Category Archives: Prayer

A stark example for us from Daniel.

While preaching from Daniel 9, I was struck by this fact: Daniel’s prayer in this passage was answered as he was “praying and confessing my sin and the sin of my people, Israel”.  Verse 5 tells us “we have sinned and have committed iniquity”.  Daniel was confessing and seeking forgiveness for the nation of Israel.

Let’s recap the history here:  Israel rejected following God and ignored the pleas of the prophets that preached repentance.  Due to Israel’s sin and rejection of God, God allowed both the Northern and Southern kingdoms to be taken into captivity.  Daniel was a young man who was taken back to Babylon due to his intelligence and potential.  There, in captivity in a foreign land, Daniel remained faithful to God.  We see from the beginning as he and his three Hebrew friends set themselves apart with their standards on what food they would or would not eat.  Daniel showed his faith in the Almighty by interpreting the dream for Nebuchadnezzar.

Now, in chapter 9 we find Daniel working under King Darius which is an entirely different empire.  Daniel has remained, throughout his life, a faithful ambassador of God.  He has little to no support group:  no church, no synagogue, no Bible study.  We find him praying by himself each day in his home (where his enemies find him praying leading to his being thrown in the Lion’s den).  Daniel has lived a faithful life and is living and working in Babylon under various kings and rulers all while suffering the wages of his country’s debt of sin.

In spite of all of this, we find Daniel taking the responsibility upon himself to pray for the sins of his people.  Daniel is not a political leader or spiritual leader of his country, yet he takes it upon himself to confess and beg forgiveness for the sins of Israel.  Why?  He did not commit these sins.  In fact, many of these sins happened long before he was even alive.

Why?  Because Daniel was the one that had a relationship with God.  Daniel was one of just a handful that knew God, prayed to God, walked with God and understood what God was doing.  Daniel took that great burden upon himself.  What an example to us.  We so often want to see our country repent of their sin and turn to God.  Daniel knew the people of Israel weren’t going to turn to God, they didn’t even realize they were away from Him.  Likewise, we, who know Him, must take it upon ourselves to pray on behalf of our country.  We must be confessing the sin of our country.  We are the only ones that know and understand how essential this is.  We cannot expect the lost to do the right thing.

Let me emphasize the point here once again:  It is one thing to pray that those in sin and committing sin will turn from their sin and repent, calling out to God.  In this example of Daniel, he is taking the sin upon himself and is confessing FOR them.  That is spiritual leadership!!

Our prayers are out of balance

thQSLFE3X6Ye ask, and receive not, because ye ask amiss ...- James 4:3

We are in an era when few people are truly experiencing the power of God in their prayer lives.  Few are having regular, consistent answers to their prayers.  The midweek prayer service at most churches is either the smallest service or it has been removed altogether.  Why?  Why are most Christians finding their prayer lives less powerful than God intended them to be.

When Christ walked with the Disciples they clearly heard His prayer life and finally asked Him one day “Lord, teach us to pray”.  What follows is a short outline of how to pray directly from Jesus Christ and most often referred to as the ‘Lord’s Prayer’.  Following are the elements covered in this lesson:

1) Our Father which are in Heaven, Hallowed be thy name.  The outline of the Lord’s Prayer begins with adoration – a focus on Who God is.  The focus must always be on the Who.  God wants us to know Him.  Too often we put more faith in the act of prayer than in the God of prayer.

2)Thy kingdom come, thy will be done on earth as it is in Heaven.  Praise and glory to the Almighty God.  A focus on the promise of God’s coming Kingdom upon earth.

3)Give us this day our daily bread.  Prayer includes a request for our needs.

4)And forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us.  Prayer should also always include a confession and admission of sin.  Keeping a clean slate between ourselves and God is paramount to an effective prayer life.

5)And lead us not into temptation but deliver us from evil.  Prayer should include a request for protection – after all He is the Great Shepherd and our prayer should mimic the Psalmist …though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for thou art with me…

6)For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory forever, Amen. The prayer begins with adoration, honor and praise and concludes in the same manner.

Perhaps our prayers are not being answered or have the power that they should have because they are out of balance:  heavy on the asking and very weak on the praise and adoration.

 

What is prayer?

Prayer is not intended to get God to bend to our will and desires but rather to prepare our hearts to submit to His will and plan for us.  – Andy Stanley

 

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We too often approach God as if He is the great ATM machine in the sky.  If we punch in the right combination, He will give us what we want.  We believe that we must approach with the right balance of: lack of sin, sensitivity to His will, Godly desires, thanksgiving and praise.  If we get these just right, than God will allow us blessings from His store house.  This is a selfish and warped view of how our Heavenly Father operates.

If we approach God with full adoration and praise ‘Hallowed be thy name … thy kingdom come, thy will be done…”   than we are adequately preparing our hearts and conforming our will to meet His.  When we are heavy on the adoration we become light on the wants and requests.

E. M. Bounds on Prayer

Prayer is the channel through which all good flows to men.  Prayer is a privilege, a sacred, princely privilege.  Prayer is a duty, an obligation most binding, and most imperative, which should hold us to it.  But prayer is more than a privilege, more than a duty.  It is the appointed condition of getting God’s aid.  It is the avenue through which God supplies man’s wants.”

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12 Ingredients to Prayer

A structure to your prayer time will increase the affect and the intimacy of your prayer life.  These 12 ingredients will help:

1) Praise – esteem God and His virtues!  Pslam 63:3

2) Waiting – “be still and know…”  Psalm 37:7

3) Confession – Clear the way for powerful praying  Psalm 51:10

4) The Word – pray the Word of God!  Psalm 19:7-8

5) Intercession – praying for others  Psalm 2:8

6) Petition – personal needs Matthew 7:7

7) Read the Word – not only pray the Word of God, but read the Word of God

8) Thanksgiving – praising God for what He has done!  Phil. 4:6

9) Singing – worshiping God in melody  Eph. 5:19

10) Meditation – ponder spiritual themes – an active mind.  Psalm 1:1-2

11) Listening – the ‘still small voice’ I Kings 19:11-12

12) Praise – We end as we began!

– by Dick Eastman