TEXT: Matthew 14:22-27
22 And straightway Jesus constrained his disciples to get into a ship, and to go before him unto the other side, while he sent the multitudes away.
23 And when he had sent the multitudes away, he went up into a mountain apart to pray: and when the evening was come, he was there alone.
24 But the ship was now in the midst of the sea, tossed with waves: for the wind was contrary.
25 And in the fourth watch of the night Jesus went unto them, walking on the sea.
26 And when the disciples saw him walking on the sea, they were troubled, saying, It is a spirit; and they cried out for fear.
27 But straightway Jesus spake unto them, saying, Be of good cheer; it is I; be not afraid.
We are in a series of messages titled “Praying Through the Bible: A Series on Every Passage and Verse Regarding Prayer in the Bible.” The purpose of this series is to encourage and motivate you to pray to the God of the Bible. We highlighted each of these over 500 verses and passages in the Prayer Motivator Devotional Bible. So far, we have completed 133 messages in this series.
This is message #134 titled, The Power of Praying Alone (Part 2)
Last week, we began looking at the benefits of getting alone with God in order to commune with Him through prayer. Drawing from the example of Jesus Christ, we saw that if we are serious about getting alone with God, we will have to purposefully clear our schedule in order to keep an appointment with Him. This may involve putting some other things in our lives on hold for a while so that we can meet with God alone. Jesus Christ separated Himself from the multitude and from His disciples in order to go “up into a mountain apart to pray.”
Today, I want you to notice from this passage that praying alone puts you in a place of calm when there is chaos all around you. Prayer to God can take you to a place of peace and serenity when there is turmoil and upheaval in your family, in your community, in our nation, or in your church.
Notice, several things that were going on as Jesus was up in a mountain in prayer.
First, there were distressed disciples. As you will recall from last week, John the Baptist had just been beheaded, and his disciples had come to Jesus. Without their leader, they probably felt lost and were wondering what they should do next and what was going to happen next. Maybe they feared that Herod would come after them. They needed some advice, encouragement, and direction.
Second, there was the needy multitude. The people from the surrounding villages and towns came looking for Jesus when He tried to get away into a desert place. They wanted the sick among them to be healed. And after spending all day listening to Jesus teach, they were hungry. The Bible tells us that Jesus performed a miracle, feeding 5,000 men, not counting women and children. After this enormous demonstration of His power, John tells us that the people wanted to make Him their king. Of course, that was not God’s plan at the time, but that was what the people wanted.
Third, we see that after Jesus finally got away from all of the people and was alone in the mountain in prayer, a storm arose on the sea. The Bible says the boat that the disciples were in was ‘tossed with waves: for the wind was contrary.’
With all that was happening around Him, Jesus Christ found refuge in prayer. Most of us would have been trying to deal with the situations that were happening. We would have been trying to comfort John’s disciples, continue taking care of the needy people, calm the storm for the apostles. There is a never ending list of things to do in the ministry , but what most of us don’t realize is that in the midst of all of our doing, we fail to invite God to do what we cannot do and to do even better what we try to do on our own.
Constantly being in the mode of doing things and trying to address the concerns and worries of those around us will cause us to become anxious, worried, fretful, and fearful. That type of lifestyle will often cause us to neglect our prayer life as we attend to what appears to be important and urgent things. However, this was not the case with Jesus Christ.
Jesus knew how to get away and pray when a lot was happening around Him. Leon Morris shares: “After the big day with the crowds Jesus turned to his Father in prayer; the infinitive will indicate purpose. This was done privately; Matthew has two expressions — ‘by himself’ and ‘alone’ — so that he is emphasizing that what took place was between Jesus and his Father only. Matthew is not referring to any public expression of devotion. The day had been tiresome, and Jesus found solace in quietness with the Father.” When the noise of life surrounds you, do you know how to find solace alone in quietness with the your Heavenly Father.
What kind of turmoil is going on in your life? Are you worried about your finances, about your marriage, about your children, about your future? Is your life being affected by the problems and troubles of those around you — your co-workers, your friends, your extended family members? Do you feel like your life is full of drama, confusion, and chaos? Do you feel like you cannot get a grip on your circumstances? Perhaps, you need to experience the power of praying alone. Someone once said, “A life bathed in prayer is the best antidote to worry.”
Notice what the Bible says in Philippians 4: “Be careful for nothing; but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God. And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.“ This verse is simply telling us not to worry about anything, but to take everything to God in prayer. This verse contains a promise: if we do that — if we don’t worry and just pray — God will give us peace that is beyond our understanding. When Jesus was praying alone on that mountain, He was at peace despite all of the negative things that were happening around him.
Listen to how author Sam Storms describes this peace which God gives through prayer: “This peace isn’t some cheap psychological trick to get you past a few problems in life. No diagnostic manual or self-help book can reproduce it. It is God-shaped and God-given. God’s peace, like a garrison of soldiers, will stand guard over your hearts and minds. In the midst of God’s peace you are as secure from worry and fear as any well-armed fortress.”
The peace that we gain through prayer guards our minds. Not necessarily our bodies — we can still get sick. Not necessarily our possessions — we can still lose the material things we own. Not necessarily our finances — we still may not have all the money we need or desire. Not necessarily our relationships — we may still experience negativity with family, friends, and acquaintances. But this peace protects our minds and hearts. That is where worry and anxiety really takes its toll. When we are filled with the peace of God through prayer, we do not worry and fret about what is happening around us because we know that it is all in God’s hands.
Jesus Christ got alone with God and He had peace despite the turmoil around Him. You can have peace as well if you make it your business to get alone with God.
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Now, if you are with us today, and you do not know the Lord Jesus Christ as your Saviour, your first prayer needs to be what we call the Sinner’s Prayer. First, please understand that you are a sinner, just as I am, and that you have broken God’s laws. The Bible says in Romans 3:23: “For all have sinned and come short of the glory of God.”
Second, accept the fact that there is a penalty for sin. The Bible states in Romans 6:23: “For the wages of sin is death…”
Third, accept the fact that you are on the road to hell. Jesus Christ said in Matthew 10:28: “And fear not them which kill the body, but are not able to kill the soul: but rather fear him which is able to destroy both soul and body in hell.” Also, the Bible states in Revelation 21:8: “But the fearful, and unbelieving, and the abominable, and murderers, and whoremongers and sorcerers, and idolaters, and all liars, shall have their part in the lake which burneth with fire and brimstone: which is the second death.”
Now this is bad news, but here’s the good news. Jesus Christ said in John 3:16: “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.”
Just believe in your heart that Jesus Christ died for your sins, was buried, and rose from the dead by the power of God for you so that you can live eternally with Him. Pray and ask Him to come into your heart today, and He will.
Romans 10:9-13 says, “That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved. For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation. For the scripture saith, Whosoever believeth on him shall not be ashamed. For there is no difference between the Jew and the Greek: for the same Lord over all is rich unto all that call upon him. For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.”
If you believe that Jesus Christ died on the cross for your sins, was buried, and rose from the dead, and you want to trust Him for your salvation today, please pray with me this simple prayer: Holy Father God, I realize that I am a sinner and that I have done some bad things in my life. For Jesus Christ sake, please forgive me of my sins. I now believe with all of my heart that Jesus Christ died for me, was buried, and rose again. Lord Jesus, please come into my heart and save my soul and change my life today. Amen.
If you just trusted Jesus Christ as your Saviour, and you prayed that prayer and meant it from your heart, I declare to you that based upon the Word of God, you are now saved from Hell and you are on your way to Heaven. Welcome to the family of God! Congratulations on doing the most important thing in life and that is receiving Jesus Christ as your Lord and Saviour. For more information to help you grow in your newfound faith in Christ, go to Gospel Light Society.com and read “What To Do After You Enter Through the Door”. Jesus Christ said in John 10:9, “I am the door, by me if any man enter in, he shall be saved, and shall go in and out, and find pasture.”
God loves you. We love you. And may God bless you.
Daniel Whyte III has spoken in meetings across the United States and in over twenty-five foreign countries. He is the author of over forty books. He is also the president of Gospel Light Society International, a worldwide evangelistic ministry that reaches thousands with the Gospel each week, as well as president of Torch Ministries International, a Christian literature ministry which publishes a monthly magazine called The Torch Leader. He is heard by thousands each week on his radio broadcasts/podcasts, which include: The Prayer Motivator Devotional, The Prayer Motivator Minute, as well as Gospel Light Minute X, the Gospel Light Minute, the Sunday Evening Evangelistic Message, the Prophet Daniel’s Report, the Second Coming Watch Update and the Soul-Winning Motivator, among others. He holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Theology from Bethany Divinity College, a Bachelor’s degree in Religion from Texas Wesleyan University, a Master’s degree in Religion, a Master of Divinity degree, and a Master of Theology degree from Liberty Baptist Theological Seminary. He has been married to the former Meriqua Althea Dixon, of Christiana, Jamaica for over twenty-seven years. God has blessed their union with seven children. Find out more at www.danielwhyte3.com. Follow Daniel Whyte III on Twitter @prophetdaniel3 or on Facebook.