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

NO PERSONAL AGENDAS

“You ask and do not receive because you ask wrongly, to spend it on your passions” (James 4:3 ESV).

“…petitions asked in ignorance may be most truly answered when they are not granted” Charles John Ellicott (ref#304).

“They do not cry to me from the heart, but they wail upon their beds…”(Hos 7:14 ESV).  “…when the pressure of sore trial comes upon us, we are concerned only with deliverance from it, and not that God may be glorified or that the trial may be sanctified to our souls.  Left for himself, man asks God for what would be curses rather than blessings, for what would prove to be snares rather than helps to him spiritually” A.W. Pink (ref#269, p146).

“…how often we attempt to make God the Servant of our carnal desires.  Shall we ask our heavenly Father for worldly success!  Shall we come to Him who was born in a stable and ask Him for temporal luxuries or even comforts” A.W. Pink (ref#269, p147)!

“It is quite useless knocking at the door of heaven for earthly comfort; it’s not the sort of comfort they supply there” C.S. Lewis (ref#31, p62).

“The desire that He writes on our hearts will move His heart and bring down a blessing; but the desires of the flesh have no power with Him….The true suppliant gathers force as he proceeds, and grows more fervent when God delays to answer….The longer…the more resolved he is that he will not let…go without receiving the blessing” Charles Spurgeon (ref#34, Oct 8th PM).

“’Ask’ means beg.  Some people are poor enough to be interested in their poverty, and some of us are like that spiritually.  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).

FATHER, if my prayer requests are within Your will, I’ll have to beg, for I can obtain them no other way but by Your grace.  Everything spiritual comes from You.  And spiritual welfare is Your will and what I want for the people I pray for.

PRAYER

THE SPIRIT HELPS

“…the Spirit helps us in our weakness…” (Rom 8:26 ESV).

“[Maketh intercession]…it simply means that the Holy Spirit greatly assists or aids us: not by praying for us, but in our prayers and infirmities. [With groanings]… [Which cannot be uttered]…This does not mean that the Spirit produces these groanings; but that in these deep-felt emotions, when the soul is oppressed and overwhelmed, he lends us his assistance and sustains us…’The Spirit greatly aids or supports us in those deep emotions, those intense feelings, those inward sighs which cannot be expressed in language, but which he enables us to bear, and which are understood by Him that searcheth the hearts’” Barnes’ Notes (ref#16, [Rom 8:26]).

“’The Spirit…helpeth our infirmities.’…the least that we can do is to seek His aid, to definitely ask Him to undertake for us” A.W. Pink (ref#269, p146).

“We must not sit still, and expect that the Spirit should do all; when the Spirit goes before us we must bestir ourselves.  We cannot without God, and he will not without us” Matthew Henry’s Commentary on the Whole Bible (ref#18, [Rom 8:26-28]).

“He who prays, receives help from the Spirit of God; but he who prays not receives no such help.  Whatever our strength may be, we must put it forth, even while more implicitly depending on the strength of God himself” Adam Clarke’s Commentary (ref#15, [Rom 8:26]).

PRAYER

THE HOLY SPIRIT’S WORK IN PRAYER  II

“In all circumstances take…the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God, praying at all times in the Spirit, with all prayer and supplication….” (Eph 6:16-18 ESV).

“…wherever the Spirit dwells, He produces a spirit of prayer and supplication….wherever He is poured out as the Spirit of grace, He is also poured out as the Spirit of supplication (Zech 12:10).  He helps Christians before they pray by stirring up their spiritual affections and stimulating holy desires.  He helps them in prayer by teaching them to ask for those things which are according to God’s will.  He it is who humbles the pride of their hearts, moves their sluggish wills, and out of weakness makes them strong.  He helps them after prayer by quickening hope and patience to wait for God’s answers” A.W. Pink (ref#269, p101-102).

“…His Holy Spirit…has access to our heart, and teaches us to pray by showing us the sin that hinders the prayer, or giving us the assurance that we please God” Andrew Murray (ref#19, FIRST LESSON).

“The Spirit brings to expression the unutterable things of the soul.  His groanings are before our praying, and our prayers are born of His travail.  In Him is the supply of life and desire, wisdom and faith, intercession and power.  He quickens desire, purifies motive, inspires confidence, and assures faith” Samuel Chadwick (ref#4, p61).

“…let the Holy Spirit be acknowledged as the Author, and constantly sought as the Sustainer, of this holy exercise… Octavius Winslow (ref#135, July 9th).

From Romans 8:26-27, we learn that the longings that the Holy Spirit creates in our hearts are often too deep for utterance…God Himself must search the heart to know “what is the mind of the Spirit” (verse 27)…He does know what those Spirit-given longings mean, even if we don not.  These longings are “according to his purpose” (verse 28), and He grants them.  He is “able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that worketh in us” (Ephesians 3:20) R.A. Torrey (ref#339, p77).

PRAYER

THE HOLY SPIRIT’S WORK IN PRAYER  I

“The LORD is near to all who call on him, to all who call on him in truth” (Ps 145:18 ESV).

“…’Be ye filled with the Spirit’ we have the measure of what God is ready to give, and what we may obtain.  As God’s children, we have already received the Spirit.  But we still need to ask and pray for His special gifts and operations as we require them.  And not only this, but for Himself to take complete and entire possession: for His unceasing momentary guidance” Andrew Murray (ref#19, SEVENTH LESSON).

“…the ever-blessed Spirit, from the throne of grace, will help us and teach us words and even write in our hearts the desires themselves.  The Spirit will direct your desires to the things for which you ought to seek; He will teach you your wants, though as yet you know them not; He will suggest to you His promises that you may be able to plead them; He will, in fact, be Alpha and Omega to your prayer, just as He is to your salvation” Charles Spurgeon (ref#212, p36).

“It is in prayer that we wait for the leading of the Spirit to show us whether we are asking the right thing and in the right spirit” Andrew Murray (ref#19, ELEVENTH LESSON).

“God has not only provided us with an Intercessor at His right hand…God has given His needy people a Divine Intercessor at their right hand, even the Holy Spirit….One to represent God to us, the Other to represent us before God” A.W. Pink (ref#269, p152).

PRAYER

THE TRINITY IN PRAYER

“…the doctrine of the…Trinity…is…the way in which it were possible for man to be taken up into the fellowship of God, and his prayer to become a real factor in God’s rule of this earth” Andrew Murray (ref#19, SEVENTEENTH LESSON).

“Oh, what a costly and precious privilege is prayer!…with the throne of grace accessible moment by moment; with the Holy Spirit disclosing each want, indicating each petition, and framing each request; with Christ at the right hand of God presenting the petition; and with a Father in heaven bowing down His ear and listening so He can answer, surely we may ‘trust and not be afraid” Octavius Winslow (ref#135, Jan 24th).

“Christ intercedes for us in heaven, the Spirit intercedes for us in our hearts; so graciously has God provided for the encouragement of the praying remnant” Matthew Henry’s Commentary on the Whole Bible (ref#18, [Rom 8:26-28]).

“…what encouragement is here: the Spirit creates within us holy desires, the Son presents them, the Father understands and approves them” A.W. Pink (ref#269, p154).  “’O Lord Jesus Christ, let Thy grace be with us; O God the Father, let Thy love be manifested unto us; O Holy Spirit, let Thy saints enjoy much of thy communion” A.W. Pink (ref#269, p193).

HEAVEN

FIRM UNTIL THE END

“The one whom God has exonerated…is not him who has merely ‘believed,’ but is the man who continues‘ believing,’…” AW Pink (Studies in the Scriptures, Vol XI, July, 1932, No. 7, p8).

“…Christ was faithful as a loyal son in the household of the founder, his own Father. And we are members of this household if we maintain our trust and joyful hope steadfast to the end” (Heb 3:6 Phillips).

The letter of Hebrews was written “to encourage earnest perseverance until the end.  This demands hope, which is closely allied with faith…and enduring patience…” The ESV Study Bible (ref#125, p2370, [Heb 6:11-12]).

“The constant exercise of faith…is as essential to…final salvation as it was to…initial salvation….we can only be delivered…by a steady and persistent walking by faith” AW Pink (Studies in the Scriptures, Vol XI, July, 1932, No. 7, p8-9).

“…each of you…extend…intensity toward a full-bodied hope, and keep at it till the finish. Don’t drag your feet. Be like those who stay the course with committed faith and then get everything promised to them”(Heb 6:11 MSG).

“Hebrews warns against allowing the unbelief of a hardened, sinful heart to cause one to fall away…His counter to this danger is both to encourage personal commitment…and to call on the church to walk together in mutual encouragement…” The ESV Study Bible (ref#125, p2365, [Heb 3:12-13]).

“…in order to have a scripturally grounded assurance of God’s taking pleasure in us, we must continue cleaving closely unto Him” J. Calvin (Studies in the Scriptures, Vol XI, July, 1932, No. 7, p9-10).

“It is only they who persevere in believing that obtain the salvation of the soul.  Nothing but a persevering faith can enable a person…to obtain…the Gospel promises” John Brown (Studies in the Scriptures, Vol XI, August, 1932, No. 8, p5).

“…dear friends, carefully build yourselves up in this most holy faith by praying in the Holy Spirit, staying right at the center of God’s love, keeping your arms open and outstretched, ready for the mercy of our Master, Jesus Christ. This is the unending life, the real life” (Jude 21 MSG).

“…sufferings you have sustained…will all go for nothing if you endure not unto the end” AW Pink (Studies in the Scriptures, Vol XI, June, 1932, No. 6, p11).

ELECTION

FOREKNOWLEDGE

“Scripture affirms that God, in His sovereignty, singled out certain ones to be recipients of His distinguishing favors (Acts 13:48), therefore, He determined to bestow upon them the gift of faith.  False theology makes God’s foreknowledge of our believing the cause of His election to salvation.  However, God’s election is the cause, and our believing in Christ the effect” A.W. Pink (ref#235, p25-26).

“Why He chose the ones He did, we do not know.  We can only say, ‘Even so, Father: for so it seemed good in thy sight.’” A.W. Pink (ref#235, p28).

FATHER, Your “foreknowledge” does not mean that Your actions are based on what You know I am going to do.  I’m sure You know what I have done and am doing now and what I will do but You do what You do independent of what I do, for You developed Your plans before You formed the earth.  And You choose me for salvation!!

“…God, before the foundation of the world, singled out certain sinners and appointed them unto salvation (2 Th 2:13)” A.W. Pink (ref#235, p28).  Because You foreknew me You predestined me to be conformed to the image of Your Son.   “…God did not predestinate those whom He foreknew were conformed.  On the contrary, those whom He foreknew (i.e., loved and elected) He predestinated ‘to be conformed.’  Their conformity to Christ is not the cause, but the effect of God’s foreknowledge and predestination” A.W. Pink (ref#235, p28).

“…he chose us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and blameless before him…” (Eph 1:4 ESV).

FATHER, You have predestined me to be holy and blameless, now I have to prove by my actions that I am holy and blameless.  Help me in that joyous endeavor as I work out what You have worked in me—that hidden holiness shining bright in my members.

SOVEREIGNTY OF GOD

HIS PREDESTINED CHOSEN ONES

“Blessed be…God…even as he chose us…before the foundation of the world…he predestined us …according to the purpose of his will,” (Eph 1:3-5 ESV).

“It was ‘in love’ that God…predestined His chosen ones…according to what?  According to some excellency He discovered in them?  No.  What then?  According to what He foresaw they would become?  No; mark carefully the inspired answer: ‘According to the good pleasure of his will’” A.W. Pink (ref#234, p23).

“Nothing shall happen to us which God has not foreseen; no unexpected event shall destroy His plans; no emergency shall transpire for which He has not provided; no peril shall occur against which He has not guarded; there shall come no remarkable need which shall take Him by surprise; He sees the end from the beginning, and the things that are not as though they were.  To God’s eye there is no past and no future; He fills His own eternal NOW; He stands in a position from which He can look down upon the whole, and see the past, the present, and the future at a single glance!  All, all, all of the future is foreseen by Him, and fixed by Him” Charles Spurgeon (“A Safe Prospective”)!

“God is all-sufficient in Himself, having had no need to create any of His creatures.  The creature can neither add glory nor felicity to Him.  However, it has pleased the Lord to create creatures in order to communicate His goodness to them and consequently render them happy” Wilhelmus a Brakel (ref#232, p5-6).

“Isaiah reveals the sovereign ways of God with the nations, for he is no local, tribal deity but the Judge and Savior ruling over all the world.  His purpose is moving human history forward for the benefit of his people” The ESV Study Bible (ref#125, p1265, [Isa 13:1-27:13]).

FATHER, I did not choose to be created, yet as You created You provided a way for my happiness.  Happiness is better than having no life at all.  I praise You for the work You do for Your children’s happiness.  You, all Love had to have someone to love.

“…The LORD, the LORD, a God merciful and gracious, slow to anger, and abounding in steadfast love and faithfulness,” (Exod 34:6 ESV).  “…I made the…house of Israel and the…house of Judah cling to me, declares the LORD, that they might be for me a people, a name, a praise, and a glory…”  (Jer 13:11 ESV).  “For out of Jerusalem shall go a remnant…The zeal of the LORD will do this” (2 Kings 19:31 ESV).