Spring is finally upon us. And what better way to experience that sense of rebirth than with the new movie Resurrection? Jesus followers are hunted and desperately searching for understanding.
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This episode is brought to you by Comcast since 2011. Comcast has connected more than four million students from low income families to the Internet. Now they're launching more than 1000 Wi-Fi connected lift zones and community centers nationwide to provide safe spaces to get online. Learn more at Comcast dotcom slash education. Hi, this is Joel and Victoria. Thanks for listening to our podcast and thanks for supporting the ministry. If you enjoy today's message, why don't you be a blessing and share it with a friend?
We appreciate you and pray for God's very best in your life.
Well, God bless you. It's a joy to come into your homes, and if you're ever in our area, please stop by and be a part of one of our services. I promise you will make you feel right at home. I'd like to start with something funny. And I heard about this lady. She just got out of choir practice and she was so fired up she put a honk if you love Jesus bumper sticker on her car at the intersection.
She was digging in her purse and didn't notice the light turned green. She said, I was so excited to find out. The guy behind me love Jesus. He started honking. So I leaned out the window, waved at him and said, I love Jesus too, she said. I found out a whole lot of people love Jesus. Everybody started honking. One man even screamed Jesus Christ, she said. After we shared all that love together, I was the only one to make it through the intersection.
I felt so bad I pulled over and waved one last time just to let them know how much I love Jesus. And no, she doesn't come to Lakewood, but say it like you mean it. This is my Bible. I am what it says I am. I have what it says I have. I can do what it says I can do today. I will be taught the word of God. I'll boldly confess. My mind is alert.
My heart is receptive. I will never be the same in Jesus name. God bless you. I want to talk to you today about praying for others. It's good to pray for yourself. Pray for your dreams. Pray for wisdom. Ask God to help you overcome difficulties. That's important. But don't stop there. You have the ability to help someone else reach their destiny. There are people God has put in your life that won't become who they were created to be without you praying they don't have the faith to accomplish their dreams.
They won't break the addiction. They won't overcome the challenge without you stepping up and asking God on their behalf. The Scripture tells us in James to pray one for another. You don't have to go to them physically. I'm talking about in your private time, not just focusing on your needs, your goals, your dreams. Take time every day to pray for others. Look around at who's in your life, that neighbor that seems down, that coworker, that struggling and person you heard about that has cancer that didn't come up by accident.
God brought them across your path. He's counting on you to lift him up. What do all I have my own problems, my own issues, my own dreams. I need somebody to pray for me. When you pray for others, you are so when a seed for God to help you. When Jobe was overcome with difficulties, his world turned upside down. He understood this principle. He didn't just pray for himself. He went out and prayed for his friends.
He turned his focus away from his own needs and started praying for others. The scripture says when Joe prayed for his friends, his health was restored. Could it be, if you would take time to pray for others, then what you're struggling with would turn around your health, your dreams, your breakthroughs would show up, Paul tells us in Galatians to bear one another's burdens. We weren't meant to carry the load on our own. We need each other.
Life can be heavy. People are lonely. They've been through disappointments. They're dealing with illnesses. They can smile on the outside and be hurting on the inside. They have stress and pressure that we know nothing about. When you pray for them, it helps lighten the load. Your prayers calls the angels to go to work. Chains that are holding them back begin to loosen depression. That's trying to sour their life. When you speak victory over them, the forces of darkness begin to lose their grip.
And it may not happen overnight, but your prayer is making a difference. Your prayer may be what's keeping them going. They don't even know you're praying. You may not get any credit. But what you do in secret, the scripture says God will reward you in the open. And when I meet people, the favorite thing they tell me is not I like listening to you. You encouraged me. You help me. That's good. I'm grateful.
But my favorite thing is when they say, Joel, I'm praying for you. When you pray for someone, you're not just sending good wishes. You're not just saying good luck. I hope it goes well for you. Prayer moves the hands that rule the world. Prayer causes the. God, who created the universe to make things happen that we could never make happen in the Book of Revelation, John described what he saw in heaven, how there were angels all around the throne constantly singing, worshiping, saying holy, holy, holy.
But in Chapter eight, there was silence in heaven for 30 minutes. During this time, an angel came to the altar with a jar of incense, which represents the prayers coming up from the earth. Verse four says the smoke of the incense, together with the prayers of the Saints, went up before God hears how powerful prayer is in heaven. There was all this singing, all this worshiping. Then all of the sudden, the angel stopped singing.
The heavenly host were silenced. What could be so important that heaven came to a standstill? Was something wrong?
Was there an emergency? No. All of heaven stopped to hear the prayers coming up from God's people. Your prayers go up like incense before the throne of God. You may think nobody's listening. Voices whisper God's not concerned about you. You're wasting your time. Now when you pray, just imagine the angels get quiet. The musicians stop playing. Gabriel says to God have silenced everything because I hear a prayer coming up from one of your children.
Somebody believes you can do the impossible.
Somebody is counting on you to heal a friend from cancer, to turn a child around, to break an addiction. When you pray, powerful things happen. All of heaven stops. The creator of the universe comes to attention. That's when supernatural things take place. When you pray red seas or parted when you pray. Compact sinners show up. When you pray, you can overcome those illnesses. I'm asking you to not just pray for yourself, pray for others.
Use this power to help somebody else reach their highest potential. In Chapter twelve, King Herod was against the church. He had not only arrested believers, but he had James killed. And when he saw how much this pleased the people, he was planning on doing the same thing to Peter. He arrested Peter and put him in the deepest dungeon, the most secure place. But on the night before, Peter was to go to trial, verse five says the church was earnestly praying for Peter.
The believers had gathered in a house. They spent the night asking God to help their friend, to somehow bring him out to make a way while they were praying. In the middle of the night, an angel showed up at the prison and woke Peter up. Peter wasn't praying. He was sleeping. Maybe he was too tired to discourage, but he had friends who were praying. When the angel woke him up, the chains fell off his wrist.
They walked past the first set of guards. Nobody saw them. They came to the big iron gates. They opened on their own accord. Peter's life was spared. What's interesting is the scripture says specifically that people were praying for Peter, but it doesn't mention that anyone was praying for James. They were in the same circumstances but had totally different results. While we rejoice over what God did for Peter, I wonder if James would have had people praying for him.
Maybe he wouldn't have lost his life. Maybe the angel would have shown up. Maybe Herod would have changed his mind if somebody had been praying. My challenge is, don't let there be a James in your life or your family, your friends, your relatives, your coworkers. They should be. Peter's covered them in prayer. Ask God to strengthen them, to help them, to protect them. Pray that they'll accomplish their dreams. Pray that they'll leave their mark on this generation.
Your prayer can make the difference. You prayer can cause the angel to show up when you go to God on somebody else's behalf. Heaven comes to attention. God is concerned about what concerns you. Some people don't have the faith to believe on their own. They may not be living right. They don't think they deserve it. But because you're honoring God, because you took the time to pray, God will bless them for your sake. You have a gift.
You can help someone else succeed on their own. They can't do it on their own. There are, James. But when you pray prison doors open, the addiction will be broken. The right people will show up. Are you using your gift? Are you praying for others? Life is too short to live, only thinking about my dreams, my goals, my needs. That's a shallow way to live. You'll never be truly fulfilled that way because you need other people to stand in faith with you.
When you develop this habit of praying for others, God will make sure there will always be plenty of people praying for you. The Scripture says one can chase a thousand, but two can put ten thousand apply. You are ten times more powerful when you have somebody praying for you. That's why every morning I pray for your dreams.
I pray for your goals, for your family, for health, for freedom, for abundance. I pray for everyone. That's a part of our ministry. I may not know your name, but God does. You listen for 15 seconds and I'm praying for you some nights before I go to bed.
I'll go out in my backyard and pray for all the people that are hurting in the world. My brother Paul just returned from Iraq, where he was operating on people that were injured in the war. It's very horrific, so much heartache and pain. I believe God brought those people across my path through my brother, not to just feel sorry for them, not to just think that's too bad, but to say, God, show them your mercy, heal their wounds, protect them, let them see your goodness.
You don't know your prayer may protect a child from a mortar wound. Your prayer may keep an accident from happening or your prayer may lift a heavy burden from a family that's endured incredible pain. I was in another city recently and this gentleman came up to me on the street. He was a foreigner, dressed very nice. He told how he and his family watch our program, how they've learned about God, and it's helped him to overcome some difficulties. I thanked him for taking the time to tell me as I was leaving.
I said almost in passing, I'm going to be praying for you. He looked at me so genuinely with these tears starting to come down his cheeks, he said, Why would you pray for me? You don't even know me. I don't come from your same thing. I said. None of that matters. I know God brought you across my path.
See, you don't meet people by accident. God puts people in our lives. He causes us to notice certain people. Maybe at the grocery store you see that person that looks down. They look lonely, don't see them as a James, turned them into a Peter under your breath. Lord bless them. Strengthen them, help them to live in victory. For years, my mother prayed for an entertainer here in town. She would see his name upon the different marquees where he was playing.
My mother had never met him, but she read how his parents were missionaries. Growing up, he came from a strong family of faith in his teenage years. He started running with the wrong crowd and ended up on drugs. Instead of playing in churches, he was playing in bars and in clubs. My mother could have thought, too bad, nothing I can do about it. He's off course. Instead, every time she saw his name under her breath, God help him to get back on course.
God help him to fulfill his destiny. Just a simple prayer. This went on year after year, didn't look like anything was happening, looked like she was wasting her breath. But when you pray, things are changing behind the scenes. God is at work. Your prayers are going up to the throne like incense. And one Sunday out of the blue, that gentleman showed up at Lakewood at the old sanctuary. He sat in the very back. Someone recognized him and told my mother.
She went back and gave him a hug and told how she'd been praying for him all these years. That day was a turning point. He felt loved and accepted. And it was a few months later that our friend Bill Nash gave his first Christian concert there at Lakewood. And for the last thirty years, he's been using his gifts and talents for the Lord. Maybe that wouldn't have happened if my mother had not prayed.
Maybe Bill would still be, of course, still going down the wrong path if she had not gone before God on his behalf.
She's just one person. Yes, but you may be the one that God's counting on your faith may be what causes that young lady at the office. To change her life instead of talking about her, instead of judging her, look at it all, she's done wrong. Why don't you take time to pray for her? Talking about her is not going to help her improve, but prayer will break the chains that are holding her back.
And every morning after you, thank God for the day after you ask him for your dreams, for your needs, take time to go to God in prayer for her.
Maybe nobody's praying. Maybe she's a James. You need to turn her into a Peter. You don't have to tell her. You have to make a big scene. But in your private time, ask God to help her. The scripture calls this standing in the gap for people. Some people are too far off course to ever get back on their own. They're too discouraged. They have too many obstacles. It's going to take you and me praying for them, God said in his equal twenty two.
I looked for someone to build up the wall and stand in the gap so I wouldn't have to destroy the land. But I couldn't find anyone. Back in those days, cities had huge walls around them to protect them from the enemy. But at times there would be a broken place in that wall. Something happened that created a gap. Now the enemy could easily come in, so they would have an armed soldier, one of their most powerful warriors stand in that gap until the wall could be repaired.
People all around us have broken down walls like Bill. They've gotten off course. A relationship didn't work out. They're fighting an illness, depression, loneliness. There's a breach in their wall. God is asking you, will you stand in the gap? Will you cover them while they're down? Will you not let the enemy overtake them when you see somebody in need, somebody fighting a battle? Don't be passive. Don't think. Oh, that's too bad.
I feel sorry for them. Be that warrior that stands in the gap. Speak victory over there, lie. Remind the forces of darkness that they cannot have there. The right attitude is if you mess with them, you're messing with me. And no weapon formed against me or them is going to prosper. Lift them up in prayer, let them know that they're not alone.
Take time to encourage them. Sometimes it's just a simple text. Hey, I'm praying for you. You're going to get through this. That's all it takes to lift their spirits. When my father went to be with the Lord and I stepped up to minister, my wall was broken down. I didn't see how this was going to work out, but I could feel people praying when I couldn't do it on my own.
Many of you covered me. You spoke faith into my destiny until I could get my wall repaired. Like me. You've had people stand in the gap for you. What's been given to us? We have a responsibility to give to others. Somebody around you has a broken down wall. Life hasn't turned out the way they thought. That's your cue to step up and make a difference. Ask God to lighten that load. I talked to a family last week.
There are twenty year old daughter had an aneurysm and suddenly died. The father told me through tears. I don't think I can go on. The pain is not letting up. His wall is down. There's a breach. And yes, I felt sorry. Yes, it broke my heart. But feeling sorry is not enough. That's when you have to make it your mission to stand in the gap every morning. Lord, strengthen that family, heal their wounds, give them beauty for those ashes.
One time the Israelites got off course after all God had done for them, delivering them from slavery, parting the Red Sea, giving them food in the desert. At one point they started worshiping a golden calf, having wild parties, getting drunk. An immoral God was angry he was going to destroy them. But Moses went up on a mountain for forty days. He fasted and prayed, asking God for mercy, not for himself, but for the Israelites.
The Psalmist said God would have destroyed them had Moses not stood in the gap for them. You may know people that are, of course, a friend, a family member, a coworker. They're making poor choices. They know better, but they're doing it anyway. That's where the Israelites were. God was ready to destroy these two million people. But because one man stood in the gap, God changed his mind. Will you do like Moses and stand in the gap for the people around you that are not.
And right, it's easy to criticize, find fault. You can be the one that makes a difference. I want the Psalmist to be able to put my name in that scripture, your name in it. God would have destroyed them had Robert not stood in the gap, had Julie not stood in the gap, had those people at Lakewood not stood in the gap? Now, I've learned if you're not standing in the gap, most likely you'll be standing in judgment.
And I've made up my mind and will be a gap standard and will be a people lifter and will take time every day to help carry people into their destiny. Matthew, Chapter eight, a Roman Army general came to see Jesus.
He was a centurion, the commander of one hundred troops, a very influential and well respected man. He said to Jesus, My servant is sick and in so much pain. He traveled a great distance not to ask something for himself, not for his wife, not for another general, but for his servant. One translation says, I have a slave that's sick. This well respected, influential man was standing in the gap for someone that most people back then would have written off.
They bought and sold slaves all the time. But this commander was different. He loved this servant. I can imagine when he headed out to see Jesus. People ask him, why are you going? Do you need healing? Do you need a miracle? Is something wrong with you? He said, Now I'm going on behalf of my servant. He was standing in the gap for the least of these for someone that society would have written. All said, they're not important.
When he arrived, Jesus said to him, I haven't seen this much faith in all of Israel. Jesus spoke and his servant was healed. What's interesting is this Centurion wasn't a Jew. He didn't come from the same faith. Yet Jesus said you have more faith than all these people that have been around me. That shows us that God is not looking at what family you come from, how you were raised, how religious you are. What gets God's attention is when you're concerned about the least of these, when you stand in the gap for the less fortunate, for people that have been dealt an unfair hand, God calls that great faith.
That's when he'll show up and do amazing things in the scripture. Joseph was falsely accused and put in prison. He'd been there for many years and there were two other main people with him, Pharaoh's butler and his baker. One night, the butler had a dream. Joseph was able to interpret it. He told the butler he was going to get out of prison and be restored to his position. The butler was so excited and so grateful for Joseph and all of his help, Joseph said, Do me a favor.
When you get out, remind the pharaoh that I'm still in here. Just like Joseph said, the butler got out.
He was restored to his position, but he forgot all about Joseph. Joseph helped him. Now, when he needed help, the butler was nowhere to be found. All of us have been where this butler was. Somebody helped us. Somebody gave us a good break. Somebody prayed for us. When we were down. They stood in the gap for us. Now, let's don't be like that Butler. Stand in the gap for somebody else. You're blessed.
Now be a blessing. God answered your prayers. Now pray for somebody else. The truth is, none of us got to where we are on our own.
I had parents praying for me, speaking faith into my destiny. I'm in favor today because people stood in the gap for me, my siblings and I. We never left for school in the morning without my mother praying for protection, praying for fever over us. Now, I not only pray for my children, I pray for my grandchildren. They're not even here yet. I pray for my great grandchildren, for must see when my descendants show up. They may not realize it.
They've already been covered in prayer. They're going to see good breaks, favor mercy. Because I took time to pray after David died.
Solomon son, was it making good choices? He got off course. God was going to take the throne away from him. But God said to him, Solomon, for your father, David's sake, I will show you mercy and I will not do it. That's how powerful it is when you not only live a life that honors God, but you pray for your seed. You pray for your children. Victoria, as a little girl would go back to Georgia to see her grandmother when she'd wake up early in the morning before anyone else was awake, she would see her grandmother outside under a tree on her knees, praying, covering her family, covering her children, covered in her seed in prayer.
Victoria never dreamed she'd be in the ministry. We never dreamed we'd be this blessed. This fulfilled is because people took time to pray. Somebody did it for us. Somebody did it for you. Now let's do it for somebody else. Look around. And who's in your life? Are there some James people that without you praying, won't fulfill their destiny? I'm asking you to turn them into a Peter, make it your mission to pray for them.
Stand in the gap. Ask God to bless them. If you will do this, I believe and declare the seed you sow is going to come back to you like Jobe. As you pray for others, you're going to see your prayers answered, your healing calm, the fullness of your destiny in Jesus name if you receive it. Can you say it again today? I'd like to give you an opportunity to meet Jesus, the Lord of your life, would you pray with me?
Just say, Lord Jesus, our repent of my sins come into my heart and make you my lord and savior. If you prayed that simple prayer, we believe you got born again. Get in a good Bible based church and keep God first place.
Thank you for listening to the Tuesday podcast. Help us continue to share the message of hope with those all over the world. Visit Joel Osteen, Dotcom Slash. Give Hope to give a gift today. Thanks so much for listening to today's message. I hope you subscribe so you can receive the latest podcast to keep you inspired all through the week. We're praying for you. I know God's best is still ahead. We'll see you next time.