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.
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).
INTO THE PRESENCE OF GOD
“The wonder is not that God hears prayer, but that He is our Father” Samuel Chadwick (ref#4, p63).
“Though we have God’s promises in the Bible and full liberty to take them, the spiritual power is lacking unless God himself speaks them to us” Andrew Murray (ref#11, p72).
“Prayer that comes as holy fire from God, and that rises as holy incense to God; prayer that takes me, with every want and infirmity, with every sin and sorrow, to the arms of the Father through the smitten hands of the Son; prayer that sweetens my solitude, calms my agitated spirit, weakens the power of sin, nourishes the desire for holiness, and transports the soul through anticipation beyond the region of winds and storms and tempests into the presence of God, where all is sunshine and peace—oh, what a wondrous privilege is this” Octavius Winslow (ref#135, June 3rd)!
“…when we are in His immediate presence and behold Him in all the glory of His throne of grace. There, surely is the place for the child to trust its Father…” Charles Spurgeon (ref#212, p32).
“There is nothing secret about communion with God. If we live a holy life before God, broken of our pride and self-will, crying out for grace, then we will be in communion with God. It is really that simple” Paul E. Miller (ref#62, p247).
FATHER, I think of being in communion with You only when I pray. But, of course we are together every moment that I am working out my salvation by making the effort to allow You to work Yourself into my actions which takes broken pride, self-will and crying out for grace. Thank You for initiating constant communion.
“Hearts must be pure and hands clean that dare shut the door and be alone with God” Samuel Chadwick (ref#4, p29).
ABIDING IN CHRIST II
“If you abide in me, and my words abide in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you” (John 15:7 ESV).
“Christ teaches us to pray not only by example, by instruction, by command, by promises, but by showing us HIMSELF, the ever-living Intercessor, as our Life” Andrew Murray (ref#19, FIRST LESSON).
“Abiding in Christ, the soul learns not only to desire, but spiritually to discern what will be for God’s glory…” Andrew Murray (ref#266, p138).
FATHER, written in Scripture is CHRIST’s death on the cross. I have heard it also all my life. To me it is a fact. It stands in my head like all facts—there for me to use it for my benefit. But when I consider CHRIST as my “mediator on the throne,” CHRIST no longer is just a fact, but a living Person who interacts with me. CHRIST in heaven is “now”—Someone living presently with me. I love CHRIST for His death on the cross, but I love Him more as mediation for me with You; He has become personal to me!
“The whole of salvation is Christ Himself: He has given HIMSELF to us; His mediation on the throne is as real and indispensable as on the cross. Nothing takes place without His intercession: it engages all His time and powers, is His unceasing occupation at the right hand of the Father. And we participate not only in the benefits of this His work, but in the work itself. This because we are His body” Andrew Murray (ref#19, TWEHTY-SIXTH LESSON).
“The pattern is gaze at Him and glance at our legitimate life needs, our problems, heart desires, difficulties, and impossibilities, and then bring them to His throne and leave them there, gazing steadfast at Him” Sylvia Gunter (ref#57, p190-191).
“Believer, abide in Christ, for there is the school of prayer—mighty, effectual, answer-bringing prayer. Abide in Him, and you shall learn what to so many is a mystery: That the secret of the prayer of faith is the life of faith—the life that abides in Christ alone” Andrew Murray (ref#266, p140).
“It is in the personal presence of the Saviour, in intercourse with Him, that faith rises to grasp what at first appeared too high” (ref#19).
THE PERFECT TEACHER
“Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you” (Matt 7:7 ESV).
“You have to wrestle against the things that prevent you from getting to God, and you wrestle in prayer for others souls; but never say that you wrestle with God in prayer” Oswald Chambers (ref#7, Dec 16th).
“Let…all our prayer be the teachableness that comes from a sense of ignorance, and from faith in Him as a perfect teacher…” Andrew Murray (ref#19, FIRST LESSON).
“Intercession means that we rouse ourselves up to get the mind of Christ about the one for whom we pray…” Oswald Chambers (ref#7, March 30th).
“O Lord, grant that I may do Thy will as if it were my will, so that Thou mayest do my will as if it were Thy will” St. Augustine (ref#54, p126).
FATHER, my prayer work is to become happy in Your decisions.
“…whatever you ask in prayer, you will receive, if you have faith’” (Matt 21:22 ESV).
“’He that believeth on Me, the works that I do shall he do also.’ Faith, the simple act of loving trust in Jesus Christ, opens the door of our hearts and natures for the entrance of all His solemn Omnipotence, and makes us possessors of it” MacLaren Expositions on Holy Scripture (ref#242, [John 14:12-14]).
“…truly I say to you, if you have faith as a mustard seed, you shall say…’Move from here to there,’ and it shall move; and nothing shall be impossible to you” (Matt 17:20 NASB).
“Faith asks no signal from the skies,
To show that prayers accepted rise,
Our Priest is in His holy place,
And answers from the throne of grace”
Charles Spurgeon (ref#34, Nov 3rd AM).
“It is by faith alone that the difficulty is overcome. When once faith has taken its stand upon God’s word, and the Name of Jesus, and has yielded itself to the leading of the Spirit to seek God’s will and honour alone in its prayer, it need not be discouraged by delay” Andrew Murray (ref#19, SIXTEENTH LESSON).
“…our faith will assure us of that which cannot be perceived by sense, i.e., that we have obtained what was fit for us, the Lord having so often and so surely engaged to take an interest in all our troubles from the moment they have been deposited in his bosom. In this way we shall possess abundance in poverty, and comfort in affliction. For though all things fail, God will never abandon us, and he cannot frustrate the expectation and patience of his people. He alone will suffice for all, since in himself he comprehends all good, and will at last reveal it to us on the day of judgment, when his kingdom shall be plainly manifested. We may add, that although God complies with our request, he does not always give an answer in the very terms of our prayers but while apparently holding us in suspense, yet in an unknown way, shows that our prayers have not been in vain” John Calvin (ref#113, p604).
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).