Matthew 22:23 NIV 22 “The eye is the lamp of the body. If your eyes are healthy,[a] your whole body will be full of light. 23 But if your eyes are unhealthy,[b] your whole body will be full of darkness. If then the light within you is darkness, how great is that darkness! In every moment of our Christian walk, we have an opportunity to respond in different ways to situations. left or right. how we see things will determine our outcome. Our perspective will shape our decisions and responses. I want to talk this morning about having the eyes of prayer. God cares about how we see things. What we see matters. If our eyes are healthy, our whole body will be full of light. we will see and understand things clearly, in the truth and light of Jesus Christ. What do you see? This is a question The Lord asks some of the prophets. God wants to hear how they perceive what he is showing them: Jer 1:11 - The word of the Lord came to me, saying, “Jeremiah, what do you see?” And I said, “I see the branch of an almond tree.” Jer 1:13 - The word of the Lord came to me a second time, saying, “What do you see?” And I said, “I see a boiling pot, tilting away from the north Jer 24:3 - Then the Lord said to me, “What do you see, Jeremiah?” And I said, “Figs, the good figs, very good; and the bad figs, very bad, so rotten that they cannot be eaten.” Amos 7:8 -The Lord said to me, “Amos, what do you see?” And I said, “A plumb line.” Then the Lord said,“Behold, I am setting a plumb line [as a standard]Among My people Israel. I shall not spare them any longer. [The door of mercy is shut.] Amos 8:2 - And He said, “Amos, what do you see?” And I said, “A basket of summer fruit.” Then the Lord said to me, “The end has come for My people Israel. I will spare them no longer [for the nation is ripe for judgment]. Zech 4:2 - He said to me, “What do you see?” I said, “I see, and behold, a lampstand all of gold, with its bowl [for oil] on the top of it and its seven lamps on it with seven spouts belonging to each of the lamps which are on the top of it. Zech 5:2 - And the angel said to me, “What do you see?” And I answered, “I see a flying scroll; its length is twenty cubits (thirty feet) and its width is ten cubits (fifteen feet).” What do you see? In prayer, Seeing matters We want to see things that God is wanting to show us. Fill your eyes with light, not with darkness. The light of God will fill our heart, our mind, our spirit. His light will purify us, cause to ‘cling to what is good and abhor what is evil’
James 5:16 says “The prayer of a righteous person is powerful and effective.” When you are filled with light, you see differently.
Seeing matters, if you can’t see God, maybe you need to rethink what you are filling yourself with. Light and darkness do not co-exist. One retreats when the other advances. You need to choose what you will fill your life with by what you cast your eyes on.
Seeing Matters _____________________________
We are going to now look at a story from exodus 15. Moses has led the people of Israel through the red sea on dry ground. the miracle they have just experienced is blowing them away. it’s incredible and they are elated. On the other side of the red sea, after whitnessing the egyptian army get washed away, the isralites erupt into worship and thanksgiving.
Exodus 15. New International Version
15 Then Moses and the Israelites sang this song to the Lord: “I will sing to the Lord,
for he is highly exalted. Both horse and driver
he has hurled into the sea.
“The Lord is my strength and my defense[a]; he has become my salvation.
He is my God, and I will praise him,
my father’s God, and I will exalt him.
The Lord is a warrior; the Lord is his name.
Pharaoh’s chariots and his army he has hurled into the sea.
The best of Pharaoh’s officers are drowned in the Red Sea.[b]
The deep waters have covered them; they sank to the depths like a stone.
Your right hand, Lord, was majestic in power.
Your right hand, Lord,
shattered the enemy. 7 “In the greatness of your majesty you threw down those who opposed you. You unleashed your burning anger; it consumed them like stubble. 8 By the blast of your nostrils the waters piled up. The surging waters stood up like a wall; the deep waters congealed in the heart of the sea. 9 The enemy boasted, ‘I will pursue, I will overtake them. I will divide the spoils; I will gorge myself on them. I will draw my sword and my hand will destroy them.’ 10 But you blew with your breath, and the sea covered them. They sank like lead in the mighty waters. 11 Who among the gods is like you, Lord? Who is like you— majestic in holiness, awesome in glory, working wonders? 12 “You stretch out your right hand, and the earth swallows your enemies. 13 In your unfailing love you will lead the people you have redeemed. In your strength you will guide them to your holy dwelling. 14 The nations will hear and tremble; anguish will grip the people of Philistia. 15 The chiefs of Edom will be terrified, the leaders of Moab will be seized with trembling, the people[c] of Canaan will melt away; 16 terror and dread will fall on them. By the power of your arm they will be as still as a stone— until your people pass by, Lord, until the people you bought[d] pass by. 17 You will bring them in and plant them on the mountain of your inheritance—
the place, Lord, you made for your dwelling, the sanctuary, Lord, your hands established. 18 “The Lord reigns for ever and ever.” ——— There are moments like this in life, who has experience moments like this? Even in this amazing moment, some would have doubted and become synacle. Some would have looked at the negative while others were celebrating. What do you see? When you experience deliverance, a miracle, God providing, God answering your prayer, do you give credit? Do you turn to worship? The people who led the worship in this moment were those that were full of light, those that chose to worship and give God the glory. —— The story continues.... 19 When Pharaoh’s horses, chariots and horsemen[e] went into the sea, the Lord brought the waters of the sea back over them, but the Israelites walked through the sea on dry ground. 20 Then Miriam the prophet, Aaron’s sister, took a timbrel in her hand, and all the women followed her, with timbrels and dancing. 21 Miriam sang to them: “Sing to the Lord, for he is highly exalted. Both horse and driver he has hurled into the sea.” Miram the prophetess is encouraging the people - hey, worship, respond correctly - he has done great things! —- 22 Then Moses led Israel from the Red Sea and they went into the Desert of Shur. For three days they traveled in the desert without finding water. Wow, straight after the the breakthrough, comes a time of trial. Three days in a dessert with no woter, children, babies, pregnant women. That’s tough. 23 When they came to Marah, they could not drink its water because it was bitter. (That is why the place is called Marah which means bitter.) 24 So the people grumbled against Moses, saying, “What are we to drink?” Three days in a desert without finding water is scary. When they finally reach the place they hope would give them some relief, it’s undrinkable. These people would have been gutted, scared and angry. What do you do in this situation. You come down from your mountian top moment of worship - a season of breakthough and victory, and you slide straight into a really tough situation. Its a challenging season, a test of your faith. How will you respond now, when the sea is not parting before you?
Some people resonded in the natural way - they become angry and complianed. they looked to natural human solutions. they became negative. Moses was different. He was different before the victory, he was different after the victory, and he different in the time of testing. Moses had eyes of prayer. Moses turns to God when things are great, and Moses turns to God when things are scary. 25 Then Moses cried out to the Lord, and the Lord showed him a piece of wood. He threw it into the water, and the water became fit to drink. Moses cried out to God in prayer and God said to moses hey, look! use that. What do you see Moses? Sometimes the breakthrough is hiding in plain sight but we need God to point it out. We need eyes of prayer. It carries on: There the Lord issued a ruling and instruction for them and put them to the test. 26 He said, “If you listen carefully to the Lord your God and do what is right in his eyes, if you pay attention to his commands and keep all his decrees, I will not bring on you any of the diseases I brought on the Egyptians, for I am the Lord, who heals you.” 27 Then they came to Elim, where there were twelve springs and seventy palm trees, and they camped there near the water. ————————————— BAND UP ——————————— The season of testing is over. in a beautiful prophetic way, the people of God are led into a place of 12 springs - one for every tribe, and seventy palm trees. After the time of testing they left the place of bitterness and came to the place of palms and springs, shade and refreshment. But what did they learn in their season of testing? God was asking for faithfulness. If you worship me when things are great, will you also worship me when things are bitter? how will you respond in your season, because it is a test. Things happen in life, and God calls us to turn to him. He wants to help us. He said, “If you listen carefully to the Lord your God and do what is right in his eyes, if you pay attention to his commands and keep all his decrees, I will not bring on you any of the diseases I brought on the Egyptians, for I am the Lord, who heals you.” Turn to me and I will heal you. I will be your rescue. Moses turned to God when other’s turned to anger and hopelessness. Moses had eyes of prayer. Your breakthrough in in God. turn to him.
I started writing this sermon when I was in hospital. The Holy Spirit lead me to this passage, showing me that she was going to be ok, and that he wanted to see how I was going to respond. Would I stand in the time of trial? Would I hold on to him? It was easier for me because I’ve seen the faithfullness of God in my life over and over again. I’ve recognised his hand. I’ve seen with eyes of prayer how he answers and comes through, but maybe you haven’t had that. I want to pray for you this morning. ———————— Let’s stand, soon we are going to finish in worship, but iI would like to pray for some people first. Two responses: 1. There may be people here that need to repent from unbelief. The bible says without faith you can’t please God. Hebrews 11:16 NIV “And without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him.” Maybe you haven’t been giving God the praise for breakthrough or the thanks for his blessings and provision. Maybe you don’t actually believe that if you pray and ask he will respond. If this is you, then you need eyes of prayer. I want to give you an oppertunity to come to him this morning, to turn away from unbelief. To ask for a new perspective of faith, so you can see his hand in your life in every season, and so you can stand in faith in the time of testing. Come to the front now and our team will pray with you. 2. Maybe you feel weak this morning. It’s ok if you get weak. Moses stood an a mountain to intercede over Israel as they were in battle, fending off an army coming to wipe them out. But Moses didn’t have the strength to keep his arms up all day. Moses had to accept help from others to do the thing that he was called to do. When I was in hospital I was full of faith for the first few days, and then I got weak. I had to ask for help. I asked some specific people to pray with me and believe for Rachel’s healing, because my faith was becoming weak. I believed God could heal her and I would continue to declare healing, but I was getting frail in my spirit. When these people started to pray and fast with us, I felt a new wave of hope fill my spirit. I new she was going to recover as the faith of others carried me. Maybe some of you can relate to that today. Maybe you feel like you have tried to do it yourself for too long. It’s ok to to ask for help, if you need others to hold you up in prayer, it’s ok. Moses did. If you have been fighting and holding on to faith, believing God for breakthrough that hasn’t yet happened and you feel weak, then lift up you hand now and others around you are going to lift you up in prayer.