In the previous pages we found that God’s promises will come true only in answer to believing prayers. If it is true, it is essential that every child of God must become a prayer warrior without fail. Paul instructed the Roman believers that they “…strive together with him in prayer…”(Rom.15:31). This command is for every believer and not to any particular group among believers. Every one who enjoyed the love of God through Christ is instructed to strive in prayer.
Some one who does not give heed to this plain command of the spirit of God can only live in continued disobedience to the call of God. But as we decide to obey God and come to the spirit of God, He will guide us to become effective prayer warriors.
In this section some practical suggestions are given to help us in our decision for the Lord.
First and foremost is our decision. The spirit of God can give us desire, But decision to pray is purely ours. The holy spirit can help us and guide us. But decision is ours.
Decide on a time and place where you can be quiet before God. Remember the first ever thing which the Lord Jesus taught about prayer is, “…when you pray, enter a closet…” (Mt.6:6). So you need to have a closed room where you will not be disturbed.
We are all controlled by our habits. Prayer must become our essential habit. If you do not have a set time and place for prayer, you may never be able to find time to pray in your busy life.
A minimum of one hour is essential for our purpose. With less than that you may never get any where. You need to have a Bible, a hymn book and a note book with pen as you go to the prayer room.
Following suggestions are made as to how best you may spend your one hour. These are purely suggestions and may be varied for your convenience.
The first ten minutes are set apart for praising God. You may use a hymn, a psalm, and your own words to praise God. Daily as you come into the presence of God learn to praise Him for His person, His works, His holiness etc. Find a new reason every day to praise Him. Remember the Lord lives on the praises of His people. Where there is praise there is God’s presence.
As you begin to enjoy His holy presence, take the next five minutes quietly search your heart in His presence to make sure that there are no hindrances in your life that your prayers are not heard in heaven. Look at the previous 24 hours and see whether any of your thoughts, words or actions were unbecoming of God and His kingdom. Confess and reject any unwanted thing. Make amendments or restitution if there is need for the same.
This has to be done every day as we are made of the dust of the earth and there is possibility of weeds growing. Weeding has to be done daily. Ask the spirit of God to search your heart to see if any wicked way there (Ps.l39:23,24).
Be watchful about the besetting sins (Heb.12:1) and the presumptuous sins (Ps.19:13). What about the sins of omission (Js.4:17)? Settle issues before beginning to pray. Duration of this session may be extended according to the situation. Unless we make the best use of this time, there will not be power in our prayer.
The next twenty minutes are spent for reading and meditating the Scripture. Ten minutes each will be given to reading and for meditation. This too is a very crucial part of our prayer time because it is from here that we discern the mind of God. You need to get hold of the promises of God from the Scripture. You also discern how God operates in this world from the Scripture. You need to ask the Lord to speak to you during this time with the Scripture. If communication is not taking place, something is wrong somewhere. Spot the problem and rectify it.
God does not speak to the proud and the arrogant (Js. 4:6). When God speaks either heart is pricked (Acts 2:37) or your heart burn within (Lk.24:32). Either way there will be a drop of tear in your eye as God speaks! If that is not taking place, see what is the problem and approach God as boy Samuel of old (1 Sam.3:10).
Your time with the Scripture is a reflection of your own spirituality. A prodigal may only get husk if any! On the other hand, if you live close to the Lord, you get something which is sweeter than honey. Prodigals are always welcome back home. Trouble is never with God. God looks at our attitudes and deals with us accordingly.
Prayer and the Word are two sides of the same coin. Through the Word God speaks to us and prayer is our response to what He has spoken. These must be kept together. One without the other is incomplete and useless.
Once we discern the will of God, our prayers will become bold (2 Sam. 7:27). Therefore the power of our prayer depends upon how we spend our time with the Word.
Following twenty minutes may be spent to pray for your neighbors and friends. This is intercessory time. Individuals must be named as you pray for them. We need to bear in our prayers leaders of our church, our fellow believers, our family members, our unconverted friends and relatives etc. General prayers will bring only general answers. If you need specific answers to prayer, you need to be specific in your prayers. If we are serious about intercession, twenty minutes is far too short a time.
The next five minutes may be spent to pray for our personal needs. Our Lord taught us to pray for our daily needs. So our personal needs must be brought under the coverage of prayer.
One hour is too short a time to become a meaningful intercessor. As you make progress in your prayer life you will learn that more time should be taken and as you see tangible answers you will want to pray more.
They that wait upon the Lord. We are asked to pray for all men (I Tim.2:l), on all occasions (I Thes. 5:l7), about every thing (Phil.4:6). As we extend our borders and begin to pray for our nation at large, we need to be mighty men of valor spiritually because the forces of Evil are greater and heavier at higher levels. If we want to conquer our nation for Christ, the amount of spiritual power required for the same is so great that hours spent in the presence of the Lord will turn to be eight or ten hours per day instead of one or two. Only such spiritual giants can influence their generation for God. Reading through biographies of great men like John Hyde, Rees Howels and others will exemplify this truth. Quality time spent in God’s presence in great quantity made all the difference in such lives.
We too can become such powerful men and women under God who can influence our great nations in this generation. Remember that faith without prayer is a dead entity. Remember also that God changes His decisions in response to our prayers (Ps.l06:23). We must never forget that the destiny of our nation depends on our intercession (Eze.22:30).
A note book can be used to record our prayer requests and answers received. If we keep them on record, it will surely encourage us to see the many answers to prayers.
Remember that God’s perfect will can only be achieved here on earth by believing prayer (Mt.6:l0). Then God’s name will be glorified through us in this generation.
Another practical suggestion may not be out of place here. Any one who made a decision to pray at a fixed time at a fixed place, must go there at the same time for the next 21 days without fail. You would find that it has become a habit with you by then. Try this. It may prove helpful.
Probably the best time of the day to be alone with God is the early hours of the day while it is still dark. We need to organize our lives in such a way that getting up early in the morning is practical. Your decision will depend upon your priority in your life.
Remember your time alone with God is an indication of your commitment to the cause of Christ here on earth. If you are not committed, you will think very light of this hour. Your time alone with God will tell the whole world how committed you are to the cause of Christ. Yet how few among us have even one hour to be given to God every day.
An average person spends at least an hour or two just to maintain the physical body for washing, for eating etc not to think of the sleeping! If a believer does not want to give at least an hour per day to maintain his/her spiritual condition, what can we think about the faith of that person?
One thing is sure. Any one who decides to give one hour daily for prayer will want to give two or three hours as days go by. They grow up to be mighty in spirit. This is one decision that you would never need to regret about. There is no other decision which can influence your present or eternal status as this one decision. Will you not positively decide to give at least an hour daily for quiet time and for prayer? May the Lord give you grace. To His name be all glory. Amen.
A believer who does not have regular habit of secret prayer may be compared to a student who studies just before exams. Sometimes such a student gets through. One can never be sure. But if one wants a definite pass in the final exam, home work has to be done daily. Same is true of prayer. If you want answers to all your prayers regularly, do your home work daily i.e. cultivate the habit of secret prayer. Pray regularly and your answers will also be regular.
A prayer warrior may decide to spend one whole day in God’s presence at least once a moth. All-night all alone in prayer truly an exciting experience. The difference that this will bring about in our lives, in the lives of the churches and in the world around us is beyond any one’s imagination. We will be wonder struck at God’s amazing ways in our lives.
As we enter this warfare, the Spirit of God will reveal to us the points of warfare. We will become mighty in power as we yield ourselves to the promptings of the Spirit of God. Here is a warfare without defeat! We are only claiming the victory which our Lord has already won for us!! May we enter into all the riches of His grace by our daily encounter with Him!!! May He give us grace. To His name be all glory. Amen and amen.