The Christian's Prayer Life
Notice that the verse below is the most personalized verse in all of scripture. Note: Eight personal pronouns are used in this one verse and all apply to whoever is reading it.
Notice also that it doesn't say "if you pray" but "when you pray." God expects us to pray and wants to hear from us. We are his children and he loves hearing from us!
"But thou when thou prayest, enter into thy closet, and when thou hast shut thy door, pray to thy Father which is in secret; and thy Father which seeth in secret shall reward thee openly." Matthew 6:6
What's the real problem with our prayer life?
First, a few notable statements on prayer.
Seven days without prayer makes one weak.
He stands best, who kneels most.
I would rather have a heart without prayer than prayer without heart.
The reason there is so little preaching on prayer in these modern times is that preachers are not praying men.
No man is greater than his prayer life.
Neglect of prayer is an effrontry to God, for by it we are saying that we have confidence in the flesh and can operate the spiritual life on a do it yourself basis.
Prayer - secret, fervent, believing prayer - lies at the root of all personal godliness.
And finally; "We want beautiful prayers, touching prayers, simple prayers, thoughtful prayers, prayers with a quaver or a tear in them, or prayers with delicacy and dignity in them. BUT searching prayer, humbling prayer, which is the battle of the conscience and not merely of the heart or taste, prayer which is bent on reality and to win the new joy, goes through misery if need be." P. T. Forsyth
I believe that much of our problem is that most of us have never learned what it means to "pray through" as the old timers used to say. When that phrase was popular or more well known people decided that praying was not praying at all unless they broke through and received peace from the Lord that their prayers would be answered. Our generation must have everything instantly. We rush into God's presence, bringing along our shopping list, quickly babble out our simple prayers with little or no sense of urgency, and then get up feeling satisfied that we have done our duty for the moment or the day and believing that it is now up to God to follow through on our prayer. What do we know of doing war on the floor as the picture below portrays? Which of us has ever been broken over the way God's name is blasphemed not only in the secular media but in our own churches in America and around the world? How many of us have ever spent a night in weeping, with our hearts grieved over the powerless condition of our own lives and the lives of other Christians who should be walking in power and confidence in the Lord? Do we even know what being utterly broken in the presence of the Lord is? I must confess that I surely don't see it in my own life or in the lives of multitudes that I have prayed with over the 41 years that God has kept me.
Warfare praying is unknown to us in our generation because our praying costs us so little and hardly causes the devil any concern! If you are reading this and this is not where you are, then perhaps you could teach the rest of us how to pray as we ought or perhaps you might think too much of your prayer life and are blind to the shallowness of it. Victorious prayer takes our best efforts! It is the outpouring of a life, not just the performance of an hour! It is very taxing mentally, physically and spiritually! I say this from what great men of prayer have said, not from my own experience, but I long to know this experience every day if possible. I want to pray in such a way that the devil is disturbed and in such power and authority flowing from the throne of God that the demons tremble and cry out in fear. I would want my praying to be known in heaven and hell and on the earth as something to be feared by the wicked and embraced by all those that love God. ABOVE ALL, I DESIRE THAT MY PRAYERS WILL BE PLEASING TO GOD! I pray that you, dear reader, feel the same!
There are so many hindrances to prayer, and that is, to some extent, by the devil's design in cooperation with our flesh. We have never learned to give the priority to our prayer life that it deserves. We need only to ask ourselves whether or not we want everyone else to pray as we do, and if we are honest we will confess that we do not! We need only to think on the time we spend in prayer compared to what we know we should to find the source of our spiritual weakness! What is it that keeps us from this vitally important part of our spiritual lives? What consumes our time the most and keeps us away from the presence of God? Here are a few suggestions; Television, Computers, Computer Games, Other Games, Work, Our Spouses and Children, Eating Out, Movies, Other Forms of Entertainment, Church, Concerts, Radio, Shopping, Household Chores, Vacations, and a myriad of everyday pursuits. However there are also spiritual hindrances such as thinking that perhaps God may ask us to do something we don't want to, or we think we are so wicked that God doesn't want to hear from us, or we feel embarrassed praying in the presence of others or suggesting extended times of prayer for fear of being called too spiritual or even holier than thou. Perhaps our ministers have never stressed the importance of prayer in a sermon or by example and so we have never learned to earnestly seek God on our own, or we depend on others to pray all the time, or we simply don't know how to pray as we ought.
Every problem has a solution if we are willing to seek it. If we are willing to continue on as we have in prayer, we should not expect the results of our praying to have any more effect than they have to date. If we want to find a solution to our poor praying there is only one place to get it, and that is at the throne of God with a determination to stay there until we get through and never be satisfied with anything less. In recent times people have started what is called accountability partners. That partner is someone who will hold you accountable to pray. However, this partnership is only as good as the partners in the agreement. So then it stands to reason that both or all, if more than one, partners must have the same burden to pray with unrelenting determination no matter how long it may take or what it costs them. A great deal of persistence is required on the part of each partner and praying together will create the bond that will be difficult for the devil to break.
Imagine your friends calling you on the phone wanting to rush you off somewhere where it will be fun for all of you, but you inform them that you can't go. They ask you why, and you tell them that you feel the need to earnestly seek the Lord. Some will wonder what you are talking about and others will understand, but it doesn't matter what they think because you are fully determined to seek God with all your heart and human opinions really will not hinder you or be of any concern to you. Nothing will stop you from seeking God "IF" you have set your heart fully on it.
You have found a place where you won't be interrupted by phones, television, other people, or anything else, and you get alone with God and leave your clock behind and you are finally free to pray with all your heart and without interference. What a joy this is! Are you able to visualize this? Does it get you excited? It will take this kind of dedication and more to pray as God would have you pray, and I can promise you that after you have removed all the human distractions, there will be mental attacks from the enemy in every way imaginable to give you reason why you should pray less or pray later. Thoughts will flood your heart and mind that aren't normally part of your daily life, and perhaps strong accusations of your unworthiness to enter God's presence based on how you are living or have lived will flood your mind. Any trick that Satan can pull out of his vile bag will be thrown at you to keep you from the kind of prayer that shakes the powers of darkness and moves the hand of God.
I know this from my own personal experience, and this experience has never been often enough. BUT it is vitally important that you persist! Bind Satan and his demons and cast them out of your room in the name of Jesus Christ! This power is ours in the name of Jesus alone, and the devil and his minions know it and fear it! THIS KIND OF PRAYING IS WARFARE! It is not the weak, almost thoughtless praying we are accustomed to, but it takes hold on God and refuses to let go! It wrestles and fights and takes the kingdom of heaven by force, and will not be denied. Hours become minutes because of the intensity of this prayer and the battle raging within us and outside us! It is do or die in the attempt kind of praying! This kind of praying cries out from the innermost depths of our being, "OH GOD! Teach me to pray, help me to prevail, remove every hindrance from my life in this moment so that I can break through!" I confess with regret that in my 41 years of walking with the Lord I can only recall one time when I was in God's presence in a way that was so overwhelming and sweet that I never wanted to leave. His presence filled my room and my heart so that I did not want to be disturbed by anything or anyone in the world. I cannot express enough the incredible beauty and power of being in God's presence in that way! One second like that is worth a lifetime of anything else. Do you and I long for this more than anything? What is more important to us, what can work the greatest change for good in us, and what can move the hand of God on behalf of others through us more than this type of warfare praying? I don't think I need to answer that because it is so obvious! OH LORD! TEACH ME TO PRAY! I hope this is the hearts cry of every person who reads this; not for our own sake alone but for the sake of others and, above all, for the glory, honor and praise of our God! We are given twenty-four hours a day to do what we have to do. Which of us will come boldly to God and pour out our heart to our heavenly Father with intense and unrelenting persistence?
The world lies in darkness, and there is turmoil on every side. Every hour thousands of souls pass into eternity; many without hope! GOD, MAKE US PRAYER WARRIORS!
Remove every hindrance. Have mercy on us and forgive us for our failure in prayer and teach us what it means to war on our knees!
Holy Spirit led prayer is the Christian's greatest and least used source of power!
By now every Christian currently living has heard this, but it seems our hearing and doing have never lined up. How can I know this is true? All we have to do is look around in the churches from coast to coast and we can see the lack of power and authority everywhere. I am coming to understand why the disciples came to Jesus and said they wanted him to teach them how to pray. I don't know that this page will change that, but I figure that one more page can't hurt since there are thousands upon thousands of pages that have been written admonishing serious Christians to invest more time in God's presence. I don't believe the amount of time is the issue at all. I believe it has more to do with our own motivation and the quality of our prayers. It has to do with our priorities and if we decide whether we live for this world or the next.