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GOD’S PRAYER-PROMISE

by Dr. R. L. Hymers, Jr.

A sermon preached at the Baptist Tabernacle of Los Angeles
Lord's Day Morning, December 2, 2007

“Call unto me, and I will answer thee, and shew thee great and mighty things, which thou knowest not” (Jeremiah 33:3).


The Babylonian army had surrounded the city of Jerusalem. God told the prophet Jeremiah,

“I will give this city into the hand of the king of Babylon, and he shall take it” (Jeremiah 32:3).

That infuriated Zedekiah, the king of Judah. He was afraid the prophet would discourage the people and cause an insurrection. He threw Jeremiah into prison for preaching such a thing. There, in the dark confines of the prison, God spoke to Jeremiah’s heart,

“Call unto me, and I will answer thee, and shew thee great and mighty things, which thou knowest not” (Jeremiah 33:3).

This is one of the great promises, in the Bible, that God answers prayer. This text is very encouraging to us. It shows that God answers prayer, even in seemingly impossible situations. Some of you may feel depressed and hopeless this morning, but these words should give you hope,

“Call unto me, and I will answer thee, and shew thee great and mighty things, which thou knowest not” (Jeremiah 33:3).

The text naturally divides into three points.

I. First, God commands us to pray.

“Call unto me” (Jeremiah 33:3).

It is necessary for God to command us to pray, because we so easily forget the importance of doing so. Like Jonah, we often go down “into the sides of the ship; and lay…fast asleep” (Jonah 1:5). God says, “Call unto me” because He knows that we are likely to forget to pray. So, like the shipmaster in Jonah’s time, God says,

“What meanest thou, O sleeper? arise, call upon thy God”
      (Jonah 1:6).

Satan does not want you to pray. He whispers, “What good will it do? Why should you pray?” In those times of doubt and temptation it is good for us to remember that we are commanded to pray. If we are not reminded that we are commanded to pray, we might give it up altogether. But since God tells me to pray, I must do it. Even if my mind wanders and my words seem inadequate, I must do what God says,

“Call unto me” (Jeremiah 33:3).

Does sickness trouble you? “Call unto me.” Are your children unconverted? “Call unto me.” Does the load seem heavy you are called to bear? “Call unto me.” Does the work you are doing seem fruitless? “Call unto me.” God commands us to pray because He is able to answer prayer! Lying there in that darkened prison, the word of the Lord came to the prophet, and said,

“Thus saith the Lord the maker thereof, the Lord that formed it, to establish it; the Lord is his name; Call unto me…”
      (Jeremiah 33:2-3).

God is the Maker of Heaven and Earth. He holds it all in His hands. It is the Almighty God who says, “Call unto me.”

O Lord my God, When I in awesome wonder
Consider all the works Thy hands have made;
I see the stars, I hear the rolling thunder,
Thy power throughout the universe displayed.
Then sings my soul, My Saviour, God, to Thee,
How great Thou art, How great Thou art;
Then sings my soul, My Saviour, God, to Thee,
How great Thou art, How great Thou art.
   (“How Great Thou Art” by Carl G. Boberg, 1859-1940;
      translated by Stuart K. Hine, 1899-1989).

Think how often the Bible commands us to pray. Over and over, on the pages of Scripture, we are told,

“Call upon me in the day of trouble: I will deliver thee”
      (Psalm 50:15).

“Seek ye the Lord while he may be found, call ye upon him while he is near” (Isaiah 55:6).

“Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you” (Matthew 7:7).

“Watch and pray, that ye enter not into temptation”
      (Matthew 26:41).

“Pray without ceasing” (I Thessalonians 5:17).

“Continue in prayer” (Colossians 4:2).

“Come boldly unto the throne of grace” (Hebrews 4:16).

“Call unto me, and I will answer thee…” (Jeremiah 33:3).

Never question whether you have a right to pray. Never let the Devil tell you that you are too sinful for God to hear you! You are not praying in your own name, or by your own merit or goodness. You are coming to God in the name of Jesus Christ – by His merits, by His goodness, by His Blood and righteousness. We do not merely “tack on” the name of Jesus as a symbol. Our entire prayer must come in Jesus’ holy name!

Precious name, Oh, how sweet!
   Hope of earth and joy of heaven;
Precious name, Oh, how sweet!
   Hope of earth and joy of heaven.

Take the name of Jesus with you,

   Child of sorrow and of woe,

It will joy and comfort give you;

   Take it then, where’er you go.

Precious name, Oh, how sweet!
   Hope of earth and joy of heaven;
Precious name, Oh, how sweet!
   Hope of earth and joy of heaven.
(“Take the Name of Jesus With You” by Lydia Baxter, 1809-1874).

“Call unto me, and I will answer thee, and shew thee great and mighty things, which thou knowest not” (Jeremiah 33:3).

II. Second, God will answer.

“Call unto me, and I will answer thee” (Jeremiah 33:3).

Jesus said, “Ask, and ye shall receive” (John 16:24). Dr. John R. Rice, in his wonderful book, Prayer, Asking and Receiving (Sword of the Lord Publishers, 1981 reprint), said

So prayer is asking and an answer to prayer is receiving. In answer to prayer, God miraculously intervenes in human affairs and changes things; changes people, changes weather, changes outward circumstances, changes health, even to the working of physical miracles…This is no untried theory that I bring. Every promise that I write about, I have tried and proved; so as I write this book…I know that God answers prayer. He has answered mine in thousands of instances. The answers to prayer have been so definite, so clearly out of the realm of probability that an unbiased investigator must be convinced that these answers to prayer were really the supernatural intervention of a loving God who works miracles for His children when they trust Him (John R. Rice., D.D., Prayer, Asking and Receiving, Sword of the Lord Publishers, 1981 reprint, p. 12).

Although I am not as great a man of prayer as Dr. Rice, I do believe that real prayer is asking God for definite things, and getting the very things we ask for. Our text says,

“Call unto me, and I will answer thee…” (Jeremiah 33:1).

I can honestly say with Dr. Rice, “I know that God answers prayer.” Let me give you some instances when I prayed and God gave me exactly what I prayed for.

When I first became a pastor I planted two churches, one in Northern California and this one here in Los Angeles. Both of those churches, which still exist, were started from “scratch” – just me, with a couple of interested people, trying to get young people from the Hippie culture to become Christians. It seemed impossible, and for several years it was humanly impossible. But I asked God to give us this church many times in prayer, and He did give this church to us, in answer to my prayers and the prayers of other faithful Christians. The very fact that this church exists today is proof that God answers prayer – that if we ask Him for something in prayer, He gives us exactly what we ask Him for!

Again, when I needed a wife to help me, I asked God for a solid Christian woman. One night I met a girl who had come to our church, and I began to see her every week. It then became clear to me that God had answered my prayer very definitely, and had given me exactly what I prayed for – a godly pastor’s wife, who loves this church and pours her life and heart into working for Christ night and day. Then I remembered a verse in the Book of Proverbs, “A prudent wife is from the Lord” (Proverbs 19:14). I asked God for a prudent wife in prayer, and God gave me a prudent wife in answer to prayer. I asked a definite request in prayer, and God gave me a definite answer – Ileana Hymers!

Then, I asked God in definite, specific prayer for a son. In only a few short months, God answered by giving me more than I asked for! He gave me two sons at once – twin boys! How thankful I am that God hears and answers prayers!

But I must give you one more example. My mother was definitely not a Christian. Oh, she came to church every Sunday morning to hear me preach. But she came because she loved me, not because she was a Christian. She had no real interest in being converted. She had no interest in being converted. She wouldn’t even let me talk to her about being converted. But I continued to pray for her year after year. I prayed a definite prayer. I prayed that she would be converted, and that she would come all the way into the church and become a real, solid Christian woman. One day, when I was preaching in New York State, God seemed to say to my heart, “Your prayers are answered. Your mother will become a real Christian now.” I called Dr. Cagan and asked him to counsel my mother. A few days later she experienced a miraculous conversion. From that moment on she was with me every morning in prayer, and every night, 5 or 6 nights every week, in church. She was finally saved – at 80 years old, and I baptized her on the 4th of July at Dr. Waldrip’s church. She gave us the big house we live in, and she lived with us, as a wonderful Christian lady, for the last four and a half years of her life. Yes, I can say with Dr. Rice, “I know that God answers prayer!”

“Call unto me, and I will answer thee…” (Jeremiah 33:3).

III. Third, God promises to give us more than we ask for.

Let us stand and read the whole text aloud, paying careful attention to the last eleven words.

“Call unto me, and I will answer thee, and shew thee great and mighty things, which thou knowest not”
    
 (Jeremiah 33:3).

You may be seated.

A young woman in our church recently developed a disease that shut down her liver, and her kidneys. Dr. Chan, a deacon and physician in our church, said to me, “She is dying. I don’t see how she can live.” That girl went right up to death’s door. Our church prayed for her recovery. Time seemed to stand still. But I was particularly impressed by what one lady said to me after a service. This woman is not yet converted. She had been coming to our church off and on. But she loves that girl who was dying. One night that lady whispered to me with tears in her eyes, “Dr. Hymers, I have been praying for her. I have never really prayed before in my life, but I am praying now.” I personally think that it was that woman’s prayers, perhaps more than any others, that God heard when He raised that girl from her death bed. Dr. Rice believed that God hears the heartfelt prayers of lost people, and gave Bible verses in his book to prove it. I agree with him. When, perhaps, that girl comes back to church in a few weeks, I think that it will be a direct answer to that lady’s prayers. God answers prayer! God gives us what we ask for in prayer! He often gives us more than we ask for!

“Call unto me, and I will answer thee, and shew thee great and mighty things, which thou knowest not” (Jeremiah 33:3).

I hope that this woman will begin to pray for herself to be saved. There are others here this morning who are unconverted. I urge you to pray for yourselves. Pray for God to make Himself real to you. Pray that God will convict you of sin. Pray that God will draw you to Jesus, for cleansing from sin in His precious Blood. Pray to God definitely. Ask Him to save your soul for Christ's sake, cleanse your sins, and give you a home in Heaven.

And may all our people be stirred to pray for the lost in our midst. Don’t pray in general. Pick out someone for whom you are concerned. And pray to God for that person until they are saved, no matter how long you have to pray – keep on until God gives you what you ask for, and your friend’s eyes are opened, and he or she is soundly converted. For remember that promise in the Word of God. It would be good to memorize our text this morning, and claim it again and again, as you pray for the real conversion of someone in our church!

“Call unto me, and I will answer thee, and shew thee great and mighty things, which thou knowest not” (Jeremiah 33:3).

May God help you to pray like that. In Jesus’ holy and powerful name. Amen.

(END OF SERMON)
You can read Dr. Hymers' sermons each week on the Internet
at www.realconversion.com. Click on “Sermon Manuscripts.”

Scripture Read Before the Sermon by Dr. Kreighton L. Chan: Jeremiah 33:1-9.
Solo Sung Before the Sermon by Mr. Benjamin Kincaid Griffith:
“Sweet Hour of Prayer” (by William W. Walford, 1772-1850).


THE OUTLINE OF

GOD’S PRAYER-PROMISE

by Dr. R. L. Hymers, Jr.

“Call unto me, and I will answer thee, and shew thee great and mighty things, which thou knowest not” (Jeremiah 33:3).

(Jeremiah 32:3)

I.   First, God commands us to pray, Jeremiah 33:3a; Jonah 1:5, 6;
Jeremiah 33:2-3; Psalm 50:15; Isaiah 55:6; Matthew 7:7;
Matthew 26:41; I Thessalonians 5:17; Colossians 4:2;
Hebrews 4:16.

II.  Second, God will answer, Jeremiah 33:3b; John 16:24;
Proverbs 19:14.

III. Third, God promises to give us more than we ask for,
Jeremiah 33:3c.