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Archive for the ‘Book on Prayer’ Category

PRAY IN SECRET

(The author, from his experience in prayer for more than forty years, writes with confidence as to how to pray to get answers.    Copyright © 2007 mathewpaul.org .  All rights reserved for all materials in the blog.)

These pages are dedicated to my dear wife Joyce, who permitted me long hours during night and day to be spent alone with God, in spite of her busy and hard life as a mother of five children below ten years then.

To God Almighty be all glory who gave us a very exciting life answering our prayers.

PREFACE

Prayer is a big mystery. There are very few people who do not pray. Even the so-called atheists are said to have called upon God in times of trouble. But there are very few who can pray with confidence knowing that their prayers are heard and would be answered.

Following pages are the result of a life time of prayer and the author is trying to guide beginners in the art of praying to get answers.

This is not a research work nor is it a comprehensive study of the subject of prayer. Concepts are discussed without much detail. But any one who wants to pray effectively must know these basics about prayer. They should know why they should pray. Then they should know the ‘how’ of prayer. So the first few sessions are allotted to discuss what prayer actually is, and the last sessions are allotted to how to go about praying.

No one ever becomes perfect in the art of praying. So these words are written with the hope that the author and the readers will continue to live up to the challenge that is laid up in the Holy Scriptures, the Bible.

I am thoroughly convinced that if prayers are done in the way taught by the scriptures, answers are bound to come. I remember as a student praying for three rupees to buy tooth paste. Answer came that very day when a friend of mine got a money order.from his uncle and the coupon instructed him to give me three rupees.  This incident took place way back in 1967.

In 1986 the month of April was a special month in my life. For a whole month I was witnessing miraculous provision of the Lord as I was constructing a two storied concrete building of 700 sft., to be used as a hostel building for tribal children. We started the construction with little money in our hands, ended it within thirty days with no debts.   We had not informed any one in the whole world about the project even as a prayer request. The Lord provided all our needs as direct, tangible, undeniable, unbelievable answers to prayer day by day. That building stands in the Nilgiris in S.India with the inscription “This building stands witnessing the fact that God of Elijah lives” l Kg.17:4, on it. Even if Lucifer were to come in person, he can not deny that God answers prayer today.  Or how else would he explain the existence of that building there?

In 1996 as I was attending a prayer seminar and in between classes, a prayer slipped out of my heart asking the Lord to make provision for me to buy a good vehicle before I left that place. No one ever knew what I was praying about. But on the following day came the answer most wonderfully when a brother promised a lump of money for the same purpose and in a few months time I was able to get a good vehicle  for myself.

After all these and other many and varied answers to prayers in my life, I stand as a man thoroughly broken in spirit as the Lord challenged me to pray for India with its enormous needs. I am like David after killing the lion and the bear. Goliath stands tall and real. Unless he is defeated, the purpose of our lives is not achieved.

So I challenge the readers to read the following pages and join me in the fight against the enemy of  our souls who has blinded millions of our country men. May we wrestle against the principalities and powers of darkness and may we enter into the victory which Christ has won for us and for our country men. To His name be all glory. Amen and amen

To read further go to ‘Book on Prayer’  in categories or ‘Experience in Focus’ in categories or ‘Unforgettable experiences’ in categories.

 

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(The author, from his experience in prayer for more than forty years, writes with confidence as to how to pray to get answers.)

To God Almighty be all glory who gave us a very exciting life answering our prayers.
                                             

                                                              FOREWORD

(By Dr. G. Isaiah, Professor of Homiletics,   Union Biblical Seminary, Pune 411 037,   India)

If prayer is Christian’s “vital breath” how many Christians are found to be “living” prayer?  Prayer is strangely absent both from the pulpit and in practice of both the preachers and the people alike.  Prayer is more easily “said” than done!  And when prayer gets the least priority from the pulpit the pews are empty and the churches are merely existing but not living.  It was time that some one wrote urgently and passionately about this topic.

And I believe that the author of these pages is that some one who has felt compelled to write on this subject.  I have no doubt in saying that he has done it with passion and persuasion!   Having known the author for more than thirty years (as a friend while pursuing theological education and as a colleague in the ministry of teaching and preaching) I can confidently say that this comes out from the deepest convictions of his heart.  Bro. Mathew Paul does not simply talk about prayer, but he lives what he has written. This adds authenticity to the subject!  As you read this, you cannot but be impressed with the fact that his personal encounters with the Lord form the basis and the content of prayer.  Read and be thrilled, but better still, read and practice.  The days of miracles are not over! Experience the miracle of encounter with the Lord of Prayer!

I strongly recommend these pages to all those who are hungry to know God in a more intimate way than before in their prayer life.  May there be more “pray-ers” than mere repetitions of pious words which we call prayers!  May there be a great host of God’s people who surround His throne till our land is evangelized and thus hasten the coming of God’s kingdom on this earth!
                                                              

AS YOU TURN PAGES

  1. Three levels in prayer – Bible Teaching
    a) Asking and receiving
    b) Fellowship with God
    c) Striving in prayer 
  2. Logic of prayer – Bible View
  3. God is a prayer answering God – Bible Revelation
  4. Prayerlessness… -Bible Insight
    a) Purpose of a believer’s life will not be fulfilled
    b) We sin against God
    c) God’s will cannot be achieved on this earth
  5. How to pray to get answers? – Bible Instruction
    a)  Pray in Christ’s Name
    b)  Pray for God’s glory
    c)  Pray in the will of God
    d)  Pray in Faith
    e)   Pray after removing hindrances
    f)   Pray till answer is received
  6. Opposite Force of Prayer – Bible Truth
  7. Be a Prayer Warrior – Bible Practice

Appendices – Bible Gleanings
                   
a) Word of God and Prayer
b) Singing and praying
c) Praying for souls
d) Bold prayers in humility
e) Be Sure of Answers
f) Convictions about prayer
g) Commitments for prayer
h) A Suggestion

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At first level prayer is a) Asking and receiving from God
At second level prayer is b) Fellowship with God
At third level prayer is c) Striving with God 

Now read on…

Prayer is the means of contact with God. It is the vital breath of the human spirit.

Man has a body, a soul and a spirit.  I Thes. 5:23. With the body man relates himself to the physical world.  With the soul, man relates himself with the living world of creatures.  But with the spirit, man can relate himself to God who is the Ultimate Spirit (Jn.4:24).

In order to maintain his body, man has to breathe, eat and drink regularly. This is because God made man as a dependent being.   No one can live with out these.  Every one has to do it moment by moment and day by day.  That is how God made man. To maintain our physical life, we depend on the physical things around us like air, water and food. We know that every grain of rice has life in it. So we might say that God designed us in such a way that in order to maintain our physical life we need to depend on lower life like grains, pulses, fish and meat.

Same thing with the soul.  Mind is the organ of the soul.  In order to develop his soul, man has to train his mind day by day.  One goes to school and trains oneself to become a doctor or an advocate.  It takes years of regular and hard work to achieve this mental capability.  People need to train their minds before they can enjoy  a poem or a game of cricket.  By regular training of mind man achieves such heights and man is able to enjoy life better in this way. This we do it by depending on our parents, friends, teachers and society at large. We learn from people all around us. Thus we might say that we depend on fellow humans to maintain our souls.

The one who trains up his mind enjoys life better than the one who failed to do so. Not only that, the one who trains the mind enjoys life at a higher level.   That is why some are able to forego a prepared chicken meal to watch a cricket match.  The one who only knows the taste of chicken cannot imagine what he or she is missing in cricket.  But the one who enjoys cricket enjoys life at two levels. 

Human life is not over with chicken and cricket.  Man craves for something deeper.  He feels an emptiness within himself even after he enjoys the very best at these two levels of human existence.  The reason for this is that man has a higher level of existence than these two levels.  Man has a spirit.  The spirit of man is the God-element in man.  The spirit of man longs for the Eternal Spirit who is God.  Only when man’s spirit is able to get in touch with God who is Spirit, is man able to find fulfillment in his life.  He is then able to enjoy life at its best.  With Christ in life, man enjoys life much better than he enjoys it with just chicken and cricket! Simply put, God has permitted us to depend on Him directly to maintain our spirits. Thus we might truly say that prayer is the vital breath of a Christian. He who does not pray, does not have spiritual existence. The spirit of such a person is dead (Eph.2:1) and when one gets in touch with God through Christ, the spirit of that person is made alive and is born again or born of the Spirit (Jn.3:5-8).

The Bible says that through Christ, who is God in human form, any one to day can enter into contact with the Eternal Spirit.  As we approach God through Christ, prayer is the means of that contact.  By praying through Christ who is the mediator between man and God (l Tim.2:5) any one can get into a living contact with God.  In fact, such a person can become a child of God through Christ (Jn. 1:12).  Thus man can enter into the fullness of his being.  Man can enjoy life at its very best. 

Anyone who does not have this divine contact is living like the rest of the animal kingdom.  Such people know only two levels of human existence.  They are missing the very best that life offers.  If the reader is one of those, you are invited to the third level of human existence through Christ.  Man without Christ is described in the Bible as one who is dead in spirit (Eph. 2:l).  It means that such a person is separated from God and thus living a sub-human existence.

The Bible teaches us a lot about prayer.  For our convenience, we may perceive prayer as having three levels.

a) Prayer as asking and receiving from God.

We found that prayer is the means of contact with God.  Now concentrate your mind and call upon God through Christ.  God has promised that He would answer such a call.  Try this.  This is very practical.  Say to God,  “O God, I come to you through Christ Your Son.   I ask that you forgive me and make me your child”.   If  those words came out of your heart and not merely from your lips,  surely heaven will respond to your call.   I guarantee that a hot line will be created between you and God.

The very first and the most important thing which God offers to man through Christ is forgiveness of sins.  Just for the asking in true repentance and in faith, any one can get God’s forgiveness to day.   God does this based on the work of Christ on the cross of  Calvary. There the sinless Son of God paid the penalty of the sins of the whole world.  Millions around the world have experienced this forgiveness which is offered through Christ to day (Rom.3:22-27).  Here is the opportunity.  Do not ever miss this chance to become a child of God.  Do not miss this opportunity to get in to contact with God.  Do not miss this chance to enter into life in its fullest potential.

The Bible is guide for effective praying.  Any one who wants to continue in this relation ship with God must read, understand and practice what the Bible teaches (Pro.28:8).   Some one who wants to have regular answers to prayer must be regular in the habits of reading, meditating and obeying the Word of God every day.

The Bible is like a letter sent to you by God in person.  If you want to send a reply to that letter, you need to read and understand it.  Many people do not know what to pray or how to pray, simply because they do not know what is written in the Bible. So in order to become effective in prayer, read, study, meditate, and practice the Bible daily.  As you eat your daily food to nourish your body, so to nourish your spirit take in God’s Word on a very regular basis.

One of the plain teachings of the Bible is that one needs to ask to get anything from God. “Ask and you shall receive”(Mt.7:7). “You have not…because you ask not”(Js.4:2).  The Bible has many promises pertaining to this life and about the life to come.  But one can enjoy these promises in one’s life as one asks God to fulfill those promises.

Christians are supposed to believe in Christ.  They believe that He is the Son of God.  They believe that He died for the whole world and is a risen savior etc. But if we ask many of them whether they have eternal life, they are not very sure.  The Bible says that he who believes in the Son has eternal life.  Now, what is the problem?  The Bible says that their faith is a dead faith (Js.2:19).  Only when they call upon God  in faith, their faith will be able to save them.  The Bible says, “They that call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved” (Rom.10:13).  Thus faith and prayer are two sides of the same coin.  Just as prayer without faith is useless, faith without prayer is useless as well.  So  one’s prayer life is a reflection of the genuine faith one has. 

The Bible says that salvation is a free gift from God (Eph.2:8).  But only those who ask for it in faith  will ever  receive it.  Likewise all of God’s promises will remain promises, unless they are claimed by believing prayer.  Without believing prayer promises will never reach its fulfillment.

Prayer is asking and receiving from God.  Prayer is asking God to fulfill His promises.  Many in the world to day have experienced prayer at this level.  God of the Bible is a prayer answering God.  He delights to answer prayers promised in His revealed will which is the Bible.  Every praying believer knows it.  Praise be to His Holy Name.

b) Prayer as fellowship with God

Though at first level prayer is asking and receiving from God, the Bible teaches that prayer is much more than that.  Any one who knows prayer at this level only, knows only the ABC of prayer. 

Many who know prayer only at this level become discouraged very often because all their prayers are not always answered.  God has said clearly in His Word that prayers done in the will of God only can be expected to be answered.  God will never answer prayer against His word and against His nature.

The Bible clearly tells why God created man.  Man is presented in the Bible as the crown of God’s creation.  Man is created in God’s image and likeness (Gen.1:27).  He is created to take care of the created world and to rule over it.  Man is God’s representative on earth (Gen.1:28).  More than that, God wanted to have fellowship with man.  In the cool of the day man used to hear the noise of the feet of God walking in the Garden (Gen.3:8).  God enjoyed the company of man.  Man was created for fellowship with God which He enjoyed.

When man lost this privilege through sin, the Son of God took upon Himself the form of a man that this fellowship can be restored.  To day God offers forgiveness to man free of cost based on Christ’s work on Calvary.  To day God is calling man back to fellowship with God through Christ (I Cor.1:9).  Now our fellowship is with the Father and with His Son (l Jn.1:3). 

When is man able to enjoy this fellowship to which he is called?  Fellowship involves a lot of things.  But the foremost element in fellowship is being together.

Being together in the company of God is the way to enjoy the fellowship with God.  This is what the Lord Jesus did while He was here on earth.  In Lk.6:12 we read that He went alone into a mountain and spent a whole night in prayer to God.  What was He asking God during that night of prayer? It was not merely an asking and receiving kind of prayer that He prayed that night. 

The Lord Jesus, on the other hand, was enjoying the fellowship with God the Father during that night.  He was kind of lost himself in the presence of the Father.  Imagine two friends meeting after the gap of a few years, spending time talking to one another.  They do not know how time flies.  They talk the whole night.  But if you ask them as to what they were talking about, they have nothing to say.  They did not talk philosophy or politics.  In the joy of meeting an intimate friend after a long time, each one is taken up and hours become minutes in the process.

Prayer in the second level is exactly this kind of an experience.  It is being lost in the presence of God.  It is cultivating intimacy with God.  It is enjoying the fellowship with God.

Many believers do not even spend a single hour in God’s presence.  How can they think about a whole night in prayer? They do not know what they are missing.  Only a believer who has climbed up to reach this kind of prayer, is a grown up believer.  They who have this experience will sacrifice every thing else for this sublime experience.  If one is not able to forego a meal or a sleep for prayer, it means that one has not reached this level in prayer.

God wants, indeed He longs for the fellowship of His Children.  God has called us in Christ for this fellowship only.  If any believer does not have a habit of spending a whole day or night in the presence of God, a decision has to be made to this effect.  At least once in a month one must set apart a whole night in prayer.  If nights are far too impossible, spend a day alone in the presence of God.  You will see that your spiritual life is enriched and blessed.  You will grow spiritually.  The Lord will share His secrets with you.  You will begin to discern the will of God.  You will find fulfillment in your life and God’s name will be glorified in your life.  Through these words you are invited to this level of prayer.

c) Striving in prayer

Any one who knows God intimately spends long hours in His presence.  They cherish this experience.  They long for it.  A day in the presence of the Lord is better than a thousand else where.  They enjoy the fellowship with God.  They become spiritual heroes.  This is truly an enviable experience.

Only those who have had this kind of experience in prayer can ever hope to climb the ladder and reach the third level in prayer.  In the third level prayer becomes striving.  In Rom.15:31 Paul exhorts all believers to strive with him in prayer.

Every believer has battles in life.  But many forget that it is in prayer that these battles are fought and won. 

Many want to avoid battles somehow.  They are cowards.  They do not see victory in life.  Victory is seen if only battles are fought.

Many fight their battles in the ability of their flesh.  They continue their Christian life without ever tasting victory.

What is this striving in prayer?  Let us look at the life of Jacob.  As he ran away from home, he was all alone and slept on the way side.  He had a dream there.   Almighty God gave Jacob promises that he would bless him.  That was Bethel.  There at Bethel God promised Jacob that He would bless him and bring him back to his place (Gen.28:10-22).  Years later, on his way back home, he was once again all alone at the bank of the brook Jabok.  There he met with God face to face.  There he wrestled the whole night.  He had a grip on God and he would not let Him go unless He blessed him.  There his name was changed to Israel.  He now owned the promises which were given to him at Bethel.  That was his experience in Peniel (Gen.32:22-32).

The promises of Bethel were experienced in life only after Peniel.

Striving in prayer is claiming the promises which God has given to us in His Word.  “Lord, you have promised this, and unless you fulfill this promise, I will not let you go” is the prayer of a striving believer.  Thus striving in prayer is taking hold of God to fulfill His Word.  God loves a striving believer because He loves to fulfill His promises.

There are many promises in God’s Word.  These promises are for every believer.  But tragically only very few believers  enjoy these in their lives.  As we wait in the presence of God, He gives us His promises through His Word (Jer.23:l8).  But if those promises must be fulfilled in our lives, we too need to have the experience of Peniel in our lives.    Many believers have been up to Bethel.  They know the promises of God.  But they have never been to Peniel.  They never had the experience of striving in prayer.  If those promises must be fulfilled, they need to be strived for.  There is no alternate way.

Unless God’s people strive in prayer, God’s promises will never be fulfilled (Rom.15:30-32).

Dan.9:2 & 3 confirms this truth very well.  Daniel had learnt from the book of Jeremiah that the captivity was going to be for seventy years only.  Daniel knew that that was God’s plan for His people.  Now look at Daniel who was living towards the end of that period.  Instead of just hanging around for God to fulfill His promises saying any way God would carry out His purposes whatever man may or may not do, Daniel began to fast and pray and sought the face of the Lord that God would fulfill His promise for His people.  Daniel knew a great truth that  God would  fulfill His promises only in answer to the prayers of God’s people! 

Before God does some thing some where by way of fulfilling His Word, God gets His people to pray.  When God’s people strive in prayer asking Him to fulfill His promises, God carries out His purposes for the world.  There is no exception to this rule.  Again and again we see this truth illustrated in the Scripture and in the history of the church.

If only God’s people understood this great truth to day!

Satan is always against God carrying out His purposes in the world to day.  Satan claims that this world belongs to him (Lk.4:6).  God in His magnanimity stands a bit away.  But in response to the prayers of His people, God carries out His purposes in the world to day.   By striving in prayer we are in fact resisting the devil and fighting against principalities and powers of darkness (Js.4:7; 1Pt.5:7; Eph.6:12-18).

Some believers think that striving in prayer is trying to move an unwilling God!  It is never to be understood that way at all.  We must remember that it is God who asked us to pray.  It is He who promised us to answer our prayers. It is true that there are conditions if prayers are to be answered. But no believer has ever exhausted God’s ability in answering prayers! He is willing to answer our prayers above all we can ask or think. He always answers in His bounty. But only in response to prayer will He ever fulfill His Word to day in the world.

In the 10th chapter of the Book of Daniel we have a clear demonstration of this truth.  V.12 tells us that on the very first day that Daniel began to pray, answer was sent to him. But v.13 says that the Prince of Persia stood against the angelic messenger for 21 days.  Coming to v.2 we see Daniel was striving in prayer for three full weeks.  He was not enjoying tasty food, nor was he applying oil on his head for all those 21 days.  He was in warfare for all of  that time. 

This is the experience of a believer in striving prayer.  Only those who pray like Daniel regularly could ever sense this spiritual warfare.  Only such could participate in the spiritual warfare.  Only they could share in the victory for God.  For without battle, there is no victory.

This warfare in prayer is experienced when we begin to pray for spiritual things.
There are many believers who have prayed for physical things. They know that God is a prayer answering God.  But tragically they never participate in spiritual warfare.  Their prayers are limited to physical realm only!

In Rom.15:31 Paul exhorts fellow believers to strive together with him in prayer.  It is a command to every believer.  They that do not strive continually in prayer have disobeyed a plain command of the Scripture.  Such are guilty before God for the sin of disobedience.

The word that is used in Rom.15:31 for strive is the same word used in the original in Lk.22:44 where it is translated ‘in agony’ in several translations.  Thus we come to know that striving in prayer is indeed agonizing in prayer.  This is an experience which the Spirit of God would  give to those that are regular in their prayer habits.  Only those who live near to the heart of God could ever feel the pulse of God’s heart.

These days we need men and women who, like Daniel, would strive in prayer to see God fulfill His purpose in the world to day.  May the Lord give us the needed grace that we would become truly men and women who would strive in prayer and participate in bringing about the purposes of God in this world.  To His Name Be All Glory.  Amen and amen. 

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Many people have not understood the logic of prayer.  They can not understand why we should pray if God knows everything.  Therefore they do not see the relevance of prayer and indeed they cannot pray effectively.  In this session we will try to place prayer in the right perspective in the light of God’s Word and learn as to why we should pray.

The God of the Bible is a God of love.  He is gracious and compassionate.  There is no comparison to His Person any where in the universe.  He is goodness in personified form.  He is love personified.  He is an all-positive person.  There is no negative element in Him at all.  The Bible says even His anger is righteous anger.  Such is the God of the Bible.

Many people ask questions about God’s goodness.  They say, if God is indeed good, why all this poverty and war? Why the innocent suffer?  Indeed, these are relevant questions and the Bible gives answer to similar questions.

If God was only a God of love, answering such questions would be easy.  But, if God also is Almighty, as the Bible claims Him to be, answer becomes difficult.  If God was only a God of love, answer is easy.  We know several good and loving people who are helpless.  Surely, God is not like one of them!  On the other hand, if God was Almighty alone, answer again is easy.  We know of several mighty ones who are unconcerned about any thing.  They are able to do many things.  But they will not. They are cruel.  They will never lend a helping hand.  Is God like one of them? Surely not, is the answer.

The Bible reveals that God is love (I Jn.4:8).  If any one has seen any expression of love any where in the universe, it is simply a poor imitation of God’s love.  The loving God of the Bible is not a helpless old grand father.  He is Almighty.  Nothing is impossible to Him (Gen.l8:l4).  If He says some thing it will come to pass (Ps.33:9).

Then what is the problem?  Why not God in His Almighty Love save the world from the present human predicament? 

The problems did not begin with God.  There is some one else involved in the picture.  That some one wanted to be God himself and wanted to sit on the throne of God (Is.l4:13f). It was Lucifer who had this desire.  He was one of the first of God’s creations.  He was in charge of the whole created world (Eze.28:13ff).

When Lucifer rebelled God could have chained him as he will be in the future. If God had done that, other angels would have served God with greater fear.  They would have appreciated God’s action towards Lucifer.  But it is the loving heart of God which prevented Him from destroying Lucifer.  God in His magnanimity seems to be telling Lucifer, “if you deserve the throne, you may take it”.  And Lucifer is in his attempt to capture the throne of God even to day.  The created world is under his custody to day (I Jn.5:19).  And he continues his battle by accusing God and His people.

To day Lucifer is the prince of this world (Jn.l4:30).  He is also called the god of this world (2 Cor.4:4).  God in His magnanimity stays outside and acts from outside(Isa.45:15).  God sent His only Son as man to be killed by His enemies.  In that process God demonstrated His love for the created world and wants to redeem it from the enemy.

And now God says, “call upon me be ye saved” (Is.45:26).  Thus to day God works for man only in response to man’s call.  “Behold, I stand at the door and knock; if any one opens the door, I will come in…” (Rev.3:20).  God will never force His way into the life of any man.  Unless man permits, God stays outside man’s life, waiting for his call eagerly.

There may be a good barber in the town.  That does not mean there are no hippies in the town.  Hippies have to come to the barber.  They have to permit him to clean them up.  No barber ever chases after hippies to dress them up

God is like this as well.  God has solutions to all problems of every man in the world to day.  But man has to go to God.  Man has to call upon God.  He is both willing and able to do any thing and every thing for us.  But He will do it only in response to our cries (Mt. 7:7; Js. 4:2: Eze. 36:37). 

Around the world we can meet people who claim to be born again children of God.  According to Jn l:l2 God has given us authority to call ourselves children of God if we believed in and accepted His Son into our lives.  But without prayer no one ever becomes a child of God. 

Indeed, without prayer God does not work for us to day.  God does not force any one into salvation.  If He forces some one into salvation as He did in the case of Lot (Gen l9:29) it was in answer to the prayers of Abraham. 

So to day if some one wants to be saved and enjoy fullness of God’ best for their lives, they need to pray.  If some one wants others to be saved, they need to intercede until they come to a saving knowledge of Christ.

Why is it like this?  The simple reason is that this is the order that God has set.  This is the operating method of God.

Suppose some one has a doubt as to why should the sun rise in the East.  The simple answer is, that is God’s order of things and it will never change( Jer.33:20,25; Psa.148:6).  Like wise God’s spiritual laws which He has reveled to His people (Psa. 147:19) will never change also (Mt.5:18).   One of them is:  ask and receive; ask not receive not (Mt.7:7; Js.4:2).  “If you then being evil know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more your Heavenly Father will give good gifts to those who ask him (Mt. 7:11).

God will not interfere in our lives unless we permit Him to do so. We are people with freedom of choice.  We must choose to call Him.  We must choose to obey Him.  This is man’s day according to the Scripture.  To day we are the decision makers.  The Day of the Lord is coming when He will be the Decision Maker.  But to day man decides many things within the limitations given to him!  But God ever remains sovereign.  Praise be to His Holy Name.  Amen.

God will not do any thing spiritual in the world today except in answer to our prayers.  This is because it is God’s order of things.  And He will never change His laws.

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God is Spirit (Jn. 4:24).  Therefore He has no shape.  God is also Omnipresent (Jer.23:24).  But He is not visible to human eyes.  Though He is invisible, He is a living person.  God is a Living Reality.

If no one has seen God at any time (Jn1 :18),  then how can we be sure of His existence?  The Bible says that Jesus Christ the Son of God came into the world to reveal God to man.  Jesus Christ of Nazereth was God inhuman form (1 Jn. 1:1-3).  He came to the world to call man back to fellowship with God which man lost in the Garden of Eden.  After his death and resurrection and ascension, the Holy Spirit who is the third person in the Trinity is at work in the world to day.  He too is invisible human eyes.

But as never before, God is at work in the world today.  He is working as a prayer answering God.  That is one of His names (Ps.65:2).

Because it is His very nature to answer prayers, He asked us to pray.  “For the eyes of the Lord run to and fro through out the whole earth, to show himself strong in the behalf of them whose heart is perfect toward him” (2 Chr. 16:9).  God wants to show Himself as Almighty to the world.  This He does through them whose eyes are fixed on Him.

As we read the Bible there are many promises pertaining to prayer.

Jer.33:3  “Call upon me and I will answer you and I will tell you great and mighty things which you do not know.”

Ps.50:15  “Call upon me in the day of trouble, and I will rescue you and you will honor me. It is God Himself who has given us these promises.  He is the initiator.  He did not decide to answer prayer after the trouble-filled man went to Him for help.  He invites people to come to Him with their problems.

Just imagine that God did not give us these promises.  Who can ever persuade Him to make a promise?  No man ever can do it.  But now all the promises of God are based on His unchanging, loving heart.    These promises are the expressions of His gracious heart.  And if He promised any thing, any where, we can be doubly sure that He will fulfill it at any cost.  Otherwise God would be the greatest deceiver.  No. Never, What He promised  He will surely perform.  Otherwise He would not have promised at all!

Ps.138:2(b)  “for thou hast magnified thy word above all thy name.”  If there is anything which God honors, it is His Word.  God honors His Word more than He honors His own person.  So you can be absolutely sure that the Bible is true to the core!

The Scripture says that there is nothing impossible to Him (Gen. 18:14; Jer.32:27).  But the very same Scripture says that there are certain things which He cannot do. 2 Tim. 2:13 “…for He cannot deny Himself”  Heb. 6:18  “…it is impossible for God to lie…”

This truth may be put in slightly different words.  We may say that God has a ‘weakness’. His ‘weakness’ is that He can not tell a lie.  Yes, indeed, His ‘weakness’ is His Strength!  He can not lie; He will not lie.  His promises are always sure.  He can always be trusted.

What a glory!  The One Who cannot lie, has promised that He would answer prayers. Beloved, let us go to Him in times of trouble.  And let us go to Him when every thing is well with us.  Let us learn from experience that God is a prayer answering God.

There are millions of people around the world  who have known this prayer answering God.  Many books are written proving that He answers prayers.  May we go to Him in  prayer and experience it daily in our lives.  To His Name be all glory. Amen.

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From previous pages we learnt that we have a prayer answering God and that if we do not pray that He will not interfere in our lives. (Read LOGIC OF PRAYER – Bible View) In the coming three sessions we will continue to see what happens if a believer does not commit his or her life to prayer.

a)  Purpose of a believer’s life is not fulfilled.

Let us now turn to the Scripture and see why the Lord chose His disciples.

Jn.15:16  “You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you…that what ever you ask of the Father in my name, He may give to you.”

This is a very familiar verse from Scripture.  The grammatical meaning of this verse is simple and straight forward.  But very few believers have understood the meaning of this verse and fewer indeed have put this verse in to practice.

Our Lord was telling the disciples His purpose in choosing them.  Fruit bearing clearly is the purpose expressed in this verse.  Every disciple of Christ is expected to have consistency in fruit bearing.  As all of us know fruit bearing is an automatic thing when it comes to a tree.  Given sufficient water, manure and sun light,  a tree bears fruits automatically.   Likewise, a believer who feeds himself on the Word of God regularly and weeds his life of the works of the flesh (I Pt.2:1-2), fruit bearing for the Lord will become an automatic thing for the believer. 

But according to this verse, fruit bearing is not an end in itself.  It leads to some thing else.  Let us look at the verse once again.  The verse continues,  “…that whatever you ask the father in my name, he may give to you.”

A fruit bearing believer has to be an asker.  Fruit bearing person has to ask and receive fro the father.  The fruit bearing believer is promised  ‘what ever you ask in my name’.

The verse may be summarized in the following way:

Chosen and appointed (i) to bear fruit, (ii) to continue in fruit bearing, and (iii) to ask and to receive what ever asked for!

When this truth was brought home to me first, it really looked unbelievable.  Can it be that God has chosen and appointed us that whatever we ask in the name of the Son of God be given to us?  Yes, indeed, the Scripture says, we are chosen and appointed to ask and to receive.

It is true that conditions are to be met if prayers are to be answered.  Life has to be bruit bearing, there should be consistency in fruit bearing and of course, asking has to be in the name of the Son of God.  If these conditions are met, God does the answering part of it.

In other words we have to order our lives in such a way and ask in such a way that answers must come to us.  This indeed is God’s purpose for every believer.  So if we do not ask and receive answers, it is that God’s purpose for our lives is not achieved.
 
A car is bought for going around.  If it does not run, it will become a real head-ache to the one who bought it.  Like wise a believer, chosen and appointed to ask and receive, if asking and receiving are not done, such a believer becomes the greatest head-ache for heaven.  May that not be true of you and me.

Let us arise and order our lives to produce fruits for the master consistently and let us pray in such a way that heaven will answer us.  Then and only then will our life purpose will ever be achieved.  May the Lord give us grace for His glory.  Amen.

If we do not pray…

b) We sin against God

If we are chosen and appointed to ask and receive, prayerlessness means failing in our duty.  And the Bible describes prayerlessness as sin.

Many think sin means breaking one of the ten commandments.  Sure, breaking commandments is sin.  But we usually do not find such sins in the lives of believers.

There may be some believer some where living in blatant sins.  Every one knows that they are living away from God.  They lose their God-given joy. They become guilty.  We know punishment awaits them.  We must remember that there is no provision for forgiveness for willful sins.  For any willful sin the Bible only offers firey judgment
(Num. 15:30,31; Heb.l0:26,27).  New Testament teaches that when a believer is judged, he is not condemned with the world (I Cor.ll:32).  Whether a believer or non believer, if a person is found in willful sin he or she is liable for punishment.

I Cor.5:5 tells us that a believer who is found in the sins of the flesh is given over to Satan for the destruction of the flesh.  Any sin is a barrier between God and man (Is.58:2). 

To day many a believer is found in another type of sin.  Sin of prayerlessness (ISam.12:23).  I Sam. 12 says that God will not forsake His people.  That is God’s plan for His people.  But God only carries out His plan in response to the prayer of God’s people.  What ever God wants to do in this world He reveals them to His servants the prophets (Am.3:7; Gen.18:17).  And the man of God who knows the will of God must pray that it will come true. 

Scripture is full of examples of this truth.  See how the plagues came in Egypt. God will tell Moses what He was planning to do.  Then Moses will declare it to the people God’s will.  Then Moses will ask God to bring it about.  Again and again we see it in the Scripture. 

Truth of the Scripture is very simple.  If God’s promises must come true, God’s people must pray.  God will not do any thing spiritual in the world except in answer to the prayers of God’s people.  So, if people of God do not pray in the will of God, we are hindering or blocking the work of God.  Is there a bigger sin than that?

Look into the scripture and see how many commands God has given to believers about prayer.  1 The. 5:17; Col.4:2; Lk.18:1 &c.  They are all imperatives.  They are not optional.  May we learn that prayerlessness is disobedience and therefore punishable sin. 

Let us now set apart time to spend time in the presence of the Lord.  Let us pray and release the mighty hands of God which is waiting to do wonderful things in response to our prayers.  May His Name be glorified.  Amen.

If we do not pray…

 c)  God’s perfect will cannot be accomplished on earth

We have seen several reasons from the Scripture as to why we should pray.  There is no room for prayerlessness in the lives of God’s people.  A believer who does not have regular prayer habits is not merely useless for God’s kingdom, but the greatest hindrance to God’s work on earth.

I am not strong enough to write these words.  My heart beats faster.  I cannot bear my  burden.  “Lord, Jesus I am helpless,  Help me I pray.  Amen.”

God of the universe has a good and a perfect plan for this universe and for every individual born here.  God wants every one to enjoy life in its fullness and be found in His perfect will.  But the devil is against this perfect will of God to be accomplished in human lives. 

Therefore Satan induces man to go against God and against His perfect plan.  Man being fooled by the lies of the Evil One sins against God for temporary gains and pleasures.

Any man who commits sin has to bear the punishment for the same.  This is God’s righteous law (Eze.18:14; Rom.6:23).  But God has no delight in the death of the sinner (Eze.18:23,32).   Death of a sinner is not the perfect will of God.  It is the permitted  will of God.  God permits it with tears.  God permits it because there is no other way around.  But that surely is not his perfect will.  He is not willing that any should perish (ITim.2:4).

If the perfect will of God is to be achieved, there is no other way than the prayers of God’s people.  God is not willing that our neighbors and our country men go to eternal hell fire.  But if they do not repent and call upon Him they will surely end up there without a doubt.  If this should not take place we should be willing to stand in the gap and become intercessors for our nations.   “Had not Moses His chosen one stood in the breach before Him, to turn away His wrath from destroying them” (Ps.106:23).

“And I searched for a man among them who should build up the wall and stand in the gap before Me for the land, that I should not destroy it; but I found none” (Eze.22:30).  If you and I who are God’s people do not stand in the gap millions in our land will end up in Eternal hell fire and no one is responsible for this than those of us who know the Lord. God continues in His sorrow that His perfect will is not achieved.  He punishes the unrepentant sinner in sorrow.

If God’s perfect will has to be accomplished on earth, God’s people have to pray.  There is no other way. Look at Rom.15:31 where Paul says, “…strive with me in prayer…” that the will of God may be accomplished in my life.

God’s righteousness demands the death of a sinner.  But God’s grace is flowing through the child of God to whom God has shown mercy through Christ.  The same love of God and grace of God which began to flow through Calvary continues its course through us into the world.  The grace of God in us is that which prompts us to pray for the world.  To day if we are prompted to pray, we should set aside every work and we should sit at His feet.  If we separate time and place and begin to pray regularly we will begin to see this grace flowing through us to others around us.  If many a believer responds to the inner call of God and begin the ministry of intercession we will begin to see God’s perfect will accomplished in the lives of many around us.  That is why our Lord taught His disciples to pray,  “Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven” (Mt.6:10).

May we respond to the inner call of God and may we bring glory to His Holy name.  Amen.


 

 

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In the previous pages we saw some of the most wonderful truths which God has given to us in His Word about prayer.  If it is true that God does not do any thing spiritual in this world without our prayers, and that we are chosen and appointed to pray in such a way as to get answers, the greatest hindrance to God’s work in the world to day is the prayer less saints of God.

As we look through the history of the church we see this to be very true.  When ever there was a praying generation, work of God was found to be progressing.  When ever prayer was lacking, work of God suffered in equal proportion.  There is no exception to this rule.  Behind every major revival in the church, there was a praying church.  Even to day if any one wants to see a mighty revival sweeping through the nations of the world, it can be brought about by a praying church.  We must be willing to pray through.  This is true because we have a God who answers prayers.

Occasionally we come across believers who have given up praying.  They found prayer to be not very practical as several of their prayers went unanswered.

In this chapter we will consider how to pray to get answers.  It may be taken note that some times God says ‘No’ to some prayers and at other times answer is ‘Wait’.  But usually answer is above all we can ask or think.  The point is that God always answers prayer.  What answer is received is comparatively of low significance.

One other thing to take note of is that men of prayer invariably know when God answered their prayers.  As they pray they come to know when to stop praying and start thanking God for the answer.  For some time they see answer in faith and realize answers at a later time.   Many praying ones have this experience.

It is unbelievable but it is true that God Almighty would listen to our prayers and answers them.  “I called and he answered me.  I could not believe that he was listening to my voice” (Job 9:16).  Utterly unbelievable.  Yet absolutely true.  God answers prayers!

But if we want answers to prayers we need to know the conditions laid down in God’s Word and fulfill those conditions.  Now we will look at those conditions under which God answers our prayers.

a)  Pray in Christ’s name

Jesus our Lord asked His disciples to ‘ask in my name’ as they prayed.

The Bible reveals a Triune God.  God is revealed as Father, Son and Holy Spirit.  The second person of the Trinity is the Son who became man to be the mediator between God and man (I Tim2:6).  It is through Him that we are accepted as God’s children.  It is only through Him we have access to the Father (Eph.2:l8).  Through His death a new and a living way is open for us to the Holy Place (Heb.l0:l9).  So to day we can approach the throne of grace with confidence (Heb.4:l6). What a glorious privilege we have in Christ!

There are many who know God as only God.  But through Christ we can know Him as Father (Jn.14:6).  As we approach God through Christ this new status is given to us.  Now we are His children (I Jn.3:2).  Now we can approach God as a child approaches its dad!  The saints in the Old Testament could not even dream of such a thing.  But the New Testament saints have this glorious privilege.  May we learn to use it properly.

In His parting message in John chs.14, 15 & l6 the Lord Jesus told His disciples to ‘ask in my name’(14:13; 15:16 etc.).  He was giving them authority to use His name while praying. 

We have no right in ourselves to approach God.  Except through His name we cannot receive any thing from God.  But now He has given us the right to use His name as we approach God.  As we do this, God looks at us as He looks at His only Son.  What a glory!  Because we bear the name of the Son of God, the Father sees us as He sees His only begotten  Son.

To day the New Testament believers every where use the phrase ‘in Christ’s name we pray’ or an equivalent phrase to end their prayers.  It must be so.  We need to take the name of Christ on our lips as we pray. But tragically many do not see the significance of this phrase.  ‘in my name’ has truly deeper significance.  Let us look at the NT to see how that phrase is used elsewhere.  For our purpose we only need to look at just two instances where the phrase is found to ascertain its meaning.

In Jn.14:26 we read of the spirit of God whom the Father will send ‘in my name’.  Here in this verse, without any question or doubt ‘in my name’ means ‘instead of me’.  In other words the Lord was telling His disciples that when He went to the Father, the spirit of God will be sent instead of Him.

In Col.3:17 we are told “And whatever you do, in word or deed, do every thing ‘in the name of the Lord Jesus’…”  In this verse again, the phrase ‘in the name of the Lord Jesus’ means instead of Him, or as He would do.   Today the Lord Jesus is not physically present in this world.  He has placed us here in His stead.  We are asked to do everything as He would have done, instead of Him.

This indeed is a plain teaching of the Scripture.  In I Jn.4:17 we read, “ …because as He is, so are we in this world”.  We are placed in this world in the place of the Son of God,  instead of Him.  So we are to do every thing as He would have done, in His place or in His Name.  In other words we represent Him here on earth.

So we conclude that the phrase ‘in my name’ means in my stead or in my place.  So to ask ‘in my name’ means to ask as He did, ask in His stead. In other words we represent Him as we pray.

Today the Lord Jesus is at the right hand of God interceding for us (Rom.8:34).  He is not physically present here on earth.  And He has asked His disciples to continue the ministry which He had started while here on earth.  So today we are continuing His work here on earth.  Is it not common for some one trusted to do the work of some one else in his name?  So to ‘ask in my name’ means to ask instead of Him, as He did, yea, in His way, representing Him.

The Lord Jesus was a mighty man of prayer while here on earth.  Today He is asking us to continue the work which He started while He was here on earth.  We are to do it in His name.  As He did.  In His way.  What a privilege does a child of God have!  And what a responsibility! 

Now let us quickly look at His prayer life while on earth.

Mk.1:35  early in the morning while it was dark He was found praying
Mk.6:46,47  in the evening He was found praying
Lk. 6:12  all night He was praying
Lk.ll:l  when ever there was a spare moment He was found praying
Lk.9:29 at mt. transfiguration as He was praying His face shone

To the disciples the prayer life of their Master was really amazing.  So they asked Him, “Lord, teach us to pray”(Lk.ll:l).

In His prayer in Jn. 17 the Lord Jesus was praying for His disciples and in v. 9 He says, “I pray for them, I do not pray for the world…”  Today praying for the world has been completely delegated to us (I Tim.2:1-7) as He prays for us in heaven.  We are asked to intercede for the world as He intercedes for us in heaven.

We know that the Lord Jesus is our example in every thing (I Pt.2:21).  Even in our prayer life He is our model.  If this is what is required of us, how tragic is our prayer life to-day?

I am positive.  All our prayers will always be answered if we knew and prayed as He prayed.  How can heaven not respond to a child of God who is representing the Son of God and praying in His name?

Let us arise.  Let us understand what our Lord meant.  Let us order our lives in the light of the Scripture.  Let us have prayer as priority number one as Jesus our Lord had.  Let us pray in His name, as He prayed with tears (Heb.5:7) and with agony (Lk.22:44).  Surely heaven will hear and answer our prayers without doubt.  May He give us grace.  May His name be glorified through our lives.  Amen.

b)  Pray for the glory of God.

“What ever you ask in my name, I will do that the Father may be glorified in the Son” {Jn.14:13}.  As we study the life of the Lord Jesus on earth,  we come to know that what ever He did, He did it for the glory of God(Jn.17:4).He came to reveal the Father to the world (Jn.1:18).  The invisible God of the Universe was made manifest by the coming of the Son of God in to the world.  He thus proved to the world that God is a living reality. Doing the will of the Father was food to Him (Jn.4:34).  He did not have a life separate from the Father.  He always lived and prayed for God’s glory.

God wants to reveal Himself to the world today.  He does it by answering the prayers of His saints (2 Ch.16:9).  Today as we pray we must make sure that the purpose of our prayer is His glory.  Our motive should be right.  Glory of the Lord alone must be our ultimate motive.  God knows and watches our inner most beings.  Nothing is hid before Him.  When we make sure that ultimate glory of God alone is out motive, we can be sure of an answer to our prayer.

c)  Pray in the will of God

1Jn.5:14 promises that prayers done in the will of God cannot go un answered.  Praying for the glory of God, praying in the will of God, praying in faith etc. are essential parts of the prayers of our Lord.  So if we want answers we must make sure that we too pray in God’ will.

Many believers have a problem here.  Very often they do not know how to discern the will of God.  If we are able to solve this problem, we can have the benefit of answered prayers.

The Bible is our guide when it comes to discerning the will of God.  The Bible tells us that God has a plan for this universe and also for individual lives. So the first thing to do is to familiarize ourselves with the Word of God.  We must make sure that we yield ourselves to the truths revealed to us. 

The Bible says that God has certain universal plan for all individuals on earth.  For example, He wants all men to be saved (I Tim.2:4).  This is God’s will for every one on earth.  So the first step toward discerning God’s will is to accept that we are all sinners and accept Christ as personal savior by repentance and faith.  Any one who is not born into the family of God by accepting Christ, is living out side the will of God.  So that is the first step.

Then it is perfect will that all born again children to live a holy life (1Thes. 4:3).  So, any one, though born again, living in unholy character is living out side the will of God.  Just as it is impossible for man to be born into God’s family by one’s own efforts, so no one can hope to live a holy life by the efforts of the flesh.  A person must utterly depend on the grace of God for imparting holiness into life by continual dependence and prayers to God(Rom.7:24,25).

Like wise, all those who live in holiness must always rejoice irrespective of circumstances.  They should always live a life of praise and pray without ceasing (I Thes.5:16,17,18).  This is God’ will for every believer.  If a believer is living a murmuring life, such a person is living out side the will of God.  I Pt.3:17 says that we have to do good and suffer if necessary for the same.  This too is God’s will for our lives.

Only those who live in the revealed will of God can discern God’s will for individual circumstances.  As one study the Scripture day by day with an attitude of dependence and prayer, the spirit of God will tell us what to do in our daily practical situations in life. The Bible has very clear instructions about various walks of a believer’s life.  God does nothing against His Word.  Only as one walks in the light received, is one guided further.

Some times our specific situation may not be addressed in the Scripture.  But there are very clear principles laid out in the Scripture and one must be able to apply scriptural principles as one tries to discern the will of God.

God has promised to guide us through His word.  “As you turn to the left or to the right, there is a voice behind saying, this is the way and walk ye therein” (Is.31:21). “I will instruct you and teach you the way you should take” (Ps.32:8).

As one submits one’s ways completely to God, God will guide and reveal His will to such a person.  Every one has to wait in the presence of the Lord to hear the voice of the Lord (Jer.23:l8).  It is essential to ask God for leading as one waits. Once we discern the will of God, we need to ask God to lead us day by day until it is achieved.  In 2 Sam.7:27  David prays a bold prayer as he was told what would happen to him.  So, as we pray for such things as revealed to us, our prayers must become bold.  Without prayers God’s perfect will cannot be achieved in our lives.

If, on occasion, a believer is in darkness as to what is to be done, prayers must be made continually for the revelation of the will of God.  All hindrances must be removed by  letting the Spirit of God search our heats.  If darkness persists still, the believer has to take a step trusting God and God will look after the rest (Is. 50:l0).

Praying in the will of God means praying about what pleases God.  If you want definite answers to prayers, learn to pray in the will of God.  Answers are sure to come.  May the Lord give us grace.  May His name be glorified.  Amen.

d)  Pray in faith

We found that prayers done in the will of God cannot go unanswered.  To know the will of God one has to be familiar with God through His Word.  Bold prayers are offered by people who know the will of God.

Faith is another important factor if prayers are to be answered.  “And what ever you ask in prayer, you will receive, if you have faith” (Mt.21:22).

 Faith without prayer is dead and prayer without faith is powerless.

 Faith and trust are essential elements in the very existence of human race.  We trust our milk man.  We trust our railway timetable.  We trust our taxi drivers.  If we do not trust our family members, we may never be able to take our food thinking there is poison in it.  People trust that their company would pay them at the end of the month.  We trust our governments to protect us.  Without mutual faith and trust human race cannot survive.

We all trust people or systems which are visible.  Who could ever say when a government would fall or an engine would fail?  All such happen without any warning at all.  But people who trust in the God of the Bible are trusting in someone who would never fail.  Though invisible, God is the most reliable person and His system is the most unfailing one.  Anyone could trust Him based on the principles laid down in His Word and know that He is a prayer answering God.

Faith is an important factor if prayers are to be answered.  “And whatever you ask

in prayer, you will receive, if you have faith” (Mt.21:22). While the Old Testament uses the word trust, the New Testament uses the word faith to convey the same meaning.

According to the Bible faith is assurance.  It is evidence (Heb.11:1).  It is not a leap in to the dark as some would think.  Though the God of the Bible is invisible to human eyes, He has made Himself tangible by His Word.  Faith in God means believing the unchanging words of the Bible.  Faith is ordering our lives according to the Bible.  Faith is trusting God for what He has said in the written Word.

Faith is the opposite of sight (2 Cor.5:7). Thus Abraham would set out for a land which God would show him (Gen.12:1).   Faith is the opposite of doubt (Mt.21:21).  That is why Moses would stretch his rod over the Sea (Ex.14:21).  Fear and faith are at opposite poles (Lk.8:50).  That is why Peter was able to sleep in the prison even though he knew he would be beheaded the following day (Acts 12:6).  A Bible believer does not worry about his fate, as he is above it. The Bible says that all things are possible to them that believe (Mt.l7:21).  That is why Daniel was able to pray three times even when he knew he would be cast into the den of lions (Dan.6:10).

There are many false beliefs around us.  They are based on the un-uttered words of non-existing gods!  Genuine faith, on the other hand, is believing what God has said in His written Word.

He, who does not believe what God has given us in writing, is making God a liar (I Jn.5:10).  So without faith it is impossible to please God (Heb.11:6).  It is impossible for anyone to see the glory of God without trusting what God has said in His Word (Jn .11:40).

“All things are possible to him that believes” (Mt.17:21).  This does not mean that the believers would become like magicians.  It means that whatever is said in the Bible could come true in their lives as well.

The Bible teaches us that faith is a gift from God (Eph.2:8).  Without the grace of God no one could believe in God (Jn.6:44).  Even faith is given in answer to prayer (Mt.9:24).

Faith comes by hearing and hearing the Word of God (Rom.10:17).  So in order to have faith one has to take in the Word of God with a prayerful attitude.  For more faith, more in-take of the Word is necessary. 

George Mueller, who was a man of great faith, is said to have studied the Scriptures about one hundred times on his knees!  Is there any need for us to be surprised at his faith?  On the other hand, the reason for our lack of faith is not found elsewhere either!

Some people confuse their wishful thinking with faith.  For example a school boy who wrote his exam would pray ‘believing’ that he would pass.  But when the result would come it was against his wishes.  Such people, when their wishes would not come true, would dismiss faith in God from their lives. On the other hand,  prayers based on the written Word of God can never go unanswered.  So must pray after listening to God through His Word.

Abraham is our model for faith.  He is said to have hoped against hope (Rom.4:18).  Humanly speaking there was no ground for him to put his foot on.  Everything was against him.  There was no place for wishful thinking.  But God had told and that was what he trusted in.  It is not on our wishful thinking that we should put our faith on.  It is on what God has said. 

What did the Lord tell me about this particular situation?  That is what should become the basis of our faith.  Humanly speaking there may not be any chance for it to happen.  “God has told me and therefore I believe this would happen”.  These are the words of faith.

Brethren, let us bring all our problems to God in prayer.  Let us sit at His feet and listen to what God has to say about each situation.  On hearing what God has said, tell God “Lord, you have told me thus and I believe it.  There is no chance for it to happen.  But I know it will happen because you have told me so.”  These are the words of faith.  Continue in the same attitude and pray until answer comes. See Elijah praying seven times (1Kgs.18:43) and Paul praying three times (2Cor.12:8).

Once you know something is the will of God, pray till answer comes (1Jn.5:14).

Do we want answer to prayer?  Let us learn to pray in faith.  Answers are bound to come.  Faith becomes living faith or saving faith only by prayer. While the Bible asks us to believe on the Lord Jesus to be saved, the Bible clearly tells us that only those who would call upon Him would ever be saved (Rom.10:13).  Faith which does not express itself in prayer is dead faith (James 2:20).  That is why we are commanded to devote ourselves to prayer (Rom.12:12; Col.4:2). Now, you tell me how much time you spend in prayer every day. I will tell you how much faith you have!

 Unless we strive in prayer, God’s perfect will can not be accomplished in and through our lives (Rom.15;30-32).  This is because of Satanic hindrance (1Thes.2:18). It is our duty to strive in prayer to remove the hindrance of Satan. For a demonstration of this truth see Daniel chapter 10. The ultimate purpose of God for His church here on earth is that we must be filled with all the might of God so that we might be able to stand against the wiles of the devil (Eph.6:10,11). 

Let us be men and women of great faith. Let us obey the plain command of the Scripture to devote ourselves to prayer.  Let us spend several hours in secret prayer thus making our faith living faith and showing the world that we have a prayer answering God.  May He give us grace.  To His name be all glory. Amen.

e)  Pray after removing hindrances 

Many people pray but they do not get answers because they did not care to remove hindrances to prayer from their lives.  In the Scripture we are told what these hindrances are.  Any one who is serious about answers to prayer must take time to see that these hindrances are removed before praying.

Every now and then we need to let the Spirit of God search our hearts to see if any wicked way in us (Ps.l39:23,24)  confess and reject them.

i. Sin in life. Isa. 59:2  “…your iniquities have made a separation between you and your God…” 

As a person comes to Christ first for pardon and for peace in true repentance and faith accepting that he or she is a sinner, he or she becomes a child of God.   God forgives repenting ones on the basis of the work of Christ in Calvary.  But after one becomes a child of God, it is essential the individual sins are identified, confessed and rejected, thus availing the cleansing in Christ (I Jn.1:9).

In the lives of every believer there are besetting sins (Heb.12:1) and presumptuous sins (Ps.19:13).    These need to be identified regularly and dealt with if one is serious about getting answers to prayers.  This must be done regularly as a gardener removes weeds from garden.  If one is a little careless these little sins get accumulated and will become a big hindrance to prayer. There are believers who live like the rest of men (I Cor.3:3).  Such cannot expect to be answered when they pray.  Sometimes even small attitudes can become hindrance to prayer.

ii. Sometimes it is selfishness which is hindering our prayer.  “…you ask and you receive not , because you ask amiss to spend it in your fleshly desires” (js.4:3).
iii. Idols in life (Eze.14:3) Idols are things which take the place of God in one’s life.  Any one who does not give the all important place to God in life need not expect an answer to prayer.
iv. Wrong attitude to the Scripture. “He who turns away his ear to listening to the law, even his prayer is an abomination” (Pro.28:9).
v. Attitude to the poor.  “He who shuts his ear to the cry of the poor will also cry himself and not be answered” (Pro.21:13).  If we need grace from God, we need to be gracious.
vi. An unforgiving spirit.  “When ever you stand praying, forgive…so that your Father also who is in heaven may forgive you your transgression” (Mk.ll:25).  If we need forgiveness, we need to forgive.
vii. Family problems.  “You husbands likewise, live with your wives in an understanding way…so that your prayers may not be hindered” (I Pet.3:7).

These and other things which the spirit of God brings to our notice must be made right before we can expect an answer from God.

Some are found wasting their time praying because they have not bothered to remove all known hindrances from their lives.  If we learn to pray after removing hindrances from our lives, answers are bound to come.  May the Lord help us and may His name be glorified.  Amen.

f)  Pray till answer comes

Many who pray do not have this experience of praying till answer is received.  Some start praying for a particular thing.  They continue for some time but they give up in the middle and forget all about their prayer.  This is a grave mistake.  This in fact is the trick of the devil to let us give up our prayer request in the middle.

Once we know some thing is the will of God we must continue to pray till answer is received.  Some times it may take months or even years for answer to come.  Time span depends upon our fervency.  “Effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man avails much (Js. 5:16).

We have one example in the life of David when he prayed till answer came.  We read about in 2 Samuel 12.  David was praying for his sick child.  He went into the room lay there and fasted for seven days.  But in v.20 he got up had his wash and changed his clothes to go to the temple of the Lord.  Here he prayed till answer came.  That time he did not get the expected answer.  But he prayed till answer came.

In the 10th chapter of Daniel we see Daniel praying for 21 days with partial fasting.  Nothing else was important for him during those days.  Daniel was taking to God one and only thing again and again to be answered.  This is called praying through.

Look at Elijah on top of mt.Carmel.  With his head between his knees the man of God was found praying until answer came (I Kg. 18:42-44).

A child of God who is in the school of prayer with God will be brought to such experiences.  Usually such men are loners.  Any one who has achieved great things for God have many such experiences.  Moses, Samuel and Daniel are examples of such men who moved the hand of God for their generations.  They are the ones who became agents through whom God’s will was achieved.  In the history of the church we have many such men and women who moved the hands of God for their generation.  May the Lord raise such prayer warriors in our country during this generation.  May His name be glorified in our midst.  Amen.

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