INTRODUCTION TO PRAYER
These articles (hereunder) deal with Prayer, which is basically: Dialogue between God and people, especially His covenant partners.
This introduction is intended for anyone with a desire to pursue understanding of, and commitment to serious heartfelt prayer in fellowship and companionship with Jesus Christ. I want to encourage you to open your Bible and read the Scripture passages, and supporting Scripture passages. Hopefully, you will become a Prayer Warrior for Christ.
Prayer is serious business! The early prophets noted that genuine prayer calls for accompanying moral and social accountability. To understand what that means, let me share two Old Testament, scriptural passages with you: Hosea 7:14 NKJV. “They did not cry out to Me (God) with their heart when they wailed upon their beds. They assembled together for grain and new wine, (during an extended drought) they rebel against Me.” Also, Amos 4:4-5 NKJV. “Come to Bethel and transgress, at Gilgal multiply transgression; (overstepping the limits of God’s law) bring your sacrifices every morning, your tithes every three days.” This passage is a bitterly sarcastic call to Israel to worship.
Understand “serious business.” Israel is a nation born of prayer, beginning with Abraham, Moses, Joshua, David, and Solomon; God also spoke to the judges to deliver His people when they called out to Him for deliverance. Another thought, this is applicable today – the United States of America was/is a nation born of prayer. We must return to God as a nation, “One Nation Under God.”
In the New Testament, Jesus’ example and teaching inspire prayer. Jesus displayed a regular and intense prayer life. Jesus sometimes prayed aloud for the benefit of those present – not for personal recognition, rather for the benefit of those whom wanted to teach. We’ve all heard the Lord’s Prayer; the prayer which Jesus taught to His disciples who realized the Kingdom is present, but didn’t understand, it is still to come in a fullness. Significantly, the disciples had asked Jesus to teach them to pray after watching and hearing Him pray. Understand this!!! Prayer is NOT offered to impress others. Jesus tells us to seek a most private place in which to pray. Why? He wants you to be focused, as your prayer is given in your personal relationship and fellowship with Him. You see, Jesus does not reject group prayer, but his warning might apply to a believer who prays to impress a congregation. Jesus also prohibited long-winded attempts that try to manipulate God.
While Jesus prayed for long periods of time and repeated Himself, He called for people to trust their Father (God) and not their own eloquence or fervor.
Let’s close this introduction and allow you to move to or through the different types of prayers. Allow me to refer you to what I feel is the most beautiful prayer of Jesus Christ found in the Scriptures, and please take time to read it, mediate upon it, and the heart of Jesus Christ in prayer is revealed therein (John 14:7-31). You see, through His death and Resurrection, Jesus is the way to the Father. No one goes the Father except through Jesus the Son. Jesus is also the truth and the life. As truth, He is the revelation of God. As life, He is the communication of God to us. Prayer from us to Jesus is our line of communication to Him; you the believer to Christ Jesus, your Creator.
Finally, the ironies of prayer are evident: God knows our needs, yet we must ask; God is ready to answer, yet we must patiently persist. Children of the Kingdom will have their requests heard.
Prayer in Jesus’ name is prayer that is seeking His will and is submissive to His authority (John 14:13, 1 John 5-14).
Blessings in your comfort and joy in your prayer life; knowing that you have the authority to go directly to your Creator in prayerful communication – anywhere, at any time, without having to go through any man, medium, or pastor or priest. Amen
PRAY TO CONFESS YOUR SINS - I
Our Scriptural passage: 1st John 1:9, “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.”
Acknowledging sin and helplessness and seeking God’s mercy
To “genuinely confess” one’s sins means to say the same thing about our sins that God says. Understand: God doesn’t want His children to harbor unconfessed sin in one’s life. This passage is telling us of God’s faithfulness to believers that, to “genuinely confess” sin means, from one’s heart, thus, to confess means to acknowledge sin. He recognizes that we are sinners in need of forgiveness. So, to “confess” is to agree with God, to admit that one is a sinner in need of His mercy and grace. It’s then that He will cleanse all unrighteousness from that person.
Because God is faithful to keep His promises, He guarantees our forgiveness because He is just. That’s why mankind is not able to forgive one’s self or hide our sin. Adam and Eve tried that in the Garden of Eden; while they were the first to do so, it didn’t work then and it doesn’t work today.
What’s the purpose of all this? It’s just this: Confession is supposed to free us to enjoy fellowship and our relationship with Jesus Christ. It should ease our conscience’s and lighten our cares. Many Christians just don’t understand that God desires to forgive us. He allowed His Son to die on the Cross just so He could pardon us, i.e., take away our sin.
We don’t need to confess our sin over-and-over again. Then we wonder, “Why, after I confess my sin and God says He will forgive it and forget it? Why does it haunt me?” God did exactly what He said, the problem is, while you are forgiven, it’s your conscience that troubles you. You’ve confessed, He took it from you, but you won’t let it go and move on. Confessing it again-and-again will achieve nothing. You think, “Well this will keep me out of heaven.” No! You cannot lose your Salvation. To hang on to already confessed sin will keep you from enjoying your relationship of fellowship with Him. Remember, one confesses so one can enjoy maximum fellowship with the Father. Confess it! Turn from further sin!
We’re not genuinely confessing our sin before God if we plan to commit that sin again and you’re asking for temporary forgiveness. You have to pray for the Holy Spirit to strengthen you to recognize and defeat temptation when it appears. Amen
Old Testament - Psalm 51 (a prayer of repentance): A plea for God’s mercy in confession, an acknowledgment that sin is against the Lord, a confession that sin pervades one’s being, a series of pleas for forgiveness, a vow of praise by the forgiven sinner, a statement of the meaning of true worship, and a prayer for restoration.
New Testament - Luke 15:11-24 and Luke 18:10-25.
PRAY TO DEAL WITH WORRIES AND CARES - II
Our Scriptural passage: Philippians 4:5-7 “Let your gentleness be known to all men. The Lord is at hand. 6 Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; 7 and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Jesus Christ.” NKJV
Notice, first of all, this passage of Scripture is a promise of God. Let’s read it closely [a couple of times], and understand each of these and sum it up at the close.
“Gentleness”: A person who is gentle is willing to sacrifice his/her own personal rights to show consideration to others. Notice, this is a noun and it identifies a person who manifests a calmness and fairness of spirit.
“The Lord is at hand.”: The Lord’s return could happen at any moment, thus He is indeed close at hand. At His Second Coming we’ll fully realize this ultimate joy. He who indwells the believer will fulfill His final purposes for our life.
“Be anxious for nothing,”: In the KJV the word “careful” is used. This word means “worry” , thus understand the meaning is “don’t worry.” Imagine never having to worry about anything! We all have worries.
“In everything by prayer and supplication.”: Paul’s advice is to turn your worries into prayer. Whenever you find yourself beginning to worry – stop, turn to prayer. ALWAYS give thanks to God, in all things including answered prayer.
“The peace of God . . . all . . . will guard your heart and mind . . .”: Therein is the promise of God, and note He says, “through Jesus Christ.” God’s peace is different from the world’s peace, John 14:27, (Jesus is speaking) “Peace I leave with you, My peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.” NKJV. This is God’s promise through Jesus Christ. Real peace comes from knowing that because God is in control, our citizenship in Christ’s Kingdom is sure, our destiny is set, and our VICTORY OVER SIN is certain.
Understand, our God is not a God of worry or fear! He say’s we come to Him by faith. We trust in Him by faith. Therefore, we are assured of His promised fulfillment(s). It we have faith only as certain times and doubt at other times, my friend, that is not faith. Think a little deeper; wouldn’t that make a doubter an athiest? “Ouch!”, you say. That’s no different between a lost and a saved person. You make a decision for Christ and Salvation with the promise of eternal life. The person who refuses to a accept Christ is lost. The person who waivers in his/her decision to accept Christ as their Savior and dies without Christ will go into eternal life, but it won’t be heaven, it will be hell.
What a precious promise. Pray because our worries and cares can be eliminated through prayer. We are so anxious about things, and most of the things we get anxious about never come to pass. We live such worrisome lives, don’t we? The reason for this has nothing to do with our personalities or our upbringing. The reason we live such anxious lives is our prayerlessness. We should lift up our prayer requests to Jesus Christ, asking for His promised peace in dealing with your worries and cares. And in all things, GIVE HIM THANKS. Amen
Old Testament - Psalm 105:1-7
New Testament - 1st Thessalonians 5:16-18 and Luke 17:11-19.
PRAY FOR GOD TO MEET YOUR NEEDS - III
Our Scriptural passage: Hebrews 4:15-16 “For we do not have a High Priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but was in all points tempted as we are, yet without sin. Let us therefore come boldly to the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need.” NKJV
Let’s first define a couple of points of this passage:
(1) “Sympathize” means for one “to suffer with” and expresses the feeling of one who is suffering.
(2) “In all points tempted” means Jesus experienced every degree of temptation. In Hebrews 2:18, “For in that He Himself has suffered, being tempted, He is able to aid those who are tempted.” Thus, Jesus experienced every degree of temptation but never surrendered Himself to it. He knows how to help those being tempted.
(3) “come” expresses the openness of God’s call in Christ, “Come!” (Revelation 22:17). We find this invitation “Come!” is of the Spirit and remains open to anyone who will “come” by faith to Christ to accept the Lord’s gracious offer of eternal life.
(4) “boldly” is the same word as that of “confidence” and means “plainness of speech,” “fearlessness”or “courage.” Some Christians approach God meekly with heads held low, afraid to ask Him to meet their needs. Other’s pray flippantly with little thought. Listen! Come to your God with reverence; He is your King. Also come with bold (blessed) assurance; He is your Friend and Counselor. “Come” (Rev. 22:17) is the shortest prayer in the Bible.
Understanding the above: You can be comforted that Jesus faced temptation so He can sympathize with you, and you can be inspired that He faced temptation without desire to sin. He is the only One who has ever lived without committing sin. He understands your weaknesses as well as everyone else’s weaknesses, so He can give you strength to overcome, and if you fail – He offers forgiveness.
“So, how does this apply to my life?”, you ask. Perhaps you are in a time of great need. It’s time to “come” (His invitation is open) before the Lord. Prayer is God’s way of meeting our needs, but He wants you to come to Him.
Old Testament - Exodus 32:11-13; 31-32
New Testament - Phillipians 1:9-11 and John 17:9; 17:20-21
PRAY BECAUSE SATAN IS REAL - IV
Our Scriptural passage: Ephesians 6:10-12. “Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord and in the power of His might. Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places.” NKJV
Understand, spiritual warfare is real. In Christian life we battle in these things; the powerful evil forces of fallen angels headed by Satan, who is a vicious fighter. That’s why [through prayer] we can stand against his attacks; we must depend on God’s strength and use every piece of His armor. Our entire body needs to be armed. Fight in the strength of the church, whose power comes through the Holy Spirit. WE can defeat Satan through our prayer. What if we don’t pray? That’s like turning off your security system when you live in a high crime area.
Consider 1st Peter 5:8-9, “Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil walks about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour. Resist him, steadfast in the faith, knowing that the same sufferings are experienced by your brotherhood in the world.” NKJV
Satan is real, and will be around until Christ Jesus Comes again and casts him into the lake of fire. Satan will walk by your door a thousand times to find it open - just once. Man doesn’t sin without will; that’s why we must be strengthened - to exercise our will against him.
Matthew 6:13, “And do not lead us into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one. For Yours is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever. Amen” NKJV
This is not to imply that God leads us into temptation. We’re simply asking, in our prayer, for deliverance from Satan and his deceit. All Christians struggle with temptation. Often it’s so subtle we don’t even realize what is happening to us. God has promised that He won’t allow us to be tempted beyond our endurance in 1st Corinthians 10:13, “No temptation has overtaken you except such as is common to man; but God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will also make the way of escape, that you may be able to endure it."
There are two things we are constantly confronted with in each of our lives. (1) is “lust.” Everyone of us has lust, on some level, in his / her heart, i.e., the desire to have, the desire to do, the desire to be. All of us must, at sometime or another, struggle with the lust of the flesh, (not solely sexual) the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life.
We need clarity of thought and understanding - This term “flesh” is a designation for the body or parts thereof. “Flesh” frequently refers to the skin or the body itself – all the material that covers the skeleton of humans and animals. Examples found in Scripture: Leviticus 14:9 speaks of removing residual scales and flakes that may have passed on contagious diseases to others. In Psalms 119:120 it reads, “My flesh trembles for fear of You” (Lord). Now this is important to know: “Flesh” is also used in contrast to the term “soul” (nephesh in Hebrew) thus distinguishing a person’s physical existence from his / her spiritual existence (Isaiah 10:18; Psalm 63:1 & 84:3). Similarly, “flesh” is used in contrast to the word for heart/mind (leb in Hebrew) to distinguish body from the mind, will, and emotions (Psalm 16:9 & Proverbs 14:30).
The second thing of importance is, we must deal with is “lure.” When a fisherman wants to catch a fish, he has to tempt the fish, and he does that using a “lure.” Satan, the great deceiver, and our present world as well, make sure something is always dangling, tempting, luring our desire(s) before us. People say, “I’ve never experienced such a difficult time until I decided I was going to live for Christ Jesus.” Why would Satan pursue the lost souls? - he’s already got them. He will pursue the Christian, to lure him/her away from Jesus.
When making a decision to give one’s life to Jesus Christ, Satan does everything in his power to destroy us. O how I hate to use the names of Jesus and Satan in the same sentence – especially when they’re only separated by a simple comma. You see, Satan gets much undeserved credit; this world we live in is also luring the believer into it’s evil ways. Remember, Jesus, was a fisherman, but He’s never use a lure! Jesus cast His (net), however, His net, is the Gospel Message, the promise of forgiveness of sin, through confession of one’s sin, asking Him for that forgiveness, and one repents from their heart, and receives His promise of eternal life with Him in His Kingdom.
Let's conclude with this: temptation is not sin; yielding to temptation is sin. Ask the Holy Spirit, which indwells you, to keep you from temptation. There are places I shouldn’t go; things I shouldn’t look upon or listen to; things that I must turn my eyes away from because Satan will use my weaknesses - especially those who are trying to serve God and to do His Will. Back to the top, Ephesians 6:12. Amen
Romans 13:11-14, Psalm 23, Luke 2:29-32, Matthew 6:5-15, Matthew 7:11, John 11:41-42.
PRAY BECAUSE JESUS CHRIST IS PRAYING FOR YOU - V
Our Scriptural passage: Hebrews 7:25. “Wherefore He is able to save them to the uttermost that come unto God by Him, seeing He ever liveth to make intercession for them.” KJV
Look at three words in this passage:
(1) “. . . He is able to save . . .” because He is fully God while fully human. This verse is speaking of Jesus’ present intercession for our sanctification, which is the continuing process by which we are freed from the power of sin; which will be completed in our glorification and saved from the presence of sin.
(2) “uttermost” speaks of this glorification. Jesus is able to save completely “to the uttermost.” No one can add to what Jesus did to save us; our past, present, and future sins are all forgiven. If you’re a Christian, remember that Christ has paid the price for your sins once and for all.
(3) “intercession” is to intercede on our behalf. Understand, as our High Priest, Jesus Christ is our Advocate, the mediator between us and God the Father. He looks after our interests and presents our requests to God. In the Old Testament we learn that high priests of that time would go before God, in the Temple, into the place called the Holy of Holies, once a year and plead for the forgiveness of the nation’s sins. Christ Jesus makes perpetual intercession before God for us. That said. Christ’s continuous presence in heaven with the Father assures us that our sins have been paid for and forgiven. This wonderful assurance frees us from guilt and fear of failure.
The MESSAGE is: We should pray to our God who hears and answers prayer because of the great work of Jesus Christ at this moment in the work of intercession. The Lord Jesus Christ’s earthly ministry was the great work of redemption. His is our Redeemer. This is why we should pray. We pray if we’ve failed. We pray or we worry ourselves to sickness. We pray or we live defeated lives. We pray or we dishonor God. We pray or we struggle through life, drifting aimlessly. Here’s the big one! We pray or the Devil is the victor. You see, there is no middle ground.
May God work in your life, and mine, until we get to the place where there are no options, only prayer. There may be some event, catastrophic or otherwise, but know that God works in the lives of His children to the point where we have no options, other than to pray. If we see things the way God sees them, there are not options. The only way to have VICTORY is to PRAY IN FAITH.
Hopefully you see how the title of this article is His Blessed Assurance that He has never left you, while He intercedes for you IN PRAYER now, He will be with you IN ETERNITY. “Come Lord Jesus.” Amen
Exodus 32:11-13, Exodus 32:31-32, Philippians 1:9-11, John 17:9, John 17:20-21
Further: Dealing with confidence – Old Testament - Psalm 23, Luke 2:29-32, Matthew 6:5-15 and Matthew 7:11, John 11:41-42
LET CHRIST BE YOUR FIRST RESOURCE AND NOT YOUR LAST RESORT.
PRAY IN THE NAME OF THE LORD JESUS CHRIST - VI
Our Scriptural passage: John 14:1-6. Jesus is speaking. “Let not your heart be troubled; you believe in God, believe also in Me. 2 In My Father’s house are many mansions (dwellings); if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. 3 And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you to Myself; that where I am, there you may be also. 4 And where I go you know, and the way you know.” NKJV.
This is one of the most basic yet important passages in Scripture. The “Way” is another title for Jesus. As the Way, Jesus is our pathway to God the Father. As the “Truth,” He is the reality of all God’s promises. As the “Life,” He joins His divine life to ours, both now and eternally.
These words of Jesus show one the way to eternal life, though unseen, it is as certain as is your trust in Him. He is saying: He has already prepared (not “a” way) “THE” way to eternal life. The only issue that may still be unsettled in your willingness to believe.
Some argue that the way of Jesus is too narrow. In reality, it’s wide enough for the entire world, if the world chooses to accept it. You see, instead of worrying about how limited it sounds to have only One Way, we should be saying, “Thank You, God, for providing the sure way to come to You!
To pray in Jesus’ name means to pray for His sake and for His glory. That’s our message. Have you ever been in a location of indecision and were in need of directions? So you ask someone, “Can you help me to get to . . .? The person gave you the directions and you followed them. Perhaps you’ve been in that same situation and asked someone, “How do I get to . . .?” and he answered, let me show you.” The difference being one person told you the way and other person became the way. You see, when we come into the presence of Jesus Christ, He is the Way. He wants us to pray in His name.
John 14:13. “And whatever you ask in My name, that I will do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son." This is powerful. When we pray, do it in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ. This is His full title, and speaks of His authority and power. We should pray because He has invited us to pray in His name, the name of all power and authority.
John 16:23-24. “And in that day you will ask Me nothing. Most assuredly, I say to you, whatever you ask the Father in My name He will give you. Until now you have asked nothing in My name. Ask, and you will receive, that your joy may be full.” Through His death and Resurrection, Jesus is the Way to the Father. He is also the Truth and the Life. As Truth, He is the Revelation of God. As Life, He is the communication of God to us. You have now been “shown the Way.” Pray because He has invited us to come in His name, seeking eternal life. Our primary need. Amen