Things to Remember about Prayer - Lesson II
To be more like Christ today means to be more diligent in what He is doing now: He is ceaselessly making intercession for us and others in the presence of the Heavenly Father. To abide in Him means to become more a part of His priestly intercession. We mature and become prayers and pleaders for others. As priests we prevail with God. It is in prayer that we wield our highest power. It is the beginning and sustaining strength of all that we are called upon to do. It is the key and power that supplies the life of bearing fruit.
One of the greatest messages of Jesus on prayer is that the Father waits, listens, and desires to answer the prayers of His children, in Jesus' name. We must not limit what God is ready to do for His children's requests. God hears all prayer. No if’s, and’s, but’s, excuses, time constraints or anything else.
Another important lesson is that Jesus is ready and longing to spend time with us, to teach us how to pray. As He continues to pray for us, He desires for us to trust Him and spend time with Him, to show us Himself, His love and care for us, and that He longs to pray for us, in us, and through us. He Himself is the life and power of our prayer. As we pray, we are in effect praying with Jesus.
The words of prayer need not be high-sounding or complicated, yet it is the highest and most powerful thing we can do in this life: to communicate with the unseen and Most Holy God, Creator of the universe. Prayer is the channel of all blessing, the secret power, for us, the Church, in the world. It is the gift of God - according to His eternal promises, all to His glory. We must go beyond empty forms, tradition, and emotion.
The power of New Testament prayer is in Jesus' Name, as He taught the apostles. We are not to be timid and out of false respect pray without His Name being spoken. How different are we actually from those first disciples? We are heirs of the same promises, the same Savior. We pray for the coming of the same kingdom. We pray for the same glory of God the Father. All prayer must be in complete surrender to His Will, in complete assurance of faith in Jesus, and with perseverance that refuses to be denied. The best way to learn to pray is much prayer; practice improves us.
What we pray must be in surrender to God's will, to His glory, in assurance of the promises of faith, in Jesus' Name, and if need be, with perseverance. Jesus is listening and wishes to help us learn to pray with increasing knowledge and power. He wishes to help us pray with power to call down God's blessings on those around us.
We feel the need, He gives us the confidence. We must be grounded in His Word. The Holy Spirit within us also aids us, giving us thoughts as to what and how to ask. Jesus makes us a part of His life of intercession. He is certainly praying for us.
John 4:23,24. In spirit and truth. Only through Jesus is this possible. God is not bound by space or time - He is infinite, and He is spirit. Our life must not be separate from our faith. Constant awareness of God's presence in our spirit keeps us in an attitude of worship. God has given us His Holy Spirit through Jesus, therefore giving the right and power of communication as His children. This is uniquely possible through the Sonship of Christ. No one in the Old Testament had this right.
Truth goes beyond sincerity - and is tied directly to God's Word. Jesus said He is the truth and the life. He is full of grace and truth. The Holy Spirit is the spirit of Truth. Worship in spirit is worship in truth, a direct fellowship with the Father in the Spirit. We need to acknowledge that in our normal living habits and ways of thinking - we cannot please God. We must become more constantly aware of our position in Christ. We must accept our position as God's spiritual children, as the result of His infinite love. This is the new and living way that gives us the right to call upon God as our Heavenly Father. This gives us the confidence that God's Fatherly Heart wants to stay in constant communication with us and to bless us to our best benefit, to continue to grow and mature into the stature of being like His Son. Supreme trust is the correct attitude of the true child of God.
Jesus revealed: "Your Father knoweth what things ye have need of before ye ask Him."
This separates us from heathens who with much words, urgency, and vain repetitions think they must compel an unwilling deity to even listen. If we pray for something that will bring God glory according to the Word, we must have great confidence. We must remember that God knows what we need, but He still wants us to ask, to persevere. No matter how we are preoccupied with our personal petitions that we forget, the Father both knows and hears, and He answers.
The more mature child has learned the Father's interests and is more involved in the Father's business. As we become more mature, we become more consecrated to His service. His work is our work; His kingdom is our kingdom; His will is our will.
We do live in enemy territory. God's kingdom, of which we are citizens, is in heaven until Christ's second coming. We continue to pray for that. In accepting Christ we accept the father's love. In accepting His will we accept a life of obedience to that will. Prayer always brings us back into trust and worship of the Father and the Son.
Jesus promised concerning the Father that the love wherewith the Father hast loved Him may be in us. Therewith we may have confidence to bring our needs, our trials and temptations, our sins, and our concern for others to Him.
Ask and it shall be given: Matthew 7:7,8. Everyone that asks, receives. Everyone that seeks, finds. For everyone that knocks, the door shall be opened.
This does express the certainty of an always positive result of our efforts in prayer. To ask and receive leads that person to seek and find the Giver, then to knock at His door. That person will thereafter enter, and dwell in His love, and closer fellowship.
These are laws of God's kingdom. They include our responsibilities to do the asking, seeking, and knocking. Each includes continuing effort, showing perseverance and Paul's admonishment to pray without ceasing.
In other words, we have two things in prayer - asking and receiving. If we ask and have not received - we are to continue to ask - that is God's will. Obviously, as children, we may ask amiss, but should continue to ask and seek God's will to understand what would be the best answer to our request.
We are to ask for ourselves our daily needs, things definite and specific, even as we would our earthly father. Also trusting that His knowledge and wisdom as to what is best for us may mean that an answer could be 'not at this time', or even 'no'. Those things that we know are according to His will, because they are according to His Word, and according to His son - we may ask with complete confidence they will be granted.
Our faith seems to grow so slowly. We are so enmeshed in our earthly lives and thoughts that spiritual things still seem so 'otherworldly'. We need to continually look to Jesus, His words, His Spirit, to allow His life and words and Spirit to teach us the reality of the Spiritual realm and the Truth of God's Kingdom.
As we pray we must listen to His voice within, thinking over His promises and ask that God increase our faith, to depend on His loving kindness and care for us as our Heavenly Father. As we pray He hears, as we ask He grants. It is His will to be with us and give us what we need. We must continue to learn and grow, ask and receive, seek and find, knock and see the door to God's heart open.
Amen and Amen.
This article was written by my father T.O.D. Johnston, who was licensed to preach the Gospel by Paran Baptist Church on May 26, 1979. He has been a student of Scripture since 1972. View more lessons at his Bible Study Lessons page.