“In The Year 2030 : How To Pray”
January 26, 2020 | Frisco, TX 10:30am
Welcome to Fellowship Frisco, everyone! Yeah, I think we need a bigger boat. No, we can always add services. Thank you so much for standing along the back and the sides and the overflow areas. Again, let me say from the bottom of my heart, from our team here, welcome to our church. You know, this is something new for us. This is going to be a co-main location for Fellowship. Grapevine, our Grapevine campus, and this campus. I do want to welcome everyone from our different locations. We have three prison campuses right now that are going on. Fellowship in prison. Then we have one, of course, in Downtown Dallas, Fort Worth, Miami, Florida, Northport, which is near Sarasota, Norman, Oklahoma, for all of you. I saw someone in the back with an OU shirt on. I said, man, we have a campus right by the University of Oklahoma. So, Miami, Northport, Norman, gorgeous Grapevine, Facebook Life, YouTube Live, FC Live, welcome to Fellowship Frisco! I’ll say it again.
You know, this has been kind of a unique journey. Let me give you the Wikipedia right quick, because what you’re seeing is the tangible result of prayer. You know, the church his to be a lot of things, the church, but one of the things the church is to be is a house of prayer. In about 2004 we moved to North Dallas, Plano, and leased a building for several years. We tried to buy the building but that didn’t work out, so we thought, OK, let’s go to Allen. So, we moved to Allen. We were in a high school there and the school said, until you guys buy land, we’re not gonna allow you to stay here for very long. We looked and looked at different land deals. We looked at different buildings. Nothing ever, like, synced up with us. We never left complete peace with God to go for it. So, we kind of rebooted, went back to Grapevine, but we knew, we knew, we knew we were coming back to North Dallas. So, we began Fellowship Church several years ago in some elementary schools, then the high school, and then miraculously we were able to get this piece of property. Here’s what happened. We had called on this property about a squillion times. I just made that up, a squillion. We were told no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, and no. One day in a staff meeting we were just talking about how badly we wanted some land and a location in Frisco, in this whole quarter, so I just said, in my stupidity (now we know it was God), “Have we talked to the person that owns this entire shopping center?” And the answer was yes, Ed, we have. We tried to get him. He will not return our calls. We can’t, we can’t, we can’t. I said, “Where does he live?” and we Googled it. Houston. Well, my father is also a pastor and his church is really large, so I thought, well, if he’s from Houston he might go to Dad’s church and maybe I can just drop Dad’s name. You know, name-dropper. Maybe something will happen. So, I called and I had to go through like six different layers to finally get to this office and I said,
“Hey, this is Ed Young, and I just wanted to talk to the owner about a piece of property,” which I have never done in the history of Fellowship Church. So, about an hour later he called me back and I said, “Allen,” that’s his name. I said, “Allen, this is Ed Young. I pastor Fellowship Church.” He goes,
“You’re not the Ed Young in Houston?” I said,
“No, no, no. I’m the real Ed Young.” I said, “I pastor a church in Dallas. I’m gonna throw a wild, kind of a wild idea out at you. There is a building that you own in a shopping center in Frisco…” and he interrupted me and said,
“Do you want to buy it?” I said,
“You’ve got to be kidding me.” So, to make a long story short, we purchased this with $31 million, 31 million. And I can’t thank you enough for your generosity. Now, we haven’t paid for it yet, we have a long way to go. Don’t go, “Oh boy!” No, we have a long, long way to go. I can’t thank you, though, enough for your generosity. And think about it. So many people at Fellowship Church have been generous to a church they’ll never attend. That’s just mind-boggling. So give yourselves a round of applause. Prayer. This is an answer to prayer.
Every time I talk about prayer, you might have heard me tell this story but let me tell it again. Every time I talk about prayer, I think about my first pastoral assignment. I was ordained into the ministry when I was 21 years old and I worked at Dad’s church. He started me at the bottom. Not at the bottom but I was part-time, and once I was ordained he gave me a little bit of responsibility. So, the first real pastoral assignment was to give the prayer at the main service. Like, the morning prayer. And here’s what was kind of scary about it. I had to lead the entire congregation in the Lord’s Prayer. So I was coached on how to pray and how to use the right words, and how to say the thee’s and the thou’s, and I had to be – like – on my A-game! And then I was coached just to write out the prayer, because this other pastor told me,
“No one is going to be looking at you anyway, Ed. Just write the prayer out, put it in your Bible, and everything is cool.” But remember, don’t mess up,” this pastor told me, “and especially don’t mess up on the Lord’s Prayer because you’ll have all these people repeating the Lord’s Prayer after you so just go with it. Know it well.” I said,
“I’m gonna do it.” So, I practiced and practiced and practiced and practiced, and I felt good about it. I had the prayer written out. I had the Lord’s Prayer laminated in my Bible. I’m sitting in one of the throne chairs at the 11 o’clock service. We had the big throne chairs. Have you seen those things before? In more traditional sanctuaries? Giant pipe organ <organ sound effect> and I was told once the choir ends their special production, the organ music will play very softly. And then I was told to look to the Minister of Music, because he will give me that nod, that… holy nod, which means: It’s your time to pray.
Have you ever seen those holy nods before? We do them at weddings and funerals. Just… it means, you’re up! I was so nervous it was like an out-of-body experience. So, I looked, got the holy nod. I walked to that giant pulpit and put my hands on either side of it. I was white-knuckling this pulpit and I began to pray:
“Dear God,” I began this prayer, and I’m thinking to myself, this is going well! I’m just reading it; I’m feeling good about what I’m saying. It’s theologically correct. I feel like people are with me. So, I finished my part of the prayer and I was segueing into the Lord’s Prayer. I’m saying to myself; I’m spurring the horse to the barn now. It’s done. Drop the mic. All I’ve got to do is the Lord’s Prayer. Everybody knows that. I can easily say that. So, my transition was: “Let’s pray together as Jesus taught his disciples to pray, saying, “Our Father, who art in Heaven…” <whispering echo: Our Father who art in Heaven> Thousands of people repeating that. It kind of just like blew me back on my heels. I’m like, whoa! “Hallowed be thy name,” I read. <whisper echo: Hallowed be thy name> “Thy kingdom come, thy will be done…” <whispering echo> At that moment, I don’t know what happened. In fact, I’d never had this happen before in my life. I totally froze. I choked. I blanked out. I couldn’t read. I couldn’t speak. I was just like, “Ah… ah..ah…” And then the church tried to continue the Lord’s Prayer. They didn’t know most of the Lord’s Prayer. Laughter broke out. <laughing sound effect> What an idiot! He will never make it! And then I started crying and I said, “In Jesus’ name. Amen.” And I closed my Bible. And I walked down those carpeted steps. It seemed like the steps were two or three hundred steps. There were only about 3. And I saw an opening on the front row, on that front pew. I sat down and, of all people I sat by, I happened to sit by my mother. My mother never sat on the front row. People were laughing. I mean, it was sad. It was pathetic. And my mother leaned over to me, in the midst of laughing, and she said,
“Ed, your voice sounded really good.” Only a mom. Only a mom.
The Lord’s Prayer. We think we know a lot about the Lord’s Prayer but do we really? The church is to be a house of prayer. The church is to be a house of prayer. Here’s the church – remember this? There’s the steeple. Open the doors and see all of the prayerful people. The church is to be a house of prayer.
A couple of guys were arguing about the Bible. They were good friends and they were like, “Oh man, I know more about the Bible than you do.” The other guy goes,
“No, no, no. I know more about the Bible than you do.” And his friend goes,
“Man, I’ve got $20 in my pocket. I’ve got $20 you can’t recite to me right now the Lord’s Prayer.” His friend goes,
“Now I lay me down to sleep, I pray the Lord my soul to keep. If I die before I wake, I pray the Lord my soul to take.” And his friend was like,
“Dude! You said it! Here’s the $20.”
I think I know; we all think we know, more about the Lord’s Prayer than we really do. Jesus, in Matthew 6, is talking about spiritual symmetry. He’s talking about different things, disciplines, and one of the things that I wanted to talk to you briefly about today, because I know we have people standing around and everything, but I wanted to talk to you briefly about a spiritual discipline. I want to talk to you about prayer. That’s right, prayer. What is prayer to you? Well, you might say it’s talking to God. OK, that’s what it is. It’s talking to God. Jesus answered a question the disciples lobbed at him. In Luke 11:1 they said, “Jesus, teach us to pray.” They didn’t say teach us to heal, teach us to preach, teach us to lead, teach us to use word pictures. “Jesus,” they said, “teach us to pray.” Because there was something about the way he prayed that rocked them, that just snapped their heads. He prayed differently and the disciples were like, we want to know how to pray. Jesus gives us a grid, and outline, so to speak, of how to talk to God when you talk to God.
I read recently that 43% of Americans pray at least once a day. And then 1 out of 4 said that God answers their prayers regularly and profoundly. I thought that was interesting. And this study went on to say that even people who aren’t church-going people pray. We are people that believe in prayer. But I want to ask you, why do you pray? What is your content in your prayer?
Last Sunday night Lisa and I had a party, a neighborhood party, and it was really fun because we met a kaleidoscopic range of people around our neighborhood. You know, you talk to people. The conversation kind of has a flow, doesn’t it? You just kind of get to know someone. You introduce yourself. Maybe they talk about what they like. You may ask them the quintessential “what do you do professionally? What do you do for a living? You go back and forth and the longer you talk, the more intimate it becomes. There’s a flow to it.
Jesus, in these 68 words, it only takes 25 seconds to recite the Lord’s Prayer. Jesus gives us an outline of how to pray. I believe we really begin to pray when we can throw out our clichés, our kind of memorized Christianese that we have. In other words, we shouldn’t pray like I prayed when I botched the Lord’s Prayer. I hate to confess this, but I think I was thinking too much about what people thought of me as opposed to talking to the Lord in prayer. And this is what Jesus is saying. Jesus is saying don’t be like hypocrites. Oh, they <trumpet sound effect> blow the trumpets. They, “Here I am praying! Here I am fasting!” Jesus said don’t be like that. Pray this way: (Matthew 6:9) “Our Father…” That’s what he said. Our Father – when his hearers heard that, our Father, totally blew them away. It blew away the Jewish stereotype. Because when you call God your Father, that is an intimate term. In the original language it means dad. I’m a dad. Any dads here? Lift a hand if you’re a dad. Man let’s give it up for the dads. Being a dad is great, isn’t it? It really is. Being a dad is great.
Jesus is acknowledging that God is His Father. He’s saying to you and me, we need to acknowledge that. God, you’re my father, dad. I love for my kids to call me dad. When I see their names come up on the phone, I’m gonna take the call. Even to this day, and we have adult children and now grandchildren, when I hear ‘dad’ or Granddad, they call me Big E and Lisa, Muz-E. But when we hear that I’m like, I like that because there’s nothing like it! I mean, being dad is back! Or maybe you’re in the stage, fathers, right now when your little ones lift their hands and go, “Dad! Dad! Dad!” There’s nothing like that. Our Father.
I like “our Father.” It’s a plural pronoun. Our Father. I get messed up when I think it’s just about me. It’s just about my needs and what makes me feel good, and what makes me look good. Our Father. Jesus is talking about the fact that we have other siblings. We have brothers and sisters in Christ. It’s not just me. And so often Jesus is not going to answer your prayers or mine until we’re rightly related to the other brothers and sisters. And people say, “my God…” Well, my deal, I feel you, but it’s about “our.” The Bible says over and over: one another, one another, one another, one another, one another. That’s why we have the church. Once we become followers of Christ we’re adopted into the family of God. We’re – you’ve heard the term before – born again. We’re adopted. God is our Father, our Father. We’re in the household of faith. We’re in the house. That’s why the church is so vital. It’s the only thing that Jesus ever constructed, the church. So, this is something that believers should say our Father.
“Our Father who art in Heaven.” (Matthew 6:9) That’s where the Lord resides, in Heaven. There. Way out there, you might think. So, when I pray, I have an opportunity to take what is out there and to bring it to what is right here in my life. I can take something out there (Heaven) and bring Heaven to earth. Prayer is the conduit; prayer is the process in which that happens. So, when I pray, I can enter (check this out), any time day or night I can enter the presence of God. I move from the physical to the spiritual. Our Father, acknowledge him. I have access to the Father because of Jesus Christ.
The Bible says that Jesus is sitting at the right hand of the Father, and this is just awesome. Jesus is praying for you and for me right now. Applause sign. Often, I don’t know what to say when I pray, and you don’t either. You don’t know what to say when you pray. Jesus, himself, is praying for us. Even if you don’t know Christ personally, and I know many of you here are just kind of testing the water, kicking tires. Jesus is praying for you right now. So, we acknowledge that God is our Father, our Heavenly Father, Dad, this intimate relationship we have with him. We’re rightly related to the brothers and sisters, the church. We’re involved in a church. We have access because of Jesus. Jesus is our high priest. You don’t have to go to a priest or a pastor to pray.
Our Father who art in Heaven, Lord, I want what’s happening up there to happen down here. It’s stunning how many people will profane the name of God. God’s name is to be reverent. God’s name is holy. Again, we’re intimate with him, we call him and we can call him dad, and my kids call me dad, but I don’t want my kids to say “thou wonderfuleth creator, the one back in the day who escorteth me to soccereth practice.” I mean, I would go, just call me dad! And that’s what God wants for you and me. That’s why the Bible says we’re to pray without ceasing. We’re to pray constantly. When we’re tempted, pray. When we think impure thoughts, pray. When we think good thoughts, pray. Just talk to God. We acknowledge him and we have access to him because of Jesus Christ, because of what Jesus did on the cross for our sins. He died on the cross for our sins and rose again, yet so many times we profane the name of God.
And a lot of times when people profane the name of God, they don’t know what in the heck they are saying. How many times have you seen, I don’t know, some artist or some actor or actress just take God’s name in vain over and over and over again? Then, they’ll say, “God bless you! Peace!” Or they’ll say, “Let’s huddle up and pray now.” I’m like, what? What?
So, the moment we’re adopted into the family of God, we’re a child of God, and in reality, my last name is not Ed Young. I mean it is, but it’s Ed Young Christian. So, if you’re a believer your last name is Christian. We’re in the family of God.
“Our Father who art in Heaven, hallowed be thy name.” (Mathew 6:9) God, your name is your nature and your nature is your name. The glory of God. God’s nickname is Glory and glory is who God is. It’s the sum total of all of his attributes. We acknowledge him, we have access to him. Prayer is more about alignment than it is about asking. I’m aligning myself with God. God, not my agenda – yours. God, and that’s tough for me. Not my will, but yours.
There are two aspects of God’s will because Jesus said we need to pray according to the will of God. The two aspects of the will of God. The first one would be called a conditional aspect of the will of God. Say that word conditional with me. Conditional. God’s will, in many cases, in many situations, is based upon your obedience and mine. It’s based upon your prayers and mine. In other words, God’s not going to act until we talk to him. Does that make sense to everybody? Nod your head. Let me give you an example. Jesus said it’s God’s will that everyone, that every single person, gets saved. Isn’t that great? It’s God’s will that every single person bows the knee and becomes a follower of Jesus. However, that’s God’s conditional will. It’s based on your response and mine. So, there’s a mystery to it. Some people throw their hands in the air and go, well, why even pray? I mean, if God knows everything already, why even pray? Prayer is alignment and prayer is allowing us to understand and be the application of the answer to God’s conditional and also his unconditional will.
How about God’s unconditional will? Say that, unconditional will. That just means God is gonna do stuff no matter what you do, and no matter what I do. It’s the unconditional will of God. Yet God wants so much for you and me to have this deep fellowship and relationship with him, he wants us to talk about all situations with him. Prayer is that process, it’s the conduit, between Heaven and Earth.
A lot of us just got back from Israel. If you’ve not been to Israel, we’re going to go again a year from March. I took a passport with me. Anybody have a passport? All right. When I had that passport, I’m standing in line and you walk up and you give the passport to an official to allow you entrance into, for example, Israel. And in Israel, man, they don’t play. They don’t mess around with security. So, you know, give the passport to this gentleman or this lady and they will ask you why you’re going to Israel. Scan it and everything, make sure it looks like you. You know, mine, my passport picture I’m like, bald. And I said,
“Well, I had hair transplants. I had to shave my head before they did the hair transplants.” So, they kind of laugh, most of them do. They let me go. I seriously had hair transplants. And we’re going to do a series one day called Hair in the Bible. Hair is mentioned a lot. That’s a whole ‘nother subject.
So, they allowed me to enter another realm because of my passport. Prayer is your passport. How do you enter another realm? Through prayer. Prayer.
You acknowledge who God is. You have access. You have alignment. Then, Jesus said, ask. Go for the ask. “Give us this day our daily bread.” (Matthew 6:11) How specific is that? God is magnificent, but also microscopic.
I remember years ago a friend of mine said, “Ed, I have a hard time praying about these specific things because God has more to worry about than my deal.” Are you kidding me? The Bible says God knows the number of hairs on our head. Even if that number is diminishing or, by the miracle of hair transplant surgeons, it’s increasing. I don’t know. God knows. And God is concerned – think about this – the God of the Universe is concerned about those little things, those things you think are insignificant. That thought? No big deal. That relationship? Does God really care about that? I’m telling you, God does. When we began to ask God for things, we realize he’s the source of it all. Ask, ask, ask.
We’ve been talking about how to upgrade our decade, 3,650 days, roughly, and we’ll get to the year 2030. Part of the spiritual symmetry is this beautiful conversation with God called prayer. Then, Jesus hit the heart of it. He talked about forgiveness. Man, is that a difficult subject or what? This is a prayer, for all of you Bible scholars, that Jesus could not pray. Forgive us our trespasses. He’s sinless. As we forgive those who trespass against us. See, he can’t pray that prayer. He only called God “God” one time in the Bible. When he was dying on the cross for your sins and mine. Isn’t that interesting.
Forgiveness is something I struggle with. How many people struggle with forgiveness, too? I mean, I do. I do. I’m like, you know what? I’m not gonna release this person, I’m not gonna forgive this person, this coach who messed me around, until he comes crawling back to me and goes, “Ed, I was totally wrong. Will you forgive me?” Then, then, then, I’ll grant him forgiveness.
Or my parent, my parent was so wrong, they were so abusive. They were so this, they were so that, I’m not gonna forgive them until they come crawling back to me and say, “I was wrong, I blew it, I messed up.” Or my friend who ripped me off in this business deal. Or that teammate who lied about me and put something on social media. When they come back to me, then I’ll give them forgiveness. Well, here, again, here would be the guts of the gospel: forgiveness. All I’ve got to do is look at the cross and realize I’m greatly forgiven. And forgiveness is more for the one who has been hurt than the perpetrator. Because that perpetrator will probably never come back to you. That ex-spouse will never come back to you and say, “You know what? I cheated on you. I was wrong. Will you forgive me?” That’s probably not going to happen. So, the enemy, if I’m the devil, I want you to turn that over and over on the rotisserie grill of your mind and I want to keep you from being the kind of person that God desires. I want you to get so enraged, so upset, so fixated on that person who messed you around that you don’t walk in the kind of freedom that God desires. Unleashing unforgiveness is unbelievable.
I love trucks. We have half-ton, three-quarter ton trucks around. This is Texas! Truck country. Sorry, Florida. Oklahoma, I know, is truck country. And there are more and more trucks in Florida. A truck, though, has this amount, this number on it. And the manufacturers know how much weight this truck can handle. The Bible tells you and me in 1 Corinthians 10:13, let’s read this together, 1-2-3. “No temptation has overtaken you except what is common to mankind. And God is faithful. He will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted (that means we’re gonna be tempted) he will also provide a way out so that you can endure it.” I call this the <truck revving sound effect> the truck verse. God knows you and me so well he knows how much you can take, how much my friend can take. He’s always going to provide a way out. God doesn’t lead us into it, he leads us around it, and we can be delivered from evil.
So, check this out. When you pray, acknowledge God, who God is. We have access to God because of Jesus Christ. We’re aligned. Not my wants, God, but I want what you want because I know what you want for me is the best. Then we have this awareness of the power of God. And then, within that, too, we have the opportunity to ask.
All right, what’s your homework? Here’s your homework. Give me about 90 seconds. There’s a hand on the screen. I traced my hand. Have you ever done that before? Is that fun to do? That’s your homework. Go home. You’re like, this is like in the first grade. Trust me. Go home and trace your hand. First of all, I want you to acknowledge as we’ve been talking about, God, you’re my Father. This is the pattern of prayer. Next, access. We have access through Jesus. Acknowledge God. Adore him. Call him dad. Realize the access and the price that’s been paid. Then we have the alignment. What are you struggling with? Oh, this is mine! This is my will, my agenda! But no, no, God, I want to surrender it to you. That’s alignment. How about asking? I mean, Jesus is saying ask for your daily bread. Thank God for it. What do you need to ask him for? And then, we’re aware of God leading us around temptation. We’re aware of it. Once you do that, here’s what’s gonna happen. You’ll have a grasp on prayer. You’ll understand that template. You’ll understand that guide. We’ll also have it on our app. If you don’t have our app, go to the app store. It’s free. Free-99. Fellowship Church, on the app. Also, talking of this homework, establish a place where you pray every day. Here’s where I pray. (PHOTO: Blue Chair) I took a picture of where I pray. This is sort of like my chair that I try to pray every single day, right there. So have some chair time, at least 10-15 minutes a day begin opening God’s word. Begin to pray. We have it on our app, and we have you a map on how to pray.
So, what am I saying to you? I’m simply saying this: pray. How do you pray? You start praying. I mean, if LeBron James came up here and talked about how to shoot a jump shot, would you listen? I would. If Tom Brady said, “Here’s how to pass,” I would listen. If Jeff Bezos said, “Here’s how to start a company. Here’s how to be an entrepreneur,” I think we would all listen. What if Beyoncé said, “OK, here’s how to sing.” Whew! Beyoncé? Are you kidding me? We would listen. Jesus is teaching us how to pray! We need to listen and obey and do the stuff. What do you say? What do you say when you get that nod? How do you pray when you get that nod?