a) The Word of God and prayer
The greatest gift that God has given to man is His only Son (Jn.3:16). The Son was with the Father from all eternity. The Scripture calls Him ‘the Word’ (Jn.l:l,2). It was through Him that God created the world and all that is in the universe. We are told that the Word became flesh and dwelt among us (Jn. l:14). And that person is Jesus Christ.
He is the eternal and unwritten Word.
Along with Him God has given another gift and that is the written Word – the Bible. Fixed in heaven (Ps.ll9:89) the Scripture does not change (Mt.5:l8). God who does not lie (Tit.l:2) has revealed to man His eternal purposes in the Bible. Any one who wants to know the mind of God and the purposes of God has to be familiar with the Word of God.
God’s Word is powerful. God created the world with His Word (Heb.ll:3). He holds every thing together by the Word of His power (Heb.ll:3). By the Word of God man is born into God’s family (I Pt.l:23) and the believer grows by the same Word (I Pt.2:1,2).
Faith comes (Rom. 10:17), hope grows (Rom.l5:4), life is cleansed (Eph.5:26) and we are comforted (Rom.l5:4) and made glad (Ps.l9:8) by the Word of God.
If we want to know the mind of God we must know the Word of God. That becomes the basis of our bold prayers. That becomes the basis of believing prayers. Thus the relation between the Word and prayer is great. They are inseparable. Our prayers are heard in heaven in proportion to our obedience to the Word of God (Pro.28:9).
A praying believer has to give an important place for the reading and meditation of the Word of God. There is no hard and fast rules as to how much time each may be given to the Word and prayer. Bu, I think, there is a general guideline in Neh. 9:3. During the days of Nehemiah they spent three hours for reading the Scripture and three hours for praying. In other words, they spent as much time praying as they read Scripture.
Any one who want to pray effectively can follow this method with profit. Spend equal amount of time for the Word and for prayer. Some are guilty of reading and meditating the word so much and spend very little time in prayer. There are others who spend so much time praying but little time for the Word. Both are grave mistakes.
Remember concrete is formed with the right proportion of cement and water. Same is true with the Word of God and Prayer. The Word with out prayer is useless; and prayer with out the Word is powerless. May the Lord save us from both the pit falls. Amen.
b) Singing and praying
There is a very important place for songs in Christian life. Eph, 5:19,20 tell us that singing, praising and thanks giving is the evidence of being filled with the Spirit.
In Acts 16:25 Paul and Silas praised God in singing at the Philippian jail at midnight. The result was an open jail. Thus in prayer singing has an important place. Some times we can use the words of the song writer to pray to God or to praise Him. Even songs can be prayers (Ps.42:8).
Any one who does not have the habit of spending long hours in prayer can begin by spending long hours in singing with concentration and gradually shift to hours of prayer.
c) Praying for souls
It is a biblical truth that prayers in the will of God will be answered (I Jn. 5:14). The Bible also declares that God is not willing that any should perish (I Tim.2:4; 2 Pt.3:9).
Yes, it is God’s will that all men be saved.
The Bible which talks about foreknowledge and predestination does not talk about negative predestination. In other words God has not destined any man to go to hell. Hell is prepare for Satan and for his angels (Mt.25:4).
If men go to hell to day it is because they have not repented from their sins and trusted Christ for their salvation. They cannot do it unless their blindness of the mind is removed (2 Cor.4:4) and unless the Father draws them to Christ (Jn.6:44).
We know from the Scripture that if God’s perfect will has to be accomplished on earth, God’s people have to pray (Mt.6:10; Rom.15:31). So today if men go to hell, it is because we have failed in our duties. God’s people have to pray for the salvation of all men. They have to be brought before God as individuals and they have to be prayed for until they accept Christ in their lives.
Praying for souls is not easy. Tough warfare is sure to come. The unsaved are in the clutches of the Evil One. They are his commodity and unless the Strong One is bound, his property cannot be plundered (Mt.12:29). The Lord Jesus paid the price of every one. But Satan has been keeping them under his custody. The Lord has promised us that He would give us nations if we ask for it (Ps.2:8). Dt.ll:24 is another similar promise.
So as we pray for souls, the Lord will never say ‘No’ to our prayers. Let us order our lives according to the Word of God and intercede for the nation. Answer is sure to come. May the Lord give us grace. To His name be all glory. Amen.
d) Bold prayers in humility
Humility is an essential quality needed in the life of a prayer warrior. “If my people who are called by name shall humble themselves and pray, I will…says the Lord” (2Chr.7:14).
No one can be in God’s presence without humility.
But when we begin to pray for things in the will of God, our prayers should be bold (2Sam,7:27).
This boldness in humility is a wonderful quality in life which the Spirit of God will give to those who spend regular times in God’s presence.
e) Be sure of answers
i. The person who prays must continue to abide in Christ and must have afruit bearing life consistently (Jn.15:7,10,6,16).
ii. Prayer request must be in the will of God (I Jn.5:14). God will never do any thing against His Word or against His character.
iii. Sit in God’s presence to hear His word about this request and get promises from God through His Word (Jer.23:l8).
iv. If there are conditions attached to the promise, fulfill the conditions. For example, some one praying for financial needs must take heed to Mt.6:33.
v. Make sure that there is no hindrance in life that prayer be hindered.
vi. If so much is right, pray in faith and fervency till answer comes. When praying for others, give God time as God will not force any one against their will.
f) Convictions about prayer
i. I believe that God will not do any thing spiritual without prayer (Js.4:2; Eze.36:37).
ii. I believe the primary calling of a believer is prayer (jn. l5:l6).
iii. I believe if there is no one to intercede, nations stand under the judgment of God (Eze.22:30).
iv. I believe that a child of God, living and praying in the will of God in faith and perseverance for the glory of God, will surely be answered (I Jn.5:14; Js.5:15a, 16b).
v. I believe that if I pray for souls, God will never say ‘no’ to it. Answer is as sure as strife (I Tim.2:4; I Jn.5:14; Mt.12:29).
g) Commitments for prayer
i. I decide to spend …hours daily in secret prayer (Mt.6:6; 26:41).
ii. I decide that I will obey what ever the Lord tells me daily (Js.1:23,24).
iii. I decide to seek God’s will daily and pray that His will alone be done in my life, in the church and in the world (Gen.32:24-28).
iv. I commit myself as the one whom God seeks to stand in the gap that my nation may not come under condemnation (Eze.22:30).
v. I decide that I would never accuse a person for whom Christ intercedes. I will only intercede and serve the Lord. I will never accuse and serve the devil in my life (Rom.8:34; Zec.3:1).
My Prayer: Lord, give me grace that I may fulfill my commitments for prayer. Make me the one you would respond to when I pray for your glory. Amen.
h) A suggestion
If you decide to pray in secret at least for an hour daily, make your decision known to another believer friend nearby. Invite that person also to decide to pray in secret. If in your locality there a handful of people who pray in secret daily, it is good for them to come together once in a while to encourage one another and renew the decision. Praying together with people who pray in secret is a very enriching experience.
Church prayer meetings are so often very dull. It is because those who come together to pray do not practice secret prayer. Remember wet fire wood can only smoke when put in fire! Get into the habit of praying in secret. Be a part of the eternal plan of God for the world. May the good Lord give us grace. To His name be all glory. Amen and Amen.