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

HOW PRAYER AFFECTS GOD

“The answering hand of God waits for the lifted hand of man…” Samuel Chadwick (ref#4, p17).

“That which is true of the promises’ of God is equally true of the purposes of God.  We might say that God does nothing without prayer.  His most gracious purposes are conditioned on prayer.  His marvelous promises in the thirty-sixth chapter of Ezekiel are subject to this qualification and condition: “Thus says the Lord GOD: This…I will let the house of Israel ask me to do for them…” (Ezek 36:37 ESV) E.M. Bounds (ref#54, p37-38).

“God’s ultimate will is unchanging, but the way in which he chooses to realize this will is dependent on the prayers of his children” Donald Bloesch (ref#31, p31).

“Prayer affects God more powerfully than His own purposes.  God’s will, words, and purposes are all subject to review when the mighty potencies of prayer come in.  How mighty prayer is with God may be seen as He readily sets aside His own fixed and declared purposes in answer to prayer” E.M. Bounds (ref#54, p38).

“The God who determines the end determines the means; and if God in His infinite wisdom is determined that He is going to bring certain things to pass as a result of and in answer to the prayers of His people, I ask with reverence, why shouldn’t He Martyn Lloyd-Jones (ref#189, Dec 21st)?

“That it can alter His purpose, effect any change in His will, or afford Him information, no one supposes for a moment.  And yet, that it should be an ordained medium by which finite weakness seems to overcome infinite strength, a human will seems to turn the divine will, and man’s shallow mind seems to pour knowledge into the fathomless mind of God; that it should arrest a threatened judgment, remove an existing evil, or supply for a present need—these are marvels in which, like all others of divine revelation, I submit my reason to my faith, receiving and adoring what my reason cannot completely comprehend, unless I were God” Octavius Winslow (ref#135. June 3rd).

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

SEEKING THE SPIRIT

“…your heavenly Father is…ready to give the Holy Spirit to anyone who asks” (Luke 11:13 CEV).

“The Holy Spirit is the first of the Father’s gifts, and the one He delights most to bestow.  The Holy Spirit is therefore the gift we ought first and chiefly to seek” Andrew Murray (ref#19, SEVENTH LESSON).   “…we must first secure the Spirit’s presence and grace; then we can move out in powerful praying for all kinds of…needs” Jim Cymbala (ref#161, p126).

“Do you earnestly desire the…Spirit?…As sure as you ask for it, sincerely, humbly, believingly, seeking it in the name of Jesus through the cross of Christ, you shall have it….Seek it with your whole heart; seek it diligently and perseveringly.  Seek it day and night, seek it in all the means of grace, seek it in every way of God’s appointment.  Seek it especially in the name of Jesus, as the purchased blessing of His atoning blood” Octavius Winslow (ref#135, Nov 12th).

“The apostles had never said, ‘Lord, teach us to preach’ or ‘Lord, teach us to lead worship.’  But they had asked, ‘Lord, teach us to pray’ (Luke 11:1).  Something about Jesus’ ability to commune with his Father in heaven fascinated them” Jim Cymbala (ref#161, p125).

“…you are on earth and He is in heaven;…you are a worm of the dust, a creature crushed before the moth, and He the Everlasting.  Before the mountains were brought forth He was God, and if all created things should pass away again, yet still were He the same…ask the Spirit of God to put us in a right frame of mind so that every one of our prayers may be a reverential approach to the Infinite Majesty above” Charles Spurgeon (ref#212, p29).

 

PRAYER

HOW TO PREPARE FOR PRAYER

“I waited patiently for the LORD; he…heard my cry” (Ps 40:1 ESV).

“…go to the Lord in your worst frames; do not stay away from Him until you get a good one.  Satan’s grand argument to keep a soul from prayer is, ‘Don’t go with that old and insensible frame, and with that hard and sinful heart; wait until you are more fit to approach God” Octavius Winslow (ref#135, Oct 5th).

“…how we get into an abiding position with the Lord…being fully clothed in the armor of God” Charles F. Stanley (ref#230, p63).  “A Christian gets dressed for battle, not to go out into the world, but to go into the prayer closet” Doug Newton (ref#166, p89).  [“…pray…on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests…” (Eph 6:18 NIV).  This verse comes right after the description of the armor of GOD.]  “Because Jesus Christ has conquered the enemy of our souls, Satan has to drop his weapons when we resist him with prayer, using the sword of the Spirit, which is the Word of God” Doug Newton (ref#166, p89).

“Cultivate frequent and devout contemplations of Christ and of His glory….Place no limit on your knowledge of Christ.  Always consider that you have only read the preface to the volume, you have only touched the margin of the sea; stretching far away beyond you are undiscovered beauties, precious views, and sparkling glories, each encouraging your advance, inviting your research, and asking for the homage of your faith, the tribute of your love, and the dedication of your life” Octavius Winslow (ref#135, Oct 30th).

Of prayer, Andrew Murray suggests—“1.  Be slow…weigh all in the light of the…Scriptures and in the fear of God.  2.  Seek to have no will of your own…3.  But when you have found out what the will of God is, seek for His help, and seek it earnestly, perseveringly, patiently, believingly, expectantly; and you will surely in His own time and way obtain it” Andrew Murray (ref#19, THIRTEENTH LESSON).

“…Find a quiet, secluded place so you won’t be tempted to role-play before God.  Just be there as simply and honestly as you can manage.  The focus will shift from you to God, and you will begin to sense his grace” (Matt 6:6 MSG).

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).

PRAYER

WHAT TO PRAY FOR

“Our prayers should be expectant enough to offer God the largest possible stage on which to enact His glory” Carol J. Ruvolo (ref#228, p115).

“Come with your spiritual need…it shall be granted you….I want more grace to glorify Thee.  I want more simplicity of mind and singleness of eye.  I want a more holy, upright, honest walk.  I want more meekness, patience, lowliness, and submission.  I want to know more of Jesus, to see more of His glory to feel more of His preciousness, and to live more simply on His fullness.  I want more of the sanctifying, sealing, witnessing, and anointing influences of the Spirit….

Prayer is what keeps every grace of the Spirit in active, holy, healthy exercise….the channel through which all grace comes is prayer, ardent, wrestling, importunate, believing prayer.” Octavius Winslow (ref#135, Nov 2nd).

“We do not pray to inform God.  Neither do we pray to persuade Him, for His love needs neither to be induced nor coaxed” Samuel Chadwick (ref#4, p66).

“A true prayer is an inventory of needs, a catalogue of necessities, a revelation of hidden poverty.  While it is an application to divine wealth, it is a confession of human emptiness.  The healthiest state of a Christian is to be always empty and poor in self, constantly depending on the Lord for supplies, rich in Jesus, weak as water personally, but mighty through God to do great exploits” Charles Spurgeon (ref#34, Oct 11th AM).

“Prayer is your only safety—prayer for grace to help in your time of need, for reviving grace, for quickening, restraining, sanctifying grace; prayer to be kept from falling, to be held up in the slippery paths; prayer for the lowly mind, for the contrite spirit, for the broken heart, and for the soft, close, humble walk with God” Octavius Winslow (ref#135, Nov 2nd).

“The LORD is far from the wicked, but he hears the prayer of the righteous” (Prov 15:29 ESV).

PRAYER

WHERE TO PRAY—AT THE THRONE ROOM

“…the throne of grace.  It is a throne set up on purpose for the dispensation of grace…” Charles Spurgeon (ref#212, p33).

“What a God our God must be, to thus appoint a meeting place….That God should have developed a throne of grace, a mercy-seat around which may gather the helpless, the burdened, the friendless, the vile, the guilty, and the needy, in clustering and welcome multitudes; that no poor one should meet with refusal or rejection, be his poverty never so great, his burden never so heavy, or his case never so desperate—this greatly develops and magnifies the riches of His grace, wisdom, and love to sinners.” Octavius Winslow (ref#135, Apr 11th).

FATHER, You have given me access to Your throne room through the greatest of sacrifice and I neglect too often to stop in and see You!!  Where is my head?  If I deem life is going well, I don’t think of praying.  But the throne room is not just for ‘hollering help.”  I forget the SPIRIT is always ready to point out my sins.  There is always reason to frequent the throne room.  Therefore, overwhelm me with my sins.

“…come you that are reduced to a beggarly bankruptcy by Adam’s fall and by your own transgressions.  This is not the throne of majesty which supports itself by the taxation of its subjects, but a throne which glorifies itself by streaming forth like a fountain with floods of good things” Charles Spurgeon (ref#212, p36).

HEAVEN

AN EXPERIENCE OF HEAVEN

“If heaven is our country, what can the earth be but a place of exile?  If departure from the world is entrance into life, what is the world but a sepulcher, and what is residence in it but immersion in death?  If to be freed from the body is to gain full possession of freedom, what is the body but a prison?  If it is the very summit of happiness to enjoy the presence of God, is it not miserable to want it?  But ‘whilst we are at home in the body, we are absent from the Lord’ (2 Cor 5:6)” John Calvin (ref#113, p467).

“And if the distant, sporadic glimpses of the glorified Christ are so ravishing, what will be the ecstatic and overpowering effect of the full unclouded vision, when we shall see Him face to face” Octavius Winslow (ref#135, June 24th).

“Thus when the earthly is compared with the heavenly life, it may undoubtedly be despised and trampled under foot.  We ought never, indeed, to regard it with hatred, except insofar as it keeps us subject to sin; and even this hatred ought not to be directed against life itself.  At all events, we must stand so affected toward it in regard to weariness or hatred as, while longing for its termination, to be ready at the Lord’s will to continue in it, keeping far from everything like murmuring and impatience.  For it is as if the Lord had assigned us a post, which we must maintain till he recalls us” John Calvin (ref#113, p467).

John Burke, in his book, Imagine Heaven, quoted George Ritchie who encountered a near-death experience.  See below:

“I have no idea what the next life will be like.  Whatever I saw was only—from the doorway, so to speak.  But it was enough to convince me totally of two things from that moment on.  One, that our conscience does not cease with physical death—that it becomes in fact keener and more aware than ever.  And two, that how we spend our time on earth, the kind of relationships we build is vastly, infinitely more important than we can know” George Ritchie (ref#297, p24).

HEAVEN

THE JOURNEY TOWARD HEAVEN

“Set your minds on things that are above, not on things that are on earth” (Col 3:2 ESV).

“…there is not only an outward preparation of the place for the people, but also an inward preparation of the people for the place.  Heaven is a prepared place for a prepared people….Jesus is…preparing the place for the people…at the same time prepares the people for the place” Charles Ross (ref#241, p71).

“This life ought so to be spent by us as to be only a journey toward heaven.  We ought not to rest in the world and its enjoyments, but should desire heaven” Jonathan Edwards (ref#229, p72).  “We ought to make use of worldly enjoyments and worldly business as shall best forward our journey heavenward, and no otherwise”  Jonathan Edwards (ref#229, p73).  “We ought to seek heaven by traveling in the way that leads there.  The way is the way of holiness” Jonathan Edwards (ref#229, p72).

“God rests in the unchangeableness of His love towards His saints.  Nothing can move Him from it…He foresaw and foreknew all that was in them….In this day of easy and abounding nominal Christianity; this day when human authority is exalted above the Word of God; this day of error, rebuke, and blasphemy; this day of rapid and excited action; this last solemn dispensation of the world, the events of which are rapidly ushering in the coming of the Son of Man; let us, under the influence of more simple faith, more fervent love, and brightening hope, “ go forth therefore unto him without the camp, bearing his reproach (Heb 13:13).  Let us rest from our conflict and toil where the Father rests, where the sinner rests, where we may rest—in Jesus” Octavius Winslow (ref#135, Apr 23rd).

“I press on to reach the end of the race and receive the heavenly prize for which God, through Christ Jesus, is calling us” (Phil 3:14 NLT).