This is the confidence which we have before 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 which we have asked from Him. I John 5:15 NASB
In the early days, blog posts here at C201 were a lot shorter than they are today. So for this flashback on prayer, as we approach the National Day of Prayer in the U.S. (May 1) here’s a few past selections combined into a single post…
We all experience prayer differently. I think the success of Philip Yancey’s book Prayer: Does it Make Any Difference? was that he touched on so many different aspects of it that it resonated with Christ-followers even though their experiences in prayer — and their understanding of prayer — may vary.
I think the success of Philip Yancey’s small-group curriculum on prayer is that those varied experiences are going to contribute to some rather lively, interesting discussion. It’s probably the best discussion-starter curriculum on the market.
The reason is simple: Although it’s never listed in those 7 – 12 “core” doctrinal statements your church, denomination or Christian organization has as part of its charter, prayer is part of the common, shared experienced of all of us.
I’ve never met a Christian who said, “I am a committed follower of Christ, but I don’t believe the practice of prayer needs to be part of that package.”
No way. So why isn’t prayer mentioned in that handful of “core” doctrinal sentences? Is it too self-evident?
Your Father knows what things you need before you ask Him
from Lesson 3 of With Christ in The School of Prayer by Andrew Murray
At first, this might seem to make prayer less necessary: God knows far better about what we need than we do. But as we get deeper into understanding what prayer really is, this truth will strengthen our faith.
It will teach us that we do not need, as in other religions, a multitude of words or urgency, to try to compel an unwilling God to listen.
It will lead us to a holy thoughtfulness and quietness in prayer as it begs the question: Does my Father really know that I need this?
It will, once we have been led by the Spirit to the certainty that our request is indeed something that, we do need for God’s glory, give us wonderful confidence to say, “My Father knows I need it and must have it.”
And then, should there be a delay in getting the answer, it will teach us in quiet perseverance to hold on…
Oh, the blessed freedom and simplicity of a child that Christ our teacher would desire to cultivate in us, as we draw near to God; we should look up to the Father until His Spirit works that freedom and simplicity in us.
We should, at times when we’re praying, when we’re in danger of being preoccupied with our fervent, urgent requests — so much that we forget that the Father knows and hears — we should hold still and just quietly say: My Father sees, My father hears, my father knows. It will help our faith to accept the answer and to say that we know that we have the requests we have asked of Him.
The personal problem I have with The Sinner’s Prayer is that I spent an additional 14 years of my life lost because my trust was in what I did rather than in what Jesus did. I trusted in the fact that I repeated those words rather than the fact that Jesus, God in the flesh, was crucified, buried and raised three days later. Though I had repeated those words, my trust was no more in Christ than it was before I said them. My trust was right where it began…in myself.
The “sinner’s prayer” is probably one of the great Evangelical add-ons; one that exists even as Evangelicals deplore the additional doctrines and practices of Roman Catholics.The quotation is from a 2-part article written by Eric Douglas, a pastor in the U.S., that is now offline.
Trying to dissect how prayer works is like using a magnifying glass to try to figure out why a woman is beautiful. If you turn God into an object, he has a way of disappearing…
The only way to know how prayer works is to have complete knowledge and control of the past, present, and future. In other words, you can figure out how prayer works if you are God. (Miller, A Praying Life p128)
Paul Clark, Operations Pastor at Fairhaven Church in Centerville, Ohio posted this as the church recently completed an “Action Series” of messages by having the congregation join in this prayer. As I studied this, I added some emphasis to the action petitions in each section.
Father, I thank you that your beauty and glory are beyond anything I can comprehend. Please open my eyes to your wonders so that my heart is filled with awe.
Father, I thank you that your love for me is astonishing; far beyond anything I can understand. The cross of Christ demonstrates the depth of your love. Help me to believe that Jesus’ sacrifice is the ultimate proof that I am your treasure.
Father, I know that your extravagant love demands something special from me. I offer you all of my life. I will hold nothing back. Help me respond wholeheartedly.
Father, help me to realize that your extravagant love can transform me. It can make my heart pure and holy and acceptable in your sight. Please fill my thoughts with becoming more like you.
Father, I want to love you passionately, from the depths of my soul. Please create in me that kind of love. Help me to feel it intensely. Help me to share it freely. Help me to give it back to you authentically.
Father, I am amazed that you have chosen me. You have a future for me that’s worth everything. Please give me a vision of eternity so that I would live each day on purpose, being one step closer to that day.