‘A scared prayer ain’t worth dink.’ Oh, yes, it is.
JULY 27, 2023
A scared prayer ain’t worth dink. Oh yes it is. Let’s talk about it, on Key Life.
The deepest message of Jesus and the Bible is the radical grace of God to sinners and sufferers. That’s what Key Life is all about. So, if you’re hungry for the hopeful truth that God isn’t mad at you, keep listening. Steve Brown is a professor and our teacher on Key Life.
Thank you Matthew. If you have your Bible, open it to the 21st and you are in a place where you can, open it to the 21st chapter of Acts, as we continue with our study in Acts. The apostle Paul is very human and he’s afraid, and he’s been told by people who know that he’s going to get arrested, that he could lose his life, he could be executed. And we’re going to see how that fulfills itself in the life of the apostle Paul. And he knows it’s going to be awful. And if you don’t think the apostle Paul was nervous, anxious, frightened, you just don’t know the apostle Paul the way I know the apostle Paul. He is quite human and the first thing he does in the midst of what he knows is going to be a hard place is that he seeks out his brothers and sisters in Christ. And when you’re afraid you ought to do the same thing. Now, I want to show you something else that he did and it almost feels banal to say it, and it’s been said a thousand times. And we need to be reminded on occasion. Please note that the second thing Paul did when he was afraid is that he prayed, Acts 21:5.
And kneeling down on the beach, we prayed.
Now, we don’t know what they prayed, but it was a scared prayer. There’s that old story I may have told you about, the tornado that was coming across the field and the farmer saw it coming and headed for the house and he looked over his shoulder and his son was on his knees praying and the farmer shouted at him, son, get up and run, a scared prayer ain’t worth dink. Well, it is, a scared prayer is sometimes the only thing you’ve got and when it’s the only thing you’ve got, it’s the only thing you need. This past Sunday, my Pastor Dan, was teaching the final text in the book of James. Our pastors had been teaching us James for the last few weeks. Not my favorite book. In fact, I was one of them that did some teaching on James from our pulpit. But last week, our pastor Dan, preached on prayer, the final text in the book of James. And we always have a time at the end of the service when it’s over, when if you need prayer you can come forward and there will be people who will meet you at the front of the church building who will pray with you. And every Sunday, one or two will come forward and ask for prayer, and the prayer team will pray for them. But this past Sunday, my pastor said, we always do that at the end of the service, but today we’re going to do it as part of the service. He said, I know you guys, and I know some of you are going through some really hard stuff, physical, emotional, spiritual, and we want to provide a time in the church when everybody in the church prays for you and the prayer team in particular. So, over the next few minutes, if you want to be a part of that and you need prayer, you come forward. And at that point, the worship team began to play music that was appropriate. And I thought, ain’t nobody gonna go forward. I mean, they’re going to be standing up there by themselves. I was blown away with a great number of people who walked down the aisle of our church and went forward and asked for prayer. In fact, they lined up in every aisle of the church, and it was even more than that. You would see these people in the prayer teams bowing and praying with the people who needed prayer. And in many cases you would see those who needed prayer weeping, and you would see somebody on the prayer team holding them while they were weeping. And I was moved and thought, that is so good. Don’t you believe it? A scared prayer is worth a lot, and sometimes, as Lincoln said, when he said I went to my knees cause I knew there was no other place to go, when you should do exactly the same thing. In the 16th chapter of Matthew, we find Jesus preparing to go to Jerusalem to suffer and die. Let me read to you these words in Matthew and then I want to make a comment, Matthew 16:21 through 23.
From that time Jesus began to show his disciples that he must go to Jerusalem and suffer many things from the elders and chief priests and scribes, and be killed, and on the third day be raised. And Peter took him and began to rebuke him, saying, “God forbid, Lord! This shall never happen to you.” But Jesus turned and said to Peter, “Get behind me, Satan! You are a hindrance to me. For you are not on the side of God, but the side of men.”
What do we see there? We see the humanness of Jesus, who when Peter spoke, tempted Jesus and Jesus was tempted as we all are in every place, to stay away from Jerusalem because he didn’t want to die anymore than you want to die. Now, the first 16 verses in Acts 21, parallel those verses in Matthew. And Paul must have remembered the parallel experience of Jesus when he went to Jerusalem. I suspect that Paul prayed, Lord, when you were with us in the flesh, you were afraid to go to Jerusalem too. You knew that you would suffer in Jerusalem too. You had friends who tried to keep you from going to Jerusalem too. Lord, I’m now in the same place. Thou who knowest all about me, stand by me. Now, the text doesn’t say that’s what Paul prayed, but I suspect it was something just like that. And the reason I know it’s something like that is that I’ve prayed that prayer on occasion, and I suspect that you have prayed that prayer on occasion when you were really afraid. Hebrews 4:15.
For we have not a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but one who in every respect has been tempted as we are, yet without sinning. Let us then with confidence draw near to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace and help in time of need.
Prayer, it’s a lot more important than we think. We talk about prayer a lot. We pray a lot, empty phrases sometimes, but sometimes we forget that we’ve been allowed a high and holy privilege of going before a God who controls every circumstance, who controls every doctor’s prognosis, who controls every bit of pain we’ve gone through, who controls the hard places of our life. And a scared prayer is worth everything. Did I tell you, I may have, about the time it snowed in Miami, we just moved there from Boston and our daughter Jennifer said, daddy, I’m going to pray that it snows cause I miss the snow. And I said to her, what you would expect, doesn’t snow in Miami, honey. The farmers have got to grow their crops and the fruit so we don’t have snow in Miami. And she said, I don’t care, I’m going to pray for snow and she got her Sunday school class, a bunch of little girls to pray for snow too. Now, that was so silly, and you know, as a father I thought, you know, I don’t want her to lose her faith when God says no to that particular prayer. And of course, God will say no to her because, well, because it doesn’t snow in Miami. Do you know what happened that year? For the first time in recorded history, and this is true, it snowed in Miami. And Jennifer started laughing and said, I told you, daddy. You know what happened? God said, I know I shouldn’t do this, but I love that little girl, and it’s going to snow. He’ll do the same for you. You think about that. Amen.
Thanks Steve. And that’s it, another fantastic week of plumbing the depths of God’s truth here in Acts. Don’t forget if you want to listen to this episode again, or any episode, or just share it with a friend, you can stream all of our content for free 24 7 at keylife.org and still ahead for tomorrow, Friday Q&A. Tomorrow Steve and Pete will tackle this question. Should a Christian leave a marriage because of abuse? That is, that’s a heavy one. Tune in for their answer. Well recently on our talk radio show, Steve Brown Etc. we chatted with pastor and author Gavin Ortlund about his book on humility. It’s something Gavin calls the joy of self forgetfulness. It’s a fascinating conversation about an often overlooked virtue, and guess what? You can hear that show for free on CD simply by calling us at 1-800-KEY-LIFE that’s 1-800-539-5433. You can also e-mail [email protected] to ask for that CD. Or to mail your request go to keylife.org/contact for our mailing addresses, just ask for your free copy of the CD featuring Gavin Ortlund. Finally, if you value the work of Key Life, would you support that work through your giving? Giving is easy. Just charge a gift on your credit card or include a gift in your envelope. Or just text Key Life to 28950 that’s Key Life, one word, two words. It doesn’t matter. Just text that to 28950 and then follow the instructions to give safely and securely. Key Life is a member of ECFA in the States and CCCC in Canada. Both of those organizations assure financial accountability and we are a listener supported production of Key Life Network.