Prayer

Ephesians 3:16-19 “I pray that out of His glorious riches, He may strengthen you with the power through his Spirit in your inner being so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith. And I pray that you being rooted and established in love may have power together with all the saints (believers) to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ and to know this love which surpasses all knowledge, that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God.” (NIV)

 As the author of this book, Paul is relating how good it is to know that the love from God is with us. It might be wise for us to understand to always praise and thank the Lord in our prayers for all He does for us, for the blessings he bestows on us and to pray according to His will. God is not a vending machine that cranks out our prayer requests on demand. He answers the prayers of believers. But not always the way we would expect. Sometimes He answers ‘yes’ sometimes He says ‘no’ and sometimes He says ‘later’ but, He always hears our prayers and answers them in a way that is in our best interest, on His timing, not ours.

This is one of the mysteries of the Bible. How does God hear millions of prayers at the same time? Do you ever get a busy signal when you pray or “Please leave a message after the tone?” God does not reveal all things to us. His mind is beyond our comprehension, but we believe in the power of prayer because the Bible tells us it is true. “Now this is the confidence that we have in Him, that if we ask anything according to His will, He hears us. And if we know He hears us, we have the petitions that we have asked for.” 1John 5:14 &15 (NIV)

Prayer is a partnership with faith and trust. It is by faith that we go boldly before God with our prayers and it is by trust that we know He hears them. “Let us approach the throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.” Hebrews 4:16 (NIV)

 Why does He answer our prayers? Because He loves us and when He answers our prayers the Father is glorified.

“The Answer May Hurt”

When they therefore were come together, they asked of him, saying, Lord, wilt thou at this time restore again the kingdom to Israel? And he said unto them, It is not for you to know the times or the seasons, which the Father hath put in his own power.(Acts 1:6-7)

 Many times I have heard people put down the disciples for wanting Jesus to set up His kingdom.  In these verses, we see the disciples asking Jesus once again, “Lord, will You at this time restore the kingdom to Israel?”  The disciples wanted Jesus to be king over their land. 

 Have you ever stopped to think what you would have asked Jesus?  Put yourself in the disciples shoes.  These disciples had just seen Jesus die on the cross, put into a grave, and then rise from the dead.  Jesus had defeated death, what else could stop Him?  I know if I were there I would be thinking that the strongest army in the world would be nothing with Jesus by my side.  I believe what the disciples were asking was not too far from what we want to see.  How many times have we said, “Lord Jesus hurry back!”  Really, we are asking Jesus something similar to what the disciples were, only we use different words.  What if the Lord told you that He would not return for another 100 years?  Would you be discouraged?  Would you be more lazy when it came to telling others about Christ?

 I feel the real question to ask is, “Why did Jesus not give them a timeline?”  Jesus told the disciples it was not for them to know.  It was the Father who knows and has the authority.  Can you imagine what the disciples would have done if Jesus had told them it would be 2000 plus years?  Would they have walked away disheartened?  Would they have been angry at Him?  

 Sometimes the best answer to our prayers or questions is: “The Father knows and it is His business.”  If He would tell us the answer, we wouldn’t be satisfied?  I am glad the Lord does not answer every prayer I submit.  If He did, I would have never learned many of the lessons He has taught me.  

 Have you ever had God not to answer a prayer only to see why He did not answer it later? Share with others how God has revealed to you His knowledge and authority.

 

“Prayer Changes Things”

“And he said unto them, This kind can come forth by nothing, but by prayer and fasting.”  Mark 9:29

 Your life and your church will be dramatically different if it were filled with prayer.  I wonder how church would be if we went back to more time devoted to prayer rather than the music we sing or the message we want to get across or the programs we offer in our church.  If we encouraged and taught our children to pray rather than concentrate so much on school or sports.  Prayer really does change things.  It reminds us and brings us into the good and perfect will of our Lord.  Unfortunately one of the biggest and best blessings we have in this Christian walk we take too lightly and our churches and personal lives are showing the effects of it.  

 If we want to see the Church make an impact we need to be in prayer.  Prayer can change things and prayer can also change us.  I have sat down in prayer feeling one way about a situation and I just wanted confirmation from God.  Before I knew it I stood up and felt completely different about the situation I was praying about.  

 

“Mastering Prayer”

“Be careful for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God.” Philippians 4:6

 I am amazed at how many people are ashamed to pray publicly.  We should view it as an honor and not a duty.  I have seen the most verbal opinionated people in the world clam up and get shy as soon as someone asks them to pray.  I think many of us see prayer as a type of martial art that you have to master before you can pray in front of others.  We all have heard the sermons of how to pray.  There is step 1-4 on how to pray.  We may even come up with acronyms or cute little sayings like P.U.S.H. (Pray until something happens). I believe the Lord has given us much more freedom than a 4 step prayer program.  I believe there are prayers of praise, conversation, thankfulness, and supplication.  What should be at the heart of every prayer is submission and an understanding that we are his servants and we will carry out His will.  

 The way I teach people to pray is simple.  Approach the Lord as you would the President or a movie star. The one you have always wanted to meet.  You have their attention and they want to hear what you have to say.  You have so much respect for the person that you come humbly before them in awe of who they are.  We should approach the Lord in the same manner.  We should fell honored to approach the King of Kings. 

 We are approaching our Lord and Savior.  The one who was thinking of us when He hung on the cross so many years ago.  The only one worthy to open the scrolls in the book of Revelation.  The one that angels bow down to.  We are able to approach the one and only Jesus Christ to whom the whole world will bow the knee and call Him Lord.  

DAY 30

“Why are we sitting here until we die?” (2 Kings 7:3 NKJV)

In light of the 9/11 terrorist attack upon our nation, an argument can be made that if we had sent more missionaries and given more money to missions we would not now be sending troops and paying more in taxes. To be honest, however, history is replete with such arguments due to Christian inaction down through the ages. The painful truth is, the day of opportunity has often come and gone while the church just sat there.

In the text cited above, four lepers are sitting at the gate of Samaria, which happens to be surrounded by the Syrians. They are forbidden from entering the city because of their leprosy and they are afraid to venture out and surrender to the enemy. So, they sit there in their complacency waiting for the inevitable, namely, their death.

Notice, it is a question that jolts these four lepers out of their complacency. They ask themselves, “Why are we sitting here until we die?” The only chance they had was to get up and go out to the enemy in surrender. If the enemy killed them, what had they lost; they were going to die anyway? So they got up and did the only thing they could. As a result, they not only saved themselves, but the starving people of Samaria as well.

The complacent church in America today needs to ask itself, “Why are we sitting here until we die?” Our country is imploding and God’s judgment is impending. Yet, the church is just sitting! It’s high time for us to get up and do something, not only for our own survival, but also for the sakes of the spiritually starving in our land.

What can we do? We can pray! Now, prayer is not the only thing that we can do. For instance, like the four lepers in our story, we too can declare to the perishing “the day of good news” (2 Kings 7:9). Still, nothing is more important than prayer. As A. J. Gordon said, “You can do more than pray after you have prayed, but you cannot do more than pray until you have prayed.”

Don’t just sit there, pray something!

 

Pray that the American church will be jolted out of its complacency and begin bombarding Heaven with its prayers, as well as preaching throughout this land the “day of good news.”

 

DAY 19

“And when thou prayest, thou shalt not be as the hypocrites are: for they love to pray standing in the synagogues and in the corners of the streets, that they may be seen of men. Verily I say unto you, They have their reward. But thou, when thou prayest, enter into thy closet, and when thou hast shut thy door, pray to thy Father which is in secret; and thy Father which seeth in secret shall reward thee openly.” (Matthew 6:5-6)

Someone has astutely observed, “As long as there are tests in school there will be prayer in school.” The Supreme Court may have outlawed prayer in the classrooms of our public schools, but it is powerless to prevent it in the hearts of students.

J. Sidlow Baxter once said, “Men may spurn our appeals, reject our message, oppose our arguments, despise our persons; but they are helpless against our prayers.” America, in spite of its recent secularization, is defenseless against our prayers. Our government, along with its courts, may have tossed prayer from the public square and our public schools, but it can’t touch it in the heats of the American people. Our government, just like all others, is completely incapable of policing prayer in the hearts of its populace.

Although many bemoan the prohibiting of prayer in our public schools, the real problem in America today is the absence of prayer in our hearts, homes and churches. “And who,” I might ask, “is to blame for this?” It’s certainly not the Supreme Court. Instead, the culprit is us; after all, only we can prevent prayer in our hearts, homes and churches.

 Pray that our hearts, homes and churches become bastions of prayer for revival in America. 

 

DAY 5

“Woe to those who call evil good and good evil, who put darkness for light and light for darkness, who put bitter for sweet and sweet for bitter.” (Isaiah 5:20 NKJV)

On January 23, 1996, Rev. Joe Wright, pastor of Central Christian Church in Wichita, prayed the following opening prayer for the Kansas State Senate in Topeka.

“Heavenly Father,

We come before You today to ask Your Forgiveness and seek Your direction and guidance. We know Your Word says, ”Woe to those who call evil good,” but that’s exactly what we have done. We have lost our Spiritual equilibrium and inverted our values. We confess that; we have ridiculed the absolute truth of Your Word and called it pluralism; We have worshipped other gods and called it multiculturalism; We have endorsed perversion and called it an alternative lifestyle; We have exploited the poor and called it the lottery; We have neglected the needy and called it self-preservation; We have rewarded laziness and called it welfare; We have killed our unborn and called it choice; We have shot abortionists and called it justifiable; We have neglected to discipline our children and called it building self-esteem; We have abused power and called it political savvy; We have coveted our neighbor’s possessions and called it ambition; We have polluted the air with profanity and pornography and called it freedom of expression; We have ridiculed the time-honored values of our forefathers and called it enlightenment.

Search us, O God, and know our hearts today; try us and see if there be some wicked way in us; cleanse us from every sin and set us free. Guide and bless these men and women who have been sent here by the people of this state and who have been ordained by You, to govern this great state of Kansas. Grant them your wisdom to rule and may their decisions direct us to the center of Your Will.

 I ask this in the name of your Son, The Living Savior, Jesus Christ”

 In response to Rev. Wright’s prayer, one member of the Senate walked out and others voiced strong criticism. However, when Paul Harvey aired the prayer on his radio show he received the greatest response to any story ever reported on his program.

 Pray that America will stop calling evil good and good evil. Pray that we will repent of our evil and return to God.

DAY 4

“If the foundations be destroyed, what can the righteous do?” (Psalm 11:3)

When the Constitutional Convention appeared hopelessly deadlocked and the framing of an American Constitution all but impossible, Benjamin Franklin rose to make the following suggestion:

 “I have lived, Sir, a long time, and the longer I live, the more convincing proofs I see of this truth that God Governs in the affairs of men. And if a sparrow cannot fall to the ground without his notice, is it probable that an empire can rise without his aid? We have been assured, Sir, in the sacred writings, that ‛except the Lord build the House they labour in vain that build it.’ I firmly believe this; and I also believe that without his concurring aid we shall succeed in this political building no better, than the Builders of Babel: We shall be divided by our little partial local interests; our projects will be confounded, and we ourselves shall become a reproach and bye word down to future ages. And what is worse, mankind may hereafter from this unfortunate instance, despair of establishing Governments by Human wisdom and leave it to chance, war and conquest.

 I therefore beg leave to move-that henceforth prayers imploring the assistance of Heaven, and its blessings on our deliberations, be held in this Assembly every morning before we proceed to business, and that one or more of the Clergy of this City be requested to officiate in that Service.”

 If the framers realized the need of prayer in the drafting of our Constitution, surely we should realize the need of prayer in the preserving of it! If they acknowledged the need of an eye toward God to protect us from the disunity of “little partial local interests,” how can we shut our eyes to God and hope to remain a united people?

 Pray that our nation would return to the original intent of the framers of our Constitution, as well as to their acknowledged need of “the assistance of Heaven.”