How's Your Prayer Life?, Then You Should Read...
How I came to write this week's article was when my wife and I had a recent conversation regarding our prayer lives. As Bible believing Christians, we both know how important prayer is in our own lives in seeking God of the Bible for everything. Our specific conversation actually had come about as a result of how after visiting yet another church recently, I was disappointed in how their prayer group had spent their time in prayer.
Now I'm not judging, nor should I sound judgmental when it comes to God hearing prayers. But God hearing prayers and acting on those prayers are two totally different matters. Yes, prayer is a matter of the heart and God can certainly hear all prayers. There are both individual prayers and corporate(group) prayer. How people pray in groups and or individually is completely up to each of us, and once again, I cannot judge if their prayers are heard or not. However, that said, what I came away with regarding this group of praying believers was this, they missed out on praying in a time of having God really move mightily in their prayer requests and petitions by not having spent time in Spirit-filled and fervent prayer before the Lord. In fact, I can tell you this, both my wife have found that the effectiveness of God answering any prayer is contingent upon what one's attitude is when praying.
All be it that this latest church that I visited had what I firmly believe to have in attendance many bona fide, Bible believing, born-again Christians, as well as having a loose association with a famous Pentecostal TV preacher of the Cross, the majority of this particular prayer group(and I'm finding many Christians also across the world like them) spent more time catching up with what was going on in their own personal lives, talking about the same prayer needs that were not yet answered, and prepping for their prayer time, rather than their actual time in prayer. Once that catching up time was over(approx 30 min worth), and then on to a short ten minutes of all holding hands with one-another in prayer, followed by us individually going to our own "closet" and prayed on our own for the items and folks on the group's prayer list, nothing else occurred.
What I mean by "nothing else occurred" is this, while on my knees in the church sanctuary that day, I heard no others praying out loud. No time of worshiping God for His holiness or power, no calling upon God for mercy for the non-believers and sinners to repent and getting saved, no prayers for our Government leaders, no crying for mercy for America because of so many ungodly and wicked acts, no powerful prayers for intercession nor healing, no, nothing, not even a whimper from one person from the prayer group. As I was praying however, and as I shared earlier, after only ten minutes of praying, I was basically stopped in my prayers by a large group of the prayer group who had already quit praying and had gathered at the front of the sanctuary talking and with even some laughing out loud. I would well imagine that God heard their prayers, I'm not judging, but am doubtful that God moved on many of those prayers said on that day because I did not hear the seriousness of intercession in the voices and more importantly, the heart of faith of those seeking God.
Again, I don't want to come across sounding judgmental, but I can tell you that in my experience and other Christians like me regarding deep and spirit filled prayer, we have seen God move expeditiously and mightily only after we have first sought God's heart by calling upon His name first with praises and exaltation followed by praying in the Spirit and with great fervor from the heart. Some of you will mistakenly believe that I am speaking of praying being filled with emotionalism when speaking of "entering into the Spirit", but if you believe such things, you are sadly mistaken. To pray in the Spirit is quite Biblical. Simply reading Ephesians 6:18 which states, "Praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, and watching thus with all perseverance and supplication for all saints" is proof of and what I am sharing with you is absolutely Biblically correct. Praying in the Spirit requires an emptiness of one's self. A time of attitude of seriousness knowing that spiritual battles are won on our knees, not in a time of talking and joking. Prayer, a deep prayer is that of seeking a Holy God who controls the Universe. One does not go before Him with a heart demanding of Him, or with half a heart. God does not honor such attitudes. Spirit filled prayer is a connected prayer with God close to Heart because it is not a carnal minded nor heart kind of prayer.
Praying in the Spirit is clearly in the Bible, but so many pastors, elders and church leaders no longer teach their church attendee's and new believers how to pray. I am blessed that when I became a Bible believing, born-again Christian many years ago, my very first, and then later, second pastor in my life both knew the importance of having, and spending time in Spirit filled, and effective prayer. They took time with me to show me how to pray and help me grow in my prayer life. They didn't teach me how to pray effectively through use of books or so called manuals on how to pray, instead they did so through the examples and fruit of their prayer lives. By and (only) through God's grace and the teaching of the Holy Spirit, I like the two pastors in my life, have also seen the effectiveness of God's answers to my prayers. And I say this to you with complete humility, I have seen God move on my prayers, and that includes major miracles in people's lives whom I have prayed for. All and every one of the fruit of those many miracles where I had prayed for folks and situations in Jesus' Name, all belongs to the Lord. I am simply a tool in God's merciful hands. That said, I must tell you that I have seen with my own eyes, Jesus literally heal folks both physically and emotionally. I have also seen the Lord heal marriages, provide jobs, bring folks out of the bondage's of sin including pornography, domestic violence, legal problems, drug use and alcohol abuse and much more. I have seen that God of the Bible is limitless with His miracles and provide much needed miracles to those desperate in need. Again, I credit Jesus for it all, but I also credit knowing how to go before the Lord in prayer to seek Him, so my gracious God would move on behalf of people's lives and their needs.
Giving all the glory to Christ for answered prayers, knowing how and what to pray, has brought people from all around the world over the years to contact me asking me to pray for them. In fact people have asked me from time to time, "where did you learn how to pray like that?" I tell them the truth, I had real Bible believing pastors teach me how to pray, a prayer of praying in the Spirit, seeking the Lord and with faith. Believe me, I'm not boasting of anything and I'm certainly no Smith Wigglesworth, but the reason so many have requested prayer from me(not all, but most)in the first place, is that they know there is something in me(Jesus lives in me) where God would answer their prayer request. When folks first ask me for prayer, I make it well known that I am not the source of the answer for their prayer request. I pointedly inform them that it is Jesus Himself who will provide their miracle and or need, not me. That said, I again must emphasize, knowing how to pray is vitally important to seeing God move in your life.
Prayer is not a Charismatic thing, a Pentecostal thing, not a Baptist thing, nor even a religious thing. Prayer to God of the Bible is no secret. Prayer to the Lord Jesus is not owned by any Christian Denomination nor TV Preacher either. In fact, feeling a bit emboldened here, I will state this, God does not approve of religion nor Christian Denominations either. Those things are all man made and in all truth, only get in the way of God's best for your life. If you want a close relationship with Christ Jesus and your prayers answered, one must come to the Lord first with humility including a humble heart that acknowledges Him as the One who is in control of your life and that if you want to see needs filled and miracles, a Christian will always follow the Cross(Luke 9:23), not religion, nor religious ideologies.
One last thing, I mentioned Smith Wigglesworth earlier. If you don't know who he is, you may want to find out how God transformed his life and used him greatly. Smith learned how to pray, he prayed for many and seen many healed through Christ Jesus. But Smith Wiggleworth's powerful prayer ministry did not begin until he first repented of sin and also after Smith lost much in his own life to get to the place where God could use him. I certainly can personally relate to that of losing one's life as Smith did. So here is another bit of advice if you want to get to a place of being effective in your prayers, there is a cost If you really want a miracle from God, you may very well need to lose your life first. To find out about losing one's life, simply read Matthew 10:39 and then count the cost.
So how's your prayer life? Not sure, or not so well? It all begins with humility on your knees.
So how's your prayer life? Not sure, or not so well? It all begins with humility on your knees.
James 5:16b " The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much."
Rev. Paul P. Waldmiller~Black Robe Regiment Pastor
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