The title of this message is The Believers or Wrong, you said, what in the world is that? So I want you to turn, if you will, to the sixth chapter of Matthew, the Sermon on the Mount.
And I want you to look at a couple of verses here, because this is what you and I would really consider a war if we understood what goes on in this room. So Jesus is speaking here.
Beginning in verse five when he says when you pray, you are not to be like the hypocrites, for they love to stand and pray in the synagogues and on the street corners so that they may be seen by men.
Truly, I say to you, they have their award in full.
But now watch this next verse.
But you, when you pray, going to you are in a room, close your door and pray to your father who is in secret, and your father, who sees what is done in secret will reward you.
Think about this. Think of it all, the kind of trials and heartaches and burdens you face in life. What do you do with them? Many people don’t know what to do with them. And Jesus has given us in this passage of scripture the solution, the answer.
When I think about in my own life, I learned very seriously very early and I finally figured out why, because I had needs that I knew I could not meet.
And secondly, I felt very inadequate in life, in school and everything I did. So it forced me to begin to pray early in life.
When I started that, I prayed in my bedroom and then after a while I realized there must be a better place. And so I found a place in my church which is a block away to pray.
And then when I went away to college, I thought, Well, I’ve got to find a place to pray.
And I had a roommate at that time and so he and I were good friends.
But after a while I realized I didn’t feel free to pray there.
So I found another friend of mine who lived down the hall in Jita Hall, University of Richmond.
I said to him one day, I need a place I can pray and I need a private place.
And I ask him something that was a little bit shocking.
At first I said, Would you sell me your room? He said, Sell you my room.
I said, That’s what I mean. I said, I need a private room where I can just pray and be quiet and talk to God so I don’t know what he’d come back with because naturally those rooms had already been paid for.
But I wanted his room B 17 G, their whole. So he came back the next day, he said, all right, I didn’t know what he was going to say. He said, how about 15 dollars? I said yes, and I said it very quietly, because 15 dollars is a lot of money for me when you didn’t have any. I said fine, so I bought his room.
So for the next three and a half years, I had to 17 G to haul a private room and I had a wonderful place to pray and probably after a few weeks, maybe somewhere thereabouts, probably once a week, some student would come to see me and say, well, could we just talk for a few moments?
And so I spent three and a half years of listening and talking to my fellow college mates.
And it was a wonderful time. When I went away to seminary, I didn’t have a place to pray in my room.
It was very noisy.
And so I finally found a place to pray in the music building. And so that helped me through those times. And then I got married and so we had a very small apartment. And so I said to my wife, now I got to have a place to pray.
And we had a small bedroom, a very small kitchen and bathroom and a living room, and that was it.
So I had one of my mother’s Afghans that I’d use. And so I stretched that over in the corner of that living room. And that was my place to pray till we finished seminary.
I’ve always had a place some time. It was in a different place, sometimes right in the middle of a lot of things.
And I’ve had places to pray and my studies and so forth at church and in touch and always had a place.
There’s something about this passage of scripture when he says, when you pray, go into your inner room, close your door, pray to your father who is in secret, and your father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you.
Probably the most important lesson I’ve ever learned. Wants to talk to God. And a lot of people think they’re praying when oftentimes they’re not really praying, they’re sort of expressing maybe something in their life that is going on.
I don’t know of a lesson more important in life than learning to pray.
So when we call it the believers war room, that’s really what it is in a way, because that’s where you fight your battles.
In other words, if you turn to that chapter of Ephesians, which you know pretty well, the scripture says in that tenth verse, finally be strong in the Lord is the strength of his mind put on the full armor of God so that you may be able to stand firm against the schemes of a devil.
For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the powers, against the world forces of darkness, against spiritual forces of wickedness and heaven and places.
Therefore take up the full of God and you know, the pieces, the helmet of salvation to protect our thinking, the breastplate of righteousness, to protect our emotions, the girl of truth, so that we walk in it at the shadow of the preparation of the Gospel of Peace. And he talks about, for example, the sword of the Spirit, the word of God, and above all, in the shield of faith.
And that she was not around. She was a shield like a door that covid you totally. He says, this is the way we begin the day.
So let me ask you a question. Do you have a place to Freij, your house? You have an enemy and he’s the devil. Satan, Jesus called him Jesus said he’s a murderer and a liar and deceiver.
He called him a lot of things. He’s a schemer. And he’s a tempter. He’s a destroyer. You and I have an enemy and many people are destroyed by the enemy and do not even realize what’s happening to them.
For all of us who are believers, God has given us the key to living a godly life and a life that is pleasing and honorable to him and a life that makes it possible for us to accomplish anything and everything that God has set before us.
But prayer is the key.
And so what I’d like to do in this message is give you a little insight into what a real prayer room is like.
When I say war room, I’m in a war room because that’s where the battles are really fought. And so many of you probably would think, well, what would you do in a prayer room? That’s what I want to share with you and I pray that you listen carefully because, listen, you need it.
All of us need a place where we can talk to our heavenly father confidently, boldly sharing the innermost things of our heart and knowing how hard that he’s listening and that he will make a difference.
So I want you to listen carefully. You’re going to need it. Some of you don’t even know how to pray or you may just repeat the Lord’s Prayer and think that’s sufficient, that doesn’t say what you really need to say down in your heart. Some want you to listen carefully.
Do not shout it out to say, well, I don’t have a place to pray. Yes, you do. Now I show you that you do.
There is a place at your house, your apartment or somewhere that you can set aside to pray.
May have to be when everybody else is gone, but the place that you and your heavenly father can develop an intimate relationship. Listen to what he says when you pray.
Go into your inner room. Close your door and pray to your father in secret, and your father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you, which is his promise.
So he speaks of a place that Jesus place changed because his tenor changed and my life has changed over all these years.
But I’ve had a place I’ve found a place to pray because I discovered very early in life I couldn’t handle it without it.
And he made me inadequate enough and needy enough to depend upon him, to trust in him and to make prayer the priority of my life.
And I thought a lot of battles. And there are a lot of difficulties, hardships, having lots of needs, but I can tell you this, he’s never failed me one time, nor will he failed you.
So Jesus called it a place. And I would say, as Jesus said when he said, close the door to a private place, if it’s possible, somewhere in your house, someplace that you can set aside, is your place to meet God every day.
And if you happen to be in a situation where you have room mates, you could just say to your roommate, you know, I just need a place a little time to be alone with to be alone with God.
So if you work here or you like that, no words can be worked out so that I’ll have this particular time that you know, that I’m just being alone, talking to God. I’m going to be praying for you, but I’m going to be talking to the God about my life and about my future. Anybody who would object to that.
Makes a great statement, and that is I really need you to pray for me. That’s really what they’re saying. And so here’s what will happen. God will make a place.
If you want a place to pray, God will make a place for you to pray for the simple reason.
There’s nothing he wants anymore than to develop an intimate, personal relationship with you.
And if you’ll notice how Jesus said it in your room, close your door and pray to your father who is in secret and he will reward you. So it’s a private place.
And what I simply want to do is to say to you, this is what a prayer room is about.
And I just want to describe a true, genuine prayer room, whether it’s a place or a room itself, whatever it takes for you to be alone with almighty God. Think about it in this light.
And that is simply this it’s a private place, it’s a quiet place, it’s a holy place. It’s where you and the father made. Let me tell you why that’s so important when you have a place. What I discovered after a while, because that’s your place to pray when you get there, you don’t have to get ready after a while, your whole system adjust to the fact this is what you do here.
This is the only thing you do here. You don’t read books here. You don’t do anything. This is what you do here. You talk to the father. You may have your Bible there, but primarily you’re talking to him.
So when you when you get there, you know what you’re going to do. And I remember I was praying one evening and this is why I said it’s a holy place, because one of the most important things God’s ever said to me, he said to me lying over there on that spot.
Here’s what he said. I was talking to him about something in school and so forth. He said to me, whatever you accomplish in life.
You’ll have to accomplish on your knees, you cannot trust in your education or your abilities and talents and skill only on your knees.
I never forgot it. I can never thank God enough for telling me early in life that whatever I do with you, I will do as you come to me, commune with me, kneel before me, worship me on me, obey me on your knees, watch what I do.
And I can tell you it’s the most important thing God had said to me up until that time.
Because the truth is this. Whatever he accomplishes in your life. That really fits his will and purpose and plan to your life, it’s as a result of your relationship to him.
There are a lot of people who look famous in a world in this and the other, but have no relationship with the father.
The most important relationship you will ever have is with God, the father. And how do you develop that relationship? He said. When you pray, go to your inner room or wherever it is, close your door. If possible, pray to your father who’s in secret and your father is in secret will reward you.
It doesn’t make a difference who you are. When you trust the Lord Jesus Christ as your personal savior, you develop a relationship. But then when you begin to put prayer in its proper place, that’s first in your life.
God will do things in your life and for you you’ll never figure out and you’ll never do and never accomplish unless you put that where it belongs.
It was first in Jesus life. That’s what the Scripture says.
A great while. Before a day he was doing what he was up in a way in the world.
And his friend.
And so this is where our battles have fought, our battles are fought on our knees, because what happens when you go through difficult and hardship in your life and conflict with other people and so forth, when you in your place of prayer, bring that to your heavenly father?
Listen to what happens. You know what happens. Here’s what happens.
You you engage your heavenly father in this warfare you’re having with whoever it might be.
And whatever the situation, circumstances, it may be, even your husband, your wife, your kids, your parents, when you kneel before him and ask for his guidance and his help and his strength and how many times have I had to come to him when I desperately needed him, he was all I had and no other place to go.
They’re going to be some times when nobody knows the answer to your plea.
But Almighty God, nobody will be able to comfort strength and you help you encourage you like almighty God.
And when you develop that relationship with him and that place, listen, if if the place and the quietness and the seclusion and the holiness of that place was not important, Jesus would never have put that in the Sermon on the Mount.
But he said it because he knew it was so important, because he practiced it himself. That’s where you fight temptation.
That’s why you fight trials on your face before almighty God. I know. And I’ll say it once in a while. You do not have to kneel to be holy before God.
But I put it this way.
You at least must be in the mode of worship.
You can sit down if you can sit down. But for me, I’ve been kneeling since I was a kid and that’s just the reason I say kneeling before him, honoring him and worshipping him.
And to me to get on my knees before him, a straight out, flat out on my face before God says what my heart says.
And that is, holy God, I come to you and need and I’m crying out to you to give me help and strength and whatever I may be praying for.
And think about this. That’s why you should get your instructions for every day. You and I never know what a day means. We never know what we’re going to face, and if you turn to your place of prayer and you start the day with him asking for his guidance, for his direction and listen, you don’t have to wonder if he’s listening.
You don’t have to wonder if he’ll answer that prayer.
Trust in the Lord with all your heart lead not to your own understanding in all your ways. Acknowledge him and he will direct your path.
And so we could go right to descriptives with promises of God, but to begin the day in that private quiet place with Almighty God, that’s the way you start the day.
And a lot of people who suffer a lot of turmoil in their life unnecessarily because they get up and rush off and it’s just them versus the world wide.
Do it, you versus the world, when you can walk with a companion of the Lord Jesus Christ living within you through the Holy Spirit to enable you to strengthen you, guard you, protect you, God, you enable you to do whatever he wants for your life. You start the day off with him.
I hear people say all the time, I got to have a cup of coffee since I get up. No, you don’t. You just hooked yourself on that. You need to get hooked on Jesus.
I’m not saying you can’t have a cup of coffee, but that’s not the first thing, the most important thing in your life, if that’s what it takes to wake you up, to pray that that’s OK. But that’s not the most important thing in your life. The most important thing in your life every morning is asking for the large guidance and help and strength, surrendering yourself to him.
Lord, whatever you have in mind for me today, I’m available.
Let me think your thoughts. Let me think before I speak. God, I want whatever you want to accomplish in my life.
You begin the day with him. Listen, you can’t beat that. You have a God guiding you and leading you. And so what happens in that war room is we get ready for the day. We ask for directions and guidance. The Lord make us sensitive to the people around us. Let us hear what they say, what they don’t say.
Let us read. Let us read their facial expressions. What are they trying to say to us?
Lord, help me to do my best today. If somebody gives me instructions, let me get them down.
If I’m given an order in my job and I don’t like it, Lord, you help me to like it in a way, Lord, I want you to I want you to guide me through this day.
God will never ignore that request.
He says, go into that in a room, close your door and pray to your father. And so what does he do? We dress for the battle. We get instructions for the day. And also remember this.
This is a guidebook. Tell me one thing in your life. That’s not in here that you have to face every single circumstance of life, there is an answer for it in the book. This is the book of instructions. This is this is God’s battle plan for us.
You cannot live a godly life with a closed book. You can’t win a battle if you don’t know the battle plan. If you’re not listening to the general, you’re making your own decisions.
You’re going to lose the battle. And so he said, go into your inner room and close the door.
And what he was saying is this.
I want you to myself. To begin this day. And there’s not a person in here who can tell me any reason that you can’t do that.
And if you say, well, I just get distracted when I pray, get in your closet, close the door, put some clothes, something so there’s no light.
Tell God you just want to think about him, you want him to speak to your heart because you can’t think of anything more important than hearing from the living God and he’s willing to speak to you.
You say, I’ve ever heard you speak. You probably weren’t listening.
God is willing to speak to anyone who’s trusted him as their personal savior. God is willing to listen to any sinner crying out of salvation.
If you want him to be a part of your life, yield your life to him.
Surrender yourself to him. Asking for the forgiveness of yourself and trusting in his death at Calvary to pay your Sindarin bill and become a child of God, your life with him will begin.
And so when I think about what’s involved and opening the word of God and asking him to speak to my heart. That’s where you and I deal with our sins honestly, thoroughly by ourselves, alone with almighty God.
Now I know you can pray together with other people, but listen to this.
God wants an intimate relationship with us.
He wants us to give him our full attention.
He wants us to listen carefully what he says. Now, listen carefully of this. When you are praying and in that in a room or wherever that place is, you don’t do all the talking.
You learn to listen, tell him what’s on your heart, what you’re concerned about, what you need or how grateful you are for whatever it is, and then just be quiet.
When I hear people say, well, God’s never spoken to me, I know who I. Because they didn’t give him a chance. Do you listen to your children when they come to you? Crying, for example, are needed about something. What do you do if you’re a good mom or dad, you sit and say, sweetheart, tell me what’s on your mind. Tell me what’s hurting. Tell me what can I do?
Think about Almighty God. Your Heavenly Father is never too busy to listen to you.
But you need to give him time to speak. And God is willing to speak to you, and I told you in the very beginning when you had said to me about always needing him and whatever I accomplish in life, I can’t.
The money he made that so absolutely clear to me.
And I could spend a lot of time this morning saying, here’s what God said to me about this and that he he will do the same for you in your life, in your circumstances.
But you got to listen to him. You have to get in a position to listen to him. And I love what he said. He said, go in your room, close the door where it’s private and listen to your heavenly father.
And you may begin your session with him by simply saying, Lord. I’m just here to listen today, this morning or tonight. If there’s something you want to say to me, I’m willing to listen, Lord. You may be shocked at how clearly God will speak to your heart.
Sometimes he’ll speak through his word. And I remember in one of the biggest battles I’ve ever been in and I was being quiet and listening to the Lord and I was just split into the scripture asking God if he had something to say to me.
And I turned to this passage.
No weapon formed against you will prosper. And I sat through this horrible business meeting, reading that verse and reminding the audience what you were saying, and I listened to people who tried their best to get rid of me. And the interesting thing, yes, I read that verse over and over and over and over again saying, Lord is what you’re saying, I’m trusting you. And that, you know, for two hours and the attempt to get rid of me, not one person said one negative thing about me.
And I was sitting there thinking, well, I could tell you a lot of things about me that I am perfect, but you know what? God used that versus scripture to give me the most awesome sense of peace.
But your heart’s got to be right. Lord, I need you to encourage me. God, you have convicted me of something that I had not seen before, had not dealt with before.
And Lord, I’m confessing my sins before you.
Whenever you and I come to him with an open heart with it, and we should always say to him, Lord, if you have something to say to me that I missed, I want to hear it.
If there’s anything in my heart that should not be there, then the first thing I want to do is I want you to show me what that is so I can confess it and ask you to forgive me.
So I want to start off clean. God, I just want to start off clean so I can hear what you have to say.
You can’t listen. God is not doing much talking to you as long as you living in sin. He speaks to those who are willing to hear him. Let me ask you a question, how do you feel maybe when you and your wife or husband had a little bout and. You want to get it straightened out and he won’t listen. What does that do to you as a as a wife or she won’t listen or your son won’t listen or your parents won’t listen?
There’s something about opening our heart to God.
Let me tell you, he will speak to you clearly. You know why?
Because he loves you. God doesn’t try to keep secrets. And this is why he said, go into your room, close your door, that is, it’s just you and him.
And you’ll find the place if you really want to find the place. A place to pray is a place that you and I can talk to him quietly. It doesn’t mean that you can’t pray.
You can sit right here and pray or go somewhere or rather than the expressway. But here’s what Jesus said.
There ought to be a place.
A place that’s your place, a private place, a holy place, it’s made holy because that’s where you and God do business, where you talk and where you listen and where you want God to speak to your heart. It’s one of the most important lessons you’ll ever learn in life.
And somebody says, well, I’ve come a long ways and I haven’t done that, and you don’t know what you’ve missed. The most important relationship you have with Jesus, and he can be more real in your life than any other person because he speaks to the innermost part of your being, your heart, your life, your soul, your spirit.
And Jesus, who was holy, the very son of God, listen, the very son of God felt a need to get away.
And Luke, he’s out there praying and the disciples come and interrupt him saying, well, the people are looking for you.
And when somebody says to me, I don’t have time to pray. I simply want to thank. If that’s the only reason you don’t God knows how to give you a dose of something that puts you in the bed, stretched out flat on your back, where you got plenty of time to pray and talk to God. And some people. Have met the Lord in that way when he absolutely laid them down and then they began to listen to him and God began to speak to my heart.
So that’s where we did with sin in their life. That’s where we that’s where we develop an intimate relationship with him.
Now, some of you probably thinking, well, I don’t think that’s necessary. That’s the devil’s lie. Don’t believe it. Let me tell you why.
If it were not necessary, it wouldn’t be in the word of God by the person of Jesus Christ.
He knows and you and I know. We need a place, a time and one of the best times to start as early in the morning, but for some people that may not be the most convenient thing. Then you make it your time, your place and your time where you get along with God uninterrupted. And, you know, without even knowing this, my kids have told me this.
And I remember I had a study out different from the house in the backyard and I was passed in Miami and that’s where I prayed.
I asked him to build me a little place away from my house because I didn’t have a place. So it was just a cinderblock building, wasn’t very large at all.
And I just had in fact, I had a door for the desk, so I didn’t want anything in there to distract me. I had a door as a desk and one chair.
I paid fifteen dollars for it and and I had a little mat on that concrete floor and they said to me.
You didn’t know I was there. But I slipped in there and I was right beside you praying, and I heard everything you said. And my daughter came to me at different times and she would say something similar to that, you know what if I never taught my kids another lesson, I taught it without even try.
That you spend time talking to your father and now that they’re in their 50s. They know what Fred is all about. And as a parent, you need to demonstrate it. You need you need to shield them, not just tell them how important prayer is, and I’m not telling you that for any other reason, except to say I discover that later on they didn’t even tell me at first.
Of course, they did tell me the times we had a we had a round coffee table, we all prayed around when we prayed together as a family, and they are quick to remind me that at one time everybody had prayed and then they kept waiting for me to pray, waiting for me to pray.
And I went to sleep while all they prayed and they all got up to walk out.
And about time they got to the door. I started praying. They came back around.
But you know what? That’s OK. That’s all right.
That table was a place we all prayed, but then I taught them to find the place for them to pray.
Because it’s the most important activity of your life, there’s nothing more important in your life than building an intimate relationship with the Heavenly Father and claiming his promises.
And in the prayer room, that’s where you lay your burdens down.
And what does he say he daily? Lives average. This place to pray is an awesome place they can. As in Seattle, where he lives, that where we weep over our trials and our heartaches. Yes, it’s a place to cry before almighty God.
And he understands what we are crying about. It’s our broken hearts amended. In the prayer room, it’s where sins forgiven, but also where we forgive others. It’s a holy place, a mighty place, a powerful place, it’s a place that becomes the most precious spot in your household. Because that’s where you and the father made. And discuss every area of your life while you bring your needs, where you bring your hurts, where you bring your tears, where you bring your sorrows, where your burdens are lifted and where you’re strengthened.
So where is your place? You can walk through life and ignore. A personal, intimate relationship with Christ, maybe a very talented and gifted. Maybe you’re very wealthy and you say, well, I don’t need all that, oh, yes, you do.
And the more prideful you are, the further you’re going to fall. When God’s hand comes upon you to teach you a lesson that you need him desperately. Do you have a place? Even as you’ve listened, have you thought about a place? Are you willing to make a place? That can be your place, they’ll become a holy place, a private place where you carry on the most important activity of your life, and that’s community in fellowshipping with the Lord Jesus Christ.
Most important thing you do. You say, well, I’m so busy, I don’t have time. Yes, you do. Do you believe God loves you enough to speak to you? Maybe you don’t believe that, but you get in a place and start praying and you’ll find out quickly God will speak to your heart.
Your needs will be met. You’ll find joy in your heart and soul, a sense of security, comfort. You are meeting your needs in some way, does it mean you’ll never be needed? No, he allows us to meet maybe sometime because it drives us into a deeper relationship with him.
If you’re one of those persons who’s never trusted, Jesus is your savior. I trust that today.
You settled that issue asking him to forgive you of your sins and acknowledging that Jesus went to the cross in order to pay your sin debt in full by shedding his blood. And the moment you want to confess that sin, repent of it until the Lord Jesus Christ, you’re receiving him as your personal savior.
Your life with him will begin at my prayer to you is that you’d be wise enough to do what Jesus said.
Go into your inner room, close your door. Pray to your father who is in secret, and your father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you.
That is a promise of God. And if you’re wise, you’ll make a place. Father, how grateful we are that you made it simple. And I pray that the Holy Spirit will sink this message deep in the heart of every person who hears it.
And some who have never trusted you as their savior helped them to understand the first prayer you listen to from them is a prayer of confession and repentance and surrender of their life to you as their lord and savior.
And then you all can carry on a conversation. You know who’s listening to this message?
Who’s going through a great trial? Heartache, difficulty, pain, suffering, a sense of futility, not knowing which way to turn. Oh, Father, remind them that they’ve heard the answer the day. And now it’s a matter of making a choice.
Making the wisest choice they could make. Of finding a place and began to build that intimate relationship at the beginning. Listening to you and hearing you speak is my prayer in Jesus name. Amen.