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The Power of Prayer
Matthew 7:7-8 (Dr. Merv Weerasekera)
7:7 Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. 8 For everyone who asks receives; the one who seeks finds; and to the one who knocks, the door will be opened.
We have a special speaker from the US today: Dr. Merv Weerasekera on The Power of Prayer.
International church: Korea, Uganda, Indonesia, Ghana, US, etc…
I was born in Singapore – a merchant sailor. My dream was to see the world at 12, so at 17, I joined a ship and started sailing. When I became 21, I had circled the globe many times – been to almost every country represented by this church. At around that age, I became very disillusioned because my dream had already come true. I asked myself, “If you died tonight, where would your soul go?” I’d been in a war zone, shot at, almost got washed out to sea in the Atlantic Ocean, many terrible accidents as well. And I asked that question. I had to answer: “I don’t know.”
Youth with a Mission (Intl Mission Org) put tracts on that ship and I read one and heard the story of being born again. Every time I read that tract, I cried. On the third night, I read “4 Spiritual Laws” and it’s as though Jesus was standing right there in front of me. I asked him into my heart at 2:30am outside Singapore. There was fear and anger in my heart and at that exact moment, the fear and anger left and peace and joy entered my heart. I’ve been this way for 35 years. After that, I joined that same Mission Org (Youth with a Mission) – and ever since then I’ve worked on telling the next guy the story of Jesus.
Once I had a revelation about Jesus. I was mopping the floor, admiring my clean floor, and the Lord spoke to me and said, “You’ve always wanted to feed your fellow man – how about I use you to give them eternal life?” WOAH! I was totally transformed!
You know, if I could give every person I met $1 million, but after death, who knows where they would go? But, if God asked me to give that person eternal life, there is NO job higher than that.
That is the epitome of life. God using you to give others eternal life!
After that, I started preaching the gospel to the people on that merchant ship – and I met Pastor Jingu Park. Later, I married an American woman in Singapore – she was deported 6 months later – so I ended up in the US not knowing WHAT I would do. I didn’t even have a high school diploma at that time. I had a hard time reading Newsweek Magazine. I thought I would be mopping the floor for the Lord.
I was in the US, didn’t know how to drive – always walked or took the bus/subway – and I had to start absolutely from scratch. But I remember praying all night with Pastor Park – from 12am to 6am. That’s what I did in the US. I became a waiter in a Chinese restaurant and was washing dishes at night. I tried to save money to go “home” to Singapore. But God had different plans.
I joined a church and we started praying all night. God started opening doors and opening my eyes. “Son, you’re not going home. I have plans for you here.”
This Scripture here says, “If you’re in a bind and you don’t know where to go, get down on your knees and cry out to the Lord.”
Ask -> Seek -> Knock
Ask God in a place of prayer – make that place of prayer in your life.
You know, life is NOT in a straight line. You know the “Prosperity Gospel”? (Give to God, he’ll make you rich). But I don’t see that in the Scriptures. I see a loving, powerful, all-knowing God who has a PLAN of LOVE for each and every person. God wants to SHOW you himself. THIS is the gospel.
So, here I am in the US, trying to save to go home to Singapore, and praying on Friday nights and asking, “What am I doing here? YOU are out of your mind!” (Oh, no! Please, sorry, I must have made you angry! Please forgive me! Forgive even my temptations!)
God said, “I want you to go to school and start studying.” God opened the door and let me take my GED (High school diploma equivalent).
I prayed, prayed, prayed.
My life, suddenly, (no family in the US at all) is ONLY consisting of GOD.
God will PUT you in those kinds of places.
Don’t expect Christianity to be all flowers and roses and an easy life. Yes, in church, we worship the Lord, we dance and praise and sing and dance and love one another. When we come to church, we must come to KNOW him.
I’m trying to put my story together, but God won’t tell me. Type A personalities want to know the WHOLE plan right NOW. We all in a HURRY!
But the Scripture doesn’t say that. You aren’t in it to GET something from God. God isn’t your credit card, he’s not Santa Claus. You want to KNOW Him, really KNOW Him.
Before Youth with a Mission, I was also running 2 businesses – I wanted to be rich. But when I joined YWAM, I didn’t want that any more. I said, “God, just let me tell others about you.” God said, “No, I want you to walk with me – and I will provide for you.”
Jesus wants YOU to come to HIM and ask Him. Don’t ask for THINGS. NO!
Ask God that whatever you do, each step you take, you will get to know HIM. You want to know the character of God.
If I preach to you anything other than Christ and him crucified, I’m not preaching the gospel!
So, in the US, I’m working my butt off, got my GED, in church, praying, and started going to college. By the time it’s all over, I have 4 college degrees and 1 doctorate degree.
Merchant sailor -> Missionary -> washing dishes -> 4 college degrees -> Doctorate = WOW! That’s God.
When I studied Algebra, I thought, “What does this have to do with serving God?”
You know what he said to me?
“Obedience is better than sacrifice.”
So, now, here I stand. I have my wife (American – surgery nurse), 3 children (one with a Master’s, one with a Bachelor’s, and my son, 19, will be a second year in college). I’m taking my son with me – we are going to China and then Singapore.
This faith in my life is just a journey.
But let me share this Scripture about prayer.
You think, “Yeah, you tell us all these fantastic stories, and think Wow! But let me tell you, God puts me in places where He’s all I’ve got – I have to hold on to Him alone. I want to tell you that this Scripture is TRUE.”
I spent 3 years in Seminary – and one of my professors told me, “Anything you lean on outside of Christ is a bruised reed.”
Looking at this Scripture and seeing what he said, I remember sitting in that class, lecture after lecture, and he really touched me. Everything he lectured on, at the end of the lecture, he ALWAYS pointed you to Jesus Christ. I said, “Lord, I want to be like that man. When I teach, I want to point them to the Lord. Help me, in anything I say or do, that it will point them or move them to You.”
If you can bring someone to the knowledge of Christ and they can receive his power, what have you NOT done for them? This is the epitomy of life!
Remember, Jesus is GOD! – He can do anything he wants. He can take a Merchant Sailor from a ship to the US and change his life and change his mind. Is that not the God you want to worship, serve, learn from, KNOW?
But there’s something you must have that every Christian must have: a revelation of who he is.
When you go to God and pray, this Scripture is saying, “Ask, seek, knock.”
I want to leave this with you.
- GO TO GOD (empty) – Today –
- Empty your mind, your desires, (this takes a lot of thinking) – surrender your ambitions, dreams, everything.
- Say, “Lord, I want to come to you. I want to KNOW you.”
You know, many people see this Scripture as a license to ask for “things.” NO. Every Christian must do this – this is the message I must preach, I always preach.
Every Christian must go to God and SEEK him, and ASK him, and KNOCK and say, “Jesus, I want to KNOW YOU.” (The King of Kings, Maker of Heaven and Earth – He said “Let there be LIGHT!”)
You know how I have faith? When I go out into the sun, I say, “WOW! My God SPOKE that sun into existence!! Wooo!~” You cannot stand still!
That’s the God I pray to, the Jesus I worship~!
- Ask, seek, knock = “I want to KNOW You.”
- Then, when you know him, ask, “NOW, lead me.”
- And watch Him lead you.
- “God, which college do you want me to go to?” I had no money.
- “Go to that one.” (Lee University – Cleveland, TN)
- I drove over there, to O’Cobey Street – and I drove my truck into a spiritual curtain – they gave me full scholarships – every semester. God provides! Ask Him to show you who he is!
- So, in my church now in the US, I run a prayer ministry.
Let me tell you about the US. The church is very powerful in the world. It is very strong in the Word of God – I’ve studied much good literature from the West. The worship is also very good – good music. Lacking in Prayer.
- Word is good.
- Worship is good.
- Lacking in Prayer.
What I’m trying to do in my local church – I learned from Pastor Daniel Park (Koreans are a very strong praying culture) – we cut off the TV, go to work, go to church, fast on Tuesdays, pray from 7pm-10pm on Fridays.
I’m trying to cultivate the spirituality in my life that we don’t have.
You know, when you are in a comfortable place in your lives, you forget to pray to God. At first, when life is HARD, you pray A LOT. But as God starts to bless you, you forget to pray.
So, I’m trying to cultivate fasting and prayer. I want to do an altar call (come forward and pray for you). I want to leave the core of prayer to be IN YOUR LIFE.
When you are in a difficult situation (being from another culture is very difficult, very scary), just find a place where you can GO and PRAY and ASK God.
- Don’t ask, “God, get me out of here!”
- Rather, ask, “God, what are you doing? Speak to me!”
Before I became a Christian, I was living in Asia.
Buddhists pray to idols, Catholics pray to Mary.
A Christian brother once told me, “Merv, YOU can hear the voice of God!” What? God speaks? Wow! I did not KNOW that! I thought it was a one-sided conversation. No! It’s a relationship. He’s not an idol! He’s a person! He loves me, He loves YOU! He wants you to come to Him.
When I’m in prayer, God shows me a little bit of his holiness. I had to turn off the cable. (And God sent me $150 – the cable fee).
When God says, “I don’t want you to be there” listen! When you start to SEEK God, to KNOW God, you stand there, stay focused on Him, and depend on Him to lead you and get you out of there.
There was a time when I was so angry at church. Mad at a brother in church. My professor said, “Merv, take your eyes off the situation, and shift your focus to Jesus.” (Wow, after my 30 minute complaint).
Now, I tell everybody, ASK, SEEK, KNOCK, and FOCUS on Jesus. He knows the plan! Why do you worry?
When God wants to open a door, he can do it in a second. He can do anything for you. You don’t serve a lame duck God. No! He is the Maker of Heaven and Earth! If you say, “Merv, or James” the devil says, “Who cares?” But if you say, “Jesus”, the devil must go.
- But do you KNOW the Jesus you talk about?
- Do you KNOW his character? Do you KNOW Him (not just ABOUT Him)?
- If you say, “Come, let me show you Jesus” that’s what you want.
If you want to come up here and ask this one question to the Lord, “Lord, I want to know you, and I want the annointing and hunger to PRAY to you.” A praying person is a powerful person. A praying Christian is a powerful Christian. I want to cultivate that in my life.
Let’s have the musicians come up and I’ll pray. Let me ask the Lord to give you a personal touch for prayer in your life. Come up to the front.