PRAYER

GRATITUDE 

“Satan presses his agenda by sowing seeds of ingratitude….By focusing Eve’s eyes on the one thing God hadn’tgiven her, Satan was able to distract her attention from all He had given her” Carol J. Ruvolo (ref#228, p102-103).  This is disastrous.  We run into much trouble because we don’t take the time to give GOD our gratitude!

“When done well, prayer is a most powerful tool in God’s service.  For that very reason, it is a prime target of Satan.  As temporary Prince of This World, [I love that descriptive word for satan—‘temporary prince.’] he attacks prayer quite successfully by raining down discouragement and distraction on God’s children.  The timebelievers need to pray can be eroded by a flood of ‘essential’ activities.  And the still, small voice of the Spirit calling Christians to commune with their Father can easily be drowned out by the rushing cacophony of busy schedules.  And the hope that should draw us often to God’s throne in prayer can be immersed in anxieties produced by life’s pressures” Carol J. Ruvolo (ref#228, p100, brackets mine).

“His throne…is to be approached with devout joyfulness.  If I find myself favored by divine grace to stand among those favored ones who frequent His courts, shall I not feel glad?…Shall not my thankfulness ascend into joy, and shall I not feel that I am honored and that I am made the recipient of great favors when I am permitted to pray” Charles Spurgeon (ref#212, p29)?

“The umbrella of gratitude concentrates our attention on the goodness of God.  It fills our minds with His glory (adoration), humbles our souls with His grace (confession), and inspires our hope with His promises (supplication)” Carol J. Ruvolo (ref#228, p103).

“…receive all his benefits with true gratitude and thanksgiving…having obtained what we asked…we are led to long more earnestly for his favor…have greater pleasure in welcoming the blessings which we perceive to have been obtained by our prayers….” John Calvin (ref#113, p565).

“If our prayers are to function as God intended, they must be shielded from environmental bombardment that dilutes devotion and washes away hope.  The umbrella of gratitude serves that purpose well” Carol J. Ruvolo (ref#228, p100).

“…how abundant is your goodness, which you have stored up for those who fear you and worked for those who take refuge in you….you heard the voice of my pleas for mercy when I cried to you for help….Be strong, and let your heart take courage, all you who wait for the LORD” (Ps 31:19,22,24 ESV).

PRAYER

THE WORK OF PRAYER

“God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble” (Ps 46:1 ESV).

“Intercession means that I strive earnestly to have my human soul moved by the attitude of my Lord to the particular person I am praying for.  That is where our work lies, and we shirk it by becoming active workers; we do the things that can be tabulated and scheduled, and we won’t do the one thing that has no snares” Oswald Chambers (ref#8, Sept 16th).

“There are certain things we must not pray about—moods, for instance.  Moods never go by praying, moods go by kicking” Oswald Chambers (ref#7, May 20th).

“Ask yourself how much time you have taken up asking God that you may not do that thing you do.  He will never answer; you have simply not to do them….We should do well to revise what we pray about.  Some of the things we pray about are as absurd as if we pray, ‘O Lord, take me out of this room,’ and then refuse to go.’” Oswald Chambers

“…pray for the willingness and ability to walk as worthily on the hard paths as…on the easy ones….Nothing confirms God’s transforming work like a believer’s righteous response to hardship” Carol J. Ruvolo (ref#228, p114).

“Prayer for power is the quick and the short way, circumnavigating internal growth.  There is a vast difference between the outward clothing of the Spirit’s power and the inward filling of the Spirit’s life.  In the first, despite the power, the hidden man of the heart may remain unchanged.  In the latter, that monster is dealt with” Gene Edwards (ref#226, p39).

PRAYER

POWER IN PRAYER

“…if we ask anything according to his will he hears us” (1 John 5:14 ESV).

“Prayer may well be the most fragile of all God-given means of grace.  I say that not because prayer itself is weak, but because its effectiveness depends largely on the attitudes and wills of very weak people” Carol J. Ruvolo (ref#228, p100).

Yet…”We are to pray with an awful apprehension of the majesty of God” Westminster Larger Catechism Q/A 185 (ref#228, p9).

 “…The prayer of a person living right with God is something powerful to be reckoned with…” (James 5:16-18 MSG).

“…prayer still remains…the power that is allowed to hold the hand that holds the destinies of the universe” Andrew Murray (ref#19, EIGHTEENTH LESSON).

“It was said of Luther that he prayed ‘with as much reverence as if he were praying to God, and with as much boldness as if he had been speaking to a friend.’” David McIntyre (ref#65, p98).

“…if Christian individuals and Christian communities are impotent, there is no difficulty in understanding why…They lack faith; and so their power is weakness….’Why could you not cast him out?  Because you do not believe that I, working in you, can cast him out.  That is why; and the only why.’  Let us learn that the secret of Christians’ weakness is the weakness of their Christian faith” MacLaren Expositions on Holy Scripture (ref#242, [John 14:12-14]).

“The praying of Elijah is a demonstration of the supernatural power of prayer” Samuel Chadwick (ref#4, p86).  “Hear him plead the honor of God and cry unto the Lord for the affliction of the people.  It is always the same: Abraham pleading for Sodom, Jacob wrestling in the stillness of the night, Moses standing in the breach, Hannah intoxicated with sorrow, David heartbroken with remorse and grief—Jesus in a sweat of blood….It turns ordinary mortals into men of power.  It brings power….There is no power like that of prevailing prayer” Samuel Chadwick (ref#4, p90).

“Power is the recompense of prayer.  It takes us long to learn that prayer is more important than organization, more powerful than armies, more influential than wealth, and mightier than all learning.  Prevailing prayer makes men invincible” Samuel Chadwick (ref#4, p81).

PRAYER

OPEN BOOK PRAYER

“…thinking right thought about God demands that we anchor our minds in the bedrock of Scripture….Praying with God’s revealed truth out of sight and out of mind usually produces requests that reflect our will, not His.  Ironically, such prayers are never truly free.  True freedom comes when we present ourselves to our Father as His ‘slaves for obedience’ (Romans 6:16), not when we seek His power to fulfill our wishes” Carol J. Ruvolo (ref#228, p10).

“To pray in accord with God’s will, we do not need to pretend to see all the details of the road into the future.  Instead, we determine if our prayers are heading in the right direction by steering between two biblical fencerows: the fence of biblical righteousness and the fence of Christian prudence” Bryan Chapell (ref#66, p143).

“Open-Book prayer isn’t noisy or frenzied.  It quietly listens to God’s gracious assurances of His love, care, and pardon.  And it short-circuits our attempts to move Him through self-righteous eloquence, ego-inflated demands, or worldly-wise bargaining.  It helps us curb pride and quiet our souls so that we can rest hopefully and wholly in His great sufficiency” Carol J. Ruvolo (ref#228, p53).

“God reveals Himself to us as the Creator (Genesis 1 – 2), who fills heaven and earth (Jeremiah 23:24); as the Lord God of hosts (Romans 9:29), who is present and near (Psalm 139:7); and as the God who provides (Genesis 22:14), heals (Deuteronomy 32:39), and sanctifies (Exodus 31:13).  Moreover, He offers Himself as our banner (Exodus 17:15), our peace (Hebrews 13:20), and our shepherd” (Psalm 23).  Carol J. Ruvolo (ref#228, p54).

“The Psalms describe God as ‘great…above all gods’ (135:5) in whom no evil dwells (5:4).  They [the Psalms] say He is ‘resplendent’ (76:4), righteous (71:19), strong (68:34), awesome (65:5), holy, and great (77:13).  They tell us He is ‘compassionate and gracious, slow to anger and abounding in lovingkindness’ (103:8), ‘clothed in splendor and majesty, covering [Him]self with light as with a cloak’ (104:1-2)’’ Carol J. Ruvolo (ref#228, p54, brackets mine).

“…trains move most freely when they are constrained by the tracks….a train must operate within the confines of its design.  And prayer is no different….it works best when confined to the revealed truth of Scripture” Carol J. Ruvolo (ref#228, p10-11).

PRAYER

PRAYERS IN JESUS’ NAME  II

“To pray in the name of Christ is to pray as one who is at one with Christ, whose mind is the mind of Christ, whose desires are the desires of Christ, and whose purpose is one with that of Christ” Samuel Chadwick (ref#4, p54).

“Truly, truly, I say to you, whoever believes in me will also do the works that I do; and greater works than these will he do, because I am going to the Father.  Whatever you ask in my name, this I will do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son” (John 14:12-13 ESV).

“…so intimate the communion effected by him between heaven and earth, that, while his disciples pray on earth in his name, he in heaven will act for them…” Charles Ross (ref#241, p88).

“…The works that I do…refers to those miracles like their Lord’s…” Charles Ross (ref#241, p85).  “…the conversion of sinners to God is a greater work…than mere bodily cures” Charles Ross (ref#241, p86).

“…the comparison is drawn between the limited sphere…of Christ’s work upon earth, and the…work by His servants’ witnessing work.…the…Christian who can go to a brother’s soul, and by word or life can draw that soul to …Christ…does a mightier thing than it was possible for the Master” MacLaren Expositions on Holy Scripture (ref#242, [John 14:13]).

“Praying in the name of Jesus is…declared to be the disciples’ part in these greater works” Charles Ross (ref#241, p86).  “Making their requests known to the Father in the name of the Son was the means God had ordained of supplying their needs in His service” Carol J. Ruvolo (ref#228, p61).  “’in My name’…means praying and working as Christ’s representatives in the same spirit in which Christ prayed and worked” MacLaren Expositions on Holy Scripture (ref#242, [John 14:13]).

“Prayers offered in the name of Christ are scrutinized and sanctified by His nature, His purpose, and His will.  They are endorsed by Him” Samuel Chadwick (ref#4, p55).

PRAYER

PRAYERS IN JESUS’ NAME  I

“It is in prayer that we hold up our desire to the light of God’s Holy Will, that our motives are tested, and proof given whether we ask indeed in the name of Jesus, and only for the glory of God” Andrew Murray (ref#19).

“…all our prayers to God ought only to be presented in the name of Christ, as there is no other name which can recommend them” John Calvin (ref#113, p593).

“Christ’s name is the revelation of Christ’s character, and to do a thing in the name of another person is to do it as His representative, and as realising that in some deep and real sense-for the present purpose at all events-we are one with Him” MacLaren Expositions on Holy Scripture (ref#242, [John 14:12-14]).

“Prayer reaches its highest level when offered in the name which is above every name, for it lifts the petitioner into unity and identify with our Mediator Himself” Samuel Chadwick (ref#4, p53).

“…whatever you request along the lines of who I am and what I am doing, I’ll do it….Whatever you request in this way, I’ll do” (John 14:11-14 MSG).  “…if you make yourselves at home with me and my words are at home in you, you can be sure that whatever you ask will be listened to and acted upon…” (John 15:5-8 MSG).

“…to ask in the name of Jesus, is to ask as being one with him; it is to renounce all merit of your own; it is to ask as one depending entirely on his divine resources” Charles Ross (ref#241, p87).  “We might…close our prayers with the words, ‘I ask these things because I believe that Jesus would request them in this situation’” Carol J. Ruvolo (ref#228, p62).  “Effective prayer must ask for and desire what Jesus delights in” ESV Study Bible (ref#125, p2053, [John 14:13]).

“Prayer in the name of Christ is hard to offer….it excludes all self-will and selfishness…the end of the Son’s working is the glory of the Father, that same end, and not our own ease or comfort, must be the end and object of all prayer which is offered in His name….Prayers for other ends than this are excluded; not that it is said that they will not be granted, but there is no promise that they will” MacLaren Expositions on Holy Scripture (ref#242, [John 14:13]).

PRAYER

THE HOLY SPIRIT’S WORK IN PRAYER  III

“…you shall call and the LORD will answer; you shall cry, and he wills say, ‘Here I am…’” (Isa 58:9 ESV).

“True prayer is an approach of the soul by the Spirit of God to the throne of God….it is spiritual communion with the Creator of heaven and earth.  God is a Spirit…to be perceived by the inner man…” Charles Spurgeon (ref#212, p27).

“The Spirit, as an enlightening Spirit, teaches us what to pray for, as a sanctifying Spirit works and excites praying graces, as a comforting Spirit silences our fears, and helps us over all our discouragements.  The Holy Spirit is the spring of all our desires and breathings towards God.  It is not the rhetoric and eloquence, but the faith and fervency, of our prayers, that the Spirit works, as an intercessor, in us” Matthew Henry’s Commentary on the Whole Bible (ref#18, [Rom 8:26-28]).

“…the Holy Spirit’s work of assuring  us of our redemption helps us to pray” Carol J. Ruvolo (ref#228, p71).

“God…sent His Spirit into the heart as the Author of prayer, indicting the petition, breathing in the soul, implanting the desire, convincing of existing needs, unfolding the character of God, working faith in the heart, and drawing it up to God through Jesus.  This seems the very perfection of His wisdom, benevolence, and grace….all true prayer is of the Spirit…” Octavius Winslow (ref#135, April 11th).

“The High Priest intercedes for us in heaven, and the Holy Spirit intercedes within the temple of the consecrated soul….what is prayed by the intercessor on earth is prayed by the Intercessor in heaven….Intercession through the Spirit implies a Spirit-filled temple” Samuel Chadwick (ref#4, p112).

“…there is and can be no good in us except what God works.  We then see light on the divine mystery of prayer, and believe in the Holy Spirit as breathing within us desires which God will fulfill when we yield to them, and in faith present them in the name of Christ” Andrew Murray (ref#143, p117).

PRAYER

MEDITATE UPON THE LORD

“…Make me know the way I should go…Teach me to do your will, for you are my God!  Let your good Spirit lead me on level ground” (Ps 143:8,10 ESV).

“…thinking right thought about God…that is essential to praying good prayers” Carol J. Ruvolo (ref#228, p9).

“…take more time to be still before God without saying one word….We are not ready to offer our petition until we are fully conscious of having secured the attention of God” Andrew Murray (ref#272, p48).

“It is difficult to steadfastly and unweariedly persevere in prayer….as fuel must frequently be added to preserve a fire, so prayer requires helps so that it will not languish and at length be extinguished….by meditating on…truth” John Calvin (ref#164, Feb 13th).

“A short, unhurried meditation on some fragment of Scripture and then silence quickens the spirit of devotion” William E. Sangster (ref#212, p157).

“We must meditate upon Him [CHRIST], upon what He is, what He has done, His love to us, and God’s care for us who are His people….we must look at ‘these things’ (John 17:13) that He speaks of, these truths that He unfolded.  Let us meditate upon them, contemplate them, dwell upon them, revel in them, and I will guarantee that as we do so, either in our own personal meditation or in reading books about them, we will find ourselves experiencing a joy we have never known before” Martyn Lloyd-Jones (ref#189, March 13th, brackets mine).

PRAYER

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).

PRAYER

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).