These are notes on the sermon, Dare To Pray Bold Prayers , preached by Pastor Joseph Prince on Sunday, 18 November 2018, at The Star Performing Arts Centre, Singapore. We hope these sermon notes will be an encouragement to you!
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Have you ever felt like you’re not good enough for God to hear and answer your prayers? As Pastor Prince expounds on the high priest in the Old Testament, you’ll see how you don’t have to be completely perfect and eloquent before God responds to your requests.
We hope these notes will help you understand how you can:
Step into God’s presence with full confidence and start praying bold prayers knowing that they reach Heaven’s throne!
Pastor Prince encourages us to expect God to move and touch our lives whenever we come to church and hear the preached Word. We don’t have to wait for God to give words of knowledge or drops gifts of healing during a special time of ministry. As the Word goes forth, God is already saving, healing, delivering, and restoring us.
As we listen to the Word and worship in church, God fights our battles for us—whether they are battles at home, at work, etc.
God’s got your back. You don’t have to keep looking behind you to protect yourself. God’s also gone ahead of you to make the crooked places straight.
“Every valley shall be exalted
And every mountain and hill brought low;
The crooked places shall be made straight
And the rough places smooth;”
— Isaiah 40:4 NKJV
These words were repeated by John the Baptist to prepare the way for the first coming of Jesus (see Luke 3:5).
Likewise, before the second coming of Jesus, there will be voices like John’s that bring down the pride of man and lift up the afflicted. These are the voices of grace (John’s name in Hebrew is “Yehohanan,” which means “God’s grace”). Only the voice of grace will usher in the coming of the Lord.
Before the second coming of Jesus, we’ll be raptured. It happened to people in the Bible, e.g. Enoch (see Gen. 5:24). The rapture is God’s way of removing His people before judgment comes. 1 Thessalonians 5:9 says that “God did not appoint us to wrath.”
Before the day of vengeance comes, we will be raptured. Right now, we are not living in the day of vengeance or judgment, we are still living in “the acceptable year of the Lord” (see Luke 4:17–22 below):
“And He [Jesus] was handed the book of the prophet Isaiah. And when He had opened the book, He found the place where it was written:
“The Spirit of the LORD is upon Me,
Because He has anointed Me
To preach the gospel to the poor;
He has sent Me to heal the brokenhearted,
To proclaim liberty to the captives
And recovery of sight to the blind,
To set at liberty those who are oppressed;
To proclaim the acceptable year of the LORD.”
Then He closed the book, and gave it back to the attendant and sat down. And the eyes of all who were in the synagogue were fixed on Him. And He began to say to them, “Today this Scripture is fulfilled in your hearing.” So all bore witness to Him, and marveled at the gracious words which proceeded out of His mouth. And they said, “Is this not Joseph’s son?””
— Luke 4:17–22 NKJV
Jesus was quoting from Isaiah 61.
“the acceptable year of the LORD” — The word “acceptable” in Hebrew is “ratsown,” which means “favored.”
Jesus spoke words of grace. Grace is always giving, always imparting, always supplying. Meanwhile, law is always demanding.
Because the law has been fulfilled by Jesus, today, we are no more under law but under grace.
When God gave the law, 3000 people died (see Exod. 32:28). But when God gave the Spirit on the Day of Pentecost, 3000 people were saved (see Acts 2:41)!
Under grace, there are no conditions to receive from Jesus. When Jesus quoted Isaiah 61 saying that He had been anointed to “heal the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives and recovery of sight to the blind, to set at liberty those who are oppressed,” there were no conditions attached to it. There were no conditions to be healed or delivered.
Jesus went around healing and delivering people as if He didn’t notice their sins. Most of the people who received from Him were overt sinners / social outcasts.
How could He not hold their sin against them? Because He knew He would take everyone’s sin and punishment on the cross.
Those who had difficulty receiving from Jesus were not the sinners, but the proud. For example, Jesus did many miracles in Capernaum (raised Jairus’ daughter from the dead and healed the woman with the issue of blood (see Mark 5:21–43), healed the Centurion soldier (see Matt. 8:5–13)), yet the city rejected Him.
“And you, Capernaum, who are exalted to heaven, will be brought down to Hades; for if the mighty works which were done in you had been done in Sodom, it would have remained until this day.”
— Matthew 11:23 NKJV
Sodom was a city of immorality. Jesus was saying that if Sodom had experienced the same miracles He did in Capernaum, they would have repented and been saved. In this, He reveals the key to reaching a generation living in moral darkness: Don’t judge them, just go to them, pray for them, and demonstrate the mighty works of Jesus.
Today, we are still living in this period of grace, this “acceptable year of the Lord” (Luke 4:17–22).
When Jesus quoted Isaiah 61:1–2, He deliberately left out the last part of the verse:
“The Spirit of the Lord God is upon Me,
Because the Lord has anointed Me
To preach good tidings to the poor;
He has sent Me to heal the brokenhearted,
To proclaim liberty to the captives,
And the opening of the prison to those who are bound;
To proclaim the acceptable year of the Lord,
And the day of vengeance of our God… ”
— Isaiah 61:1–2
Instead, He ended with: “‘... To proclaim the acceptable year of the LORD.’ Then He closed the book, and gave it back to the attendant and sat down.” (Luke 4:19–20). *See slide 4.
Where Jesus closed the book, we need to close the book. We are not in “the day of vengeance of our God.” We are still in the year of favor. And we will be in this year of favor until the rapture happens.
Today, there are mockers of the rapture that ask, “Where is the promise of His coming?” (2 Pet. 3:4)
The answer: “The Lord is not slack concerning His promise, as some count slackness, but is longsuffering toward us, not willing that any should perish but that all should come to repentance.” (2 Pet. 3:9).
God is long-suffering. His mercies and compassions fail not. He said, “I have no pleasure in the death of the wicked, but that the wicked turn from his way and live.” (Ezek. 33:11).
God has judged our sins and now can receive us because of the cross. Because every sin was paid for at the cross, we are forgiven righteously. God is righteous in making us righteous.
“For as by one man’s disobedience [Adam’s] many were made sinners, so also by one Man’s obedience many will be made righteous.”
— Romans 5:19 NKJV
What made us righteous? Jesus’ one act of obedience.
We were sinners by one man’s disobedience. Now, we are righteous by one Man’s obedience. Jesus fulfilled the law for us, so we are no more under law, but under grace.
God wants your focus shifted from yourself to Christ.
“For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal but mighty in God for pulling down strongholds, casting down arguments and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God, bringing every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ,”
— 2 Corinthians 10:4–5 NKJV
How do we pull down strongholds? By “bringing every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ.”
Look away from self and look to Jesus.
2 Corinthians 10:4–5 does not say that we pull down strongholds when our thoughts “obey Christ.” The verse tells us to bring our thoughts to focus on “the obedience of Christ.”
This means to focus your thoughts on Jesus’ obedience that made us righteous (see Rom. 5:19). Today, our obedience is to believe in Jesus’ obedience.
Right believing always leads to right living.
Pastor Prince shares a testimony about a man whose marriage and family were restored after he simply looked to and believed on Jesus and His righteousness.
“For in Him dwells all the fullness of the Godhead bodily; and you are complete in Him, who is the head of all principality and power.”
— Colossians 2:9–10 NKJV
“and be found in Him, not having my own righteousness, which is from the law, but that which is through faith in Christ, the righteousness which is from God by faith; that I may know Him and the power of His resurrection…”
— Philippians 3:9–10 NKJV
In and of ourselves, we are not perfect. But we are found in Jesus.
Today, Jesus is our High Priest who represents us before God (see Heb. 4:14).
In the Old Testament, the high priest of Israel represented the nation to God. It didn’t matter how good the people were, it only mattered how good the high priest was. Where the high priest went, so went the nation.
The high priest is not a prophet. A prophet represents God to the nation, while the high priest represents the nation to God.
Today, Jesus is our High Priest. He is in the presence of God right now for us.
“For Christ has not entered the holy places made with hands, which are copies of the true, but into heaven itself, now to appear in the presence of God for us;”
— Hebrews 9:24 NKJV
Jesus is in the presence of God right now, seated at the Father’s right hand, for us. He is the Son of God, but that’s not why He sat down at the Father’s right hand in heaven. He sat down as a man—as our High Priest—because He had done a complete work in purging our sins.
“... when He had by Himself purged our sins, sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on high,”
— Hebrews 1:3 NKJV
If our sin had not been dealt with, Jesus could have never sat down. He sat down as a man having purged our sins.
In Old Testament, the priests were always standing because their work to make atonement for the nation was never fully done.
Pastor Prince invites Pastor Mathews dressed in the high priest’s garments up on stage.
Everything that the high priest of Israel used to wear outwardly represents who Jesus is inwardly.
““You shall also make a plate of pure gold and engrave on it, like the engraving of a signet: HOLINESS TO THE LORD. And you shall put it on a blue cord, that it may be on the turban; it shall be on the front of the turban. So it shall be on Aaron’s forehead, that Aaron may bear the iniquity of the holy things which the children of Israel hallow in all their holy gifts; and it shall always be on his forehead, that they may be accepted before the LORD.”
— Exodus 28:36–38 NKJV
Aaron was the first high priest of Israel. He had a holy mitre (a gold plate worn across the forehead). Engraved on the gold plate were the words, “HOLINESS TO THE LORD.” Today, this represents the holiness of Jesus’ thoughts.
“that Aaron may bear the iniquity of the holy things” — The high priest bears the iniquity of the HOLY things. Not wicked things or rebellious things.
“it shall always be on his forehead, that they may be accepted before the LORD” — The high priest ALWAYS wears this mitre. And the results is that the people are accepted before the Lord. The word “accepted” here is the same Hebrew word, “ratsown,” used in Isaiah 61 for “the acceptable year of the Lord.” It means “favored.”
What does this mean for us?
Even though there is always iniquity in all our prayers, even though we come to God with wandering thoughts and defiled worship, even though our best gifts that we use to serve Him are tainted with self-serving motives, God still accepts everything we bring to Him as perfect.
Why? Because He looks at our High Priest’s thoughts. He looks at Jesus’ holy thoughts and judges us holy and perfect.
When we pray in Jesus’ name, we are praying as Jesus Himself. When Jesus prays, He always receives results.
“Until now you have asked nothing in My name. Ask, and you will receive, that your joy may be full.”
— John 16:24 NKJV
We start our Christian walk already complete in Christ, and continue to walk out that completeness.
Our prayers are not perfect. But God is not looking at the imperfection of our prayers, the lack of fervency, the lack of faith, the lack of sincerity. Your prayers go to Him through Jesus.
That’s what Hebrews 13:15 NKJV means when it says, “by Him let us continually offer the sacrifice of praise to God.”
In the Old Testament, people brought burnt offerings to God as worship unto Him. The burnt offerings had 3 grades:
The rich brought the bullock, the middle income brought the lamb, and poor brought the pigeon / dove. The bullock has the most blood because it’s a large animal, followed by the lamb, then the dove.
Today, these different sizes of offerings speak of the size of our revelation of Jesus’ blood shed for our righteousness. Those who are rich spiritually have a great understanding of the blood of Jesus.
When you have a large revelation of the blood of Jesus, you offer God a bullock-sized offering.
When Jesus looked at people and spoke about their “little faith” or “strong faith,” He was referring to their revelation of Him. He never said, “Oh you of little fasting,” or “Oh you of little prayer.” It was always about faith.
Faith is the hand that takes from Him.
In other words, when Jesus said, “Oh you of little faith,” He was saying, “Why do you take so little from Me?”
Always remember this when you pray. God wants you to ask for more.
If the enemy comes against you and says, “Hey, you don't have enough faith. You don't have enough fervency. Your prayers are not honest enough. Your prayers don’t sound like this leader’s or that leader’s.” Just keep on praying knowing that God is hearing you because your prayers go through Jesus, your High Priest.
The offering of the dove:
“And he shall remove its crop with its feathers and cast it beside the altar on the east side, into the place for ashes. Then he shall split it at its wings, but shall not divide it completely; and the priest shall burn it on the altar, on the wood that is on the fire. It is a burnt sacrifice, an offering made by fire, a sweet aroma to the LORD.”
— Leviticus 1:16–17 NKJV
“remove its crop with its feathers and cast it beside the altar on the east side” — There are some parts of the offering that God didn’t want. Whatever was superfluous, whatever was unnecessary in the offering, the high priest threw away. Today, Jesus takes our prayers and removes everything unnecessary.
“cast it...into the place for ashes” — To God, your sins are ashes. He does not hold them against you.
“a sweet aroma to the LORD” — No matter how big or small your revelation is of Jesus, it is always a sweet aroma to God.
After Jesus removes what is unnecessary, He adds His sweet aroma to your prayers. He adds His beauty, His favor, His perfume. Then He turns to the Father and gives Him a perfect prayer.
There are different opinions on what kinds of prayers we should pray. Some people say that we should pray specific prayers (e.g. if you’re praying for a life partner, tell God all the qualities you want). Other people say we should pray prayers that just ask God for what He knows is best for us instead of asking Him for specific things.
It doesn’t matter what kind of prayers we pray. In the end, our prayers go through Jesus first, and He removes all the bad and adds all the good.
That’s why you can just pray from your heart. Your prayers are not perfect, but don’t worry about it. When they go through Jesus, God receives them as perfect.
That’s why you can serve freely and without guilt too. Even if your serving is tainted with ego, self-glorification, selfishness, still serve. The Lord will change it.
Don’t be introspective. Don’t worry about praying perfect prayers.
When you pray in Jesus’ name, pause and realize that your prayer is being prayed by Jesus. He is praying and representing you to God.
As long as He has the holy mitre that says “HOLINESS TO THE LORD” on His forehead (which God ordained forever), we are accepted before God.
That’s why you can come boldly before God, pray from your heart, worship freely, serve freely.
When bad thoughts come as you are praying / worshipping / serving God, think of what Jesus is doing for you in heaven. Because of Him, all your prayers and service that you are bringing to God is being accepted.
When Jesus sat down at the Father’s right hand, God sent the Holy Spirit (see Acts 2:33). When the Holy Spirit left Israel after years of the people’s idolatry, He left slowly, lingering, as if He didn’t want to leave (see Ezek. 8–11). When He was sent on the Day of Pentecost, He came like “a rushing mighty wind” (see Acts 2:1–4), like He couldn’t wait to be with the people.
The Holy Spirit didn’t come to anoint us for a task then leave. He came to abide in us forever.
When we live with this knowledge, we’ll live for the glory of God. We will make choices that respect our body as God’s temple.
Pastor Prince prays for people with:
“The Lord bless you with the blessings of Father Abraham, the blessings of Deuteronomy 28, the blessings of the gift of sleep. The Lord makes His face to shine on you and be favorable to you throughout this week. May you experience the supernatural favor of God everywhere you go, everywhere you turn. May doors of opportunity open to. May everything you touch prosper, even your mistakes. The Lord lift up His countenance on you and your loved ones and grant to you and yours wonderful shalom peace. In the name of the Lord Jesus, amen.”
We hope these sermon notes blessed you! If they did, we encourage you to get the sermon and allow the Lord to speak to you personally as you watch or listen to it.
© Copyright JosephPrince.com 2018
These sermon notes were taken by volunteers during the service. They are not a verbatim representation of the sermon.
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