Posted in encouragement, theology

Prayerful interlude

By Elizabeth Prata

For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who by their unrighteousness suppress the truth. (Romans 1:18).

The wrath is already revealed, and they know it but suppress it. They can suppress the truth all day long, all a lifetime long, deceiving themselves that they have successfully avoided God, and thus, their judgment…but ultimately, when they are confronted with the Holy God, they will hide.

And they heard the sound of the LORD God walking in the garden in the cool of the day, and the man and his wife hid themselves from the presence of the LORD God among the trees of the garden. (Genesis 3:8)

Then the kings of the earth, the nobles, the commanders, the rich, the mighty, and every slave and free man, hid in the caves and among the rocks of the mountains. (Revelation 6:15)

There will come a day that no one will be able to hide.

Judgment Before the Great White Throne

Then I saw a great white throne and him who was seated on it. From his presence earth and sky fled away, and no place was found for them. 12 And I saw the dead, great and small, standing before the throne, and books were opened. Then another book was opened, which is the book of life. And the dead were judged by what was written in the books, according to what they had done. 13 And the sea gave up the dead who were in it, Death and Hades gave up the dead who were in them, and they were judged, each one of them, according to what they had done. 14 Then Death and Hades were thrown into the lake of fire. This is the second death, the lake of fire. 15 And if anyone’s name was not found written in the book of life, he was thrown into the lake of fire. (Revelation 20:11-15)

I often think about my life before salvation. Half my life will have been lived in rebellion to God (if I live to age 84, that is.)

I suppressed the truth, I rebelled, I was self-satisfied, I mocked God. Yet, before I was born, He had set me apart to become His trophy of Grace at the appointed year, day, moment, to glorify Him, redeemed and clean. (cf Galatians 1:15).

In the Garden He opened their eyes to see their own sin. (Genesis 3:7). Yet that opening plunged them into spiritual darkness, never again to see the glory of their Creator with wide-open eyes. At salvation He opens eyes, (Acts 9:18; Ephesians 1:18) to see Him in His glorious light, to know and understand spiritual things.

When He spoke to Adam and Eve after their rebellion, when He spoke to Noah, Abram, Moses…how is it that they did not just shatter into a billion dust motes, scattering across the four compass points like chaff? He is powerful, majestic, yet intimate.

My prayer today Lord is
for you to forgive
my critical mind
my craven heart
my lazy bones
Overlook my childish attempts to glorify you

Pardon my sins
perfidies
disobedience
Wash me in your love
clean my by your forgiveness

provide for me your comfort

send to me your angels

sanctify my prayers.

And He will, for I was plucked out of the darkness to dwell in His Light, eyes wide open, loving Him.

We love because he first loved us. (1 John 4:19).

loveverse2

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The Prayer Machinery of Heaven #7: The Debt

If I had cherished sin in my heart, the Lord would not have listened. (Psalm 66:18).

If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. (1 John 1:9).

Prayer straddles our lives both on earth when we pray and in heaven when Jesus hears. All week I’m focusing on prayer. It’s important. I need to do better in my life, and I can’t imagine a Christian who doesn’t think they can do better at prayer either.

Charles Spurgeon said,

Prayer meetings are the throbbing machinery of the church.

Last weekend, I was thinking of one of Spurgeon’s sermons, called God’s Providence. (#3114). Spurgeon likened the cherubim’s acts near the throne and the wheels within wheels as described by Ezekiel as machinery of Providence. He described, hypothetically of course, the wheels going up and down and left and right in tandem as the machinery of Providence carrying out God’s will and decrees. It’s an interesting thought, and Spurgeon is vivid about his descriptions.

This series of ‘prayer machinery of heaven’ is inspired by those two thoughts.

Please enjoy this scripture photo I made of the machinery of prayer. Under that will be some further resources on prayer suggestions.

prayer machinery 7

There are two ‘If’s’ there. If we confess, He is faithful to forgive. If we hold onto our sins and cherish them, He does not listen. Prayer is the vehicle of communion with the Lord, and dealing with sin is the oil that expedites the prayer or it falls to the ground with a thud.

In “The Lord’s Prayer” from Matthew 6:9-13, Jesus said “pray in this way” which includes instructions to pray for forgiveness of sin,

And forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors. (Matthew 6:12)

Gill’s Commentary mentions the use of the word debts for sins

And forgive us our debts,…. Nothing is more frequent in the Jewish writings than to call sins “debts”; and the phrase, of forgiving, is used both of God and men.

And sins are debts, aren’t they. Strong’s Concordance explains the Greek word used here

And to Him we owe it all! Jesus paid it all, all to Him I owe!!!

He paid the debt, and He set us free. We are mindful of the two ‘Ifs’ however, do not cherish sin, and confess it daily. What a privilege to pray. What a gift that He hears us.

 

Prayer Machinery of Heaven series:

Prayer Machinery #1: Introduction and Praying for Missionaries

Prayer Machinery #2: Praying for pray for our Elders (pastors, deacons, teachers, etc).

Prayer Machinery #3: Praying for each other

Prayer Machinery #4: How to Pray

Prayer Machinery #5: A focus on Jesus in heaven who hears our prayers, and what a comfort that is

Prayer Machinery #6: Persevering in Prayer

Prayer Machinery #7: The Two ‘If’s’ and the Importance of confessing Sin

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The Prayer Machinery of Heaven #6

And he told them a parable to the effect that they ought always to pray and not lose heart. (Luke 18:1)

Prayer straddles our lives both on earth when we pray and in heaven when Jesus hears. All week I’m focusing on prayer. It’s important. I need to do better in my life, and I can’t imagine a Christian who doesn’t think they can do better at prayer either.

Charles Spurgeon said,

Prayer meetings are the throbbing machinery of the church.

Last weekend, I was thinking of one of Spurgeon’s sermons, called God’s Providence. (#3114). Spurgeon likened the cherubim’s acts near the throne and the wheels within wheels as described by Ezekiel as machinery of Providence. He described, hypothetically of course, the wheels going up and down and left and right in tandem as the machinery of Providence carrying out God’s will and decrees. It’s an interesting thought, and Spurgeon is vivid about his descriptions.

This series of ‘prayer machinery of heaven’ is inspired by those two thoughts.

Please enjoy this scripture photo I made of the machinery of prayer. Under that will be some further resources on prayer suggestions. Monday I suggested praying for the persecuted and missionaries around the world, with some resources to check out along those lines. Tuesday I suggested praying for our elders (pastors, deacons, teachers, etc), again, with resources. Wednesday I suggested praying for each other. Today focuses on how often to pray. Thursday I offered information about frequency of prayer. Friday we focused on Jesus in heaven who hears our prayers, and what a comfort that is. For this next-to-last picture in the series, I’ll offer some thoughts and resources on persevering in prayer.

I thought Barnes’ Notes said it well. There are different kinds of prayers and seasons for each kind. There are different attitudes of prayer.

Always – At all times. That is, we must not neglect regular stated seasons of prayer; we must seize on occasions of remarkable providences as afflictions or signal blessings to seek God in prayer; we must “always” maintain a spirit of prayer, or be in a proper frame to lift up our hearts to God for his blessing, and we must not grow weary though our prayer seems not to be answered.

Not to faint – Not to grow weary or give over. The parable is designed to teach us that, though our prayers should long appear to be unanswered, we should persevere, and not grow weary in supplication to God.

The parable is instructive for us, to never give up in prayer. Jesus receives prayer around the clock, every day, all the time. For us, it’s a battle to put hands together and carve out time to pray, Satan does not want us to pray. Jesus does. We have to work toward satisfying the one and not the other. Spurgeon again, said-

It is well said that neglected prayer is the birthplace of all evil.

I believe this. Jesus spent time instructing the disciples how to pray. (Luke 11:1-13). He spent time instructing through the parable of the importance of persisting in prayer. (Luke 18:1-8). Prayer is important. I need to do better in lots of ways- in my closet, in persisting, in focus, in content, and in earnestness and fervor. Lord, help me to pray.

prayer machinery 6b

Further Reading

Sermon Series: Elements of True Prayer

Valley of Vision devotional of Puritan Prayers (a wonderful wonderful resource!)

Tim Challies: Persistence in Prayer

Full of Eyes: Visual theology & exegesis of Colossians 4:2-4 being steadfast in prayer

Prayer Machinery of Heaven series:

Prayer Machinery #1: Introduction and Praying for Missionaries

Prayer Machinery #2: Praying for pray for our Elders (pastors, deacons, teachers, etc).

Prayer Machinery #3: Praying for each other

Prayer Machinery #4: How to Pray

Prayer Machinery #5: A focus on Jesus in heaven who hears our prayers, and what a comfort that is

Prayer Machinery #6: Persevering in Prayer

Prayer Machinery #7: The Two ‘If’s’ and the Importance of confessing Sin

Posted in encouragement, Uncategorized

The Prayer Machinery of Heaven #5

The Lord is near to all who call on him, to all who call on him in truth. He fulfills the desire of those who fear him; he also hears their cry and saves them. (Psalm 145:18-19)

Prayer straddles our lives both on earth when we pray and in heaven when Jesus hears. All week I’m focusing on prayer. It’s important. I need to do better in my life, and I can’t imagine a Christian who doesn’t think they can do better at prayer either.

Last weekend, I was thinking of one of Spurgeon’s sermons, called God’s Providence. (#3114). Spurgeon likened the cherubim’s acts near the throne and the wheels within wheels as described by Ezekiel as machinery of Providence. He described, hypothetically of course, the wheels going up and down and left and right in tandem as the machinery of Providence carrying out God’s will and decrees. It’s an interesting thought, and Spurgeon is vivid about his descriptions.

This series of ‘prayer machinery of heaven’ is inspired by that thought.

Please enjoy this scripture photo I made of the machinery of prayer. Under that will be some further resources on prayer suggestions. Monday I suggested praying for the persecuted and missionaries around the world, with some resources to check out along those lines. Tuesday I suggested praying for our elders (pastors, deacons, teachers, etc), again, with resources. Wednesday I suggested praying for each other. Today focuses on how often to pray. Thursday I offered information about frequency of prayer. Today let’s focus on Jesus in heaven who hears our prayers, and what a comfort that is.

In John Gill’s Commentary on verse 19, he writes,

He will fulfil the desire of them that fear him,…. That have the true fear of God put into their hearts; that fear him not with a servile, but godly fear; that fear the Lord and his goodness, and are true worshippers of him in a spiritual and evangelic manner; for the fear of God includes the whole worship of him, private and public: and the Lord grants to such whatever they desire of him, in his fear, under the direction of his spirit, according to his will, and in submission to it. Do they desire good things of him, temporal or spiritual? there is no want of any good thing to them that fear him; how should there, when such great goodness is laid up for them? Do they desire his presence, and the discoveries of his love? the sun of righteousness arises on them that fear his name, and his secrets are with them, and his mercy is upon them from everlasting to everlasting. Do they desire his protection from enemies? the Angel of the Lord encamps round about them, and the Lord himself is their, help and their shield;

he also will hear their cry, and will save them; that is, he will hear and answer their prayer, which they put up to him in their distress: they cry to him either mentally or vocally, in their troubles, and his ears are open to their cries, and they enter into them; and he regards them, and saves them out of them; out of their temporal and out of their spiritual troubles; he saves them with a temporal and with an eternal salvation.

We have such a good God who hears. Our fear and devotion to Him, and His careful attention and love toward us, makes a wonderful relationship. And that is what our religion is, not formalist with rituals and rules, but a relationship with a Holy God who cares.

prayer machinery 4

Further Resources

Essay: How’s Your Prayer Life? by Dr. Martyn Lloyd Jones

Sermon S. Lewis Johnson: The Lord’s Prayer: A Primer for Prayer

Prayer Machinery of Heaven series:

Prayer Machinery #1: Introduction and Praying for Missionaries

Prayer Machinery #2: Praying for pray for our Elders (pastors, deacons, teachers, etc).

Prayer Machinery #3: Praying for each other

Prayer Machinery #4: How to Pray

Prayer Machinery #5: A focus on Jesus in heaven who hears our prayers, and what a comfort that is

Prayer Machinery #6: Persevering in Prayer

Prayer Machinery #7: The Two ‘If’s’ and the Importance of confessing Sin

Posted in encouragement, Uncategorized

Prayer machinery of heaven #4

Pray in the Spirit at all times, with every kind of prayer and petition. To this end, stay alert with all perseverance in your prayers for all the saints. (Ephesians 6:18)

Prayer straddles our lives both on earth and in heaven. All week I’m focusing on prayer. It’s important. I need to do better in my life, and I can’t imagine a Christian who doesn’t think they can do better at prayer either.

Last weekend, I was thinking of one of Spurgeon’s sermons, called God’s Providence. (#3114). Spurgeon likened the cherubim’s acts near the throne and the wheels within wheels as described by Ezekiel as machinery of Providence. He described, hypothetically of course, the wheels going up and down and left and right in tandem as the machinery of Providence carrying out God’s will and decrees. It’s an interesting thought, and Spurgeon is vivid about his descriptions.

This series of ‘prayer machinery of heaven’ is inspired by that thought.

Please enjoy this scripture photo I made of the machinery of prayer. Under that will be some further resources on prayer suggestions. Monday I suggested praying for the persecuted and missionaries around the world, with some resources to check out along those lines. Tuesday I suggested praying for our elders (pastors, deacons, teachers, etc), again, with resources. Wednesday I suggested praying for each other. Today focuses on how often to pray.

In an article called Pray Like a Puritan, Tim Challies interviewed Dr Joel Beeke. Here is an excerpt of their conversation as it relates to frequency of prayer:

TC: Matthew Henry wrote a very popular book on prayer and among his first directions was “begin each day with God.” What might the Puritans have said if someone suggested that the Bible does not command daily devotions or daily private worship?

JB: Manton said, “Though there be not an express rule particularly set down how often we should be with God,” yet God’s commands and calls to prayer “are very large.” He pointed out that the Word commands us to “pray without ceasing” (1 Thess. 5:17) and to be “praying always” (Eph. 6:18). This implies a continual habit of prayer, and also set times especially devoted to prayer. He offered us the examples of David (Ps. 55:17) and Daniel (Dan. 6:10), both of whom prayed three times a day. It is true that we can shoot up sudden prayers (Neh. 2:4) in the middle of our ordinary work. But we must also “strive” in prayer (Rom. 15:30), which implies a longer time given exclusively to prayer. Some of those longer prayer times are with the family or with the church, but Christ taught us especially to pray alone in a secret place (Matt. 6:6), and in that same context to pray “daily” (Matt. 6:11). We should not view prayer as a mere religious performance, asking, “How often do I have to do it?” Instead, Manton said that prayer is the conversation of “a loving soul with God,” and “acts of friendship and communion must not be rare and unfrequent, but constant and often.” He wrote, “If we have a love to God, we cannot keep long out of God’s company, but will be with him pouring out our hearts to him.”

 

prayer machinery 5

Further Resources

GotQuestions: How to Pray?

Evangelical Times: John Bunyan on Prayer

Meet The Puritans: John Bunyan on Prayer

Prayer Machinery of Heaven series:

Prayer Machinery #1: Introduction and Praying for Missionaries

Prayer Machinery #2: Praying for pray for our Elders (pastors, deacons, teachers, etc).

Prayer Machinery #3: Praying for each other

Prayer Machinery #4: How to Pray

Prayer Machinery #5: A focus on Jesus in heaven who hears our prayers, and what a comfort that is

Prayer Machinery #6: Persevering in Prayer

Prayer Machinery #7: The Two ‘If’s’ and the Importance of confessing Sin

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The Prayer Machinery of Heaven #3

Therefore, confess your sins to one another and pray for one another, that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person has great power as it is working. (James 5:16).

Those blessings are sweetest that are won with prayers and won with thanks.
—Thomas Goodwin

I’m convinced also that the sweetness increases when it’s a prayer request granted for another person.

Prayer straddles our lives both on earth and in heaven. All week I’m focusing on prayer. It’s important. I need to do better in my life, and I can’t imagine a Christian who doesn’t think they can do better at prayer either.

Last weekend, I was thinking of one of Spurgeon’s sermons, called God’s Providence. (#3114). Spurgeon likened the cherubim’s acts near the throne and the wheels within wheels as described by Ezekiel as machinery of Providence. He described, hypothetically of course, the wheels going up and down and left and right in tandem as the machinery of Providence carrying out God’s will and decrees. It’s an interesting thought, and Spurgeon is vivid about his descriptions.

This series of ‘prayer machinery of heaven’ is inspired by that thought.

Please enjoy this scripture photo I made of the machinery of prayer. Under that will be some further resources on prayer suggestions. Monday I suggested praying for the persecuted and missionaries around the world, with some resources to check out along those lines. Tuesday I suggested praying for our elders (pastors, deacons, teachers, etc), again, with resources. Today’s let’s let’s pray for each other.

prayer machinery 3.jpg

Further Reading/Resources

Spurgeon quotes on Prayer

Sermon: Elements of True Prayer

Ligonier: Essay by Don Whitney, Praying for One Another

GotQuestions: What is Intercessory Prayer?

Prayer Machinery of Heaven series:

Prayer Machinery #1: Introduction and Praying for Missionaries

Prayer Machinery #2: Praying for pray for our Elders (pastors, deacons, teachers, etc).

Prayer Machinery #3: Praying for each other

Prayer Machinery #4: How to Pray

Prayer Machinery #5: A focus on Jesus in heaven who hears our prayers, and what a comfort that is

Prayer Machinery #6: Persevering in Prayer

Prayer Machinery #7: The Two ‘If’s’ and the Importance of confessing Sin

Posted in encouragement, Uncategorized

The prayer machinery of heaven #2

Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. (Philippians 4:6-7).

The purest actions of the purest men need Christ to perfume them; and this is his office. When we pray, we need to pray again for Christ to pardon the defects of our prayers. ~ The Bruised Reed by Richard Sibbes

Isn’t that descriptive, we pray, because we can, and then pray again for Christ to pardon the prayer’s defects. I think the Romans 8:26 verse below is getting to that idea.

Prayer straddles our lives both on earth and in heaven. All week I am focusing on prayer. It’s important. I need to do better in my life, and I can’t imagine a Christian who doesn’t think they can do better at prayer either.

I was thinking of one of Spurgeon’s sermons, called God’s Providence. (#3114). Spurgeon likened the cherubim’s acts near the throne and the wheels within wheels as described by Ezekiel as machinery of Providence. He described, hypothetically of course, the wheels going up and down and left and right in tandem as the machinery of Providence carrying out God’s will and decrees. It’s an interesting thought, and Spurgeon is vivid about his descriptions.

Th is series of prayer machinery of heaven is inspired by that thought.

Please enjoy this scripture photo I made of the machinery of prayer. Under that will be some further resources on prayer suggestions. Yesterday I suggested praying for the persecuted and missionaries around the world, with some resources to check out along those lines. Today, let’s pray for our elders (pastors, deacons, teachers, etc).

prayer machinery 2

Further Reading/Resources

Revive Our Hearts: Your Pastor Challenge

Ligonier: How to Pray for Your Pastor

Challies: Pray for Your Pastor! (lots of other links inside)

Prayer Machinery of Heaven series:

Prayer Machinery #1: Introduction and Praying for Missionaries

Prayer Machinery #2: Praying for pray for our Elders (pastors, deacons, teachers, etc).

Prayer Machinery #3: Praying for each other

Prayer Machinery #4: How to Pray

Prayer Machinery #5: A focus on Jesus in heaven who hears our prayers, and what a comfort that is

Prayer Machinery #6: Persevering in Prayer

Prayer Machinery #7: The Two ‘If’s’ and the Importance of confessing Sin

Posted in encouragement, Uncategorized

Prayer, an act of worship

Excerpt from David McIntyre’s The Hidden Life of Prayer, chapter 6. This book, written in 1913, is available for free online, as well as for purchase in book or Kindle form.

The prayer of faith, like some plant rooted in a fruitful soil, draws its virtue from a disposition which has been brought into conformity with the mind of Christ.

1. It is subject to the Divine will-“This is the confidence that we have in Him, that, if we ask anything according to His will, He heareth us” (1 John 5:14).

2. It is restrained within the interest of Christ-“Whatsoever ye shall ask in My name, that will I do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son” (John 14:13).

3. It is instructed in the truth-“If ye abide in Me, and My words abide in you, ye shall ask what ye will, and it shall be done unto you” (John 15:7).

4. It is energized by the Spirit-“Able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that worketh in us” (Eph. 3:20).

5. It is interwoven with love and mercy-“And when ye stand praying, forgive, if ye have ought against any; that your Father also which is in heaven may forgive you your trespasses” (Mark 11:25).

6. It is accompanied with obedience-“Whatsoever we ask, we receive of Him, because we keep His commandments, and do those things that are pleasing in His sight” (1 John 3:22).

7. It is so earnest that it will not accept denial-“Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you” (Luke 11:9).

8. It goes out to look for, and to hasten its answer “The supplication of a righteous man availeth much in its working” (James 5:16, RV).34

But, although the prayer of faith springs from a divinely-implanted disposition, there is nothing mysterious in the act of faith. It is simply an assurance which relies upon a sufficient warning.

rejoice in hope prayer

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Was Achsah’s request too bold?

You do not have, because you do not ask. (James 4:2b)

So if you who are evil know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give the Holy Spirit to those who ask Him! (Luke 11:13)

The second scripture above from Luke is a story Jesus delivered just after teaching the disciples ‘The Lord’s Prayer’, in the section on how to pray.

We know of the more familiar examples of Bible people asking things boldly. David, Jeremiah Habakkuk, Job, Hannah…they all asked for things of the Lord and did so honestly, with raw intensity. There is no doubt that they were sincere believers who felt awe and reverence for God. They feared Him. Yet when it came time to pour out their heart in naked emotion or bold prayer requests, they did.

Here is a less well known example of someone in the Bible asking for something of her (earthly) father, boldly. Achsah. Here she is in scripture, Judges 1:12-15,

Toshiba Exif JPEG
EPrata photo

And Caleb said, “He who attacks Kiriath-sepher and captures it, I will give him Achsah my daughter for a wife.” 13And Othniel the son of Kenaz, Caleb’s younger brother, captured it. And he gave him Achsah his daughter for a wife. 14When she came to him, she urged him to ask her father for a field. And she dismounted from her donkey, and Caleb said to her, “What do you want?” 15She said to him, “Give me a blessing. Since you have set me in the land of the Negeb, give me also springs of water.” And Caleb gave her the upper springs and the lower springs.

Was Achsah too bold? Was she greedy? Was she rebellious in her asking when she should have remained meek and submissive? The Jamieson Fausset Commentary explains it this way

that is, when about to remove from her father’s to her husband’s house. She suddenly alighted from her travelling equipage—a mark of respect to her father, and a sign of making some request. She had urged Othniel to broach the matter, but he not wishing to do what appeared like evincing a grasping disposition, she resolved herself to speak out. Taking advantage of the parting scene when a parent’s heart was likely to be tender, she begged (as her marriage portion consisted of a field which, having a southern exposure, was comparatively an arid and barren waste) he would add the adjoining one, which abounded in excellent springs. The request being reasonable, it was granted; and the story conveys this important lesson in religion, that if earthly parents are ready to bestow on their children that which is good, much more will our heavenly Father give every necessary blessing to them who ask Him.

The last sentence of the commentary explanation harks back tot he verse from Luke above. And here is another short explanation of this small incident from Judges about Achsah, it is Matthew Henry from his Complete Commentary. The tenth commandment was “Do Not Covet.”

From this story we learn,

1. That it is no breach of the tenth commandment moderately to desire those comforts and conveniences of this life which we see attainable in a fair and regular way.

2. That husbands and wives should mutually advise, and jointly agree, about that which is for the common good of their family; and much more should they concur in asking of their heavenly Father the best blessings, those of the upper springs.

3. That parents must never think that lost which is bestowed upon their children for their real advantage, but must be free in giving them portions as well as maintenance, especially when they are dutiful. Caleb had sons (1 Chr. 4:15), and yet gave thus liberally to his daughter.

Ye have not because ye ask not! Now, just because we ask, doesn’t mean we will get what we ask. God is not a magic genie, bestowing upon us all that we desire. There are conditions to asking boldly of our Father in prayer. First, the rest of the James verse explains that sometimes we do not receive because we ask wrongly. If we are asking in order to indulge our passions, it will not be granted. If we regard iniquity in our heart, prayer will not be heard. (Psalm 66:18). There are other conditions, too, which if in place mean the prayer will not be heard, no matter how bold it is. (source with scriptures here,please look at the list).
Conclusion:

Prayer: Nothing is too great and nothing is too small to commit into the hands of the Lord!
— A. W. Pink

Our Father who is holy, will give good gifts. Be bold in prayer, be diligent in asking, be sure of the result.

———————————————————

Further resources:

Sermon “Pray Boldly“, here John MacArthur explains the weird scene from Luke 11
jmac sermon “don’t be afraid to ask’

Charles Spurgeon’s sermon Have not because ye ask not? exposits the scene with Achsah.

Thomas Watson quotes on prayer, here at Grace Gems

Valley of Vision, The Prayer of Love

Posted in discernment, Uncategorized

Why is it so hard to pray?

We’re commanded in many places in scripture to pray. We have the duty of continual communion with Him. And yet, so often we don’t pray as we ought. Why is this?

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Photo by Ben White on Unsplash

It seems so easy. Praying isn’t as hard as spreading asphalt in Nevada on a summer day. It isn’t battling a five-alarm fire in the canyons. It isn’t helping your mother with Alzheimer’s. All you do is sit in your air conditioned place, put your hands together, and speak to Jesus, our friend.

 

But is that all prayer is? No.

David McIntyre in his 1912 book, The Hidden Life of Prayer (free online) explains why praying is so hard sometimes. He tells why we do not do it as we ought. The Hidden Life of Prayer was one of the books that Tim Challies selected for his program “Reading Through the Classics.” Challies wrote,

McIntyre was a Scottish preacher who succeeded Andrew Bonar as minister in Finnieston and later served as principal of the Bible Training Institute in Glasgow from 1913 to 1938. His book was first published in 1913.

McIntyre is insightful when he writes this,

Our Lord takes it for granted that His people will pray. And indeed in Scripture generally the outward obligation of prayer is implied rather than asserted. Moved by a divinely-implanted instinct, our natures cry out for God, for the living God. And however this instinct may be crushed by sin, it awakes to power in the consciousness of redemption.

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Photo by Anna King on Unsplash

McIntyre is powerful when he writes this,

 

And yet, instinctive as is our dependence upon God, no duty is more earnestly impressed upon us in Scripture than the duty of continual communion with Him. The main reason for this unceasing insistence is the arduousness of prayer. In its nature it is a laborious undertaking, and in our endeavor to maintain the spirit of prayer we are called to wrestle against principalities and powers of darkness.

We know that we do not wrestle with others, but with powers and principalities of the air. And who is the prince of the power of the air? Satan. (Ephesians 6:12, Ephesians 2:2). But to put the two concepts together as one of the reasons prayer is so arduous, we have a powerful truth.

And lest we think that even if we had an easy life with no problems, or can slack off due to our tight communion with God, McIntyre write this about Jesus:

And this one who sought retirement with so much solitude was the Son of God, having no sin to confess, no shortcoming to deplore, no unbelief to subdue, no languor of love to overcome. Nor are we to imagine that His prayers were merely peaceful meditations, or rapturous acts of communion. They were strenuous and warlike, from that hour in the wilderness when angels came to minister to the prostrate Man of Sorrows, on to that awful “agony” in which His sweat was, as it were, great drops of blood. His prayers were sacrifices, offered up with strong crying and tears.

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Photo by Natalie Collins on Unsplash

“Prayer is the key of heaven; the Spirit helps faith to turn this key.” ~Thomas Watson.