Prayer is the shortest route between our heart and God. God is Spirit; we cannot see Him face to face. Therefore, our means of communication with Him is through prayer. The duty of prayer is based on the sufficiency of God. Asking God for a specific thing would amount to limiting God to a certain answer. Those who are emotionally controlled lack the sense of objectivity. They tend to instruct God in the way He should go. They would say, “God give me this; give me that”. They pray to pull God to their mind, not to bring themselves to His. When Daniel was going through hard times in the hands of his enemies, he did not instruct God in the way He should go. He simply left all to God to glorify His name and submitted to His will. When we pray, the answer we get depends on how God chooses to implement His will in that matter. However for many today, when they pray and answer to their prayer seems to delay in coming, they feel betrayed by God.
They would say, “God, i pay my tithes; all my lufe i have served you; I am from a Christian background; my name is Peter, my father’s name is Joseph, my mother’s name is Mary, my brothers’ names are James and John. Why am i not honored?” They see whatever they do for God as sacrifice to manipulate Him into giving approval to their selfish motives. It takes the maturity that comes from faith to realize that our responsibility to God is a commitment and fellowship with Him rather than sacrifice. What God requires of us is planted in our heart. It does not consist in the fat of rams, burnt offerings or costly sacrifice. It is not waving of hands in worship without a thorough reformation of heart and life. worship must be pure; the requirements of purity must be kept. Sacrifices are to be offered from a pure heart because true Christianity lies in the heart, in the purity of the heart. This means the great thing God looks at and requires is the heart.
1 Samuel 16:7 – “But the Lord said to Samuel, ‘Do not look at his appearance or at his physical stature because i have refused him. For the Lord does not see as man sees; for man looks at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart’.”
Man can tell how men look but only God can tell what they are. Human knowledge often forms a mistaken judgement of character but the Lord values only the holy faith, love and the fruits of the Spirit which are planted in the heart beyond human discernment. Our hearts must be purified by faith and entire for God because if it is not in spirit, it is not in truth and it is all nothing. We must devote our whole Spirit to and employ it in the service of God because man’s spirit, when free, is sensitive to the spirit of God but if bound or burdened, it loses its sensitiveness and therefore, becomes useless as an instrument.
Romans 8:26-27 – Prayer in the Spirit is not to be thought of as exercising techniques of mind control. The Holy spirit provides the words of God which are proclaimed by men of God.
There are two types of prayers:Spirit prayer – that is, prayer in the power of the Holy Spirit which springs from need.Conventional Prayer – that is, exercising techniques of mind control which spring from emotions and feelings.
Which of the prayers do you offer? The outcome of your prayer depends on the kind of prayer you offer. Remember what Jesus said in Mark 9:29, ‘This kins can only come out by the prayer of faith’. ‘This kind’, as it is used in this expression means there are different levels of prayer – deep, deeper and deepest. Prayer is a work with different methods, principles and ways. As a work, it is a war – a spiritual warfare. When Daniel was faced with an unplaesant situation that warranted his execution, he did not pray to God to avert the danger. He was never seen to be engaged in any desperate prayer of binding and rebuking his enemies as many in our generation would do today given the same circumstances.
The Bible says, he simply raised his hands towards Jerusalem in his habitual devotion, and thanked God, asking His will to be done in the matter. In spite of the tension and pressure around him, Daniel did not instruct God in the way things should go or allow his emotions to defocus him. His mind was disciplined enough to become his servant and not his master. That was why he could offer prayers that sprang from needs and not from emotions.
Conventional prayers springs from emotions or feelings. When it comes to conventional prayer, anytime can be the best time to pray. Conventional prayer is the imitation of man. Those who offer conventional prayer don’t mind about the result. They practice prayer. A good example is the seven sons of Sceva in Acts 19:13-18. They took it upon themselves to call on evil spirits. They did this not as those who had veneration for Christ and confidence in His name. They would say, “In the name of Jesus whom Paul preaches, I command you to come out” – not in the name of Jesus whom they believe and depend upon. This is a sensational display of power or spiritual pride.
Remember, our communication in prayer is imperfect unless it is aided by the Holy Spirit. It involves cultivating a relationship with the Holy Spirit and allowing Him to determine what to pray for and how to pray for it.
Today, people do not pray because they are frustrated in their faith. Their hope for an answer has been shattered too often. They have given up. They continue only in the formalities of their religion; the reality has disappeared. How sad is it to live in an age of prayers, sermons, Sabbaths and sacraments in vain.
When you have exhausted your mental and emotional resources, you can no longer rely on yourself. You simply need to trust something, Someone stronger, wiser and smarter than yourself. Jesus who raised the dead is our choice. That is why we are here today. He delivered Paul and Silas and He will deliver you. He rescued Daniel and He will rescue you today and in the future. Stay where you are, hold steady and trust in His goodness.
In Exodus 14:10-15, when the Isrealites were crying, grumbling, complaining and rebelling, Moses heart was deeply engaged with the Lord. Moses stood as a communicator between the spiritual and the material world. As a communicator he had his own language with which he communicated his needs to God. There is no where Moses prayed or cried out to God yet God asked him, “why are you crying out to me?” This means God sees our heart desires, our meditation and our tears.
Whichever way you choose to express yourself, if you are under the check and conduct of the Holy spirit, He hears you. In the text cited, Moses was silent but his faith was not; his faith was active.
Active faith will make that which is against you to be for you. Faith operates with prayers. This means, faith activates prayer. When you pray in faith, you will receive an answer from God. Faith is the transformative power of the universe – I mean, the power of change. A change from what you are to what you want to become; a change from sickness to good health; a change from a faithless generation to a faithful generation.
In Mark 11:23, Jesus did not say, ‘Pray if you encounter a mountain that it might be removed’. No! He said, “Have faith in God” and then tell the mountain aloud to be removed. We often hear that prayer changes things but it is not entirely true. Prayer changes us: faith changes things. I mean, prayer changes our focus and faith causes things to happen. Why are we not delivered from our bad habits in spite of our prayer? Prayer is not right if it does not spring from faith. One is rewarded when one prays in faith. – SCOAN-TBJ
Have a blessed week.
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