PRAYER

HAVING DONE ALL, STAND 

“…take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day…praying at all times in the Spirit, with all prayer and supplication….” (Eph 6:13,18 ESV).

“…a battle is going on between God and the evil one; my part in the battle in the lives of others is to pray for them.  I have a responsibility to pray for other people.  Neglect to intercede will not directly hurt me, but my failure to pray may lead to insufficient protection for someone who is vulnerable and in the direct target area for the devil’s incoming mortar bombs” Anne J. Townsend (ref#306, p53).

“Our Leader [GOD] has placed in our hands the irresistible sword of the Spirit which defeated the devil in the wilderness—the Word of God.  But its aggressive and conquering power is released only through the prayer of faith” J. Oswald Sanders (ref#307, p36).

“…a believer may lead a fairly normal Christian life on the outside while wrestling with a steady barrage of sinful thoughts on the inside: lust, envy, greed, hatred, apathy, etc.  This person has virtually no devotional life.  Prayer is a frustrating experience for him….I [Neil T. Anderson] see about 65 percent of all Christians living at this level of spiritual conflict” (ref#90, p107).

“The second level of conflict is characterized by those who can distinguish between their own thoughts and strange, evil ‘voices’ which seem to overpower them…15 percent of all Christians fall into this category” Neil T. Anderson (ref#90, p108).

“At the third level of conflict, the individual has lost control and hears voices inside his mind which tell him what to think, say, and do….about 5 percent of the Christian community falls victim to this level of deception and control” Neil T. Anderson (ref#90, p108).

 “Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly…” (Col 3:16 ESV).  “Since Satan’s primary weapon is the lie, your defense against him is the truth.  Dealing with Satan is not a power encounter; it’s a truth encounter” Neil T. Anderson (ref#14, p170).

 

PRAYER

SPEAK ONLY OF GOD

FATHER, if You give me an occasion to speak of spiritual things to my loved ones who are not yet part of Your kingdom, prompt me to speak only of You.  They do not need to know how they can be saved from hell or how to be moral and made pure; instead, they need to know who it is that owns them (ref#7, May 5th).  “The great sterling test in preaching is that it brings everyone to judgment” Oswald Chambers (ref#7, May 5th).

“Every element of self-reliance must be slain by the power of God.  Complete weakness and dependence will always be the occasion for the Spirit of God to manifest His power” Oswald Chambers (ref#7, May 5th).

Quicken me, FATHER, to convince my loved ones that they are unholy just as I am unholy.  And then I may pray that their realization of being unholy will awaken an intense craving.  You came to save them because You created all of us to be holy (ref#7, May 5th).  You alone can put them back into perfect union with Yourself “…not only in word, but also in power and in the Holy Spirit and with full conviction…” (1 Thes 1:5 ESV).

FATHER, be with my mouth and teach me what You wish to speak to my loved ones (Ex 4:12).  “And this is eternal life, that they know you the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom you have sent” (John 17:3 ESV).

PRAYER

DISCERNMENT

“For everyone whose sole diet is milk, is inexperienced in a message which is righteous in quality…solid food belongs to…mature, to those who on account of long usage have their powers of perception exercised to the point where they are able to discriminate between both that which is good in character and that which is evil” Kenneth S. Wuest (ref#37, p521, [Heb 5:13-14]).

FATHER, Your Son warns me not to judge (Matt 7:1).  But Your SPIRIT will reveal what is wrong in others for the purpose of intercession (ref#118, p77).

I first ask that You, LORD, keep me from thinking rashly of others; I do not want my intention in prayer to be simply passing judgment—to be the product of my own jealously or ill nature (ref#18, [Matt 7:1-6]).

FATHER, in intercession I want to bear up the life of the one I pray for until You, put the person right.  May I so lay hold of You for them that You enable them to turn away from rebellion and come to You (ref#118, p77).

May I “…get to work and pray, and God will get His chance with other lives;…God has based the Christian life on Redemption, and as we pray on this basis God’s honour is at stake to answer prayer” Oswald Chambers (ref#8, Nov 19th).

Even though I cannot know the heart, I can be sensitive to Your SPIRIT.  It is possible for someone to imagine they are Christians when they are not—especially when they decide that being a Christian is desirable.

“Professing the Christian religion is of no avail whatever unless there is something more added to it…it is a change that is known…known by works of holiness” Charles Spurgeon (ref#34, March 6th AM).

Give me a spirit of gentleness; give me a spirit of humbleness lest I be tempted in like manner as they (Gal 6:1).  Make me candid and charitable (ref#18, [Matt 7:1-6]).  And also give me discernment and the boldness to admonish them, (1 Thes 5:14) when they have a false notion that they are already Christians.

PRAYER

A STATE OF UNBELIEF

“GLORIOUS GOD, I bless thee that I know thee, I once lived in the world, but was ignorant of its creator, was partaker of thy providences, but knew not the provider, was blind while enjoying the sunlight, was deaf to all things spiritual, with voices all around me, understood many things, but had no knowledge of thy ways, saw the world, but did not see Jesus only” The Valley of Vision (ref#76, p62).

FATHER, increase my concern for Your yet-to-be regenerates for they are “ignorant and careless, and ready to perish for lack of vision” Matthew Henry’s Commentary of the Whole Bible (ref#18, [Matt 9:35-38]).  They are “harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd” (Matt 9:36 ESV).

“Misery is the object of mercy; and the miseries of sinful, self-destroying souls, are the greatest miseries: Christ pities those most that pity themselves least; so should we” Matthew Henry’s Commentary of the Whole Bible (ref#18, [Matt 9:35-38]).

So many people are following shepherds that fill them with vain notions (1 Tim 1:6) and burden them with the “traditions of the elders.”  Like sheep they have gone astray and are lost.  They are “helpless, shiftless, and exposed, or more unapt to find the way home again (ref#18, [Matt 9:35-38]).

FATHER, help me help them.  I was once lost and unable to find my way home again.  I was lost seeking to gain happiness from myself and not seeking the things of CHRIST.  I needed the Good Shepherd; they need the Good Shepherd.

FATHER, as I recognize the presence of JESUS and routinely recall His life, it makes me own my rebellious selfishness.  Even as a believer, comparing myself to JESUS makes me realize I am no different than the vilest sinner.  Give me such a loving heart that I, like CHRIST, take on their distress and poverty—their guilt and perdition.  I plead to You for them.  My work is to do vicariously what they cannot do for themselves (ref#10, p149-150).

FATHER, may I bear what CHRIST produces as He lives His life again through me (ref#100, p140).  “I am His branch, a part of Him whose resources are limitless for the blessing of those who are around me” Roy and Revel Hession (ref#100, p141)!

Oh, that my loved ones “…Be having a change of mind regarding…[their]…life, and be putting [their] faith in the good news” Kenneth S. Wuest (ref#37, p80, [Mark 1:15], brackets mine).

PRAYER

MY RESPONSIBILITY AND JOY 

FATHER, You were ready to let Your wrath burn hot and consume the Israelites when they built and worshipped the golden calf (Ex 32:1-14), but because You were pleased with Your mediator, Moses (Ex 32:11-13), You turned from Your burning anger and relented (Ex 32:14).

And, how pleased You are with Your ultimate Mediator, JESUS.  And, because of His obedience now I, LORD, have the ability to be a suitable mediator (Rev 1:6).

I am Your fellow worker, FATHER.  And, the yet-to-be regenerated people around me are Your field (1 Cor 3:9).  Just as You sent Paul to people who had not heard, You sent Apollos to build up Your church—both were Your servants, even though You gave each a different assignment (1 Cor 3:5).  Paul planted, Apollos watered—but both were Your servants (1 Cor 3:6).

FATHER, You and You only have the ability to grow to maturity each plant in Your field (1 Cor 3:6) but You commission me to tend to Your crop (1 Cor 3:8).  You have allowed me to be Your fellow worker (1 Cor 3:9).

You, LORD, surrender Your work into the hands of Your Church; so real is the power You give me, a member of CHRIST’s church, that the number of laborers and the amount of harvest actually depends upon what I do (ref#19, NINTH LESSON).

FATHER, You instruct me to persevere in prayer as You persevere with the Jews who have heard but are presently rejecting yet will someday accept Your CHRIST.

Make it my top priority to sow the Gospel seed, that I may find contentment and joy in watching You gather Your elect.

“The great inspiration in Paul’s life was his view of Jesus Christ as his spiritual creditor.  Do I feel that sense of indebtedness to Christ in regard to every unsaved soul” Oswald Chambers (ref#7, July 15th)?

Help me be full of inventions if I can’t get sinners to CHRIST by ordinary means (ref#34, Sept 7th AM).  When my child is sick I use all my ingenuity to bring him back to health, disregarding the hazards.  I ask for boldness to use extraordinary means to bring the ones I pray for to faith.

PRAYER

MY PRAYER 

FATHER, You are the Vine Dresser, and Your Son is the True Vine.  “He Himself lives in us. Because He prays, we pray too….His meditation on the throne is as indispensable as on the cross.  It engages all His time and powers; it is now His unceasing occupation at Your right hand” Andrew Murray (ref#19, TWENTY-SIXTH LESSON).

CHRIST has made me one of His branches that I may bear fruit (John 15:5).  I can ask whatever I wish and He will do it for me if I abide in Him (John 15:7).  So FATHER, I will form my prayers to You.

Through the cleanness of my hands You will deliver even the one who is not innocent (Job 22:30)! My hands stretched out in supplication can save the wicked.  “It is one of the innumerable blessings of being a child of God thus to be permitted to be the means of…saving sinners from ruin. All the friends of God…should plead without ceasing for the salvation of guilty and dying people” Barnes’ Notes (ref#16, [Job 22:30]).

Francis Chan, realizing the lost-ness of a group of his friends, prayed in anguish: “God, you can’t let these people go to hell.  I love them, Lord.  I love them. Do something please.  I know I can’t do anything for them ultimately.  But you say that the prayer of a righteous man is powerful and effective, and so I want all the sin out of my life.  I want to be as righteous as I can.  I want you to hear me and save these people” John Piper (ref#122, p106).

FATHER, in the Gospel sense I am righteous; I do not love or approve of any iniquity (Ps 66:18).  I purpose to put great thought into my prayers making them energetic, earnest (ref#16, [James 5:16]) and fervent, pouring out of my heart, finding their foundation in faith (ref#18 [James 5:12-20]).  Then they will have great power, being assisted by the HOLY SPIRIT.  Being allowed to pray is the greatest reason to be righteous.

My GOD, I have no power to control You; I cannot dictate or prescribe to You; I cannot resist Your purposes, but I can ask what I desire and expect a blessing from You; You will show me favor (ref#16, [James 5:16]).

FATHER, considering the fate of my loved ones, it is necessary to pray consistently and never quit.  I desire to not to faint or lose heart in prayer (Luke 18:1).

PRAYER

PRAYING FOR CHANGE 

FATHER, praying for change is one area where I have a choice.  I can ask You to change my circumstances or I can ask You to change me.  My natural inclination will always be to ask You to change my circumstances.  But, before I decide how to pray, let me remind myself of how the early Christians handled one situation.

This happened when the Jewish leaders put Peter and John in jail for healing the lame man at the temple gate.  The next day the leaders threatened them, then let them go.  As soon as they were freed they met with other believers and lifted up the following prayer: “…Now, Lord, look to their threats and grant to your servants that with all boldness they may speak your word…” (Acts 4:29-30 Phillips).

They could have asked God to make the rulers back down so they could speak freely without fear of being assaulted.  (This would be asking GOD to change circumstances.)  But instead, they prayed for GOD to change them.  The result was answered prayer.  “…they were all filled with the Holy Spirit.  Then they preached the word of God with boldness” (Acts 4:31 NLT).

In the second book of Corinthians, the Apostle Paul speaks of accepting his weakness:  “…I take pleasure in my weaknesses, and in the insults, hardships, persecutions, and troubles that I suffer for Christ.  For when I am weak, then I am strong” (2 Cor 12:10 NLT).

Paul knew his present condition was “all for CHRIST’s good.”  It allowed him to honor CHRIST in all conditions.

“…the word ‘effectual’ as it is found in James 5:16.  According to Vine’s Expository Dictionary of the New Testament Words, it means ‘The effect produced in the praying person, bringing him into line with the will of God.’  It is the pray-er who changes, rather than the prayer.  Praying ‘in the will of God’ means, then, being conformed to the will of God as we pray” Evelyn Christenson (ref#305, p54-55).

“…it is the person praying, and not the prayer request, that changes” Evelyn Christenson (ref#305, p54).

FATHER, aid me in prayer to think of creating my requests with an eye to change my disposition about the circumstance that impinges on me.  May I, like the Apostle Paul accept my condition; probably You wouldn’t have put it in my path if You wanted me to avoid it.

PRAYER

PRAYING WITHOUT CEASING 

“…You who call on the LORD, give yourselves no rest, and give him no rest…” (Isa 62:6-7 NIV).  “Continue steadfastly in prayer, being watchful in it with thanksgiving” (Col 4:2 ESV).

“…definition of prayer is: ‘practicing the presence of Jesus.’  Prayer is recognizing that the Lord is seated (or standing) right beside us…all the time, and having fellowship with him at all hours…Often we talk…often we are silent.  Sometimes we ask him for things…more frequently we simply want to tell him how grateful we are for his blessings….never say, ‘Lord, we come into thy presence.’  We should be in his presence all the time.  We should never leave his presence” Warren Wiersbe (ref#54, p 89-90)!

“The constant exercise of prayer makes light of every burden and smoothes every rugged step of a child of God.  It is this only that keeps down his trials;…he may pray down his crosses; prayer will lessen their number, and will mitigate their severity….Where this is honored, there is the divine blessing; where it is slighted, there is the divine curse” Octavius Winslow (ref#61, March 15th).

The prayer life does not consist of perpetual repetition of petitions. The prayer life consists of life that is always upward and onward and Godward.  The passion of the heart is for the kingdom of God; the devotion of the mind is to His will; the attitude of the spirit is conformity thereto; and the higher we climb in the realm of prayer, the more unceasing will prayer be, and the fewer will be the petitions….prayer with the whole desire Godward brings an answer….” George Campbell Morgan (ref#212, p130).

“We are to recognize that our entire life is to be lived in an attitude and atmosphere of prayer, of constant communication and connection with God so that we remain in a position to think God’s thoughts of infinite wisdom and feel God’s emotions of infinite compassion and love” Charles F. Stanley (ref#230, p66).

“Prayer is not an exercise, it is the life” Oswald Chambers (ref#7, May 26th).

PRAYER

UNANSWERED PRAYER II 

“…our prayers are heard even though we have not seen an answer yet” John Calvin (ref#164, May 12th).

“I often find that when God doesn’t answer a prayer, he wants to expose something in me” Paul E. Miller (ref#62, p168).

“Three times I pleaded with the Lord about this, [Paul’s thorn in his flesh] that it should leave me” (2 Cor 12:8 ESV).

“It may seem from this text that Paul has not prayed in faith, for we read everywhere in Scripture that we shall obtain whatever we ask in faith.  Paul prays, and does not obtain what he asks for….” John Calvin (ref#164, Aug 24th).  “…as there are different ways of asking, so there are different ways of obtaining.  We ask in simple terms for those things for which we have an express promise.  For example, we ask for the perfecting of God’s kingdom, the hallowing of his name (Matt 6:9), the remission of our sins, and everything that is advantageous to us.  But when we think that the kingdom of God can, indeed, must be advanced in this particular manner or in that, and what is necessary for the hallowing of his name, we are often mistaken in our opinion….We must pray for the grace to will what God wills and to leave it to his wisdom how he brings his will about” John Calvin (ref#164, Aug 24th).

FATHER, help me distinguish between asking and giving You directions.  My carnal mind naturally thinks about how to solve my prayer request.  It is essential that my mind be trained to think of needs not solutions.

“If no answer comes, we are not to sit down…and suppose that it is not God’s will to give an answer. No; there must be something in the prayer that is not as God would have it, childlike and believing; we must seek for grace to pray so that the answer may come.  It is far easier to the flesh to submit without the answer than to yield itself to be searched and purified by the Spirit, until it has learnt to pray the prayer of faith” Andrew Murray (ref#19, FIFTH LESSON).

“…every dream and desire of your heart that you express to God will in His time be answered in His way—and always beyond what you could imagine, even when the answer is no” Becky Tirabassi (ref#87, Personal Comments page).

FATHER, what an encouraging, faith-uplifting comment!  You, All-Love, could not approach Your covenant of prayer in any other way.  May You be praised!

PRAYER

UNANSWERED PRAYER  I

“Surely God does not hear an empty cry…” (Job 35:13 ESV).

“Every one that asketh receiveth’…Yet…there are conditions and limitations….The unrestricted promises are hedged about with conditions….It is possible to ask and not receive (Ps 66:18; James 4:2-3)” Samuel Chadwick (ref#4, p126).

“There may be cases in which the answer is a refusal, because the request is not according to God’s Word, as when Moses asked to enter Canaan.  But still, there was an answer: God did not leave His servant in uncertainty as to His will” Andrew Murray (ref#19, FIFTH LESSON).

“…there are burdens placed on us by God which He does not intend to lift off, He wants us to roll them back on Him” Oswald Chambers (ref#7, April 13th). “…prayer is God’s answer to our poverty, not a power we exercise to obtain an answer” Oswald Chambers (ref#23, p397).

FATHER, this quote propels me to see that when I cry to You in my sympathies I cry to You in pride.  “I” want to be the one who moves You to answer my request.  All my prayer requests must be out of contriteness—praying because I can do nothing to answer the need.  Sin entangles me so that I forget that I am the needy creature and You are the providing Creator.  I thank You for Your longsuffering grace to teach me.  Praise befits You.

“God commands us to pray specifically for our desires, but our desires cannot command him” (Ps 37:4-5; Phil 4:6)” Bryan Chapell (ref#66, p109).

“God does not delay to hear our prayers, because he has no mind to give; but that, by enlarging our desires, he may give us the more largely” Anselm of Canterbury (ref#65, p96).