Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Posts Tagged ‘How to pray’

Prayer – A Big Mystery!


Could you imagine living without breathing?
You might say, “What a silly question to ask?”! It is obvious that no man could live even for seconds without breathing. Breathing is so vital to life that some one who is not breathing is not living.

God has made us as dependent creatures. We depend on the air that we breath, the water that we drink and the food that we eat. If we want to have a healthy life, we need to depend on unpolluted air, water and food. Likewise, we need to depend on people around us to have a healthy, strong and a happy mind. Imagine our lives without what we learned from our parents, teachers and friends! Imagine how miserable our lives would have been if we never had the privilege to be literates!

We know that man is much more than body and mind. The Bible teaches that man is created in God’s image and that man has a spirit in him (1Thes.5:23). The spirit in man is that which makes him different from the rest of the animal world. Just as our body and mind, our spirits too can not survive on its on. Graciously, God has permitted us that we depend on Him for the survival of our spirits.

Prayer is the vital breath of a Christian. If you are not a praying person, that means that you are spiritually dead. When we call upon God through Christ our Lord, His grace and power flow to us and make us alive spiritually. A prayer-less person is a spiritually dead person. And a person who spends less time in prayer is a spiritually powerless person!

The first thing that any one should get from God through prayer is forgiveness.
Prayer for forgiveness must be accompanied by repentance and faith (Mk.10:15). There are many who pray and believe with out repentance. Such prayer has no value. Repentance is a total turning around. Man basically lives for himself and for his loved ones. Repentance is a total turning around to live for God. Faith without repentance is like the faith of the devil (James 2:15). It is dead faith and it has no value. Prayer accompanied by repentance makes faith into saving faith. Thus all who call on Him will be saved (Rom.10:13).

There are many who go to God in prayer for material things. God is a generous giver and He gives generously. Such people are able to narrate stories about how God answered their prayers and how they got healing, or other material benefits. It is a trick of the devil to see that they stand short of the full blessings from God which is spiritual son-ship and forgiveness. If you are some one who knows that God answers prayers, and if you do not know that you are a forgiven child of God, you are missing the greatest gift from God!

In fact, God has ordained prayer basically for spiritual purposes. That is why Jesus said, “every one who asks receives” (Mt.7:8). Every one who asks in true repentance and faith for forgiveness and for son-ship surely receives it. If you are not a saved person, call upon Him right now and be saved. Use http://www.4stepstogod.com and pray that prayer at the end of the page now and be a child of God.

Now you may be a forgiven person. That is not the end of your spiritual life. Prayer is meant that we might be filled with all the fullness of God (Eph.3:19). If you have only received forgiveness and son-ship alone, you are enjoying far less than what God expects to give you through this mystery which is prayer. A prayerful person is able to move the hands of God which move the universe. Thus prayer becomes the mightiest weapon that any man can wield in this life. May the Lord make us men and women of prayer for His glory. Amen!

Read Full Post »

Key verse: “Because Rebeca had no children, Isaac prayed to the LORD for her. The LORD answered his prayer, and Rebeca became pregnant” (Gen.25:21).

This verse here gives us a clear insight into the relationship between God’s promises and our prayers. This is a totally misunderstood subject as many well meaning believers think that God’s promises will automatically come true. They wait impatiently for God to fulfill His promises and some times even find fault with God for His callousness about His promises.

This verse here tells us the secret about the many unfulfilled promises of God. We know that God promised Abraham seed like the sand of the sea and like the stars of heaven (Gen.22:17). Yet it took quarter of a century before Abraham had the joy of seeing his promised son. There was a time when Abraham was willing to make a compromise and he was willing to accept Ishmael as his heir (Gen.17:18). We can imagine Abraham being fed up with waiting for the son of his promise. And in his conversation (prayer) with the Lord, Abraham was now making a negative suggestion; that he was willing to accept the seed of his flesh as the promised seed! But God would NOT compromise on His promise to Abraham. God said “No” to that suggestion of Abraham and God wanted Abraham to wait patiently for His promise to be fulfilled. We can well imagine Abraham asking God when that glorious day was going to be! Abraham was obviously waiting and praying that God would fulfill His promise soon. And at last Isaac was born as promised by God, in answer to long and patient wait and believing prayers of Abraham.

This truth is confirmed in the incident that followed. Now that Isaac is married, there is yet another problem for the promise to be fulfilled. We are told that Rebeca was barren! It was indeed the least expected thing. But this situation teaches us the fact that the promises of God would not come true in our lives in a natural process. It is absolutely true that God promised seed like the sand of the sea and that not one of the promises will ever fail either. It is also true that God will fulfill all His promises right in time (Acts.7:17). God is faithful and He will surely fulfill His promise with out fail. But the amazing truth is that God fulfills His promises ONLY in answer to the prayers of His people!

All the promises are written down for us in His Word (Rom.1:2) and all promises are for all who believe (Gal.3:22). We are told that the promises of God are to be obtained by faith and patience (Heb.6:12,15). And we are asked to perfect holiness since we have these promises (2Cor.7:1). With all the above, if we do NOT continue in fervent prayers, the promises of God will never come true in our lives. This truth is expressed through out the scriptures and we need to take heed to it to see that we obtain the promises of God in our lives.

Let us look at the life of Jacob as a clear example of this truth exemplified for us. Jacob comes to Bethel and there he receives the promises of God (Gen.28:10-22). Then in the life of Jacob there was that long gap of twenty years where he seeks all short cuts to make His life a blessing. But alas! Twenty years later, though he became a big number physically, yet he was more a miserable person than ever before. But at Peniel he wrestles the whole night and there he became the heir of his promises. His name was changed and he became a new person altogether. We see that though he got promises at Bethel, only after his Peniel experience, the promises got fulfilled in his life.

From Dan. 9:2-3 we learn that Daniel knew this truth as well. When Daniel learnt that the captivity was going to be for seventy years, knowing that he was living at the time when the promise is to be fulfilled, he turns to God in prayer and in supplication. And God reveals to Daniel the mystery behind seventy year captivity. In that most solemn passage of Scripture we have the exact date of the crucifixion of our Lord predicted (Dan.9:26)! Daniel was able to get that truth because he was willing to spend time praying that God would indeed fulfill His promise made by His prophet.

We often wonder why God is slack in fulfilling His many wonderful promises of His Precious Word. Once we get the grip of this truth, we know the real reason for this situation. It is not God rather we, His people, who are responsible for God’s promises not being fulfilled.

Does that mean that God’s promises will never come true in its appointed time? Read what the Lord says about His promises. ”The LORD gave me this answer: “Write down clearly on tablets what I reveal to you, so that it can be read at a glance. Put it in writing, because it is not yet time for it to come true. But the time is coming quickly, and what I show you will come true. It may seem slow in coming, but wait for it; it will certainly take place, and it will not be delayed” (Hab.2-3). And to Jeremiah the Lord said, “‘You are right’, the LORD said, ‘and I am watching to see that my words come true’” (Jer.1:12).

Surely God will fulfill all His promises in time with out fail. But because He does it ONLY in answer to prayers of His people, unless we pray, God will raise others who will pray and in answer to their prayers God will fulfill His promises in time! We can see this truth exemplified in history of the church again and again. Where ever there was a praying church, there was a mighty movement of the Spirit of God. If ever there was slackness in the Lord’s work, it is because the people of God failed to call on Him in prevailing prayers. Also we can see that before God begins to do a mighty work, He gets His people praying. Zechariah the prophet sees that in future there is going to be a mighty turning of the people of Israel to God. And before that happens the prophet says that God would pour on them the spirit of grace and supplication (Zech.12:10ff).

So, if there is an urge within us to pray, it is an indication that God’s grace is at work within us. When we feel an urge to pray let us put aside every thing else and be at His feet discerning His will and praying that He would accomplish His will for His glory. If we fail to do that, God will raise others who will pray and in answer to their prayers He will fulfill His promises. And we will be the ones who are the losers. We would have lost the privilege of being co-workers with the Almighty in bringing about His purposes on earth! May we be sensitive to the call of the Spirit of God and may we bring glory to His Holy Name by seeing that all His promises are fulfilled for His glory.

The Bible ends with last the promise of our Lord and John’s response to that promise in Rev.22:20. May we also make it our prayer as we wait for His coming in these very last days of the age of grace.

Let us always remember that the key to get a positive answer to our prayers is to take hold of the promise of God and make it our prayer. Once we know some thing is the will of God, we need to pray in perseverance till we receive our answer. May the Lord give us grace and may His name be glorified. Amen.

Read Full Post »

God reveals His will for us through His Word.  But please do NOT imagine that it is going to take place automatically.    That is the place where many good believers make mistake.    They know what is God’s will for them.  God has confirmed it through many wonderful promises form the Scriptures as well. Yet those promises of God remain only as promises and never get materialized it in their lives.  Do you know why is it like that? There is a great misunderstanding about the will of God.   Many people think that all that is happening to us are His perfect will for our lives.  That is NOT true.  Let us see what the Bible teaches about the Will of God.

 God has a SOVEREIGN will by which He decides where we will be born and what our DNA code will be. He decides it without consulting any one.   This He does according to His good pleasure (Eph.1:11).   “From one human being he created all races of people and made them live throughout the whole earth. He himself fixed beforehand the exact times and the limits of the places where they would live”  (Act 17:26).   “The Most High assigned nations their lands; he determined where peoples should live. He assigned to each nation a heavenly being” (Deu 32:8). 

 Then He has a perfect will for each man alive on this earth.  This PERFECT will of God for us is revealed to us through His Word.  God makes His Perfect will clear to us as we study His Word regularly.     There will be that peace of God KNOWING that this is what God wants me to do when we know it.  Now it is OUR duty to pray till that takes place takes place in our lives.  It does NOT happen automatically.  That would be fatalism.  The Bible does NOT teach fatalism.  The Bible does NOT teach that all that happen to us so happen because that is decreed by God.   God only tells us what He expects of us.  He never forces any one to His will in their lives.  We must choose to do His will and we can do it only by His help by praying to Him for His grace.  We must also remember that Satan is always against us to enjoy God’s perfect will for us.   That makes prayer as the only means of reaching God’s perfect will for our lives. 

 We read about the perfect will in Rom.12:2 and once we know some thing is God’s will it is for us to PRAY THROUGH and see that it is accomplished in our lives
 

Let us look at Elijah on the top of Mount Carmel in 1 Kgs.18:40 ff   the Lord told him that it was going to rain after they destroyed all priests of Baal.  Our natural reaction would be,  “ well, any way the Lord promised and His promises can never fail”  and we go and sleep expecting God to fulfill His plan.  But look at what Elijah did.   He put his head between his knees and he was praying.   What is the significance of his head between his knees?   We know that women among the Hebrews those days gave birth to children sitting (cf.Ex.1:16 and note the reference to stool in that verse).  They had some thing before them to which the child would fall as it comes to the world.  That is the position in which they could exert maximum energy to push the child out of their bodies.   We call it agony of child birth.  Elijah, as he put his head between his head, he was agonizing in prayer that God’ will MUST be accomplished as God promised.  read v. 44   how long he had to pray like that.   He prayed   till answer came. 

Look again at Dan.9:2,3 where this truth is once again illustraved.

`Now read Rom.15:30-32   where Paul talks about striving with him in prayer that the will of God may be accomplished  The word translated “strive” here is translated in Lk.22:44 as “agony”.  So “strive with me in prayer” can well be put as “agonize with me in prayer”.  Look at what Jesus did in His life when He prayed (Heb.5:7).   Read Mt.6:10 where our Lord taught us to pray  “Thy will be done on earth, as it is in heaven”.    In heaven God’s perfect will is accomplished automatically   but here on earth now, if Perfect will of God must be accomplished,  WE MUST PRAY TILL IT HAPPENS

So,  many believers today are NOT living IN THE PERFECT WILL OF GOD.

Time to accomplish God’s perfect will for us depends upon the fervency of our prayer

Confess therefore your sins one to another, and pray one for another, that ye may be healed. The supplication of a righteous man avails much in its working.  (Jas 5:16)
 
 And be not fashioned according to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, and ye may prove what is the good and acceptable and perfect will of God.  (Rom 12:2)

 Then there is the permissive will of God where God permits to live all who do not reach His perfect will.  Tragically majority in the world and in the church are living in the permissive will of God.  If we do that, we suffer ourselves and we let God suffer as well.  God watches helplessly asking “why should you die?” (Eze.18:31).

Read Full Post »

(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

Read Full Post »

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. 

Read Full Post »

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.

Read Full Post »

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.

Read Full Post »