May 24, 2003
—"Lord, teach us to pray!" (Luke 11:1)
1. TO CRY TO THE LORD IN PRAYER IS SOMETHING THAT SHOULD COME NATURALLY TO EVERY TRULY BORN-AGAIN CHILD OF GOD! God expects each of His children, those who really know Him, to touch Him personally & make direct contact with Him, not just through somebody else's prayers or faith. Therefore each of us must learn to individually make personal, intimate contact with the Lord through prayer, the Heavenly link, the divine telephone between us & Heaven.
2. EVEN THOUGH OUR "HEAVENLY FATHER KNOWETH WHAT THINGS WE HAVE NEED OF BEFORE WE ASK HIM" (MAT.6:8), He likes us to confess that we alone can't solve all of our problems & that we need His help. He likes us to be humble & willing to pray, to acknowledge His power & show our faith in Him by asking Him for help. Then, of course, He likes to answer, not only to remind us that we need Him, but also because He likes us to appreciate His help & to love Him for it—like a Father!
3. THAT'S THE WAY WE PARENTS OFTEN FEEL WITH OUR OWN SMALL CHILDREN—we like to answer their questions & solve their problems & give them answers.—If they'll ask! But a lot of times they just try to struggle through on their own. I've often told one of my frustrated young children, "Well, why didn't you ask me to help you?"—And it's the same sort of situation with us & the Lord: He really likes for us to ask Him for His help, as this is what shows our faith in Him & His Word, divine guidance & parental love.
4. THE LORD LOVES TO GIVE US THE ANSWERS TO OUR PROBLEMS & QUESTIONS & TROUBLES. He knows exactly what to do & how to do it‚ & simply wants us to ask Him instead of going to all the trouble of trying to figure everything out ourselves. He says, "Ask & it shall be given you; seek & ye shall find; knock & it shall be opened unto you: For everyone that asketh receiveth; & he that seeketh findeth; & to him that knocketh it shall be opened." (Mt.7:7‚8)
5. HE EVEN GOES ON TO SAY, "FOR WHAT MAN IS THERE OF YOU, WHOM IF HIS SON ASK BREAD, WILL HE GIVE HIM A STONE? Or if he ask a fish, will he give him a serpent? If ye then, being evil, know how to give good gifts unto your children, how much more shall your Father which is in Heaven give good things to them that ask Him?" (Mat.7:9-11)
6. ALL THE ANSWERS ARE SO SIMPLE FOR THE LORD & ALL THE SOLUTIONS ARE SO EASY FOR HIM! All we have to do is ask & He promised we'd receive. If we really seek the answer, we find it! So don't ever think you have to try to figure all your problems & decisions out yourself. Get down in prayer & get God's answers! He says‚ "Call unto Me‚ & I will answer thee, & show thee great & mighty things which thou knowest not." (Jer.33:3)
7. "WITHOUT HIM YOU CAN DO NOTHING" (JOHN 15:5)‚ BUT WITH HIM‚ YOU CAN "DO ALL THINGS THROUGH CHRIST WHICH STRENGTHENETH YOU!" (Phi.4:13) So when you really need help, tell it to Jesus! "Cast thy burden upon the Lord & He shall sustain thee! Cast all your cares upon Him, for He careth for you!" (Psa.55:22; 1Pe.5:7) Jesus said, "My yoke is easy & My burden is light"—but there's one condition to it—"Come unto Me!" (Mat.11:28-30) When you come to the Lord in prayer & faith, & ask Him for the answers, you'll get them.
8. AND THIS IS WHAT PRAYER IS ALL ABOUT!—IT IS NOT MERELY SOME KIND OF RELIGIOUS RITUAL, BUT A LIVING RELATIONSHIP. Like that dear little song says:
"What a Friend we have in Jesus,
All our sins & griefs to bear!
What a privilege to carry,
Everything to God in prayer!
Oh, what peace we often forfeit!
Oh, what needless pain we bear!
All because we do not carry,
Everything to God in prayer."
—The Lord's shoulders are broad enough to carry any load—all the burdens put together, including His Own! So it's really important for you to learn to pray & commit your burdens, trials & needs to Him!
HEARING FROM HEAVEN!
9. WITH MOST PEOPLE‚ PRAYER IS A ONE-WAY CONVERSATION & they do all the talking. They pray, "Hear, Lord, Thy servant speaketh," instead of like dear Samuel‚ the little child prophet, who at five years of age said, "Speak, Lord, Thy servant heareth!" (1Sam.3:10) You'll get a lot further that way, listening to the Lord instead of talking so much that you don't even have a chance to hear what He has to say.
10. PRAYER IS NOT JUST GETTING DOWN ON YOUR KNEES & SPEAKING YOUR PIECE, BUT LETTING GOD SPEAK HIS, TOO! This is why each of us is supposed to know the Lord personally & be filled with the Holy Spirit & therefore led by the Spirit individually, so that we can personally seek the Lord & find the answers for ourselves that we each need for our own individual cases!
11. THIS IS ACTUALLY THE GREATEST THING THAT EACH OF US NEEDS TO LEARN—TO FOLLOW GOD & TO HEAR FROM HIM FRESH EVERY DAY! You can't just get inspired once & let that do for the rest of your life! It's like eating: One meal doesn't last you even one full day, & it certainly doesn't last you for weeks & months!—And just like you've got to eat every day, you've also got to get inspired every day. You need fresh food of the Spirit, fresh power of the Spirit, milk of the Word, fire from on High to re-inspire you day after day!
12. YOU SHOULD HEAR FROM GOD EVERY DAY! It doesn't have to be out loud‚ it doesn't have to be with an audible voice. It can just be in that "still small voice" (1Kng.19:12) that you feel inside of you, sometimes not even words‚ just an impression that you have. God doesn't have to communicate in words, He can just give you a feeling or a picture or an idea.
13. HIS SPIRIT IS LIKE A BROADCASTING STATION, BROADCASTING ALL THE TIME, you just have to learn how to tune in! If you've got an open channel & tune in, the Lord will fill you—your mind, your heart, your ears, your eyes! You just have to have faith. Jesus speaks any time, anywhere, if you believe!—Any time you believe! So when you ask the Lord for an answer‚ expect an answer‚ & take the first thing that comes.
14. IF YOU REALLY BELIEVE & ASK THE LORD‚ & you want to hear or see, you won't be disappointed! And that thing you see or hear with the eyes or ears of your spirit, that's the Lord—& it will be such a comfort to you! Expect God to answer! Just open up your heart & let the sunshine in! If you're really desperate & crying with your whole heart & are asking Him, He'll answer!
15. IF YOU'RE ALWAYS HURRYING & RUSHING AROUND, fretting & impatient, you'll never be able to focus your full attention—your eyes, your ears, your mind, your heart—on the Lord for the solutions to the problems, the answers to the questions‚ the best decisions for the situations!
16. UNLESS YOU GET QUIET & TRY TO SEEK THE LORD, how are you ever going to get anything from the Lord? He says, "Be still, & know that I am God. In quietness & confidence shall your strength be!" (Psa.46:10; Isa.30:15) You're going to have to get quiet by yourself—somewhere, somehow, sometime—if you're going to hear from the Lord!
17. EVERY GREAT MAN OF GOD, FROM MOSES TO JESUS, HAD TO RETREAT ALONE TO HIS MOUNTAIN FOR AWHILE in order to have time to meditate, pray & commune with God. My Lord, if Jesus Himself had to do it, how much more we need to do it! Jesus had to get up at the break of day before His disciples got up & walk out across the hills or up in the mountain to get alone with God & get His orders for the day from His Father! (Mark 1:35; Luke 6:12)
18. SO START THE DAY OFF RIGHT: HEAR FROM THE LORD! You need it, or things just won't go as they should. If you neglect your fellowship with the King of kings because you're so busy with the affairs of the Kingdom, it can be disastrous to your spiritual life & communion with the Lord! You cannot do the Master's work without the Master's power & guidance!— And to get it, you must spend time with the Master!
19. SO TRY A LITTLE PRAYER TIME EARLY IN THE MORNING BEFORE YOUR DAY'S WORK.—Asking the Lord for the solutions to problems is the easiest way in the World to get them. If you'd spend a little more time praying, you'd probably spend a Hell of a lot less time working & trying to get things done!
20. HE'LL SOLVE A LOT OF YOUR PROBLEMS BEFORE THE DAY EVEN STARTS if you listen to what He has to say. But if you go plunging into all your troubles & your work without stopping to talk to the Lord & get directions from your Commander–in–Chief, then you're going to be like a soldier who's trying to fight the war all on his own without listening to headquarters, with no organisation from the top!
21. WE ALL NEED MORE QUIET TIME WITH THE LORD IN REST & REFILLING, drinking of the Living Water of His Word & fellowshipping with Him in the Communion of Prayer & the sweet love-making of the Spirit. It just totally renews you & completely refreshes you & gives you new vision & fresh inspiration, new strength, rest & peace & joy! For "they that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, & not be weary; & they shall walk, & not faint!" (Isa.40:31)
"IN ALL THY WAYS ACKNOWLEDGE HIM!" (Pro.3:6)
22. ALTHOUGH WE SHOULD SPEND SOME QUIET TIME WITH THE LORD EVERY DAY—time in prayer & reading His Word—Jesus also told us that we should always pray, that we should continually pray all the time, all day long, that in everything we do we ought to be "looking unto Jesus." (Heb.12:2)
23. "MEN OUGHT ALWAYS TO PRAY & NOT TO FAINT!" (Luke 18:1) He also says, "Pray without ceasing!" (1Th.5:17) & "Watch & pray!" (Mat.26:41) He knows that we need to & it's one way the Lord has of keeping us close to Him & in His presence continually, constantly dependent upon Him & His protection.
24. PRAYER IS SOMETHING YOU SHOULD BE DOING ALL THE TIME, NO MATTER WHAT ELSE YOU'RE DOING! You can't wait until you're through doing this or that, & then pray. It's like thinking on your feet!—Or like breathing!—Just breathing the Holy Spirit all the time, being in constant communication with the Lord.
25. HE SAYS, "TRUST IN THE LORD WITH ALL THINE HEART & LEAN NOT TO THINE OWN UNDERSTANDING. In all thy ways acknowledge Him & He shall direct thy paths!" (Pro.3:5‚6)—One of the most wonderful verses in the Bible to really hang on to, especially when making decisions. We don't have to know all the answers, we don't have to lean on our own ideas or wisdom, we just have to lean on the Lord & His leadings!
26. THE LORD CAN SAVE YOU A LOT OF WORK, A LOT OF TROUBLE & A LOT OF TIME IF YOU'LL JUST REMEMBER TO PRAY FIRST before you start a job! Whatever it is that you have to do, pray about it! The Lord is always right there with you.—He says, "I'll never leave thee nor forsake thee." (Heb.13:5) He's always there! So it's never God Who's not there, it's we who are sometimes not always there, when we run off someplace else & leave Him behind when we forget to pray.
27. AND WHEN WE DON'T PRAY FOR HIS HELP‚ it's usually either because we just plain forget—& that's very negligent to forget to pray—or we're not willing to admit that we don't know the answer & that we have to ask Him for it. And one or the other, either way, it's a mistake! Forgetting to pray is almost as bad as not wanting to pray! And when you don't really pray & you don't really get in tune & really ask the Lord to lead you & help you to do the right things, you can sure pull some boners & blow-its & really make a mess of things & can sure get off the track.
28. SOME OF THE BIGGEST MISTAKES THAT CHRISTIANS EVER MAKE ARE THROUGH FOLLOWING THEIR NATURAL REASONING & COMMON SENSE, when the Lord has something entirely different in mind which is contrary to natural expectation & can only be revealed by His Spirit! Many's the time in the Bible where men made decisions on their own by their own natural reasoning & it turned out to be exactly the wrong decision because they hadn't sought the Lord or been led of the Spirit.
29. SO YOU NEED TO REMEMBER THAT YOU CANNOT POSSIBLY SOLVE THE MULTITUDE OF PROBLEMS THAT YOU WILL ENCOUNTER IN YOUR OWN WISDOM, your own strength, your own mind, your own understanding‚ your own trying to put two & two together.—Jesus said, "Without Me, ye can do nothing!" (John 15:5)
30. THE MOST IMPORTANT THING IN OUR LIVES IS JESUS & TO STAY CLOSE TO HIM‚ to let Him lead & guide us. He's the One Who has got to lead us because only He can! Without Him we don't know where we are going or how to get there or anything! But He knows exactly where & how, & all we have to do is just sit in the back seat & let Him drive! He knows where to go & the best way to get there!
31. HE'S PROMISED THAT IF YOU ACKNOWLEDGE HIM, HE WILL DIRECT YOUR PATHS! He says, "You shall hear a voice behind you saying, This is the way, walk ye in it!" (Isa.30:21) So ask the Lord about everything before you do it.—Make sure it's what He wants you to do. Seek Him about everything—every problem, every decision—& He will never fail you or let you down!
DESPERATE PRAYER POWER!
32. THE LORD WANTS US TO BE HAPPY, & THANKS TO HIM, WE USUALLY ARE. But there should be times when you really seek the Lord for a needed change & really pray desperately, pouring out your heart to the Lord. He says, "Ye shall seek Me, & find Me‚ when ye shall search for Me with all your heart!" (Jer.29:13) Of course all our little prayers are sincere & we mean them, but we also need to really get desperate in prayer about any serious situations that arise. There are times when each of us really needs to get down to business with the Lord about problems, & to see who God is dealing with & why!
33. BUT A LOT OF PEOPLE HAVE SORT OF A LAZY ATTITUDE & seem to think that the Lord will just do it all no matter what.—But the truth of the matter is‚ a lot depends on us! Many times what God does depends on your will & your actions & what you want & how you pray! You're not supposed to just stand there & let God & the Devil fight it out!
34. THE BIBLE SAYS THAT ONE TIME BAD THINGS WERE HAPPENING TO ISRAEL BECAUSE "NO MAN STIRRETH HIMSELF TO CALL UPON THE LORD!" (Isa.64:7) So the Lord really does leave a lot up to us: If we stir ourselves, then God will stir Himself. An awful lot depends on us, our faith & our prayers & what we want done.
35. ALTHOUGH GOD CAN DO ANYTHING, HE HAS COMMITTED HIMSELF TO WORK THROUGH YOU, & your prayers can do mighty things! He turns the wheels of His omnipotence on little tiny keys like our faith & our prayers! Often He's just waiting on us to command the situation. God even says, "Command ye Me!" (Isa.45:11) He's given such faith & power to man that you can even command God to do what you want Him to do!
36. YOU CAN EVEN CHANGE GOD'S MIND THROUGH PRAYER! Once when the Lord was determined to destroy the children of Israel, Moses prayed so hard that God's Word says it repented the Lord of what He was going to do to them. Because of Moses' prayers, God was so sorry for them that He changed His mind. (Num.14:11-20) Of course God's overall plan has never changed, His overall Will has never changed, but in certain details you can change His mind!—Otherwise, if prayer can't change anything, you might as well forget it!
37. YOU'RE IN GOD'S HANDS, BUT IN A WAY HE'S ALSO IN YOUR HANDS, at your command like the Genie of Aladdin's Lamp—"At your command!" If you're in His Spirit, in His Will, desiring only those things which glorify Him‚ delighting your heart only in Him‚ you can command Him to do whatever you want, because all you want is what He wants & what is for His glory.
38. I'VE NEVER REALLY PUT MYSELF OUT ON A LIMB & DEMANDED GOD TO DO A CERTAIN THING, BUT THAT HE DID SOMETHING. It wasn't always the thing that I necessarily was demanding—usually it was—but He did something!—He showed me the answer or answered somehow. When you cry unto Him with a whole heart, He promises, "I will answer thee!" (Jer.33:3)
39. SO NEXT TIME YOU REALLY NEED HIS HELP & ARE ON THE SPOT, TURN AROUND & PUT GOD ON THE SPOT! Call on the Lord & through Him you can have power over everything! Jesus never fails!—He always answers when we stir ourselves to call upon Him with a whole heart.
MORE PRAYER PRINCIPLES!
40. FOR A GOOD PRAYER LIFE, ONE OF THE MAIN THINGS YOU NEED TO KNOW IS GOD'S WORD. Faith grows by faithful study of His Word.—"Faith cometh by hearing the Word of God." (Rom.10:17) So even though God can answer anyway, if you're going to have real desperate prayer, you'll find that if you have a devotional, inspirational reading of the Word first, it will inspire you & give you more faith for your prayers.
41. GOD HAS MADE PROMISES IN HIS WORD, & when you pray you should bring those promises with you to remind Him. When you remind God of His Word, it shows you have faith in it.—And it's a positive declaration of your faith & your knowledge of the Word which pleases Him. But "without faith it is impossible to please Him!" (Heb.11:6)
42. "WHEREBY ARE GIVEN UNTO US EXCEEDING GREAT & PRECIOUS PROMISES: THAT BY THESE (HIS PROMISES) YE MIGHT BE PARTAKERS OF THE DIVINE NATURE." (2Pe.1:4) You have to quote the terms of the Contract (the Bible) to the Contract Maker (God), & hold Him to it! He is bound by His Word! So remind Him of it, cling to His promises, memorise & quote them, & never doubt for a moment that God is going to answer—& He will!
43. BUT ALWAYS REMEMBER HIS CONDITIONS, HIS TERMS OF THE CONTRACT: FAITH & OBEDIENCE! Faith & obedience come first, then God answers prayer! If we are obeying the Lord & are faithful & trusting & believing, then God's got to bless & answer. Of course sometimes God likes to test our faith!—He likes to see how much we really believe, & often He will not give us answers until we obey what He's already told us or shown us.
44. IT'S HELPFUL TO REMEMBER THAT GOD'S DELAYS ARE NOT NECESSARILY DENIALS, & that sometimes we just have to have faith & wait for Him to answer, which usually results in "the trying of our faith, which worketh patience." (Jam.1:3) Learning patience seems to be one of God's most frequent lessons, yet one of our own rarest virtues, as it really tests our faith & drives us to the Lord & His Word.
45. ANOTHER IMPORTANT PRAYER PRINCIPLE IS TO BE SPECIFIC WITH THE LORD!—We really need to ask for & expect specific answers when we pray! Being specific is a sign of your faith. A lot of times people pray generally because they don't expect to be answered anyhow! Whereas if you are specific when you pray, you're showing your faith that you expect to get that specific answer!—And you don't expect to be disappointed! You really expect it or you wouldn't be so specific!
46. AND REMEMBER, GOD TAKES YOU EXACTLY AT YOUR WORD! I remember a preacher I knew once who said‚ "Lord, give me a car, I need a car, I'm desperate for a car, Lord—any old car!"—And that's exactly what he got, a real junker! He said, "Next time I prayed specifically for a good car & got it!" So be careful what you ask the Lord to do because He'll take you literally! He'll give you what you ask for‚ & certainly what you have the faith for!
47. AND WATCH OUT ABOUT SOME OF THE THINGS THAT YOU INSIST ON THE LORD GIVING YOU: He sometimes even lets people have things that aren't good for them to teach them a lesson. He said of the children of Israel that "He gave them the desires of their heart, but sent leanness to their souls." (Psa.106:15) Watch out that what you're seeking is for His glory & within His will.
48. IF YOU'VE READ OUR LESSON ON GOD'S PRECIOUS HOLY SPIRIT, "THE SPIRIT OF LOVE‚" then you know what a powerful effect the Holy Spirit can have on your prayer life, as once you are filled with the Spirit‚ you can pray in the Spirit & your prayers have more effect because you're praying by the Spirit. "Likewise the Spirit helpeth our infirmities: 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." (Rom.8:26)—You can speak in tongues, just letting the Spirit pray through you!
49. THEN ONCE YOU'VE PRAYED ABOUT SOMETHING & COMMITTED IT TO THE LORD, you just need to have faith. "Whatsoever things ye desire when ye pray, believe that ye receive them & ye shall have them!" (Mark 11:24) Faith is not surprised at the answer to prayer, faith believes it! But the word "believe" as it's used today is hardly strong enough.—Faith expects it to happen. So once you've prayed about something & committed it to the Lord‚ from then on it's God's problem.—You don't need to worry about it!—Just trust the Lord & praise Him & thank Him for hearing & answering your prayer!—Even if you don't see the answer right away!
50. IN FACT, YOU SHOULD NOT ONLY END YOUR PRAYERS WITH PRAISE & THANKSGIVING, BUT YOU SHOULD BEGIN YOUR REQUESTS THAT WAY ALSO! His Word says that "in everything, by prayer & supplication with thanksgiving, let your request be made known unto God." (Phil.4:6) King David said that we should "enter into His gates with thanksgiving, & into His courts with praise." (Psa.100:4)—It's like coming before the King & salaaming, giving Him due reverence & honour.
51. EVEN IF YOU'RE TIRED OR DISCOURAGED OR DON'T FEEL LIKE PRAISING HIM, YOU SHOULD GO AHEAD & PRAISE HIM ANYWAY, simply because He said to & you know that it pleases Him! It's a little bit like priming an old pump.—You pour a little in, but you get a lot out! When you go ahead by faith, praising the Lord, priming the pump & getting started, pretty soon you'll feel happy in the Lord & really glad you praised Him because He'll pour out His Spirit on you & He'll bless you for it!
52. SO EVEN WHEN YOU FEEL A LITTLE DOWN IN THE DUMPS OR DISCOURAGED, LOOK UP & COUNT YOUR BLESSINGS! Thank God for all your blessings & get your eyes on the Lord & on the good things! (See Phil.4:8) PTL! Start your prayers by lifting your heart unto Him in praise! "By Him therefore let us offer unto God the sacrifice of praise continually, that is, the fruit of our lips, giving thanks to His Name!" (Heb.13:15)
53. ALSO REMEMBER: "ONE CAN CHASE A THOUSAND‚ BUT TWO CAN PUT TEN THOUSAND TO FLIGHT" (Deut.32:30), & it helps greatly to have someone else pray with you sometimes, especially during times of trial. "Where two or three are gathered together in My Name, there am I in the midst of them." (Mat.18:20) And, "If any two of you shall agree on Earth as touching anything that they shall ask, it shall be done for them of My Father which is in Heaven." (Mat.18:19)
54. THERE IS GREAT POWER IN UNITED PRAYER TOGETHER! So never be ashamed to ask for help or prayer from someone else when you need it. "Confess your faults one to another, & pray one for another, that ye may be healed." (Jam.5:16)
55. ONE LAST, BUT CERTAINLY NOT LEAST, FINAL REMINDER IS ABOUT PRAYING IN THE NAME OF JESUS: All through the New Testament the Lord tells us how important it is to pray in the Name of Jesus, to ask things in the Name of Jesus, to use the Name of Jesus & its power in prayer. Jesus is the One we have to approach God through. "For there is one God, & one Mediator between God & men‚ the man Christ Jesus." (1Tim.2:5) People need to realise the power of the Name of Jesus!—For without that Name‚ there is no power! Jesus said, "If ye shall ask any thing in My Name, I will do it!" (John 14:14) PTL!
56. DO YOU KNOW JESUS? We hope you do! If not, ask Him into your heart right now—& Jesus will come in! Then you can learn to really know Him personally, intimately, as you learn to fellowship & communicate with Him through prayer! And if you need someone to pray with you or for you, write to us at the address given in this book. God bless you with good, clear, inspired "Heavenly Communication"!