Tuesday, November 26, 2019

26. Growing Prayer – The Learning Tree – (2) Why Do We Pray?

16 Rejoice always and delight in your faith; 17 be unceasing and persistent in prayer; 18 in every situation [no matter what the circumstances] be thankful and continually give thanks to God; for this is the will of God for you in Christ Jesus.  --1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 

This is our second Blog on "Why Do We Pray".  Why do we pray?  A question of great magnitude!  Prayer is having a conversation with God, an intimate sanctified (set-apart) time.  It is the very breath of our soul the core of our being.  Prayer is the key (Matt. 16:19) that unlocks the incredible promises of God. There are times we pray like we speak to a friend.  Other times we pray intensely, passionately and it is the prayer of an intercessor. We pray in the name of Jesus who connects us to His promises.  John 16:24, “Until now you have asked nothing in My name. Ask, and you will receive, that your joy may be full”.   In and through prayer the promises of God are manifested (revealed) in and through us.  We are privileged to begin each day with prayer giving our hearts to God.  When temptation threatens, and it will, we have the power source and communion with God the Father through the blood and name of Jesus Christ.  He knows our voice.

I cannot remember when I did not pray…not aloud…not in public….but in child-like simplicity.

I began to pray that Jesus would teach me to pray just as His disciple asked (Luke 11:1).  As the years have passed, I grew in a close intimate relationship with the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ.  Through the Holy Spirit I have been taught much (I John 2:27).  First and foremost, we pray for the undefeatable benevolence and unconquerable goodwill that always seeks the highest good for mankind and ourselves.

“Biblical prayer is always accompanied by radical obedience.  God’s response to prayer with obedience always releases the nature of heaven into our impaired circumstances”.[1]

Why do we pray?  We learn to pray God’s Will.  We pray for Spiritual Development and growth in intimacy with God the Father.  As we grow in our Spiritual Development, our faith grows in answered prayer (1 Chronicles 4:10).  When we pray in faith (Mark 11:22) moved to action, believing (II Chronicles 20:5-12; Romans10:9), without doubt (James 1:6), seeking repentance and forgiveness (Matt 3:2; Matt 6:14) forgiving those who have hurt us, laying down all strongholds (2Corinthians 10:5), lifting the Name of the Father, Jesus Christ and the Holy Spirit in honor and glory, praising and worshiping (Psalm 34:1), we are in effective prayer.

[1] When Heaven Invades Earth, Chapter 5, Praying Heaven Down, p. 58, Bill Johnson, Author

Thursday, November 21, 2019

25. Growing Prayer – The Learning Tree - Why Do We Pray?

I Cannot Remember When I Did Not Pray

Father God we seek Your face.  We have questions and we long for You to teach us in a way that we will grow closer and closer to you.  We cling to Your promises and our hope is in You.  Blessed is Your Holy Name.  In Jesus’ magnificent name I pray.  Amen and Amen.

We have often heard the question, “Why do we pray”? 

In Luke 11:1, Jesus had been praying and one of the disciples asks, “Teach us to pray”.  The result of that request Jesus gave us the Lord’s Prayer.  It became the Lord’s Prayer by choice of those who read the scriptures.  Actually it is a pattern for how we pray.  We believe the real Lord’s Prayer is John 17.  One of the important thoughts to understand regarding the Lord’s Prayer (Luke 11:1), it was written in the imperative tense.  Why the imperative? 

The word imperative used as an adjective means of 1vital importance; crucial: immediate action was imperative, and 2Giving an authoritative command; peremptory.  Used as a noun it means 1an essential or urgent  thing, and 2a factor or influence making something necessary.  The word imperative originated from late Middle English (as a grammatical term): from late Latin imperativus (literally 'specially ordered', translating Greek prostatikÄ“ enklisis 'imperative mood'), from imperare 'to command', from in- 'toward' + parare 'make ready'.[1]

We would acknowledge that prayer is very important to our God and Father.  It is imperative, of vital importance, crucial, an authoritative and peremptory command.  It is not that we order God around.  We must first understand our roll in prayer.  Nothing is going to happen on this earth unless we ask first (Matthew 16:19).  Through God’s Son, birth, life, death and resurrection, we become redeemed people to lift our voices in prayer and change here on earth.  The summons in the Lord’s Prayer is that we walk into prayer with authority given to us.  When we realize the awesome trust God puts in us, we will begin to pray the way God wants us to pray.

What then is effective prayer?  It is prayer prayed in God’s Will.

The word effective in the Greek means a decided, decisive, or desired effect, ready for service or action.  The Synonyms for effective are: capable, able, powerful, and efficient.  Strong’s #1754, effectively, energeo (en-erg-eh-oh); One of the four big energy words; energeo, energes, energeia, and energema.  The words all stem from en, “in”, and ergon, “work” and have to do with the active operation or working of power and its effectual results.  (en-erg-eh-oh) be effectual, be might in, effectual fervent, effectually work, show forth (one’s) self, to do, work, work effectually in.  “….The effective fervent prayer of a righteous man…”[2]

True effective prayer is work.  If you expect to go before the Throne of Grace in a laid back state….think again.  Jesus in the garden exemplified the pouring out of His soul before God the Father.  “He agonized until His sweat mingled with His blood dripped to the ground and many have tried to deny this as even being possible.  However, there is a medical term, Hematidrosis, or bloody sweat, which is well documented.  Under great emotional stress of the kind that Jesus suffered, tiny capillaries in the sweat glands can break, thus mixing blood with sweat which can lead to weakness and shock.  Isn’t it interesting that Luke, the physician, is the only one who documented this fact in the Gospels”[3]?

We ask you are you willing to pour your heart and soul out in prayer….are you willing to “work” at prayer….are you guilty of “cookie cutter prayers”?[4]

Next week the continuance of “Why Do We Pray”.

[1] Oxford Dictionaries
[2] Greek Lexicon
[3] Dr. C. Truman Davis
[4] “Cookie Cutter” prayers are rote prayers; repetitious and shallow prayers; mechanical, unthinking or devoid of heart.