EVERYTHING by PRAYER

BY:  ROBERT FITTS

2009

 

TABLE of CONTENTS

 

CHAPTERS

TITLE

PAGE

 

PREFACE

1

1

WHAT is PRAYER?

1

2

WHEN YOU PRAY THINGS HAPPEN

3

3

I WILL CRY

4

4

PRAYER for WORKERS

5

5

PRAYER get RESULTS

7

6

VICTORY over TROUBLE

8

7

PRAYING and ABIDING

10

8

JESUS’ PRAYER LIFE

12

9

PRAYER brings JOY

13

10

WALK and PRAY

14

11

TO WORRY or TO PRAY?

15

12

PRAYER is WORK

16

13

ASKING for MATERIAL THINGS

18

14

THE PRAYER of SURRENDER

19

15

PRAYING SHORT PRAYERS

21

16

PRAYING and BELIEVING

23

17

PRAYING and FASTING

24

18

PRAYER and REWARDS

26

19

PRAYER of COMMITTAL

27

20

GOD is RICH

29

21

GOD is ABLE

29

22

PRAYER of CONFESSION

31

23

PRAYING ALWAYS

32

24

ENCOURAGED to PRAY

34

 

PREFACE

 

Many years ago I was listening to a radio evangelist who concluded his program saying, "Please pray for us and, if God leads, you can do something more practical." I knew what he meant, but the way he worded his request for financial help set me to thinking. Questions began to arise in my mind; Is prayer practical? Does prayer really work? Does it accomplish anything? Is it more practical to give money than to pray? Does giving accomplish more than praying? 

 

Over the years I have gone through the Bible meditating on every reference I could find relating to the subject of prayer. I have used a prayer list and prayed about every problem and need related to my family, my daily life, and the work of the Lord in which I have been involved. I can say without reservation that I have seen God answer hundreds of specific requests which I have placed before him in prayer. I have discovered to my own satisfaction that praying is very practical. It really does work! It is the most practical thing I can do! Someone has said, "The most powerful thing you can do for God or man is to pray." 

 

As I have taught on the subject of prayer, I have been asked to put in print some of the thoughts that have inspired me to pray. It is my hope that you will receive as much incentive to pray while reading the following pages as I have while writing them. 

 

Recently I visited the offices of a Christian organization that has a world-wide evangelistic ministry. On the wall in one of the offices was a motto: "Prayer works, because prayer is work, because God works through prayer." The secret of their phenomenal success, I felt, was explained in those words. 

 

CHAPTER ONE

WHAT is PRAYER?

 

Some think of prayer as sort of a psychological tonic; an excellent mental or spiritual therapy, but nothing more than this. Does prayer bring about tangible results? The only honest answer is a resounding "Yes!" When I pray, I set in motion a power that would not otherwise be brought to bear upon the circumstances of life. The results may be immediate and dramatic, or they may come slowly and with little indication of divine intervention. Nevertheless, the situation changes when I pray. 

 

Prayer changes things and prayer changes people. Prayer rearranges the configuration of circumstances. It introduces a new element into the spirit world and into he natural world. Prayer is the chief strategy in a spiritual conflict. The earth is a battleground of spirit beings, good and evil. Man is a spirit being. He has a physical body, but essentially man is spirit. 

 

When I pray, I use spiritual weapons in spiritual warfare. I am claiming Christ's victory in every circumstance of life. This prayer power is devastating to Satan's forces. He cannot contend with it. It is overpowering to him because it appropriates the victory of Jesus Christ at Calvary. If we rely on any other strategy, we are open to Satan's wiles. 

 

Prayer is spiritual service. It helps tremendously to see that prayer is as real a service as any other form of Christian service. Too often we consider prayer as only a sort of help to bolster and make effective our work for the Lord. Prayer is service! Prayer is work! In fact, without this hidden service, the open, outward service yields little fruit. 

 

Our warfare is spiritual and the weapons of our warfare must also be spiritual. It is in prayer that we lay the groundwork for further accomplishments in the kingdom of God. At times it is not only the groundwork, but the superstructure as well. 

 

We always accomplish more through our praying than through our personal presence. If I were personally in India or Africa, I would still find that my most effective ministry while there would be the ministry of prayer. I may truly spend time in India or Africa daily through the ministry of prayer because prayer knows no bounds. Prayer is spirit force. It is omnipresent and omnipotent in its effects for it brings the All Powerful God onto the scene to bring about the answer to our prayers. I can pray for China with as much effect while in the United States as if I were living in China, if I pray with adequate knowledge of the need. 

 

Prayer is God's opportunity to bless the world through an open channel. God cannot pour out His choicest riches where there are closed hands and closed lives. God is looking for the open, expectant heart. The instant I pray, I provide God an open channel with which to bless the world. How God longs to Give! It is His very nature to give. He is looking for channels and for receivers. 

 

The most effective people in the world today are those who pray; not those who only talk or write about prayer, but those who pray. This praying takes time, time that could be spent in other pressing matters. But to those who know the tremendous results achieved in prayer, this time is well spent. These dear saints put prayer first, and find that the other matters in their busy schedule fall into order so much easier when prayer is given its proper place. 

 

Basically we are able to influence people, circumstances and events through our presence, our voice, our personality and our resources. In the realm of the spirit in prayer, we exert as real a power and influence, in fact more so, than any other way. God effectively makes a way for us to have a world-wide ministry through prayer. We become a channel for God's power to operate in the affairs of men and nations as we pray. 

 

Yes, prayer is indeed practical! Prayer accomplishes results. Prayer gets things done. Prayer changes things. Prayer changes people. Prayer changes policies, strategies, plans, attitudes, and expectations. Prayer brings forth provision for accomplishing the impossible. Prayer is omnipotent, for it moves the hand of almighty God. There is an open door of spiritual service to all who will enter and discover the far-reaching and dynamic effects of prayer. 

 

Moses, now eighty-one years old, shrunk from the brunt of the battle of Rephidim. He entrusted the troops to Joshua while he climbed the hill with the sacred rod in his hand. From that vantage point he stretched out his hands in prayer. He fought with unseen combatants all through the day and won the victory with intercessions. It is a most beautiful picture: three old men in prayer; two of them staying up the hands of the third. 

 

In Rephidim we learn that prayer will do what otherwise would be impossible. In earlier days Moses would never have thought of winning a battle any other way but by fighting. 

 

He now learns that he can win it by praying. - Andrew Murray 

 

CHAPTER TWO

WHEN YOU PRAY THINGS HAPPEN

 

  • "But we will give ourselves continually to prayer, and to the ministry of the Word." (Acts 6:4, KJV)

 

  • "Meanwhile, we'll stick to our assigned tasks of prayer and speaking God's Word." (Acts 6:4, The Message) 

 

  • "Then we apostles can spend our time in prayer and teaching the word.” (Acts 6:4, New Living Translation)

 

Efficiency has been defined as "maximum results produced with a minimum of time and effort." It is a fact that we devote time to those things we count important. Usually we spend more time on the things that bring to us the most benefit. The business world is careful about where to invest the time of its employees so that there will be a maximum return on the time invested. Efficiency experts study charts and graphs to see what investments yield the greatest returns. If it is discovered that a certain activity produces a greater result, then more time, money and personnel are invested in that activity because it has proven to be a more successful approach. 

 

The early followers of Jesus soon discovered that the most fruitful part of their ministry was prayer and the Word. It brought about tremendous results!! The Book of Acts is literally an account of a series of prayer meetings and what happened as a result of those prayer times. When they prayed— good things happened! When other duties and details began to press in upon the apostles and demand their time and energies, they protested. "We must have help in these matters! We cannot allow our prayer time to be crowded out. We must spend time in prayer and the Word of God." 

 

In every epistle of Paul it is evident that he counted time spent in prayer as time well spent. I am amazed at how often he mentions his prayer ministry. Consider the following: 

 

  • "that without ceasing I make mention of you always in my prayers." (Romans 1:9)

 

  • "I cease not to give thanks for you, making mention of you in my prayers." (Ephesians 1:16)

 

  • "Always in every prayer of mine for you, making requests with joy." (Philippians 1:4)

 

  • "We give thanks to God and to the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, praying always for you." (Colossians 1:3)

 

  • "Wherefore also we pray always for you…" (2 Thessalonians 1:11)

 

  • "I thank God…that without ceasing I have remembrance of you in my prayers night and day." (2 Timothy 1:3)

 

Notice the words always, cease not, and without ceasing. In order to pray for all these people Paul had to spend time, much time. It has been said that "He who has prayed well has studied well." We might also say, "He who has prayed well has prepared well: no matter what he was preparing for." The most effective preparation is the preparation of prayer. The leaders of the early church counted prayer as their most important work. Prayer even came before the ministry of the Word. This is the correct order. 

 

The Book of Acts can be read as a series of prayer meetings and what happened as a result. 

 

As they prayed in Acts 2, the Holy Spirit descended in power, a multitude came together, heard the Word and became followers of Jesus. 

 

As Peter and John went up to the temple to pray in Acts 3, a lame man was healed and a multitude believed on Jesus. 

 

They prayed in Acts 4 and "the place was shaken where they were assembled together, and they were all filled with the Holy Spirit: and they spoke the Word of God with boldness." Miracles of healing and deliverance was the result of that decision!

 

In Acts 6 they said, "…we will give ourselves continually to prayer and to the ministry of the Word." What was the result? "And the word of God increased; and the number of the disciples multiplied in Jerusalem greatly." 

 

This pattern continues throughout the Book of Acts. First there was prayer; then came a spiritual explosion resulting in a significant expansion of the kingdom of God. 

 

In Acts 12 Peter was in prison facing certain death, but the church gave itself to intense, continual, and fervent prayer. The result was an amazing miracle! God sent an angel to the jail and set Peter free. 

 

In Acts 16 Paul and Silas prayed in prison in their darkest hour of suffering after having been beaten, then put in stocks in the dungeon of a prison cell, and God shook the earth and opened the prison doors. The jailer and his family believed on Jesus and received Him as their Savior, then received water baptism in the middle of the night. 

 

How important do I consider my prayer time? Do I really believe that I can get things done through prayer? What value do I place on intercession and supplication? Am I putting more emphasis on what I can do for God than what God can do for me and through me as I pray? I must begin to put prayer in its rightful place and prove in my own experience and to my own satisfaction that I can actually accomplish more through my praying than through any other activity! 

 

“Prayer is the most important work in the Kingdom of God.” - O. Hallesby 

 

CHAPTER THREE

I WILL CRY

 

  • "I will cry unto God most high; unto God who performs all things for me." (Psalm 57:2, KJV) 

 

  • I will cry to God Most High, Who performs on my behalf and rewards me [Who brings to pass His purposes for me and surely completes them]! (Psalm 57:2, Amplified)

 

  • "I cry out to God Most High, to God who fulfills his purpose for me." (Psalm 57:2, NIV) 

 

I will cry, God will perform—this is my strategy. God works for those who wait for him, who look to him, who hope in him. And the best posture for all of that is in an attitude of prayer. Life is so full of challenges, problems, and needs that I must not depend upon my own ingenuity, talent, training, skill, or any human device to meet these tremendous opportunities and challenges. I will pray—He will perform. This is my strategy. This is my strength. 

 

"I will cry unto God—who performs all things for me." How shall I approach this pressing problem today? I will pray and God will perform. My approach is prayer. How will this need be met that is causing so much inward concern and distress? I will pray and God will perform. How will I ever accomplish this difficult task that has been entrusted to my care? I will pray and God will perform. 

 

Prayer is my first step in any project. I may do more than pray after I have prayed, but I cannot do anything more powerful and effective than to pray. The power and resources of God are without limit. He may use me in the performance of this thing, indeed He will use me in many ways, but He may perform these tasks, loosen these heavy burdens, solve these knotty problems, meet these pressing needs without involving me at all! However, if I pray, I have a definite part in the results accomplished; in fact, I have entered into the work with the most powerful possible influence if I have prayed! The power of prayer is the power of God: it is all powerful! I will pray—this is my part, my best part of any work. God will perform! The battle is the Lord's. The results are due to His working and our praying. "I will cry and God will perform." 

 

Recently I attended a talk on prayer. The speaker is noted for his power in prayer and has written and spoken on the subject of prayer for many years, in fact he has founded an organization whose ministry is primarily that of calling God’s people to prayer. There were two statements he shared with us that he called, “axioms.” Webster’s definition of that word is, “A self evident truth or a proposition whose truth is so evident at first sight that no process of reasoning or demonstration can make it plainer: as, ‘The whole is greater than the part.’ or ‘The shortest distance between two points is a straight line.’” The two statements the speaker gave us are these: “Only God can do the work of God.” and “All the works of God are prayer works.” 

 

These two statements may not seem earthshaking in their significance. However, after examining these axioms closely, we would have to admit that we have often ignored these basic truths; for if only God can do the work of God, then I must not go feverishly about trying to do the work of God calling on Him for His help. God must do His work, and He works through the prayers of His people. I can enter into His work as a "laborer  

together with God." but only God can do God's work, and He works as we pray. 

 

I drove away from that meeting feeling that I must give more time to prayer. I knew now, as never before, that my best accomplishments would not result from feverish activity, but rather from waiting upon God in prayer. 

 

We need to better understand the philosophy of prayer. One day as I was driving along I started to pray for Hobart Vann. a missionary friend whom I have worked with and prayed for over the years. I had not heard from him for some time and did not really know how to pray. I thought to myself. "God knows where Hobart Vann is today and all about his needs, why doesn't He just meet all his needs without my prayers? He certainly loves Hobart as much as I do?" 

 

It started me to thinking about the "Why?' of prayer and I believe the Lord has taught me why. God did not create robots. He made us in his likeness and in his image, which means we are like God in that we co-labor with him. God will not violate my will. We are "free moral agents." We have a will and God will not intrude in and over-ride that free will. He could have "programmed us like computers so that it would have been impossible for us to disobey him and so that we would automatically love him. But how would that look? Not any better than it would look if I had put a computer chip inside of my sweetheart before I married her making it impossible for her to ever be unfaithful to me. Her love for me then would not be love. It would be a forced, unreal, mechanical activity that would not be fulfilling to her or to me. She would be a puppet and not a person. God has chosen to come on the scene of our lives only in answer to our prayers. 

 

He must be invited in. Through prayer we invite God to move in the realm of human experience. This is why we need to make prayer our strategy for accomplishment, for success in fulfilling his will in our lives. 

 

"I have sought God's aid and assistance in all my manifold undertakings, and though I cannot here tell the story of my private life in God's work, yet if it were written it would be a standing proof that there is a God who answers prayer. He has heard MY prayers, not now and then, nor once nor twice, but so many times that it has grown into a habit with me to spread my case before God with the absolute certainty that whatever I ask of God, He will give to me. In all labor there is profit, but MOST OF ALL in the work of intercession: I am sure of this, for I have reaped it." - C. H. Spurgeon 

 

CHAPTER FOUR

PRAYING for WORKERS

 

  • "The harvest is plentiful, but the workers are few. Ask the Lord of the harvest, therefore, to send out workers into his harvest field." (Matthew 9:37-38, NIV) 

 

  •  "He said to his disciples, The harvest is great, but the workers are few. So pray to the Lord who is in charge of the harvest; ask him to send more workers into his fields.” (Matthew 9:37-38,New Living Bible) 

 

  • "Jesus said to his followers, "There are many people to harvest but only a few workers to help harvest them.  Pray to the Lord, who owns the harvest, that he will send more workers to gather his harvest." (Matthew 9:37-38, New Century Version) 

 

The problem was simple—a lack of workers to reap the harvest. The remedy was equally as simple. "Pray therefore!" It really seems too simple. Certainly Christ could have given the disciples many workable methods for securing more Christian workers. 

 

He could have taught them how to organize, how to recruit, how to promote, how to advertise. But the only thing He told them to do in order to secure more laborers was to pray. Is it safe for us in these days to follow such a simple method for securing workers to reap this tremendous harvest? Is it enough? Is it sufficient? Will it really work? 

 

A long time ago I read the following statement and it has stayed with me over the years: "You can do more than pray after you have prayed, but you cannot do more than pray until you have prayed." God may lead us to do other things after we pray, but the secret is still "Pray therefore." After all, it is not our harvest. It is His harvest. He is in charge of the harvest. "Pray therefore to the One in charge of the harvesting." 

 

Begin today to pray that God will send forth laborers into your portion of this harvest field. God has made each of us responsible for a certain portion of this great harvest. I have often been amazed to see this principle at work! The wonderful thing is that when God sends forth laborers in answer to believing prayer, these people serve from an inward compulsion rather than to please men. Those laborers that we have to coax into the work generally do not last long or produce much because their calling was from man instead of from God. The safest method and by far the most effective for securing more workers is prayer. Certainly it is not unscriptural to ask someone to join us in the work. The Lord may lead us to do this after we have prayed. But prayer is the foundation. Prayer is still the mode of operation for obtaining workers to reap the harvest. 

 

There is much to encourage us these days in this regard. In 1974, for the first time in history, there were more people who received Christ than were born that year. The increase in Christian conversions led the increase in total population increase for that year! More Muslims have received Jesus as their Savior in the past 25 years than in all past history combined. The fastest growing movement in the world today is the Christian movement! We are told that the second fastest growing movement in the world is Islam. But the Islamic rate of growth is a little more than 3% per year, while the growth rate of the Christian Movement is over 7 % per year, about double the growth rate of Islam! Let us pray that God will give every Christian a deep love for Muslims and reach out to them with the good news of the forgiveness of sins through Jesus Christ! 

 

What a glorious day of spiritual renewal we're living in! Let us take this good news as incentive to pray for more harvesters; more Christian workers to invade every nation with the love message of Jesus Christ! Pray that in these last days we shall see an ever widening stream of this revival sweeping multitudes into the Kingdom of God before Jesus comes again. "Pray… that He will send them forth." If thrusting forth laborers into the harvest involves maturing, learning, and growing, still it is only through prayer that they will eventually be sent out. Prayer is the first step for every project in the Kingdom of God. 

 

"A merchant leaving his home and business gives his chief clerk general power by which he can draw thousands of dollars in the merchant's name. The clerk does this, not for himself; but only for the interest of the business. It is because the merchant knows and trusts him as wholly devoted to his interest and business that he does put his name and property at his command. When the Lord Jesus went to heaven, He left His work, the management of His Kingdom on earth, in the hands of His servants. He could not do otherwise than this--give them His name to draw all the supplies they needed for the due conduct of His business. " -Andrew Murray 

 

CHAPTER FIVE

PRAYER GETS RESULTS

  

  • "Ask, and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock, and the door will be opened to you: for every one who asks receives; he who seeks finds; and to him who knocks the door will be opened." (Matthew 7:7-8, NIV) 

 

  • "Ask, and you will get what you ask for. Look, and you will find what you look for. Knock, and the door will be opened for you. Everyone who asks will get. The one who looks will find. And the one who knocks will have the door opened for him.  (Matthew 7:7-8, Worldwide English Version)

 

  • "Ask, and you will receive. Search and you will find. Knock, and the door will be opened for you. Everyone who asks will receive. Everyone who searches will find. And the door will be opened for everyone who knocks."   (Matthew 7:7-8, CEV, Contemporary English Version) 

 

There is no clearer promise than this in the Bible that prayer will literally bring results. We can actually be certain that receiving will follow the asking. God says, "Ask of me, and I will give you…" (Psalm 2:8). It is often true that the only thing that awaits the receiving is simply the asking. "You have not, because you ask not." (James 4:2)

 

This kind of praying is certainly asking for something definite and specific. It is not just words without point or purpose. It is prayer for something specific. It is getting what we ask for. The Lord went on to say in Matthew chapter seven, "If a child asks for a fish, will he be given a poisonous snake? Of course not! And if you hard-hearted, men know how to give good gifts to your children, won't your Father in heaven even more certainly give good gifts to those who ask Him for them?" This does not sound like asking for something and getting something entirely different. It is getting what we ask for. 

 

As we pray within the framework of God's will, we can be absolutely certain that we will get what we ask for. Let us, therefore, be careful that we are asking for those things which will honor God and benefit all concerned. I have often been forced to strike off a request from my prayer list because I discovered that I was asking for something outside the will of God. But this is not the rule. It is the exception to the rule. If we know the Word of God and walk in the Spirit, we can get everything we ask, for we know His will.  

 

Several years ago, while employed as a teacher in the California public school system, I was deeply impressed through reading from the writings of George Mueller of Bristol, England. This man, perhaps more than any other man in modern times, has proven to the world that prayer brings results. During his lifetime he received, in answer to definite prayer, millions of dollars for his varied ministries. The most amazing fact was that he was meticulously careful not to let anyone but God know of his needs or the needs of his orphanages or other ministries, so that all would know that he dealt with God alone and that the provision was not the result of his efforts, or of man's genius, but the direct result of prayer, faith and patience. 

 

One day as I was reading Mueller’s life story, I came across a statement that made such an impression on me that it changed the course of my life. Mr. Mueller said that when he knew he was praying within the will of God he could pray for years for a specific request without being discouraged, for he knew the answer would come in God's way and in God's time. He gave instances of praying daily for over twelve years before the answer came, but it came. As I read this I was challenged to begin asking God for my heart's desire, which I felt was the will of God for my life. My desire was to be released from public school teaching in order that I might have full time to devote to the work of prayer and the ministry of the Word according to Acts 6:34: "Then we can spend our time in prayer, preaching and teaching" (Acts 6:34, Williams). 

That very day I began to pray specifically that God would fulfill Acts 6:3-4 in my life. I found it easy to remember to pray daily and even felt excited at the prospect of seeing this dream come to pass. Everyday I would pray, “God fulfill Acts 6:3-4 in my life." I was prepared to pray that prayer daily for years if necessary. Within six months God arranged that I come in contact with a dear man of God who was instrumental in directing me toward a full-time ministry. Three months later I had resigned my public school teaching position, and to my amazed and almost unbelieving heart, I found my prayer had been answered. I have been thus engaged in full-time Christian work for more than forty five years. God has graciously sustained me and my family of nine, Mom, Dad, and seven kids during these years, as we have made it our commitment to tell no one of our needs except the Lord Jesus. 

 

"Can it be that a great work for God involving the eternal destiny of thousands of souls devolves upon our prayers? I am feeling more and more that it is, after all, just the prayers of God's people that call down blessing upon the work, whether they are directly engaged in it or not. Paul may plant and Apollos water, but it is God who gives the increase: and this increase can be brought down from heaven by believing prayer, whether offered in China or England. If this is so, then Christians at home can sow as much for foreign missions as those actually on the field. I believe it will only be known on the Last Day how much has been accomplished in missionary work by the prayers of earnest believers at home." - J. O. Fraser 

 

CHAPTER SIX

VICTORY OVER TROUBLE

 

  • "Then they cried unto the Lord in their trouble, and he delivered them out of their distresses." (Psalm 107:6, KJV)  

 

  • Then they cried out to the LORD in their trouble, and he delivered them from their distress. (Psalm 107:6, NIV)

 

  • You were in serious trouble, but you prayed to the LORD, and he rescued you." (Psalm 107:6, CEV)

 

Four times in Psalm 107 man came to his extremity; then he cried unto the Lord in his trouble and God delivered him out of trouble: 

 

"Give thanks to the LORD, for he is good; his love endures forever.  Let the redeemed of the LORD say this— those he redeemed from the hand of the foe, 

 3 those he gathered from the lands, from east and west, from north and south. [a] 

 4 Some wandered in desert wastelands, finding no way to a city where they could settle. 

 5 They were hungry and thirsty, and their lives ebbed away. 

 6 Then they cried out to the LORD in their trouble, and he delivered them from their distress. 

 7 He led them by a straight way to a city where they could settle. 

 8 Let them give thanks to the LORD for his unfailing love and his wonderful deeds for men, 

 9 for he satisfies the thirsty and fills the hungry with good things. 

 10 Some sat in darkness and the deepest gloom, prisoners suffering in iron chains, 

 11 for they had rebelled against the words of God and despised the counsel of the Most High. 

 12 So he subjected them to bitter labor; they stumbled, and there was no one to help. 

 13 Then they cried to the LORD in their trouble, and he saved them from their distress. 

 14 He brought them out of darkness and the deepest gloom and broke away their chains. 

 15 Let them give thanks to the LORD for his unfailing love and his wonderful deeds for men, 

 16 for he breaks down gates of bronze and cuts through bars of iron. 

 17 Some became fools through their rebellious ways and suffered affliction because of their iniquities. 

 18 They loathed all food and drew near the gates of death. 

 19 Then they cried to the LORD in their trouble, and he saved them from their distress. 

 20 He sent forth his word and healed them; he rescued them from the grave. 

 21 Let them give thanks to the LORD for his unfailing love and his wonderful deeds for men. 

 22 Let them sacrifice thank offerings and tell of his works with songs of joy. 

 23 Others went out on the sea in ships; they were merchants on the mighty waters. 

 24 They saw the works of the LORD, his wonderful deeds in the deep. 

 25 For he spoke and stirred up a tempest that lifted high the waves. 

 26 They mounted up to the heavens and went down to the depths; in their peril their courage melted away. 

 27 They reeled and staggered like drunken men; they were at their wits' end. 

 28 Then they cried out to the LORD in their trouble, and he brought them out of their distress. 

 29 He stilled the storm to a whisper; the waves of the sea were hushed. 

 30 They were glad when it grew calm, and he guided them to their desired haven. 

 31 Let them give thanks to the LORD for his unfailing love and his wonderful deeds for men. 

Let them exalt him in the assembly of the people and praise him in the council of the elders.”

(Psalm 107:1-32, 43, Today's English Version) 

 

Trouble is a familiar word! We face trouble in some form daily, financial trouble, family trouble, health trouble, car trouble, people trouble, on and on. The prophet, Samuel, had people trouble. In 1Samuel 8:6 we read: "But the thing displeased Samuel, when they said, 'Give us a king to judge us.' And Samuel prayed unto the Lord. Samuel knew what to do with trouble. He committed it to God in prayer. Peter told us what to do with trouble: "Casting all your care upon Him; for He cares for you." (1 Peter 5:7) Notice the word all. Casting means handing it over to God to work it out. Cast it all on Him!

 

God delivers us from trouble when we pray. Prayer is not just an emotional release. When we pray God moves and removes or dissolves the problem in order to deliver us out of real and present trouble. "God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble…He makes wars to cease…He breaks the bow and cuts the spear in sunder: he burns the chariot in the fire." (Psalm 46:1-9)

 

Prayer brings real deliverance from real troubles. The answer to trouble is prayer. Only this week I was faced with a financial crisis in the form of an immediate need for $1,000. It was a pressing need and the pressure had been building for some time. We took this need to God in our morning family devotions at 8:30 a.m., and within three hours we had seen God move to provide this need! Our hearts sang His praises! He does not always answer so quickly, but we can be sure that the practice of turning our troubles over to God is effective and will bring relief from a multitude of problems. 

 

We are often tempted to reason with ourselves saying, "I got myself into this trouble and therefore I have no right to ask God to get me out." This is Satan's lie to keep us from committing our troubles to God. It makes no difference what the source or cause of our troubles! Yes, it may have been our ignorance, our arrogance, or even our rebellion, but God is abundantly able and willing to work out our problems if we will but cry out to Him with a humble, repentant heart, trusting Him to forgive us, heal us and work a miracle for us to restore all that the enemy has devoured. 

 

Consider Jonah in the belly of the whale. It was his rebellion that brought him into that problem, but the moment he cried out to the Lord God deliverance for him began to take shape. God spoke to the whale and it vomited Jonah up on shore. If you are covered over with trouble God will surely work for you as you pray to Him in brokenness and faith, even if all your problems were the result of your sin and rebellion. 

 

God specializes in taking dark, ugly, stinky things and turning them around and making them into something bright, beautiful, and fragrant for his glory and for our good. 

 

"When we are asked why men should pray, and how prayer avails, we are not careful to answer more than this: Prayer is the instinct of the religious life. It is one of the first principles of the spiritual world. It is clearly taught in the Word of God to be pleasing to the Almighty. It has been practiced by the noblest and saintliest of men who have testified to its certain efficiency. Our Lord Jesus not only practiced it, but proclaimed its value in words which have been plunged millions of times into the crucible of experience, and are as true today as ever. 'Ask and it shall be given you; seek, and you shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you.' We are content therefore to pray, though we are as ignorant of the philosophy or the MODUS OPERANDI of prayer as we are of any natural law. We find it no dreamy revere or sweet sentimentality; but A practical living force!" - F. B. Mever 

 

CHAPTER SEVEN

PRAYING and ABIDING

 

  • "If you remain in me and my words remain in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be given you." (John 15:7, NIV) 

 

  • "But if you stay joined to me and my words remain in you, you may ask any request you like, and it will be granted!" (John 15:7, NLT) 

 

  • "Stay joined to me and let my teachings become part of you. Then you can pray for whatever you want, and your prayer will be answered." (John 15:7, CEV) 

 

Many of God's people stumble at such an all-inclusive promise as we find in John 15:7. It was surely not given to cause us to stumble, but rather to encourage us to pray! This promise is given to those who abide in Christ and have His Word abiding in them. We must give Jesus Christ complete control of our lives if we are to experience the life of constant abiding. Abiding in Christ is simply an absolute surrender of our wills to His will and an absolute dependence on Him to live His life in us and through us. 

 

We also see in this promise the importance of the Word of God to those who pray, "If my words abide in you." George Mueller always began his prayer times with the reading of the Word. He was in the habit of reading through the Bible four times each year. As we read the Word of God, we come to know the mind of God. Thus we will not ask selfishly, but will pray according to His will. 

 

Are you abiding in Christ? Does His Word abide in you? If so, you can ask whatever you please and you shall have it! Are you saying in your heart, "This condition of abiding excludes me? I can't pray effectively because I'm not sure that I am abiding in Him." Do you have a desire to let Jesus fill and control your life both inwardly and in all outward circumstances? If this is the desire of your heart, accept the facts about yourself as set forth in 1 Corinthians 6:19-20: "Have you forgotten that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit, Who lives in you, and that you are not the owner of your own body? You have been bought, and at what a price! Therefore bring glory to God both in your body and your spirit, for they both belong to Him." (Phillips, 1 Corinthians 6:19-20) 

 

Now since God has laid full claim to you—body, soul and spirit, it is safe for you to acknowledge His complete right to be Lord of your life. When you confess Jesus as Lord of your life and give up all personal rights in order to become God's property, then you have every right to consider that you are abiding in Jesus what ever your feelings may feed you or the devil may tell you. You are taking your strength, your wisdom, your very life from Him. You are the branch and He is the vine. The sap of the vine flows into the branch and there is fruit . . . good fruit! As you continue to abide in Him and as you feed daily on His Word, your faith to ask for whatever you want will grow! 

 

We asked the Lord to provide the money to get our house and furniture in better condition. God has been teaching us that He is interested in our physical welfare just as He is interested in our spiritual welfare. He promises that if we seek first the Kingdom of God and His righteousness, all these things will be added unto us. God has included "things," material things in the list of our requests. He says it is okay to ask for "things." 

 

Early one morning, as I sat in the living room, it came into my mind to begin praying for a hutch for my wife to put in the living room. She had wanted a hutch for her dishes for more than twenty years. I had never felt impressed before to pray for a hutch, (a cabinet where they store dishes) but I obeyed this impression and prayed, because I felt it was from the Lord. 

 

Not long afterwards my wife went out on a Saturday afternoon to shop for carpet. She walked into a room where the salesman was getting ready for a furniture sale that was to begin the following Monday. The prices were drastically reduced on this particular floor. As she looked around, she found a beautiful hutch at a greatly reduced price. The regular price for a hutch would have been out of our price range. This was the first time she had looked at a hutch with any thought of buying because the prices were so terribly high and our limited income simply would not allow for such a purchase. 

 

She told the salesman she wanted the hutch, jumped into the car and drove home to get me so that we could get back to the store before they closed. My wife was not aware that I had prayed for a hutch only a few days before. About this time I left the house to go for a walk. I had walked for approximately five minutes when I felt strongly impressed to return home. However, I continued on my walk thinking that it was probably just a whim, and reasoned that I needed this time alone with the Lord for prayer and meditation. But as I walked on, the impression became stronger. I heard a soft little voice inside me say, "Turn around and go back home!" At this point I lost all desire to continue on my walk, so I turned around and started home. 

 

Just as I came to the street that led to my house, my wife turned the same corner on her way home. She was all excited as she told me about the hutch. We drove to the furniture store and concluded the purchase of the hutch within ten minutes of their closing time. We were told that our hutch would come from a warehouse in Los Angeles within a week. The following week we found that this hutch was the only one they had in the store and all the others in the warehouse were sold almost immediately. The salesman put our names on the only one in stock, and it stayed in the store throughout the entire sale. 

 

To us it was a miracle, and we praised God for such a personal favor to us in answer to definite prayer. Now, you may be thinking, "Is God really interested in hutches for dishes?" This is the marvel of God's grace. Yes, He is interested in our clothes, our food, our furniture, our time, our habits, our friends and every other detail no matter how significant or insignificant we may think it is. It all comes within the realm of the life of complete surrender and abiding. Do not be hesitant to ask God for little things, for in so doing, your faith will grow to ask for bigger things. After all, Jesus taught us to pray for our daily bread! How many of us are doing that on a daily basis? 

 

Do not have as your motive the desire to known as a praying man. Get an inner chamber in which to pray where no one knows you are praying, shut the door and pray to God in secret. Have no other motive than to know your Father in heaven. It is impossible to conduct your life as a disciple without definite times of secret prayer. - Oswald Chambers

 

CHAPTER EIGHT

JESUS’ PRAYER LIFE

 

The Gospel of Luke emphasizes the humanity of Christ, stressing the human side of the perfect God-man. Some time ago I was challenged to read the Gospel of Luke at one sitting. As I read through Luke I was impressed with how much is revealed to us about Jesus' prayer life. In my Bible I have marked these passages in Luke that reveal His habit of prayer. I have often been encouraged to pray by reading these verses. When read together they show us how important prayer was in the life of our Lord: 

 

  • "Now when all the people were baptized, it came to pass, that Jesus also being baptized and praying …" (Luke 3:21 KJV) 

 

  • "And he withdrew himself into the wilderness, and prayed." (Luke 5:16 KJV) 

 

  • "And it came to pass in those days, that he went out into a mountain to pray, and continued all night in prayer to God" (Luke 6:12 KJV) 

 

  • "And it came to pass, as he was alone praying . . ." (Luke 9:18) 

 

  • "And it came to pass, about eight days after these sayings, he took Peter and John and James, and went up into a mountain to pray." (Luke 9:28 KJV) 

 

  • "And it came to pass, that, as he was praying in a certain place, when he ceased, one of his disciples said unto him, Lord, teach us to pray" (Luke 11:1 KJV) 

 

  • "And he spoke a parable to them to this end that men ought always to pray and not to faint." (Luke 18:1 KJV) 

 

  • "And the Lord said, Simon, Simon, behold, Satan has desired to have you that he may sift you as wheat: but I have prayed for you." (Luke 22:31 KJV) 

 

  • "And when he was at the place, he said unto them, 'pray that you enter not into temptation.' And he was withdrawn from them about a stone's cast, and kneeled down, and prayed." (Luke 22:40-41 KJV) 

 

Jesus was a man of prayer, though He was God in flesh; yet He was perfect man. Therefore he prayed. He not only taught us to pray, he prayed. He prayed often. He prayed at all seasons. He prayed alone. He prayed all night. He had favorite places for prayer. Jesus began His public ministry with prayer and fasting, and the last thing He did before He died was to pray. At times He got up early in the morning and went alone to pray. His life says to us: pray, pray, pray! Pray at all seasons. Get alone with God and pray! Stay awake at night and pray! Get up early and pray! Give priority to prayer!! Stay all day in an atmosphere of prayer. Pray without ceasing! Why did Jesus put so much emphasis on prayer in His own life and ministry? Was prayer a religious ceremony to be done out of a sense of duty? Not so. Jesus prayed because there was power in prayer. We must remember that Jesus fulfilled His ministry in the same way that we are to fulfill our life's calling—as a man or woman filled with the Holy Spirit. Jesus was a man. He was a man filled with the Holy Spirit, but He was a man "in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin." He was the only begotten Son of God, but He was also a man. 

 

He often referred to Himself as the Son of Man. He was the Son of God, but he operated in life as the son of man who needed to pray in order to accomplish the eternal plan of the Father. Jesus left us an example that we should follow in his steps. We must give ourselves to prayer, intercessory prayer, prayer that builds the Kingdom of God and destroys the strongholds of Satan. Jesus taught us to pray, not only by what He said but also by what He did. He prayed! He prayed much!! He prayed often. He prayed always. He prayed without ceasing. He planned to pray. He did not leave prayer to chance. He made special trips to desert places just to pray. Let His example be to us our strongest call to prayer. Because He prayed, I should pray, for He said, "I have left you an example that you should do as I have done." 

 

"Generally, if not uniformly, prayer is both starting point and goal to every movement in which are the elements of permanent progress. Whenever the church is aroused and the world’s wickedness arrested somebody has been praying. If the secret history of all spiritual advance could be written and read there would be found some intercessors who, like Samuel, Daniel, Elijah; like Paul and James; like Jonathan Edwards, William Carey, George Mueller and Hudson Taylor, have been led to shut themselves in the secret place with God and have labored fervently in prayers. And as the starting point is thus found in supplication and intercession, so the final outcome must be that God's people have learned to pray if there is not to be a rapid reaction and disastrous relapse from the better conditions secured. " - A. T. Pierson 

 

CHAPTER NINE

PRAYER BRINGS JOY

 

  • "Until now you have not asked for anything in my name. Ask and you will receive and your joy will be complete." (NIV, John 16:24) 

 

  • "You have not asked for anything in this way before, but now you must ask in my name. Then it will be given to you, so that you will be completely happy., (John 16:24, CEV) 

 

  • "You haven’t done this before. Ask, using my name, and you will receive, and you will have abundant joy." (John 16:24, NLT) 

 

The Lord wants us to ask for things so that when we receive them, our joy will be full. Often God has greatly encouraged me just when I needed it by showing me that He had answered a specific request which I had asked of Him. There is abundant joy in answered prayer! Our Lord wants us to know and experience this joy for ourselves. What a thrill to know that God Himself is at work in my behalf in answer to my prayers. 

 

Since we are called by His name, we have a tremendous privilege. Answered prayer honors God and increases our joy and the joy of the Lord is our strength. What an encouragement to pray! Those who pray regularly and faithfully are experiencing this joy daily! You can know the joy of answered prayer. Begin to ask in His name. The answers will surely come and your joy will be full. 

 

Once I was on a speaking tour with Child Evangelism Fellowship in Eastern Pennsylvania. I was substituting for a dear man of God who is a tremendous public speaker. However, he became ill and asked me to go in his place. I went in "fear and trembling," knowing that only God could make me a blessing to the audiences, since I had never felt that public speaking was one of my stronger points. As I sat awaiting my turn to speak in a particular meeting, one of the ladies present began to describe the missions program being conducted among the children of Eastern Pennsylvania. It suddenly occurred to me that three years before, I had prayed that God would grant me the privilege of visiting this section of Pennsylvania to see the outstanding work they were doing teaching world missions to little children. 

 

When I realized that God had answered a prayer I had prayed almost three years before, I was tremendously encouraged and assured that it was not an accident that I was in Eastern Pennsylvania and that God had sent me and would make me a blessing to the people who heard me speak. That speaking tour turned out to be one of the most helpful and life-changing experiences I have ever had! There is no greater joy than the joy of answered prayer! Not only do we receive that for which we pray, which is a blessing in itself, but it also speaks volumes to us concerning our personal relationship with God. 

 

When God answers our prayers, it is real confirmation that He is pleased with our daily walk. This confirmation floods our souls with joy! Praise the Lord! 

 

Jesus says in the above verse that when we receive the answer to our prayer, our joy will be full. The Greek word for "full" is one which means "to cram full, to level up full." When you pray specifically and get specific answers, your joy knows no bounds! It runs over!! 

 

Only last night I experienced this joy of answered prayer. I had come to the end of my money and I asked God for a miracle in my finances. A Friend who had never felt led to share with me, came to me and put in my hands a check which met my immediate needs. Our joy remains high as we are constantly seeing answers to definite petitions. 

 

Elijah was a "man of like passions as we are and he prayed…and the heavens gave rain." Think of it! God will shut up the heavens in answer to the prayers of mere men; men just like me and just like you …"men of like passions." He will also open up the windows of heaven as we pray. Let us begin to ask for more. As He answers, our joy will overflow!! 

 

"This way of living has often been the means of reviving the work of grace in my heart when I have been getting cold; and it also has been the means of bringing me back again to the Lord after I have been backsliding. For it is not possible to live in sin and at the same time, by communion with God, draw down from heaven everything one needs for the life that looks constantly to God for every need to be provided. Answer to prayer, obtained in this way has been the means of quickening my soul and filling me with much joy." 

- George Mueller 

 

CHAPTER TEN

WATCH and PRAY

 

One night I was awakened and felt led to get out of bed and go into the living room and wait on the Lord in a time of watching and praying. Sometimes when I am awakened to pray I just sit quietly in His presence waiting for Him to speak to me. 

 

Jesus said "Watch and pray." There is a difference between watching and praying. When Paul enumerated his experiences that approved him as a minister of Christ in 2 Corinthians 6:4-10, he said, "But in all things approving ourselves as the ministers of God, in much patience, in afflictions, in necessities . . .in labors, in watchings, in fastings." 

 

Fasting is giving up food for a period of time for spiritual purposes and watching is giving up sleep for a period of time for spiritual purposes. In the Garden of Gethsemane the night before Jesus was crucified, he was watching and praying. He came to His disciples who had followed Him into the garden and found them sleeping. He said, "What, could you not watch with me one hour? Watch and pray, that you enter not into temptation; the spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak." 

 

Jesus did not sleep at all on the night before He was crucified. He was watching and praying. The victory of Calvary was won at Gethsemane. Watching is wakefulness unto God. It is simply staying awake in order pray and to hear what God has to say to us. Praying is talking to God. Watching is wakefulness while praying and listening for God to speak to us. Sometimes when I am led to watch and pray. I have a difficult time staying awake. I know what Jesus meant when He said. "The spirit indeed in willing, but the flesh is weak." 

 

On that particular night I hadn't been on my knees long before I started to get sleepy and I thought to myself, "It's time to go back to bed!" I was about to obey this impulse, but somehow felt the need to stay a while longer. I got down on my knees again and just kept silent before the Lord, waiting for whatever He wanted to reveal to me. During the next thirty minutes I received from the Lord such a beautiful confirmation that I am where He wants me to be; that I am doing what He wants me to do; that the vision of outreach that He gave me years ago is being fulfilled, although many of my present circumstances seem to indicate that somehow I had gotten off the track and disobeyed the vision he gave me for equipping the saints to do the works of Jesus in world evangelization. What a blessed time it was! I was so refreshed and so confident in Him the following morning! 

 

He spoke to me regarding several details of my day's work and reminded me of things that I needed to be reminded of. Watching and praying is like a visit to headquarters for a captain in the midst of combat. We are in spiritual warfare and we need to keep the lines of communication with headquarters open. God has something to say to us if we will just get still enough to listen. Sometimes I take a pen and paper to prayer with me to jot down memos as I get instruction from the Lord. 

 

When I say God speaks to me, I do not mean that I am listening with my ears to an audible voice. I mean that God creates impressions on my mind, and I know it is the voice of my shepherd. Jesus said of the true shepherd, "the sheep hear his voice: and he calls his own sheep by name, and leads them out…he goes before them, and the sheep follow him: for they know his voice. And a stranger will they not follow, but will flee from him for they know not the voice of strangers." (John 10:3-5) 

 

When we pattern our prayer life after the prayer life of Jesus, we will know the voice of our shepherd for He will speak to us often. As I have read the four gospels to discover the prayer life of Jesus, I see clearly that Jesus arranged time for prayer. It was not an after-thought or a chance appointment. He went into the wilderness to pray. He planned to pray. He arose early to pray. He purposed to pray. He went into a solitary place and prayed. He went for the specific purpose of praying to the Father. At times he lingered all night in prayer. We know that Jesus stayed in a spirit of prayer all day, every day, every moment and was in constant communion with the Father, but that did not rule out the specific, set times and places for prayer. As Jesus needed both the constant attitude of prayer as well as the set times and places for prayer . . .  we do too! 

 

In outlining our schedule of activities, do we plan to pray? Do we set aside blocks of time for the all-important labor of intercession and supplication to our heavenly Father? Do we gather our family together for daily prayer? God will guide you as to how you are to do this without getting legalistic about it. 

 

"We often wonder at Luther, who spent three hours each day in prayer and meditation: at Bishop Andrews, spending the greater part of five hours every day in fellowship with God: at John Welsh, who thought that day ill spent when he did not spend eight or ten hours in closet communion. It seems to us as if such prolonged praying must involve an endless monotony of vain repetitions. We forget that when men are sent to the market with hosts of commissions from their neighbors and friends, they must stay longer than when they go only for themselves. It would be a very wholesome thing if the causes of others were to detain us more constantly before the Lord." - F. B. Meyer 

 

CHAPTER ELEVEN

TO WORRY or TO PRAY?

 

  • "Be anxious for nothing; but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God." (Philippians 4:6, KJV)

 

  • "Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done." (Philippians 4:6, NLT) 

 

  • "Don't worry about anything, pray about everything with thankful hearts offer up your prayers and requests to God. (Philippians 4:6, CEV) 

 

Don’t worry about anything! Pray about everything! The best remedy for worry is prayer. If the same amount of time and energy that is given to worry were spent in prayer to God, the results would be wonderful and lasting. Two simple words here command our attention: "Nothing" and "Everything." We are literally to pray about everything and to be anxious and troubled over nothing. The results will be twofold: 

 

First, inwardly you will experience "the peace of God that passes all understanding" (Philippians 4:7) and outwardly you will see God working in the daily circumstances of life to answer your requests. 

 

There are two things to do with life's problems. We can attempt to work them out ourselves or we can commit them to God in prayer and He will work them out for us. Self effort often hinders the working of God. "Commit your way to the Lord; trust also in him; and he shall bring it to pass" (Psalms 37:5). Another translation puts it this way, "Commit your way to the Lord, trust also in him and he works!" This simply means that our part is to commit and trust. God's part is to work it out. He may use us in the process, or He may not. We simply leave that in His hands and quietly trust. He works! This leads to peace and rest. 

 

When we commit the problem to God in prayer, and relax, He will work as we hand it over to Him and quietly trust. It will help us to see that worry is sin. In essence worry says, "God is not in control of the circumstances of my life," or "God does not love me and will not provide my needs." Worry is doubting God's love, His faithfulness, and His power. 

 

The answer to worry is: Pray! There is a gospel song entitled, "Why Worry When You Can Pray?" If we were honest about the matter, most of us would have to admit that our philosophy is rather, "Why Pray When You Can Worry?" Medical men tell us that worry is devastating to the health of the body and will certainly take its toll in process of time. Worry is a way of life to many. We should "kick" this habit and count it as sin and trust God to deliver us from it. We will surely find that as we pray about everything, our worries will melt away. 

 

One day the Lord spoke to me to be ready to take a trip to minister in another area to help start a new church. He didn’t say where. He just said, "Be ready!" Several times during the day I felt the same impression, and I took it as from the Lord and said, "Lord, I will go, just show me where." The very next day after I said, "Lord, I will go," a young lady came up to me in one of our meetings and shared with me about a group of Christians in Weaverville, California, a small town about 700 miles away, who wanted help in starting a new church. I knew immediately that this was of God, for no such coincidence in timing could cause such a strong confirmation in my spirit as what I was feeling as we talked over the situation. I knew I was to go and take my wife and children. I also invited a young man whom I was seeking to help into the ministry God had called him to do. He agreed to go along and take his wife and three children. 

 

Immediately we were faced with the expenses involved in a trip about 1,400 miles in two separate cars. Where would the money come from? The closer we came to the time of departure, the greater became the temptation to worry and fret over the matter. With gas and food prices soaring, we had every reason, humanly speaking, to be concerned. However, we prayed and committed the matter to God, and He began to work. I received a call from the group in Weaverville a few days later, saying that God had impressed them to make a gift toward our expenses. A check was enclosed. 

 

The young lady who first told me about the need in Weaverville asked me how she could make a gift to help in this project. Another lady called and said she was sending a gift to help in the trip. All of this happened with no begging for money on our part or even saying one word about it to anyone but God. With the departure date still two weeks away. God was assuring us that it is safe to pray and trust, and not worry about anything. 

 

Praise the Lord! How good He is! The results of the trip were beautiful and lasting! Many lives were changed. 

 

"Though all believers in the Lord Jesus are not called upon to establish orphan houses or schools for poor children, and trust in God for means, yet all, according to the will of God concerning them in Christ Jesus, may cast, and ought to cast all their care upon Him who cares for them, and need not be anxiously concerned about anything, as is plainly seen from I Peter 5:7, Philippians 4:6-7, and Matthew 6:24, 25." - George Mueller 

 

CHAPTER TWELVE

PRAYER is WORK

 

  • "The earnest prayer of a righteous person has great power and produces wonderful results."  (James 5:16, NLT) 

 

  • "The prayer of an innocent person is powerful, and it can help a lot." (James 5:16, CEV) 

 

  • [The] fervent supplication of the righteous [man] has much power. (James 5:16, Darby)

 

The most effective Christian work I can possibly do is to pray! We cannot spend a day doing anything that will bring more results than a day spent in prayer to God. We do not naturally believe this; to our natural mind it would seem that in order to get things done we must be moving about doing something. James tells us that prayer brings results! He uses Elijah to prove this point in James 5:17: "Elijah was a man subject to like passions as we are and he prayed earnestly that it might not rain and it rained not on the earth by the space of three years and six months. And he prayed again and the heaven gave rain and the earth brought forth her fruit." 

 

Many sincere Christians have embraced the philosophy, "We must put feet to our prayers." This is a faith-killing statement. As a matter of fact, God may use you in bringing about these wonderful results, but He is not restricted as to what instrument He will use. He may use superhuman powers to accomplish these "wonderful results." 

 

In Acts 12:5-12 God moved to release Peter from certain death through the prayers of His people: 

 

"So Peter was kept in the prison, but prayer for him was being made fervently by the church to God. And on the very night when Herod was about to bring him forward, Peter was sleeping between two soldiers, bound with two chains; and guards in front of the door were watching over the prison. And behold, an angel of the Lord suddenly appeared, and a light shone in the cell; and he struck Peter's side and roused him, saying, 'get up quickly.' And his chains fell off his hands. And the angel said to him, 'Gird yourself and put on your sandals.' And he did so. And he said to him, 'Wrap your cloak around you and follow me.' And he went out and continued to follow, and he did not know that what was being done by the angel was real, but thought he was seeing a vision. 

 

And when they had passed the first and second guard, they came to the Iron Gate that leads into the city, which opened for them by itself; and they went out and went along one street; and immediately the angel departed from him. And when Peter came to himself, he said, ‘Now I know for sure that the Lord has sent forth His angel and rescued me from the hand of Herod and from all that the Jewish people were expecting.' And when he realized this, he went to the house of Mary, the mother of John where many were gathered and were praying.” (Acts 12:5-12, NAS)

 

The church did nothing more than pray, and God released Peter from prison and from certain death. The life of Elijah also proves that at times prayer alone, with nothing added, is the instrument of deliverance and provision: "Elijah was a man with feelings just like ours, and yet he earnestly prayed..." (James 5:17, Williams). He was not a superman; he was a man. This fact is meant to encourage us to pray. Elijah saw results when he prayed. We will see wonderful results, too, when we pray. 

 

But Elijah did not "put feet to his prayers." He simply prayed and God brought the results. First he prayed that it would not rain. God stopped the rain. Next he prayed for fire. He did nothing to insure that a fire would start. In fact, he had barrels of water poured over the offering so that everyone would know that the fire was from God and not from man. The fire came in answer to simple prayer (read 1 Kings, Chapter 18). Next he prayed for rain. He kept on praying until the clouds began to form. He knew then that he could stop praying. The rains came in torrents! Yes, praying people are active people and God uses them mightily, but let us never think that we must pray and then set about to bring in the answer to our own prayers. 

 

A few years ago a children's evangelistic ministry was put under my direction, which made me and my fellow workers responsible for sharing the gospel with unreached boys and girls of greater Los Angeles and all of southern California, with a total population of over 10 million. Within a few days after my appointment as Executive Director of Child Evangelism Fellowship of Southern California, I was overwhelmed with the sense of inadequacy in the face of a multitude of needs and endless details. But God, who comforts those who are cast down, comforted me with three simple words. One day while browsing in our bookstore, glancing over titles of books, a small paperback book entitled, Everything by Prayer caught my attention. I knew that moment I had the message I needed. I immediately secured a notebook and began writing down the needs of this new ministry in the form of prayer requests based on the promise of Philippians 4:6-7: 

 

"Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all comprehension, shall guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus." (Philippians 4:6-7, NAS)

 

As the days went by and my list grew longer, the answers began to come in. I began to mark them off one by one. I wrote across every answered prayer, "Answered, thank You, Father!" The more answers that came, the more excited I became. Over the months and years I continued this practice, and it brought relief from a multitude of cares and problems. It was a continual source of joy to see God answer specific requests almost daily. It wasn't long after adopting this practice that it occurred to me that my most effective work was my time spent in prayer. It was there that I received instruction for directing the work of the ministry of CEF. Occasionally I would set aside an entire day for prayer, just to be alone with God and lay out before Him every facet of the work, details of my family life, and personal life. Whatever measure of success I enjoyed in that ministry over the next five years, I attribute wholly to the Lord moving in answer to prayer. 

 

"Work with all your might: but trust not the least in your work. Pray with all your might for the blessing of God; but work at the same time with all diligence, with all patience, with all perseverance. Pray then and work. Work and pray. And still again pray and then work. And so on all the days of your life. The result will surely be abundant blessing. Speak also for the Lord as if everything depended on your exertions. Yet trust not the least in your exertions, but in the Lord who alone can cause your efforts to be made effectual." - George Mueller 

 

CHAPTER THIRTEEN

ASKING for MATERIAL THINGS

 

  • "You have not because you ask not." (James 4:2, KJV) 

 

  • "The reason you don't have what you want is because you don't ask God for it." (James 4:2, New Living Translation) 

 

  • "You cannot get what you want, and you won't get it by fighting and arguing. You should pray for it." (James 4:2, CEV) 

 

In this one verse lies the secret of much of our poverty; not only our spiritual poverty, but also our material poverty. Anything that is worth having at all is worth praying for? And yet there are material things that we set about to purchase or secure and never once make it a subject of prayer. Is it because we do not feel that God is interested in the common, ordinary, everyday affairs of our lives—the things that we term "insignificant"? 

 

I am convinced that there are many material blessings that we could have if we would only ask God for them. Many well-meaning Christians will tell us. "Oh. God doesn't want us to bother Him with all these trivial material matters. After all, He gave us brains and good common sense. He expects us to use them and provide these things ourselves." This statement breeds self confidence and draws us away from a position of utter and complete dependence upon God. As the branch is absolutely dependent on the vine, so we are dependent upon Christ for everything, spiritual and material. The Apostle James reminds us that "Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above…" (James 1:17)

 

The story of Samuel in the Old Testament is helpful in this regard. Hannah was a woman of God who was barren. There was no greater shame on a woman in those times and in that culture than that of being unable to have a baby. It was seen as a curse from God. She fasted and prayed and wept before God asking for a son. God heard her prayer and Hannah named her baby boy Samuel, "Because I asked the Lord for him." The word Samuel means "asked of God." 

 

We should be able to put the name ''Samuel" on everything in our homes and in our lives both spiritual and material. If we could not sincerely ask God for everything we possess, whatever it may be, we should not have it at all. And if you possess something you did not pray for, you could have and you should have. 

 

I remember as if it were only last week, the day I was on my knees in the closet of my friend's apartment, praying for guidance from the Lord in one of life's major events. I was a 19-year-old student at California Baptist College in El Monte. California in February 1954. My girl friend, Joni Montgomery, age 17, was living in San Angelo, Texas. I had left her in San Angelo with the promise that I would return in three months, after I had found employment, and we would get married and return to California together. The only job I could find was that of a door-to-door salesman for the Jewel Tea Company. Yes, I had a job, but as yet I had not made one sale. Thus, I had no money, no apartment, nothing to offer a new bride. In fact, I didn't even have a pair of dress shoes for the wedding. I did have a tan suit, and somehow I was certain that God would provide the rest. 

 

As I prayed in the closet that day, I asked the Lord about shoes, and the Lord said, "Open your eyes!" I opened my eyes, and there was a pair of brown and tan men's dress shoes, not two feet from me, just my size. I knew then and there that those were my "wedding shoes." I asked my friend with whom I was staying whose they were. He told me they belonged to him, but that I could have them, for they did not fit him. Thank you, Jesus!

 

I left El Monte, California, in February of 1954, hitchhiking 1,200 miles to San Angelo, Texas, to get married. I had five dollars in my pocket, a tan suit and a pair of dress shoes in my bag. When I arrived in San Angelo, God provided a week of work in a lumber yard which provided for our trip back to California, along with Joni's final check from the "M" System supermarket where she worked in the meat market. I was the owner of a 1941 Mercury which I had left with Joni when I went to California a few months earlier. 

 

Joni and I were married on March 6, 1954 and we left for California the next day with seventy dollars and a back seat full of wedding gifts. We arrived in California three days later with five dollars. 

 

In less than a week we had our own apartment and I had a new job that provided all our needs. Since the very beginning of my Christian life, God has been teaching me to trust Him for the material needs of life. I can say with all certainty that I have discovered that it is safe to trust Him to supply my every need, even down to a pair of shoes. 

 

CHAPTER FOURTEEN

THE PRAYER of SURRENDER

 

  • "Your kingdom come, your will be done on earth as it is in heaven." (Matthew 6:9, NIV) 

 

  • "You should pray like this: Our Father in heaven, help us to honor your name." (Matthew 6:9, CEV) 

 

  •  "Pray like this: Our Father in heaven, may your name be kept holy." (Matthew 6:9,NLT) 
       

Anything worth having is worth praying for. In many of my talks on prayer I have used the example of Hannah who asked for a son and when God heard and granted her request she called him Samuel, which means, "asked of God." My point is that anything that we have in our possession, we should be able to name it "Samuel." Even if we didn't ask God for it, we could have, and if we have something that we could not pray for with good conscience, we shouldn't have it in our possession! 

 

When we think about prayer, we need to start with the meaning of the word itself. In the original language it is two words, "pro" and "pseucomai." The first part, "pro" means "toward" and "pseucomai" means, "I wish." Prayer is turning our wishes toward our father, God. It makes me think of the question Jesus asked the blind man, "What do you want me to do for you?" Jesus knew what he wanted, but he wanted the blind man to make his request in his own words. Now, what do you want God to do for you? When you pray, you are wishing toward God. And that's okay! God is asking you, "What do you want me to do for you?" Ask and you will receive and your joy will overflow!" 

 

While I do believe in asking for material things, there is a higher level of prayer. Of course, we have to remember that higher levels do not make void the reality of all other levels of prayer. The kind of prayer that I refer to is modeled for us in the Lord's Prayer. The essence of unselfish prayer is found in Jesus' words, "thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven." To sincerely pray these words is to put our will on God's side. We are saying, "Lord, I only want what you want for me." It carries the idea that God gives the very best to those who leave the choice with him. 

 

Jesus said, "Seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness and ALL THESE THINGS shall be added to you," Prayer is seeking. He is saying that if we only seek for one thing, all our needs will be met. But if we reach for "all these things" we will find ourselves in the same boat with the gentiles who made these things their goal and objective. "After all these things do the Gentiles seek." What things was Jesus referring to here? It will be good to read the entire passage where Jesus teaches on "all these things." 

 

The following passage is from the Gospel of Matthew:

 

“Don’t store up treasures here on earth, where moths eat them and rust destroys them, and where thieves break in and steal. Store your treasures in heaven, where moths and rust cannot destroy, and thieves do not break in and steal. Wherever your treasure is, there the desires of your heart will also be. 

 

“Your eye is a lamp that provides light for your body. When your eye is good, your whole body is filled with light. But when your eye is bad, your whole body is filled with darkness… and how deep that darkness is! 

 

“That is why I tell you not to worry about everyday life—whether you have enough food and drink, or enough clothes to wear. Isn’t life more than food and your body more than clothing? Look at the birds. They don’t plant or harvest or store food in barns, for your heavenly Father feeds them. And aren’t you far more valuable to him than they are? Can all your fretting and worrying add a single moment to your life? 

 

“And why worry about your clothing? Look at the lilies of the field and how they grow. They don’t work or make their clothing, yet Solomon in all his glory was not dressed as beautifully as they are. And if God cares so wonderfully for wildflowers which are here today and thrown into the fire tomorrow, he will certainly care for you. Why do you have so little faith?

 

“So don’t worry about these things, saying, ‘What will we eat? What will we drink? What will we wear?’ These things dominate the thoughts of unbelievers, but your heavenly Father already knows all your needs. Seek the Kingdom of God above all else, and live righteously, and he will give you everything you need. So don’t worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will bring its own worries. Today’s trouble is enough for today." (Matthew 6:19-34, NLT)

 

Jesus only mentions specifically two things that cause most of the fear and worry and they are food and clothes. However, Jesus did deal with the "all inclusive" power of money when he said, "you cannot serve both God and money." So money would include everything money can buy…more and more things. Seeking His Kingdom means seeking his will continually and making Him King in my life. If I do that, God promises that all the rest of my needs will be provided. 

 

A perfect example of this is what happened to Solomon, son of David. One night the Lord appeared to Solomon, right after he had been appointed king of Israel and said to him:

 

"Ask for whatever you want me to give you." 

 

Solomon answered, "You have shown great kindness to your servant, my father David, because he was faithful to you and righteous and upright in heart. You have continued this great kindness to him and have given him a son to sit on his throne this very day. 

 

"Now, O LORD my God, you have made your servant king in place of my father David. But I am only a little child and do not know how to carry out my duties. 8 Your servant is here among the people you have chosen, a great people, too numerous to count or number. 9 So give your servant a discerning heart to govern your people and to distinguish between right and wrong. For who is able to govern this great people of yours?" 

 

The Lord was pleased that Solomon had asked for this. 11 So God said to him, "Since you have asked for this and not for long life or wealth for yourself, nor have asked for the death of your enemies but for discernment in administering justice, 12 I will do what you have asked. I will give you a wise and discerning heart, so that there will never have been anyone like you, nor will there ever be. 13 Moreover, I will give you what you have not asked for—both riches and honor—so that in your lifetime you will have no equal among kings. 14 And if you walk in my ways and obey my statutes and commands as David your father did, I will give you a long life." (1 Kings 5-15, NIV)

 

The essence of Solomon's prayer was, "Lord, fulfill your promises to David, my father." This is the same kind of praying or seeking as that which Jesus refers to when he said, "Seek first the Kingdom, and all these things shall be added." Solomon did not ask for riches, honor, long life or the death of his enemies, but God gave him all those things. 

 

Actually, Solomon received all those things because he did not ask for them. When God saw his desire was not selfish, he knew that he could trust him with "all these things." 

 

Are you praying for "all these things" rather than for the Kingdom of God and his righteousness? If we come to understand how to seek the kingdom of God and his righteousness, we will also find that, according to the promise, all these things will indeed be added to us. Keep in mind the words of Jesus, "Your heavenly father knows that you have need of all these things." You can trust that if your quest is His kingdom (his constant rule over your life) and his righteousness, he will fulfill His promise concerning all these things. 

 

Then, is it wrong to ask for specific things? When our requests proceed from a heart purged of greed and self centered ambition, it is certainly not wrong to ask our Father in heaven for anything our hearts desire, for our desires then will be pure and unselfish. 

 

There are two foundational principles of life in the Spirit that lead us into the death of the self life: total abandonment and simple trust. Abandonment is full surrender of your will to God without reserve and trust means that we are confident that what we have given to God he has received. When He takes over, he not only fills and pervades our interior life but he orders our circumstances as well. 

 

This full surrender to God and trust in Him makes us capable of what has been called, "the prayer of silence." This prayer transcends spoken words, written words, or even the process of thought. It is a heart attitude. It is the attitude of one whose constant desire is that the will of God be fulfilled in his/her life. This unspoken prayer is rising from the heart continually. "Your will be done, Lord, every moment of my life!" 

 

This prayer of silence is the basis for pure and uninterrupted fellowship in the Spirit every hour of the day. Other prayers will burst forth from time to time during the day, but the foundation and the cornerstone of all prayer is the silent attitude of the heart, "Lord, your will be done." This prayer asks for only one thing and obtains all things! 

 

"When prayer has preceded trials, the trial turns out to be much less than we anticipated. The women found, when they reached the tomb that the dreaded stone had been rolled away. When Peter reached the outer gate that threatened to be an insurmountable obstacle to liberty, it opened to him of its own accord. Jacob dreaded that meeting with his brother Esau, but when Esau caught up with him he ran to meet him and embraced him. . . . and kissed him: and they wept together. The heroic missionary, Gordon, used to say that in his lonely camel rides, he often in prayer encountered and disarmed tribal chiefs, before he rode, unaccompanied, into their presence. None can guess, if they have not tried it for themselves, what a solvent prayer is for the difficulties and agonies of life."  - F. B. Meyer

 

CHAPTER FIFTEEN

PRAYING SHORT PRAYERS

 

  • "And in praying do not heap up empty phrases as the Gentiles do; for they think that they will be heard for their many words. Do not be like them, for your Father knows what you need before you ask him." (Matthew 6:7-8, RSV) 

 

  • "In your prayers do not go babbling on like the heathen, who imagine that the more they say, the more likely they are to be heard. Do not imitate them. Your Father knows what your needs are before you ask him." ( Matthew 6:7-8, NEB) 

 

  • Ask, and you will receive. Search, and you will find. Knock, and the door will be opened for you. 8Everyone who asks will receive. Everyone who searches will find. And the door will be opened for everyone who knocks." (Matthew 6:7-8, NLT) 

 

Recently I read all the prayers recorded in the New Testament. I was amazed that almost without exception they were very short. I was made aware that the length of our prayers has nothing to do with their effectiveness. I suppose most of us have at one time or another felt that in order for our prayers to be answered they should be very loud, very intense, and very long. It is comforting to me to know that at any moment, day or night, I can pray very short prayers to my Father, and they will be heard and answered. The following are some of the short prayers in the New Testament: 

 

The leper prayed, "Lord, if you will, you can make me clean." A very short prayer, but the answer was immediate. "And Jesus put forth his hand, and touched him, saying, I will; be clean. And immediately his leprosy was cleansed." (see Matthew 8:2-3)

 

The disciples were terrified by the storm at sea. They cried out, 'Lord save us; we perish." Then Jesus arose, and rebuked the winds and the sea; and there was a great calm.“ (see Matthew 8:25-26). A prayer of five words brought immediate results. 

 

A certain ruler came to Jesus and prayed, "My daughter is even now dead, but come and lay your hand upon her, and she shall live." This man came right to the point He simply stated his case and made his petition in one short sentence. The answer came. Jesus arose and followed him and raised her from the dead (see Matthew 9:18-26)

 

Two blind men prayed and said, "Son of David, have mercy on us." Jesus touched their eyes and they both received sight. There are many such short prayers recorded in God's Word. In almost every instance these short prayers brought instant and marvelous results. Let us practice praying such prayers to our Father who knows our needs before we ask. 

 

I travel a lot in my work, so I have a lot of time to think and pray and just meditate on the goodness of God as I fly in planes or drive along the highways. At times when I am listening to my radio as I drive along, I am reminded that I could spend that time in prayer to God to a far greater advantage. When I obey this impulse and indeed use these idle moments to pray about the many things calling for my attention, I see real and lasting results. Although they may be very short prayers, they can be very powerful and effective. I am learning that I should not only set aside large blocks of time for prayer and the Word, but I should use the fleeting moments of my days to pour out my needs before the throne of grace. 

 

The Goodspeed translation of Ephesians 6:18 is exciting in this respect! The King James says, "Praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit.” Goodspeed renders it this way: "At every opportunity pray in the Spirit." At every opportunity surely means making use of idle moments to pray. 

 

In Nehemiah, Chapter Two, we find a beautiful example of the power of short prayers. Nehemiah had learned of the horrible destitution and ruin that had befallen Jerusalem, and he wept as he fasted and prayed for God's intervention, God saw his grief and heard his prayers for the restoration of the Holy City. One day as Nehemiah stood before King Artaxerxes, the king noticed that Nehemiah looked sad, and the king asked, "Why is your countenance sad, seeing you are not sick? This is nothing else but sorrow of heart." 

 

Then Nehemiah said, "Why should not my countenance be sad when the city, the place of my father's graves, lays waste, and the gates are consumed with fire?" Then the king asked, "What is your request?" And as Nehemiah tells the story he says, "So I prayed to the God of heaven." He did not kneel down and form "praying hands" under his chin. He did not even speak out loud. In fact, it had to be a very short, silent prayer, because Nehemiah stood before the king, and the king wanted an answer to his question. 

 

Nehemiah continues, "And I said unto the king, if it please the king, and if your servant has found favor in your sight, please send me to Judea, to the city of my fathers' graves, that I may build it. And the king said to me, 'how long will this journey be and when will you return?' So it pleased the king to send me; and I set him a time." Thus the walls of Jerusalem were rebuilt. But the project was initiated in prayer and fasting, with a few short prayers sprinkled in. 

 

"Mere formalists may be content without answers to their prayers, but genuine supplicants cannot. They are not satisfied with the results of prayer itself in calming the mind and subduing the will—they must go further and obtain actual replies from heaven, or they cannot rest; and these replies they long to receive at once, if possible; they dread even a little of God's silence. God's voice is often so terrible that it shakes the wilderness; 

but His silence is equally full of awe to an eager supplicant; when God seems to close His ear, we must not therefore close our mouths, but rather cry with more earnestness; for when our note grows shrill with eagerness and grief; He will not long delay us a hearing." -- C. H. Spurgeon 

 

CHAPTER SIXTEEN

PRAYING and BELIEVING

 

"And all things whatsoever you shall ask in prayer, believing, you shall receive." (Matthew 21:22, KJV) 

 

"You can get anything, anything you ask for in prayer if you believe." (Matthew 21:22, NLT) 

 

"If you have faith when you pray, you will be given whatever you ask for." (Matthew 21:22, CEV) 

 

Jesus cursed a fig tree and it withered up from the roots. When the disciples saw it, they were dumbfounded. Jesus said to them. "If you have faith and do not doubt at all, you will not only do this sort of wonder done to the fig tree, but even if you say to this mountain, 'Get up and throw yourself into the sea,' it will be done. And whatever you ask for in prayer, if you believe you have received it, you will get it" 

 

Faith pleases God! He will always honor faith. Jesus spoke the command of faith and the fig tree responded and obeyed. He spoke to the stormy wind and waves, "Peace! Be still!" and they obeyed. If we had faith to speak with that kind of authority, we could certainly accomplish great things! 

 

Jesus demonstrated the command of faith to his disciples when he spoke to the fig tree and to the stormy sea, then immediately he said we will also see such miracles by praying the prayer of faith. You may not have enough faith to speak the command of faith, but you can pray the prayer of faith and get the same results.

 

Our faith increases as we see God answer our requests. Faith is resting on God and His Word. Therefore, I must know Him and know His Word of promise in order to have a basis for faith. Faith is not make-believe! Faith is taking God at His Word and resting on a promise. Think of the words of the old hymn: "How firm a foundation, you saints of the Lord, is laid for your faith in His excellent Word."  

 

Faith is an attitude and an act that bids eternal truth to be present fact! And that fact is God's Word written in your heart. Jesus said. "If you abide in me and my words abide in you, you shall ask what you will and it shall be done to you." (John 15:5) I cannot have faith apart from the word of promise. If I feed my faith daily on the promises of God, my faith will grow daily and it will grow subconsciously for if I have to consciously pump up my faith and try to make myself believe, it is not faith, it is make-believe. 

 

When I was a very small boy, I learned to swim. After that I could dive into any pool or into the ocean with no thought or worry about whether or not I could swim. Everything in my physical body went to work automatically to move into the swimming mode. I do not have to concentrate on the act of swimming at all. It is just there! It is built into my physical body now and operates sub-consciously. That is the way faith works. The Bible says, "Faith comes by hearing the word of God." Faith comes! How does it come? It comes by submerging our minds in the written or spoken word of God, by hearing it or reading it as a steady diet. That will produce faith. What is faith? The best explanation of the word faith is the word confidence. "This is the confidence that we have in Him, that if we ask anything according to his will . . . we know that we have the petition that we desired of Him." (I John 5:14-15 KJV) And confidence is a sub-conscience assurance that I can walk on water if Jesus says, "Come!"

 

Jesus said, "Therefore I say unto you. Whatever things you desire, when you pray, believe that you receive them, and you shall have them." The "therefore" in this case refers to speaking out the command of faith and then seeing miracles happen. Then Jesus moves from speaking the command of faith to a different arena. Now He is teaching on praying the prayer of faith. Whatever I desire when I pray (present tense), I believe I receive it (present tense), and I shall have it (future tense). 

 

The moment I pray, I believe that I receive it and the, "You shall have it" part is future tense. So I receive it into my faith before I receive it into my hands. You have to believe you've got it before you get it. This, in fact, is the essence of faith! So, faith is the substance (present assurance) of things hoped for; things that will be received in the future. 

 

The enemy had been blowing my faith apart when I would claim a promise and not see it fulfilled quickly. But God has been teaching me that, "You have need of patience so that after you have done the will of God you might receive the promise." (Hebrews 10:36 KJV) He also spoke to me through another verse in. "Be followers of them who through faith and patience inherit the promises.” In both passages the word to underline is the word, "patience!" (Hebrews 6:12-15 KJV)

 

It was after Abraham had patiently endured, that he obtained the promise. It no longer bothers me when I experience an interval of time between the prayer of faith and the fulfillment of the promise. In fact, this can be a beautiful time of teaching in which God will impart greater faith to me through testing.

 

"The trial of your faith is more precious than gold that perishes." If the trial of my faith is precious, it surely means it is valuable! So I am learning to be content to receive all God has for me in the times of testing, between the time I ask in faith believing and the time that I actually receive the answer to my request.

 

"All practical power over sin and over men depends on closet communion. Those who abide in the secret place with God show themselves mighty to conquer evil and strong to work and to war for God. They are the seers who read his secrets: they know His will; they are the meek whom He guides in judgment and teaches His way. They are His prophets, who speak for Him to others and even forecast things to come. They watch the signs of the times and discover His tokens and read His signals." — A. T. Pierson 

 

CHAPTER SEVENTEEN

PRAYING and FASTING

 

 "The days will come, when the bridegroom will be taken from them, and then shall they fast." (Matthew 9:15, KJV) 

 

 "The friends of a bridegroom don't go without eating while he is still with them. But the time will come when he will be taken from them. Then they will go without eating." (Matthew 9:15, CEV)

 

"But the day will come when the bridegroom will be taken away from them, and then they will fast." (Matthew 9:15, Today's English Version) 

 

There are times in our spiritual experience that prayer should be accompanied with fasting. Not fasting in the way the Pharisees fasted, "to be seen of men." but as our Lord instructed, "You will fast in secret, and the Father who sees in secret shall reward you openly." (Matthew 6:11-18)

 

In the same passage in which Jesus pronounced reward and blessing upon those who pray to the Father in secret. He also promised reward and blessing upon those who fast unto the Father in secret. Very often in Scripture, prayer and fasting are coupled together, both in the Old and the New Testaments. Meditate on the following passages:

The first missionaries were sent out after prayer and fasting (Acts 13:2-3). Jesus said to His unbelieving disciples who could not heal the epileptic, "This kind does not go out except by prayer and fasting." (Matthew 17:20-21, KJV)

 

Paul exhorts married couples to give themselves to fasting and prayer on occasion "Do not deprive each other (of marital intimacy) except by mutual consent, and for a time, so that you may devote yourselves to prayer." (1 Corinthians 7:5, NIV) The fasting part is the abstinence from the marriage bed. Prayer with fasting was practiced in the early churches which Paul established. "Paul and Barnabas appointed elders for them in each church, and with prayer and fasting committed them to the Lord." (Acts 14:23, NIV)

 

Great men and women of God down through history have practiced fasting with prayer. John Wesley, Charles Finney. Andrew Murray, R. A. Torrey, Oral Roberts, John G. Lake and all of the apostles, including Paul, have not only practiced fasting with prayer, but have encouraged others to do so. There is tremendous power released through fasting and prayer! 

 

Some time ago I made a study of all the passages in the Bible that deal with fasting. I found that men of Bible times fasted and prayed in times of great distress, in times of sorrow, in times of deep need for God's deliverance, in times of seeking God's direction in a particular matter, and in times of deep repentance from sin. They also fasted when seeking a special blessing from God or when setting before Him an urgent petition. 

 

Fasting is not practiced generally among Christians today because there is a fear that it will be detrimental to their health. As a matter of fact, the very opposite is true. One of the most healthful experiences the body can undergo is a fast. The body has a built-in "Incinerator" that begins to burn away the excess fat and the poisons within the body if only given a chance to rest from processing food. When you begin a fast, gradually the digestive organs convert to become organs of elimination. Even a fast of 24 hours is of great benefit to the body in giving the digestive system a rest. 

 

In his book, Fasting Can Save Your Life, Herbert M. Shelton says in the preface, "The purpose of this book, based upon my own experiences, studies and observations over a period of 45 years of conducting fasts as a hygienist, is to put into focus the true role fasting can play in promoting and maintaining good health, in eliminating pain, in weight reduction and control, and in prolonging human life." 

 

The primary reason for fasting for the Christian is to consecrate his life fully to God and to make himself available to receive all that God wants to reveal to him, to give him, and to do in his life and through him. Fasting is a form of prayer. It makes prayer take on an added dimension of urgency and power. 

 

A few weeks ago a young man came to me complaining that his spiritual life had grown stale. He seemed to be in the doldrums and was not moving forward with God. Something was in the way and he could not put his finger on the problem. We prayed and the Lord impressed me to give him a word of exhortation; I said. "I believe God wants you to consecrate a time of fasting and prayer. Through this time of waiting on God, you will find the answer to your need." Within a week's time this young man was again radiant with the life of God. Since then he has been increasing in effectiveness and usefulness in the service of the Lord Jesus. A time of waiting upon God in fasting and prayer did the work of removing spiritual obstructions in his life. 

 

THE PARTIAL FAST

 

There are many ways to fast. There is the partial fast in which we forgo certain foods or certain meals. Daniel fasted for 21 days on a partial fast in which he would not eat pastries or meats, or drink wine. The results were dramatic! A friend of mine set aside his noon meal for a period of 28 days, and experienced a revival of God's power in his church as a result. 

 

THE REGULAR FAST

 

The regular fast is when one or two days a week are set aside consistently for fasting. Some may object to this as legalism and yet most believers regularly set aside time for their daily devotions and prayer without feeling that it is legalistic. People go to church, go to their jobs, eat their meal, etc. on a regular basis and do not feel it is legalism. Why should a regular fast get that kind of stigma? 

 

A nationally-known Bible teacher testifies that he and his wife fast regularly one day a week, and that now they find they have no appetite on that particular day. Their bodies have adjusted to going without food on that day and they now feel no hunger pangs in their regular fast. The normal fast is giving up all food for a period of time and taking only water. This is the kind of fast Jesus experienced in the wilderness. 

 

THE COMPLETE FAST

 

The complete fast is the long fast in which a person takes nothing but water for several days or weeks. There are normally four stages to this fast: 

(1) for the first few days hunger is paramount, 

(2) the next stage is marked with periods of weakness sometimes nausea, 

(3) the third stage is one of growing strength, and 

(4) the last stage is the return of true hunger. 

 

The complete fast may vary in length from 10 to 40 days. Before going into the complete fast it will be helpful to read God's Chosen Fast by Arthur Wallis. In it he gives important information as to how to break the longer fast so there will be no complications or undue discomfort as you resume normal eating again. Order the book on the web from www.amazon.com or www.google.com. It is quick and simple and usually less expensive. 

 

I strongly encourage you to launch out into the physical and spiritual discipline of fasting. It will not only add greatly to your power in prayer, but will also bring health and strength to you physically. The best book I have read on the physical aspects of fasting is Fasting and Eating for Health by Joel Fuhrman, a medical doctor. 

 

"I set apart this day for fasting and prayer. I was unusually assisted in pleading for increase in holiness. Felt such intense longing and thirsting after more love to God and man, more devotedness to God's will, more zeal for His glory, that my body was overcome. Toward night I was enabled to plead with more fervency than ever, so that I trust this will prove the most profitable day I have ever had. In the evening I was greatly assisted in prayer so that I could scarcely retire to rest." -Edward Payson's Journal 

 

CHAPTER EIGHTEEN

PRAYER and REWARDS

 

"But when you pray, enter into your closet, and when have shut your door, pray to your Father which is in secret; and your Father who sees in secret shall reward you openly." (Matthew 6:6, KJV) 

"When you pray, go into a room alone and close the door. Pray to your Father in private. He knows what is done in private, and he will reward you." (Matthew 6:6, CEV) 

"But when you pray, go into your room, close the door and pray to your Father, who is unseen. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you." (Matthew 6:6, Today's NIV) 

 

How often I have been encouraged to pray by remembering this simple promise! Our God will hear us in our secret times of prayer and will reward us. I also think of the companion verse in Hebrews 11:6 "He that comes to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him." 

 

Prayer carries with it the promise of reward! This promise is not surrounded with a multitude of conditions to meet before we can claim it. The statement is clear and simple! When we pray to our Father secretly, He will reward us openly. If there is a spiritual problem in our way, such as resisting the will of God, it will certainly not be resolved until we begin to pray. Our greatest reward may turn out to be spiritual revival and cleansing! 

 

There is a reward for those who diligently seek Him. Do you have a secret time with God each day? It will revolutionize your life if you make secret prayer a daily habit. If you want to see a revolution take place, get up a little earlier tomorrow morning and spend some time alone in the Word of God and prayer. As you continue this practice, within a short time you will see some of these rewards God has promised. It may not come suddenly or with a great deal of noise, but a quiet revolution will surely begin and grow as you take time to pray and meditate in the Word of God. 

 

Some time ago I was scheduled to drive down to Mexico with a missionary friend to explore the possibility of helping start an orphanage. He was to meet me at my house at 6:00 a.m. I got ready early and found I had a few minutes of free time. I decided to read a few chapters in Matthew. I started in chapter one and began to read. Before my friend arrived I discovered I had read fifteen chapters in less than half an hour. This came as a revelation to me that I could cover that much territory in half an hour. 

 

I decided I would try to read the New Testament through in one month. In fact, I decided to try to read through the New Testament every month for a whole year. I checked to see how many pages there were in my New Testament and then divided it by thirty. I found that I would have to read sixteen pages each day to get through the New Testament once a month. It has not been easy, but it is a discipline that has yielded some very precious fruit in my walk with Jesus. 

 

I am finding that the more I bathe my mind in the Word of God, the more faith I have to claim and appropriate the promises of God in prayer. Some seem to have difficulty when it comes to the matter of expectation. Most of us have been taught that if you are a real Christian you will pray, you will give and you will serve in such a self-effacing way that it would be wrong to expect rewards. Indeed, it would be wrong if God had not promised rewards, but it is actually wrong not to expect rewards if they are clearly promised to us by our Heavenly Father. How would I feel if my children never took any of my promises seriously? It would surely be an insult to me and it is to God when we ignore his promises he makes to us. 

 

Prayer brings rewards because prayer is asking God for specific things, not only in the realm of the Spirit, but also in the natural material world in which we live. So many believers have looked upon material things as tainted with sin and therefore have tried to separate the spiritual world from the material world and put God in the spiritual and left him out of the natural, physical, material part of their lives. God is not only God of the spiritual world. He is also God of the material world. Jesus is interested in every aspect of my life and wants me to invite him into all of my life and into all my needs. Ask him for what you need, whether it be spiritual or material. You are not being selfish. He knows that you have need of all these things and is not offended if you ask him for them. 

 

"Christ's life and work, His suffering and death—it was all prayer, all dependence on God, trust in God, receiving from God, surrender to God. Your redemption, O believer, is a redemption wrought out by prayer and intercession; your Christ is a praying Christ; the life He lived for you, the life He lives in you is a praying life that delights to wait on God and receive all from Him. To pray in His name is to pray as He prayed. Christ is our example because He is our head, our Savior and our life. In virtue of His Deity and of His Spirit, He can live in us: we can pray in His name, because we abide in Him and He abides in us." -- Andrew Murray 

 

CHAPTER NINETEEN

 PRAYER of COMMITTAL

 

"Commit thy way unto the Lord; trust also in him; and he shall bring it to pass." (Psalm 37:5, KJV) 

 

"Depend on the Lord; trust him, and he will take care of you." (Psalm 37:5, New Century Version)

 

"Commit everything you do to the Lord. Trust Him, and he will help you." (Psalm 37:5, NLT) 

 

The prayer of committal is like a business transaction. It is putting a matter entirely into the hands of God and trusting Him to work it out. There is then nothing more to do but to thank Him for the outcome! We are to "commit" and "trust," and "He works." This is a glorious truth and it really works! It is the same in the everyday affairs of men. 

 

If a man is apprehended and taken into custody for committing a crime, he needs an attorney. The attorney assures him that if he will commit his case entirely into his hands and trust him, he will work it out. It will do the accused man no good to fret and worry. The outcome is in the hands of a competent lawyer who has never lost a case. Therefore, he commits and trusts and his attorney works everything out on his behalf . . . for a fee of course, usually a very large fee. Jesus does it for us for free! The price has already been paid . . . and that by our attorney, Jesus Christ our Advocate! 

 

A man is dying with a diseased heart. He decides to commit his case into the hands of a world-renowned heart surgeon who has performed hundreds of heart transplants and every one of them has been a success. The surgeon assures him that if he will commit his case entirely into his hands and trust him, he will have a new heart and a new lease on life. It would only do harm for the sick man to try to assist the surgeon in his task. So the man commits and trusts and the skillful surgeon performs successfully. 

 

When I commit or transfer a matter into God's hands, no matter how difficult and overwhelming the problem is to me, my part is to immediately begin to thank and praise Him for working it out. Even before I see the matter brought to a conclusion. I can be sure that if I fulfill my part to commit and to trust, He will certainly do His part. He will bring the entire matter to a successful conclusion. 

 

I am convinced that God is honored and glorified more through what He does for us than through what we do for Him. When we pray the prayer of committal, we are no longer to continue to plead for the thing we have committed. We must believe that God has begun to work, and that the work will be finished in God's way and in God's time. My part from then on is to praise God for the outcome!

 

As you begin to pray in this way, you are likely to find yourself coming back again to take up the thing you have committed to God and begin praying and agonizing for it again. Resist every temptation to do that! The thing you have committed is now in His hands and He promises that He will work it out! Each time you recall the thing you have committed, instead of praying for it again, begin to thank and praise Him for working it out; although it is not answered yet, you can be sure God will do His part and you can, by faith, thank Him in advance. This is the kind of faith that pleases the Lord, spoken of in Hebrews 11, “Without faith it is impossible to please Him.” 

 

When there is sufficient revelation from the written Word or through the Spirit and confirmed through divinely ordered circumstances that a certain thing is the will of God for you, make a once-for-all transfer of the matter to His care, and begin to praise Him for working it out. He will surely bring it to pass. 

 

When the farmer commits the seed to the ground for an expected harvest, he does not go out and dig up the seed every few days to see if it has sprouted. He knows that it requires patience and time before he will enjoy the fruit of his labors, so he waits in hope, and in the process of time there is an abundant harvest. When we commit an urgent matter to God for Him to resolve, if it does not come to pass immediately, we are not troubled. We know that His promise is trustworthy. He said, "You put it in my hands and I will work it out." As He is working, we are praising Him by faith that we will in His timing see the complete fulfillment. 

 

We transfer the matter from our hands to God's hands. Then we relax. The relaxing is an act of faith. We are saying by this that we have full confidence in the One to whom we have transferred our case. He is faithful to fulfill His part of the agreement. He says, You commit it all to me and trust me to take care of the matter and you will see that I will indeed work it all out for your good and for my glory." 

 

Some time ago I was going through some of my papers and found an old prayer list that I had made a few years before. I read through the list of about twelve requests and found that every one of them had been answered. Some of the requests I had forgotten, but God did not forget. Start a prayer list. You will be amazed!

 

“Wait for God! We are too feverish, too hasty, too impatient. It is a great mistake! Everything comes to those who wait. 'They that wait on the Lord shall inherit the earth.' You may have had what Joseph had when still a lad; a vision of power and usefulness and blessedness. But you cannot realize it in fact. All your plans miscarry. Every door seems shut. The years are passing over you with the depressing sense that you have not wrought any deliverance in the earth. Now turn your heart to God; accept His will. Tell Him that you leave to Him the realization of your dream. 'The Lord is good unto them that wait for him, to the soul that seeks him. It is good that a man should hope and quietly wait for the salvation of the Lord.'" (Lamentations 3:25-26) —Author Unknown 

 

CHAPTER TWENTY

GOD is RICH

 

"For there is no difference between the Jew and the Greek: for the same Lord over all is rich unto all that call upon him." (Romans 10:12, KJV) 

 

"There is no difference between those who are Jews and those who are not. The same Lord is the Lord of all and gives many blessings to all who trust in him." (Romans 10:12, New Century Version) 

 

"No matter if that person is a Jew or a Gentile. There is only one Lord, and he is generous to everyone who asks for his help." (Romans 10:12, CEV) 

 

Did you ever consider this promise in reverse? I have often found that the Lord is not rich toward me when I fail to call upon Him. He does not give His spiritual riches to those who do not ask Him for them. You can prove this to be true in experience. If you call upon God, you will experience how rich and abundant His resources are. If you do not call upon Him in prayer, you will experience spiritual barrenness, fruitlessness and drought. 

 

Think what riches in provisions and deliverance men of old received when they called on God! Think of Moses praying for the Israelites. Think of David, Jehoshaphat, Asa, Samson, Jesus and the Apostles. For a very profitable study, go through the Bible and study Bible prayers. This will surely encourage you to pray! And whatever encourages you to pray is of God. 

 

It is very helpful to read books that encourage you to pray. But the great essential is to begin to pray; pray about the little things as well as the big things of everyday life. Begin to experience for yourself how rich God is. 

 

Some of the most helpful advice I ever received was the suggestion of a friend to start a written record of prayer requests and to pray regularly and faithfully over the list and watch God work. I was skeptical at first, thinking it was a little too cold and mechanical to be really effectual with God. 

 

But my friend made a statement I could not forget when he said, "If a man will keep strict records of his praying, he will find at the end of a year that God is at work in his behalf." He told me that when I was still in my teens. I have used a "prayer list" off and on for more than fifty years and it has been a continual source of encouragement. I’ve had the joy of writing "answered" across literally hundreds of specific requests. 

 

"We think rightly or wrongly about prayer according to the conception we have in our minds of prayer. If we think of prayer as the breath in our lungs and the blood from our hearts, we think rightly. The blood flows ceaselessly and the breathing continues ceaselessly; we are not conscious of it, but it is always going on . . . prayer is not an exercise. It is the life. Beware of anything that stops ejaculatory prayer. Pray without ceasing. Keep the childlike habit of ejaculatory prayer in your heart to God all the time." ---Oswald Chambers

 

CHAPTER TWENTY-ONE

GOD is ABLE

 

"He is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think." (Ephesians 3:20, KJV) 

 

"I pray that Christ Jesus and the church will forever bring praise to God. His power at work in us can do far more than we dare ask or imagine. Amen." (Ephesians 3:20, CEV) 

 

"Who by His power that is at work within us can do surprisingly more than we can ask or imagine." (Ephesians 3:20, NLT) 

 

Over the years I have used spiral notebooks and 3x5 cards to write out my prayer requests. One day as I was praying through my stack of 3x5 cards, it occurred to me that I was asking for a great many things. The question arose in my mind. "Am I asking for too many things?" Immediately the verse came to me, "Now unto Him who is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we can ask or think." I was so encouraged by this verse from God's Word that I sat down and added a large number of new requests cards to my list. 

 

How good it is to know that we cannot possibly ask something too big for God, nor can we ask too many things at one time. He is able to do "exceeding abundantly above and beyond.” 

 

You cannot ask for more than God can do. Begin to ask God for more, for greater, for better things. Our boldness at the throne of grace honors God. "Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace." (Hebrews 4:16 KJV) The great missionary leader, William Carey, used to say, "Ask great things of God; attempt great things for God." 

 

Have you been afraid to ask God to do things you felt were impossible, too hard, too big? Listen to His answer to you: "Is anything too hard for God? Nothing shall be impossible to him who believes." Have you failed to ask God for little things because you felt they were too trivial or insignificant? Remember "big doors turn on little hinges," God said, "Everything by prayer." (Philippians 4:6)

 

Begin to ask God for wonderful things! Ask Him to do great things. Be specific in your requests, but be bold! He is able. Much of our praying is actually limiting God. We hesitate to ask big things because we somehow feel that we will have to answer our own prayers. May the question ("Is anything too hard for God?") sink down into our hearts 'til we have complete confidence that God is able to do all things. He delights to show Himself strong in our behalf. "For the eyes of the Lord run to and fro throughout the whole earth, to show himself strong in behalf of those whose heart is perfect toward him." (2 Chronicles 16:9, KJV)

 

One day after a very fruitful summer camping ministry with more than three hundred children attending our Child Evangelism Fellowship Camp over a period of three weeks, it occurred to me that we could expand our ministry to the children if we had our own camping facility in the mountains. Up to this time we had been using rented facilities. I knew this would be a big undertaking, but after talking it over with some of our workers, I decided I would add it to my prayer list. "Father, give us our own children's camp," I wrote on one of my 3x5 cards. We did not have even one dollar for the purchase of a campsite. In fact, no one knew about this request, with the exception of a few close associates. From time to time we would hear of a camp facility costing much more than we had in mind. We continued to pray. 

 

One day, less than a year after I began praying for this, I received a telephone call. "I understand you are interested in buying a summer camp for children." The caller sounded very friendly. 

 

"Yes, we are," I replied, knowing that the funds we had on hand for such a project was exactly zero! 

     

"We are in a position to offer you a camp that will accommodate one hundred children for $12,500, total price,” the man said in a very businesslike manner. 

 

"How much would we have to pay down?" I asked, praying for a miracle. 

 

"We can arrange it so that you will not need to have anything down, just pay off a certain amount of the $12,500 every year at the end of the camping season." 

 

I was electrified with excitement! I knew that this was the miracle we had been praying for! After a series of meetings, the contract was signed, and today the camp is fully paid for. Hundreds of children are being won to Jesus and taught in the things of God every summer for nine consecutive weeks at this beautiful site in the San Bernardino Mountains of Southern California. 

 

God wants us to ask for the big things as well as the little things. He is able. Give Him a chance to do the larger things in your life. Begin today to ask God for things you have secretly desired but never dreamed could happen to you. If these desires were planted there by the Lord, He will surely bring them to pass if you will ask Him. He is waiting for you to ask. The first step toward the fulfillment of your dream is prayer. "Ask and you will receive." This is his promise to you! 

 

"Jesus never mentioned unanswered prayer. He had the boundless certainty that prayer is always answered. Have we by the Spirit the unspeakable certainty that Jesus had about prayer, or do we think of the times when God does not seem to have answered prayer? "Everyone that asks receives." We say - "but . . . but . . ." God answers prayer in the best way, not sometimes, but every time, although the immediate manifestation of the answer in the domain in which we want it may not always follow. Do we really expect God to answer prayer?  -  Oswald Chanbers

 

CHAPTER TWENTY-TWO

PRAYER of CONFESSION

 

"For with the heart man believes unto righteousness and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation." (Romans 10:10, KJV) 

 

"For it is by believing in your heart that you are made right with God, and it is by confessing with your mouth that you are saved.." (Romans 10:10, NLT) 

 

"For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you confess and are saved." (Romans 10:10, NIV) 

 

The following is a declaration of faith in the form of a prayer to God, confessing our faith in the Word of God as to who we are in Christ and what we have as members of His Body: 

 

Father, I believe the Bible Word; that your word is not only true, but it also has creative power. Lord, you have assured us that “whoever tells this mountain to get up and throw itself in the sea and does not doubt in his heart, but believes that what he says will happen, it will be done for him." is your I believe that when I confess in faith what you have said about me in your word, I establish these truths upon myself in the spirit realm and that eventually they will be evident in the natural realm of my daily life and my walk of faith with Jesus! 

 

Father, I thank you that you have brought me out of darkness into your marvelous light and that I am now a child of God by faith in Jesus. I am an heir of all the promises you gave to your servant, Abraham. Abraham's blessings are mine and I receive them with thanksgiving! You said that all the promises of God are "Yes" to us because of our union with Jesus Christ, and I shout to you my "Amen" to the glory of God. I say, "Yes, Lord, let it be so!” 

 

I thank you that Jesus shed his blood to pay for all my sins and that I now have clean hands and a pure heart by faith in his atoning work on the cross. I come boldly before your throne of grace because I am clean, I am pure, I am holy, I am forgiven, I am justified, I am sanctified by the blood of Jesus! 

 

Father, you said that, in Christ, we have all things that pertain to life and godliness. I confess that I am all that you say I am! I am filled with your Holy Spirit; I am able to do all things through Christ who strengthens me; I have all I need and more! In Jesus' name I will overflow to others who are in need. I thank you and praise you that you are fulfilling your word to make me prosperous in all that I undertake. 

 

I affirm that your name is Jehovah-rapha, the Lord our healer. I receive you as my healer, my physician. There is nothing too hard for you to do and there is nothing impossible to those who believe. I believe it is your will to heal me and in Jesus' name I declare that no sickness or disease shall come upon me and remain upon me for Jesus heals me now! 

 

Father, Jesus suffered the agony of forty stripes so that I might be healed. I thank you for your promise of divine health. It belongs to me! I believe it; I receive it; I confess it! I embrace it. I am healed through the sufferings of Jesus on my behalf. 

 

Father, according to your word in Galatians 3:13-14, "Christ has redeemed me from the curse . . . being made a curse for me for it is written, 'cursed is everyone who hangs on a tree:' that the blessing of Abraham may come on the Gentiles through Jesus Christ; that I might receive the promise of the Spirit through faith." I am a Gentile and therefore this promise applies to me. I am an heir to the blessing of Abraham which includes long life, health, wealth, and a worldwide impact for the God of Abraham! 

 

I confess that those who live in the shadow of the Almighty shall be satisfied with long life. I place my life in your hands and therefore when it comes my time to leave this world, I shall go in your time, in your will and in your way. 

 

In Jesus' name I affirm that I shall complete all the purposes of God for my life and that, in the end, I will be able to say with Paul, "I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith." 

 

Father, you said that he who lives and believes in you shall never die; that if a man keeps your word he will never see death; he will never taste of death. I confess that when I depart this life, I shall walk with Jesus through the valley of the shadow of death into the next life with loud shouts of resounding Joy! 

 

"'The Lord turned the captivity of Job when he prayed for his friends.' The real business of your life as a saved soul is intercessory prayer. Wherever God puts you in circumstances, pray immediately! Pray that His atonement may be realized in other lives as it has been in yours. Pray for your friends now; pray for those with whom you come in contact now."  -  Oswald Chambers

 

CHAPTER TWENTY-THREE

PRAYING ALWAYS

 

"And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the saints." (Ephesians 6:18, NIV) 

 

"Never stop praying, especially for others. Always pray by the power of the Spirit. Stay alert and keep praying for God's people." (Ephesians 6:18, CEV) 

 

"Pray always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, being watchful to this end with all perseverance and supplication for all the saints." (Ephesians 6:18, New KJV) 

 

The desire to pray is implanted within us the moment we are born again. The Spirit of God who comes to make His home in us is called the "Spirit of grace and supplication" in Zechariah 12:10. Supplication is another word for prayer or petition. The Holy Spirit is a praying Spirit. He stirs us up to pray . . . always. 

 

Ask any sincere believer if he knows he should pray more than he does. The answer is always the same. "O, how I need to pray more, but somehow I fail in that area of my walk with the Lord." The problem is the same with us as it was with Jesus' disciples in the Garden of Gethsemane the night before the Crucifixion. While Jesus was praying, they were sleeping. Jesus said to them, "Could you men not keep watch with me for one hour? Watch and pray so that you will not fall into temptation. The spirit is willing, but the body is weak." 

 

Recently our church went through a study on how to pray for one hour. It was a tremendous teaching by an anointed young man who is stirring the church today to give itself to more prayer, both privately and corporately. I praise God for this emphasis and I fully support it. 

 

However, there is another word that has gone out to the people of God down through the ages that is speaking to the hearts of some today who have a desire to pray not just one hour a day but to live a life of prayer. It is the kind of prayer mentioned in Ephesians 6:18. “Praying always with all prayer and supplication in the spirit..." 

 

We tend to measure our devotion to God in the light of how much time we pray out loud, or on our knees or with someone else. But if this is the only way to pray then how is it possible to pray always? 

 

There is a place in God where we do not stop praying. We pray hour after hour, on and on and on. It is a life of prayer and it issues out of constant abiding and constant communion with God in the spirit. 

 

"But how can this be done?" someone will say. "I can't even pray 15 minutes a day and you're talking about praying all day long, every day? Is this really what you mean to say?" 

 

Yes! All things are possible with God. The things that are impossible with men are possible with God! We are to understand that, while we are walking with Jesus in the will of God, our spirits are in constant contact with His Spirit and our every motive, thought, desire, and plan is connected with our Father, God. In this way, we are at all times in touch spiritually with the Lord and in that sense we are not only connected, we are also in communication consciously and subconsciously in a prayer that goes on and on just like our heart keeps pumping life-giving blood and our lungs keep breathing air for us without our conscious participation.

 

Do not think I am saying that audible or corporate prayer is not necessary or important! We need to have set times of prayer, both alone and with others, in their proper place and time. These are needed. In fact, they are indispensable. I am saying that there is a kind of prayer that supersedes and yet includes all other forms of prayer. 

 

Paul's directive to pray always in (Romans 8:26-27, New King James) says: "Likewise the Spirit also helps in our weaknesses. For we do not know what we should pray for as we ought, but the Spirit Himself makes intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered.  Now He who searches the hearts knows what the mind of the Spirit is, because He makes intercession for the saints according to the will of God." One paraphrase of this verse reads as follows: 

 

"Nor are we alone in our struggles. The Holy Spirit supports our helplessness. Left to ourselves we do not know what prayers to offer or how to offer them. But in those inarticulate groans which rise from the depths of our being we recognize the voice of none other than the Holy Spirit. He makes intercession for us and His intercession is sure to be answered." - (Living Bible) 

 

A commentary by C. H. Dodd on the above verse says, "This inarticulate aspiration is the deepest form of prayer and it is itself the work of the Spirit within. The Spirit pleads for us with sighs that are beyond words. When we would pray we know too little of our own needs or of God's purposes to pray aright. But not even in prayer is the human intelligence or will the determining factor. An inarticulate aspiration is itself the work of God in us, and though we ourselves may not be conscious of its meaning, God knows what it means and answers the prayer, since the Spirit pleads before God for the saints. This profound concept of prayer; of God in us appealing to God above us is at peace with Paul's whole conception of the Christian life as one in which the divine initiative is displayed at every point." 

 

How, then, do I enter into this kind of prayer that is our response to Paul's mandate to pray always? This continual prayer is the result of a release of our spirit when we make Jesus our life as well as our Lord; when we can say with Paul, "I no longer live but Christ lives in me." It is the life of Christ that will be released through me by faith, not by my strivings or self effort, and the life of Christ is a life of prayer . . . constant prayer. 

 

This life of prayer is such that you can actually know when it is going on within you and when, for whatever reason, it is being quenched. What a blessed experience to live in the knowledge of the fact that my spirit is in constant communion with the Father through the Spirit; to be so one with the Lord that He is able to live in us and walk in us and pray through us unhindered. 

 

When I was eleven years old I received Jesus as my Lord and Savior. My very first commitment to God was, "Father, I want to pray all the rest of my life and never say 'amen’ till just before I die, then I will say ‘amen.’ As I look back on that prayer of an eleven year old boy, I see that, even then, in the first days of my faith walk in Jesus, God was working in me to pray always; to pray without ceasing. 

 

Father, make this constant prayer a reality in me at all times! Without you I can do NOTHING. I cannot even pray without you. I certainly cannot pray ceaselessly without you. Father, I give myself to you and I believe you take that which I give to you. I trust you to set up your kingdom in my heart and rule my life from within. Make my life, above all else, a life of prayer and purity. Jesus, only you can do it. I trust you to do it. I trust you to do it now and all through this day and every day for all the rest of my life! 

 

"It is not part of the life of a natural man to pray. We hear it said that a man will suffer in his life if he does not pray; I question it. What will suffer is the life of the Son of God in him, which is nourished not by food, but by prayer. When a man is born from above the life of the Son of God is born in him and he can either starve that life or nourish it. Prayer is the way the life of God is nourished." Oswald Chambers

 

CHAPTER TWENTY-FOUR

ENCOURAGED to PRAY

 

The following are suggestions that have been a help and encouragement to me to pray. Set aside the best part of your day as an unhurried, relaxed time for prayer. Give the best time of your day to this work. The few minutes just before bedtime are seldom the best time for this important work. The best time is the time when you are most rested and alert. For me, that is the first thing in the morning, usually before anyone else gets up. I like to walk and pray. I stay alert and sharp in my thinking while walking. 

 

Spend time in God's Word before you pray. Often God will stir our hearts through His Word so that our prayers will be fervent and effectual. This can also happen while reading an inspirational book. God often leads me to read a certain book and when he does, I know it is the word of the Lord to me. 

 

Make your prayer time a secret time; just you and God. Nothing can substitute for private prayer and secret communion with our Father. The example of Jesus certainly proves this. He spent much time alone with God in Prayer. "And in the morning, rising up a great while before day, he went out and departed into a solitary place and there prayed." (Mark 1:35 KJV) 

 

Count this as your most necessary and most important work of the day. If we do not see it as such, it is doubtful if we will be faithful in this ministry of prayer. If I knew I had only one day of life left and I wanted to spend that one day in the most effective Christian service possible, it would be a day spent in fasting and prayer, unless God specifically led me to do something else. 

 

Pray all through the day; at work, in spare moments, as you wait and as you walk. Practice committing every situation over to God in prayer. He will work in every circumstance that we commit to him in prayer. 

 

Praise is the highest form of prayer. So spend much time praising God for all he is doing in you, around you, for you, and through you. 

 

Make a prayer request list on cards or in a notebook. Note the date you began praying for each request. When your prayer is answered, record the date answered. An ongoing record of answered prayer is a real faith builder and a testimony to God's faithfulness. Make your requests specific and definite! Nothing kills faith as quickly as nebulous, generalized praying. Pray for specific things! You will get definite answers, and your faith and joy will grow by leaps and bounds.

 

Join a prayer group. Group prayer is a powerful force!! We need to develop spiritually in our private times alone with the Lord and also in group prayers. This is fully developed in the life of the early church. They not only prayed alone as individuals as Jesus did; they also prayed together. There is power in united prayer. 

 

Read good, inspirational books on prayer. One of the most powerful little books I've ever read on the subject is How to Pray by R. A. Torrey. It did more to get me started into prayer than any other book. Another outstanding book is Prayer, Asking and Receiving by John R. Rice. Also, Answers to Prayer, by George Mueller, is tremendous! The book by Madame Jeanne Guyon, A Simple Method of Prayer, is a life transforming book. Most or all of these books can be obtained without much expense by going onto the website, <www.amazon.com> 

 

Share answers to prayer with others. The flow of blessing should not stop with us. David said, "I will speak of your wondrous works among the great congregation." 

 

Above all obey every impulse to pray. You can be sure that Satan will never give you a leading to pray. So if you feel inclined to pray, accept is as from God and PRAY! It is still true that "More things are wrought by prayer than this world dreams of." 

 

"Be anxious for nothing but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God and the peace of God which surpasses all understanding will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus." (Philippians 4:6-7, NKJ)

 

                    END

 

You may use, translate, print and publish this material, in whole or in part, without prior permission and without exclusive rights, to train and mobilize the saints for Kingdom expansion, in any language, for any people group, in any country. However, reproduction of these materials, in whole or in part, for commercial purposes is prohibited.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

EVERYTHING by PRAYER, Chapters 1-24 [Robert Fitts] 2009 ~ BOOK          35

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