Monday, 6 July 2015

The Best School of Prayer is on our Knees


"Do you know what prayer is? It is not begging God for this and that. The first thing we have to do is to get you beggars to quit begging until a little faith moves in your souls" (John G. Lake).

Hello! In today's "Truth for the Journey," we are going to begin looking at the whole subject of "prayer & intercession."

Just to live as a family with peace in the home, takes prayer! Discussion helps too of course, but much can be accomplished through prayer. In fact much of what we want to cast onto others, the Lord tells us to cast upon Him (1 Peter 5:7; Psalm 55:22). In this context John Wesley famously said, "I have so much to do that I spend several hours in prayer before I am able to do it." And Abraham Lincoln said, "I have been driven many times to my knees by the overwhelming conviction that I had absolutely no other place to go."

We can only be free of our burdens, once we learn to "cast" or "roll" them onto the Lord - a discipline that benefits ALL who apply it, not just those with heavy responsibilities like Wesley or Lincoln. As we will discover, prayer is NOT just for the few. Whatever our station in life, we all need prayer. In fact no measure of success or prosperity can ever be "enough" or "fulfill" our basic need for intimacy - something that can only be found on our knees before the Lord.

So over these next weeks this is going to be the subject matter for our "Truth for the Journey" articles. I trust you will enjoy them and be much inspired to have an individualized revival of your own! Let fresh "revelation" flood your heart and rebirth the desire and urgency for prayer, as you once knew it - in the beginning of your walk with the Lord.

No matter who we are, the cares of this life seek to "crowd-God-out." This alone makes prayer a "discipline" not a "recreation!"

 
Below are some quotes that share this conviction to pray:

* Pray, and let God worry. Martin Luther
* Wishing will never be a substitute for prayer. Ed Cole
* Is prayer your steering wheel or your spare tire? Corrie Ten Boom
* A minister's highest mission ought to be to teach his people to pray. H. MacGregor
* Some people pray just to pray and some people pray to know God. Andrew Murray
* There is a mighty lot of difference between saying prayers and praying. John G. Lake
* There is nothing that makes us love a man so much as praying for him. William Law
* Prayer does not fit us for the greater work; prayer is the greater work. Oswald Chambers
* The shortening of devotions starves the soul; it grows lean and faint... William Wilberforce
* In prayer it is better to have a heart without words than words without a heart. John Bunyan
* Do not pray for tasks equal to your powers, pray for powers equal to your task. Phillips Brooks
* We need never shout across the spaces to an absent God. He is nearer than our own soul. A.W. Tozer

The most basic element of prayer is "relationship." That is the essential starting point, from which all other types of praying proceed. A rich and intimate relationship with God, not unlike what E. M. Bounds was referring to when he spoke, "Those who know God the best are the richest and most powerful in prayer. Little acquaintance with God, strangeness and coldness to Him, make prayer a rare and feeble thing."

Yet even the seemingly "successful" ministers of today, who preach regularly in their own pulpits, admit lacking a decent prayer life! E. M Bounds would rightly comment on this phenomena by saying, "The Church is looking for better methods; God is looking for better men. The Holy Ghost does not flow through methods, but through men. He does not come on machinery, but on men. He does not anoint plans, but men... men of prayer."

With this in mind it definitely seems to me that just about everything in life is designed to take us "away" from praying. Not least modern technology! Take the latest pet-gadgets for example such as the iPhone or iPad. While they are great "tools-for-the-job," it's too easy to turn them on first thing every morning. Or even take them to bed, for that last "fix" before we close our eyes! It can be days; even weeks before we realize that "intimacy" is missing, through neglect of the Word or lost opportunities in the presence of the Lord.

The hope is, that this "void" which builds up within, eventually stops us in our tracks and convicts us back to our place of prayer. Where unhindered and "unpretentious" worship flows and where our inner-man feels most at home!

To continue however, besides this personal and "relational" aspect to prayer, there exists the "responsibility" of prayer, which is the main focus of this next series of "Truth for the Journey" articles that you all enjoy so much! However to clarify right at the onset - intercession is NOT a selective ministry for the few. We are ALL initiates! It is no secret society solely for self-confessing martyrs! EVERY believer has the right and the calling to stand in the gap for others. With a life style of constant "preparedness" so that when the opportunity arises and the need beckons - they are "ready" to pray. Such a readiness can only be "developed" into a person's life that intercedes continually.

"I urge, then, first of all, that requests, prayers, intercession and thanksgiving be made for everyone-for kings and all those in authority, that we may live peaceful and quiet lives in all godliness and holiness. This is good, and pleases God our Savior, who wants all men to be saved and to come to a knowledge of the truth. For there is one God and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus." (1 Timothy 2:1-5)

Finally however we must be "skilled" intercessors, as Spurgeon well pointed out, "There is a general kind of praying which fails for lack of precision. It is as if a regiment of soldiers should all fire off their guns anywhere. Possibly somebody would be killed, but the majority of the enemy would be missed" (Charles Haddon Spurgeon). This takes knowledge of the Word and how to rightly "divide" it. Jesus used it expressly in the wilderness to fight Satan; so must we (2 Timothy 2:15; Matthew 4:10). 

PRAYER FOR THE DAY
Father, You gave Your Son Jesus to stand in the gap for me. The intercessor of all intercessors, who still intercedes today! Let me know what is on Your heart. Lead that I may follow. I want to allow Your Holy Spirit to pray through me. Help me take my rightful place in the ministry of prayer. In Jesus Name.

CONFESSION OF THE DAY
I thank You Lord for the spirit of intercession. I receive a fresh impartation and revelation in Jesus name. I AM AN INTERCESSOR, EQUIPPED AND TRAINED TO DO HIS BIDDING. Lives WILL be changed. History WILL be altered. Prayer changes things. Prayer changes people & Prayer changes ME!