Wednesday, November 16, 2011

“Prayers Answered!” (Numbers 11:24-30)

S-1258 PS/3A 06/12/11, (O) #224; (S) #456; L.S. #459; #229; #310; (C) #234

Text: Numbers 11:24-30; Acts 2:1-21; John 7:37-39

Theme: “Prayers Answered!” (Numbers 11:24-30)

Question: “Do You keep a Journal?”


Faithful followers of the Savior, Christ is Risen! He is risen indeed! Alleluia! The text for Pentecost Sunday is from the O.T. lesson: “But Moses said to him, ‘Are you jealous for my sake? Would that all the LORD’s people were prophets, that the LORD would put His Spirit on them!’” (Numbers 11:29).

In Nomini Iesu,

Saints in Christ, what a joy and blessing to know that throughout history, the Lord answers prayers! Last Sunday, I, along with 11 other pastors gathered @ St. John in Gregory for the Ordination and Installation of Jared Nies as the pastor of this congregation. But did you know that Jared’s pastor had prayed for him for a long time? Pastor Gene Bauman from Spearfish, SD., 8 years ago had taken a van full of college students to visit the seminary in St. Louis. Jared was the youngest of the bunch. For a little over 7 years Pastor Bauman prayed for this young man and this past Sunday Pastor Bauman had his prayers answered.

Likewise, the members of St. John had been praying for a long time to God to send them an under-shepherd who will care for them since their last pastor had gotten ill. As I and the other pastors surrounded this young man and laid our hands on him I had tears streaming down my cheeks at God’s kindness and mercy in hearing the prayers of His people.

In my hands I am holding a small note book. This is my prayer journal. I have been keeping records of my prayer life since 1983. If you open it (show the notebook) you will see there are many red marks with an *. Those are the answered prayers the gracious Father has answered.

God’s amazing grace is nothing new. I am sure you, too, can share your stories of answered prayers. If you would only take the time to review your prayer life you would thank the heavenly Father for being a God who has ears to hear the prayers of His people.

Today, as we observe Pentecost Sunday, we see how God answered the prayers of one of His prophets—Moses (our O.T. reading). The story is told that Moses was tired of hearing the people complaining constantly. He was tired of being their pastor. He approached God and told Him his problem. The Lord told him to gather 70 elders and He will pour out His Spirit upon them to help Moses in caring for the needs of the people.

As the 70 elders gathered, God took from the Spirit that was on Moses and placed it on the 70 and they began to prophecy. However, there were two in the camp Eldad and Medad, and the Spirit of God rested on them too; and they, prophesied. But Joshua son of Nun asked Moses to stop them. But Moses said to Joshua: Are you jealous for my sake? Would that all the LORD’s people were prophets, that the LORD would put His Spirit on them!’” Moses’ prayer was that all of God’s people would be able to prophecy and tell the world the good news.

On this Pentecost Sunday we see the prayer of Moses answered. What Moses asked of God 4000 years earlier is answered when the Spirit rests upon the disciples and they begin to prophecy and speak in many different languages so that, those gathered in Jerusalem heard the Gospel message clearly.

For 40 years in the wilderness Moses heard the voice of the Angel of the Lord, Jesus Christ instructing him what to do. And now this man of God prayed for the Israelites that God would give them what they need—the Spirit of God to minister to the young and old. Jesus, too, in His final hours on earth told the disciples: “But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in My name, He will teach you all things and bring to your remembrance all that I have said to you” (John 14:25-27).

Oh the power of answered prayer. We see it again and again in the lives of God’s people. Don’t under estimate that God’s ears are attentive to His people. St. Peter teaches us saying: “For the eyes of the Lord are on the righteous, and His ears are open to their prayer” (1 Pt. 3:12). Yes, indeed God’s ears are open to His people and in due time He answers the prayers. PAUSE.

In the opening verses of Genesis we see the Spirit of God hovering over the water. In the wilderness of Sinai the Spirit hovers over Eldad and Medad and on Pentecost Sunday it hovers over the disciples and gives them the power to be His mouth-piece and speak of the great and mighty work of our salvation that Jesus procured for us.

The Holy Spirit didn’t only rest on these people but on you also. You, too, my dear saints in Christ have received the Holy Spirit. In the waters of Baptism, the Spirit of God descended upon you and rested in you so that you too, may show the world the Savior’s love and His compassion for sinners like you. PAUSE.

So how is your prayer life? Are you like Moses praying that many others come to the knowledge of God’s grace? Are you a child of God who keeps a prayer journal? I certainly hope so. For the prayer life of the child of God is paramount. Luther once said: “What is the pulse to the physical life, prayer is to the spiritual life. To cease to pray means to cease to be a Christian.”

Don’t live your Christian life without going to the Lord daily in prayer. Prayers open hearts. Prayers changes lives. Prayers move us to acknowledge we need help from the Lord.

They say there are three major events in the History of the Church. First, the Resurrection of Jesus Christ from the grave. Second, the sending of the Holy Spirit upon the disciples. And third, the conversion of St. Paul.

How was Paul’s life changed? In Acts 7 Luke tells us that Paul, the zealot Pharisee gave the command to stone his countrymen Stephen. But while Paul stood by, he heard the prayer of Stephen saying: “‘Lord Jesus, receive my spirit.’ And falling to his knees he cried out with a loud voice, ‘Lord, do not hold this sin against them.’ And when he had said this, he fell asleep’” (Acts 7:59-60).

Stephen’s prayer was answered too. As Paul the murderer, the persecutor becomes Paul the preacher and the greatest ambassador of Jesus Christ. Paul’s heart was moved too because someone prayed for him.

Yes, my dear brothers and sisters in Christ God hears the prayers of His people. In the later part of Acts 2, Luke tells us: “And they devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and the fellowship, to the breaking of bread and the prayers (v. 42).

Therefore, on this Pentecost Sunday we remember the Holy Spirit’s work in our hearts. Teaching us all that Jesus has done. Reminding us that it was Jesus who prayed from the cross begging the compassionate Father to forgive those who persecuted Him. It was Jesus who taught us to pray in His name. It was Jesus who today comes to us through His Word and reminds us to ask the Father in His name, and the Father will do it.

Answered prayers are the blessings of God to His children. The reason God answers the prayers of His people because of His grace that was revealed through His Son’s death and glorious resurrection. Even today, even here, God answered your prayers—forgiving you your sins and blessing you with His body and blood.

We rejoice with the saints in Gregory at this fine young man’s ordination and installation. Likewise we thank God for Eldad and Medad. Their names are so special: Eldad - the one whom God has loved, and Medad - Beloved. Yes, they were among the people as the Beloved of God to show, through their continual prophecy that the Love of YHWH is for them all - this is the prophecy of John 3:16.

Pentecost Sunday reveals the answered prayer offered before the Throne of the Mercy Seat long time ago by Moses in the wilderness, Pastor Bauman’s prayers were answered in the life of Jared Nies this past Sunday and I am certain YOUR prayers were answered by the God of all mercy and compassion.

But don’t stop praying. Continue to be prayer warriors, so that the Lord of the Church might raise up men and women to be His ambassadors and use you in a way that reflects His love and glory to young and old. Amen.

Now the peace…


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