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Posts Tagged ‘answer to prayer’

Here you have my email exchanges with an atheist guru who claims to have a best-seller on the subject.  To conceal his identity I’ll call him Tom in this reproduction.  My name is Mathew Paul.

Tom, I read your de-conversion story a few weeks back with tears in my eyes.  I was not able to get rid of you from my mind and therefore I am sending you this response for your kind reaction.

You said you had a marvelous conversion from drugs and sex etc. to Christ and that your whole life was changed over-night.   I am sure that you are not back to your pre-conversion days after your de-conversion now as no sensible person would ever want to be there.

What do you think now as to how that change took place in your life without the power of God?
If you had not experienced that transformation then in your life, what do you think would have been your position a few years later?  Do you really think you would have survived to this day?  Tell us some thing about your chums who were with you then who were not changed as you were.  Do you know any thing about them at all? 
 
One of the reasons you said for leaving Christianity was that you had received more information now.  Tom, Do you really think that the present information that you have received is the perfect information?
 
What would you think of some of my experiences in prayer, like raising a concrete building of 700 sft. within thirty days without money in hand nor approaching any man for the same either by way of loan or even by sending out ‘information for prayer’?
 
Tom, I hope you will spare a minute and respond to my mail.
 
Thanking you and
praying for you
MP
Tom’s response to my mail.
Thanks for writing Matthew.
 
What do you think now as to how that change took place in your life without the power of God?
 
The power of faith, which is internal to a person. If one truly believes in something, anything, it motivates him and gives him incredible strength.
 
If you had not experienced that transformation then in your life, what do you think would have been your position a few years later?  Do you really think you would have survived to this day?
 
I cannot say. I don’t know. Anything was possible.
 
Tell us some thing about your chums who were with you then who were not changed as you were.  Do you know any thing about them at all? 
 
A couple of them are dead. I don’t know about any of the rest of them. I completely lost track since I went into the ministry.
 
One of the reasons you said for leaving Christianity was that you had received more information now.  Tom, Do you really think that the present information that you have received is the perfect information?
 
Perfect? What’s that? No one has absolute knowledge, not even you. But, I think what I learned was and is true.
 
What would you think of some of my experiences in prayer, like raising a concrete building of 700 sft. within thirty days without money in hand nor approaching any man for the same either by way of loan or even by sending out ‘information for prayer’?
 
I don’t know the details nor do I need to. But I’m sure a bone fide miracle never took place, and that’s all I need to say.
 
Tom, I hope you will spare a minute and respond to my mail.
 
Thanking you and praying for you
 
Go ahead. Thank you. But remember, don’t count the hits when a prayer request is answered, nor discount the misses when a request is not granted. Make it a testable prayer. Pray specifically such that we will both know if your prayer is answered. Don’t offer a nebulous prayer which reveals you truly do not believe, like “help him,” or “convict him,” or “turn his life around before he dies.” None of those prayers can be known to have been granted before we both die, since you might die before me. Be specific. If you want me to return to the faith then give a date when this is supposed to happen. This is not the same as demanding God to do something on your timetable at all, no more than it is when you ask for it not to rain on a given day.
 
I’ve decided to write about this on my blog. I’ll not reveal your name.
 
Cheers,

Tom,
 

My response.

Thanks for your reply.

 Here is my response to your comments.  I’d love to hear from you as you have become some one very dear to my heart and I do wish to have some friendly exchanges with you, if you please.
 
Tom, you said, “The power of faith, which is internal to a person. If one truly believes in something, anything, it motivates him and gives him incredible strength.”
Do you think that if you had believed in ‘Humpty-Dumpty’ you would have been saved from that gutter that you were in?  Do you really think so?  You are a knowledgeable person.  Have you come across one person in your entire life who had an over-night transformation like you had, but that person did not believe in Jesus, but in ‘something, anything’?  Oh Yes, I know many who were helped by rehabilitation centres etc.   It takes weeks if not months for some recovery.  There is nothing dramatic there at all.

But I can produce thousands, if not millions, whose lives were dramatically changed by faith in Christ.  The Mizoes of NE India lived as head-hunters till the early 1950s. Nothing could change them for thousands of years.  But now go and see the transformation which the gospel has brought to their culture.  They are one of the finest groups of people in the entire region now.  In my late teens I lived near them for a whole year as a teacher.  And many more examples are there.  You know it all, don’t you, Tom?

You said, “Perfect? What’s that? No one has absolute knowledge, not even you. But, I think what I learned was and is true.”

I never claim to know every thing.  But you seem to do so.

Let me explain.  If you want to say that there is no piece of magnet in your coat-pocket, you must know whatever is in there, don’t you?  Likewise, if you want to say that there is no God in the universe, should you not know every thing that is there in the universe?  Otherwise how could you possibly tell it to be absolutely true?

Your arguments from philosophy etc. who could say that they are flawless?

At best you could say, “I don’t know if there is a god”.  Any thing more than that is presumptuous and indeed is foolish.  What do you think, Tom?

Oh, yea.  You could very well say, “I have no god in my life” or “I don’t believe in god”.  That is perfectly ok.  But I think you need not verbalize that as your life speaks loud enough.

 You said, “I don’t know the details nor do I need to. But I’m sure a bone fide miracle never took place, and that’s all I need to say.”

In saying that are you not closing your eyes to facts?  And yet you are claiming that prayer has no effect outside of the one who prays.  I throw an open challenge at you to look at my life and then say prayer is useless.  Would you have the courage to take it up, Tom?
You said, “If you want me to return to the faith then…”
 
Sorry, I have no intention to pray you back to faith at all.   All I am praying for you is that God would be gracious to you and give you happy and long life here on earth so that you could enjoy it to the maximum. I am sure God will grant you that.  After all, you closed your door for any thing which is there after you die.  My Bible tells me not to waste time praying for people who don’t want it (1Jn.3:16b).
God never forces His way into the life of any person (Rev.3:20). 
 
I subsist on prayers.  I see answers to prayers on a regular basis. People request me to pray for them.  I do see results beyond any man’s imagination.  By the way, I am not a Charismatic or a Pentecostal. I am a sober person with a post-graduate degree in Divinity and a research degree from a reputable secular university. 
Tom,  did you realize that all your fight against God is like a dog barking at the Sun!

Wish you all the very best this life could possibly offer.

Again praying for you
Mathew

Tom’s response.
It’s all a matter of perspective, and I think my perspective is much better than yours for these reasons:
 
(He then gave his link here.  Since I do not wish to reveal his identity, I have removed it from here.)
 
Tom, did you realize that all your fight against God is like a dog barking at the Sun!
 
Matthew, did you realize that all your fighting against Allah is like a dog barking at the Sun!
 
Wish you all the very best this life could possibly offer.
You too.
 Again praying for you.
 Thank you.   Tom.
My response

Thank you for sending me the link to your blog.  I promise to read it and I will come back with my comments later.
 
You also said,  “Matthew(by the way, I spell my name with one ‘t’), did you realize that all your fighting against Allah is like a dog barking at the Sun!”
 
Tom, I must tell you I do not engage myself with non-entities.  You could never ever get me talking about other ‘god/gods’ as they have no existence in my thoughts.  Could you possibly fight against some thing which really does not exist at all?  Oh, sorry, this is what you are doing with the God of the Bible.  I challenge you to engage yourself with Harry Potter instead, for to both of us HP is an imaginary person.
 
To me the greatest evidence for the existence of god is that man has been talking about god/s from time immemorial even until today.
 
Could you possibly name anything, something which does not exist and yet man has been talking about it from time immemorial non-stop even until this day?
 
Waiting to hear from you soon.
 
Have a good day.
Bye for now.
Mathew
(Four days later I wrote again.)
I was expecting a response from you for my mail dated Feb.21, where I requested you to give me the name of some thing, any thing which does not exist, as you say God does not, and yet man has been talking about it non-stop from time immemorial even until today as they have been talking about God.  I covet an answer from you, Tom, because I know that you are a great thinker, please.
 
As I promised you I read through your reasons for rejecting Christianity.  I must congratulate you for producing such a comprehensive case against the ‘faith once delivered to the saints’.  I must say that your thought pattern is great and that your arguments are succinct.  No wonder your book (sure, I didn’t read that) would become one of the best-sellers.  I must also tell you that I can never think of arguing against you from your stand-point. 
 
But I dare not leave you to the conclusions you reached by your arguments, simply because it lacks practical application in our daily living. Or you must prove it.  Any theory if it is not practical is of little value, isn’t it?   Being a very practical man, after my university studies, where my simpleton faith in the Bible was challenged to the core, I decided to experiment to see whether the faith in the God of the Bible was indeed practical or not.
 
So the first thing I did was to resign my job and was found without a regular source of income to sustain my family.  For three and a half years I was all alone with a family of two children then, with no salary, no job as a preacher or a social worker-which would let one be in constant contact with people- and without any known source of income from any estate or any thing of that sort.  In other words, if I went hungry no one in the entire world was responsible for me.  In fact people could blame me for my situation as I could have easily earned a good salary with my educational background.  But during those years I proved to my satisfaction that God was indeed very real in our lives.
 
Three and a half years later, my local worshipping group commended me to the service of the Lord following the pattern found in Acts 13:1-4.  From 1975 till this day I live without a regular salary, no bank balance, no business income or income from any estate.  Now we have five children and I want to testify to the fact that we never ever went hungry or we were found in need and were left with out any help.  We never approached any man for any financial help.  And we went to a remote jungle-tribe that our contact with the extended family and friends were practically nil.
 
By 1986 I had sufficient faith to believe in God to erect a concrete building without any contact with men for the finance of it.  I started with little money in hand, completed a 700 sft. of concrete structure including the roof within a matter of thirty calendar days; ended with no debt, and informed no man any where even for prayer about this project as I wanted to prove a point.  That building has a granite inscription which reads, “This building stands witnessing the fact that God of Elijah lives”.  For over six months I spent eight to ten hours every day in my prayer- closet praying, planning and interacting with God for the same. The purpose of the building was to house the poor children to educate them.
 
When the building was completed within 30 days, I was amazed to the core. I could not believe it myself.  I thought my life-purpose was indeed achieved as I proved once again without a speck of doubt that indeed God answers prayers today.  In 1991 I became semi-paralyzed and for the last sixteen years I am unable to walk even one step without crutches. And I had to leave my station for health reasons.  
 
Now I am almost confined to my bedroom.  The enormous amount of money for my treatment and for the education of all my children now five in number (the eldest was only 16 then), all were well taken care of as direct, tangible, undeniable, unbelievable answer to prayer day by day. No individual, no organization, no church can ever claim that they kept us going all these years without us going bankrupt. Oh, yes, I have been getting money from people known and unknown to me, from family and from friends, from believers and unbelievers; indeed often I never knew where my next meal would come from, but it always came right in time.  I just don’t know how our needs are taken care of.  But we are well cared for.
 
Tom, in the light of my experiences,  I wish you to prove to me that God never answered my prayers.  Tell me how I survived all these years.  Tell me how I educated my five children to earn a good living today.  Tell me how I met my huge medi-bills every now and then.  Tell me how I maintained an automobile all these years. (Mind you, I am almost confined to my room without any ministry for the last sixteen years and practically without much contact with the world out side.  No, No.  I would have published a dozen and a half articles in Christian magazines in the last 32 years.  Yes, I did go out once or twice a year to teach but it is far too expensive as I could never travel alone.  I worked as a volunteer for three years in a Bible College.  But health prevented me from continuing.  That was just about the touch I had with the world outside. I must also tell you that this email facility I have now only from Oct.07.)   Most of all, tell me how that building came up in just 30 days.  Would you be able to explain my life from your philosophy of life?
 
Your answer must not merely be an explanation of what happened in my life.   You or some one else must produce similar results for a whole life trusting in ‘Humpty-Dumpty’ or on ‘ anything or something’ as you said that it was the power of faith within you that did it. If that is so, do it for me that we may believe your theory.  If you can’t, I can give  you numerous people who like me simply subsisted by prayer all their life.  I took cue from reading the biography of George Mueller of Bristol and others like him.  I ask you to produce ONE single person who did it without God and the Bible, believing in ‘Humpty-Dumpty’ or  on anything, or on something.
 
So here I stand.  I say that the God of the Bible is true and is alive.  He can be trusted and must be trusted.  Or prove it otherwise not merely by your arguments, but by your life.  OK. Otherwise agree that your theory is just a theory which is not practical.
 
Waiting to hear from you.
 
In His Matchless Service
Mathew
 
You might read more stories from my life in my blog-site if you need.
 
Thanking you
 
And bye.
Mathew
Tom’s response
I ask you to produce ONE single person who did it without God and the Bible, believing in ‘Humpty-Dumpty’ or on anything, or on something.
 
I don’t know your full circumstances, but I dare say that your story is a self-fulfilled and group fulfilled answer prayer.
 
Show me that you can duplicate these same circumstances in a world where there are no other Christians who feel compelled to prove to themselves and to people like me that Christianity is true, and who are not bound by divine command to financially help their ministers preach the gospel and in times of need and you may have a case.
 
Ingersol tells a story where two traveling salve salesmen who are trying to show theirs is better. So one guy cuts off the tail of a dog and applies his salve to the stump on the dog and it causes a new tail to grow out. The other guy puts his salve on the amputeed tail and it causes a dog to grow out of it. He says he wanted a good miracle like that. Me too
Tom.

My response.
Thank you for the response.
 
You explain my experiences as self-fulfillment and group fulfillment. You said, “I don’t know your full circumstances, but I dare say that your story is a self-fulfilled and group fulfilled answer prayer.”    I think, You are daring too much, Tom.
 
You also said,
 
“Show me that you can duplicate these same circumstances in a world where there are no other Christians who feel compelled to prove to themselves and to people like me that Christianity is true, and who are not bound by divine command to financially help their ministers preach the gospel and in times of need and you may have a case”
 
 
Tom, why do close your eyes to naked facts?  I told you very clearly that I wanted to prove whether God indeed answered prayers without human interference or not. I, therefore, on purpose did not disclose that I was on this project to ANY man ANY where in the entire world.  My physical situation suited me so well for this as I lived in a place far away from all modern conveniences.  Believe me, I didn’t even have a telephone connection as it was not available in our village.
 
That particular month, April 1986 to be precise, I spent more that ten to fifteen times our average expenditure.  If money was flowing in that way, surely I would have become a millionaire in one or two years!  But the flow of money just stopped as I completed the building.  It was two months later that I opened the building at which time came the first ever announcement about the building.
 
You call it group fulfillment.  Yes, indeed. That is amazing too.  Truly amazing!  Because God moved several people’s hearts that month all over to come forward and donate funds for a cause that they never knew about.  God was behind it all.  Not any man, as no one regulated funds for that building.
 
You quoted Innersole in your mail.  Fantastic illustration, indeed!
 
In all your mails you did not answer my three questions.
 
1.  Produce ONE person other than you who had an over-night transformation from the gutter by trusting self, or some thing, anything, like you had.  (I can not categorize you in that group because you said in your de-conversion story that you had trusted in JESUS and that you were transformed over-night.  Now if you say that it was in yourself that you trusted and not in Jesus, I must tell you that you are simply lying.)  But I can show you millions around the world who could testify that Jesus changed them over-night.
 
2. Tell me the name of SOME THING, ANY THING which does not exist other than God, as you say God does not, yet man every where has been talking about it non-stop from time immemorial till today.
 
3.  Show me ONE other individual who produced similar results as I have produced for a whole life time trusting in some thing, any thing other than the God of the Bible, specially at the construction of the building that I talked about. I can show you numerous people like myself all around the world who subsisted by prayer. (See my link: www.mathewpaul.org/exciting! and read my post ‘Maruthy Omni’ to read about  how I got the car which I run now. Could any one produce similar results by trusting in ‘any thing or some thing’ or trusting in self?)
 
I hope you will give me answers to these questions. 
 
If as you say there is no God, I do not lose any thing at all as you yourself agreed that I am a self-fulfilled person.  If not… who can imagine what?!!
 
Thanking you and hoping to hear from you soon.
 
In His matchless service an unprofitable servant,
Mathew
 (I am still waiting for answers from him.)

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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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I gave that money to one of our brothers for safe keeping as that amount was not sufficient to buy a good vehicle.  During December that year, I had an invitation from an assembly in Trivandrum for meetings there.  Young people there asked me if I had a new prayer experience.  I told them that a story has reached only half way and I would tell them when it was complete.  They then said the if I told them that much, they would also pray for the completion of the same. 

So during one of the meetings there I told how the Lord provided Rs.50,000/-  and how the brother from Trichur obeyed the voice of God.  That evening after I went to the room where I was staying, a brother came at about 9.30 pm. and knocked at my door.  He was a close friend of mine and he apologized for disturbing me during that time.  He said that he had brought a cheque for Rs.40,000/- to be given to me. 

I said:  “Why, you could have given it to me tomorrow; I am going to be here all day tomorrow.”

The brother said:  “Tomorrow… I do not know whether I would be able to give it to you because if I thought in the night, ‘even its tithe itself is a good amount; why should I not give him only the tithe?’ ; or  I may discuss the matter with my wife and if she expressed disagreement, then I would be found guilty of disobeying God.  So please accept it now.”

Then I took the cheque from him and I put my signature behind it.  I said, “It is mine now.  You will please do me a favor.  Tomorrow take it to the bank and bring me cash.” He agreed and took it back and brought money the following day.

I said, “Now, tell me, how did you decide to give me so much money?”

He said:  “Ten years ago I lent this money to one of our close friends.  Then finding that he would not return it in the time he promised, I asked him several times about it.  But he was not in a position to give it back to me.  Five years ago, I wrote it off from my mind as money which was lost.  But yesterday, before I came to the meeting, he brought the money back apologizing for the undue delay.  When I got the money, I thought to myself: ‘why should this money come to me now.  It is money written off’ and came to meeting. There as I listened to your testimony, the Lord said, ‘This money is for Mathew Paul’.  I decided then and there to give you this money.”

I brought the money and gave it to the brother for safe keeping.  I separated tithe from it and spend a little for maintenance of the old van and the amount in safe keeping was 75,000/-  Then in a similar manner from  an unsolicited source came Rs.25.000/- which was again given for safe keeping.  The senior brother who was keeping my money said,  “Why should you run the old vehicle any more keeping so much money in hand?  Let’s get you a vehicle.  I’ll pay the balance now.  You can give it me when you get it.”

At last the van came
There was another brother in the assembly who was selling his OMNI for Rs. 1,30,000/- and we got that vehicle on the 1st of March l997.  It was a 90 model vehicle, single handed and run 40.000 kms. with a memorable number on it.

We have the same van with us now.  We renovated the engine after it had done 2.30.000 kms.  And it still serves us though it is seventeen years old.  It is difficult to use it for long trips now.  We praise God of His kindness in our lives.  I know every servant of God is not running a four wheeler!  If we had done it for the last twenty two years, it is purely by His grace.  To His name be all glory.  Amen.

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Instant answer to prayer.  Money offered to purchase car!  Can you believe it?

During 1996 I decided I would go to places where they ask me to take classes on prayer. In the month of October I was asked by Zion assembly in Nellikkunnu to join them for a day of Seminar on Saturday and for Sunday worship. I went there on my old matador which was becoming unworthy of the road. As I was traveling on it, I was much in prayer that there should not be a break down on the road. In our experience we had found that even when there was a break down, the Lord was with us in every situation bringing in the right people to help etc.

We went right in time for meetings on Saturday morning. We parked our van in a garage and used the car of the brother with whom we were staying for going up and down for meetings there. In a prayer seminar, I usually take three classes and there would be a session for question answer. All went on well that day.

But unknown to any one, a prayer slipped out of my heart in between sessions. No one could ever imagine that I was praying as I try to be jovial when in public, especially when taking classes. My prayer that day was, “Lord, if it is your will for me to go to different places to take classes like this, make me provision to buy a good vehicle before I left this place.” This simple prayer would have come out of my heart several times that day.

In a seminar I usually ask people to make definite commitments which many did that day and I was very happy.

After Sunday worship on the following day in the after noon brethren came together for parting prayer and stood in a circle. As I stood there, I asked the Lord, “Lord, I asked you for something yesterday. You did not give me an answer for it.” Then came a brother behind me and tapped on my shoulder. He asked me, Brother, Are you praying for a car?” I said, “Why do you ask me now?” The brother responded, “The Lord is asking me to give you Rs.50,000/- for you to buy a car. I do not have that much money now. I will give it you within a month.” I was shocked to hear that.

By then some brother had started praying. But I could not control myself. I started sobbing like a little child. Prayer was over. No one understood anything. I was still weeping. Without saying any thing to any one, I got into our van and left the place.

Before the end of the month, the brother who promised the money came to my house in Coimbatore. He said, “I could have sent this money by post. But the Lord asked me to go and give it me in person. So I came.”

We had some chat in our house and I asked him, “ What did you think when you found me weeping that day before I left?” He said, “No one understood anything. We all were wondering what happened?”

I said, “You know, I was asking the Lord to make provision to buy a car before I left that place. When you told me that the Lord was asking you to give me money to buy a car, I was like Job when he said, ‘If I called him and he answered me, I would not believe that he was listening to my voice.”(9:16). Really, it was too much for me to take that answer to prayer.

50 became 500!

Then the brother continued, “I have had experience of evangelists come to me and ask me for financial help. But to those who request, I never give. The Lord asked me to give you this money.”

I said, “Tell me how the Lord asked you. Did you guess that I was praying for a car?”

His response surprised me.

He said, “Brother, I have been a business man all my life. From the beginning of my life I had the habit of sending some gift to some evangelist some where. So once I went to the post office and got an M.O. form as I wanted to send Rs.50/- to a brother. As I started filling it, in the place amount was to be written I wrote 500/- by mistake. So I tore that form and took a second one.

“As I was filling the second form, an inner voice told me to write 500/- on it. So this time I wrote 500/- knowingly. When I went to the counter, the inner voice again said, ‘send this as TMO’. So I sent Rs. 500/- that day as Telegraphic MO to that brother instead of sending 50 by ordinary M.O.

“Then when I went back home, I was thoroughly confused. I did not know why I had sent that much amount as TMO to that brother. I was wondering what that brother would think about me as thirty years ago that was a sizable amount.”

The brother continued, “Till I got his reply on the fourth day, I was in confusion. When his reply came, I knew it was the Lord who prompted me to send that TMO.

“In his reply that brother wrote, ‘Thank you for the TMO. Last week I admitted my wife to the hospital. Doctor told me my wife needed an emergency operation and asked me to pay Rs.400/- the next day in the morning. I came home. I shed tears before the Lord for His help. I did not know of any man who could help me. So I spent the night in prayer and on the following morning I got your TMO right in time for my hospital payment’”.

The brother who brought the money to my house continued, “I have two or three experiences like this. Now when the Lord tells me something, I will not hesitate or I will not consult flesh and blood. You know, the Lord asked me to give this money and I am giving it to you in obedience to the Lord. If I do not do it I will be disobeying the Lord. So please accept the money without hesitation.”

I accepted it and thanked him for his obedience. I praised the Lord for His wonderful provision. If that brother had not come home with the money we would not have known his previous experience!

 (Read rest of the story in “Another 40, 000/-” Unforgettable Experiences post.)  NB.  Learn to pray!  Experience the wonder of God’s ways!!  Let the Holy Spirit guide you through the Bible!!!

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(Unknown to any man any where, the Lord provided funds to build a two storied concrete building 700sft. in all. Unbelievable, yet absolutely true.  Praise be to His Holy Name.) 

Needs were met most miraculously, almost day by day.  During the months when I planned this construction, I made sure that I mentioned this need to nobody in the world.  In the month of April when construction was going on, I decided I would send a reply even to those who sent gifts only after the construction was over.

On an average 10 people were working daily for construction.  Of course, they all knew how I was managing things daily.  One morning mason told me, “Sir, only half a bag of cement is available.  By 11 am we need 2 bags more.”  I said, “The Lord will provide our needs.  Otherwise I will give your wages whether cement is there or not, as I called you for work this day.”  Praise be to God.  On searching I found we just had Rs.142/- at home.  With the amount a laborer went to the cement shop to see that price of one bag cement in that shop that morning was Rs.7l/- exact.

By mid April, the ground floor was over and I needed steel rods for roof the following day.  I had no money in hand.  But I still went to Kotagiri to find out whether material was available in a shop known to me.  It was available.  The man in the shop asked me when I needed the material.  I said I needed it for the following day’s work.  The man replied, “Tomorrow we are on leave.  Please take your material to-day itself.”  I said, “I did not bring any money with me.”  I could not believe his reply.  “Sir, what is there in money?  Please don’t stop your work due to lack of materials.  I will give it you.  You bring me money later on.”  That man is never known to give any thing on credit to anyone any time.  But that day I can not imagine what made him say what he said, except by the Lord.  He gave me steel worth of Rs.1400/- on credit without my asking for it.  I paid it on a later occasion.  That was the only time I took any material on loan for the building!

If steel rods were not made available that day, construction would have stopped and I would not have been able to complete the work in time for me to place the granite inscription on the building.

Four or five times during that month I had to come to Mettupalayam to get either sand or blocks for work for the following day.  I would be with workers till 5 pm and start out on our van which was running on a miracle tyre those days.  It was amazing to see how the Lord did everything right in time for the building. 

In those days we spent around six thousand rupees a month for our maintenance.  We never ever had a bank balance any time.  But during that month without any human effort or contact or influence what so ever, we spent more than ten to fifteen times our average monthly expenses!!  How can one account for it except to believe that God answers prayers.   Today that building stands there in the Nigiris as a prayer monument with the inscription on it.   Even if Lucifer we to come in person, he cannot deny God answers prayers.  May all glory be to God and to God alone.  Amen and amen.

 During the construction we saw God’s miraculous provision every day without fail.  We had direct, tangible, undeniable, unbelievable  answers to prayer every single day.  How true is the scripture when it calls God “O you who hear prayers!” Ps.65:2.

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(Unknown to any man any where the Lord provided funds to errect a 700sft. concrete building  in just thirty days  as direct, tangible, undeniable answer to prayer.  Read more in ‘Every day miracle’, ‘God who fed elijah is alive and active’.)

While preparation was going on outside, inside the prayer chamber I was bargaining with the Lord.   I said I was going to trust Him to finish the building in 30 days.  I also promised the Lord that if indeed the Lord helped me finish the whole construction in one month, there would be a granite inscription placed on the building saying, “This building stands witnessing the fact that God of Elijah lives.”

The Lord gave me Isa.58:9 as his promise.  “Then you shall call, and the Lord will answer; you shall cry, and he will say ‘Here I am’”

And in the next 30 days a two storied concrete building emerged out of nothing.  As the Lord created every thing out of nothing,  now He helped his servant to complete the building when I had nothing other than His promises in my hand. 

The whole building is done in hollow blocks which has same combination of cement, sand and granite chips as ordinary concrete.  Columns and beams are done in ordinary Reinforced Cement Concrete.  Ground floor has three doors while first floor two.  Ground floor has three windows while first floor has 10 windows.  The building has a RCC beam ll0’ long, and four 8’ RCC columns, two 6’RCC columns and 4 RCC footings on which  beams rest.

Each hollow block is 15” x 8” x 8”.  Roof has pre-cast RCC beams 4” x 3” and 12’ long at every 2’.  Roofing blocks is 20” x 6” x 5”.  

Idea to build with hollow blocks came in one of those days when I was thinking about the building.  One day I was sitting on my bed looking through the window down to the place where the building would come.  As I sat there thinking about the building, unawares I
was tuning the transistor and it picked Coimbatore station.  I never ever listened to radio during day time.  But that day I did.   They had a feature on hollow blocks when I
turned it on.  They started with the history to details about how it is made and its advantage over against bricks etc.  The thing which attracted me towards it is its cost.  It works 25-30 percent cheaper than brick work, yet equally strong. 

So I went to Coimbatore which is about 70 kms. from my pace, and saw for myself a three storied building constructed with hollow blocks.  Roof too was done with same material and it had an overhead water tank on it.  I was deeply impressed about the whole thing.  Very rarely people do roofing with this.  But I decided to go for the same roofing and roofing materials will never be readily available.  So I had to place order for my needs.  Blocks for the walls were purchased from Mettupalayam which was just 30 kms. from home.

By the time we started construction on the 1st of April, half of the materials needed were already ordered and made available.  The other half was ordered during the first week of April.  On the 28th of April last load of roofing material also arrived at the construction cite by which time walls were on the finishing stage. Since we left the building without plastering, all cement work for the two stories were completed within thirty days.  Curing was done later, of course.  Doors and windows were fixed after curing only. 

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(Price of the land came down to almost less than 25%!  Ways of the Lord are always marvellous.) 

During the first week of February we had now Rs.20,500/- for the land.  Thinking it was sufficient any way to pay advance, I decided to take steps towards purchasing the land.  Since the land belonged to my enemy, I decided I would request one of the assembly brethren, Bro. John who was with the Electricity Board, to buy the land in his name to which he agreed.

Then I approached Mr. Y. Samuel who was a tailor and a Pentecostal believer, in whose house we stayed for two years on rent before we built our house.  He was a good friend of ours and a well wisher.  I told him all that happened and how that the Lord was going to give that land to us.  He was very excited to hear how the Lord gave this much amount just by prayer.   I requested him to act as middle man between the land owner and the purchaser.  I also asked him to ask the land for half its offered price!

So Mr. Samuel met Mr. Bokan and asked him whether his land was sold or not.  Bokan said it was not yet sold.  Tailor then told him of a party from Kotagiri who was interested in the land.  But the tailor said the party would give only Rs.3,500/- per cent.  Of the nine cents which we were planning to buy, only 4 cents belonged to Bokan.  The other 5 belonged to his brother.  The matter was discussed between the brothers and the tailor.  But the brother to whom belonged the five cents would never give it for that price as the mechanic had promised Rs.6000/- a year ago.  But some how Bokan agreed to sell his 4 cents for our price.

Now the tailor asked Bro. John to come and meet Bokan in person. When Bro. John came,  Bokan said our price was too low and we must add a little more to it.  Bro. John said he would give Rs.100/- more per cent to which Bokan agreed.  Advance was paid then and there and agreement signed.  In the next twenty days cash was ready in the bank.  We purchased 4 cents for just 14,400 rupees instead of 9 cents for 63,000.  After all, we were praying for the land where the crow sat with tumbler.  It was that bit which belonged to Bokan!  How true is the scripture.   “He has shown his people the power of his works, in giving the heritage of the nation.” Ps.111:6.

We were like those who dream when we got this land.  A few years back the same man had chased me from his land as I went in to pluck a few waste plants for rabbits. He had given me ‘last warning’ then.  Later he stoned our house when gospel meetings were going on.  On another occasion he came to our house fully drunk to create trouble. But his land was in our possession for almost half price that he demanded! 

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