By Janice Brandli
In Matthew 18:19-20, Jesus said, “Again I say to you, if two of you agree on earth about anything they ask, it will be done for them by my Father in heaven. For where two or three are gathered in my name, there am I among them.”
Luke 11:1-4 “And it came to pass, that, as he was praying in a certain place, when he ceased, one of his disciples said unto him, Lord, teach us to pray, as John also taught his disciples. 2 And he said unto them, When you pray, say, Our Father which art in heaven, Hallowed be thy name. Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done, as in heaven, so in earth. 3 Give us day by day our daily bread. 4 And forgive us our sins; for we also forgive every one that is indebted to us. And lead us not into temptation; but deliver us from evil.”
This passage is one sentence shorter than the Lord’s prayer Matt 6:9-13. As time went on Jesus’ prayers were more to the point. Jesus wants us to be precise in our prayers. It’s not how many words we use, it’s the words we are using.
The Vines Dictionary defines prayer as: It is always used of prayer to God and is the most frequent word in this respect; primarily a wanting; a need; entreaty; supplication
Also translated by the verb to pray, make request; beseech; to call to one’s aid
The Holy Spirit, being the sole interpreter of the needs of the human heart, makes His intercession therein; and inasmuch a prayer is impossible to man apart from His help, believers are exhorted to pray at all seasons in the Spirit.
Faith is essential to prayer, for faith is the recognition of, and the committal of ourselves and our matters to, the faithfulness of God.
** Matthew 6:7 “And when you pray, do not heap up empty phrases as the Gentiles do, for they think that they will be heard for their many words.
Weirsbe wrote about prayer, “It teaches us that true prayer depends on a spiritual relationship with God that enable us to call Him “Father,” and this can come only through faith in Jesus Christ. True prayer also involves responsibilities: honoring God’s kingdom and doing God’s will (Luke 11:2). It has well been said that the purpose of prayer is not to get man’s will done in heaven, but to get God’s will done on earth. Prayer is not telling God what we want and then selfishly enjoying it. Prayer is asking God to use us to accomplish what He wants so that His name is glorified. His kingdom is extended and strengthened, and His will is done. We must test all of our personal requests by these overruling concerns if we expect God to hear and answer our prayers.”
When working and kids at home, not able to come to women’s studies. Then I was injured at work. One of the many things the Lord did was allowing me to be an online missionary without leaving my home/ Over 20,000 people, over 400 disciples over ten-year period.
Online missionary stories:
· Young woman wanting abortion
· Young man suicide / John 3:16
· Lyndon Johnson’s press secretary, Bill Moyers, was saying grace at a staff lunch, and the president shouted, “Speak up, Bill! I can’t hear a thing!” Moyers quietly replied, “I wasn’t addressing you, Mr. President.” It is good to remind ourselves that when we pray, we are talking to God.
Six things that happen when we pray: (not exhaustive)
1. Prayer internalizes the burde n and our hearts are humbled
It deepens our ownership of the burden and our partnership with God. As we pray, we begin to become aware of how God might us to answer the prayer, how He might involve us in ways we had not foreseen. We are able to take our eyes off of ourselves.
** Mark 11:24 Therefore I tell you, whatever you ask in prayer, believe that you have received it, and it will be yours.
2. Prayer forces us to wait
Part of prayer is always waiting for God. God has three answers to prayers: Yes, no and wait. Yes and no are no-brainers. But to wait, that is tough. John MacArthur says: "There is a tension between boldness and waiting on God's will. That tension is resolved by being persistent, yet accepting God's answer when it finally comes." Instead of getting frustrated that God is not on our schedule, prayer forces us to be on God's timetable. Our hearts change and our perspective changes as we sit at His feet.
3. Prayer opens our spiritual eyes and we can draw closer to God
It enables us to get in touch with what God is doing and how He is doing it.
In II Kings 6 you may recall the story of when the Army of Israel was surrounded by their enemies and Elijah's servant got nervous. Verses 15-17 say
Now when the attendant of the man of God had risen early and gone out, behold, an army with horses and chariots was circling the city. And his servant said to him, "Alas, my master! What shall we do?" So, he answered, "Do not fear, for those who are with us are more than those who are with them." Then Elisha prayed and said, "O LORD, I pray, open his eyes that he may see." And the LORD opened the servant's eyes and he saw; and behold, the mountain was full of horses and chariots of fire all around Elisha.
Prayer opens our eyes, enabling us to see what God is doing, to see things we are blinded to without prayer. That's because prayer is communication. We speak to God, God answers us, speaking to us, showing us.
4. It aligns our heart with God's heart
Chuck Smith says about prayer: The real purpose of prayer is to align our will with God’s and surely that is the most important thing - that God’s will be done. He never intended prayer as a means to get OUR will accomplished here on earth. Prayer opens the door for God to do a glorious work in your life and in those around you. A dynamic prayer life softens hearts, moves mountains, and brings you into a deepened relationship with God.
**1 John 5:14: This is the confidence which we have before Him, that, if we ask anything according to His will, He hears us.
· We have the assurance that God is sovereign and in control of every situation
5. Prayer enables us to move forward and we realize that we are not alone
Prayer engages God, enables God's people, and enlarges His kingdom. Jesus said, "without Me, you can do nothing." Once we have prayed, we are ready to do anything, until we have prayed, we can do nothing, but once we have prayed, we can accomplish anything.
Prayer is being in the presence of God. It is the place where pride is forgotten, hope is lifted, and supplication is made to Abba through our Lord Jesus. Prayer is the place of admitting our needs, of taking on humility, and claiming total dependence upon God.
6. Prayer blesses us with a peace that surpasses all human understanding
**Jeremiah 29:7 …and pray to the LORD for it; for in its peace, you will have peace.
It is very important to remember that the war is not just physical but is often spiritual. Satan knows the power of prayer and that is why he tries so hard to get you not to pray.
Here is an interesting story about John Ramirez who once worshipped the devil and carried out evil in the name of Satan. Now a pastor, he knows all about the dark side. He once sacrificed animals as part of satanic rituals and his friends even called him “Lucifer’s son.”
“It is those believers, it is that group of people, those intercessors that gave me such a beat down in the spiritual realm.” He said, “When I came into the neighborhood and they were in the spirit together holding hands, Do I know they were physically holding hands in one area? I don’t know, but in the spirit realm, they were holding hands. And they were able to chase me out of the neighborhood. No mission accomplished. Mission aborted, weakened my assignment and no mission accomplished because they knew something; they had the power in that neighborhood that I didn’t have.”
Ramirez now encourages Christians to broaden their prayers and to be sensitive to pray for the nation schools and other areas.
** 2 Chronicles 7:14 If my people who are called by my name humble themselves, and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and heal their land.
Charles Spurgeon wrote, “Before you pray, know what you are wanting. That man, who blunders down on his knees, with nothing in his mind, will blunder up again, and get nothing for his pains.
Take note, you who are much in prayer, that you rush not to the holy exercise “as the horse rusheth into the battle,” that you venture not out upon the sea of prayer without knowing within a little whereabouts will be your port! I believe that God will make you think of many more things while you are in prayer. The Spirit will help your infirmities and suggest to you other petitions, but before a word escapes your lips, I counsel you to know what you really want.
Go to God humbly, yet eagerly. If others will not pray with you, go alone, but when you go, go very reverently. It is a shameful thing that there should ever be an irreverent prayer. You are on earth and God is in heaven. Multiply not your words as though you were talking to your equal. Do not speak to God as though you could order Him about and have your will with Him, and he were to be a lowly servant to you. Bow low before the Most High. Own yourself unworthy to approach Him, speaking in the tone of one who is pleading for that which must be a gift of great charity. So shall you draw near to God.”
Paul was somebody who understood prayer and its power. Prayer was a part of Paul's life, and he took it for granted that it would be a part of the life of every Christian. You cannot really be a good Christian and not pray, just like you cannot have a good marriage if you do not talk to your spouse. You can be a Christian and not pray, just like you can be married and not talk to your spouse. But in both circumstances, you will be miserable. Prayer is the pipeline of communication between God and His people, between God and those who love Him.
Why are we to pray? We are commanded to pray in 1 Thes. 5:17 Pray without ceasing. The Bible talks to us about prayer and the necessity of it.
According to the NIV Exhaustive Concordance, the word “ pray” is used 121 times, not including the various conjugations of the verb. After pray, you have “ prayed” - 68 times, “prayer” - 106 times, “prayers” - 32 times, “praying" - 36 times and “prays” - 12 times, for a total of 375 times.
We need to begin to learn to pray effectively if we are going to see the results that we need from God. There is no magic to prayer but there IS a process and protocol.
Power Of Prayer - How can we tap into it?
The power of prayer is not the result of the person praying. Rather, the power resides in the God who is being prayed to. 1 John 5:14-15 tells us, "This is the confidence we have in approaching God: that if we ask anything according to his will, he hears us. And if we know that he hears us - whatever we ask - we know that we have what we asked of him." No matter the person praying, the passion behind the prayer, or the purpose of the prayer - God answers prayers that are in agreement with His will. His answers are not always yes, but are ALWAYS in our best interest. When our desires line up with His will, we will come to understand that in time. When we pray passionately and purposefully, according to God's will, God responds powerfully!
We cannot access powerful prayer by using "magic formulas." Our prayers being answered is not based on the eloquence of our prayers. We don't have to use certain words or phrases to get God to answer our prayers. In fact, Jesus rebukes those who pray using repetitions, "And when you pray, do not keep on babbling like pagans, for they think they will be heard because of their many words. Do not be like them, for your Father knows what you need before you ask him" (Matthew 6:7-8). Prayer is communicating with God. All you have to do is ask God for His help. Psalm 107:28-30 reminds us, "Then they cried out to the LORD in their trouble, and he brought them out of their distress. He stilled the storm to a whisper; the waves of the sea were hushed. They were glad when it grew calm, and he guided them to their desired haven." There is power in prayer!
When the 24-hour prayer chain was started about four years ago, the Lord laid it on our hearts how important prayer is and how powerful it would be to protect and cover our church with prayer all day long every day. At first only twelve hours. Did not want to limit God and He provided prayer warriors all 24 hours.
Sometimes people would come to me and say that they cannot do the same shift or that they had missed a day or two. The point is to get in the regular routine of prayer and speaking to God. I have some 24-Hour prayer list suggestions available if anyone is interested.
Four ways we are to pray to God:
1. Pray for Everything
** Philippians 4:6-7 Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
1. Pray with persistence
2. **1Thes 5:16-18 Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.
Now there is a difference between a persistent prayer and a long prayer. A person who is persistent in prayer does not necessarily have to pray for a long time. Persistence means not giving up.
George Muller, known as one of the greatest prayer warriors of all times had this to say about persistence in prayer"
"It is a common temptation of Satan to make us give up the reading of the Word and prayer when our enjoyment is gone; as if it were of no use to read the scriptures when we do not enjoy them, and as if it were no use to pray when we have no spirit of prayer. The truth is that, in order to enjoy the Word, we ought to continue to read it, and the way to obtain a spirit of prayer is to continue praying. The less we read the Word of God, the less we desire to read it, and the less we pray, the less we desire to pray."
Be persistent in prayer.
** Jeremiah 29:12 Then you will call upon me and come and pray to me, and I will hear you.
Luke 11:9 is where we find the promise that says, "ask and it shall be given to you; seek and you shall find; knock and it shall be opened to you." Each of those verbs are in the present tense, active voice and could be translated, "keep on asking, keep on seeking, keep on knocking.”
Jon Courson shares with us that The Lord wants us to keep asking, keeps seeing, and keep knocking. Many people have a problem with this and ask, “Why must I keep asking, keep seeking, keep knocking?” They wonder. There is a reason God is not trying to play hard to get nor is He treating us like puppies, trying to teach us to beg.
No, it is because we need to persist in prayer because it helps us determine that which is important to us. The fact that we must come to Him repeatedly helps us see that, in the end, it was His fellowship we craved all along.
In addition to a pattern for prayer and the importance of persistence in prayer, Jesus gives the principle of prayers.
**Psalm 84:11 No good thing will the Lord withhold from them that love Him
Imagine that the Lord has a cup that we need to fill with prayers and petitions. We do not know the size of the cup and how many prayers it will take to fill it. When the cup is full, then our prayer will be answered. So, we are commanded to keep praying.
2. Pray with passion.
If you are persistent in something, it stands to reason that you are to be passionate about it. In fact, Paul says we should be vigilant or be watchful; it is the opposite of slothfulness. This describes passionate prayer.
Jesus was passionate about His prayer life; it was something He was always doing. He is our example.
**Psalm 55:17 “Evening and morning and at noon I utter my complaint and moan, and he hears my voice.”
3. Pray with Thankfulness and gratitude
** Colossians 4:2 Continue steadfastly in prayer, being watchful in it with thanksgiving.
** Luke 18:1 And he told them a parable to the effect that they ought always to pray and not lose heart.
Expressing gratitude does several things:
· It articulates dependence
· It demonstrates relationship
· It communicates gratitude - proper attitudes
· It generates humility
4. Pray making intercession
Quite simply, intercessory prayer is the act of praying on behalf of others. The role of mediator in prayer was prevalent in the Old Testament, in the cases of Abraham, Moses, David, Samuel, Hezekiah, Elijah, Jeremiah, Ezekiel, and Daniel. Christ is pictured in the New Testament as the ultimate intercessor, and because of this, all Christian prayer becomes intercession since it is offered to God through and by Christ. Jesus closed the gap between us and God when He died on the cross. Because of Jesus’ mediation, we can now intercede in prayer on behalf of other Christians or for the lost, asking God to grant their requests according to His will.
“For there is one God and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus” ( 1 Timothy 2:5). “Who is he that condemns? Christ Jesus, who died—more than that, who was raised to life—is at the right hand of God and is also interceding for us” (Romans 8:34 ).Intercessory prayer is basically praying for others and praying for God's will to be done in the lives of other people. Intercessory prayer changes things. We all need to develop a prayer life that will move mountains!
1 Timothy 2:1-4 First of all, then, I urge that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and thanksgivings be made for all people, for kings and all who are in high positions, that we may lead a peaceful and quiet life, godly and dignified in every way. This is good, and it is pleasing in the sight of God our Savior, who desires all people to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth.
** Ephesians 6:18 Praying at all times in the Spirit, with all prayer and supplication. To that end keep alert with all perseverance, making supplication for all the saints,
Power Of Prayer - For what kind of things should I pray?
God's help through the power of prayer is available for all kinds of requests and issues. Philippians 4:6-7 tells us, "Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus."
The Word of God is full of accounts describing the power of prayer in various situations. The power of prayer has overcome enemies (Psalm 6:9-10), conquered death (2 Kings 4:3-36), brought healing (James 5:14-15), and defeated demons (Mark 9:29). God, through prayer, opens eyes, changes hearts, heals wounds, and grants wisdom (James 1:5). The power of prayer should never be underestimated because it draws on the glory and might of the infinitely powerful God of the universe!
Mary Queen of Scots, the Roman Catholic who opposed the Protestants in Scotland, said that she was more afraid of the prayers of John Knox than of any army of ten thousand men.
Often prayer is the last thing people do after they have exhausted all other avenues. It should be the first!
C.H. Spurgeon “When I think of great men of prayer, men who accomplished great things for God, I think of Elijah. Here is a man who called down fire from heaven, brought a widow's son back to life, ran faster than a horse, traveled 40 days and 40 nights on the strength of one meal. When he came to the widow's house, he told her to feed him and when she did, here jar of flour and oil did not run dry until the famine was over. He personally and boldly stood up to the wicked King Ahab and Queen Jezebel. This man didn't even die. When it was his time to go, a chariot of fire came down and took him up to heaven in a whirlwind.”
I have shared the story of my husband and I praying for salvation for our unsaved family member and prodigals, some close to forty years now. We are the only saved people in both of our families. I had the opportunity to share and pray with my father-in-law nine days before he died, he accepted Christ after thirty years. Nicole and countless others have similar stories.
Just remember, if you do not pray for your loved ones, who will?
** James 5:16 Therefore, confess your sins to one another and pray for one another, that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person has great power as it is working.
**Story of psychiatrist in SLO from work comp. God is always working. Answered prayer is taking eyes off ourselves and allowing God to do His will through us.
If Jesus Christ, the perfect son of God, had to depend on prayer, then how much more do you and I need to pray! Effective prayer is the provision for every need and the solution for every problem.