Oct 252009
 

PRAYER
CHRISTIANS PRACTICE FELLOWSHIP WITH GOD

He said to them, “When you pray, say: `Father, hallowed be your name, your kingdom come. Give us each day our daily bread. Forgive us our sins, for we also forgive everyone who sins against us. And lead us not into temptation.’”
LUKE 11:2-4
God made us and has redeemed us for fellowship with himself, and that is what prayer is. God speaks to us in and through the contents of the Bible, which the Holy Spirit opens up and applies to us and enables us to understand. We then speak to God about himself, and ourselves, and people in his world, shaping what we say as response to what he has said. This unique form of two-way conversation continues as long as life lasts.


The Bible teaches and exemplifies prayer as a fourfold activity, to be performed by God’s people individually both in private (Matt. 6:5-8) and in company with each other (Acts 1:14; 4:24). Adoration and praise are to be expressed; contrite confession of sin is to be made and forgiveness sought; thanks for benefits received are to be offered; and petitions and supplications for ourselves and others are to be voiced. The Lord’s Prayer (Matt. 6:9-13; Luke 11:2-4) embodies adoration, petition, and confession; the Psalter consists of models of all four elements of prayer.


Petition, in which the persons praying humbly acknowledge their need and express themselves as trustfully depending on God to meet it out of his sovereign resources of wisdom and goodness, is the dimension of prayer that is most constantly highlighted in the Bible (e.g., Gen. 18:16-33; Exod. 32:31–33:17; Ezra 9:5-15; Neh. 1:5-11; 4:4-5, 9; 6:9, 14; Dan. 9:4-19; John 17; James 5:16-18; Matt. 7:7-11; John 16:23-24; Eph. 6:18-20; 1 John 5:14-16). Petition, along with the other modes of prayer, should ordinarily be directed to the Father, as the Lord’s Prayer shows, but Christ may be called on for salvation and healing, as in the days of his flesh (Rom. 10:8-13; 2 Cor. 12:7-9), and the Holy Spirit for grace and peace (Rev. 1:4). It cannot be wrong to present petitions to God as triune or to request any spiritual blessing from any one of the three Persons, but there is wisdom in following the New Testament pattern.


Jesus teaches that petition to the Father is to be made in his name (John 14:13-14; 15:16; 16:23-24). This means invoking his mediation, as the one who secures our access to the Father, and looking to him for support, as our intercessor in the Father’s presence. We can only, however, look to him for support when what we ask accords with God’s revealed will (1 John 5:14) and our own motives in asking are right (James 4:3).


Jesus teaches that we may properly press God hard with fervent persistence when we bring needs to him (Luke 11:5-13; 18:1-8), and that he will answer such prayer in positive terms. But we must remember that God, who knows what is best in a way that we do not, may deny our specific requests as to how the needs should be met. If he does, however, it is because he has something better to give than what we asked for, as was the case when Christ denied Paul healing for the thorn in his flesh (2 Cor. 12:7-9). To say “Your will be done,” surrendering one’s own expressed preference to the Father’s wisdom as Jesus did in Gethsemane (Matt. 26:39-44), is the most explicit way of expressing faith in the goodness of what God has planned.
There is no tension or inconsistency between the teaching of Scripture on God’s sovereign foreordination of all things and on the efficacy of prayer. God foreordains the means as well as the end, and our prayer is foreordained as the means whereby he brings his sovereign will to pass.


Christians who pray to God sincerely, with reverence and humility, with a sense of privilege and a pure (i.e., purified, penitent) heart, will find in themselves a Spirit-given filial instinct prompting prayer to and trust in their heavenly Father (Gal. 4:6; Rom. 8:15), and a desire to pray that outruns their uncertainty as to what thoughts they should express (Rom. 8:26-27). The mysterious reality of the Holy Spirit’s help in prayer becomes known only to those who actually pray.

Packer

  No Responses to “Prayer & Praise:Oct 25-31”

  1. This is encouraging. I need it.

    I had to confess to God this week that my prayers have been “hindered” lately due to my many “unanswered” prayers, or so it seems. Some days I feel like a kid who has been sent to the corner for a “time out” or something… Some days I feel like “why ask when the answer will either not come or mostly be a ‘no’ “.

    I read a book by Warren Wiersbe this week (Why Us? When Bad Things Happen to God’s People, 1985) in which he makes a statement that “unanswered prayer in difficult times” is the largest cause of loss of zeal. Or something like that.

    I must say that on going difficult times are exhausting and confusing at times.
    I know that many of you PP folks know what I’m talking about.
    To pray “Thy Will be done” and have the “answer” be a “test pattern is confusing.

    God IS Faithful. He does KEEP us, preserve us. He is Good. I am weak.

  2. paigemom,

    I think we have a lot of people sharing in exactly what you wrote.

    We just keep pounding away though…

  3. “God made us and has redeemed us for fellowship with himself, and that is what prayer is. God speaks to us in and through the contents of the Bible, which the Holy Spirit opens up and applies to us and enables us to understand. We then speak to God about himself, and ourselves, and people in his world, shaping what we say as response to what he has said. This unique form of two-way conversation continues as long as life lasts.” Amen to that.

    Now that’s a Christian’s fellowship – I have a nice neighbor. We rarely visit unless one of us needs something … and that works very well as we live our lives on different wave lengths (or something). But I can’t limit my visits with God that way…

  4. While not a specific prayer request, however it is probably good to add a petition to the Lord for mercy regarding this H1N1 thing… the intensive care unit of the hospital in my town is just about full – a viral attack on the lungs that kills lung tissue.

    Perhaps pray for the health care workers, they are hit also and the healthy are pulling unbelievable marathon shifts in some fields…

    For some reason there are more males than females at this time in our hospital – all healthy adults with only one other obvious commonality: a body mass index above 30 – very evil whatever it is. Praying that it is just an anomoly and that the church won’t make it an end-times issue, rather than a call to prayer… if you get the flu, don’t be heroes…

    Lord Jesus, we need You and we need God the Holy Spirit moving among the Redeemed, drawing us to You.

  5. I have shared about our nephew’s wife who has an aggressive case of MS. She was recently hospitalized for treatment and while there they unexpectedly had to remove her gall bladder. She hasn’t fully recovered from that surgery. She is back in the hospital with pancreatitis and the family is asking for prayer. Tiffany is a young mother whose MS has progressed at an alarming rate and this new issue can be quite serious. Thank you.

  6. E, praying

  7. As far as being impatient about prayer being unanswered or getting the unwanted response from the Father, I have found through the years that we sometimes interpert that to mean a “hilly” road of ups and downs in our walk with him. We have requests and are looking for specific responses. When the answer does come we somtimes don’t see it for what it is and assume it isn’t what is best for us because it wasn’t what we expected. I have found that GOD has brought me to a place where I pray more and more “Thy will be done…” than presenting a petition that I figure requires a certian outcome from Him. This relives the anxiety of not receiving the expected result. It’s resting in the fact that he knows what’s best for me before I pray.

    I recently had a conversation with a co-worker about going through those hills and valleys and how that we both seem to think that the valleys were not as deep as they were when we were younger (in the Lord) belivers. I think that is because we have learned that God is able and that he is a good Father. Our paryers for our needs (our daily bread) will be supplied…that’s a matter of fact. Oh, and believe me, I’ve been through some what most would consider, VERY hard times. But, then who of us haven’t. The road gets smoother through the valleys and the hills get higher in some ways.

    Through it all, we fall further and further in love with him with the knowledge that he will supply according to His goodness and love for us. All we have to do is excersize our prayer muscle. Do it, we get strong. Don’t and we atrophy. It’s like the wedding vows, ” in sickness and in health, for richer and for poorer till death….ect.” it’s kinda the same. You stick with it and the relationship gets better because that’s the only way it can go. We’re his kids and I don’t know about you, but I’m just nuts about mine.

    “Lord, help the nation through this flu problem and bring us closer to yourself because of it. Also, continue to heal Seth Fong’s body and allow the liver to become his own body. In all things have your will. THANKS”

  8. MS strikes our younger population more than the older. It’s sad like that but I know those that are functioning fairly well with treatments. My prayer is also for tiffany.

  9. I feel a sermon coming on 😉
    reading the list with prayer this morning… I am being impressed with the Truth that He never changes. God above all gods. He is a constant and a shepherd of His flock as they go through a very changing and foreign land. We’re dwelling in tents and on the move until He establishes His city – in His wisdom and time as this world scene must play out (the devil’s plan?).

    Jerry F:”Through it all, we fall further and further in love with him with the knowledge that he will supply according to His goodness and love for us.”

    every hurt and trial we have is part of the journey – like Abraham, eh? But He, unseen, is right there with us. You grieve? The very God of gods is grieving with you. Praying that this would be reality to us all helping us to know He is right there beside and in us, too.

    worth repeating (IMNSHO):”God made us and has redeemed us for fellowship with himself, and that is what prayer is. God speaks to us in and through the contents of the Bible, which the Holy Spirit opens up and applies to us and enables us to understand. “

  10. Holy Spirit: “He who comes along side to help.” Do I need anyone else?

    Prayers also for the Fongs

  11. Jerry F, Much of my prayer time is on behalf of those I care for and love. When I prayed for Seth I asked God to heal him and then after the transplant to give him a long life without complications. I pray that God would touch all people I pray for in a miraculous way. I still pray for healing for may wife after 33 years. Those who are seriously ill I ask God to heal them.

    He has never said no to me in any audible or other manner so I continue to pray for others as I always have. I have sat at many bedsides where the person was hovering near death. I always prayed for salvation and also for a supernatural healing. I ask God that if it isn’t His will that they would have a comfortable passing and a glorious homecoming.

    This has been a year of heavy trials for so many here and others in my off blog life. I am seeking to be open to what God would teach me during these times and to better understand the reality of suffering in the lives of the believer. I still pray from what some might consider a finite view of things in that I desire that none would suffer. It’s a journey slow in coming for me as I seek to grow closer to God and pray more often according to His eternal understanding of things. As we get older we see more suffering. And God’s grace and mercy towards us is still as necessary as ever as we seek to grow closer to Him. Thanks for sharing. Allan

  12. Yes, It’s a road we travel. We are always looking for perfection in ourselves and the problems we encounter. And we think GOD sees those situations as we do. But, I’ve come to the comclusion that He almost never does. His vision is universal and he takes into consideration his entire creation when we ask for something just for us. It is important to try to grasp that meaning when we pray, “Thy will be done on Earth as it is in Heavean.” Understanding that, in our minds, is not always how we feel it in our hearts. It’s a process and hoping that we “get it” faster than we do is not realistic. But, it does come in time…mine still is coming along anyway.

  13. Anyone notice that the PP is back up on dot com? Cool!

  14. Erunner,”I still pray for healing for may wife after 33 years.” I suspect Abraham would call you ‘brother.’ We pray because we know He can and He will – when and if He wills, eh?
    It’s been a few years, but there came a point where I realized that it must offend God, if I quit asking because I’m tired of repeating myself – like I was the one in charge… (but there are times to drop a prayer, I know)

  15. Wow. a day later…I’m slow like that. I wonder about if we really “offend” God. I know it was just the term you used. I think of it more like a puppy we’re trying to train to not piddle on the rug. I think God knows we are stupid to a point and it really doesn’t matter if we can hold out in prayer until he answers. Although there are times when he wants us to just for our own learning. He knows at some point we’ll weaken or just lose interest or whatever and stop praying for a certain need. I still think that our prayers for others are more edifying to us than to the Father…He knows what’s going on. And, that those are the ones we stick to more ferverntly.

    We’ve all done that and much more…and for all that, the Blood was shed, wasn’t it? In spite of it all—that crummy bad stuff or just losing interest or being a badgerer—He STILL loves us. Amazing!

  16. JerryF, I’ve been “offended” by a puppy or two in the past. 😆

    To carry my thot about prayer a step further – have you ever had a child come to you with something that was broken; asking you to fix it? And you stop what you are doing to address the problem and realize that they have wandered off, having completely (and permanently) lost interest in the item. You might just as well have tossed it as fixed it.

    But I believe I understand what you are saying and can agree that it is the fact of our praying with confidence in our triune God’s character. It’s not a matter of **our, ability-so-called, to pray that gets His attention. . . although sometimes it is, I think…

    Oh to be “effectual, fervent and righteous”… some who come here are, I think and that is encouraging, too.

  17. JerryF, “We’ve all done that and much more…and for all that, the Blood was shed, wasn’t it? In spite of it all—that crummy bad stuff or just losing interest or being a badgerer—He STILL loves us. Amazing!” … Amen – joining you in giving Him the glory due His name.

  18. My friend whose daughter is Bethany is going through a most difficult time. This has been a year of much upheaval and struggle. To add to her stress, she was robbed in her place of business Friday by a man claiming to have a weapon in a plastic sack. He threatened to kill her and two other woman in the shop. We live in a small town. The police said this has never happened here. She is very shattered over this last attack of evil. Pray for her protection, sanity, direction and her family. There are many other things happening in her life that are very hard to deal with and sort out. One–Bethany is out of control and has moved in with a great aunt. She has had other threats on her life made by an ex and a former foster child. She is a very strong believer and we have asked questions similar to some above lately. Mostly “What is God up to in these situations and when will it stop?”?
    My back is soso. I will have a MRI in two weeks.

    Thank You, Father, that You do still love us and help us remember that this is not our home. Keep our eyes focused on and hearts anchored in YOU^^^ Hear the prayers of these who come to this safe place to be healed and strenthened. I love You, Lord. We all love You.

  19. SisterD, just catching your post before I bed down…I will pray for your friend and her daughter as well as your back. God bless.

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