"Yes Lord" Is a Prayer
By Carter Conlon
As Christians, we tend to spend a lot of time praying, "Please, Lord, do this" or "Please, Lord, do that." We are constantly asking God to initiate something. "Please bring my son or daughter home. Please give me a better job."
Now those are good and valid prayers. However, there are times when God chooses to initiate something on His own, and all He is looking for is someone who will agree with Him—someone who will not only pray, "Please, Lord" but "Yes, Lord!"
For example, through the prophet Ezekiel, God said, "I sought for a man among them who would make a wall, and stand in the gap before Me on behalf of the land, that I should not destroy it; but I found no one" (Ezekiel 22:30). This was a time when God had already initiated mercy, and He was just looking for somebody to agree with Him.
Unfortunately, when society reaches a condition much like ours today, it is a lot easier to come up with reasons as to why judgment should come. However, what if God is willing to be merciful, and He is simply seeking for some among His people who will say, "Yes, Lord?"
We see the impact of this "Yes, Lord" prayer in the book of Genesis when Abraham sent one of his servants to find a bride for his son Isaac. In fact, this turned out to be an interaction that changed the course of history! Rebekah, the bride he found, eventually bore Isaac two sons: Jacob and Esau. Jacob became the father of the nation of Israel, and through that nation came our Messiah!
Now before we get to the "Yes, Lord" part of the story, there are certain characteristics of this servant of Abraham that are noteworthy. First of all, the Bible tells us that "the servant put his hand under the thigh of Abraham his master, and swore to him concerning this matter" (Genesis 24:9). In other words, he was a man of his word; a person of truth. The truth of God is a lamp to our feet and a light to our path (see Psalm 119:105). If you and I are people of truth, God can begin to lead us on a pathway that will bring great glory to His name.
The passage continues, "The servant took ten of his master's camels and departed, for all his master's goods were in his hand" (Genesis 24:10). If you are a person of truth who wants to find a bride for the Master's Son, God will put everything you need into your hand. He will give you wisdom, kindness, joy, peace, faith, and vision. God will always abundantly supply whatever is required for the work He has called you to do.
"And he made his camels kneel down outside the city by a well of water at evening time, the time when women go out to draw water. Then he said, 'O Lord God of my master Abraham, please give me success this day, and show kindness to my master Abraham'" (Genesis 24:11-12). Notice how he asked that God would show kindness to his master. And so we have a picture of the kind of person God will use: the man or woman who is not looking for his or her own glory. Their prayers are not for their own sake but rather for the glory of God and the sake of others.
"Behold, here I stand by the well of water, and the daughters of the men of the city are coming out to draw water. Now let it be that the young woman to whom I say, 'Please let down your pitcher that I may drink,'and she says, 'Drink, and I will also give your camels a drink'—let her be the one You have appointed for Your servant Isaac" (Genesis 24:13-14). We see that this servant was given boldness to pray a specific prayer. When you value the commission of God, suddenly you will find yourself praying prayers that go beyond generic. The amazing thing is that in this case, before the servant had finished speaking, the answer came (see Genesis 24:15).
OBEDIENT TO THE PROMPTINGS
While the servant's prayer on his side was, "Please, Lord," on the other side was a young girl named Rebekah. Perhaps she was sitting at home when suddenly the thought to go to the well dropped into her heart.
Imagine if Rebekah had said, "No, let my sister go. I went yesterday. I have a headache and I don't feel like going all the way to the well." How different history would have been! Fortunately, she was a young girl who obeyed the promptings of the Lord.
If only we, too, would learn to obey the promptings of the Holy Spirit! There might be somebody across the hall in your apartment building today who is praying, "Please, God, show me if You are real." And all God is looking for from you is, "Yes, Lord" as He moves on your heart to go visit them.
This reminds me of a time years ago when the Lord impressed upon my heart to start a Bible study in a little country church. Now, you had to be lost in order to drive by this church, for there was no way you could be going anywhere to pass by it. This small town called Pendleton was in an area of Canada with no Christian testimony for about forty square miles that we were aware of.
I went to the board of the church and told them who I was and the reason I wanted to rent their church. They ended up allowing us to use the church free of charge, and they even provided a caretaker to turn on the heat and shovel the snow in the winter.
I immediately put together flyers advertising the Bible study and sent them out. The very first night, there was a snowstorm and nobody came! I ended up at the church with my six-year old son, Jason, and my brother-in-law, who was the worship leader. My brother-in-law asked, "Should we just go home?"
"No," I replied. "The Lord has called me to do this, so we are going to have a service tonight!"And we did. We worshiped God, my son shared his testimony, and we all had a great time!
I continued to hold the Bible study week after week. Sometimes there were six people, sometimes only four. But eventually, over the course of a couple of years, the Bible study grew into a church. One church grew into two, plus a Christian school and a food bank—a testimony that still exists today!
What would have happened if I had just gone home on that first night of the Bible study? I could have said, "This is pointless— conducting a Bible study in the middle of nowhere with so few people is not worth the effort."
How sad it will be for some people when they arrive at the throne of God and realize that the Lord's promptings were there to do something that would have brought honor to His name, yet they did not obey. Perhaps they could not believe God would use them or that it actually was His prompting. And so they stayed on the "Please, Lord"side of prayer and never moved on to "Yes, Lord."
BEYOND THE MINIMUM
Returning to our passage, the Bible tells us that Rebekah was "very beautiful to behold, a virgin; no man had known her. And she went down to the well, filled her pitcher, and came up. And the servant ran to meet her, and said, 'Please let me drink a little water from your pitcher.'So she said, 'Drink, my lord.' Then she quickly let her pitcher down to her hand, and gave him a drink"(Genesis 24:16-18).
After she had finished giving the servant a drink, Rebekah offered, "'I will draw water for your camels also, until they have finished drinking.' Then she quickly emptied her pitcher into the trough, ran back to the well to draw water, and drew for all his camels" (Genesis 24:19-20).
Now I did some research and learned that a thirsty camel can drink between twenty-five and forty-five gallons in one sitting. Let's be generous and say it was only a thirty-gallon day for each camel. Remember, Abraham's servant had ten camels, so that would amount to three hundred gallons of water! Note that many of the wells in the ancient Near East were essentially big square holes in the ground with some steps going down to the water. Assuming that Rebekah had a five-gallon pail, which would be about as much as a teenage girl could carry, that meant sixty trips down to the well for her!
Obviously, this was a young girl who did not want to do just the minimum. Sadly, many people never fully realize the potential that God has for them in His kingdom because they always settle for the minimum—the least amount of time spent in Bible study, church attendance, and prayer—just enough to make it across the finish line. And then they are left wondering why they are always dissatisfied, having an empty sense in their heart that they are destined for more.
KNOWING THE FATHER'S HEART
When the camels had finished drinking, Abraham's servant asked, "Whose daughter are you? Tell me, please, is there room in your father's house for us to lodge?"(Genesis 24:23).
I love Rebekah's response: "'I am the daughter of Bethuel, Milcah's son, whom she bore to Nahor.'Moreover she said to him, 'We have both straw and feed enough, and room to lodge'" (Genesis 24:24-25). Her father had sent her to get five gallons of water, yet she was coming home with ten camels and several servants! You see, Rebekah knew there was room in her father's house and she was confident that he would never disappoint her. She was so generous and went far beyond what was required because she knew the largeness of her father's heart.
And so I ask you today: Do you know the largeness of your Father's heart? Do you know His willingness to show mercy? Do you fully understand the longing in the heart of God to see this nation turn back to Him?
The Bible goes on to tell us that Abraham's servant then "bowed down his head and worshiped the Lord" (Genesis 24:26). Incredible! In the same way, I believe that many people today would bow and worship God if you and I would learn to say, "Yes Lord!"—if we were willing to show kindness beyond what is convenient; if we were willing to pray specific prayers; if we were willing to walk in obedience.
When our society finally sees the Church fully engaged with the true work of God—reaching out to the lost, going the extra mile, showing kindness to those who do not necessarily deserve it—suddenly people will bow their heads and begin to worship.
THE "YES, LORD" SIDE
I am convinced that God is initiating something truly significant in this hour; He has decreed a moment of mercy for America. No matter how set against Christ people's hearts have been in the past, God is now presenting an open window. And so I do not want to spend all my prayer life on the "Please, Lord" side. I want to live on the "Yes, Lord" side and find out what my part is! "Yes, Lord, what do You want me to do? Yes, Lord, how do You want me to do it? Yes, Lord, what do You want me to say? Yes, Lord, where do You want me to go?" "Yes, Lord" must be our prayer today!
When God spoke to Rebekah, she had to move from where she was and go to where God was calling her in order for the miracle to happen. Similarly, God is speaking to people today, telling them to get up and out of certain things. So rather than constantly saying, "Please, Lord, give me the grace to get out of this relationship. Give me the grace to cease this practice," it is time to start saying, "Yes, Lord, You have called me to something deeper. You have called me to make a difference in my society. You have called me to be a person who can boast of You to the point where others cannot help but bow their heads and worship. So I am no longer going to say, 'Please, Lord'while merely sitting in unbelief. I am going to agree with You, get out of where I should not be, and go to where You are calling me!"
Perhaps you already know what God is asking you to do. If He has already spoken to your heart, begin with those things. If the Lord is asking you to forgive, then forgive. If He is asking you to speak truth, then do so. If He is asking you to go beyond what is convenient in your service to Him, then do not hesitate to go the extra mile. Until you obey what He has already told you to do, the other leadings of the Lord will remain hidden.
Remember, all that God has ever asked of His people is that we walk with Him in agreement. Of course, we will not always know exactly where our "yes" to God will lead us. However, we do know that it will lead to the miraculous. It will usher us into places of impossibilities where God is able to display His power— places where we, as well as those around us, will begin to truly understand the largeness of our Father's heart!
This newsletter is an edited version of ""YES, LORD" IS A PRAYER," a sermon given on January 15, 2017 in the sanctuary of Times Square Church in New York City. Other sermons are available by visiting our website at tsc.nyc. You are welcome to make additional copies of this sermon for free distribution to friends. However, for all other forms of reproduction or electronic transmission existing copyright laws apply. This sermon cannot be posted on any website or webpage without permission from Times Square Church. Unless otherwise noted, all scripture references are from the New King James Version.