This set of sermon notes covers the main points of the sermon, Pray for Good Success, preached by Pastor Prince on Sunday, 5 February 2023. We encourage you to listen to the full sermon to find out more, and receive God’s Word in season for yourself!
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“He has made everything beautiful in its time. Also He has put eternity in their hearts, except that no one can find out the work that God does from beginning to end.”
—Ecclesiastes 3:11 NKJV
This is God’s heart and promise to us—especially in this year of kairos and right happenings! As the world gets darker, we need not fear. We can hold on to this promise of our Heavenly Father—He desires to make all things beautiful in our lives.
“Therefore take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand.”
—Ephesians 6:13 NKJV
“. . . He who would love life and see good days . . .”
—1 Peter 3:10 NKJV
God’s desire for us is to see many good days. Notice how “evil day” is singular while “good days” is plural? This means that as children of God, we will enjoy many more good days than evil ones! We can hope—have a positive expectation of good about our future—regardless of what we see happening in the world. God has prepared many beautiful seasons for us! And even when we go through afflictions, they will only be for a season.
Instead of letting the bad news we hear put fear in our hearts, let’s spend more time in the Word. When we meditate on the Father’s love and promises, we put on the helmet of the hope of salvation (Eph. 6:16–18, 1 Thess. 5:8) which protects us against the enemy’s lies and fears that can rob our peace.
How does God make all things beautiful in our lives?
“He has made everything beautiful in its time (kairos). Also He has put eternity in their hearts, except that no one can find out the work that God does from beginning to end.”
—Ecclesiastes 3:11 NKJV
“Time” — “Time” in Hebrew is "eth" and "kairos" in Greek, which refers to a time of favor. This means that God will make things beautiful in our lives through God-orchestrated kairos moments e.g. having opportunities to meet the right people, having divine protection!
“And let us not grow weary while doing good, for in due season (‘kairos’) we shall reap if we do not lose heart.”
—Galatians 6:9 NKJV
“Season” — The Greek translation for “season” is also "kairos." Even if it seems like we have yet to see any fruits in certain areas of our lives, take heart! God has promised that we will reap a bountiful harvest in the time of kairos. What might seem like a delay will be done in God’s perfect timing for us.
Even in the midst of delay, or when we don’t see what we want happen, when we trust His perfect timing, we’re able to be strengthened with all might by His Spirit, for all patience and longsuffering with joy (Col. 1:11). This results in us developing perseverance and endurance when we go through adverse situations, as well as patience with people in our relationships.
Let’s take a look at the story of Jesus healing two women in Luke 8:40–56. In this story, a man named Jairus went to our Lord Jesus for help as his 12-year-old daughter was dying. While Jesus was on the way to Jairus’ house, a woman with a bleeding condition for 12 years touched the hem of His garment and received her healing. Our Lord Jesus stopped, and took time to affirm her even in the face of Jairus’ seemingly “dire” situation.
Even upon receiving news from Jairus’ home that his daughter had died, Jesus simply told Jairus to “. . . only believe, and she will be made well.” Later, Jesus would put out all those who did not believe, and bring only Jairus, his wife, and His disciples Peter, James, and John into the house, while He raised Jairus’ daughter back to life.
Like Jairus, let’s take on a posture of faith and trust in the Lord and His timing even when we may not understand our circumstances. In a moment of kairos, God can turn around a seemingly dire and impossible situation for our good.
The more we behold Jesus, the more we are transformed into His image. As we see Him unhurried by life’s demands and circumstances, we take on a posture of rest, waiting on God for His leading in our everyday lives.
This year, God wants us to prioritize prayer.
In Genesis 24, one of the key passages relating to the theme of the year, we see that the first mention of qarah (right happenings) in the Bible occurs after a time of prayer. In this story, Abraham’s servant went out to look for a bride for Isaac. Before he went out looking for the potential bride, the servant took time to pray:
“Then he said, “O LORD God of my master Abraham, please give me success (‘qarah’) this day, and show kindness to my master Abraham.”
—Genesis 24:12 NKJV
The servant prayed and asked God for success, which is the Hebrew word for qarah (right happenings). Even before the servant finished praying, God answered his prayer. Genesis 24:15 tells us that Rebekah, who was God’s appointed one for Isaac, appeared even before the servant finished praying.
This shows us that when we pray for good success, we position ourselves to experience the right happenings that God has already orchestrated for us! These right happenings cannot be planned by man, and can only happen to us by God’s grace. And just like how God answered the servant so speedily, know that God has already sent the answer to your prayer (Is. 65:24) even as you take time to pray! Many a time, even the prayers we pray, the Lord was the One who first put it on our hearts to pray those prayers, that He might give us what He has already prepared for us to receive.
James 4:2 says that “. . . you do not have because you do not ask . . .” Some of us might think it’s alright to not pray because God already knows all that’s happening in our lives. Even though He knows all things, it is still important to Him that we communicate with Him about the cares and concerns on our hearts. He desires to hear us and He cares about the things that are dear to us!
When we pray, we are taking a posture of grace and “conscious weakness.” We are essentially telling the Lord that we fully depend on Him and that we trust in His grace, and not our own merits, strengths, or efforts. It is about being aware of our weakness and inability to bring about any desired outcome, while at the same time being dependent and leaning into His power and ability.
God gives grace to the humble (James 4:6). We are humble when we are conscious of our weaknesses. The world might tell us to not show our weaknesses and only show our strengths. But when we choose to show our weaknesses before God in prayer, His strength and grace manifest in those very areas! This is why Paul says in 2 Corinthians 12:10 that “For when I am weak, then I am strong.”
God loves to use the seemingly weak and insignificant things to display His grace and glory in our lives. We see this exemplified throughout the book of Judges.
As an aside, Pastor Prince also shares a tip on parenting from the picture of the ox goad.
An ox goad is a blunt tool used to move oxens to plow the fields. In Ecclesiastes 12:11, the “words of the wise are like goads.” This means that our words as parents—whether a word of encouragement, warning, or exhortation—can go deep into the hearts of our children. It’s important that we learn to correct and discipline our children. Even if there are difficult conversations that we need to have with our children and we are not sure how to, we can pray and ask God for wisdom and favor. He can give us insight into what to speak, and also give weightiness to our words. God has given us the spiritual authority as parents to raise our children for His glory!
People think that there is one set way to pray, but prayer comes out of a relationship with the Lord. Prayer is simply communicating with God. The Lord has made prayer a lot simpler than we think. Let’s look at the life of Jesus.
1. Jesus prayed all the time, and at any time.
When we read the Gospels, we see that our Lord Jesus always took time to retreat to spend time in the presence of His Heavenly Father. He would always talk to God, even in the midst of rejection and persecution (Matt 11:20–28)! In front of all His disciples, He would pray aloud to the Father. Likewise, we can talk to God at any time, especially during times when we feel downcast.
2. Jesus prayed simple prayers.
Jesus didn’t just pray long prayers. While there are instances where He would pray for extended periods of time, e.g when He spends moments of solitude with the Father, most of the recorded prayers of our Lord Jesus in the Gospels were short and simple.
3. Jesus was conscious that He was close to the Father when He prayed.
Some people think that we have to get close to God before we can pray but this is far from the truth; we are already close to God! We are in Christ, seated at the right hand of the Father (Eph. 2:6, 1 Pe. 3:22). Instead of feeling like God is far, we are to pray to God with a sense of closeness. Because we are redeemed by the blood of Jesus (Rom. 3:24) and are righteous before God, He will hear our prayers (James 5:16).
“And this day I came to the well and said, O LORD God of my master Abraham, if You will now prosper (‘tsalach’) the way in which I go.”
—Genesis 24:42 NKJV
Going back to Genesis 24, we see that Abraham’s servant not only prayed for qarah (right happenings), but he also prayed for prosperity.
When we compare Genesis 24:12 (the first instance of the servant praying) and Genesis 24:42 (when the servant relates his prayer to Laban), he replaces the word “qarah” (right happenings) in Gen. 24:12, with the word “tsalach” (prosper) in Genesis 24:42. This shows us that God prospers us through right happenings.
True prosperity is more than just financial blessings. When God prospers us, He will prosper us in our souls, our health, our family relationships, our careers, etc.
“Beloved, I pray that you may prosper in all things and be in health, just as your soul prospers.”
—3 John 1:2 NKJV
Just like the story of Ruth who receives more than enough to be a blessing to Naomi, her mother-in-law (Ruth 2:14–18) . . .
Just like how the Lord blesses a small boy’s lunch so He could feed 5,000 men (not including women and children) (John 6) . . .
The Lord wants us to be blessed so that we can be a blessing to the people around us!
When you come to the Lord in prayer, what are you conscious of?
Are you thinking about how you haven’t done enough and are feeling disqualified?
Are you feeling far away from the Lord and wondering if He will actually hear and answer you?
Are you just feeling unsure of how you ought to pray?
This portion of Scripture puts it simply:
"Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus."
—Philippians 4:6–7 NKJV
All the Lord desires for you to do is to come and speak to Him. Whatever needs you have, whatever anxious thoughts or cares are weighing your heart, simply commit them to the Lord in prayer.
When you do that, you are practicing “conscious weakness.” You are laying aside your own self-effort and letting Him know that you are fully depending on Him to bring you the victory. It can be as simple as starting your day by saying — “Dear God, I am relying on You to give me success in all that I do today.”
It’s that simple.
Your Heavenly Daddy wants to help and bless you more than you know. He is waiting for you to simply come to Him so He can prosper you with good success and guard you with the fullness of His shalom peace.
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 2023
These sermon notes were taken by volunteers during the service. They are not a verbatim representation of the sermon.
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