If I have heard it once, I have heard it a thousand times, “a person will suffer if he or she does not pray,” I don’t think so. It is not a part of the life of an average person to pray. What suffers when we choose not to pray is our relationship with God the Father and Jesus Christ the Son. We are spiritually nourished not by food, but by prayer. Too often we look upon prayer as a means of getting things from God I believe He looks upon prayer as a means of getting things from us.
Many Christians only pray when they are at the end of their rope and cannot see any other answer to the problems of life. It is not a bad thing to give God a chance when you are at the end of your rope, nor is it a cowardly thing to turn to the Son of God. “For everyone that asks receives” (Luke 11:10). Be yourself before God and present your problems, the things you know have you at the end of your rope with absolute humility. As long as you feel you are self-sufficient, you do not feel as though you need to ask God (pray) for anything. Let us pray:
“Our Father, who art in heaven, hallowed be Thy name. Thy Kingdom come, Thy Will be done on earth, as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread, and forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us. Lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil. Amen.”
It is not always true that “prayer changes things” but I know for a fact that prayer changed me and I changed some things. God has established prayer as a means of two-way communication, from us to Him and from Him to us regardless of how you may look at it. Prayer is not a question of changing things from the outside in, but of changing things on the inside to make them shine out, it changes your disposition. “And whatever things you ask in prayer, believing, you will receive” (Matthew 21:22). Be blessed and bless someone in Jesus’ name. Blessing, glory and wisdom, thanksgiving and honor, power and might be to our God, forever and ever. Amen.
Lord Teach Us To Pray–Part 2
“Pray ye therefore the Lord of the harvest, that He will send forth laborers into His harvest” (Matthew 9:38).
Prayer is one of the more misunderstood activities of Christian life, worship and praise. It is our way of communicating our desires and discomforts to God. Too often and too many believers see the ritual of prayer as a justifiable means of getting things from God. I believe God looks upon the ritual of prayer as insincere and likewise does not respond. Jesus taught and demonstrated that prayer is not meant to be a ritual or routine, but the most intimate and personal two-way conversation a believer can have with God the Father.
Theologically speaking, prayer does not prepare us for the greater works, prayer is the greater work. We think of prayer as a common-sense exercise of our higher powers in preparation for God’s work. God’s work is different from man’s work, yet it requires the same fundamentals of success used in other daily activities. I have heard it said; “if you plan your work and work your plan, your plans will work.” I can testify it has worked for me with many projects. So, why should we not expect planning to work in completing God’s work?
Naturally, prayer is not practical, it is absurd; we have to realize that prayer is stupid from the ordinary common-sense point of view. If you want to get a good picture of a person’s spiritual relationship with God, take a look at their prayer life. Is it warm or cold? Measured over time, the longer the interval between prayers the colder the relationship grows. In one way it is like a romantic relationship; absence tends to make the heart grow fonder. It is the things of the world which we grow fond of and become less attracted to the things of God.
In the teachings of Jesus Christ prayer is the working of the miracle of Redemption in me which produces the miracle of Redemption in others by the power of God. Prayer is our most effective weapon in the daily battles we must fight until the war against sin is won. Whichever way God may engineer your circumstances our duty is to pray. Never allow the
thought—“I am of no use where I am,” enter your mind. Rest assured you certainly cannot be of use where you are not. Wherever God has placed you in life’s circumstances pray, and pray without ceasing.
How many of us pray without respect of persons, and with respect to only one person, Jesus Christ? Jesus is our great example of staying in close communications with the Father as an obedient and loving child inquiring often of Him through prayer, always aware of His presence. “Whatsoever ye ask in My name, that will I do.” Too many of us will not pray unless we get a thrill or public adoration, that is the highest form of spiritual selfishness. We have to labor along the line of God’s direction, and He says we are to pray.
“And greater works than these shall he do; because I go unto My Father” (John 14:12). There is nothing thrilling about a laboring man’s work, however, it is the laboring man that makes the conception of genius possible, and it is the laboring of the saint who makes the conception of Jesus Christ possible. You labor at prayer and results happen all the time from God’s point of view. What an astonishing treasure it will be to find, the souls that have been reaped by you, simply because you had been in the habit of talking to God in prayer. May you be blessed by the Lord who made heaven and earth, be a blessing to someone in Jesus’ name. Amen.
Lord Teach Us To Pray-Part 3
“We know not what we should pray for as we ought, but the Spirit itself makes intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered. And he that searches the hearts knoweth what is the mind of the Spirit, because he makes intercession for the saints according to the will of God” (Romans 8:26-27).
Thank God we have a Priest in Jesus Our Christ and the Spirit of God who “intercedes through wordless groans” on our behalf because God lives is in every moment. Some Christians may realize that we are energized by the Holy Spirit for prayer; others may know what it is to pray in the Spirit; but we do not so often realize that the Holy Spirit Himself pray in us prayers which we cannot speak. When we are born again of God and the Spirit of God takes up residence in us, the Holy Spirit expresses for us the things we cannot express ourselves.
There are three types of prayers we can utter; Salutatory, Intercessory and Statutory. Some of us pray like spiritual frogs, we jump from salutatory to intercessory and from intercessory to statutory. I believe God’s idea is that the three should go hand-in-hand together. They were always together in the life of Our Lord Jesus Christ. Regardless of circumstances He was never in a rush or restless, he exercised discipline, proving we cannot get into all prayer all at once. “Men ought always to pray and not to faint” (Luke 18:1).
Salutatory: A welcoming prayer expressing or conveying greetings sometime referred to as an invocation—inviting and welcoming the presence of God or the Holy Spirit. “I will be glad and rejoice in thee, I will sing praise to thy name, O thou Most High” (Psalm 9:2). We must focus our thoughts as they should on the great and magnificent truths of God.
In Psalm 139, King David acknowledges what I will paraphrase: “Thou art the God of the early morning, the God of the late nights, the God of the mountain peaks, and the God of the sea; but, my God, my soul has farther horizons than the early mornings, deeper darkness than the nights of earth, higher peaks than any mountain peaks, greater depths than any sea in nature. King David invites God; Thou who art the God of all these, be my God. He acknowledges; I cannot reach to the heights or to the depths, there are motives I cannot trace, dreams I cannot get at—my God search me out, help me out!
Intercessory: A prayer of pleading to God, a god, or a saint for somebody or something, requires an intercessor—someone to submit the prayer. “And He saw that there was no man, and wondered that there was no intercessor” (Isaiah 59:16). If you want to see the fruits of prayer in your life, and the life of others, stop praying selfish-prayers and pray for someone other than yourself, “making mention of you in my prayers” (Ephesians 1:16).
Paul tells the Ephesians I mention you in my prayers because I want the God of our Lord Jesus Christ to give you the spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of Him. Simply stated I pray that He will make Himself known to you as He has made Himself known to me. You cannot intercede if you do not believe in the reality of the Redemption, in intercession you bring the person or the circumstance before God, putting yourself in the other person’s place.
Statutory: A prayer related to, covered by and subject to the penalty laid down by that statute; mandatory prayer. “Now therefore restore the man his wife, for he is a prophet, and he shall pray for thee, and thou shall live; and if thou restore her not, know thou that thou shall surely die, thou and all that is thine” (Genesis 20:7). Early in the Old Testament Book of Genesis God makes it clear that we are not to covet thy neighbor’s goods, especially his wife. Should you be found guilty of this, as Abimelech King of Gerar discovered, prayer of the righteous leads others to redemption. Also, God makes it clear there are consequences and repercussions for our wanton acts, but by heeding His word and obeying His commands redemption and relief can be swift.
Furthermore, God has laid down the rules for us in the simplest form of the Ten Commandments and further outlined the path of holiness in many other commandments and statutes. God holds His people to a higher standard, because He offers us a greater reward; “Obedience is better than sacrifice.” Merciful and kind, yet He does not mince words, there is something you must do: “If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land” (II-Chronicles 7:14).
May be the reason the apostle Paul urged us “to pray fervently and without ceasing” is because prayer does and offers so much to the believer at different times in our Christian experience. For instance, in happy moments, prayer offers an opportunity to praise God. In difficult moments, prayer is the means in which we seek God’s help. In quiet moments, prayer offers an opportunity to worship God privately. In painful moments, prayer allows us to grow our trust in God. Finally, when we go astray, prayer brings us back into right standing with our God.
Prayer is the best indicator of our absolute and undeniable dependence on the grace and faithfulness of God the Father, the promises of Jesus Our Christ and the power of the Spirit of God. Through faith-filled prayers we are able to go even when we do not know where we are going, we go because we believe our prayers for strength and success have been heard and will be answered. We go because we believe in the power of prayer and what we have heard from the great provider to whom we submit our prayers.
“But we will give ourselves continually to prayer and to the ministry of the word” (Acts 6:4)). Through prayer we have learned to trust in His ability to provide everything the believer needs to complete the journey ordained for His purposes. In every moment, we should offer our thanks to God in praise, worship and prayer. He has been better to us than we have to ourselves and Him. The grace and mercy of God is there, even when we do not know how or what to pray for as we ought. “To him be glory in the church by Jesus Christ to all generations, forever and ever.” Amen.
Lord Teach Us To Pray – Part 4
“Then Simon Peter answered him, Lord, to whom shall we go? Thou has the words of eternal life. And we believe and are sure that thou art that Christ, the Son of the Living God” (John 6:68-69).
I believe most Christians often pray to be delivered from disasters and hardship, but pray less often for endurance to survive them. We trust God that it shall be His will that we avoid and not endure misfortune. When was the last time you prayed to be made what you should be, strong and unwavering, in the very presence of difficult circumstances? Prayed to be filled with faith to walk right through them, as often as they continue, confident that you are protected by the Lord without any fear of hurt or harm to your body or soul.
For forty days and nights, Jesus endured temptation, starvation and thirst in the presence of his and our adversary Satan in the wilderness. This was no small accomplishment it was a special trial, not a trial by fire, but a trial by the keeper of the Fires of Hell. His human form was being severely tested and weakened by a lack of food and rest, but Jesus did not waver, he fought the evil one with the Word and encouraged himself in the Father. He did not ask for an escape route, but continuously prayed to the Father for strength and endurance.
The list of things to pray for is long: Love, peace, forgiveness, righteousness, deliverance, fellowship, sufficiency, fulfillment and the list goes on. However, the list is short and perplexing when we are asked how are we to pray? Every believer has his and her own very personal way of communicating with the Father, the Son and the Holy Ghost. Jesus gave two powerful examples of how we “ought to pray” in the Lord’s Prayer and his Prayer For The Disciples in the Garden of Gethsemane, John 17.
How are we to pray? We pray to God the Father, Jesus the Christ and we pray with the Holy Ghost. We pray to God the Father as the Sovereign Ruler of heaven and earth, Creator and Master of the universe and all of creation. If you have accepted Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior, we talk to him during our prayer time as the loving and caring
Redeemer he is. We pray with the Holy Ghost, as a partner, to make intercession for us according to the will of God. The organized church and its many denominations offer an unlimited number of prayers and ways to pray for any occasion, from the sublime to the superficial.
“For everyone that asks receives” (Matthew 5:45). Prayer is asking, making your petition-request known to the Father and Son. This does not mean you will not receive if you do not ask, but until you get to the point of humility and submission where you are willing to ask you will not receive the blessed heavenly treasures of God. To ask with the expectation of receiving mean you are in what Sociologists refer to as a “provider-recipient” relationship, except this time it is with God. Then, you will have a spirit-driven understanding that the things you receive come from God through Jesus Christ.
Jesus instructed his disciples to pray like he prayed; I asked of the Father in His name and you are to ask of the Father in My name “And I will pray the Father and He shall give you another Comforter, that he may abide with you forever” (John 14:16). Although he [Jesus] would not physically abide with his disciples, he would ask the Father to provide a powerful substitute, the Holy Ghost—the Comforter—the Spirit of God. From beginning to end Jesus provided for their spiritual and physical welfare, as well as, yours and mine. Jesus would be absent in the body, but always present in the Spirit.
Prayer reminds us we are not self-sufficient. “But the Comforter, which is the Holy Ghost, whom the Father will send in my name, he shall teach you all things, and bring all things to your remembrance, whatsoever I have said unto you” (John 14:26). Jesus used prayer to receive power from on high, it is the gateway, the ticket and the price of admission into the very presence of God. Prayer is how we acknowledge the presence of the Spirit of God in our lives. We pray for comfort in the midst of our sorrows and strength in the midst of the storms of life.
Jesus said the Holy Ghost would bring all things to remembrance. The Christian believer is reminded to pray with purpose and passion and not as a religious ritual or habit. When we pray in this way, it is a blessed assurance to know life may have moments of loneliness, but we will never be alone. Jesus taught prayer as a tool and weapon, to be used often and skillfully, if humanity is to survive and fulfill its spiritual destiny and not sacrificed on the altar of despair in a spiritless wilderness.
Lord teach us to pray like Daniel did, sitting among the lions, and when he was taken up out of the den, “No manner of hurt was found upon him, because he believed in his God.” Pray because you believe in God with a sincere heart and a humble spirit. Pray asking the Holy Ghost to open the eyes of your heart and enlighten your understanding that “My God shall supply all your need according to His riches in glory by Christ Jesus” We pray that Jesus will come, as he said he would. Come Lord Jesus, come! “Blessing and honor and glory, and power be to Him who sits on the throne, And to the Lamb, forever and ever” (Revelation 5:13).
Lord Teach Us To Pray – Part 5
“And Jesus said unto the centurion, go thy way; and as thou has believed, so be it done unto thee” (Matthew 8:13).
Too many Christians are beating themselves up because it seems their prayers are having no effect. Others have stalled out as a result of a lack of simple effort to pray continuously and fervently as suggested by the apostle Paul. Is there a secret to a successful prayer life? I believe there is.
It is not a question of if, but when you find yourself in one of life’s situations that requires a specific prayer, pray until you believe God. Pray with an unbridled tongue and lips until you can thank Him for the answer. If the answer seems far away and distant outwardly, do not pray for the answer in such a way that it is clear you do not definitely believe the answer will come. This kind of prayer instead of helping you will hinder your deliverance and when you are finished praying, you will discover that you believe less now than before you began to pray.
“When ye pray, believe” (Mark 11:24). The saint that does not pray this way learns that their faith his or her faith is fading and will soon disappear completely unless a change is made in how we pray. The sense of urgency that drove you to offer this kind of prayer is surely born out of selfish desire with a little help from Satan the Tempter.
Some believers say it may not be wrong to pray about a particular situation in question over-and-over again to the Lord. Maybe, if you are not being impatient, however, if the Lord is keeping you waiting and you continue to pray for the same thing, make sure you do so in a way that reflects your faith.
I have heard well-meaning Christians unknowingly confess how they were praying
themselves out of faith. Most were doing so because of impatience and disbelief. “Test yourself to see if you are in faith” (II-Corinthians 13:5). Be careful and do not let impatience cause you to pray yourself out of faith. You may say to God that you are
waiting and that you believe He will answer, but your words betray the unbelief that lies within your heart. There is nothing that so completely manifest godly faith as to be confident of the answer that you can thank God for it in advance.
Any prayer we pray that take us out of our faith in the power of God serves two misguided
purposes; one it deny the promises of God in His Word and two it deny the saint the “yes” and “Amen” the Spirit of God has placed in your heart. “Do not grieve the Spirit” with prayers that are nothing more than empty expressions of the true unbelief in your heart, and impatience suggest unbelief more than anything about God’s will to answer your prayer.
“For we who have believed do enter into rest” (Heb. 4:3). Usually, the prayers that take us out of our faith have their beginnings in the human tendency to focus our thoughts on the impossibility of a situation instead of the promises of God. Abraham “considered not his
own body.” Abraham clearly understood that faith is not a by-product of common sense, intellectual understanding or rationalization of the Word of God, but taking God at His Word. “He staggered not at the promise of God” (Rom. 4:19, 20). I pray you will be mindful and keep your eyes and ears open and yield not to the temptation of unbelief and pray yourselves out of faith.
The English Evangelist George Mueller said: “The beginning of anxiety is the end of faith, and the beginning of true faith is the end of anxiety.” The power of prayer and faith in all that it can do is not developed when things are going well in our lives. God often uses the hard times to refine us into the people He wants us to be for His purposes. God gave His promises in the quiet hour and sealed His covenants with the blood of His Son Jesus. He sits upon his waiting and watching to see how much and how many of His promises we will believe. After a short period anxiety comes and test all that God has promised us. It is then that prayer and faith delivers the answer; “And the man believed the word that Jesus had spoken unto him, and he went his way” (John 4:50).
Grady Norman Greene, Minister of the Gospel of Jesus Our Christ
- While I Pray (thethirdcross.wordpress.com)
- The Lord’s Prayer (georgeriddell.wordpress.com)
- “Lord, teach us to pray.” Luke 11:1. (greatriversofhope.wordpress.com)