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

WAIT ON THE LORD

“…prepare your heart…stretch out your hands toward him” (Job 11:13 ESV).

“If but your ear be open, and your thoughts brought into subjection, and your heart prepared in silence to wait upon God, and to hear what He speaks, He will reveal to you His secrets” Andrew Murray (ref#266, p119).

“In his Autobiography George Muller gives a striking testimony:…if honesty of heart and  uprightness before God were lacking, or if I did not patiently wait before God for instruction or if I preferred the counsel of my fellowmen to the declarations of the Word of the Living God, I made great mistakes” David McIntyre (ref#65, p108).

“The Lord intends to keep his people dependent upon himself.  He has everything they can need.  He intends to supply all their needs; but he will be applied to.  He will have his people wait on him, and wait for him” James Smith (ref#303).

“Wait on Him first to realize His presence….Wait on Him for cleansing….Ask God to search your heart….Stand upon the firm ground of 1 John 1:9 and claim God’s faithfulness to forgive whatever specific thing you confess….God won’t be speaking to you if there is something between you and someone else that you haven’t planned to take care of at the earliest possible moment….As you wait on God, ask for the power of concentration….Next, wait on God to worship Him. Psalms 103, 111, and 145 are wonderful portions to follow as you praise the Lord for the greatness of His power.  Most of the psalms are prayers.  Or turn to Revelation, chapters 4 and 5, and use them in your praise to Him.  There is no better way to pray scripturally than to pray Scripture” Lorne Sanny (ref#302, p194-195).

“To wait is not to sit with folded hands, but to learn to do what we are told” Oswald Chambers (ref#7, Aug 1st).

“Make me to know your ways, O LORD; teach me your paths.  Lead me in your truth and teach me, for you are the God of my salvation; for you I wait all the day long” (Ps 25:4-5 ESV).

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

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

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

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).

PRAYER

WHY PRAY—TO GET AND NOT TO GIVE

“Two men went up into the temple to pray…The Pharisee…prayed thus…God, I thank thee, that I am not as other men are, extortioners, unjust, adulterers, or even as this publician” (Luke 18:10-11 KJV).

“boasting” before God of what we are and of what we have done, is abominable in his sight. This spoils everything, even if the life “should be” tolerably blameless, and if there should be real piety” Barnes’ Notes (ref#16, [Luke 18:12]).

“When you come to the throne of grace, come to receive out of Christ’s fullness, and come not to bring grace with you to add to Christ’s store.  He loves to give, and glories in giving; but He scorns to receive grace from you; and in truth you have none to give but what He gives you.  Bring your wants to Him to supply, but bring not your fullness to brag about” Robert Traill (ref#225, Oct 6th).

“The publician…came to the throne of grace, like a man that would carry something away” Robert Traill (ref#225, Oct 6th).

“he has filled the hungry with good things, and the rich he has sent away empty” (Luke 1:53 ESV).

“…it is very much for our interest to be constantly supplicating him…although it is true that while we are listless or insensible to our wretchedness, he wakes and watches for us and sometimes even assists us unasked” John Calvin (ref#20, section 3).

“…he [GOD] does not answer, because of…pride…” (Job 35:12 ESV, brackets mine).

 

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).

PRAYER

WHEN TO PRAY

“…pray without ceasing,” (1 Thes 5:17 ESV).

“…God wills that men should pray everywhere, but the place of His glory is in the solitudes, where He hides us in the cleft of the rock, and talks with man face to face as a man talks with his friend” Samuel Chadwick (ref#4, p35).

“…watching and praying is always necessary…we can never…overcome our old nature on our own.  The spirit may be willing, but the flesh is weak; therefore we must watch and pray” John Calvin (ref#164, July 10th).

 “Come overwhelmed with life.  Come with a wandering mind.  Come messy.  So, instead of being frozen by your self-preoccupation, talk with God about your worries.  Tell him where you are weary…We are often so busy and overwhelmed that when we slow down to pray, we don’t know where our hearts are.  We don’t know what troubles us.  So, oddly enough, we might have to worry before we pray” Paul E. Miller (ref#62, p33).

“God has willed that the working of His Spirit shall follow the prayer of His people.  He waits for their intercession because that is evidence of their preparation of heart—revealing to what extent they are ready to yield to His Spirit’s control.” Andrew Murray

“…the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words” (Rom 8:26 ESV).