PRAYER

PRAYING WITHOUT CEASING 

“…You who call on the LORD, give yourselves no rest, and give him no rest…” (Isa 62:6-7 NIV).  “Continue steadfastly in prayer, being watchful in it with thanksgiving” (Col 4:2 ESV).

“…definition of prayer is: ‘practicing the presence of Jesus.’  Prayer is recognizing that the Lord is seated (or standing) right beside us…all the time, and having fellowship with him at all hours…Often we talk…often we are silent.  Sometimes we ask him for things…more frequently we simply want to tell him how grateful we are for his blessings….never say, ‘Lord, we come into thy presence.’  We should be in his presence all the time.  We should never leave his presence” Warren Wiersbe (ref#54, p 89-90)!

“The constant exercise of prayer makes light of every burden and smoothes every rugged step of a child of God.  It is this only that keeps down his trials;…he may pray down his crosses; prayer will lessen their number, and will mitigate their severity….Where this is honored, there is the divine blessing; where it is slighted, there is the divine curse” Octavius Winslow (ref#61, March 15th).

The prayer life does not consist of perpetual repetition of petitions. The prayer life consists of life that is always upward and onward and Godward.  The passion of the heart is for the kingdom of God; the devotion of the mind is to His will; the attitude of the spirit is conformity thereto; and the higher we climb in the realm of prayer, the more unceasing will prayer be, and the fewer will be the petitions….prayer with the whole desire Godward brings an answer….” George Campbell Morgan (ref#212, p130).

“We are to recognize that our entire life is to be lived in an attitude and atmosphere of prayer, of constant communication and connection with God so that we remain in a position to think God’s thoughts of infinite wisdom and feel God’s emotions of infinite compassion and love” Charles F. Stanley (ref#230, p66).

“Prayer is not an exercise, it is the life” Oswald Chambers (ref#7, May 26th).

PRAYER

EXAMPLES OF CORRECT PRAYING  II 

“I will recount the steadfast love of the LORD, the praises of the LORD, according to all that the LORD has granted…according to his compassion, according to the abundance of his steadfast love” (Isa 63:7 ESV).

“…let all who take refuge in You be glad, Let them ever sing for joy; And may You shelter them, That those who love Your name may exult in You” (Ps 5:11 NASB).

“Preserve me, O God, for I take refuge in You.  I said to the LORD, ‘You are my Lord; I have no good besides You’” (Ps16:1-2 NASB).

“Who can discern his errors?  Acquit me of hidden faults.  Also keep back Your servant from presumptuous sins; Let them not rule over me; Then I shall be blameless, And I shall be acquitted of great transgression” (Ps 19:12-13 NASB).

“…We ask God to give you complete knowledge of his will and to give you spiritual wisdom and understanding” (Col 1:9 NLT).

“To this end we always pray for you, that our God may make you worthy of his calling and may fulfill every resolve for good and every work of faith by his power,”(2 Thes 1:11 ESV).

“…Our ambition for you is true Christian maturity…” (2 Cor 13:9-10 Phillips).

“…I pray that the sharing of your faith may promote the knowledge of all the good that is ours in Christ” (Philem 6 RSV).

PRAYER

EXAMPLES OF CORRECT PRAYING 

“…this is my prayer.  That…God…will give you spiritual wisdom and the insight to know more of him: that you may receive that inner illumination of the spirit…” (Eph 1:16-18 Phillips).

“…I pray that you may have your roots and foundations in love” (Eph 3:17 TEV).

“I…pray that you will begin to understand the incredible greatness of God’s power for us who believe him….” (Eph 1:19 (NLT).

“And it is my prayer that your love may abound more and more, with knowledge and all discernment,” (Phil 1:9 ESV).

“…And I pray that you…may have power…to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ,” (Eph 3:17-18 NIV).

“May he guide your hearts into ever deeper understanding of his love and the patient suffering of Christ” (2 Thes 3:5 Phillips).

“Beloved, I pray that you may prosper in all things and be in health, just as your soul prospers” (3 John 2 NKJV).

“May God himself…make you holy in every part, and keep you sound in spirit, soul, and body, without fault…” (1 Thes 5:23 NEB).

PRAYER

UNANSWERED PRAYER II 

“…our prayers are heard even though we have not seen an answer yet” John Calvin (ref#164, May 12th).

“I often find that when God doesn’t answer a prayer, he wants to expose something in me” Paul E. Miller (ref#62, p168).

“Three times I pleaded with the Lord about this, [Paul’s thorn in his flesh] that it should leave me” (2 Cor 12:8 ESV).

“It may seem from this text that Paul has not prayed in faith, for we read everywhere in Scripture that we shall obtain whatever we ask in faith.  Paul prays, and does not obtain what he asks for….” John Calvin (ref#164, Aug 24th).  “…as there are different ways of asking, so there are different ways of obtaining.  We ask in simple terms for those things for which we have an express promise.  For example, we ask for the perfecting of God’s kingdom, the hallowing of his name (Matt 6:9), the remission of our sins, and everything that is advantageous to us.  But when we think that the kingdom of God can, indeed, must be advanced in this particular manner or in that, and what is necessary for the hallowing of his name, we are often mistaken in our opinion….We must pray for the grace to will what God wills and to leave it to his wisdom how he brings his will about” John Calvin (ref#164, Aug 24th).

FATHER, help me distinguish between asking and giving You directions.  My carnal mind naturally thinks about how to solve my prayer request.  It is essential that my mind be trained to think of needs not solutions.

“If no answer comes, we are not to sit down…and suppose that it is not God’s will to give an answer. No; there must be something in the prayer that is not as God would have it, childlike and believing; we must seek for grace to pray so that the answer may come.  It is far easier to the flesh to submit without the answer than to yield itself to be searched and purified by the Spirit, until it has learnt to pray the prayer of faith” Andrew Murray (ref#19, FIFTH LESSON).

“…every dream and desire of your heart that you express to God will in His time be answered in His way—and always beyond what you could imagine, even when the answer is no” Becky Tirabassi (ref#87, Personal Comments page).

FATHER, what an encouraging, faith-uplifting comment!  You, All-Love, could not approach Your covenant of prayer in any other way.  May You be praised!

PRAYER

UNANSWERED PRAYER  I

“Surely God does not hear an empty cry…” (Job 35:13 ESV).

“Every one that asketh receiveth’…Yet…there are conditions and limitations….The unrestricted promises are hedged about with conditions….It is possible to ask and not receive (Ps 66:18; James 4:2-3)” Samuel Chadwick (ref#4, p126).

“There may be cases in which the answer is a refusal, because the request is not according to God’s Word, as when Moses asked to enter Canaan.  But still, there was an answer: God did not leave His servant in uncertainty as to His will” Andrew Murray (ref#19, FIFTH LESSON).

“…there are burdens placed on us by God which He does not intend to lift off, He wants us to roll them back on Him” Oswald Chambers (ref#7, April 13th). “…prayer is God’s answer to our poverty, not a power we exercise to obtain an answer” Oswald Chambers (ref#23, p397).

FATHER, this quote propels me to see that when I cry to You in my sympathies I cry to You in pride.  “I” want to be the one who moves You to answer my request.  All my prayer requests must be out of contriteness—praying because I can do nothing to answer the need.  Sin entangles me so that I forget that I am the needy creature and You are the providing Creator.  I thank You for Your longsuffering grace to teach me.  Praise befits You.

“God commands us to pray specifically for our desires, but our desires cannot command him” (Ps 37:4-5; Phil 4:6)” Bryan Chapell (ref#66, p109).

“God does not delay to hear our prayers, because he has no mind to give; but that, by enlarging our desires, he may give us the more largely” Anselm of Canterbury (ref#65, p96).

PRAYER

PRAYING AMISS 

“If one turns away his ear from hearing the law, even his prayer is an abomination” (Prov 28:9 ESV).

“…if the Word of Christ be not dwelling in us ‘richly’ (Col 3:16), how can we expect to have the right petition to present to God in the hour of our need” A.W. Pink (ref#269, p147)!

“As long as in prayer we just pour out our hearts in a multitude of petitions, without taking time to see whether every petition is sent with the purpose and expectation of getting an answer, not many will reach the mark” Andrew Murray (ref#19, TENTH LESSON).

“It is impossible to intercede vitally unless we are perfectly sure of God, and the greatest dissipater of our relationship to God is personal sympathy and personal prejudice.  Identification is the key to intercession, and whenever we stop being identified with God, it is by sympathy, not by sin.  It is not likely that sin will interfere with our relationship to God, but sympathy will…” Oswald Chambers (ref#7, May 3rd).

“Sin is seen not only in selfishness, but in what men call unselfishness.  It is possible to have such sympathy with our fellowmen as to be guilty of red-handed rebellion against God” Oswald Chambers (ref#8, May 22nd).

“It must be, because I pray amiss, that my experience of answered prayer is not clearer.  It must be, because I live too little in the Spirit, that my prayer is too little in the Spirit, and that the power for the prayer of faith is wanting” Andrew Murray (ref#19, FIFTH LESSON).

FATHER, how surprising to me is that my sympathies for others in prayer may not be Your will.  Guess that is why You say, ‘My thoughts are not your thoughts’ (Isa 55:9).  You are insistent that I establish a relationship with You.  Without it I go on thinking my desires are Your desires.  No wonder so much praying sees no asked-for answer.  Remind me that before I open my mouth in petition I need to get an okay from You.

PRAYER

UNABLE TO PRAY ARIGHT 

“…so depraved is the saint that in the hour of need he is incapable of asking God aright to minister unto him.  Sin has so corrupted his heart and darkened his understanding that, left to himself, he cannot even discern what he should ask God for….In nothing do the saints more need the Spirit’s presence and His gracious assistance than in their addresses of the Throne of Grace” A.W. Pink (ref#269, p145).

LORD, send “the [Holy] Spirit…in our weakness; for we do not know what prayer to offer nor how to offer it worthily as we ought, but the Spirit Himself goes to meet our supplication…” (Rom 8:26 AMPC).

“…because we are so blinded by self-love…we are unable to discern what will be most for God’s glory, what will best promote the good of our brethren…and what will advance our own spiritual growth” A.W. Pink (ref#269, p146-147).

“We are poor, and needy, and ignorant, and blind…But in the midst of our feebleness we may look to God for the aid of his Spirit, and rejoice in his presence, and in his power to sustain us in our sighings, and to guide us in our wanderings” Barnes’ Notes (ref#16, [Rom 8:27]).

“…the Spirit of God makes intercession for the saints, not by supplication to God on their behalf, but by directing and qualifying their supplications in a proper manner, by his agency and influence upon their hearts…” Adam Clarke’s Commentary (ref#15, [Rom 8:27]).

“He [the SPIRIT] instructs and inspires all true prayer.  There is no truer word than that ‘we know not what we should pray for as we ought.’  There is no realm in which we so soon come to the end of what we know as in that of prayer.  Our petitions urge wants that are immediate, obvious, and urgent.  We cannot see deep enough or far enough to know what is our real need.  Most people would like good health, home comfort, congenial conditions, happy friendships, a little more money, and better success…” Samuel Chadwick (ref#4, p60, brackets mine).

PRAYER

PRAYER IS NOT… 

“The chief thing is, not to know what God has said we must do, but that God Himself says it to us.  It is not the law, and not the book, not the knowledge of what is right, that works obedience, but the personal influence of God and His living fellowship.  And even so it is not the knowledge of what God has promised, but the presence of God Himself as the Promiser, that awakens faith and trust in prayer.  It is only in the full presence of God that disobedience and unbelief become impossible” Andrew Murray (ref#19).

“…don’t hunt for a feeling in prayer.  Deep in our psyches we want an experience with God or an experience in prayer.  Once we make that our quest, we lose God.  You don’t experience God; you get to know him” Paul E. Miller (ref#62, p21).

“The idea of prayer is not in order to get answers from God; prayer is perfect and complete oneness with God….We are not here to prove God answers prayer; we are here to be living monuments of God’s grace” Oswald Chambers (ref#7, Aug 6th).

“The purpose of God is not to answer our prayers, but by our prayers we come to discern the mind of God…” Oswald Chambers (ref#7, May 22nd).

“It is not…by a sort of imputation that the Father looks upon us as if we were in Christ, though we are not in Him.  No; the Father wants to see us living in Him: thus shall our prayer really have power to prevail.  Abiding in Christ not only renews the will to pray aright, but secures the full power of His merits to us” Andrew Murray (ref#266, p139).