HOW TO PREPARE FOR PRAYER
“I waited patiently for the LORD; he…heard my cry” (Ps 40:1 ESV).
“…go to the Lord in your worst frames; do not stay away from Him until you get a good one. Satan’s grand argument to keep a soul from prayer is, ‘Don’t go with that old and insensible frame, and with that hard and sinful heart; wait until you are more fit to approach God” Octavius Winslow (ref#135, Oct 5th).
“…how we get into an abiding position with the Lord…being fully clothed in the armor of God” Charles F. Stanley (ref#230, p63). “A Christian gets dressed for battle, not to go out into the world, but to go into the prayer closet” Doug Newton (ref#166, p89). [“…pray…on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests…” (Eph 6:18 NIV). This verse comes right after the description of the armor of GOD.] “Because Jesus Christ has conquered the enemy of our souls, Satan has to drop his weapons when we resist him with prayer, using the sword of the Spirit, which is the Word of God” Doug Newton (ref#166, p89).
“Cultivate frequent and devout contemplations of Christ and of His glory….Place no limit on your knowledge of Christ. Always consider that you have only read the preface to the volume, you have only touched the margin of the sea; stretching far away beyond you are undiscovered beauties, precious views, and sparkling glories, each encouraging your advance, inviting your research, and asking for the homage of your faith, the tribute of your love, and the dedication of your life” Octavius Winslow (ref#135, Oct 30th).
Of prayer, Andrew Murray suggests—“1. Be slow…weigh all in the light of the…Scriptures and in the fear of God. 2. Seek to have no will of your own…3. But when you have found out what the will of God is, seek for His help, and seek it earnestly, perseveringly, patiently, believingly, expectantly; and you will surely in His own time and way obtain it” Andrew Murray (ref#19, THIRTEENTH LESSON).
“…Find a quiet, secluded place so you won’t be tempted to role-play before God. Just be there as simply and honestly as you can manage. The focus will shift from you to God, and you will begin to sense his grace” (Matt 6:6 MSG).
HOW PRAYER WORKS
“Seek the LORD while he may be found; call upon him while he is near;” (Isa 55:6 ESV).
“When…the Father gave the Son…a place next to himself as His equal and His counselor, there was a way opened for prayer and its influence in the very inmost life of Deity itself” Andrew Murray (ref#11, p100).
“God is not meant to answer our prayers, He is answering the prayer of Jesus Christ in our lives; by our prayers we come to discern what God’s mind is, and that is declared in John 17” Oswald Chambers (ref#23, p397).
“As the Son began His prayer [John 17] by making clear His relation to the Father, pleading His work and obedience and His desire to see the Father glorified, do so too. Draw near and appear before the Father in Christ. Plead His finished work. Say that you are one with it, that you trust on it, live in it. Say that you too have given yourself to finish the work the Father has given you to do, and to live alone for His glory. And ask then confidently that the Son may be glorified in you” Andrew Murray (ref#19, TWENTY-SEVENTH LESSON, brackets mine).
PRAYER IS ESSENTIAL
“do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God” (Phil 4:6 ESV).
“Prayer opens our eyes to God’s glory, our hearts to His will, and our needs to His perfect provision. It reveals, solidifies, and confirms the unity of the Spirit that we share with other Christians. And it keeps us alert to the wiles of the Enemy. Prayer is essential to a walk worthy of our high calling in Christ” J. Ruvolo (ref#228, p5).
“…in asking we must always truly feel our wants, and seriously considering that we need all the things which we ask, accompany the prayer with a sincere, no, ardent desire of obtaining them” John Calvin (ref#113, p567).
“Prayer is the Christian’s vital breath….Poverty of spirit enters into true praying. ‘Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.’ ‘The poor’ means paupers, beggars, those who live on the bounty of others, who live by begging. Christ’s people live by asking” E.M. Bounds (ref#54, p32).
“’Ask’ means beg….We will never receive if we ask with an end in view; if we ask, not out of our poverty but out of our lust. A pauper does not ask from any other reason than the abject panging condition of his poverty, he is not ashamed to beg.—Blessed are the paupers in spirit” Oswald Chambers (ref#7, June 9th).
“The real beggar entreats in good earnest; he cries, he weeps, he heeds not the playing of the children, not the barking of the dogs; his wants pinch him, his stomach craves, nothing but food will please him….So it is the same with the upright and serious heart; he is really and deeply pressed down with sin, and needy of grace and comfort….and therefore let the devil or the world disturb what they can, or suggest what they will, he plies his business, he must have pardon and grace…” Richard Steele (ref#225, Sept 20th).
“…’prayer is the falling of a tear’…Prayers are instantly noticed in heaven….Often a poor, brokenhearted one bends his knees, but can only utter his wailing in the language of sighs and tears….that tear has been caught by God and is treasured in heaven. ‘Put thou my tears into thy bottle’ (Ps 56:8) implies that they are caught as they flow. The suppliant, whose fears prevent his words, will be well understood by the Most High” Charles Spurgeon (ref#34, Nov 3rd AM).
GOD’S WILL IN PRAYER
“The LORD is near to all who call on him, to all who call on him in truth” (Ps 145:18 ESV).
“While our prayers should express faith in God’s hidden, sovereign plan for all things, God directs us to pray particularly for what we know to be His revealed will. That will is not hidden from us. It stands in full view throughout the pages of Scripture” Carol J. Ruvolo (ref#228, p112).
“Examine the character of your devotions; are they such as will stand the test of God’s Word? Will they compare with the holy breathings of David, Job, Solomon, and the New Testament saints? Is the life of God breaking forth within you when you pray? Are your prayers often accompanied by brokenness, lowliness of spirit, and humble and contrite confession of sin? Pay attention to your prayers” Octavius Winslow (ref#135, July 20th)! “Prayer is a call to admit weakness” Pastor Brent Nelson. He is seen as glorious and we are seen as needy.
“God’s revealed will appears as broad general principles, not specific directives for every circumstance” Carol J. Ruvolo (ref#228, p112).
“God purposes, therefore He promises….’Therefore I pray the promises, so that God’s purposes might come to reality.’” Lorne Sanny (ref#302, p193). FATHER, remind me to look for GOD’s purposes, then His promises, that I may hold Him to them.
“We can pray with confidence for the increase of our faith, for the improvement of our obedience, and for the furtherance of our dependence on our Lord. The answer to all of these prayers, of course, requires obedience to God’s Word. God does not increase our holiness in any other way” Bryan Chapell (ref#66, p146).
“Draw near with the lowly boldness of a child and the humble confidence of a son….You cannot come too boldly, you cannot come too frequently, you cannot come with too difficult a request….” Octavius Winslow (ref#135, Nov 2nd).
WHAT TO PRAY FOR
“Our prayers should be expectant enough to offer God the largest possible stage on which to enact His glory” Carol J. Ruvolo (ref#228, p115).
“Come with your spiritual need…it shall be granted you….I want more grace to glorify Thee. I want more simplicity of mind and singleness of eye. I want a more holy, upright, honest walk. I want more meekness, patience, lowliness, and submission. I want to know more of Jesus, to see more of His glory to feel more of His preciousness, and to live more simply on His fullness. I want more of the sanctifying, sealing, witnessing, and anointing influences of the Spirit….
Prayer is what keeps every grace of the Spirit in active, holy, healthy exercise….the channel through which all grace comes is prayer, ardent, wrestling, importunate, believing prayer.” Octavius Winslow (ref#135, Nov 2nd).
“We do not pray to inform God. Neither do we pray to persuade Him, for His love needs neither to be induced nor coaxed” Samuel Chadwick (ref#4, p66).
“A true prayer is an inventory of needs, a catalogue of necessities, a revelation of hidden poverty. While it is an application to divine wealth, it is a confession of human emptiness. The healthiest state of a Christian is to be always empty and poor in self, constantly depending on the Lord for supplies, rich in Jesus, weak as water personally, but mighty through God to do great exploits” Charles Spurgeon (ref#34, Oct 11th AM).
“Prayer is your only safety—prayer for grace to help in your time of need, for reviving grace, for quickening, restraining, sanctifying grace; prayer to be kept from falling, to be held up in the slippery paths; prayer for the lowly mind, for the contrite spirit, for the broken heart, and for the soft, close, humble walk with God” Octavius Winslow (ref#135, Nov 2nd).
“The LORD is far from the wicked, but he hears the prayer of the righteous” (Prov 15:29 ESV).
WHY PRAY—TO GET AND NOT TO GIVE
“Two men went up into the temple to pray…The Pharisee…prayed thus…God, I thank thee, that I am not as other men are, extortioners, unjust, adulterers, or even as this publician” (Luke 18:10-11 KJV).
“boasting” before God of what we are and of what we have done, is abominable in his sight. This spoils everything, even if the life “should be” tolerably blameless, and if there should be real piety” Barnes’ Notes (ref#16, [Luke 18:12]).
“When you come to the throne of grace, come to receive out of Christ’s fullness, and come not to bring grace with you to add to Christ’s store. He loves to give, and glories in giving; but He scorns to receive grace from you; and in truth you have none to give but what He gives you. Bring your wants to Him to supply, but bring not your fullness to brag about” Robert Traill (ref#225, Oct 6th).
“The publician…came to the throne of grace, like a man that would carry something away” Robert Traill (ref#225, Oct 6th).
“he has filled the hungry with good things, and the rich he has sent away empty” (Luke 1:53 ESV).
“…it is very much for our interest to be constantly supplicating him…although it is true that while we are listless or insensible to our wretchedness, he wakes and watches for us and sometimes even assists us unasked” John Calvin (ref#20, section 3).
“…he [GOD] does not answer, because of…pride…” (Job 35:12 ESV, brackets mine).
WHERE TO PRAY—AT THE THRONE ROOM
“…the throne of grace. It is a throne set up on purpose for the dispensation of grace…” Charles Spurgeon (ref#212, p33).
“What a God our God must be, to thus appoint a meeting place….That God should have developed a throne of grace, a mercy-seat around which may gather the helpless, the burdened, the friendless, the vile, the guilty, and the needy, in clustering and welcome multitudes; that no poor one should meet with refusal or rejection, be his poverty never so great, his burden never so heavy, or his case never so desperate—this greatly develops and magnifies the riches of His grace, wisdom, and love to sinners.” Octavius Winslow (ref#135, Apr 11th).
FATHER, You have given me access to Your throne room through the greatest of sacrifice and I neglect too often to stop in and see You!! Where is my head? If I deem life is going well, I don’t think of praying. But the throne room is not just for ‘hollering help.” I forget the SPIRIT is always ready to point out my sins. There is always reason to frequent the throne room. Therefore, overwhelm me with my sins.
“…come you that are reduced to a beggarly bankruptcy by Adam’s fall and by your own transgressions. This is not the throne of majesty which supports itself by the taxation of its subjects, but a throne which glorifies itself by streaming forth like a fountain with floods of good things” Charles Spurgeon (ref#212, p36).
WHEN TO PRAY
“…pray without ceasing,” (1 Thes 5:17 ESV).
“…God wills that men should pray everywhere, but the place of His glory is in the solitudes, where He hides us in the cleft of the rock, and talks with man face to face as a man talks with his friend” Samuel Chadwick (ref#4, p35).
“…watching and praying is always necessary…we can never…overcome our old nature on our own. The spirit may be willing, but the flesh is weak; therefore we must watch and pray” John Calvin (ref#164, July 10th).
“Come overwhelmed with life. Come with a wandering mind. Come messy. So, instead of being frozen by your self-preoccupation, talk with God about your worries. Tell him where you are weary…We are often so busy and overwhelmed that when we slow down to pray, we don’t know where our hearts are. We don’t know what troubles us. So, oddly enough, we might have to worry before we pray” Paul E. Miller (ref#62, p33).
“God has willed that the working of His Spirit shall follow the prayer of His people. He waits for their intercession because that is evidence of their preparation of heart—revealing to what extent they are ready to yield to His Spirit’s control.” Andrew Murray
“…the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words” (Rom 8:26 ESV).