their needs, their concerns, their worries. Just as nothing is too hard for God to handle, nothing is too small for God to be concerned with. If something affects us, God pays attention to it. In Psalm 8:4, David marvelled at God’s concern for mankind. He said, “What is man that Thou art mindful of him?” Job said, “What is man, that thou shouldest set thine heart upon him?”

Some children grow up with parents who barely pay attention to them — they always have something “important” to do. God is not that kind of father. He wants to direct us in even the smallest matters of our lives because we are important to Him. That is why He bends His ear to hear us when we pray.

We must get past the idea that we shouldn’t “bother” God with certain things. We are taught that kind of response from the selfish nature of humanity. There are certain people and things which we do not want to be bothered with. There are people who have made it clear to us that they do not want to be bothered with personal needs. But the Almighty God is a selfless being. If you will, He wants to be “bothered” by our needs and concerns. He told us to pray for our daily bread, and He promised to supply all our needs if only we would ask. David Bednar said, “Prayer becomes more meaningful as we counsel with the Lord in ALL of our doings.”

Are there issues in your life that you haven’t prayed about because you thought they were too small or insignificant to tell God about? Are there situations that you have not prayed about because you think they do not belong in the spiritual realm? Don’t hesitate to pray about whatever is on your mind. If it concerns you, it concerns God. Dr. John R. Rice made clear when he said: “Prayer is Asking and Receiving”

– – – – – – – – – – – – – – –

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 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 trusting Jesus Christ as your Lord and Saviour. You have done the most important thing in life. 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.

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