Here are a few brief notes from my message as a guest at the Orangecrest Junior High study.
Title: God Answers Prayer
Text: Jeremiah 33:1-9
The Lord wants to do something for his people more than anything else in the world. He wants to answer prayers. It is in his faithful nature to answer the prayers of his people who cry out to him in faith, with love, and through hope. It is in his good pleasure to answer the prayers of those who are righteous (Psalm 4:3). God does not, however, need to answer a single prayer. He is God! Nevertheless, he has willed from the beginning of time for creation to be solely dependent upon the Creator for all things. Therefore, it is through prayer we communicate with God and align our hearts with the Lord's will for his glory and our greater good.
God reminds Jeremiah that through prayer, the nation of Israel will one day be restored, however, through the everlasting promise of God and the continually petition of the Israelites, [let alone Jeremiah], God would deliver his people from the enemy. Jeremiah 33 is a continuation of 32 in which God is answering Jeremiah's prayer concerning the vague possibility of restoring Israel.
God said to Jeremiah, "Call to me in prayer, and I will answer you, and show you great and mighty things, which you do not know." (v.3)
"Call to me" - This does not mean to [initially] pray quietly and privately so no one can hear you (even though those things are appropriate and godly, and God hears those prayers). This invitation by the Lord was for Jeremiah to understand the implications of "loud and bold" prayer, consisting of a gut-wrenching outpouring of his very soul that was cast down before him regarding the state of his people. This was masterful charge by God to prompt bold prayers of relentless fervency, intimacy, and dependency upon the truthful promises of his Word.
John Piper says, "The cry for help from the heart of a childlike pastor [believer] is sweet praise in the ears of God. Nothing exalts Him more than the collapse of self-reliance which issues in passionate prayer for help. Prayer is the translation into a thousand different words of a single sentence: 'Apart from me [Christ] you can do nothing." (Brothers, We Are Not Professionals, 55)
2 Timothy 2:13 declares this truth, "If we are faithless, He remains faithful; He cannot deny Himself."
When God's people pray, He will do these things. Notice the six "I will" statements by the Lord in v.6-9:
1. God will restore (v.6a)
When we pray, God promises to restore our well-being physically and spiritually.
2. God will reveal (v.6b)
When we pray, God promises to reveal his peace and truth to comfort us.
3. God will redeem (v.7a)
When we pray, God promises to redeem the things that have been lost or were taken away. (being a prodigal, death of a loved one, stolen possession)
4. God will rebuild (v.7b)
When we pray, God promises to rebuild places. (i.e. the home - parents, spouse, relative; work - employees, boss; school - teachers, friends, students)
5. God will reconcile (v.8)
When we pray, God promises to reconcile our relationship with him when we confess our sins.
6. God will revive (v.9)
When we pray, God promises to revive our hearts through his provision by putting a new song in it full of joy.
Interesting to note: Jesus fulfilled all of these [I will statements] things through the superiority of his death on the cross.
-He has once and for all restored those who are being saved through the regeneration of the new birth (i.e. new creation).
-He has once and for all redeemed us from the bondage of sin and death.
-He has once and for all rebuilt a new Kingdom that is made up of sanctified sons and daughters of God.
-He has once and for all reconciled us to God through his bloody death on the cross that justifies us of all our sins.
-He has once and for all revived our hearts that were once darkened to now be radiating the light of his glory because of his great love and eternal goodness.
John 14:13, Jesus says pray in my name and it will be so.
John 15:5, Jesus says pray in my name, because without me, nothing will ever be so.
Call out to God! Shout your heart's desires, concerns, anxieties, and troubles to heaven! Cast your cares to Jesus because he cares for you (1 Peter 5:7). Pray every day and do not lose heart! Believe with all your heart that God will indeed answer your prayers.