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The Christian Counter

   


PRAYER POWER
What is the reason that we do not see multitudes of humanity accepting Jesus for their Savior today?  One reason is found in Isaiah 64:7 “No one calls on your name or strives to lay hold of you; for you have hidden your face from us and made us waste away because of our sins.”  Also. Isaiah 59: 1, 2 ‘Surely the arm of the Lord is not too short to save, nor his ear to dull to hear.  But your iniquities have separated you from your God; your sins have hidden his face from you, so that he will not hear.’  Let Christians put away all dissension and give themselves to God for the saving of the lost. Let them ask in faith for the promised blessing and it will come. Souls are to be sought for, labored for. Earnest appeals are to be made. Fervent prayers are to be offered. Tame, spiritless petitions are to be changed into petitions of intense earnestness.

What does the devil dread for Christians to do?  There is nothing, absolutely nothing that the devil dreads as much as prayer, real prayer. “Satan trembles when he sees the weakest saint upon his knees.” The devil’s chief concern is to keep the people of God’s church from praying. Though Satan despises the Bible and maneuvers to keep us from the Book of books, still he would rather we quote from memory entire chapters than to have us commune with God in prayer.  Satan laughs at our toiling, mocks at our wisdom, but trembles when we pray.”  Prayer is power. Real prayer can do anything God can do.  The prayer of faith moves the arm of Omnipotence. “Prayer changes things, and it changes men.” God’s strength alone can do successful battle with inbred and cultivated sins, and that power is set in operation by prayer.

WHAT IS PRAYER?

            Prayer is “the opening of the heart to God as to a friend.”

            Prayer is  “helplessness casting itself upon power.”

            Prayer is “the key in the hand of faith to unlock heaven’s storehouse, where are treasured the boundless resources of Omnipotence.”

            Prayer is “the link that connects earth with heaven.”

            Prayer is “the bow, the promise of God is the arrow, faith is the hand which draws the bow and sends the arrow with the heart-message to heaven.”

Prayer includes confession, supplication, entreaty, desire, intercession, thanksgiving, adoration, praise, worship, meditation, communion, and so much more.

Prayer to God on the part of the supplicant, of course, presupposes the fact that he believes in the existence of a God who hears and answers.  Prayer involves an understood relation between the two.  “He that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him.” Hebrews 11:6. “God is love.” 1 John 4:8.

Who in the Bible had a close relationship with God?  Enoch & Moses.

How close of a relationship does Jesus want with you and me?

Into the inner sanctuary if the heart Jesus will, by His Spirit, come and abide. “Behold, I stand at the door, and knock: if any man hear my voice, and open the door, I will come in to him.” Rev 3:20. “Jesus answered and said, if a man love me he will keep my words: and my Father will love him, and we will come unto him.” John 14:23. This is a fellowship for all who truly want it.  Christ in you, the hope of glory.” Colossians 1; 27.

Before God drove Adam & Eve from their paradise home, He revealed to them His plan to send a Savior who would finally eradicate sin and restore all that disobedience had lost.  He explained to them that they could commune with Him by prayer under certain conditions. God has made those conditions clear and positive. That God has a right to make the conditions upon which man night come to Him in prayer will be questioned by no one. The following incident is to the point. 

“A banker and a businessman sat opposite each other in the manager’s office. The businessman leaning forward was talking most earnestly when suddenly the banker interrupted him.  “Ridiculous! Absurd! Foolishness! And the proud banker curled his lips in scorn. Do you mean to tell me that the death of Jesus Christ in my place on the cross is going to satisfy God? Away with such theories! If I am to be saved I must accomplish it by my own efforts.” “Ah! I see said the businessman, you think you have the right to manufacture a way of your own, and so you reject and spurn the God-provided plan.” “What do you mean by that? Questioned the banker.” “Now listen! Suppose a man should come to you and ask for a loan. Tell me, who would have the right to make the terms and conditions upon which the money was to be loaned, you as banker and owner, or the man in need?”  “Why, I would, of course. He would have to meet my conditions before he could get the money.”  “Exactly. And that, Sir, is your position. You are a poor, helpless pauper, lost and undone, and God us the great Banker. You are coming to Him for mercy and pardon. Will you tell me who has the right to make the terms and lay down the conditions upon which you may receive His salvation remembering now that you are the man in need and God is the Banker? “ “Ah, I never saw it that way before. I am not in a position to dictate terms, God has that right, and He alone.” “Are you ready to meet God on His own terms?” “God helping me, I will.”

CONDITIONS OF ANSWERED PRAYER

            When prayer is answered, it is because the spiritual law behind prayer has been obeyed and the reverse is true. When prayer is not answered, it is because there has some violation or infraction to the law of prayer. The laws of prayer are as real, as definite, and as sure as the laws of nature.

            What is the basic law of prayer? One must be a truly believing Christian. Prayer operates according to the will of God. So the law of prayer has its source in the will of God. Prayer must be “according to the will of God.” 1 John 5:14& Romans 8:L27. Read Jeremiah 33:3, Jeremiah 29:12, Isaiah 55:6, 2 Chronicles 7:14,15, Luke 18:1, 1 Thessalonians 5:17 Prayer is the will of God. It is not only the will of God that we pray, but that we pray earnestly, persistently, and with desire. Read Jeremiah 29:13, James 5:16, Psalm 42:1,2.  The earnestness, persistency, fervency of our praying should be in proportion to the worth and need of that for which we pray. See two parables to teach us to persevere and not grow weary in our praying. Luke 11:5-8 and Luke 18:1-8

Bishop Hall emphasized the place of earnestness in prayer when he wrote, “An arrow, if it be drawn up but a little way goes not far; but, it it be pulled up to the head, flies swiftly and pierces deep.  Thus, prayer if it were only dribbled forth from careless lips, falls at our feet.  It is the strength of strong desire that sends it to heaven and makes it pierce the clouds.  It is not the arithmetic of our prayers, how many they are, nor the rhetoric of our prayers, how eloquent they be; nor the geometry of our prayers, how long they be; nor the music of our prayers, how sweet our voice may be; nor the logic of our prayers, how argumentative they may be; nor the method of our prayers, how orderly they may be; nor even the divinity of our prayers, how good the doctrine may be, which God cares for.  Fervency of spirit is that which availed much.”  Where are the praying Elijah’s?  God knows.  He keeps the books.  Ponder this statement well:  “Let your heart break for the longing it has for God, for the living God. The life of Christ has shown what humanity can do by being partakers of the divine nature. All that Christ received from God we to may have. Then ask and receive, with the persevering faith of Jacob, with the unyielding persistence of Elijah. Claim for yourself all that God has promised.”  “We let go of the arm of the Lord too soon.”  The need for importunity (persistence in requesting or demanding) in prayer is not to change God or His attitude toward us for He delights to give. The delay may ensue because of our incapacity to receive the blessing asked for. Usually when prayer answers are delayed, we should look within for the cause. Importunate prayer (urgent or persistent in asking; refusing to be denied; annoyingly urgent or persistent) is God’s means of increasing our capacity to receive and our ability to share what He gives. Also, it is His method of cultivating fellowship and oneness with the suppliant. It is in frequent communion that we come to know Him. Prayer does not change God, but it does change us. It is not for us to question why the delay in answering our prayer, if perchance there be a delay. It is ours to keep on praying. Sometimes in order to answer prayer God has to humble proud hearts, subdue hard natures, convict, convert, change conditions, send adversity, or permit sickness. Give God time, but keep praying. It is the will of God that man persevere in prayer. It is the will of God that the Grace of forgiveness for all is in our hearts.  No one can have no assurance of forgiveness from God if from our hears we are not eager and willing to forgive those who have wronged us. Read Matthew 6:14,15. Mark 11:25 A great number of prayers are not answered because the suppliant is not willing to forgive another. Stop and think about what Jesus suffered unjustly and how He handled the cruel treatment He received from mankind Maligned, betrayed, shamelessly abused, cruelly crucified, yet He pities and forgives His tormentors and murderers. He prays, “Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do.” Forgiveness is the sweet perfume that flowers give when they are trampled upon. “Let all bitterness, wrath, anger, clamor and evil speaking, be put away from you, with all malice: and be ye kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ’s sake hath forgiven you.” Ephesians 4:31,32.

            An unforgiving spirit is keeping so many people powerless in prayer. God will not hear the prayer of an unforgiving suppliant. The shortest route for the Throne of Grace is by the way of reconciliation with an alienated brother or sister.  We must forgive and forget. God forgives our sins, and praise His name, He forgets. “I will forgive their iniquity, and I will remember their son no more.” Jeremiah 31:34.

OTHER CONDITIONS OF ANSWERED PRAYER

It is the divinely appointed law of prayer that men believe God. Every answered prayer will be a prayer of faith. “But without faith it is impossible to please him; for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him.” Hebrews 11:6   Most of us come far short in the practice of prayer—the prayer of faith.  It’s not what we say; it’s what we do that counts. “Prayer is the key in the hand of faith that unlocks heaven’s storehouse.”  The prayer of faith reduced to its simplest terms is asking and believing; asking of God what He has promised, and believing that He will keep His word.”   Matthew 21:22 1 John 5:14,15 How plain and positive this statement! When we truly ask according to the will of God, He hears our prayer.

The following is a suggestion to try:  It is a good plan in order to be definite in our praying to write down specific requests and desires. Writ the longings of the soul in plain written form then spread them out in prayer before the Lord as did king Hezekiah of old. (See 2 Kings 19:14) Also in the margin write the date of your request, then another date when the answer comes. The keeping of such a record will help one to be definite in his praying and will be a tremendous source of inspiration as one by one your file of answered prayers grows.  Every answered prayer will give additional faith to claim other promises of God. Faith in God grows as it is exercised. What can we ask of God? Everything within the scope of His will. Anything He has promised. God promises to save the sinner, build up the saints in the most holy faith, supply all our needs, and give health, peace, joy, and constant victory. What readers of the Bible we should be.

            The prayer of faith can never be offered while we doubt and wondering if it is God’s will to grant the thing petitioned. How many can pray the prayer of faith? All who believe God? It is a childlike trust that believes God and takes Him at His Word.  We cannot pray the prayer of faith unless we exercise faith.  It is the quality of faith that counts.  It is believing prayers that get the answers. 1 John 5:15

            No man can pray right who does not live right It is the will of God that we obey Him. Righteousness is doing right, and doing right is conformity to the commandments of God. Read Luke 6:46-49. Though a man is not saved by what he does, still what he does, how he lives, is the proof that he is saved by the blood of the Lamb. John 14:15 “If you love me, keep my commandments.” Disobedience to any of God’s commandments short circuits prayer. “He that turneth away his ear from hearing the law, even his prayer shall be abomination.” Proverbs 28:9 Read Isaiah 1:18,19.  John 14:23, John 15:10., Matthew 12:50, 1 John 2:3, 1 John 5:3., 1 John 3:22.

WHEN OUR DESIRES ARE NOT GRANTED

Not all prayers are answered, at least not in the way the suppliant has asked. Our heavenly Father is too wise and loving to give all the things we seek for, even when we think we are asking in the will of God and for His glory. The heart of man is deceitful, and overtimes very selfish. “For we know not what we should pray for as we ought; but the Spirit itself maketh intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered. And he that searcheth the hearts knoweth what is the mind of the Spirit, because he maketh intercession for the saints according to the will of God.” Romans 8:26,27. “All things work together for good to them that love God” Romans 8:28.  What colossal tragedies can follow in the wake of praying contrary to the will of God? Read 2 Kings Chapter 20 about Hezekiah This experience was written for our admonition. 1 Corinthians 10:11.

Prayer is not merely a means of obtaining our own desires; it is a mighty instrument for carrying out God’s will. Prayer does not bring God down to us, but it brings us up into the very atmosphere of heaven where He makes known His will. There are three ways that the Lord reveals His will. First, through His Word—the Bible. Second, through His providential workings. Third, through the Holy Spirit’s impressing the heart.

It is true that Satan is responsible for all sickness and death, yet God permits it to exist until His time for its full and complete removal comes which is His second coming. 1 Corinthians 15; 55; 1 Thessalonians 4:16,17. Sorrow, temptation, suffering, trouble are all of Satan, still God permits them. Read the story of Job. Though we cannot understand why now, someday He will make it plain, and we will be so glad we could suffer with Him. Philippians 1:29.

Real prayer is the most powerful form if energy that can be generated. “Power belongeth unto God.” When we pray we link ourselves with the source of inexhaustible power. “By prayer and confession of sin we must clear the King’s highway. As we do this, the power of the Spirit will come.  This is what is needed in our world today. “If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land.” 2 Chronicles 7:14. Lord, teach us to pray.


   
   
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