This week, we’re going to learn to pray, “Lord, search me.” Prayers where we ask God to examine our inner life to make sure we are in alignment with His will.
In Psalm 139, David prayed that God would search him so that he might bring his life into alignment with God’s will. We can pray for God to search us that we might align our lives to His will.
Below is an automated transcript of this messageGood morning, church! Good to see all of you here at our in-person service. Hello and good morning to you. God bless you on our online service. We welcome you. We are in week two of the series we’re calling, “Dangerous Prayers.” I hope that you picked up a copy of this as you came in today if you failed to get one last week. If you got one last week, I pray that you’ve been praying with us dangerous prayers all week long. It’s not too late to catch up. Grab one on the way out if you fail to get one. If you are home and you haven’t been able to come by, you can download it. It’s a pdf file on our website. You just go to the front page of the website and you can download it so you can take part. We want you to be part of this series.
Here’s a question for you. Here’s a spiritual check up kind of question. How’s your prayer life? How is your prayer life today? Would you say that you pray more than once a week? Do you pray more than once a day? What motivates you to pray? Is it a time of day, like the morning or the evening, before bedtime or before a meal? Do certain things prompt you to pray? Is it more like,when you’re in trouble, you pray? Does that prompt you to pray if you get in trouble? You know your life’s out of control all of a sudden; now you are ready to pray. What causes you to pray? What kinds of prayers do you pray? Are they safe prayers or dangerous prayers?
You might ask, What do you mean by safe prayers? Well, safe prayers are the kind of prayers, like a laundry list of your needs, without any mention of what God is doing in this world or wants to do in your life. They’re the prayers that sound, rote and practiced rather than fresh and passionate. Safe prayers go something like this. Can I just pray a safe prayer for you to give you an example of a safe prayer? Bless me, Lord, keep me safe. Help me to have a good day today, you know, a hassle-free kind of day. I’m praying for a day without any inconvenience, interruption or having to wait in line in any place I go. Can you give me a hassle-free day? Lord, please. I know you can please do it. You know, can I have the kind of day with clear skin and no zits? A day of clear sky and no clouds? Clear roads with no traffic jams? Please, Lord, what I need today is green lights and blue skies? Lord, I know you can do it. And by the way, could you help me with my kids? Because they’re giving me a real headache. I know you can do it, Lord. Amen.
How many of you prayed a prayer like that on the way here this morning? I’m not saying those arebad prayers. Don’t misunderstand me; those are safe prayers. Those are prayers that start with me where I’m at. Lord, join me with what I plan on doing and what I’m struggling with; that’s the safe prayer. It’s kind of like you visualize God as a “celestial Santa Claus” and when you pray you’re climbing up in his lap with your wish list.
What if we started praying dangerous prayers, the kinds of prayers that cry out to God for an answer. The kinds of prayers that are God-sized, God-willed prayers that pull us out of our comfort zone. Dangerous prayers, prayers that lift us up to God’s heavenly perspective and away from our worldly one.
This past week, I wonder if you prayed with us and prayed any of those “show me” prayers. That’s how we were praying last week. Hear me, Lord. Show me, Lord, how to see from Your perspective. Some of you got in contact with me during the week. Either you put it on Facebook or messenger or you emailed me. Some actually took their smartphone and took a photo of their dangerous prayers journal for that day and sent it to me just because they wanted to see how it was moving them and engaging them. One family told me they were doing it as a family devotion every morning with their children. A particular family told me that their son, who’s around 10 years old, came to them after that first couple of days, and was crying and confessing sin and asking his parents to pray for him because they were praying dangerous prayers together. It has so affected this young man. I’ve had people that don’t go to our church, that are watching online, to send me photos of their daily journal entry to let me know how it was affecting them.
Now, listen, this is not me. And I’m not building myself up by saying that people are sending me these. They’re praising God, and they’re saying, Look how this is affecting my life. I’ve had some other people say that they want to form a “soap group.” What’s a “soap group?” Well, the kinds of prayers we are praying in our prayer journals are S.O.A.P. prayers. We read Scripture, we make an Observation, we make a personal Application, and we write a Prayer. People are getting together and saying, Hey, you know what? It would help to hold me accountable if we did this together. So, husbands and wives are doing it together. Families, as I mentioned, are doing it together.
One of our ministry partners, who works in Istanbul, Turkey, contacted me last week. He said, “How can I get this for our church?” I said, “Look, it’s on the website free. Go get it. If you need coaching, let me know.” God’s doing something. People are excited about prayer. Are you excited about prayer? Are you ready to pray dangerous prayers?
Last week, we prayed “show me” prayers; it is based on going to Psalms and looking for these kinds of prayers. It’s also based on the way the Lord teaches us to pray, for example, The Lord’s Prayer and other “show me” prayers. The Lord’s Prayer starts out with “Our father, which art in heaven.” I want to lift my soul up and get Your perspective. “Our father, which art in heaven, hallowed be thy name. Thy kingdom come, thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven.”
We’re calling this week “search me” prayers. Here’s the thing that I want God to do. I want Him to make sure my will is in alignment with His will, so that we don’t pray, “my will be done” prayers but “thy will be done” prayers. Not “my kingdom come” prayers but “thy kingdom come” prayers. “My kingdom come” prayers are safe prayers. “Thy kingdom come” prayers are dangerous prayers because it will involve me following God’s plan rather than my own plan. As I have said before, God always goes “off road.” He doesn’t stay on the main highway.
We’re going to be looking at Psalm 1:39 today. David’s prayer is that God would search him and bring him into alignment with God’s will. I believe we can ask God to search us; that we might align our lives with His will as well.
The text gives us three kinds of prayers; three “search me” prayers that we can pray so that God helps bring our will in alignment with His will. We’re going to focus on the last two verses, which is like the conclusion and summary. And then, we’ll work our way back through the psalms somewhat by using those two verses as the conclusion and the kind of template for talking about the whole Psalm. That’s our plan for today, as we learn how to pray “search me” prayers.
This is a psalm of David and I’m reading now from verse 23, Psalm 139:23-24 (ESV) 23 “Search me, O God, and know my heart! Try me and know my thoughts! 24 And see if there be any grievous way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting!” This is God’s word. Amen. We’ve got a good “amen corner” going today; that makes me happy.
Dear Lord, search me and … 1. Reveal my heart.
This is the first prayer. ”Dear Lord, search me and reveal my heart.” Circle two words, if you’re looking at verse 23 in your notes, “search” and “know.” You see that “search me” and “know my heart” are two prayer requests here. They go together; search me and examine my heart. Take it. I need a heart check up, Lord.
The word, “search,” could be translated, “examine, to penetrate, to find out, to seek out.”. Here’s what David knows; God knows our heart better than we know our heart. He knows what’s in it better than we do. You may say, I know my heart. No, you don’t. Your heart is a tangled mess. You don’t know your own heart.
Let me give you a few synonyms. It’s the inner man, the self talks back to you when you’re talking to yourself. It’s the place where your motives and your will come from; the place where your emotions emerge. It’s the seat of self; that is the heart.
David says, God, look at me. Look at my motives. Look at my passions. Look at what drives me. Look at my will; is my will in alignment with Thy will, Your will? Look at me. Examine me. Search me now. What we’ll do is we’ll go back through this Psalm and find the segments that fit the conclusion; search me and know me, know my heart.
Look at verses one through six. Here’s what he’s already declared; he concludes, saying, I need you to do this. But he begins by saying, I know you can do this because you’ve been doing it. He says, Psalm 139:1-6 (ESV) 1 “O Lord, you have searched me and known me! 2 You know when I sit sit down and I rise up; you discern my thoughts from afar. 3 You search out my path and my lying down and are acquainted with all my ways. 4 Even before a word is on my tongue, behold, O Lord, you know it altogether. 5 You hem me in, behind and before, and lay your hand upon me. 6 Such knowledge is too wonderful for me; it is high; I cannot attain it.” He says, God, you know me better than I know myself; even before I open my mouth. You know what words are coming out now.
My wife claims to be able to do this with me and her claim holds up most of the time. She’ll say, “I know what you’re getting ready to say.” I will say, “No, you don’t.” Then she’ll tell me what she thinks I’m about to say, and I will say, “Okay, then, you might be right.” We know each other pretty well. Sometimes we just sit and drink coffee and look at each other and carry on conversations without words. Do you know what I mean? But God knows your heart better than your spouse. And certainly better than you know yourself.
David knew this. He said, You search me and know me. You know all about me and he begins to list the details of it. He says, You know when I get up in the morning. You know what I’m thinking. You know which path I am on. You know what I’m going to say before I say it. You hem me in behind and before. In other words, He is our future and He is in our past. He is all around us. Lord, You know us; would You examine our hearts? Would you take a hard look at it, Lord? I’m praying that You would reveal it to me. I know You know it, but I don’t. That seems to be the prayer. Wouldn’t you agree?
You know, the ancients often talked about this. The ancient philosophers had a saying. “Know thyself.” Remember hearing this in school? Know thyself. Socrates agreed with this. It was a well known edict and philosophy before his time, but he agreed with it. He actually said it like this. “The unexamined life is not worth living.” He talked about knowing yourself and examining yourself.
Shakespeare’s “Hamlet” has the character, Polonius, telling his son this advice before he goes off to university. He says this, “Above all, to thine own self be true.” Know yourself. Stay true to yourself. This is good advice. It’s not great advice, but it’s good advice.
Here’s the problem. If we do a self-examination, self is involved. Self is fallen, and it is given to fallacious reasoning. And so when self looks at itself, self gets a faulty self image. It’s autonomous, looking inward, navel gazing and saying, I think I see this in my heart. I think I see that. What the problem is, is that we have a convoluted, entangled heart; a heart that’s not pure. It’s being made pure as believers, but it’s not there yet. We try to follow this advice to know thyself and we get into trouble. If that’s all we do, it’s good advice, but it’s just not great advice.
Here’s great advice: It’s not to know thyself, but to know thy God. In knowing thy God, He will reveal thyself to you. Know thy God and He will help you know thyself. He made you, after all, and He knows His purpose for you. He knows your heart better than you know your heart. God, show me what it is that motivates me. What is it that’s at the heart of what drives me? Why do I keep making the same mistakes? Why do I love this? God, explain it to me.
He goes on, in the psalm, to explain how well and to how much detail God knows us. Let’s look at verses 13 through 16. Psalm 139:13-16 (ESV) 13 “For you formed my inward parts; you knitted me together in my mother’s womb. 14 I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Wonderful are your works; my soul knows it very well. 15 My frame was not hidden from you, when I was being made in secret, intricately woven in the depths of the earth. 16 Your eyes saw my unformed substance; in your book were written, every one of them, the days that were formed for me, when as yet there was none of them.”
What’s David talking about? He said that You knew me in my mother’s womb. Now, certainly, that’s not the point of the sermon today, but certainly it’s a sidebar issue that we can’t overlook.That this is the sanctity of human life. That the baby within the womb is indeed a human baby and has eternal value, is sacred to God and cannot be overlooked . Certainly, we can make that comment from this, but in context here, here’s what David is saying that when You search me and You hem me in from behind and before, You go back previously to my memory of myself.
How many of you can remember something when you were five years old? Do you think you can remember something when you were four years old? How about at three years old, two years old or nine months old. This is what David is saying. You knew me from the time I was being knit together in my mother’s womb. You see, God knows us perfectly. David asks to tell me about me, Lord, because I can either trust what other people say about me, which will be faulty. I can trust what I contrive to know myself, which will be faulty. Or I can ask the One who knows me better than anyone, which will be perfect knowledge. Knowledge too wonderful for me to comprehend, David says .
Who can know the human heart? Jeremiah says the heart is deceitful. Jeremiah 17:9 (NKJV) “The heart is deceitful above all things, And desperately wicked; Who can know it?” It’s a mess. Who can know it? Jesus knows it. In the gospel of John, we read, John 2:24-25 (NLT) 24 “But Jesus didn’t trust them, because he knew all about people. 25 No one needed to tell him about human nature, for he knew what was in each person’s heart.” Jeremiah says, “ Who can know it?” Jesus says, “I know it.” David prays, “Show me,search me and show it to me.”
Psalm 19:12 (NLT) “How can I know all the sins lurking in my heart? Cleanse me from these hidden faults.” Our hearts air like a tangled ball of twine or yarn. For you, men, it’s like a tangled fishing line; some of the ladies might like to go fishing, too. Everyone’s hearts are a tangled mess. If somebody would hand it to you and ask, “Could you untangle that for me?” you would probably reach for some scissors. You begin to untangle a thing by finding the ends and then working back through the knots. That’s how you do it, right? And so the problem is, we can’t find the ends. We can’t find the root that causes me to be this way, think this way, do these things or want these things. Lord, show me where my will is and not Thy will; show me where the root cause is so I can surrender it to you. Help me untangle this convoluted mess that is my heart. Sometimes we want to just take a pair of scissors to it. Maybe sometimes that’s what God does. He breaks our heart and reforms our heart with a new heart. He takes our heart that’s entangled with sin, we confess it to Him and lift Him up. He breaks our heart and He makes our heart break for the things that His heart breaks for. If you start trying to get your heart in alignment with God’s heart, then the things that affect His heart start affecting your heart and you will be blessed. Your heart breaks over the same things that break the heart of God.Will you ask God to reveal your heart? This is the first dangerous “search me” prayer. Dear Lord, search me and … 2. Test my thoughts.
We’re still in verse 23, “Search me, O God, and know my heart! Try me and know my thoughts!” Circle, “try me.” Lord, put my thoughts in a tryout. Test my thoughts. Now, this is a dangerous prayer because he’s saying, God put my thought life to the test. David prays dangerous prayers. The verb, in the Hebrew, for “try” is often applied to precious metals. The way you test silver or gold is you apply heat. That’s how you do it, he says, God examine me and prove my thoughts so that they line up with Your thoughts.
Here’s what C. H. Spurgeon said about this passage. He says, “Exercise any and every test upon me. By fire and by water let me be examined. Read not only the desires of my heart, but the fugitive thoughts of my head. Know with all-penetrating knowledge all that is or has been in the chambers of my mind.” Test my thoughts. Lord. Why do I think the way I think? Know my thoughts.
The word, “thoughts,” here is often found this way in other translations. It is really the idea of anxious thoughts. A certain category of thought, anxious thoughts,, thoughts that are of cares of the world. God test and examine my anxieties. Why am I anxious about these thoughts, about these cares?
Paul, talking in 2 Corinthians 10:5 (ESV) “… take every thought captive to obey Christ.” He has this thing, this imagery that he gives us , that we have these thoughts trying to run off the reservation; we’ve got to run that thought down and capture that thing and pull it back under obedience to Christ. Do you ever feel like that? “Take every thought captive,” Paul says.
Here’s a prayer tip. First, let me ask you if this ever happens to you when you’re praying. You are listening; you’re trying to do well. You get up in the morning and you’re trying to pray. Do your thoughts ever wander? Does your mind ever wonder and you forget you were praying? Now I’m worrying. I’m thinking about this or thinking about that. Do you ever do that? I do that. I say, I’m sorry, Lord, I was talking to you and now, all of a sudden, I’m talking to myself again about this problem over here. Can I give you an option? Instead of saying I’m sorry, Lord, I can’t stay focused. Oh, Lord, please. I can’t even focus to talk to you. I keep worrying about this or thinking about that thing, start saying, God, search me and test my thoughts. What if the reason your mind ran that way was because God wanted you to think that. Instead of apologizing for it, what if He wants you to tell Him about it?
I call this strategy, “Pray yourself empty. Pray yourself full.” You don’t pray yourself full until you pray yourself empty. It’s hard to fill a full glass. So you pray yourself empty of your anxious thoughts and you say, Lord, let me test that thought. That thought kept me up last night. Let’s give that one to you. He says, You need to give that one to me, because that’s you trying to be in control, and I’ve got that. Stop being afraid or stop worrying. Give me that. Here’s what starts happening; you’ll lift that one to Him. There was one underneath it that you didn’t know you were thinking. It pops up. You’re that this could take a while. I know. Especially if you’ve never done it. But, if you keep short accounts with God, that’s how the old people used to talk about prayer. Has anybody ever heard of that? Keep short accounts with God so you don’t have to go through your whole list every time you pray. If you only pray once a year, that’s a long list. But if you “pray without ceasing” as 1 Thessalonians, chapter five tells us to do, you never hang up on God. You’re constantly talking to him. God, why am I thinking that? Then, you give it to Him.
Here’s what happens. Silence starts replacing the busy, entangled thoughts of your mind. All of a sudden there’s a holy quiet that comes over you. Then you pray yourself full. God, what are you thinking about today? What do you want me to think about? How do you want me to face today? We often try to rush to the filling without first doing the emptying. We fail to take every thought captive.
How do you take it captive? You get hold of it and pray, God test that thought. Am I supposed to be thinking about that today? He may say, No, you’re not supposed to be thinking about that today. You say, Here, God, take it because I can’t get it out of my head. You take it; I pray it to You. I lift it up to You. He will answer. That’s a dangerous prayer, because you’re saying I don’t want to think the way I’ve been thinking. I want to think in a new way.
Psalm 139:17-18 (ESV) 17 “How precious are your thoughts about me, O God. They cannot be numbered! 18 I can’t even count them; they outnumber the grains of sand! And when I wake up, you are still with me!”
The Lord’s thoughts; that’s what David says he wants. “I want your thoughts.” Some translations say, “How precious are your thoughts of me,” which seems to be the implication here. I want how You think of me instead of how I think of myself. I want You to tell me how to think.
In the book of Romans, chapter 12, we read of Paul talking about the transformed mind. in Chapter 12.”Offer your bodies as living sacrifices…” This includes your mind and your heart. You say, “Here’s my heart, here’s my mind and He transforms our thinking and He gives us a new way of thinking so we can know God’s will.
We’ve said that this idea of testing involves fine metals. It says in Proverbs 17:3 (NIV) “The crucible for silver and the furnace for gold, but the Lord tests the heart.” The furnace God is an unquenchable fire. The scripture says He will test your heart.
I was with the men yesterday; we did a one-day retreat. After hearing from God’s word, we broke into small groups. I asked them a question. I said, “When have you learned most from God in your life that’s changed you? Was it during periods of comfort and joy mountaintops or was it valley experiences with suffering and pain? When did you experience the greatest awareness of God and life change?” Without fail, everyone of them said what? Which one did they say? They all said “in the valley;” every one of them because when heat is applied to the heart and to the mind those impurities bubble up to the top. If we’ll give them to the Lord, He wipes them away so that our faith emerges like pure gold.
The Apostle Peter says that we shouldn’t pray “Lord, get me out of this” and we waste the pain. Don’t waste the pain. God, what are you doing today? This hurts. Give me strength. Help me get through it. If you would remember how Jesus prayed, “Lord, if there be anyway that this cup could pass from me, yet, not my will, but thy will be done.” That’s how Jesus prayed and we are to pray dangerous prayers like Him. I’m your kid; do I have to go through this? I am yours. I am blood bought. I am a slave of Jesus Christ. I love Him. I will do what he says. I will bring every thought captive to obedience to Christ. These are dangerous prayers. Are you ready to pray them, so that the Lord refines you? He’s like a fire that refines us. Psalm 66:10-12 (NKJV) “For You, O God, have tested us; You have refined us as silver is refined… We went through fire and through water; But You brought us out to rich fulfillment.”
I remember, and I’ve referred to this before, a song my mom used to sing. My mom had the unique ability to cry and sing at the same time. I’ve never mastered that. She would hold a hankie and wipe her tears and just keep crying and singing. She used to sing this song that went something like this. “I wouldn’t take nothing for my journey now. I’m going to make it to heaven somehow…” I used to wonder why she cried every time she would sing that song. She would look up and start crying. She was thinking about the suffering. She was thinking about my father, her husband, who passed away and left her raising four little babies by herself. Who knows what my mom was carrying when she sang that song, “I wouldn’t take nothing for my journey now…” Can I get a witness? I wouldn’t change it because I wouldn’t be here with Jesus now if I hadn’t gone through it. I didn’t like it. I went through fire and I went through water. But I’ve come out to rich fulfillment.
Do you remember when Jesus was baptized? The next thing, He was out in the wilderness for 40 days and 40 nights, fasting and praying. Remember that story in Matthew, chapter four? Why did God send Him to the wilderness? The Bible doesn’t usually answer “why” questions, but sometimes it does.
Matthew 4:1 (ESV) “Then Jesus was led up by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil.” Okay, so God sent Him there. Keep reading; to be tempted by the devil. What? That’s why He went out there. To get tested. Because untested faith is unproven faith. Untested obedience is unproven obedience. It’s one thing to say, “I obey.” It’s another thing to obey, especially in the wilderness.
Jesus was tested three times, very similar to the way Adam and Eve were tested in the Garden of Eden. The first test was, “If you’re really the son of God, turn these stones into bread. Well, He had fasted 40 days and 40 nights. It was a miraculous fast and He was hungry. Satan went after His flesh. “If you’re really the son of God, you could do it. Turn these stones into bread.” What does Jesus do? He does it all three times this very way. He quotes Scripture back to Satan. He says, “It is written, man does not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God.” And so all three times Jesus passed all three tests: (1) the test of the will, (2) the test of the flesh and (3) the test of the passions. Jesus passes all three tests. The devil’s got a very small bag of tricks. He uses them all. He uses all those tests on us, too. Jesus passed the tests. And then, the scripture closes in this story with “the Lord sent the angels to minister to Him.” Here’s our problem: We want the angels without the test. David prayed, “Lord, try my anxious thoughts < span class="messageTimecode" title="Play the video starting here" data-timecode="1944.32">.” If you want the angels, if you want the comfort, ask, Lord, is this You testing me? Show me what You want me to learn. I have a choice. I can either become bitter or better going through testing. I don’t want to waste the pain. Friends, say, “Lord test my thoughts.”
Dear Lord, search me and … 3. Lead the way.
Here’s the third dangerous prayer. These are dangerous prayers; are you willing to pray them? (1) Reveal my heart, (2) test my thoughts and (3) lead the way. We’re in verse 24 Now. Circle, “lead me.” There were several prayers similar here in these two verses. Search me. Know me. Test me. Try me. Lead me. David wanted God to correct any grievous way that was in him? The word, “grievous,” if you look it up in a Hebrew dictionary, it could have been translated, “idolatrous.” It seems to have that root meaning. Lord, is there any place that I’m putting You second or third to some other pursuit? There is someone sitting here today saying, I don’t worship idols. That was during ancient times; we are modern people. We don’t worship idols. Yeah, you do. Anything you love more than God, anything you pursue more than God, anything you put ahead of God is an idol. It’s your God. It could be a person, single person. It could be that person you love; you hope they marry you. That’s your idol. That’s all you think about. It could be money. It could be power. It could be a nice automobile. It could be a house; that’s all you think about.
Do you know how the best way is to find your idol? What’s the last thing you think about before you go to bed and the first thing you think about when you get up in the morning? That’s often your idol. David wanted God to look at him, look where he was headed and see if there’s anything that’s idolatrous in him that grieves You. He declared himselfas the Lord’s. When we get off track, we’re committing adultery against You. I’m loving something more than You or ahead of You with greater priority than I love You. It’s grievous. He wanted God to get out in front of him and know his ways.
David has already addressed some of these things earlier. Here’s what he says about how hard it is to get away from God. It’s hard to run from God. Psalm 139:7-12 (ESV) 7 “Where shall I go from your Spirit? Or where shall I flee from your presence? 8 If I ascend to heaven, you are there! If I make my bed in Sheol, you are there! 9 If I take the wings of the morning and dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea, 10 even there your hand shall lead me, and your right hand shall hold me. 11 If I say, “Surely the darkness shall cover me, and the light about me be night,” 12 even the darkness is not dark to you; the night is bright as the day, for darkness is as light with you.” No matter where I go, vertically, if it were possible for me to ascend to the heavens, there You are. Well, that makes sense. He’s already there. But even if I go to the place of the dead, I can’t escape You because there’s life after death. Even if I go horizontal as far as the seas, there You are. If I go hide in the dark, You’re the light and You can see in the dark.
Is there anybody here running from God today? You’re going to lose. You can’t outrun God. He’s already there. Wherever you think you’re headed, He’s already there. Look and see, Lord, where am I headed? Where is this way I’m on right now going to lead and tell me if it’s grievous to You. Help me to get on the way everlasting. Help me to get on the right path.
Some of you are on a bad path right now. No , I’m not. I’m just Everybody’s on this road. What’s wrong with me being on this road? Everybody in America is on this road. We’re like a bunch of little teenagers, right? Everybody at school is doing it. What we have to do is, we have to say, “God, examine my ways. Is there anything grievous to You and lead me into the way everlasting.
Jesus talks about that highway. He talks about the highway to Sheol. I think there was a song about that; the highway to hell. He says, in Matthew 7:13-14 (ESV) 13 “Enter by the narrow gate. For the gate is wide and the way is easy that leads to destruction, and those who enter by it are many. 14 For the gate is narrow and the way is hard that leads to life, and those who find it are few.” There’s an interstate highway leading to destruction. It’s an easy road. It’s not so easy to get off road and approach the ramp; it is difficult to get off. There’s a narrow gate and a narrow way. If you find it, what is that way? What is that way? What is that gate? We don’t have to guess. Jesus says, “I am the way, I am the truth and I am the life. No one comes to the father except by me.” That’s either the most egotistical claim that any human ever made or it’s true. And I would suspect the One who said they’re going to kill me, crucify me, three days I’ll lay in the tomb, and on the third day I will rise again. The one who said that and proved it by doing so can also say, “I’m the only way.” That’s not a blind leap of faith. That’s faith built on the fact of the resurrection. If He did what He said that He was going to do concerning sin, death in the grave, then everything else He said is true, too. He says, John 14:6 (ESV) Jesus said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” I’m the narrow gate. Over in John, chapter 10, He says, “I’m the gate to the sheep.” “I’m the door” over in John, chapter 14. “I’m the way, I’m the narrow way.” Enter by Jesus; He will lead the way into the everlasting way, the way to eternal life. Lead me.
Where are you today? What kind of prayers are you praying? Lord, can you go with me today where I’m headed? Lord, would You check my way out and see if I’m supposed to be headed that way and, if not, get me on the way everlasting?
Over the next three weeks, we’re praying dangerous prayers together. Are you on the bus? Are you going to take the journey? Will you pray “show me” prayers and “search me” prayers? No longer my will but Your will be done. Let’s pray.
Lord. First I pray for the one that’s here this morning or watching online that’s never said, “I want to get on the narrow way. I want to get on the everlasting way. I want to enter through the gate called Jesus.” I’ve never done that. Is that you, my friend? Would you do it right now? You can do it by talking to Him. Dear Lord Jesus, just say these words. What matters is that the attitude of your heart is that you want this and that you’re believing this. Dear Lord Jesus, I’m a sinner. But I believe You died on the cross for my sins and that You were raised from the grave on the third day. I believe it; come into my life. I want You to be my Lord and Savior. Forgive me of my sin and make me a child of God. I want to follow You. If you’re praying that prayer right now, believing in your heart, then God will save you. He’ll make you His child. He’ll change your life and you can pray these prayers and see God move in your life. Others are here today and you know Him as Lord and Savior, but you’ve been praying safe prayers. Would you pray with me now? Lord, search my heart. Lord, test my thoughts. Lord, look at my way and see if anything grieves You. Get me back on Your way, the way everlasting. In Jesus’ name, Amen.