The Ultimate Guide to Prayer

Uncategorized Apr 26, 2017

  If you’re like most people, you’ve uttered a prayer or two.

  “Oh God, please!!!! Get me out of this mess!”

  Or, “Lord, we desperately need You to…”

  And unless you are in the elite group of 16% of pastors who said they were satisfied with their prayer lives, you are most likely DIS-satisfied with the effectiveness of your prayers.

  Don’t give in to despair, don’t give up, not just yet.

  Just keep reading. I’m about to tell you how you can experience answers to your prayers. I’m going to tell you how you can know that ALL of God’s promises are true, even the most bodacious ones.

  Aren’t you ready to experience answered prayers?!

  If so, start by praying this:

  LORD, I want to learn to pray. I want to experience Your power working in my life. I want to be a witness to Your intimate involvement in the details of my life. I want to be the kind of pray-er that causes all of hell to fall silent when I bend my knees. Oh God, please, teach me to pray. Amen.

PART 1: Prayer Defined

Prayer defined:
   In its purest and simplest form, prayer is communication with God.  

The Hebrew (original language of the Old Testament) word for prayer is: Tefilah (תפילה) generally translated into English as the word "prayer."

  It carries with it the concept of begging, beseeching, and imploring. To read more, check out this article: The Meaning of Prayer 

  In the Greek language (the original language of the New Testament) there are several words translated prayer: (this information is available at www.biblestudytools.com

·        Proseuche—This word represents an actual prayer to God and a place of prayer in its origin. The combination of pros meaning “WORD” and euche meaning “vow” expand the meaning of prayer to the follower of Jesus in the first century to include the element of sacrifice which we will discuss further in a bit. This word is used 37 times in the New Testament and translated to the English word: prayer. (Ephesians 6:18)

Note this commentary on proseuche: This word, proseuche, shows us two important things about prayer.

1.      It tells us that prayer should bring us face-to-face with God in an intimate relationship. Prayer is the vehicle to bring us into a close, intimate relationship with God.

 

2.       Secondly, the idea of sacrifice is also associated with prayer. It depicts an altar of sacrifice and consecration in prayer where our lives are yielded entirely to God. It is a place of decision and surrender where we freely vow to give our lives in exchange to God for His divine life imparted to us. Because the word proseuche has to do with this type of surrender, sacrifice, and consecration, it is apparent that God wants to do more than merely bless us. He wants to transform us! He wants us to place our lives in His hands as we come before His throne.

  Read more at Greek Word Study on Prayer


        Deesis—This word is translated “petition” in the KJV and means a desire, request or even desperate desire. It is used 19 times in the New Testament. (James 5:17) 

  As we consider the definition of prayer from the original languages of Scripture, we have to acknowledge that Effective prayer is communication with God that increases intimacy with Him in direct proportion to our willingness to yield ourselves to Him.

Prayer is more than formal correspondence; it is intimate exchange that results in personal transformation.

  Stop right here for just a moment and reread that sentence. “Prayer is intimate exchange that results in personal transformation.”

  Don’t read any further if you don’t want to change. For prayer will change you. You cannot spend time in the presence of the LORD God Almighty and expect to remain the same. If you like the way you are, if you like the way your life is; if you like the comfort of the familiar, you don’t want to learn to pray.

  Trust me, I know.

  When you pray, you change. It’s as simple as that.

  While intimacy and transformation is foundational to the experience of prayer, the very heart of prayer is in asking God to do what only He can do in your life on your behalf and asking God to do what only He can do through your life on the behalf of others.

  But the scope of prayer doesn’t stop with the asking. The real meaning of prayer includes God answering those requests according to His person, His power and his purpose.

   I love what Andrew Murray says about prayer (and Andrew Murray had much to say about prayer): 

“The place and power of prayer in the Christian life is too little understood. As long as we view prayer simply as the means of maintaining our own Christian lives, we will not fully understand what it is really supposed to be. But when we learn to regard it as the highest part of the work entrusted to us—the root and strength of all other work—we will see that there is nothing we need to study and practice more than the art of praying…The Father waits to hear every prayer of faith. He wants to give us whatever we ask for in Jesus’ name.”

  And my friend, don’t miss this profound truth—the truth that changes everything in regards to prayer. Andrew Murray said,

"God intends prayer to have an answer and no one has yet fully conceived what God will do for the child who believes that his prayer will be heard. God hears prayer.”

(Excerpt taken from With Christ in the School of Prayer)

  Did you get that? God intends prayer to have an answer. I was often taught that the primary purpose of prayer was for me to recognize and acknowledge the sovereignty of God in all things.

That was code for, “God’s going to do whatever He wants to do so you might as well reconcile yourself to this fact. When you pray you may or may not have insight into the ‘why’ behind His ‘what.’”

  I didn’t like that answer, that’s why I was delighted to discover that God really does mean what He says when He tells us that He hears AND answers us when we pray!

  We simply cannot begin to comprehend the true mystery and power of prayer without the confident assurance that God hears us when we pray, and He answers us because we pray.

Psalm 145 serves as a powerful UMPH to the truth of this lesson:

Psalm 145:13-19

Your kingdom is an everlasting kingdom, and your dominion endures through all generations.

The LORD is faithful to all his promises and loving toward all he has made. 

The LORD upholds all those who fall and lifts up all who are bowed down. 

The eyes of all look to you, and you give them their food at the proper time. 

You open your hand and satisfy the desires of every living thing.

The LORD is righteous in all his ways and loving toward all he has made. 

The LORD is near to all who call on him, to all who call on him in truth. 

He fulfills the desires of those who fear him; he hears their cry and saves them.

 

PART 2: What Prayer Is and Isn’t
Prayer is Conversation with God:

   So prayer is talking, and talking is only one sided when one person likes to talk more than they like to listen.

  Prayer is the two-way conversation between us and God.

  Two-way conversation means me talking to you and you talking to me. It involves speaking and listening; talking and being quiet.

  Just like communication in any relationship, the power of your prayer life grows in direct proportion to the depth of your relationship. I could meet you for coffee and carry on a conversation and we might get to know one another better. But I could meet my son for coffee and jump right into the middle of his latest greatest dream and genuinely share his excitement; offer some advice and both of us leave the coffee shop one step closer to the realization of his dream!

  My son and I have had a lifetime to develop relationship with one another, and not all of that was spent talking in an allotted timeframe. For 18 years of his life we did life together. This is what you want to develop in your relationship with God, the more familiar you are with one another—familiarity that grows through “doing life together” the more powerful your prayer life will be.

  That’s a bit theoretic. And you are most likely more interested in some step by step stuff.

  Here you go: In order to further explain what prayer is, let me first tell you three things prayer is not:

3 Things Prayer is NOT:
 

1. Prayer is not magical power. Be sure to remember that supernatural power resides in God, not in the practice of prayer. If we’re not careful we’ll begin to approach prayer like a magic wand where; if we learn the right words and methods, we can “hocus pocus” God into delivering “tricks.” That is NOT the purpose of prayer!

  God is not a “trickster” nor a magician, and He will not be “hocus-pocused” into anything.

2. Prayer is not getting God to do what you want Him to do. When Jesus taught His disciples to pray He didn’t say, “may Your will be done in heaven as it is on earth.” Instead He prayed “Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven.” This is perhaps one of the greatest hindrances to answered prayer today. We spend so much of our time trying to convince heaven to do earth’s bidding, all the while failing to realize that we are missing a foundational fact of prayer.

God is God and we are not.

  There you go, that’s big and deserves to be said outloud.

  God is not ever going to do what I did to Santa a few Christmases ago when I said, “Scoot over Santa, Nana’s coming to town!”

  It started with a late Christmas season trip to the mall. My daughter wanted her daughter (my granddaughter) to get the memory making picture of sitting in Santa’s lap. Misty, my then 2 year old granddaughter never met a stranger. So we were completely unprepared for her terror of Santa! But being the Nana with a quick plan, I came up with a solution to our tear-filled dilemma. And here it is.

“Scoot over Santa, Nana’s coming to town!”

  Voila! Picture taken, memory made.

  All too often we approach the throne room of the Almighty God and pray as if we expect Him to make room for us on His throne.

  Here’s how I realized I was doing this. I was dealing with a desperate situation and longed for God to exert some of His resurrection power in my circumstances. My fervent prayers offered God one solution after another until one day I sensed the Holy Spirit speak to me and say,

“Leighann, you will never, ever hear me say this: ‘You know what, Leighann, I’ve never thought of that idea before. You’ve got a pretty good handle on this situation that you think needs My divine intervention. I would imagine that if you could see it completely from My perspective, here on the throne, you might be able to do even better. I’ll just scoot over and let you have at it.’”

  I’ve got some Nana power that can perhaps scoot Santa over but it’s not going to fly with God. He’s on His throne, and He’s not scooting over for anyone or anything, not even you and your good ideas. If only we would learn to pray God’s plans and not our own, then (and only then) we would experience God’s supernatural power impacting earth as it does in heaven. We will discuss this more in a bit.

Right now let me give you scriptural proof of the point I’m making. I John 5:14-15 say this,

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.

3. Prayer is not a formula. Some people would have me deliver a step by step plan to help you to develop your prayer life. But how does one develop love? Love is developed but it is unique to each person and the development of love is an individual journey. Just like the love experienced between husband and wife, the best of friends and close family members, so is the love that grows between God and man.

  You develop your prayer life in the same way you develop intimate communication with those precious to you; great communication results from interaction with one another. Through the experiences of doing life together you learn to trust one another, understand one another and therefore share deeply of yourself with one another.

  So it is with God.

  Prayer develops as you interact with Him through the circumstances of life (especially those that stretch your previous understanding of Him). The effectiveness of your prayers increase as you grow to trust Him (in those same situations).

Prayer is not a formula, it is a relationship.

  Now that you know 3 things prayer is not, let me tell you 4 things prayer is:

4 Things Prayer IS:
  Prayer was created by God as His chosen means for interacting and communicating with us in a dynamic, intimate, personal relationship.

When we pray, we yield ourselves to His Lordship and His authority…then God responds to our prayers according to His plans. This is the way we partner with Him in His kingdom work.

 1. Prayer is a privilege.

Therefore, brothers, since we have confidence to enter the Most Holy Place by the blood of Jesus, by a new and living way opened for us through the curtain, that is, his body, and since we have a great priest over the house of God, let us draw near to God with a sincere heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled to cleanse us from a guilty conscience and having our bodies washed with pure water. Hebrews 10:10-22 NIV

  When Jesus died on the cross the veil that separated the people from the Holy of Holies (representing the Presence of God) was torn in two from top to bottom.  (see Matthew 27:51)

  When God ripped the veil in two He declared the guilt of sin that separated man and God was removed. Sin separates us from God. But Jesus’ death paid sin’s price and purchased our salvation. So today we can boldly go where no man could go prior to Jesus’ death on the cross. Today, we can come boldly to the throne of grace.

  Beware of entering that sacred place with an entitlement attitude or arrogance. Go boldly in reverence, humility and awe, for you are wading in the blood of Jesus when you approach the throne of God.

   Many people fail to pray because they fail to realize the powerful privilege they have to hold audience with God.

2. Prayer is a partnership.

  “In the same way, the Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groans that words cannot express. And he who searches our hearts knows the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for the saints in accordance with God’s will.” Romans 8:26-27 NIV

  You do not come to pray all alone. Prayer is a conversation between God Almighty and you. (God is a Person, in that we were created in His image and therefore can share intellectual and emotional relationship with one another.) You don’t have to carry the weight of the success of your prayer life on your own shoulders. If you will offer yourself to God and humbly invite Him to teach you to pray, He will take the lead! God Himself will teach you to pray. Begin your time in prayer by confessing your inability to pray and you will soon find yourself praying with the best Teacher ever.

“Lord, I don’t know how to pray, but I want to learn, will You teach me?”

  Sometimes we don’t know what is best and therefore we’re not sure we are praying for the right things. Our prayers miss the mark because we are motivated by misdirected love that short changes itself in the name of comfort and we so we pray amiss. We don’t pray the deeper prayers that give voice to the true and perfect love of God.

  One of the best ways to evaluate your “what” when you pray is to ask yourself “why” until you get to the root of your prayer. For instance, I might ask God to expand my ministry.

  Why? God might ask, to which I might be honest or I might be “spiritual.” (You might fool yourself but you won’t fool God.) So, my answer might be, “so my book will sell when it’s released next year.”

  Why? God might ask, and again I get to choose whether or not to be honest—“Uh, so more people will read it and their lives will be changed.”

  Why? God would then probe further and I might answer, “Because changed lives alleviate pain and suffering.”

  And my honesty might lead to a spiritual discovery as God reminds me that any pain and suffering that draws people to recognize more of Him is good and not bad. Then God might impress me with the secret of all answered prayer. (Which I will tell you in a minute.)

3. Prayer is a practice.

  [Jesus said] “And when you pray, …” Matthew 6:5 NIV

  Jesus’ disciples noticed the authority of His teaching and the miracles that characterized His ministry. Then, they noticed His practice of prayer.  They determined that there was a direct correlation between Jesus’ prayer life and the supernatural authority and power demonstrated in His ministry life. So, they asked Him to teach them to pray.

  When Jesus began to teach them, He didn’t say, “do this before you pray,” He said, “when you pray, pray like this…”

Prayer is more powerful when you practice it!

  My friends, the reason we see so little evidence of the power of God demonstrated in the lives of His people today is because God’s people don’t pray!!

  The best way to practice prayer is every day, all the time.

  “Be joyful always; pray continually; give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.” I Thessalonians 5:16-17 NIV

4. Prayer is powerful.

  “I tell you the truth, whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven. Again, I tell you that it two of you on earth agree about anything you ask for, it will be done for you by my Father in heaven. For where two or three come together in my name, there am I with them.” Matthew 18:18-20 NIV

  Watchman Nee teaches that because God gave man free will He insists on waiting for man to agree with Him freely before He will exert His will on earth.

  Think about that.

   If God is all powerful and if God’s power is all good…if God is all knowing and all God’s knowledge is perfect…if God is all loving and His love is unfailing…

…what a tragedy that we don’t line our own sin-stained, limited and weak hearts and minds up with God’s! Our prayerlessness leaves most of what God has a mind to do; and most of what God has a will to do; UNDONE!!

  And this leads us to discover the purpose of prayer.

PART 3: Prayer’s Purpose and Value

  Let me begin by asking a few questions.

1.      Is there anything you can tell God that He doesn’t already know?

2.      Does God need your praise and worship?

3.      Is there any idea you have that God hasn’t already had?

  The significance and importance of prayer is not found in what we have to say to God but more in what God has to say to us. Prayer brings us into alignment with the Master mind of the Universe! Once we are aligned, God then chooses to express Himself to the world through our very lives. Jesus meant what He said when He challenged us with this statement:

I tell you the truth, anyone who has faith in me will do what I have been doing. He will do even greater things than these, because I am going to the Father. John 14:12

  I don’t know if you’ve seen it or not, but there’s a movie out that expresses the truth of what I am saying. In Hero 6, the superhero (who is a confused teenager) created tiny little robots who are nothing more than seemingly innocent magnets. But when those tiny robots get together they become a powerful force. They are controlled by a mind sensor. In the movie, whomever wore the sensor controlled the little robots. Well, you can imagine what happened. The mind sensor was stolen by the “bad guy” and so our superhero recruits some of his friends and the 6 of them embark on a mission to recover it. All the while they are set back by the army of tiny little robots.

  First the superheroes tried to take the sensor off the villain’s head, but after several humiliating failures they realized that all they had to do to break the sensor’s power was to separate the tiny robots from the villain. So, they refocused their energy from removing the mind sensor off the villain to breaking the bond of the robots. And, victory was won! Of course my favorite line from the movie was this,

"We didn't set out to be superheroes. But sometimes life doesn't go the way you planned."

Don’t you love that? It’s the way I feel about prayer. I didn’t set out to be a prayer warrior, but sometimes life doesn’t go the way you planned.

  The point I want to make with Hero 6 is that the superheroes broke the bond that held those tiny robots together and then they defeated their enemy. This principle of connection works in relationship to prayer and spiritual realities. Satan knows this well, and we would do well to learn it too. There is power in our unbroken connection with God. But when that connection is severed (by sin, by flesh, by worldly affections and prayerlessness), Satan (the villain) gains power over us to steal, kill and destroy what is good in our lives. Likewise, prayer works for us in breaking free from the power Satan wields over us! When we pray, we allow the Holy Spirit to break the bonds we have with the “hooks” the enemy uses to detach us from God. And then, we reattach ourselves to the real Master mind of the universe and we are once again authoritative extensions of His power on earth!

Just remember, the power is not in us but in God. When we link ourselves to His mind He will use us to accomplish things that would be impossible without Him.

  Go see the movie you’ll be glad you did.

  Now that you know the definition of prayer, and the purpose of prayer, let’s discuss the importance of prayer.

Why is prayer important?
    The best source for discovering the importance of prayer is God’s Word, the Bible. (The Bible is an important tool in prayer; for God speaks to us often in His Word.)

  First of all note these truths.

Prayer is not important because…

·        God needs to know what we’ve got to tell Him.

“Before a word is on my tongue, you know it completely, O Lord.” Psalm 139:4

·        God is waiting to see if we are good enough pray-ers to get His job done.

“Do not be like them for your Father knows what you need before you ask.” Matthew 6:8

·        God is eager to reward our efforts, God is eager to do FAR MORE than any effort could possibly deserve.

“Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us.” Ephesians 3:20

Prayer is important because…

·        God rewards us when we pray.

“But when you pray, go into your room, close the door and pray to your Father, who is unseen. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you. “ (Matthew 6:6)

·        We hear God’s voice when we pray.

“My sheep listen to my voice; I know them and they follow me.” John 10:27

·        We can be about our Father’s business when we pray.

“By myself I can do nothing; I judge only as I hear, and my judgment is just, for I seek not to please myself but him who sent me.” John 5:30

·        The power of God fills the earth when we pray.

“Is any one of you in trouble? He should pray. Is anyone happy? Let him sing songs of praise. 

Is any one of you sick? He should call the elders of the church to pray over him and anoint him with oil in the name of the Lord. And the prayer offered in faith will make the sick person well; the Lord will raise him up. If he has sinned, he will be forgiven. Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous man is powerful and effective.” James 5:13-16

3 Significant values of prayer:

1. Prayer is eternal.  

EM Bounds wrote, “The man who has done the most and the best praying is the most immortal, because prayers do not die. Perhaps the lips that uttered them are closed in death, or the heart that felt them may have ceased to beat, but the prayers live before God, and God’s heart is set on them. Prayers outlive the lives of those who uttered them—outlive a generation outlive an age, outlive a world.”

“And when he had taken it, the four living creatures and the twenty-four elders fell down before the Lamb. Each one had a harp and they were holding golden bowls full of incense, which are the prayers of the saints.” Revelation 5:8

2. Prayer is essential.

  EM Bounds again, “When God’s house on earth is a house of prayer, then God’s house in heaven is busy and powerful in its plans and movements.”

He goes on to also say, “God shapes the world by prayer. The more praying there is in the world, the better the world will be and the mightier the forces against evil everywhere. Prayer, in one phase of its operation, is a disinfectant and a preventative. It purifies the air; it destroys the contagion of evil. The very life and prosperity of God’s cause—even its very existence—depend on prayer. And the advance and triumph of His cause depend on one thing: that we ask of Him.”

“And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the saints.” Ephesians 6:18

3. Prayer unleashes the purposes and power of God.

  Charles Spurgeon said, “We must remember that the goal of prayer is the ear of God. Unless that is gained, the prayer has utterly failed. The uttering of it may have kindled devotional felling in our minds, the hearing of it may have comforted and strengthened the hearts of those with whom we have prayed, but if the prayer has not gained the heart of God, it has failed in its essential purpose.”

  Andrew Murray said, “The blessing of prayer is that you can ask and receive what you will: the highest exercise and the glory of prayer is that persevering importunity can prevail and obtain what God at first could not and would not do.”

  If we were to take Spurgeon’s and Murray’s statements out of context we might be tempted to believe that the goal of prayer is to convince heaven to do earth’s bidding. But remember that Jesus taught us to pray, “Thy kingdom come, Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven.”

“This, then, is how you should pray: " 'Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name, your kingdom come, your will be done on earth as it is in heaven.” Matthew 6:9-10

 Not vice versa.

  The power of God is not something to be harnessed and tamed. It is something to be submitted to! The ONLY right response to the power of God is surrender and submission.

  This truth leads me to the world’s best kept secret regarding prayer.

PART 4: How to Get God to Answer  Your Prayers

  So, if prayer gives you unhindered and bold access to the power of God, (Hebrews 10:19-23) and God desires to demonstrate His power and His love on the platform of your life, (Ephesians 3:20) how then do you experience answered prayer?

  Not too often?

  Me either, at least not until I discovered what I’m about to tell you.

  What I’m about to say will radically change your life if you let it.

God wants to answer your prayers.

  He does! And better than that…

God WILL answer your prayers.

  Think about that.

  If you are confident that God wants to answer your prayers and …

  you know He will answer your prayers,

  the answers to your prayer are only a prayer away.

   In order to explain the secret of prayer, I will use the parable Jesus used to teach his disciples to pray.

The parable of the reluctant friend:

  “Then, teaching them more about prayer, he used this illustration: ‘Suppose you went to a friend's house at midnight, wanting to borrow three loaves of bread. You would say to him, 'A friend of mine has just arrived for a visit, and I have nothing for him to eat.' He would call out from his bedroom, 'Don't bother me. The door is locked for the night, and we are all in bed. I can't help you this time.' But I tell you this -- though he won't do it as a friend, if you keep knocking long enough, he will get up and give you what you want so his reputation won't be damaged.  And so I tell you, keep on asking, and you will be given what you ask for. Keep on looking, and you will find. Keep on knocking, and the door will be opened. For everyone who asks, receives. Everyone who seeks, finds. And the door is opened to everyone who knocks. You fathers -- if your children ask for a fish, do you give them a snake instead? Or if they ask for an egg, do you give them a scorpion? Of course not! If you sinful people know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him."  Luke 11:5-14 (NLT)

Here are some of my observations regarding this parable.

1. The person praying (whom I will call the “pray-er”) has a personal relationship with both the one with the need and the one with the resources for meeting that need.

  The “pray-er” had a relationship that was personal with two other people in this story. First he had a friend that came to his house in the middle of night. Second he had a friend who lived in a house down the road—a friend to whom he went in order to ask for bread. His relationship with both of these people must have been close for one was willing to come to him in the middle of the night, and he was willing to interrupt the other in the middle of the night

  This is a necessity of intercession. You must have a personal relationship with those who need help and with the One who can provide the help that your friend needs. When you ask God to do something for someone else, you make their need your own. Then, you represent them to God. The “pray-er” in the parable made his hungry (traveling) friend’s request his own, then he represented this friends’ need to the friend who was sleeping (and apparently had bread).

2. The person praying went to his friend’s house. Why did he go to that particular house?  

·        He was his friend!

   It’s not explained, but Jesus implied that the “pray-er” loved his friend and his friend loved him.

   Some friends can be disturbed in the night, and some can’t.

   This was obviously the kind that could.

   There was much more to this relationship than just a knock on the door in the middle of the night.  Enough life had been shared together between these two for the “pray-er” to know he could interrupt his friend’s sleep and ask him for help.

 ·        He had bread!

   The “pray-er” knew his friend had bread.

  Note that the only prerequisite for being a good pray-er is having a good need.

   We make this so complicated! God created us to need exactly what He has to give.

   He’s the giver we are the receivers.

   No matter what you need, God’s got the provision.

   Not only that, but He has storehouses overflowing with provision just waiting on “pray-ers” who have the kind of relationship with Him that they can come and knock on His door in the middle of the night and ask Him for them.

 ·        He is certain his friend will give what him what he needs.  

   The “pray-er” knew he could interrupt his friend’s sleep, ask him for bread and receive bread from him. 

   He needed bread, his friend had bread, he was certain his friend would give him his bread.

 (Note the “pray-er” didn’t expect to be encouraged in his friendship through the experience of knocking, and then after some time to go away empty handed. The goal of his prayer was not the practice but the answer.)

 3. But then there’s a setback.

   Oops! Here’s the surprise.

   Our “pray-er” didn’t count on this! His friend said “no, not now!”

   What?! That doesn’t make sense!

   So, he just kept knocking, and by his “shameless persistence” he told his friend these things:

·        “I’m really not going away, you’ll get no rest until you answer me.”

·        “I really need that bread.”

·        “I really believe you’ve got some bread to give me.”

·        “I really trust our friendship.”

·        “I really believe you will get up and help me.”

 4. And finally the sleepy friend-with-bread gets up almost as if to say, “Alright, I’m coming for heaven’s sake!”

   I would imagine that he might have given his persistent friend 5 loaves of bread and a pint of goat’s milk to get him to go back home!

   And at the end of the story, Jesus said this,

“For everyone who asks, receives, everyone who seeks finds. And to everyone who knocks the door will be opened.” (Matthew 7:8)

  Herein lies the meaning of this parable.

 When you pray, you can expect an answer.

 But don’t stop here, read a bit further in Luke 11:14.

You fathers -- if your children ask for a fish, do you give them a snake instead? Or if they ask for an egg, do you give them a scorpion? Of course not! If you sinful people know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him."

 To further clarify, Jesus spoke of the innocent request of children to their fathers. Would any man, in his right man give his child a snake when he asked for a fish? A scorpion for an egg? Of course not!

   Does God delight in confusing you with your prayers?

   Does He take advantage of your weakness and use it to torture you?

   Is His purpose for you to pray and pray and pray simply to be chiseled on and made into the likeness of Christ and never give you what your heart yearns for?

   While being formed into the image of Christ is most certainly a major part of the “madness” of delays in prayer, it is not the goal.

   The goal of prayer is to receive the answers!

   The goal of prayer is to dispense heaven’s storehouses of their glorious riches! God stores riches in glory for one purpose only…to pour them out on those who pray!

   Note this phrase in the verse above (Luke 11:14): how much more…

How much more will your heavenly Father give…

How much more will your heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit…

How much more will your heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to those who ask Him.

God wants to answer your prayers.

God will answer your prayers.

God’s answer to your prayers is always more of Him.

How much more will your heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to those who ask Him?

The secret to answered prayer is to trust God to answer them with Himself!

God delights in proving Himself to us over and over again in our lives.

He delights in releasing heaven’s storehouses of riches on our behalf as we recognize that more of God = more of God’s goodness…

and mercy…

and freedom from the bondage of sin…

and love…

and peace…

and fulfillment and…

the list goes on and on. 

  Why would we be satisfied with a tiny little souvenir to represent the time we spent with God in prayer when He is eager to give us Himself?

 When we recognize that the answers to all of life’s worries are found in Him, we will be delighted to discover that the answers to all our prayers are YES in Christ Jesus to the glory of God the Father.

 For no matter how many promises God has made, they are "Yes" in Christ. And so through him the "Amen" is spoken by us to the glory of God.

2 Corinthians 1:20

 

   If you would like to learn more about prayer, check out my articles: 7 Barriers to Prayer, Overcoming the Challenges of Prayer, Prayers God always Answers, and Classic Arguments Regarding Prayer

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