Threefold Cord of Prayer

Preached to the Saints at Riverview Baptist February 19 2017
At 798 Santa Fe Pike, Columbia, TN

Matthew 7:6-11 (KJV) Give not that which is holy unto the dogs, neither cast ye your pearls before swine, lest they trample them under their feet, and turn again and rend you. 7 Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you: 8 For every one that asketh receiveth; and he that seeketh findeth; and to him that knocketh it shall be opened. 9 Or what man is there of you, whom if his son ask bread, will he give him a stone? 10 Or if he ask a fish, will he githreefold-cordve him a serpent? 11 If ye then, being evil, know how to give good gifts unto your children, how much more shall your Father which is in heaven give good things to them that ask him? 

Last week we looked at the MODEL of Prayer. This week we are looking at the NECESSITY of Prayer. It is written in the Scripture that:

Ecclesiastes 4:12 (ESV) And though a man might prevail against one who is alone, two will withstand him—a THREEFOLD CORD IS NOT QUICKLY BROKEN.

Illustrate I can easily break a single thread, but when I bind three threads together – the threefold cord – it becomes much stronger. One man might prevail against another, but one man with his two friends more than likely will prevail. The threefold cord is not easily or quickly broken. In our text today we see the threefold cord of prayer. These cords are:

Ask
Seek
Knock

Prayer is NOT just asking God. Prayer is NOT just seeking an answer. Prayer is NOT just knocking on Heaven’s door. If prayer is to prevail and give you victory for God’s glory then all three cords must be present in prayer.

ASK Is The DIRECTION Of Prevailing Prayer

Matthew 7:7 ASK, and it shall be given you ….

To WHOM are you praying? Is your prayer to God or to god?

Many people around the world go to god and not to God. I’ll say that again. Many people go to a little g god and not to the Big G God of Scripture. The little “g” gods are false gods, idols created in man’s image. There are many names for these little g gods:

Moroni (of Mormonism)
Mammon (of Materialism)
Allah (of Mohammedanism)
Mankind (of Humanism and Hinduism)
Self Godhood (of Buddhism)

There is a difference between the man-made gods of the world religions and the God of Truth and Scripture. The Psalmist defined this difference when he wrote:

Psalm 115:3-8 (ESV) Our God is in the heavens; he does all that he pleases. 4 Their idols are silver and gold, the work of human hands. 5 They have mouths, but do not speak; eyes, but do not see. 6 They have ears, but do not hear; noses, but do not smell. 7 They have hands, but do not feel; feet, but do not walk; and they do not make a sound in their throat. 8 Those who make them become like them; so do all who trust in them.

The idols – the little g gods – are figments of man’s creativity. Someone once said that “God created man in His image, then we turned around and created god in our image”. When Jesus says “Ask”

  • He is NOT saying to pray to some idol that you have invented.

  • He is NOT saying that we are to pray to some generic god.

  • He is telling us to pray to the God of Scripture,

  • To ASK OUR FATHER, the One Who loves us and gave Himself for us.

Before you can ASK God in prayer you must ASK to be part of His Family. The Model Prayer started with “Our Father which art in Heaven”. Is God your Father? Are you God’s Child? I am not saying that the unbeliever cannot pray. I have prayed for unbelievers and have seen unbelievers healed by the Lord. Jesus heals people who have no concern for Him. The Bible tells us that one day Jesus was entering a village …

Luke 17 (ESV) …. He was met by ten lepers, who stood at a distance 13 and lifted up their voices, saying, “Jesus, Master, have mercy on us.” 14 When he saw them he said to them, “Go and show yourselves to the priests.” And as they went they were cleansed. 15 Then one of them, when he saw that he was healed, turned back, praising God with a loud voice; 16 and he fell on his face at Jesus’ feet, giving him thanks. Now he was a Samaritan. 17 Then Jesus answered, “Were not ten cleansed? Where are the nine? 18 Was no one found to return and give praise to God except this foreigner?” 19 And he said to him, “Rise and go your way; your faith has made you well.

Jesus healed ten, but only one came to faith. I have seen Jesus heal many an unbeliever, bringing them back from hospital beds. Yet it is a fact that only about one in ten return to Church to give glory to Christ. Very few thank God for their healing. They thank the doctors, they thank the hospitals, they may even give a nod of the head to the Preacher that prayed for them, but very few return to give glory to God.

Oh Beloved, if you would ASK God in prayer FIRST receive Him as Father. Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ. I understand that our Youth Department has started teaching the ABCs of Christ to the young people. That is so very good, very commendable. Maybe you need to hear this too.

ADMIT that you are a sinner in need of a Savior. The Lord says “All have sinned and fall short of the glory of God (Romans 3:23). All are sinners (Romans 3:10-18)”. You have no union with God unless you first admit that you are lost and a sinner.

BELIEVE that Jesus Christ came to save sinners, that He is YOUR Savior. Believe that He died on the Cross to save you from your sins. Believe that He rose again on the third day to be your Lord, Lord of your life.

John 3:16-18 (KJV) 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. 17 For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved. 18 He that believeth on him is not condemned: but he that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.

CONFESS – which is to say aloud – your faith in Jesus Christ as your Savior and Lord. The Bible says:

Romans 10:9-10 (ESV) … if you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. 10 For with the heart one believes and is justified, and with the mouth one confesses and is saved.

No one is saved as a “Secret Agent for the Lord”. You must stand up for Him. When you take a stand with Jesus He promises to be with you forever. Furthermore the Scripture tells us:

John 1:12 (KJV) But as many as received {Christ}, to them gave he POWER TO BECOME THE SONS OF GOD, even to them that believe on his name:

When you are born into the Family of God by faith in Christ you have the right to ASK your Heavenly Father anything. What a blessing this is. ASK! What blessed words are these:

Philippians 4:6-7 (ESV) … do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. 7 And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

SEEK Is The DESIRE Of Prevailing Prayer

Matthew 7:7 … SEEK, and ye shall find;

When I SEEK something it is because I DESIRE it. When I seek something merely to please myself (as I often do) then what I find is just for me. But when I pray, the DESIRE of Prayer for the Christ Follower is not to please myself or to advance myself, but to advance the Will and Kingdom of God. This was what Jesus showed us in the Model Prayer.

Matthew 6:10 (KJV) Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven.

The prayer that God loves to answer is the prayer that seeks to glorify Him, to magnify His Name, to build His Kingdom on the earth. The Apostle John speaking of prayer wrote:

1 John 5:11-15 (ESV) … God gave us eternal life, and this life is in his Son. 12 Whoever has the Son has life; whoever does not have the Son of God does not have life. 13 I write these things to you who believe in the name of the Son of God, that you may know that you have eternal life. 14 And this is the confidence that we have toward him, that IF WE ASK ANYTHING ACCORDING TO HIS WILL HE HEARS US. 15 And if we know that he hears us in whatever we ask, we know that we have the requests that we have asked of him.

When we pray we are to SEEK the Will of God in it. Jesus said:

Matthew 6:33 (ESV) SEEK FIRST the Kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added unto you.

When you pray, will God be glorified in the answer to your prayer? Will God’s Kingdom benefit by it? Will souls be saved and lives changed because of an answer to your prayers? Jesus said:

John 15:7-8 (KJV) If ye abide in me, and my words abide in you, ye shall ask what ye will, and it shall be done unto you. 8 Herein is my Father glorified, that ye bear much fruit; so shall ye be my disciples.

God loves to answer prayers that are in accordance to His Will. When Jesus prayed in Gethsemane prior to going to the Cross three times Jesus prayed:

Matthew 26:39 (KJV) O my Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me: NEVERTHELESS not as I will, but as thou wilt.

As you know, Jesus had to go to the Cross. It was not something He looked forward to. But it was something He did for the glory of God. God the Father could not answer His prayer, even as much as He loved His Son. Jesus had to die on Calvary. Yet Christ still prayed, Christ still sought, and Christ was willing that God be glorified and we be saved no matter what the cost. The Stepbrother of Christ, James addressed the Church:

James 4:1-3 (KJV) From whence come wars and fightings among you? come they not hence, even of your lusts that war in your members? 2 Ye lust, and have not: ye kill, and desire to have, and cannot obtain: ye fight and war, yet ye HAVE NOT, because YE ASK NOT. 3 Ye ASK, AND RECEIVE NOT, BECAUSE YE ASK AMISS, that ye may consume it upon your lusts.

Two of the greatest causes of unanswered prayer is:

  1. To ASK NOT, and
  2. To ASK AMISS

When you ASK NOT you try all other resources before you try God. God will not answer unspoken prayer. But God will not answer prayer that is ASKED AMISS “that you may consume it upon your lusts”. When we SEEK God in prayer we must ask according to His Will, according to His desires. The Psalmist put it this way:

Psalms 37:3-5 (KJV) Trust in the LORD, and do good; so shalt thou dwell in the land, and verily thou shalt be fed. 4 Delight thyself also in the LORD; and HE SHALL GIVE THEE THE DESIRES OF THINE HEART. 5 Commit thy way unto the LORD; trust also in him; and HE SHALL BRING IT TO PASS.

Pray asking, SEEKING to glorify God. That is the Golden Prayer, the Prayer that glorifies God.

KNOCK Is The DETERMINATION Of Prevailing Prayer

Matthew 7:7 … KNOCK, and it shall be opened unto you:

When we pray our Father can answer every prayer three ways:

Yes, I will answer
No, I will not answer
Wait a while and we’ll see

Not every prayer is answered immediately. KNOCK speaks of a closed door. Sometimes God presents to us a closed door. Why?

Because FAITH is PERSISTENT
Genuine FAITH KEEPS ON GOING
Saving FAITH OVERCOMES

A faith that will not stand through a trial is not a faith that can take us to Heaven!

It is the OVERCOMING FAITH that is promised blessing.

Revelation 2:7 To him that OVERCOMETH will I give to eat of the tree of life!

Revelation 2:11 He that OVERCOMETH shall not be hurt of the second death!

Revelation 2:17 To him that OVERCOMETH will I give to eat of the hidden manna!

Revelation 3:5 (KJV)5 He that overcometh, the same shall be clothed in white raiment; and I will not blot out his name out of the book of life, but I will confess his name before my Father, and before his angels.

Revelation 21:7 He that overcometh shall inherit all things; and I will be his God, and he shall be my son.

God hears every prayer that His Child utters, but often waits until He thinks the time is right. When I was a child I wanted to drive a car as soon as I was able to think. I told Daddy I wanted to drive. He told me “You’ll be able to drive, but you’ll have to wait till your 16th birthday. Until then work and get enough money to buy yourself a car”. So I did. I bought a car, and had a car before I could legally drive it. I tested out on my car. Got my license. Today I’d rather someone else drive! Oh for a chauffeur!

Persist in prayer. If the door seems closed, keep knocking. Jesus illustrated the Determination of Prayer when He said:

Luke 11:5-10 (NASB) … “Suppose one of you shall have a friend, and shall go to him at midnight, and say to him, ‘Friend, lend me three loaves {of bread}; 6 for a friend of mine has come to me from a journey, and I have nothing to set before him’; 7 and from inside he shall answer and say, ‘Do not bother me; the door has already been shut and my children and I are in bed; I cannot get up and give you anything.’ 8 “I tell you, even though he will not get up and give him anything because he is his friend, yet because of his persistence he will get up and give him as much as he needs. 9 “And I say to you, ask, and it shall be given to you; seek, and you shall find; knock, and it shall be opened to you. 10 “For everyone who asks, receives; and he who seeks, finds; and to him who knocks, it shall be opened.

Persist in prayer. If God does not answer do not stop praying until God changes your heart or God changes the situation.

A woman came to Jesus one day, a Canaanite Woman. She came to Jesus and cried out:

Matthew 15:22 (NASB) … “Have mercy on me, O Lord, Son of David; my daughter is cruelly demon-possessed.”

Jesus did something astonishing.
He ignored her.

In fact, Jesus told her “I was sent only to the lost Sheep of Israel”.
What did the woman do?
Did she go off in a huff?
Did she curse Christ?

What did she do? The Bible says “she came and bowed down before Him, saying ‘Lord, Help me’”. What did Jesus do? Again, this seems shocking.

Jesus calls her “a Dog”.

Do you remember the first verse we read today? We read the words of Christ:

Matthew 7:6 (KJV) Give not that which is holy unto the DOGS, neither cast ye your pearls before SWINE, lest they trample them under their feet, and turn again and rend you.

What is a DOG in Scripture? It is an unbeliever, someone who has rejected Christ as Lord and Savior. The Bible tells us that …

Revelation 22:15 (NASB) Outside {of Heaven} are the DOGS and the sorcerers and the immoral persons and the murderers and the idolaters, and everyone who loves and practices lying.

Dogs are unbelievers in Christ, people who practice habitual sinful activity. They follow self rather than what is right. I saw my dog eat something that he found dead in the yard the other day – I didn’t get close enough to him to see what it was! DOGS are UNBELIEVERS. SWINE are those who hear the Gospel then turn away from it anyway.

2 Peter 2:20-22 (NASB) For if after they have escaped the defilements of the world by the knowledge of the Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, they are again entangled in them and are overcome, the last state has become worse for them than the first. 21 For it would be better for them not to have known the way of righteousness, than having known it, to turn away from the holy commandment delivered to them. 22 It has happened to them according to the true proverb, “A DOG RETURNS TO ITS OWN VOMIT,” and, “A SOW, after washing, returns to wallowing in the mire.”

A DOG or PIG sits under the preaching of salvation by faith in Christ, then turns away without repenting and believing. Jesus calls this woman a DOG. He says to her:

Matthew 15:26 (NASB) … “It is not good to take the children’s bread and throw it to the dogs.”

You’re a DOG.
I’m not going to heal your daughter!
Did this woman walk away mad?
No, she KEPT ON KNOCKING.

Matthew 15:27-28 (NASB) But she said, “Yes, Lord; but even the dogs feed on the crumbs which fall from their masters’ table.” 28 Then Jesus answered and said to her, “O woman, your faith is great; be it done for you as you wish.” And HER DAUGHTER WAS HEALED AT ONCE.

Often prayer is not answered because we DO NOT KNOCK. Keep on knocking. Keep praying until God clearly answers the prayer, or until the Father says “No”.

Matthew 7:8-11 For every one that asketh receiveth; and he that seeketh findeth; and to him that knocketh it shall be opened. 9 Or what man is there of you, whom if his son ask bread, will he give him a stone? 10 Or if he ask a fish, will he give him a serpent? 11 If ye then, being evil, know how to give good gifts unto your children, how much more shall your Father which is in heaven give good things to them that ask him?

God your Father wants only the best for you. So Ask, Seek, and Knock. And remember, the promise of our text is reserved for God’s Children, those who have received the Lord Jesus Christ as Savior. If you do not know Him, call on Christ today, right now. Repent of your sins, and cast yourself on the Gospel, believing that Jesus Christ alone is your Savior and Lord. Ask Him to forgive you. Acknowledge Him as Lord of your life.

May God cause man to come to Christ through this His Word.

About bibleteacherorg

A searching pastor, I am looking for a people who love the Lord and love one another. I am looking for the Church. Most of what I see today is not the Church, but clubs, where members sit in padded pews and drink deeply of self. I am looking for a people willing to be righteous not self righteous, serving not served, In short, I am looking and praying for a people who want to change the world by willingly and willfully following Jesus Christ. I hope I find this people before it's too late.
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