Prayer

One of my favourite stories about intercessory prayer comes from Tony Campolo. A prayer meeting was held for him just before he spoke at a Pentecostal college chapel service. Eight men took Tony to a back room of the chapel, had him kneel, laid their hands on his head, and began to pray. That’s a good thing, Tony wrote, except that they prayed for a long time, and the longer they prayed, the more tired they got, and the more tired they got, the more they leaned on his head. “I want to tell you that when eight guys are leaning on your head, it doesn’t feel so good.”

To make matters worse, one of the men was not even praying for Tony. He went on and on praying for someone named Charlie Stolzfus: “Dear Lord, you know Charlie Stolzfus. He lives in that silver trailer down the road a mile. You know the trailer. Lord, just down the road on the right-hand side.” (Tony said he wanted to inform the pray-er that it was not necessary to furnish God with the directional material.) “Lord, Charlie told me this morning he’s going to leave his wife and three kids. Step in and do something, God. Bring that family back together.”

Tony writes that he finally got the Pentecostal preachers off his head, delivered his message, and got in his car to drive home. As he drove into Pennsylvania Turnpike, he noticed a hitchhiker. I’ll let him tell it from here…

‘We drove a few minutes and I said: “Hi my name’s Tony Campolo. What’s yours?” He said, “My name is Charlie Stolzfus.” I couldn’t believe it!

I got off the turnpike at the next exit and headed back. He got a bit uneasy with that and after a few minutes he said, “Hey mister, where are you taking me?”

I said, “I’m taking you home.”

He narrowed his eyes and asked, “Why?”

I said, “Because you just left your wife and three kids, right?”

That blew him away. “Yeah, that’s right.” With shock written all over his face, he plastered himself against the car door and never took his eyes off me.

Then I really did him in as I drove right to his silver trailer. When I pulled up, his eyes seemed to bulge as he asked, “How did you know that I lived here?”

I said, “God told me.” (I believe God tell me.)…

When he opened the trailer door his wife exclaimed, “You’re back!” You’re back!” He whispered in her ear and the more he talked the bigger her eyes got.

Then I said with real authority, “The two of you sit down. I’m going to talk and you two are going to listen!” Man did they listen! (…) That afternoon I led those two people to Jesus Christ.’

Source: Cited in The Life You’ve Always Wanted, by John Ortberg, 2002, Michigan USA, Zondervan, p.104-105

The story’s told of a soldier in World War II who was caught creeping back into his barracks from some nearby woods. Brought before his commanding officer and charged with communicating with the enemy, he said he had just gone out to pray. His commanding officer asked, ‘Do you make it a habit of spending hours alone in prayer?’ ‘Yes, sir’, he replied. ‘Then get down on your knees and pray now,’ roared the officer, ‘for you’ve never needed it more!’ The soldier kneeled down and prayed so powerfully that his C.O. shouted, ‘Enough, you may go, I believe you! If you hadn’t been so often at drill, you wouldn’t have done so well on parade.’ – Prayer isn’t just like the spare tyre in the boot of your car there for emergencies. We need to be frequent and persistent in prayer.

Source: The UCB Word For Today, 31/1/2011

God always hears when people call out to him. He is instantly interruptible. He may be busy ruling creation and listening to a million prayers all at once, but as soon as one of his children speaks, whether we shout aloud in praise or prayer – or even if we pray silently – He hears us. He is never too busy. He is always interested and He is instantly interruptible. You will never hear the message: ‘Due to an unusual high volume of calls God and all our heavenly operators are all busy at present. Please call back later or visit the website for help and advice on our most frequently asked questions!’

Do you know what the Christian name for God is? Father: Jesus said when you pray say, ‘Our Father in heaven…’ – There’s a wonderful old photograph of President John F Kennedy sitting working at his desk in the Whitehouse; the most powerful seat in the world. Underneath the desk sits his young son, John junior. No other boy had such instant access to the President. No other boy could call this man “Dad”. How amazing to have such a father! When a Christian prays, we enter into heaven’s throne room: we sit at the feet of the Most High, the Almighty, the ruler and Sustainer of the universe, and we call Him “Father”!

 

Explore Bible notes 31/5/2012

The man again doubted that his prayers would be answered and his despair overwhelmed him. There he was again, alone and lost with no one to turn to for help. In frustration he took his pen and scribbled the words, “GOD IS NO WHERE.” Then he folded the paper in half to conceal the painful words and as he did so he heard an inner voice say, “You put the ‘W’ in the wrong place!” Bemused, the man unfolded the piece of paper and as he did so he noticed that the crease of the fold had dissected the word ‘WHERE’, and it appeared the letter ‘W’ had moved. The man read the note again and this time it said, “GOD IS NOW HERE.”

On the subject of prayer, there’s a funny story told about a family who had the minister over for dinner, and when he got there and sat at the table the Mum asked her five-year-old to say grace.

Puzzled, the child asked, ‘What should I say?’

Her mum replied, ‘Just say what you’ve heard me say, dear.’

So, bowing her head, the little girl prayed, ‘Dear God, why on earth did I invite the minister over for dinner? Amen.’

Spurgeon once said, “Prayer pulls the rope down below and the great bell rings above in the ears of God. Some scarcely stir the bell, for they pray so languidly; others give only an occasional jerk of the rope. But he who communicates with heaven is the man who grasps the rope boldly and pulls continuously with all his might.”

Source: cited by Simon Guillbaud in For What It’s Worth, 2006, Oxford: Monarch Books, p.79

To not pray is the same as saying, ‘I can manage by myself, thank you God.’

God delights in being a part of our lives. Do you know why he often doesn’t answer prayer right away? Because he wants to talk to us, and sometimes that’s the only way to get us to stay and talk to him.

John Eldredge

John Eldredge, Wild At Heart, 2001, Nashville, Tennessee: Thomas Nelson, p.36

‘Pray Without Ceasing’

Unanswered yet the prayer your lips have pleaded
In agony of heart these many years?
Does faith begin to fail, is hope declining,
And think you all in vain those falling tears?
Say not the Father has not heard your prayer;
You shall have your desire, sometime, somewhere.

Unanswered yet? Tho’ when you first presented
This one petition at the Father’s throne,
It seemed you could not wait the time of asking,
So anxious was your heart to have it done;
If years have passed since then, do not despair,
For God will answer you sometime, somewhere.

Unanswered yet? But you are not unheeded;
The promises of God forever stand;
To Him our days and years alike are equal;
Have faith in God! It is your Lord’s command.
Hold on to Jacob’s angel, and your prayer
Shall bring a blessing down sometime, somewhere.

Unanswered yet? Nay, do not say unanswered,
Perhaps your part is not yet wholly done,
The work began when first your prayer was uttered,
And God will finish what He has begun.
Keep incense burning at the shrine of prayer,
And glory shall descend sometime, somewhere.

Unanswered yet? Faith cannot be unanswered;
Her feet are firmly planted on the Rock;
Amid the wildest storms she stands undaunted,
Nor quails before the loudest thunder shock.
She knows Omnipotence has heard her prayer,
And cries, “It shall be done some time, somewhere.”

by Ophelia Guyon Browning

“Jesus never mentioned unanswered prayer. He had the boundless certainty that prayer is always answered. Have we by the Spirit the unspeakable certainty that Jesus had about prayer, or do we think of times when God does not seem to answer prayer? “Everyone that asketh receiveth.” We say – ‘But…, but….’ God answers prayer in the best way, not sometimes, but every time, although the immediate manifestation of the answer in the domain in which we want it may not always follow.”

Oswald Chambers

Oswald Chambers, My Utmost For His Highest, (2000 edition), Worcester: Oswald Chambers Publications, p.153

Q. Why is God silent when I pray during hard times?

A. The teacher is always silent during the test!

Recent research, commissioned by the Church of England and undertaken by ICM, found that four out of five British adults say they believe in the power of prayer – 80% of the UK adult population admits that they would pray in an emergency or when facing a crisis.

https://www.churchofengland.org/media-centre/news/2013/03/four-out-of-five-believe-in-the-power-of-prayer.aspx (accessed 3/2013)

Susannah Wesley, mother of John Wesley (the eighteenth century preacher and founder of Methodism), had nineteen children. When she wanted to spend time with God she had a unique way of finding her quiet place. She would sit down in her kitchen and pull her apron up over her head. She would spend time in prayer and her children knew not to disturb her at that moment!

Quoted by Nicky Gumbel in The Jesus Lifestyle, 2010, London: Alpha International, p.158.

On 27 May 1940, King George VI called for a national day of prayer following the realisation that the British troops in Northern France were at risk of ‘total annihilation’. Three extraordinary events occurred following that day of prayer. First, Hitler overruled his Generals and halted the advance of his troops (something that has never been fully explained). Second, a storm of unprecedented scale grounded the Luftwaffe that was poised to attack the evacuating troops. And third, despite the storm, a serene calm settled over the Channel days later which enabled a vast armada of boats to come and rescue the escaping men. Either this is an extraordinary set of coincidences, or this was the hand of God in response to a nation on its knees praying.

Nicky Gumbel, Bible in One Year – Alpha, Day 176, ‘Power of Prayer’

Is prayer your steering wheel or is it your spare tyre?

Corrie Ten Boom

“If I throw out a boat hook, catch hold of the shore and pull, do I pull the shore to me or do I pull myself to the shore? Prayer is not pulling God to my will, but aligning myself with His.”

E. Stanley Jones (1884-1973), missionary and writer

Don’t ever give up praying for that which is close to your heart – you never know it may only be one more prayer away.

Lord, make me an instrument of thy peace.

Where there is hatred, let me sow love.

Where there is injury, pardon.

Where there is doubt, faith.

Where there is despair, hope.

Where there is darkness, light.

Where there is sadness, joy.

O Divine Master,

grant that I may not so much seek

to be consoled as to console;

to be understood, as to understand;

to be loved, as to love;

for it is in giving that we receive,

it is in pardoning that we are pardoned,

and it is in dying that we are born to eternal life.

Saint Francis of Assisi (? 1181-1226)

A child’s answer to prayer (from my journal dated June 1998): My son Aaron is five years old and he’s been going to school full-time for about six months now. He is a real boy, in the sense that his legs are always covered in bruises, his knees are nearly always muddy and he finds it very difficult to sit quietly and be still.

The other day in class all the children were gathered around the teacher, sat with their arms and legs folded whilst she read them a story. Aaron was told off twice for tickling the boy who was sat in front of him. On his third offence the teacher warned him that if he did it again he would have to go and stand in the corner until he could behave. Aaron apologised saying, “I’m sorry Ms. Challinor, I can’t help it; I think my fingers have got a mind of their own.” Ms. Challinor, biting her lip so she wouldn’t smile, issued her last warning and carried on with the story once more. Aaron must have seen or sensed the repressed half smile and so, pushing his luck, he tickled his little friend again. The resultant giggles had Aaron firmly sent to stand over in the corner!

Realising and regretting his error of judgment, Aaron’s eyebrows furrowed together as he stomped off to suffer his sentence. Meanwhile, Ms. Challinor and the rest of the class continued with the story. After a minute or two she glanced over to check on Aaron and was literally dumb-struck to see him stood in the corner, hands clasped together in front of him, eyes closed and his lips moving in silent prayer. Somewhat taken aback, Ms. Challinor smiled inwardly and called over to him, “I hope you’re asking God to keep your hands still, Aaron.” In response Aaron opened one eye, (he has recently learned how to wink) and still with his hands together replied, “Well, actually Ms. Challinor, I was asking God to make you forgive me and forget about what I’ve done so that I can come back and listen to the rest of the story.”

His teacher caved in, smiled warmly and with a wave, she beckoned him to come back and join the others again.

R. Ian Seymour

A little boy prayed loudly: ‘Please God, bring me a train set for my birthday.’ To which his mother answered, ‘There is no need to shout, dear! God isn’t deaf.’ Back came the reply, ‘No, but Grandpa is, and he is in the next room!’ When we pray, it is not to others, or to ourselves, but to God.

Nicky Gumbel, Alpha: Questions of Life, 2007, Eastbourne: Kingsway, p.68

I am a first generation Christian – neither of my parents were Christians, but my Grandmother was. She faithfully prayed for me for years, until she died in 1992. I became a Christian a year later. She never saw me come to faith… (Well, maybe she did but not from this side!) If you are a Christian reading this that’s because someone else – another Christian – prayed for you (perhaps lots of people did) and someone told you about Jesus, someone shared the gospel with you. Who was it? Who prayed for you? And who is that are you now praying for?

The Lord’s Prayer: The prayer Jesus gave us is meant to be a pattern for prayer, not a substitute. The model of prayer that Jesus gave us puts God’s interests first, not ours. The Lord’s Prayer begins with God’s name, God’s kingdom and God’s will, and then we are to ask for God’s provision, pardon and protection for ourselves. The pattern of prayer that Jesus gave us puts God first – Thy name, Thy kingdom, Thy will and puts us second – give us, forgive us, lead us and deliver us.

In Hebrew the word is ‘Abba’ and the nearest translation in English is daddy or papa or my own dear Father – it’s a name which projects protection, trust and love. Interesting that when babies begin to speak, regardless of whether they are girls or boys, the first word normally spoken is da-da, da-daddy. A little Jewish child speaking Hebrew at the same age would begin to say ab-ab, ab, Abba. Jesus is saying that we are to address the infinite, transcendent, almighty God with the same intimacy, familiarity and unshakeable trust as a child sitting on their father’s lap.

Brennan Manning (adapted), The Furious Longing For God, 2009, Colorado: David C. Cook publishers, p.43-44

Faith in prayer is not, at root, believing that we will get just what we asked for (often we cannot be certain of that). Rather, it is trusting God to be faithful to His word and His character (we know God will answer in line with those things).

Excerpt from ‘Explore’ Bible Notes

I love what John Stott said about The Lord’s Prayer. ‘The model covers all human need – material (our daily bread), spiritual (the forgiveness of our sins), and moral (our deliverance from evil). In these three petitions there is a veiled allusion to the three persons of the Trinity, since it is through the Father’s creation and providence that we receive our daily bread, through the Son’s atoning death that we receive the forgiveness of our sins, and through the Holy Spirit’s indwelling power that we can be rescued from the evil one. It’s no wonder some of the ancient manuscripts (though not the earliest ones) end with the doxology: for thine is the kingdom and the power and the glory for even and ever. Amen.

John Stott, Through The Bible Through The Year, 2006, Abingdon Oxford, Candle Books, p.205

Recently, I read about an overseas missionary who received a letter from a little girl whose Sunday school class had been writing to foreign missionaries. Evidently their Sunday school teacher had told them real live missionaries were very busy and they might not have time to answer their letters, because the one he received said simply: “Dear Rev. Smith. We are praying for you. We are not expecting an answer.” Without realising it, that little girl summed up the prayer life of many Christians. ‘We are praying for you. We are not expecting an answer.’ The truth is, most of us aren’t surprised when our prayers aren’t answered – we’re surprised when they are. The opposite should be true.

Source: Ron Dunn, Don’t Just Stand There… Pray Something, p.161

“In prayer it is better to have a heart without words, than words without a heart.”

John Bunyan (1628-1688)

“There are four ways God answers prayer: ‘No, not yet; No, I love you too much; Yes, I thought you’d never ask; Yes, and here’s more’.”

attributed to Ann Lewis

The reason God answers prayer is because his children ask. – Richard Foster

John Calvin (16th century reformer) summarised why we need to pray like this: “Believers do not pray with the view of informing God about things unknown to him, or of exciting him to do his duty, or of urging him as though he were reluctant. On the contrary, they pray in order that they may arouse themselves to seek him, that they may exercise their faith in meditating on his promises, that they may relieve themselves from their anxieties by pouring them into his bosom; in a word that they may declare that from him alone they hope and expect, both for themselves and for others, all good things.”

Cited by John Stott, Through The Bible Through The Year, Abingdon: Candle Books (2006), p.201

Have you been waiting a long time for God to act or do something… praying about a particular aspect of your life, or a concern, or praying for a certain person for a long time… maybe for a very long time? I remember a true story (the details of which, unfortunately, elude me) of a godly man who prayed for over 30 years that his best friend would find Christ and come to faith. The man eventually died without seeing his prayers answered but a few days later during the funeral service, the minister read the Christian man’s eulogy and his best friend, tears streaming down his face, was converted!

Author, Michael Lloyd, writes: ‘One of the most striking features of Jesus was his prayer life. For one thing, He gave quite a lot of time to it. In addition to the daily rhythm of private prayer (morning, afternoon, and evening, and benedictions before and after meals), the weekly rhythm of public prayer in the synagogue (Luke 4:16) and the annual rhythm of festivals in the temple (John 2:13, 5:1, 7:10, 10:22), He would often get up early in the morning and escape to a ‘solitary place’ to pray (Mark 1:35). Sometimes, He would spend the night in prayer (Luke 6:12), and His whole public ministry grew out of and drew upon the forty days He spent fasting and praying in the wilderness (Luke 4:1-13, Matthew 4:1-11). If we ask ourselves why Jesus’ ministry was so fruitful and effective, we should surely not look to His divinity alone (Mark 9:29).’

Michael Lloyd, 2005, Café Theology, London: Alpha International, p.282-283

Do you question God’s love for you, personally? Do you say to yourself, ‘If God’s love is so great for me why am I going through such a difficult time? If God loves me why doesn’t he help and answer my prayers? Friends, do you see this is a wrong understanding of God’s love. God doesn’t demonstrate his love for us by immediately answering our every prayer. If every prayer we ever prayed were answered there’d be no such thing as faith and God would just be like a genie at our beck and call. Nowhere in scripture are we told that God is committed to our agenda… not until, that is, we are first committed to His.

Why, then, does it take God so long to do things? Well, because delayed answers to prayer and unanswered questions create trust. When you don’t know you have to trust the One who does, and that keeps us growing in faith. Sometimes you just have to faith it out until you can figure it out! But the fact is, it’s through our difficulties, pain and struggles that God tests us and refines us.

Think about the troubles you’ve faced. Have they refined your faith in God? Have they developed in you a perseverance and maturity? Have they given you a greater longing for the day when Jesus returns?

“Praying teaches us our unworthiness, which is a very healthy lesson for proud beings like us. If God gave us favours without compelling us to pray for them, we would never know how poor we are.”

Charles H. Spurgeon

Charles H. Spurgeon, Morning By Morning, October 13

A Prayer by General Douglas MacArthur (1880-1964)

Lord, build me a son who’ll be strong enough to know when he is weak and brave enough to face himself when he is afraid; one who is proud and unbending in defeat, yet humble and gentle in victory. Build me a son whose wishbone will not be where his backbone should be; a son who will first know You and then know himself, for that is the true foundation of all knowledge. Lead him, I pray, not in the path of ease and comfort, but under the stress and spur of difficulties and challenge. There let him learn to stand in the storm, yet have compassion for those who fall.

Build me a son whose heart is clear and whose goals are high; who’ll master himself before he seeks to master other men; one who’ll learn to laugh, yet never forget how to weep; to reach into the future, yet never forget the past. And after all these things are his, add I pray, enough of a sense of humour that, though serious, he may never take himself too seriously. And above all, Lord, give him enough humility to know that true greatness requires simplicity, true wisdom requires an open mind and true strength requires meekness. Only when this has been accomplished will I, his father, dare to whisper, “I have not lived in vain.”

Prayer Meetings: ‘Praying is like music. Instruments played on their own are good, but there is depth and richness of sound when a number play together. Praying with others will deeply enrich your prayer life. The Bible promises God’s special presence when groups meet for prayer, and it records some pretty spectacular answers to prayer. Have a look at the story of Peter’s miraculous escape from prison as an example of the power of group prayer (Acts 12:5-17). – Stephen Gaukroger

Stephen Gaukroger, First Steps: The handbook to following Christ, p.71

Why does God keep us waiting sometimes, and delay an answer to prayer? Thomas Watson, a Puritan pastor from 350 years ago, suggested a number of reasons:

  • Because he loves to hear the voice of prayer. – “You let the musician play for a long while before you throw down the money, because you love to hear his music.”
  • That God might humble us. We may too easily assume we merit some ready answer, or that he is at our beck and call like a butler, not as sovereign Lord.
  • It may be that God sees we are not yet fit or ready for the mercy we seek. It could be there are a million pieces to the puzzle and some things have to go first to make way for others.
  • Finally, that the mercy we pray for may be the more prized, and may be sweeter when it comes.

“Jesus isn’t praying for us; He is interceding for us so we can pray. That is what is meant by asking ‘in His name.’”

Dutch Sheets

Dutch Sheets, Intercessory Prayer , p.39.

Two pastor’s wives were sitting mending their husband’s trousers. One of them said to the other, “My poor Andrew, he’s totally discouraged in his work at church. He told me yesterday he was thinking of packing it all in. Nothing seems to go right for him.”

The other replied, “Well, for my husband it’s the complete opposite. He’s so vibrant and on fire, it seems like the Lord is closer to him than ever before.”

There was a subdued stillness as they continued to mend their husband’s trousers; the first one patching the seat of the pants, the other the knees!

Source: Simon Guillbaud, For What It’s Worth, 2006, Oxford: Monarch Books, p.80

Day by day, Lord,

Three things I pray:

to see you more clearly

love you more dearly,

follow you more nearly,

day by day. Amen.

St. Richard of Chichester (1197-1253), English Bishop, also known as Richard de Wyche

When God doesn’t give us answers to our questions it’s because He is training us to trust him.

Why do you complain, Jacob? Why do you say, Israel, “My way is hidden from the Lord; my cause is disregarded by my God”? Do you not know? Have you not heard? The Lord is the everlasting God, the Creator of the ends of the earth. He will not grow tired or weary, and his understanding no one can fathom. He gives strength to the weary and increases the power of the weak. Even youths grow tired and weary, and young men stumble and fall; but those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint.

Isaiah 40:27-31 NIV

If your troubles are deep seated and of long standing, try kneeling! (Anon.)

The Prayer of Jabez:

And Jabez called on the God of Israel saying, “Oh, that You would bless me indeed, and enlarge my territory, that Your hand would be with me, and that You would keep me from evil, that I may not cause pain!” So God granted him what he requested. – 1 Chronicles 4:10 (New King James Version)

Praying in Jesus’ Name (adapted from a Joyce Meyer illustration):

When our youngest [daughter went to Uganda on a church mission trip, we had to delegate our authority to others adults who travelled with her]. In order for those who were caring for her in our absence to get medical treatment for her if it was needed, we had to sign a legal document stating that they had the right to use our name on our [daughter’s] behalf, literally, to make decisions in our place.

That is what Jesus did for His disciples and, ultimately, for all who would believe in Him. He said that God would answer when we pray using His name. This is the authority you and I have been granted in His name.

His name takes His place, His name represents Him. When we pray in His name, it is the same as if He were praying. This privilege seems almost too wonderful to believe! But we can believe it because we have Scripture to back it up (John 16:23-24). So use the authority of Jesus’ name and put that power to work to overcome evil and bring the blessings of God to this world.

Adapted from Joyce Meyer, Promises for Your Everyday Life, daily devotional on YouVersion, day 110 of 365

Prayer is not just monologue. It is dialogue. God speaks to us as we pray. Samuel said, “Speak, LORD, for your servant is listening” (1 Samuel 3:10). But we all too often say, ‘Listen, Lord, for your servant is speaking!’

“A neglect of prayer is the beginning of all spiritual decline.”

Charles Spurgeon

If the request is wrong, God says, “No.”
If the timing is wrong. God says, “Slow.”
If you are wrong, God says, “Grow.”
But if the request is right, the timing is right,
and you are right, then God says, “Go!”

Anon

The less you pray the less you want to pray. The more you pray the more you want to pray.

Perhaps you have heard of the massive church growth there has been in Korea. The number of Christians has grown from virtually nothing to about a third of the population. If you ask the people there why the church has seem so much growth, they would say, ‘Because of prayer.’ If you are a bit cynical like me, you will probably respond to that by saying, ‘Yes, of course… but what’s the real reason?’ We are not happy that it might be that simple; that God is answering a people who are devoted to prayer. (One of the largest churches in Seoul has a prayer meeting at 4:30am every day. That’s a church devoted to prayer.)

Graham Beynon

Graham Beynon, 2005, God’s New Community, Nottingham: IVP, p.133

This is the confidence we have in approaching God: that if we ask anything according to his will, he hears us. And if we know that he hears us – whatever we ask – we know that we have what we asked of him.

1 John 5:14-15 NIV

When we ask the Father for something “in the name of Jesus,” it is as though Jesus himself were asking it. Remembering this will help us from asking for things unworthy of his name.

Warren Wiersbe

The Transformation Study Bible (NLT), Colorado USA: David C. Cook Publishers (2009), p.1839

Getting down on our knees is the way to get back on our feet.

Jesus said, “I tell you the truth, if you have faith as small as a mustard seed, you can say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there’ and it will move. Nothing will be impossible for you.” (Matthew 17:20.) – But God very often makes us wait. He wants us to persevere and get serious in prayer so that we never take His mountain-moving answers for granted. – Explore

Explore Bible notes 18/7/2002

P.U.S.H. = Pray Until Something Happens

The enemy does not want married couples praying together. I recall my first encounter with what I believe was an angel… Shortly after Suzanne and I became Christians, we came home from church one Sunday and we were in the kitchen and decided that we would pray together for the very first time. Well after nervously hesitating, stumbling and going through the ‘you start – no, no, you go first’ routine, I eventually opened with the words “Dear God…” At that precise moment there was a crash on the landing at the top of the stairs, where our infant son had fallen! Instinctively, Suzanne dashed out of the kitchen, through the lounge to the hallway and bounded up the stairs where our son was balancing on the top step, facing backwards and upside down on his head with his arms outstretched as if he was doing a headstand! He was balancing in an impossible position as though an invisible force – an angel? – was holding him in place until Suzanne managed to scramble up the stairs and catch him, completely unharmed; just as he toppled over into her arms! – Somehow he had managed to climb out of his cot; somehow the stair gate had been opened and somehow he managed to climb through. – We praised God and started praying together immediately after that!

R. Ian Seymour

Let me ask you this: When you think of cherubim or angels what do you see in your mind’s eye? Cherubim are formidable warriors with swords – not podgy infants with wings. (Genesis 3:24 says mighty cherubim with a flaming sword guard the entrance to Eden.) ‘And if, when you think of an angel, you picture a fairy in a nightie with a halo made of tinsel, then think again! Angels are the armed forces of heaven. They’re the Marines! And God has sent them not just to serve Jesus, but also to serve us as his people.’

Explore Bible notes 7/12/2014

A Child’s Prayer: “Lord, please make the bad people good and the good people nice.”

Jesus said, “If you believe you will receive whatever you ask for in prayer.”

Matthew 21:22

“He who runs from God in the morning will scarcely find Him in the rest of the day.”

John Bunyan (1628-1688), English church minister and writer

Life is fragile – handle with prayer.

Prayer meetings create God meetings.

Do you feel like God isn’t answering your prayers? (…) All of us go through times when it feels like God has moved and left no forwarding address. What’s he up to? Why doesn’t he respond? There are some lessons you only learn when God is silent: (1) Silence isn’t absence. An old proverb says, ‘Speech is silver, silence is gold!’ Sometimes God says to you, ‘Be still, and know that I am God’ (Psalm 46:10). You have to be really secure with somebody to just sit quietly with them. Silence takes the emphasis off words and builds a level of intimacy where they’re no longer necessary. If you want to be comfortable with God, learn to enter into meditation and silence with him. (2) Silence tests your faith. How much faith is actually involved when somebody’s coaching your every step? It’s like a parent running alongside a child who’s learning to ride a bike. Right now, the child lacks confidence, but they’re going to look strange at age twenty if that parent is still trotting along beside them! At some point God takes his hands off the wheel to see how far you’ve progressed. And for a while it can be a wobbly ride. That’s when you demonstrate how far you’ve come, and where you’re placing your trust.

Bob Gass

Source: The UCB Word For Today, 17/8/2017

It would be a terrible thing if God always gave us what we asked for, as we would never be able to pray with confidence. We would always be afraid of making an awful mistake. Martin Lloyd-Jones wrote: “I thank God that He is not prepared to do anything that I chance to ask Him, and I say that as a result of my own experience. In my past life I, like many others, have often asked God for things, which at the time I wanted very much and which I believed were the very best things for me. But now, standing at this particular juncture in my life and looking back, I can say that I am profoundly grateful to God that He did not grant me certain things for which I asked, and that He shut certain doors in my face. At the time I did not understand, but I know now, and am grateful to God for it. So I thank God that this is not a universal promise, and that God is not going to grant me every desire and request. God has a much better way for us…”

Cited by Nicky Gumbel in The Jesus Lifestyle, 2010, London: Alpha International, p.209-210

Jesus said, “Your Father knows what you need before you ask him” (Matthew 6:8). Why then do we need to ask him? What’s the point of prayer? Well what kind of a relationship would it be if there was no communication? It is through prayer that we get to know Him. John Calvin (the 16th Century Reformist) summarised our need to pray like this: “Believers do not pray with the view of informing God about things unknown to him, or of exciting him to do his duty, or of urging him as though he were reluctant. On the contrary, they pray in order that they may arouse themselves to seek him, that they may exercise their faith in meditating on his promises, that they may relieve themselves from their anxieties by pouring them into his bosom; in a word that they may declare that from him alone they hope and expect, both for themselves and for others, all good things.”

Cited in Through The Bible Through The Year by John Stott, p.201

I wonder if you have ever watched The Simpsons, the yellow animated characters on TV. In one episode Homer Simpson says, “Dear Lord, the gods have been good to me. As an offering, I present these milk and cookies. If you wish me to eat them instead, please give me no sign whatsoever. Then there’s a brief pause. Thy biding will be done,’ says Homer and the he promptly scoffs the lot. – Homer thinks God is absent, silent, impotent maybe, and so, in no-way is he expecting to ever hear from him! But that is definitely not the experience of millions and millions of Christians around the world.

In the third sentence of the Bible we are told God created light (Genesis 1:3). Do you know how fast light travels; what the speed of light is? – 186,000 miles a second! If we could travel at the speed of light then time as we know it would cease to exist. If we could travel at 186,000 miles a second, time would be instantaneous to us; it would be as though we could travel forwards and backwards simultaneously! God is like that. That’s why the Bible says: “And do not forget this one thing, dear friends: With the Lord a day is like a thousand years, and a thousand years are like a day. The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness.” (2 Peter 3:8-9)

In the United States, research by Barna Group found that 84% of American adults claim they had prayed in the past week.

http://www.churchleaders.com/pastors/pastor-articles/150915-u-s-statistics-on-prayer.html (accessed 5/2011)

Why pray? Why present your requests to God at all? What’s the purpose, when he already knows what you are going to ask? Prayer is actually for your benefit. It allows you to act in faith on what you know about his character. When you pray in specific ways and you see God respond in specific ways, your faith grows. You come to trust that God will always be there for you, even in the midst of the most anxiety-producing moments. – Max Lucado

Max Lucado, Anxious For Nothing, devotional on YouVersion, day 3 of 5

Is anything too hard for the Lord?

Genesis 18:14 NIV

I am the LORD, the God of all mankind. Is anything too hard for me?

Jeremiah 32:27 NIV

Prayerise, Visualise, Verbalise, Actualise

‘The Fisherman’s Prayer’

God grant that I may live to fish

Until my dying day,

And when my final cast I’ve made

And life has slipped away,

I pray that God’s great landing net

Will catch me in its sweep;

And in His mercy, God will judge me

Big enough to keep. – Anon

“He that loveth little prayeth little; he that loveth much prayeth much.”

St. Augustine (354-430)

Games can’t be won
Unless they are played.
Prayers can’t be answered
Unless they are prayed.

Helen Steiner Rice

The Lord has ordained that our prayers play an important part in His providential answers.

“You can do more than pray after you have prayed, but you can’t do more than pray until you have prayed.”

John Bunyan

I want to encourage you to prioritise a daily quiet time with God. We understand the importance of communicating and spending regular time with our family and loved ones, in order to nurture and maintain our relationship and love for each other. How much more with God? When it comes to spending time with our family, people (men especially) often fall into the trap of saying that it’s quality time and not quantity of time that counts. Well, I’m here to tell you that saying is a load of old baloney, probably made up by an overworked executive to ease his guilty conscience. The fact is you can only enjoy quality time after you have put in quantity time first! Think about it! If, pretty much, the only time you spend with the Lord is maybe for an hour or so on a Sunday (every other week or three) well then, your personal relationship and prayer life is going to be sorely affected! Pastor, Tony Evans writes: “We all want to be remembered. And we all will be – just for different reasons… Sometimes, when we are going through a tough time, we call out to God, don’t we? We say, “Lord, remember me.” Now my question to you is, if you prayed that prayer today, what would God remember about you? Would He look down and say, “Yes, I remember you. You were faithful. You used what you had for my glory. You made me a priority. You served people. You were not selfish. You honoured me, and when you blew it, you confessed. I remember you.”

No one wants God to say, “Yes, I remember you. I remember that you never had any time for me. I remember that I was last on your priority list. I remember that you gave me the leftovers of your time and energy and resources. I remember that you cut corners in your work. I remember that you gave your family little of your time. Yes, I remember you.” – When you call on God, how is He going to remember you?

Tony Evans, Time To Get Serious, Illinois: Crossway Books, p.192

‘A man prayed, and at first he thought prayer was talking. But then he became more and more quiet until in the end he realised that prayer is listening.’ – Interesting: The same letters that make the word ‘silent’ also make the word ‘listen’.

Jesus said, “If you remain in me and my words remain in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you.”

John 15:7 NIV

Guide me, O Thou great Jehovah,

Pilgrim through this barren land;

I am weak, but thou art mighty,

Hold me with Thy powerful hand.

William Williams (1717-1791)

Thine way, not mine, O Lord, however dark it be;

Lead me by Thine own hand, choose Thou the path for me.

Not mine, not mine the choice, in things both great and small,

Be Thou my Guide, my Strength, my Wisdom and my All.

H. Bonar

[Jesus] withdrew about a stone’s throw beyond them, knelt down and prayed, “Father, if you are willing, take this cup from me; yet not my will, but yours be done.”

Luke 22:41-42

Prayer Lets Pray For Our Nation To Know Jesus Thy Kingdom Come 2017