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Prayer

puritan

 

 

Prayer: Indesinenter orate (in-des-enenter orate)
~Pray without ceasing

Calvin writes:
“Prayer is an intimate conversation of the pious with God.”

The Heidelberg says that prayer is the most important part of the thankfulness that God requires from us, and that God only gives grace and his Spirit to those who pray asking and thanking God for these gifts (Q/A 116).

In the book of revelation, it is said that John was ‘in the spirit’ on the Lords day. It is my estimation that John was in deep prayer and meditation; God brought him amazing vision at this time; granted, it was special revelation of course; none the less it communicates to us the power of prayer. Do you pray? Is it like this?

Prayer is an active participation between the creation with the creator. We submit and God condescends.

Prayer is an essential proof of what God has already done in your life. It is part and parcel with salvation.

If God knows all and has created the end from the beginning, why pray? Does God change His mind? Can prayer change the mind of God?

James 5:16 Confess your faults one to another, and pray one for another, that ye may be healed. The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much.

This is a bit of a paradox in Christian circles.

It is the doorway into Gods presence. It is the starting point for the man of God, not the end. Man pray for a number of reasons. Primarily however, it is because we are commanded to pray to the Father and thus we obey.

Phil 4:6-7 Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. 7And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

1 Thes 5:17 says, “Pray without ceasing”. Think about that. There is nothing else in scripture where we are commanded to do something continually. None of us do this. Is God aware that none of us are able to do this? He knows that we have frames of dust. It should be our goal to pursue this, however. In the book of Acts it says that the corporate body did this:

Acts 12:5 Peter therefore was kept in prison: but prayer was made without ceasing of the church unto God for him.

Corporately it is accomplished, not individually. We sleep.

If you are praying, chances are, you will not be sinning while praying; you will sin a lot less! God forbid, the Lord finds us sleeping….

Bono says, “If you want to kiss the sky you better learn how to kneel”.

God demands worship; we have covered this in weeks past. Prayer is a means of grace; it is part of formal worship to God; corporate and private. And of course, since it is commanded, we obey and respond.

It brings the glory of Heaven down to mere mortal men. It allows us a view of the unspeakable.

Remember, the unregenerate does not have this benefit. Our election is rare. The road is narrow, not wide; hence, election is preserved for a special peoples as well as the gift of being able to prayer with a confidence it is hitting the target.

It is personal. MY prayers are not yours and yours are not mine. My relationship with the Father is singular. Yes, the church as a corporate entity has a special relationship with the Father, but it is not the same as the singular.

It is intimate. How intimate, you ask? More intimate than I have with my wife and family. No one knows me like the Father. My wife does not know the number of hairs on my head; she is a beautician-hair is her business; yet, she has no idea of how many hairs I have. The Father knows. I confess things to the Father that I would never confess to another human.

Can anyone pray?

Absolutely; the question to be asked is are the prayers reaching it’s target? Jesus is the way to the Father. Outside of Christ, the prayers are stalled. They hit the ceiling.

John 9:31 says “We know that God does not hear sinners; but if anyone is God-fearing and does His will, He hears him.

This is an important facet that is often ignored by most Christians; we encourage people who we know that are not of Christ to pray. Now, mind you, I am not talking about a prayer requisitioning God for salvation of an individual. I am talking about giving the impression to a person who is secular by and large to think that they can access Gods mercy and grace. We should not! We should be accurate in how we present our God- to think otherwise is a break in the 2nd commandment.

Posture in prayer:

In the Bible, people prayed standing (Genesis 24:12-14), lifting up their hands (1 Timothy 2:8), sitting (Judges 20:26), kneeling (Mark 1:40), looking upward (John 17:1), bowing down (Exodus 34:8), placing their heads between their knees (1 Kings 18:42), pounding on their breasts (Luke 18:13), and facing the temple (Daniel 6:10).

I wonder where the eyes closed and hands clasped come from.  I don’t believe you will find anyone clasping the hands and closing the eyes in scripture; it may have a pagan origin.

Ok, so if clasping one’s hands and closing one’s eye’s are not biblical commands, should we do it? Christ was specific in how we should pray.

These guys prayed standing:

Mat 6:5 And when ye pray, ye shall not be as the hypocrites: for they love to stand and pray in the synagogues and in the corners of the streets, that they may be seen of men.

Jesus mentions an inner chamber and that we should go into it!

Mat 6:6 But thou, when thou prayest, enter into thine inner chamber, and having shut thy door, pray to thy Father who is in secret, and thy Father who seeth in secret shall recompense thee.

tam-i’-on

Neuter contraction of a presumed derivative of ταμιÌας tamias (a dispenser or distributor; akin to τεÌμνω temnoÌ„, to cut); a dispensary or magazine, that is, a chamber on the ground floor or interior of an Oriental house (generally used for storage or privacy, a spot for retirement): – secret chamber, closet, storehouse.

It looks like a physical location, not the closing of the eye’s and creating a place.

Mat 6:9 Pray then like this: “Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name.

This guy prays Prostrate:

Mat 26:39 And going a little farther he fell on his face and prayed, saying, “My Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me; nevertheless, not as I will, but as you will.”

Since scripture calls us to pray without ceasing, one would be hard pressed to say that a one position is the biblical position, as one cannot stand forever. Hence, any position is accepted as long as it is in Christ. The heart is at the crux of the matter, in Christ. As mentioned earlier, a sincere secularist does not open the chamber of God, unless of course, it is after the internal call has regenerated that person.

One pastor writes:
“As a child I was taught to pray with my head bowed, eyes closed, and hands folded. Even as a young man I thought that was the only acceptable mode of prayer.

In my seminary days I sang in a quartet that traveled to various churches throughout the United States. The first time I traveled with them we had a prayer meeting in the car, and the driver prayed with his eyes open. All of us were glad he did, but I wondered if God really heard his prayer.”

I have heard that C. S. Lewis thought that posture was important. He said, sitting was out of the question”.

It’s interesting how Christ looked to the heavens when he prayed. I also believe that David did the same

Psalm 95

6 Oh come, let us worship and bow down; let us kneel before the LORD, our Maker!

7 For he is our God, and we are the people of his pasture, and the sheep of his hand.

1 Tim 2:8? (“I desire therefore that the men pray everywhere, lifting up holy hands . . . “)

Dan 6:10 Now when Daniel learned that the decree had been published, he went home to his upstairs room where the windows opened toward Jerusalem. Three times a day he got down on his knees and prayed, giving thanks to his God, just as he had done before.

Types of prayer:
1) Corporate
This is what occurs after the official call to worship. It is the family of God petitioning the Father, through the Son.

Acts 2:1 When the day of Pentecost came, they were all together in one place

42They devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and to fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer.

When the church gathers, it gives the parishioner the ability to be informed on a number of fronts; some are petitions for illnesses, some are things that give God thanks for answered prayers. Hearing of one anothers struggles cause us to be humbled for the Good God has brought into our lives as well as the things that grow us, that stretch us, and we share in these things. The feed us. They sanctify the church. Look at our issue now with the church sale. It is still unknwn what our mighty God will do. We wait on Him. Be still and know that I am the Lord!

2) Personal
I refer you to what we already have covered.  Other things to think about are, your prayer life is a witness to your own faith; it bears witness with the spirit of God and your spirit. If your prayer life is dwindling, you are lazy, much akin to the apostles in the garden.

Eph 5:14 For this reason it says, “Awake, sleeper, And arise from the dead, And Christ will shine on you.”

Wake up!

3) Family

The family that prays together, stays together.

How to Pray:

God hears our prayers:

“And this is the confidence that 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 that we have asked of him” (1 John 5:14,15)

One of the first things is that we should confess our sins continually. To leave our sins on the table causes a bit of strain on our prayers. The bible warns us that our ‘prayers can be hindered’.

1 Peter 3:7

You husbands likewise, live with your wives in an understanding way, as with a weaker vessel, since she is a woman; and grant her honor as a fellow heir of the grace of life, so that your prayers may not be hindered.

The passage makes mention of one way the prayer of the saint can be hindered; there are many more. I only provide this passage to show that prayers can be hindered.

This is a list from a friend of mine, Tim Chalies.
Things that are flawed approaches to prayer:

1) Selfish motives

2) Moving away from scripture
3) Unforgiving hearts

4) Family discord

5) Unconfessed sin

6) Doubt

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