Brilliant on the Basics, Prayer

Brilliant on the Basics: Three

Brilliant on the basic of prayer that propels your life

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Brilliant on the Basics: Three

Brilliant on the basic of prayer that propels your life

03 October 2010

Do you ever wonder what your life could be if you had everything right with God and if you were praying effectively, growing in your faith, and if God were to really do all He is capable of doing through your life? Most of us, if we were honest, would have to admit that we think we are living beneath the potential that God has for us. Too often we settle for where we are rather than striving for His best for us. The mediocrity we accept in our own lives causes our prayer life to be timid and fruitless. God wants to teach us how to pray so as to propel our lives on to a higher level. How can we pray so that it propels our lives?

If your prayers are to propel your life as God intends you must:

1. come before God confidently (Heb. 4:16 NKJV) Let us therefore come boldly to the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need. How can we come before God with confidence? I have had the opportunity to recommend attorneys to friends over the years. I have always recommended only those I knew were the best in their particular fields of law. I have often said, “I recommend this attorney because he or she will represent you with the utmost competence and achieve the result you desire.” When it comes to entering the Throne Room of the universe and coming into the presence of God, we need (not just a good, but) the greatest defense counsel representing us.

There is no one more qualified to represent us before the heavenly Father than His own Son and our Savior, Jesus Christ. He is unexcelled because He is God Himself. He can share with us the heart of God and show us what is best for us. He was also man as though He were not God, so He can plead our case to His Father as one who has walked where we walk and experienced all that we experience in life. Our High Priest (counsel) is in heaven with the Father representing us full time. He never slumbers nor sleeps (Psalm 121:3-4). He will not let you stumble, slip, or fall. He is always watching, never sleeping.

If you need to speak with your attorney you may make multiple calls before he or she is available. They are busy people. You will probably pay a fee for the time you spend talking with them. But, with our Counsel at the throne of grace, there is never a busy signal, never a voice mail, never a hesitation, never a fee. It is all free–by grace through faith. It is the one place you can go and have uninhibited access.

In Christ, our Counsel and Priest with the Father in heaven we find all we need. If we are sick He is our physician, if we are accused He is our defender, if we are attacked He is our shield and deliverer, if we are hungry He is the Bread of life, if we are thirsty He is the living water, if we are lonely He is our Friend, if we are confused He is our counselor, if we are in darkness He is the Light on our pathway, if we are jobless He is our Provider, if we are searching for truth He is the Truth. Everything we need to make us confident before the throne of God we will find in Christ. He is a High Priest who knows how to represent us because (Heb. 4:14-15 The Message) Now that we know what we have–Jesus, this great High Priest with ready access to God–let’s not let it slip through our fingers. 15 We don’t have a priest who is out of touch with our reality. He’s been through weakness and testing, experienced it all–all but sin.

2. confess your sins (Ps. 66:18 KJV) If I regard iniquity in my heart, the Lord will not hear me… None of us is without sin. John, writing in his first letter, says, (1 John 2:1 The Message) I write this, dear children, to guide you out of sin. But if anyone does sin, we have a Priest-Friend in the presence of the Father: Jesus Christ, righteous Jesus. The import of the Greek text is that, “When we sin (and surely we will) we have a Priest-Friend.” We have already seen that God has provided us a Counsel for our defense. That is because we all need Him. We can sin, and we do sin. The problem comes when we refuse to let go of the sin. David said, “If I hold on to my sin (cherish it), the Lord will not hear me.” So, instead of propelling our prayers, we hinder our prayers through harboring unconfessed sin.

God requires obedience as a condition for heard and answered prayer. In addition, He expects repentance from us in regard to the known sin in our lives. That means we turn away from the sin and to Him and His unmistakable plan for our lives. When you are guilty of sin and know it, the prayer God expects from you is one of confession. In the ACTS formula which I have often suggested as a good model for prayer, confession is right after adoration to God for whom He is and what He does.

3. correct broken relationships (Mk. 11: 24-25 TLB). “Listen to me! You can pray for anything, and if you believe, you have it; it is yours! 25 But when you’re praying, first forgive anyone you’re holding a grudge against, so that your Father in heaven will forgive you your sins too.” Jesus promised that when He is Lord of our lives and our thoughts we can pray for anything He would ask for us, and believing, we could receive it. But, that promise is predicated on our exhibiting a forgiving nature toward others. Obviously a posture of forgiveness is closely related to our prayer lives.

In another passage Jesus talked about going to church and offering an offering. He said if you go to give and remember that you are at odds with another of God’s children, you are to go and make that right and come back and continue with giving your gift. I have often told people that they cannot tell me that they love me but hate one of my two sons. You cannot truly love a father without loving his sons whom he loves. You say, “Well, I love God but I hate….” Not possible, if you want your prayers to be answered. 1 Pet. 3:7 reminds us that if we are at odds in our home life we disrupt our harmony with God and with it our prayer power.

Our conclusion must be that we are to correct broken relationships in order for our prayers to propel our lives forward.

4. commit to do God’s will for your life (1 John 5:14 NIV) This is the confidence we have in approaching God: that if we ask anything according to His will, he hears us. God expects us to come to Him in agreement with His will for our lives. “Father Knows Best” was not only the title of an old TV series, but it is also a truth we need not to forget when we are speaking of our heavenly Father. He really does know best. Ask yourself, “When I pray do my requests match up with the recipe of God for my life?” John says a prerequisite for answered prayer, the kind that propels a life is, “if we ask anything according to his will.” One of the reasons God answers: “No, wait, or yes,” is that He has to lead us to move away from our own will for our lives to accept His perfect will for us. That can take as much time as it takes to change your mind. God reveals His will to people who are willing to cooperate with Him in doing His will. He wants you to know that you are willing to do His will before He answers. It was that way with Abraham in Genesis 22, when God asked him to offer his only son, the one promised to him, on the altar of sacrifice. God never wanted him to kill his son, but He did want to show Abraham that he was willing to do the will of God no matter how hard or costly it might be.

5. check on your motive for asking (James 4:3 TLB) And even when you do ask you don’t get it because your whole aim is wrong–you want only what will give you pleasure. We often pray for good things but with the wrong motive. As James taught, we are selfishly motivated. We pray for God to keep us well and make us wealthy. Why do we desire wellness? Why do we desire wealth? If we are kept healthy how will we use our healthy bodies? Will we use them for God’s glory and for the blessing of others? Or, will they become instruments of sinful behavior? If God makes us wealthy, what will we do with the wealth? Will we sow it into the lives of those in need or spend it frivolously on our own selfish interests? If God blesses you financially and blesses your investments in the stock market are you going to forget that He is the one from whom every good and perfect gift comes and fail to tithe on the increase? God teaches us that He looks on the heart of the giver not on the gift placed in the offering plate. You will learn that if you give out of the blessings God gives you, you will never run out of something to give. I have learned that the more I give the more I get to give!

6. claim your answers before you receive them (Heb. 11:3- NIV) By faith the walls of Jericho fell, after the people had marched around them for seven days. You probably remember the story. Joshua and the people of God moved into the Promised Land and encountered the well-fortified city of Jericho. God told them to march around the wall of the city for six successive days and then on the seventh day to march around it seven times and then shout, “The Lord has given us the city.” You will notice that God instructed them to proclaim the victory in advance of receiving it. They were to start thanking God for the answer in advance of receiving it. I call that confessing our victory. It is praising God before picking the fruit. God already knows the faith of our hearts. He wants us to know it; therefore, He asks us to thank Him in advance of the blessing so He can allow us to start living in the victory from that moment. It may take days, weeks, years for that answer to become a reality in our practical everyday lives. But, we can live in it from the moment we begin to praise Him for it by faith. Think of the testimony that gives to the skeptic in your sphere of influence. The walls will come down in your life when you begin to thank God for His answers and claim them in advance of receiving them.

7. call on the Father in the name of the Son (John 14: 12-14 TLB) “In solemn truth I tell you, anyone believing in me shall do the same miracles I have done, and even greater ones, because I am going to be with the Father. You can ask him for anything using my name, and I will do it, for this will bring praise to the Father because of what I, the Son, will do for you. 14 Yes, ask anything, using my name, and I will do it! Praying in Jesus’s name. What does that mean? A lot of people think you have to say, “in Jesus’ name,” at the end of each prayer. For the most part I do that from the early training in my own life. I think it has some merit because it reminds us that all things that we need in life are available in His name. More than that, I am reminded that as I ask in Jesus’ name I am acknowledging that I have no claim to anything from God. It is on the basis of what Christ did for me at Calvary that I am able to come before God at all. So,I am asking in Jesus’ name to agree with God that it is on the basis of His propitiatory work that I am asking.

Asking in Jesus’ name also brings praise to the Father, as He said, because of what the Son will do for (us). God is praised and glorified when others see what Jesus does in answer to our prayers asked in His name, by faith in Him, and in His capacity to bless us. He is the Source of every blessing. He is the glue that holds the whole of life and the universes God has made together. Without Him we can do nothing.

Asking in Jesus’ name also means that we are asking as Jesus’ himself would ask. It is allowing the Holy Spirit to identify our needs and communicate them through Jesus to His Father. All you have to do is think of the need. The Spirit will do the praying for you (Rm. 8:26-27 TLB) And in the same way–by our faith–the Holy Spirit helps us with our daily problems and in our praying. For we don’t even know what we should pray for nor how to pray as we should, but the Holy Spirit prays for us with such feeling that it cannot be expressed in words. 27 And the Father who knows all hearts knows, of course, what the Spirit is saying as he pleads for us in harmony with God’s own will. When Christ is Lord of your life He will be Lord of your prayer life as well. If you let Him speak for you in His name you will be sure to get your answer.

Asking in Jesus’ name means that we are offering the request recognizing the character of Christ. Names in the days when the Bible was written meant a great deal more than they do now. The name of a person represented who that person was. When we come in the name of Jesus, we are to have our character in line with His. Ultimately that means that we are to die to self and allow Him to live His righteous life through us. To do anything less would be a desecration of the holy name of Jesus. Be careful to weigh what you are praying when you pray it in Jesus’ name.

Learn these seven principles and apply them to your prayer life and you will find that your spiritual life will soar on the wings of prayer that propels you onward and upward!

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