PRAYER

THE RELENTING OF GOD

“…the Father-heart holds itself open and free to listen to every prayer that rises through the Son, and that God does indeed allow Himself to be decided by prayer to do what He otherwise would not have done” Andrew Murray (ref#19, SEVENTEENTH LESSON).

“And the Lord relented from the disaster that he had spoken of bringing on his people” (Ex 32:14 ESV).

But, notice the conversation between the LORD and the intercessor, Moses: the LORD says: “…I will not go up in your midst, because you are an obstinate people, lest I destroy you on the way” (Ex 33:3 NAS).

The LORD continues: “…’The LORD, the LORD God, compassionate and gracious, slow to anger, and abounding in loving kindness and truth;…who forgives iniquity, transgression and sin;…” (Ex 34:6-7 NAS).

Moses, finding fellowship with God an absolute necessity, listens very carefully to the LORD and replies: “…I pray, let the LORD go along in our midst, even though the people are so obstinate; and do Thou pardon our iniquity and our sin…” (Ex 34:9 NAS).  The LORD answers Moses’ prayer and goes up with the Israelites.

“God has so made it that by means of intercession certain types of blessing come upon men” Oswald Chambers (ref#23, p396).

Actually GOD loves to relent of His wrath.  In Scripture He is constantly warning us of our sins, begging us to leave them and ask forgiveness in prayer.  A couple more examples:

“…Jeremiah spoke to…all the people, saying…mend your ways and your deeds, and obey the voice of the LORD your God, and the LORD will relent of the disaster that he has pronounced against you” (Jer 26:12-13 ESV).

“…let them intercede with the LORD…that the vessels that are left in the house of the LORD…may not go to Babylon” (Jer 27:18 ESV).

PRAYER

GOD’S REACTION TO PRAYER II

“The sacrifice of the wicked is an abomination to the LORD, but the prayer of the upright is acceptable to him” (Prov 15:8 ESV).

“There are some people to whom He will not give audience.  Sin shuts men out….”If I had cherished iniquity in my heart, the Lord would not have listened” (Ps 66:18 ESV).  Unbelief shut men out “…without faith it is impossible to please him, for whoever would draw near to God must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who seek him” (Heb 11:6 ESV).  An unforgiving spirit shuts men out “…if you forgive others their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you, but if you do not forgive others their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses” (Matt 6:14-15 ESV).  An unstable mind shuts men out“…the one who doubts is like a wave of the sea that is driven and tossed by the wind.…that person must not suppose that he will receive anything from the Lord;” (James 1:6-7 ESV).  A condemning conscience shuts men out “Beloved, if our heart does not condemn us, we have confidence before God;” (1 John 3:21 ESV).  A self-seeking motive shuts men out “You ask and do not receive, because you ask wrongly, to spend it on your passions” (James 4:3 ESV) Samuel Chadwick (ref#4, p106).

“God is determined to have His child as pure and clean and white as driven snow, and as long as there is disobedience in any point of His teaching, He will prevent none of the working of His spirit” Oswald Chambers (ref#7, June 30th).  “Prayers that lack sincerity and faith cannot be heard” Samuel Chadwick (ref#4, p126).

PRAYER

GOD’S REACTION TO PRAYER I

“he regards the prayer of the destitute and does not despise their prayer” (Ps 102:17 ESV).

“…wherever there is a heart that is full of sorrow, lips that are quivering with agony, a deep groan, or a penitential sigh, the heart of Jehovah is open.  He marks it down in the registry of His memory.  He puts our prayers, like rose leaves, between the pages of His book of remembrance, and when the volume is opened at last, there will be a precious fragrance springing up from it” Charles Spurgeon (ref#34, Nov 3rd AM).

“…he forgetteth not the cry of the humble” (Ps 9:12 KJV).

“Do not think that your prayer, however weak or trembling, will be unregarded…. Our God not only hears prayer but also loves to hear it” Charles Spurgeon (ref#34, Nov 3rd AM).

“God delights to hear prayer.  He has allowed His people a thousand times over to be tried that they might be compelled to cry to Him, and learn to know Him as the Hearer of Prayer” Andrew Murray (ref#143, p90).

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).

PRAYER

PRAYER AND FASTING

“Consecrate a fast; call a solemn assembly.  Gather the elders and all the inhabitants of the land to the house of the LORD your God and cry out to the LORD” (Joel 1:14 ESV).

“The faith that can overcome…stubborn resistance…is not possible except to men living in very close fellowship with God, and in very special separation from the world in prayer and fasting….faith needs a life of prayer in which to grow and keep strong…prayer needs fasting for its full and perfect development….Prayer is the one hand with which we grasp the invisible; fasting, the other, with which we let loose and cast away the visible” Andrew Murray (ref#19, THIRTEENTH LESSON).

“Fasting and prayer are proper means for the bringing down of Satan’s power against us, and the fetching in of divine power to our assistance.  Fasting is of use to put an edge upon prayer; it is an evidence and instance of humiliation which is necessary in prayer, and is a means of mortifying some corrupt habits, and of disposing the body to serve the soul in prayer…” Matthew Henry’s Commentary on the Whole Bible (ref#18, [Matt 17:14-21]).

“…fasting helps to express, to deepen, and to confirm the resolution that we are ready to sacrifice anything, to sacrifice ourselves, to attain what we seek for the kingdom of God” Andrew Murray (ref#19, THIRTEENTH LESSON).

PRAYER

PRAYER—THE CHIEF PURPOSE OF THE CHURCH

“…my house shall be called a house of prayer for all peoples’” (Isa 56:7 ESV).

“…if in every Church united effectual prayer were regarded as one of the chief purposes for which they are banded together…who can say what blessing might come to, and through, those who thus agreed to prove God in the fulfillment of His promise….Most Churches think their members are gathered into one simply to take care of and build up each other.  They know not that God rules the world by the prayers of His saints; that prayer is the power by which Satan is conquered; that by prayer the Church on earth has disposal of the powers of the heavenly world” Andrew Murray (ref#19,FIFTEENTH LESSON).

“…it is when we know ourselves to be united to Christ and one with Him, and representative in a true fashion of Himself, as well as when, in humble reliance on His work for us and His loving heart, we draw near, that our prayer has power, as the old divines used to say, ‘to move the Hand that moves the world,’ and to bring down a rush of blessing upon our heads” MacLaren Expositions on Holy Scripture (ref#242, [John 14:12-14]).

“All the doings of a Christian man, if done in faith, and holding by Christ, are Christ’s doings, inasmuch as He is the life and the power which does them all.  And Christ’s deeds are reproduced and perpetuated in His humble follower, inasmuch as the life which is imparted will unfold itself according to its own kind; and he that loves Christ will be changed into His likeness, and become a partaker of His Spirit” MacLaren Expositions on Holy Scripture (ref#242, [John 14:12-14]).

“The prayer of faith links man’s petition to the power of God.  All men believe in the power of prayer to influence mind, develop character, and sanctify motive and will, but that is not all.  Prayer is force.  Prayer changes things.  The Lord God of Elijah had sovereign and omnipotent power, and these were at the command of the prayer of faith” Samuel Chadwick (ref#4, p88).

Paul felt himself the member of a body, on the sympathy and co-operation of which he was dependent, and that he counted on the prayers of these Churches to gain for him, what otherwise might not be given.  The prayers of the Church were to him as real a factor in the work of the kingdom, as the power of God” Andrew Murray (ref#19, FIFTEENTH LESSON).

PRAYER

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

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).