“Delight thyself also in the Lord; and He shall give thee the desires of thine heart.” Psalm 37:4
Tonight, I want you to learn how to argue God into giving you what you want and what you ought to have. You know, we talk too much about “Lord, if it by Thy will, if it by Thy will.” I think we ought to pray according to God’s will, but if you will check Psalm 37:4, it says, “Delight thyself also in the Lord; and He shall give thee the desires of thine heart.”
It was Luther who said, “Lord, I will have my will of Thee at this time.” That is a pretty strong statement, isn’t it? “Lord, I will have my will of Thee at this time.” Now, what right does he have to say that. “Delight thyself also in the Lord; and He shall give thee the desires of thine heart.”
There is not a person in this house tonight, not a one of us, that does not have needs and desires. Young folks, you share with us now. We have needs and we have desires. Now, there are some things you want, and there are hundreds of things that Gods wants to give you that God has not given you yet because you have not learned how to talk God into it.
Turn back to the book of II Kings 19. I want you to not with me the way Hezekiah talked to God. I want you to notice it. Use your Bibles and let’s look at it, and I want you to notice something about how Hezekiah talked to God. Then I am going to talk to you about different ways you can argue God into doing what you want him to do.
How many of you tonight need a new car? If you could pray and get one, would you raise your hand. You would do it. How many of you need a new suit of clothes, and if you thought you could pray and get one, you would do it? Okay, how many of you have things tonight that you would like to have? Maybe they are in the Will of God and maybe they are not, but you would like to have them.
I heard Dr. Rice say so many times, (and he is the great speaker on prayer) “Lord, I want so and so. Lord, I am not going to tell you what I need; I am going to tell you what I want.” He says, “Lord, now I want this, and if I should not have it, change my wanter.” You see, he sort of blames God. he says, “Lord, I want this, and I turned my order in. If you do not give it to me, give me my order back and I will change it. Change my order so I will want what I ought to want.” The Bible does say, “Delight thyself also in the Lord and He should give thee…” What? The Will of God.
Young people, I want you to join me in the service, every one of you. That includes my family, and that includes every deacon’s child, and that includes every teenager in all over this house. I am trying to tell you how to get some prayers answered, and get things from God. One of the great problems in this church is a lot of our kids, not from our school, thank God.
Listen, I have gotten letters from all across this country. Somebody wrote that a reporter was here and put it all across the country that we had 11,348, and there were no long-haired boys and no miniskirts. Now, people write me from all over the country and say, “There are a few. I am glad you did not see them.” I thank God when our young people get off the bus and people say, “Those teenagers are different.”
I cannot cut you off. If I could, I would. If I was your Dad, I would! You let David Jack Hyles’ hair grow long, I will be astraddle of him! He will be the only baldheaded 17 year old kid in this church. You say, “He is bigger than you are.” Yes, but he is not as crooked as I am. I have ways.
Now that you have sat up and are listening to me–Dr. Rice tells the story about the fellow that could not get the horse to get up. He got a 2 x 4 and put a big 16 penny nail in it, and he took that thing and hit him in the rear–end with it. The horse jumped up and the fellow said, “Well, what did you have to do?” He said, “You have to get his attention first.”
Now that I have your attention, I want to talk to you about how to argue with God . By the way, anybody who does not like my preaching, I go out this door right back here every Sunday night and down the alley. It is dark there, too. You can lurk in the shadows if you want to, but be sure you know what you are doing before you pick on me, because I took Judo in the Army, and I am not a pacifist. In fact, if you will just look in the garbage cans, you will see half bodies all up and down the alley. (That is in the Greek.)
Now, every single person in this building has things that he wants to get from God. By the way, most of these things, God wants to give us, if we can just figure out how to get them.
Somebody said that prayer is not for God. Prayer is for us. Prayer is not talking God into wanting to give us something. Prayer is convincing God that we are ready to receive it. A fellow comes along and says, “Lord, give me the power of God.” Suppose a little child, seven years of age, said, “Lord, give me a Cadillac. Now, the Lord would love to give that child a Cadillac maybe, but the child is not ready to drive it yet. The Lord would love to give you some things you are not ready to get yet. The thing we have to do is come to God and put our petitions in such a manner that God will give us what we pray for.
Tonight, I am going to give you six ways you can argue God into doing something.
Now, do not think this is sacrilegious. God said, “Command ye me.” Luther said, “Lord, I will have my will of Thee at this time.”
Look at II Kings 19:15-19, “And Hezekiah prayed before the Lord: Thou, the omnipotent, omniscient, and omnipresent God of Jeroboam and Rehoboth.” That is not what he ways. He said, “O Lord God of Israel, which dwellest between the cherubim, thou art the God, even thou alone, of all the kingdoms of the earth; thou hast made heaven and earth.” Now, “Lord, bow down thine ear and hear.”
He is saying, “Lord, listen to me. Lord, now listen to me. Bow down your ear and hear.” He says, “Open, Lord, thine eyes, and see.” He means, “Lord, you look.” Actually, he said exactly what I said a while ago. “Look at me and listen.” He said, “Now Lord, listen to me. I have something I want to tell you. Now open your eyes and look at me and see: and ‘hear the words of Sennacherib, which hath sent him to reproach the living God.'” Sennacherib is not the one praying. Hezehiah is praying. Hezekiah said, “Lord, I want you to hear what Sennacherib said.” Don’t you think the Lord heard it? Don’t you think the Lord had heard what Sennacherib had said? Yes, but Hezekiah just wanted to remind God. He said, “Lord, listen. I am going to remind you what Sennacherib said, which sent him to reproach the living God.”
“Of a truth, Lord, the kings of Assyria have destroyed the nations and their lands. And have cast their gods into the fire.” He is telling God as if God did not know. “For they were no gods, but the work of men’s hands, wood and stone: therefore they have destroyed them. Now therefore, O Lord our God, I beseech Thee, save Thou us out of his hand…” Notice now: “…that all the kingdoms of the earth may know that Thou art the Lord God, even Thou only.”
That is putting God on the spot, isn’t it? “Now, why should you save us, Lord? Your reputation is at stake. Sennacherib wrote a letter and said his heathen gods could take care of them. Now, Lord, save us that these heathen will know you are the true God.” What is Hezekiah doing? He is putting up an argument with God.
I want to give you six ways that you can argue.
1. Argue with God concerning His promises.
Let me give you some examples in the Bible. Jacob came to Jabbok. He had been gone from Esau, his brother, who threatened to kill him many years before. Now he comes back to Jabbok. Jacob is afraid Esau is going to kill his wives and his children, so Jacob comes to God, and here is how he prays, “And Thou said surely I will do thee good.” Jacob said, “Lord, remember what you said?” This is one of the best ways to get your prayers answered. You get you a Scripture in the Bible where God makes a promise, and you take it to God and say, “God, look at it.”
Let me ask you a question. Suppose Brother Beebe and I have had a little discussion since he has been here, and he has made some notes. Often I have asked you, “What all have I promised you?” You see, I do not write down my promises, (I hope I can forget them) but Brother Beebe writes them down. So I said, “Brother Beebe, what have I promised you?” He just pulls out his note pad and says, “Okay, here is what you said. You said I could have this and I could have this.”
I am a man of my word. I try to keep my word. I told him he could have it, and I will see to it he gets it. I think you will agree that I have kept the promises that I made to you. Why? Well, because he held me to it, you see.
Now, suppose I forget. he could walk up and say, “Look, Brother Hyles, look here. I have a little piece of paper here. You wrote me a note and here it says, ‘Brother Beebe, you can have 1,2,3,4,5. Here it is, right here.” Do you know that is what praying is?
Dr. Rice puts it further, the word “praying” means to ask. Do you want something? Ask something. Did you know that back in the Old English days, in fact I think still, in court they would say, “We pray the court?” What does that mean? We ask the court. Dr. Billings, could you call me sometime this week? Now I am asking. I am praying, you see.
To up praying is getting a squint on our face and saying, “O…” Now that is okay, but that is not praying. That is the grunting and the groaning, you see. That is the hurting. If you say, “Dear Lord, I want you to give me what I need,” you have said, “Dear Lord, I pray you will give me what I need.” Both are praying. Praying is not squinting, or looking like you have just had a dose of Black Drought. If you want to look that way it is okay with me, but praying is asking for something. You say, “Brother Colsten, could you hand me a drink of water, please?” That is praying. Praying is when you come to God and say, “Now God, I need something.”
Here is one way every Christian can get things from God. Get a promise and come to God and say, “Lord, look at it.” You say, “That is sacrilegious.” Yes, it is sacrilegious, but that is the way people get things from God. They hang on to a promise and say, “God, here it is.”
That is what Jacob said. Jacob said, “And Thou said surely I will do thee good.” Jacob prayed all night long! Out yonder across the river Jabbok is his brother, Esau. Esau had threatened to kill him, so Jacob had run from home and left his mother and father because he was afraid of Esau. Rebecca had said, “Get out of here, Jacob! Esau will kill you!” and Jacob left.
Now years have passed, and he comes back. he trembles that night and hangs onto God and wrestles with God all night long. Then he comes to God in prayer. What did he say? “O God, Thou wonderful omnipotent, omnipresent God of Rehoboam and Jeroboam and all the boam boys, and Jehoshaphats and all the fat kids, Lord we come to Thee and Thou has said in Thy blessed, marvelous, eternal, wonderful, supernatural, omnipotent, omniscient book. Lord, we love Thee and bless the missionaries to China and bless the missionaries to Japan”?
I like the story of the fellow that was dying and all the preachers gathered around and prayed for him. Finally, one preacher said, “Lord, bless all the missionaries in China and all the missionaries in Africa. Bless all the missionaries in Japan. Bless all the missionaries in South America.” Finally, when he got through with the prayer, he said, “Lord, heal this man.” One guy punched him in the ribs and said, “Never mind, he died while you were in China.”
I know people that spend more time talking to God than others, and get less things than people that spend less time talking to God. The secret to getting things from God is not how long you pray, though you ought to pray a long time. It is not how loud you pray, though you ought to pray fervently. The secret to getting things from God is to learn how to pray. Come and say, “Lord, look what you wrote.” That is what Jacob said.
Jacob said, “Lord, you said I will do thee good. Lord, it is not good that my wives and kids be killed. It is not good that my brother kill me. It is good, Lord, that my brother and I be reconciled. It is good, Lord, that my brother and my family love each other. Lord, it is good that I be spared, and you said you would do me good. Now, what are you going to do about it?” That is the way to get things from God.
Let me give you some other examples. David said to God on several occasions, “Do as Thou hast said. Do as Thou hast said.” Solomon in the dedication of the temple, in his prayer, said, “Lord, remember the words spoken to David and bless this place.” Solomon said, “Lord, David started this building. I finished it. Now, you promised David that you would bless this place. Lord, do you remember? Do not forget what you said. You said you would bless this place. Remember it and bless it.” God had to do it. Why? Because His promises were claimed.
The old Joshua said this, and I like this, “Not one good thing hath failed of all that God hath promised. All have come to pass.” Did you hear? “Not one good thing hath failed of all that God hath promised. All have come to pass.” Now, if you want to get your prayers answered, get a promise.
Turn to John 15:7 sometime. “If ye abide in me, and my words abide in you, ye shall ask what ye will, and it shall be done unto you.” Come to God and say, “God, look, do you see this? See it? Here is what it says. ‘If I will abide in you and your words in me.’ I am abiding in you, your words are abiding in me. Look at what you said. You said, ‘Ye shall ask what ye will.'”
Show it to God. He wrote it. Hold Him to His promise. You have every right in the world to do it. God wrote the promise to you. It is a check you have a right to cash. God said if you would endorse it, He would cash it. You have a right to go to the bank and cash it if you will hold God to His promises.
Get a promise. Get Psalm 37:4, Jeremiah 33:3, Psalm 1:3, and other promises God gives in the Bible. Come to god and claim God’s promises. Argue with Him! You are saying all over the house, “That is sacrilegious.” Yes, and all your aesthetic kind of sacrilegious people or sanctimonious people, go without your prayers answered!
Dr. Pappy Revielle, down in Evansville, (He is in Heaven now) used to pray in the simplest, sweetest way. He would say, “Now Lord,” he called himself Pappy – the Lord’s pet. He would say, “Lord, I am you pet. Now let me have some fish here!” He would say, “Lord, I have not got time to fish very long and, Lord, I need some fish over here.”
He was a little short fellow. Dr. Rice said that one day he came down the steps of the Evansville Rescue Mission, and Pappy Revielle had a bunch of bills all laid out on his desk; he was looking at them and he was praying. He said, “Lord, these are your bills, not mine. I pay all of my bills, and everybody in town knows I pay all my bills. Now, whatcha gonna do about yours?” Pappy Revielle said, “Lord, there is going to be a mighty big stink around town if you do not pay your debts.”
Dr. Rice said that they were about to eat, and they were hungry. Pappy said, “Dr. John, lead us to the Throne of Grace, but do not stay very long. I am hungry.” Do you know why a fellow could do that? He could do it because he knew God well enough. Claim God’s promises. Bring them to God and say, “Lord, here it is. You said this. Now, you said it and I have a right to claim it.”
2. Remind God of His reputation.
I made mention of what Pappy Reville said. Elijah said, “Let it be known that there is only one God. Let it be known that Thou art the only God.” “Let it be known,” he said. Now, what does he mean? Elijah way praying on Mt. Carmel. The prophets of Baal had tried to pray down fire from their heathen gods and could not get the fire. What happened? Elijah stepped up and said, “Lord, let it be known that Thou art the only God. God your reputation is at stake.” He was reminding God of His reputation.
Let me give you a few other ideas. Remember the story of Moses? I preached about it one Sunday morning here. I think it is one of the most interesting lessons on prayer in the whole Bible. Moses and the Israelites were in the wilderness and God said, “Go on to the Promised Land.” Here is what happened. Here is the dialogue between Moses and God: God said, “Moses, I want you to go on now and possess the land.” Moses said, “God, you are going to have to go with me.”
Now, here is Moses and here is God. The Bible said they talked like friends. Lets see, Doctor, come up here, would you mind, please? O, thou lovely omnipotent, omnipresent principal of our High School. I come to thee this august evening as humble as I know how to claim from you mercy for my kids at school. Is that the way friends talk to each other?
Do you call me on the phone and say, “Honorable doctor, Reverend Jack Hyles, pastor of First Baptist Church, Superintendent of Schools, I come to thee asking that thou wouldst advance us just a little from thine omnipotent, thy abundant, thy gracious hand.” No. Dr. Billings would call and say, “Hey, Preacher, I want to talk to you a minute! Number one, (so and so). Number two, (so and so).” That is the way friends talk. Thank you, you did a wonderful job.
Moses talked to God, the Bible said, like a friend. The Lord said, “I want you to take the Israelites, and go down to the Promised Land.” Moses said, “I am not going by myself. I am not going unless you go with me.” The Lord said, “Look, I have a pillar of cloud by day and a pillar of fire by night. Now, just go on and follow the cloud.” Moses said, “No, Sir. I am not going to go. I am not going to follow a cloud. Do you think I am going to follow a cloud into the Promised Land? A cloud does not make for good fellowship. I am not going to go unless you go.”
The Lord said, “I am going to send an angel with you. I will send my angel.” Moses said, “An angel will not do.” The Lord said, “Now, an angel is all right. I will send the angel.” The Lord said, “I guess I had better go with you.” Now, Moses argued God into going.
Did you ever feel out of place somewhere and you wanted somebody to beg you? Were you ever maybe the third wheel or cog in machinery? Take a married couple who has not seen each other for awhile, and you are with them you do not know what to do. They say, “Let’s go out and have a bite to eat.” You say, “Now, you go on.” Did you not want to go? No, you wanted to go. You just wanted them to beg you, didn’t you? “Aw, come on. We want you.” “Oh, no, no, no, no. I am not hungry anyway.” You big liar! “I am not hungry anyway. I would rather you go. I have some things I have to do.”
Yes, you have to go sulk, and we are all the same way. “I have some things I have to do.” “No, we want you. It would not be the same without you.” “Aw, you do not want me. I would just be in the way. You folks…” Now, are you wanting to go? You are dying to go. The truth is if they said, “Okay, we will go on,” you would say, “No, if you insist, I will go. I will go.” Now, you want to go, but you want them to convince you that they want you to go.
The Lord said to Moses, “Now, go on to the Promised Land.” I think the Lord thought, “I hope he asks me to go with him, but I want him to want me to go.” Moses said, “Okay, you go with me.” The Lord said,”No, I have other things to do.” Moses said, “I am not going to follow a cloud or pillar of fire any longer. Do you think the Lord wanted the angel to go in His place? No, God wanted to go Himself. Moses said, “That will not do.” I think the Lord said, “Oh, boy! Oh, boy! I think he wants me to go real badly.”
Do you want to get things from God? Then remind God of His reputation. Moses said, “Lord, you led them out! What are the heathen going to think if they die out here in the wilderness? You led them out! Now, you lead them in.” Remind God of His reputation.
In Hezekiah, the story I read a while ago, the armies of Sennacherib had come. There was a terrible battle, and there was a challenging by the heathen people concerning their false gods. Hezekiah came to God and said, “Now God, I want you to read a letter I got from one of those birds. I want you to read this letter.” God had read the letter, but Hezekiah said, “Now look at this letter, God. Look at it, look at it!” The Lord looked at it and Hezekiah said, “They wrote us this letter and said their gods were the real gods and that their gods were the true gods. If they win this battle, all the heathen are going to think that you are not the true God. Lord, if you let these heathen win the battle, your name is going to be Mud (that is in the Hebrew, also). God, your reputation is at stake!”
Why don’t you come to God and say, “God, everybody is going to know if you do not answer this prayer.” Did you know, for example, if the First Baptist Church of Hammond, Indiana, went under, it would be a catastrophe for the cause of Christ in this area and around the world? That means if God does not take care of our needs, He is going to be in bad shape, isn’t He?
How many times have I come to God and said, “We need some money.” I have paced my floor over there three days several years ago, and I claimed every one of these and some more. I said, “Lord, you know as well as I do that you started this work. I did not want to stay here when we had trouble. I wanted to leave, but you talked me into staying. You know you started it! You know this is your work, and you full-well know if you do not take care of our financial needs, we are going to go under. If we go under, there is not a heathen in this town or around the world–the drinking crowd, the liquor crowd, the dope crowd, the liberal crowd–that would not like to say, “Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah! God did not supply their needs!” I said, “God, it is going to by you and not me that is going to be in trouble!” Hold God to His reputation, that is the second one.
3. Remind God of His attributes.
Come to God, and if God does not answer your prayer, go back and say, “God, that is not like you.” Dr. Billings has a wonderful way when he wants to ask me for something. he doesn’t know this, but I do. When he wants to ask me for something, he brags on me a day or two before. By the way, I know you are going to keep asking for stuff, so keep bragging on me, too.
He will say, “You know, Dr. Hyles is one of the most generous men who ever lived.” The next day he will call me up and say, “Dr. Hyles, I would like to build a $96,000 addition on our high school.” The most generous man that ever lived? Well, goodnight, he has got me where the hair is short! What can I do? I have to build the crazy addition. I have to raise the money somewhere. Why? Because I am the most generous man in the world. He reminded me of one of the attributes I wish I had.
You come to God like that. For example, don’t you recall when Abraham came to God when God was going to destroy Sodom, and he prayed for God not to destroy the city? He said, “That be far from Thee to do after this manner, to slay the righteous with the wicked. That be far from thee.” “Lord,” Abraham said, “you said you are going to destroy Sodom. That is not like you. That is not the God I know. That be far from you to slay the righteous with the wicked.”
The Lord looked down and said, “You know, that is not like me.” The Lord spares the city and answers Abraham’s prayer. Could I confess something to you? Could I confess one of the hardest things I face in this world? Now, this is going to come as a great shock to you, but I am really in my heart not a mean man. That may shock the fire out of you. Quit laughing, I am not! Honest to goodness, I am nor, in my heart, a mean man. I am not! Say “Amen!” If I ever needed you to, it is now! Remind me of my attributes! I am not mean!
I do not know what it is, but some folks are afraid to be around me. They come to my office and they are so nervous, they sit down and miss the seat, and hand their coat on the refrigerator and so forth. Some of them tremble, and when they talk their lips quiver. They will say, “I am just scared.” Really, honest to goodness, I do not like that. Really.
I am not saying not to come. If you get scared, okay, go ahead and get scared, but there is no reason for it. – You let me confess my own sins! You confess yours! – I think the office of the pastor should not be so that you come to this office and take your shoes off and put your feet up on the sofa. Sometimes some people do come in and say, “Preacher, I just came to talk to you. I need your help and I know you can help me.” They do not come quite as formally as others. Did you know that I enjoy that?
Our Heavenly Father, I think, sometimes wants somebody to come and maybe argue with Him a little bit and say, “Lord, here is what you said. Now Lord, I am not being presumptuous, but you said it and I am claiming it! Lord, remember your reputation. All over town folks are going to wonder about you if you do not do what I asked you to do, and what you ought to do.” Then, “Lord, you know this is not like you. It is like you to forgive; it is like you to honor your Word.” Remind God of His attributes.
Don’t you think if you came to God and said, “Dear God, you are a God of mercy and a God of love. I know you want to save sinners. Dear Lord, you said that you would if I would meet the conditions, and I met the conditions. Dear Lord, not only that, there ought to be some people in this town who get their prayers answered so everybody knows you are the real God. Your reputation is at stake.” Don’t you think God would come nearer answering your prayer if you just came to Him honestly and sincerely and down to earth like that, than if you came with a bunch of warbled garbage like the average preacher prays on Sunday morning?
4. Remind Him of His record.
David said, “Thou hast been my help.” Moses said, “Thou didst bring this people out of Egypt.” You started this,” he said, “now finish it!” David said, “Thou hast been my help and I have a right to have you help me on this.” Remind God of His record. You check how many times in the Bible that men prayed and reminded God, “Thou the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob …” I wonder why they prayed like that.
I suspect that they wanted to remind God His is the God that took care of Abraham and performed the miracles. He caused his wife to have a baby when she was 90 years of age. I image they were wanting to talk to the God of Isaac and Jacob, the God that caused the ladder to come from heaven, the God that made a prince out of Jacob because he wrestled all night with Him. “Art Thou the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob?” Remind God of His record. Remind God what He has done in the past.
By the way, I want to make this very clear. I do not believe for one single second in this dispensationalizing of the Bible and taking the power of God and what God can do out of the Bible because it was for another age. I think that is one of the meanest, most wicked, most vile sins that Bible colleges and Bible institutes commit. What Jacob can have, you can have. What Moses can have, you can have. God can still cause the sun to stand still. This is the age of miracles. I have heard preachers quote, “And, now abideth faith, hope, and charity: these three.” They say that means all we have left are faith, hope and love. That is not what God is talking about.
Jesus is the same–yesterday, today and forever. God can still heal the sick, and I am praying that God will do some miraculous healing in our church in these days. I trust God’s will. I was talking with pastors, Brother Cal and Brother John, the other day. I am just hungry for God to just give us a real old-fashioned answer to prayers so everybody in town knows it is God and so we can just hold God to his promise and say, “Lord, this is not like you not to answer. Do not forget your record. Your reputation is at stake.”
By the way, a lot of people would get answers to prayers if they would spread it around and let the world know God did it. Your problem is, if God answered your prayer, you would put a write-up in a non-denominational paper about how wonderful you are. Don’t you think God wants His name spread? Don’t you think God wants His name promoted? God looks down and says, “If they would give me credit, if they would give me the honor, if they would spread it, and let people know I did it, I would answer it. One of the things I pray every time I pray for a miracle is, “Dear God, if you will let this happen, I will spread it all across this country.” Remind Him of His record.
5. Remind Him of His pity, His sympathy.
One time Jeremiah wanted something from God and he came and said, “Lord, look at your people. Look at your people. Look at those little babies. Lord, you are a God of sympathy, look at those little babies. Look at those little children running around without mothers and dads. Look at them without homes and without food to eat. Look at them, Lord, look at them.” Remind God of His sympathy, of His compassion, of His pity.
6. Remind God to do it for His Son.
That is why we pray in Jesus’ name. “Lord, do this for your son.” Suppose that I went to Brother Fisk and said, “Brother Fisk, I want you to do this for the church here.” Brother Fisk said, “Okay,” but he does not do it. I came back and said, “Brother Fisk, I want you to build a great Sunday school class and get a lot of people saved. Now, do it for the sake of our church and for the cause of Christ!” He said, “Okay, okay.” But, he still did not get it done.
Okay, suppose I said, “Brother Fisk, look at your boy back there. He bears your name and you love him. Now, he needs a church to grow up in. He needs a soul-winning church, a church with a good couples’ class. He needs a church where the Power of God is present. Now, for the sake of your boy, won’t you do your best for God?” Brother Fisk says, “I just never looked at it that way. I will do it for my boy.” God will do it for his boy, too. That is why we come and say, “Dear Father, give me thus and so for Jesus’ sake.”
That does not mean you always just pray in those words. I know some preachers who think that you must pray just some set words, “For Jesus’ sake.” I know a preacher that thinks you have to say, “In Jesus’ name, Amen.”
I like what Dr. Rice said. I heard him say it, too. He preached on prayer one time, and a bunch of pious preachers came by and said, “Dr. Rice, you did not even come to the Father through the Son when you prayed. You just said, ‘Dear Jesus.’ One time you said, ‘Dear Holy Spirit.’ The Bible says, ‘No man cometh to the Father but by the Son.’ You just did not approach God right.” Dr. Rice said, “I know the family well. I just talk to anybody in the family. I talk to Jesus awhile. I talk to the Holy Spirit awhile. I talk to the Father awhile. I talk to anybody in the family.”
You see, what God wants is for us to come and say, “Now God, for your Son’s sake, for Jesus’ sake answer my prayer. Jesus died for sinners. Jesus gave His blood to get people saved. For Jesus’ sake, get people saved in First Baptist Church of Hammond!” The Lord says, “Why, that is for my Boy’s sake. I will do that. That is for my Son’s sake.”
Don’t you recall the story over in the book of Philemon? I am going to be a slave, now, for a minute, and you are my master. Boy, that will be the day! Your name is Philemon. My name is Onesimus. While you were looking the other way, I stole some of your riches and I ran off. The Bible said Onesimus took what he stole and went over to Rome. While he was in Rome he got apprehended. You apprehend me and put me in jail. Here is another jail bird over here. This one is the Apostle Paul. Paul, my name is Onesimus. “Glad to know you.” I am a slave. I am here because I stole from my master. Would you like to tell me about Jesus, and how I can be forgiven for that? So I trust Jesus.
Now what does Paul do? Paul writes a letter, and he says to Philemon, “Read this.” Now, what does it say? It says, “I met Onesimus while he was in jail. I won him to Christ. Receive him back, not as a slave now, but as a brother beloved. If he hath wronged thee, charge that to my account.” See what it says there? I asked for forgiveness, not for my sake, but for your friend, Paul.
Paul started a church in your house one time and Paul is your friend. You are his friend, right? Now, I do not deserve to come back because I am a slave and I stole all that stuff from you. By the way, I am going to bring it back to you. That is a part of repentance, too, you know. I am going to bring it back to you. Paul said to treat me like you would treat him if he were here, so I pray that you will. He does it. Why? For my sake? No, for his friend’s sake. Why will God answer your prayers? For your sake? No, for His Son’s sake.
Do you have something you want? I will tell you how to get it.
Do you have something you need? I will tell you how to get it. In the first place, claim God’s promises and remind God of them. If you do not get it, argue! “Lord, you said it. Here it is, right here.” Argue!
Also, remind God of His reputation. “Lord, if you would do this for me, I will spread it all over. Lord, if you do not, I am afraid the Devil’s crowd will spread it all over. Lord, give it to me!”
Then remind God of His attributes. “Lord, you are a gracious God. This is not like you.” Remind God of His compassion.” Remind God of His record. “Lord, your record is better than this.” Then, in the name of Christ, ask God to do it for His Son.
May I say this in closing, there are 10,000 things that God wants to do for people in this room tonight, but He has not done them. It is not because God’s arm is short or His ear is heavy. It is the fact that we have not come to God and argued with God to give us what we want.
What do you want? What are your needs? What is it you want?
You say, “Well, Brother Hyles, I will tell you what. I am sick and I want to be healed.” All right, why don’t you argue, Mr. Lang? Where are you Mr. Lang. God bless him. He is up in the balcony. His dear wife has cancer, and unless a miracle is performed or has been performed, and I trust it has, she is a terminal case. I will tell you what, before she went to heaven, I would argue. I mean if she was about to slip into the pearly gates, I would still be fussing with God about it.
Argue! I mean, say, “Lord, here it is. Here it is.” Mr. Bob Williams, a member of our church, is very sick. A college girl, Arlene Beck, God bless her, one of our little bus girls who grew up here, came on our buses, went off to college and became a lovely Christian in Bob Jones’ University. Arlene had an operation and found out she has cancer. You know, we ought to just argue! Argue!
We have some needs. Let’s argue about it! Do you have a wayward son? Argue about it! Do you have a daughter that is wayward? Argue about it! Just hang unto God. Say, “I am not going to let you go!” God says, “Let me go!” “I am not going to let you go!” “Look, I cannot do it!” “Yes, you can. You said you would!” “I know, but I just cannot!” “But your reputation! What are folks going to say?” “I know, but I just cannot.” “Look, you said you would! I have verse after verse, where you said you would!”
You say, “That is sacrilegious.” Yes, but all the folks you call “sacrilegious” are getting their prayers answered, and all the folks you call “pious” do not get their prayers answered.
If God’s people could learn how to get things from God, we could save this nation. Moses argued with God as a friend would argue with a friend. David said, “Thou hast said…,” over and over and over again. Jeremiah said, “Look at those children. Look for yourself and have pity on them!” Hezekiah said, “Look at this letter the heathen leaders wrote me. They are challenging you, Dear God! Your reputation is at stake.” There ought to be some people of God to prove to the whole world there is a God who answers prayer. There ought to be some people in Hammond, Indiana, in this town where you live and where you work and where you go to school, that prove that is what the Lord says! Many times in the Bible, He says, “Now, prove me!” “Prove me,” saith the Lord. God wants somebody to put Him to the test. “Prove me!”
I recall one time that I was trying to borrow some money for our church down in a little East Texas Bank. I I went in front of the mirror. I got myself all prettied up as best I could, and I practiced shaking hands and looking the banker in the eye. I walked down and said, “My name is Jack Hyles and I am pastor of the Grange Hall Baptist Church out in the country, and I am trying to borrow money.”
He said, “I am sorry, your church is too small and too young.” Do you know what I did? I went back home and I looked in the mirror and I practiced shaking hands again, put on my other suit, walked back down and said, “I am Jack Hyles, remember me?” “I remember you.” “I just came to ask you, have you changed your mind?” He said, “No.” Do you know what I did? I bothered that fellow and bothered that fellow and bothered that fellow and, finally, he said to me, “To get any work done, I am going to let you have the money!” He said, “Even if you do not pay it back–and I do not know whether you will or not because your church is so small–I will be making money. I can make more money than you asked for the time you are taking!” I walked out with the money and built a little building.
Now, why? Because I just kept on. I argued, I argued, I argued. Does anybody here ever say, “Daddy, buy me a milkshake.” “No, I do not have time.” “Daddy you said you would.” “I know, but I do not have time.” “You said you would.” “But look, I am late and I have a lot to do! Quit hollering at me and quit bothering me!” “But Daddy, you said you would!” Did you hear about the little boy that said, “Daddy, would you get me a drink of water?” The Daddy got up out of bed and gave the boy a drink of water. (Every parent knows that awful feeling of the cold floor at 2:00 in the morning.) “Daddy, would you give me a drink of water?” The Daddy got up and gave him a drink of water and he went back to sleep, and within just a few minutes, it seemed like, “Could I have another drink of water?” The Daddy said, “No!” “Please Daddy, another drink of water?” “Well, I am already awake anyhow,” and he got up and gave the little rascal a drink of water and he went back to bed.
Now. everybody that has ever had a baby knows that just the time you get off to sleep there is that little cry, and you feel like you want to choke the baby. “Daddy, could I have a drink of water?” “No! One more word out of you and I am going to get up and spank you!” The little child cries and finally says, “Daddy, when you get up to spank me, would you bring me a glass of water?” Anybody with a Daddy’s heart would begin to laugh and get up and say, “If you want a drink of water that much, I will give you a drink of water.”
There is a loving Heavenly Father tonight who is concerned about every need that you have. He is concerned about your arthritis, he is concerned about your finances, he is concerned about your life, he is concerned about your Sunday school class, he is concerned about your children, he is concerned about your health, he is concerned about every need in your life. That Heavenly Father will do far more than we ever dream He will do, if we will be just as tenacious as that little baby that wanted a drink of water. Argue! “Command ye me.” Luther said, “I will have my will of Thee at this time.”
Let us pray.