Prayer: A Misunderstood and Misused Privilege!Handbook 3: Article 18 - Spiritual Facts or Fiction

Do the following Scriptures describe me?

"You have wearied the Lord with your words..."

Malachi 2:17

"When you come to appear before Me, who requires of your hand the trampling of My courts? Bring your worthless offerings no longer, their incense is an abomination to Me... So when you spread out your hands in prayer, I will hide My eyes from you. Yes, even though you multiply prayers, I will not listen..."

Isaiah 1:12, 13, 15

Is He wishing for someone like this?

"Oh, that there were one among you who would shut the gate (or doors), that you might not uselessly kindle fire on My altar..."

Malachi 1:10

Prayer -- A Marvelous Privilege.

"Who is like the Lord our God,
Who is enthroned on high,
Who humbles Himself to behold
The things that are in heaven and in earth?"

Psalm 113:6

"What is man, that You take thought of him?
And the son of man that You care for him?"

Psalm 8:4

"For what great nation is there who has a god so near to it as is the Lord our God whenever we call on Him?"

Deuteronomy 4:7

Prayer -- A Misused Privilege. Scripture tells us that we do not know how to pray.

"...the Spirit helps our weakness; for we do not know how to pray as we should..."

Romans 8:26, 27

Romans 8 also tells us we don't know what to pray!

"...the Spirit Himself intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words, and He who searches the hearts knows what the mind of the Spirit is, because He intercedes for the saints according to the will of God. Scripture also tells us we are not to pray alone."

"Pray at all times in the Spirit, with all prayer and entreating, to that end keep alert and watch with strong purpose, interceding on behalf of all the saints."

Ephesians 6:18

And we are to pray according to His will.

"And this is the confidence which we have toward Him that if we ask anything according to His will, He hears us."

1 John 5:14

A Personal Note:

I learned the hard way that praying fervently and repetitiously from the wants and desires of my own heart is spiritually hazardous ...I did not wait for His counsel, but craved intensely in the wilderness, and put God to the test... So He gave me my request but sent a leanness into (my) soul (Psalm 106:13-15).

During the difficult days that followed, I learned that I did not know how or what or when to pray. And I was silent before God for a time -- I was prayer shy. But during those silent days the Holy Spirit begin to teach me how to separate my desires from God's desires, my will from God's will. I called it pray-reading. (Handbook 1, Article 8)

Prayer Essentials:

Knowing and praying only His will:

"And this is the confidence which we have toward Him that if we ask anything according to His will, He hears us. And if we know that He hears us in whatever we ask, we know that we have the requests which we have asked from Him."

1 John 5:14, 15

Faith:

"I say to you, all things for which you pray and ask, believe that you have received them, and they shall be granted you."

Mark 11:24

Obedience:

"...whatever we ask we receive from Him, because we keep His commandments, and do the things that are pleasing in His sight."

1 John 3:22

"If you abide in Me, and My words abide in you, ask whatever you wish and it shall be done for you. By this is My Father glorified, that you bear much fruit and so prove to be My disciples."

John 15:7

True Prayer Begins with God -- True Prayer is Prayer in the Spirit:

"Many times prayers are only an exercise of the mind; they do not have the inspiration of the Spirit. The believers themselves are the origin of the prayer. 'True prayer begins at the heart of God; is made known to the hearts of men, is prayed back to God again and God answers... The will of God is the starting point, we voice it, God does it. All spiritual prayer is prayer in the Spirit. All spiritual prayers originate from God. True prayer is the exercising of God's will -- God shows us what he wants, we stand and ask, and God acts from heaven."

Watchman Nee

And suddenly this Scripture sheds new light on the privilege and the service of prayer -- the binding and loosing that Jesus spoke of is accomplished through prayer!

"Truly I say to you, whatever you shall bind on earth shall have been bound in heaven; and whatever you loose on earth shall have been loosed in heaven. Again I say to you, that if two of you agree on earth about anything that they may ask, it shall be done for them by My Father who is in heaven. For where two or three have gathered together in My name, there am I in the midst."

Matthew 18:18-20

Can this be true? Can two or three gathered in His name (Jesus standing in their midst) bring to pass the will of God (the binding and loosing) on earth through their prayers?

"Then Joshua spoke to the Lord in the day when the Lord delivered up the Amorites before the sons of Israel, and he said in the sight of Israel, 'O sun, stand still, and O moon in the valley of Aijalon...'; And the sun stopped in the middle of the sky, and did not hasten to go down for about a whole day. And there was no day like that before or after it, when the Lord listened to the voice of a man; for the Lord fought for Israel."

Joshua 1:12-14

"The effective prayer (Lit. supplication) of a righteous man can accomplish much. Elijah was a man with a nature like ours, and he prayed earnestly that it might not rain; and it did not rain on the earth for three years and six months. And He prayed again, and the sky poured rain, and the earth produced its fruit."

James 5:16-18

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