How to revive the suffering: Encouragement from the present – Part 4
14th June 2020

How to revive the suffering: Encouragement from the present – Part 4

Passage: 2 Thessalonians 1:11-12
How to revive the suffering
Encouragement from the present – Part 4
Helps to pray with conviction


We’re addressing two doctrinal issues that may be hindrances to your prayers

  • The first issue stems from a wrong view of the Gospel – we called this the Soteriological issue
  • People who hold to the butcher’s ethic say that their worthiness = innocence of their conscience
  • Christians who hold to the butcher’s ethic can’t pray with conviction because they think God will only answer when they are holy enough.

But we saw that the Gospel centres your worthiness in God’s mercy. He made you worthy when He adopted you as His child and made you an heir of His rich promises. Your prayers are therefore heard because you’re an heir, imperfect as you may be.


The second issue we want to address this morning is the Theological hindrance.

  • Christians feel that their prayers cannot possibly move God since His plans and purposes are unchangeable.
  • For example:
  • You are praying for the salvation of someone but you don’t know if they’re elect and so you struggle to pray with the conviction of faith.
  • You are praying for a believer who is going through a trial. You want them to be delivered from the trial but you can’t pray with the conviction of faith because you don’t know what God’s will is in the situation.
  • You always feel like you have to persuade God to answer your prayers

So, let’s address the second hindrance this morning

Prayer (Heb. 11:6)


The Theological issue

Before I can answer the bigger question of why pray in light of God’s sovereignty we need to frame the issue by looking at what the Bible teaches about God’s control of the world. We don’t all come to this topic with the same views of God and I need to unite us in it before we move on.

We begin in Ephesians:

  • Eph 1:11 the Bible says that God works all things after the counsel of His will.
  • All things = Tubs of Legos
  • Counsel of His will = A counsel – deliberation and planning.
    • Purposes and objectives are settled and a path is determined.
      • This issues in a predetermined plan that is then accomplished by the exercise of His will.

God’s plan for the world is therefore carefully thought out and He is working in, by, through, under, over and by means of everything to bring about His predetermined objectives.

The rest of the Bible confirms this in many other ways:

  • God controls the natural world
  • 1:2-3
  • Acts 14:16-17
    • Ps 65:6-10
    • Ps 135:5-7
    • Ps147:15-18
  • God controls random events
  • Prov 16:33
  • Matth10:29
  • Ex 21:12-13
    • Judges 9:52-57
    • 1 Ki. 22:17, 34, 38
  • God controls human history
  • Dan 4:34-35
    • Dan 2:20-21
    • Acts 17:26
    • Ps 33:10-11
  • God controls human decisions
  • Gen 45:5-8
    • Gen 50:18-20
  • Isa 10:5-6
  • Isa 44:28
  • Rom 9:17
  • Prov 16:9
  • Prov 19:21
  • Prov 21:1
  • God controls Satan
  • Job 1:6-12, 2:1-6
  • 2 Sam. 24:1-10; 1 Chron. 21:1-7
  • Luke 22:3; John 13:2,27; Acts 2:22-23

So, God works in, by, through, out of, under, over and by means of nature, random events, human history, human decisions and Satan to bring about His predetermined objectives. He does this in such a way that He never contradicts or undermines the responsible agency of His creatures.

If God works all these things after the predetermined counsel of His will why ask Him for anything? Can my prayers add anything or change anything? Why pray at all?

I have a surprise for you. Tune in for the next sermon and find out why you can pray with complete conviction of faith!


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