Prayer Communicating With God
Prayer is a way in which we communicate with our God. It has a great role in our step work and as we grow spiritually is a major part of our lives. In taking the steps of Alcoholics Anonymous there are several directions that include prayer but not knowing how to pray or what to pray for can inhibit our prayers.: I was to test my thinking by the new God-consciousness within. Common sense would thus become uncommon sense. I was to sit quietly when in doubt, asking only for direction and strength to meet my problems as He would have me. Never was I to pray for myself, except as my requests bore on my usefulness to others. Then only might I expect to receive. But that would be in great measure. Pg 13
As we begin to seek God He knows what is in our hearts and gives us enough to sustain us until we begin to grow in His knowledge and His will. As we begin to learn more about Him we must respond to what we are seeing. Coming to God in prayer without having the right conversation or lifestyle can block our prayers from even being heard. God always provides His servants with what they need and as we grow spiritually will add to that with things that we want as long as we are constantly striving to do His will and what we are asking for is in accordance with His will. There is nothing wrong with wanting better things in life as long as we can be content with the things that we have already. It is through prayer that we strengthen our spiritual walk as well as help others in their time of need. Prayer is a constant reminder that: We are in the world to play the role He assigns. Just to the extent that we do as we think He would have us, and humbly rely on Him, does He enable us to match calamity with serenity. Pg 68
Our prayer life as recovered alcoholics and servants of God is one of the fundamentals tools we use to find and carry out Gods will. It is through prayer that we begin to get a God conscious and develop a relationship with our creator: In thinking about our day we may face indecision. We may not be able to determine which course to take. Here we ask God for inspiration, an intuitive thought or a decision. We relax and take it easy. We don't struggle. We are often surprised how the right answers come after we have tried this for a while.What used to be the hunch or the occasional inspiration gradually becomes a working part of the mind. Being still inexperienced and having just made conscious contact with God, it is not probable that we are going to be inspired at all times. We might pay for this presumption in all sorts of absurd actions and ideas. Nevertheless, we find that our thinking will, as time passes, be more and more on the plane of inspiration. We come to rely upon it. Pg 86-87
Lets take a look at what God says about prayer and see how it is that we need to pray as well as the different principles involved in praying.: Ephesians 6:18 18Praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, and watching thereunto with all perseverance and supplication for all saints;
Praying always in the Spirit is what God would have us do. But just how do we pray in the spirit?
To pray in the spirit is nothing more that making sure that I am, to the best of my ability, conducting myself as God would have me do. He has given us things that He wants us to do and if we do them then He said that He would give us eternal life. He has made a covenant with us. In keeping our side of the covenant we are walking in the spirit.
14For all the law is fulfilled in one word, even in this; Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. 15But if ye bite and devour one another, take heed that ye be not consumed one of another. 16This I say then, Walk in the Spirit, and ye shall not fulfil the lust of the flesh. 17For the flesh lusteth against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh: and these are contrary the one to the other: so that ye cannot do the things that ye would. 18But if ye be led of the Spirit, ye are not under the law. 19Now the works of the flesh are manifest, which are these; Adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lasciviousness, 20Idolatry, witchcraft, hatred, variance, emulations, wrath, strife, seditions, heresies, 21Envyings, murders, drunkenness, revellings, and such like: of the which I tell you before, as I have also told you in time past, that they which do such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God. 22But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, 23Meekness, temperance: against such there is no law. 24And they that are Christ's have crucified the flesh with the affections and lusts. 25If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit. 26Let us not be desirous of vain glory, provoking one another, envying one another.
If you are led by the spirit and living in the spirit then you are not under the law. This does not mean that we don't have to keep the law or commandments of God! What this means is that just like our driving laws if we are not speeding we are not under the law, but as soon as I go over the speed limit I am now under the law or held accountable by the law. This, as with many topics we touch briefly on, is another lesson. Let's keep going.
16As for me, I will call upon God; and the LORD shall save me. 17Evening, and morning, and at noon, will I pray, and cry aloud: and he shall hear my voice. David said that He would pray several times a day, in the morning at noon and at night. In other words we pray always as we go throughout our day. We start and end our day in prayer and stay in prayer throughout our day so that we may constantly be seeking guidance and doing what God would have us do.: When we retire at night, we constructively review our day. Pg86 On awakening let us think about the twenty-four hours ahead. We consider our plans for the day. Before we begin, we ask God to direct our thinking, especially asking that it be divorced from self-pity, dishonest or self-seeking motives. Pg 86
As we go through the day we pause, when agitated or doubtful, and ask for the right thought or action. We constantly remind ourselves we are no longer running the show, humbly saying to ourselves many times each day "Thy will be done." We are then in much less danger of excitement, fear, anger, worry, self-pity, or foolish decisions. We become much more efficient. We do not tire so easily, for we are not burning up energy foolishly as we did when we were trying to arrange life to suit ourselves. Pg 87-88
Prayer, being a fundamental tool for spiritual growth, must be done in the right way. Jesus says that the only way to get heard by the father is through Him. John 14:6-7 6Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me. 7If ye had known me, ye should have known my Father also: and from henceforth ye know him, and have seen him. Jesus says that if we know Him we will know the Father. God also says that to know Him is to keep His commandments and that if we sin or transgress the law, we have Jesus to go to and He will go to the Father for us. We will look at why a little later. He also says that to know God is to keep His commandments.:
1 John 2:1-5
1My little children, these things write I unto you, that ye sin not. And if any man sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous: 2And he is the propitiation for our sins: and not for ours only, but also for the sins of the whole world. 3And hereby we do know that we know him, if we keep his commandments. 4He that saith, I know him, and keepeth not his commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him. 5But whoso keepeth his word, in him verily is the love of God perfected: hereby know we that we are in him.
It is in the keeping of the commandments that we love God and God loves us. John 14:21-24 21He that hath my commandments, and keepeth them, he it is that loveth me: and he that loveth me shall be loved of my Father, and I will love him, and will manifest myself to him. 22Judas saith unto him, not Iscariot, Lord, how is it that thou wilt manifest thyself unto us, and not unto the world? 23Jesus answered and said unto him, If a man love me, he will keep my words: and my Father will love him, and we will come unto him, and make our abode with him. 24He that loveth me not keepeth not my sayings: and the word which ye hear is not mine, but the Father's which sent me.
Look at what Jesus is saying! If a man loves me he will keep my words: His words are His commandments! And My Father will love him and we will come unto him and make our abode with him. The kingdom of God is going to come down from heaven to the earth and both the father and the son will live and reign with man.
2And I John saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down from God out of heaven, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband.
22And I saw no temple therein: for the Lord God Almighty and the Lamb are the temple of it. 23And the city had no need of the sun, neither of the moon, to shine in it: for the glory of God did lighten it, and the Lamb is the light thereof. 24And the nations of them which are saved shall walk in the light of it: and the kings of the earth do bring their glory and honour into it.
It is important to set things up as we study precepts so that we will make clear the topic at hand. Let's break down this next set of verses so we can get some understanding as this some's up what we have been talking about in the last few verses and then we will move on.
1I am the true vine, and my Father is the husbandman. The Father is likened to a farmer who has sent Jesus to the earth and He is likened to a vine. 2Every branch in me that beareth not fruit he taketh away: and every branch that beareth fruit, he purgeth it, that it may bring forth more fruit. From the vine grows branches which is us. Any branch that is not bearing fruit or is growing against the vine is taken away or cut from the vine and any branch that is bringing forth fruit or is growing in the vine is pruned and taken care of so it can continue to be nurtured.3 Now ye are clean through the word which I have spoken unto you. We grow and are nurtured through Gods word. 4Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, except it abide in the vine; no more can ye, except ye abide in me. If we do what Jesus says to do we we can continue to grow spiritually just as a branch will continue to feed off the vine or root. We can not grow by doing what we feel is right or what we want to be right. 5 I am the vine, ye are the branches: He that abideth in me, and I in him, the same bringeth forth much fruit: for without me ye can do nothing. Without living our lives as Jesus has set forth it means nothing. 6If a man abide not in me, he is cast forth as a branch, and is withered; and men gather them, and cast them into the fire, and they are burned. This is talking about the separation of Gods servants and those that do not serve Him on the day of the Lord or judgment day, eternal life or eternal damnation. We serve Him by keeping His word. 7If ye abide in me, and my words abide in you, ye shall ask what ye will, and it shall be done unto you. If we keep His word what we pray for will be given to us. This is important because Jesus has just laid out one of the stipulations for our prayer life. 8Herein is my Father glorified, that ye bear much fruit; so shall ye be my disciples. It is through the keeping of the commandments that we become Jesus disciples and bear much fruit by leading others to do the same. When we look at the life of the disciples we see that they all kept the commandments and taught others to do the same, but that is another lesson. 9As the Father hath loved me, so have I loved you: continue ye in my love. 10If ye keep my commandments, ye shall abide in my love; even as I have kept my Father's commandments, and abide in his love. The Father loved Jesus because there was no sin found in Him, sin being the transgression of the law, (1 John 3:4). Jesus kept the Fathers commandments. So Jesus loves us if we strive to keep His commandments.John 14:12-15 12 Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that believeth on me, the works that I do shall he do also; and greater works than these shall he do; because I go unto my Father. 13And whatsoever ye shall ask in my name, that will I do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son. 14If ye shall ask any thing in my name, I will do it. 15If ye love me, keep my commandments
Look how simple this breaks down! There was no sin found in Jesus, According to God sin is the transgression of the law. 1 John 3:4 4Whosoever committeth sin transgresseth also the law: for sin is the transgression of the law. So if we believe in Jesus we will do what Jesus did. What would Jesus do? We keep reading that He kept the commandments that He was given by the Father to give to us so we may gain eternal life. So now we see that if we keep the commandments, whatever we ask for in Jesus name He will do. But why should we ask in Jesus name?
Let's take a closer look at this.
For this we need to go back to the first or old covenant. We are now living under the new covenant. Now the only difference between the old and new covenants is the sacrifice that is made to atone for our sins and the mediator or High priest that goes to God with our petitions. This is a whole lesson in itself but we will talk about it briefly using simple and direct scriptures to make our point.
23For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord. When we sin something has to die to atone for that sin if the sin is unintentional. Back in the old covenant we were given the law of animal sacrifice. In the new covenant Jesus is our atoning sacrifice and we no longer sacrifice animals. Hebrews 9:22 22And almost all things are by the law purged with blood; and without shedding of blood is no remission.
The law of animal sacrifices has been done away with now but we need to look at the ordinances of the old covenant to get some understanding of the new covenant.
1And the LORD spake unto Moses, saying, 2Speak unto the children of Israel, saying, If a soul shall sin through ignorance against any of the commandments of the LORD concerning things which ought not to be done, and shall do against any of them: 3If the priest that is anointed do sin according to the sin of the people; then let him bring for his sin, which he hath sinned, a young bullock without blemish unto the LORD for a sin offering. 4And he shall bring the bullock unto the door of the tabernacle of the congregation before the LORD; and shall lay his hand upon the bullock's head, and kill the bullock before the LORD. 5And the priest that is anointed shall take of the bullock's blood, and bring it to the tabernacle of the congregation: 6And the priest shall dip his finger in the blood, and sprinkle of the blood seven times before the LORD, before the vail of the sanctuary. Now the priest had to take the blood of the sacrifice and sprinkle it on the veil of the tabernacle. Remember this is an ordinance of the levitical priesthood.
7And the priest shall put some of the blood upon the horns of the altar of sweet incense before the LORD, which is in the tabernacle of the congregation; and shall pour all the blood of the bullock at the bottom of the altar of the burnt offering, which is at the door of the tabernacle of the congregation. 8And he shall take off from it all the fat of the bullock for the sin offering; the fat that covereth the inwards, and all the fat that is upon the inwards, 9And the two kidneys, and the fat that is upon them, which is by the flanks, and the caul above the liver, with the kidneys, it shall he take away, 10As it was taken off from the bullock of the sacrifice of peace offerings: and the priest shall burn them upon the altar of the burnt offering. 11And the skin of the bullock, and all his flesh, with his head, and with his legs, and his inwards, and his dung, 12Even the whole bullock shall he carry forth without the camp unto a clean place, where the ashes are poured out, and burn him on the wood with fire: where the ashes are poured out shall he be burnt. 13And if the whole congregation of Israel sin through ignorance, and the thing be hid from the eyes of the assembly, and they have done somewhat against any of the commandments of the LORD concerning things which should not be done, and are guilty; 14When the sin, which they have sinned against it, is known, then the congregation shall offer a young bullock for the sin, and bring him before the tabernacle of the congregation. 15And the elders of the congregation shall lay their hands upon the head of the bullock before the LORD: and the bullock shall be killed before the LORD. 16And the priest that is anointed shall bring of the bullock's blood to the tabernacle of the congregation: 17And the priest shall dip his finger in some of the blood, and sprinkle it seven times before the LORD, even before the vail. Again we see the priest sprinkling the veil with the blood of the sacrifice. This is an ordinance that has to be done under the levitical priesthood.
18And he shall put some of the blood upon the horns of the altar which is before the LORD, that is in the tabernacle of the congregation, and shall pour out all the blood at the bottom of the altar of the burnt offering, which is at the door of the tabernacle of the congregation. 19And he shall take all his fat from him, and burn it upon the altar. 20And he shall do with the bullock as he did with the bullock for a sin offering, so shall he do with this: and the priest shall make an atonement for them, and it shall be forgiven them. 21And he shall carry forth the bullock without the camp, and burn him as he burned the first bullock: it is a sin offering for the congregation. 22When a ruler hath sinned, and done somewhat through ignorance against any of the commandments of the LORD his God concerning things which should not be done, and is guilty; 23Or if his sin, wherein he hath sinned, come to his knowledge; he shall bring his offering, a kid of the goats, a male without blemish: 24And he shall lay his hand upon the head of the goat, and kill it in the place where they kill the burnt offering before the LORD: it is a sin offering. 25And the priest shall take of the blood of the sin offering with his finger, and put it upon the horns of the altar of burnt offering, and shall pour out his blood at the bottom of the altar of burnt offering. 26And he shall burn all his fat upon the altar, as the fat of the sacrifice of peace offerings: and the priest shall make an atonement for him as concerning his sin, and it shall be forgiven him. 27And if any one of the common people sin through ignorance, while he doeth somewhat against any of the commandments of the LORD concerning things which ought not to be done, and be guilty; 28Or if his sin, which he hath sinned, come to his knowledge: then he shall bring his offering, a kid of the goats, a female without blemish, for his sin which he hath sinned. 29And he shall lay his hand upon the head of the sin offering, and slay the sin offering in the place of the burnt offering. 30And the priest shall take of the blood thereof with his finger, and put it upon the horns of the altar of burnt offering, and shall pour out all the blood thereof at the bottom of the altar. 31And he shall take away all the fat thereof, as the fat is taken away from off the sacrifice of peace offerings; and the priest shall burn it upon the altar for a sweet savour unto the LORD; and the priest shall make an atonement for him, and it shall be forgiven him. 32And if he bring a lamb for a sin offering, he shall bring it a female without blemish. 33And he shall lay his hand upon the head of the sin offering, and slay it for a sin offering in the place where they kill the burnt offering. 34And the priest shall take of the blood of the sin offering with his finger, and put it upon the horns of the altar of burnt offering, and shall pour out all the blood thereof at the bottom of the altar: 35And he shall take away all the fat thereof, as the fat of the lamb is taken away from the sacrifice of the peace offerings; and the priest shall burn them upon the altar, according to the offerings made by fire unto the LORD: and the priest shall make an atonement for his sin that he hath committed, and it shall be forgiven him. So if anyone broke any of the commandments unintentionally and they realized what they did they had a way to have their sins forgiven. They had to bring a sin sacrifice to the priest and the priest would make an offering to the lord and the priest would make an atonement for them and their sins would be forgiven. Now this was for the nation of Israel.
14And if a stranger sojourn with you, or whosoever be among you in your generations, and will offer an offering made by fire, of a sweet savour unto the LORD; as ye do, so he shall do. 15One ordinance shall be both for you of the congregation, and also for the stranger that sojourneth with you, an ordinance for ever in your generations: as ye are, so shall the stranger be before the LORD. 16One law and one manner shall be for you, and for the stranger that sojourneth with you. Now anyone other than the nation of Israel had to come under the same conditions of the covenant or agreement in order to receive what Israel was receiving. So we, as anyone other than Israel, have to keep the same commandments, and statutes that were given to Israel. We have to become spiritual Israel. Even those that are Israel physically must become Israel spiritually!
22And if ye have erred, and not observed all these commandments, which the LORD hath spoken unto Moses, 23Even all that the LORD hath commanded you by the hand of Moses, from the day that the LORD commanded Moses, and henceforward among your generations; 24Then it shall be, if ought be committed by ignorance without the knowledge of the congregation, that all the congregation shall offer one young bullock for a burnt offering, for a sweet savour unto the LORD, with his meat offering, and his drink offering, according to the manner, and one kid of the goats for a sin offering. 25And the priest shall make an atonement for all the congregation of the children of Israel, and it shall be forgiven them; for it is ignorance: and they shall bring their offering, a sacrifice made by fire unto the LORD, and their sin offering before the LORD, for their ignorance: 26And it shall be forgiven all the congregation of the children of Israel, and the stranger that sojourneth among them; seeing all the people were in ignorance. 27And if any soul sin through ignorance, then he shall bring a she goat of the first year for a sin offering. 28And the priest shall make an atonement for the soul that sinneth ignorantly, when he sinneth by ignorance before the LORD, to make an atonement for him; and it shall be forgiven him. 29Ye shall have one law for him that sinneth through ignorance, both for him that is born among the children of Israel, and for the stranger that sojourneth among them. 30But the soul that doeth ought presumptuously, whether he be born in the land, or a stranger, the same reproacheth the LORD; and that soul shall be cut off from among his people. 31Because he hath despised the word of the LORD, and hath broken his commandment, that soul shall utterly be cut off; his iniquity shall be upon him. So now we see that there is one law for anyone that is going to serve God and it is summed up in the 10 commandments, although each of the commandments has a whole deeper meaning which bring on many statutes and judgments. Another reason we need to study Gods word with understanding to find out His will! Now these were some of the ordinances that had to be done under the old covenant or what can also be refereed to as the levitical priesthood. Now Let's look at the new covenant.
Under the new testament Jesus now becomes the high priest and the animal sacrifice law is done away with. Jesus now is not only the high priest but also our sacrifice for our sins. Remember the wages of sin is death. Something has to die for our sins. And a priest must make an atonement for our sins.
Mark 15:37-38 37And Jesus cried with a loud voice, and gave up the ghost. 38And the veil of the temple was rent in twain from the top to the bottom. When Jesus died the veil in the temple ripped in half. This signified the end of animal sacrifices and the start of the new covenant where Jesus becomes our mediator or high priest. This was prophesied by Daniel.
26And after threescore and two weeks shall Messiah be cut off, but not for himself: and the people of the prince that shall come shall destroy the city and the sanctuary; and the end thereof shall be with a flood, and unto the end of the war desolations are determined. 27And he shall confirm the covenant with many for one week: and in the midst of the week he shall cause the sacrifice and the oblation to cease, and for the overspreading of abominations he shall make it desolate, even until the consummation, and that determined shall be poured upon the desolate. These scriptures have several meanings but what we are looking at in this lesson is the fact that Jesus would be cut off or die, and that it would signify the end of sacrifice and oblation. This is where some confusion often comes in.
1For the law having a shadow of good things to come, and not the very image of the things, can never with those sacrifices which they offered year by year continually make the comers thereunto perfect. The law in question is the animal sacrifice law. The shadow of good things to come is Jesus being our atoning sacrifice. The animal sacrifices were to bring you into subjection much the same way the laws of man today are meant to bring you into subjection. If you continue to get caught speeding you pay money for fines and after awhile lose your drivers license. After some of these hardships you should stop speeding. 2For then would they not have ceased to be offered? because that the worshippers once purged should have had no more conscience of sins. But the people continued to sin against God. If you had a lot of animals you could just sacrifice one and your sins would be forgiven but it did nothing to stop the people from sinning. 3But in those sacrifices there is a remembrance again made of sins every year. 4For it is not possible that the blood of bulls and of goats should take away sins. 5Wherefore when he cometh into the world, he saith, Sacrifice and offering thou wouldest not, but a body hast thou prepared me: Now since it was not possible for the blood of the animal sacrifices to take away our sins Jesus becomes our sacrifice. This is where we are forgiven if we come under His blood as our sacrifice by now obeying His commandments.6In burnt offerings and sacrifices for sin thou hast had no pleasure. 7Then said I, Lo, I come (in the volume of the book it is written of me,) to do thy will, O God. 8Above when he said, Sacrifice and offering and burnt offerings and offering for sin thou wouldest not, neither hadst pleasure therein; which are offered by the law; 9Then said he, Lo, I come to do thy will, O God. He taketh away the first, that he may establish the second. So the first covenant is made void, the animal sacrifices, so the new covenant can be made, Jesus being our sacrifice and becoming our high priest.
14Seeing then that we have a great high priest, that is passed into the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold fast our profession. 15For we have not an high priest which cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities; but was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin. 16Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need. Now Jesus knows what we have gone through in the flesh as He also went through it but He was without sin. He is that lamb without blemish that was sacrificed under the old covenant. Therefore He allows us to come through Him to the Father boldly in our time of need if we are doing the best we can to serve Him.
So to some it up
1Now of the things which we have spoken this is the sum: We have such an high priest, who is set on the right hand of the throne of the Majesty in the heavens; Jesus is our high priest
15And for this cause he is the mediator of the new testament, that by means of death, for the redemption of the transgressions that were under the first testament, they which are called might receive the promise of eternal inheritance. Jesus died for the redemption of our sins and has become our mediator. Hebrews 9:24 24For Christ is not entered into the holy places made with hands, which are the figures of the true; but into heaven itself, now to appear in the presence of God for us: Making an atonement for us with the Father as we sin unintentionally.
1 Corinthians 5:7
7Purge out therefore the old leaven, that ye may be a new lump, as ye are unleavened. For even Christ our passover is sacrificed for us: Christ is our passover sacrifice, and our sacrifice for sin.
1 Peter 1:19
19But with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot:
Just as they sacrificed a lamb without blemish in the first passover in egypt. That was pointing to jesus coming and dying for our sins. Again this is another lesson.
Now we see that in order to come under the new covenant we must first believe in Christ Jesus. We do this by obeying His word and placing ourselves under His blood. In the old covenant we went through the priest with the blood of animals as our sacrifice. In the new covenant we go through the priest, Jesus, with His blood as our sacrifice. 1 Timothy 2:5 5For there is one God, and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus; This is why we pray to the Father in Jesus name. The statutes in both covenants did not change. In both covenants once we make our sacrifice through our priest we must not sin willfully. Sin being the transgression of the law.
26For if we sin wilfully after that we have received the knowledge of the truth, there remaineth no more sacrifice for sins, 27But a certain fearful looking for of judgment and fiery indignation, which shall devour the adversaries. If we transgress the law willfully there is no more sacrifices that we can make and the blood that will be shed for those sins will be ours in the second death or eternal damnation.
Now we see how we must be as we come to the Father in prayer. To the best of our ability we must be striving to keep His commandments. We must serve Him in all things that have been revealed to us, and we must be continuing to seek His will for us.
7For I earnestly protested unto your fathers in the day that I brought them up out of the land of Egypt, even unto this day, rising early and protesting, saying, Obey my voice. All God ever wanted was for us to boey Him and live in righteousness with Him 8Yet they obeyed not, nor inclined their ear, but walked every one in the imagination of their evil heart: therefore I will bring upon them all the words of this covenant, which I commanded them to do; but they did them not. 9And the LORD said unto me, A conspiracy is found among the men of Judah, and among the inhabitants of Jerusalem. 10They are turned back to the iniquities of their forefathers, which refused to hear my words; and they went after other gods to serve them: the house of Israel and the house of Judah have broken my covenant which I made with their fathers. 11Therefore thus saith the LORD, Behold, I will bring evil upon them, which they shall not be able to escape; and though they shall cry unto me, I will not hearken unto them. Because Israel did not obey God and lived the way they wanted to He said that He would not even hear their prayers. Remember that one law is for all, Israel and those that are going to live as Israel. 12Then shall the cities of Judah and inhabitants of Jerusalem go, and cry unto the gods unto whom they offer incense: but they shall not save them at all in the time of their trouble. 13For according to the number of thy cities were thy gods, O Judah; and according to the number of the streets of Jerusalem have ye set up altars to that shameful thing, even altars to burn incense unto Baal. The first of the ten commandments is to have no other gods before the Creator and the Father. Any other way that we worship other than what is laid out in His holy word is burning incense to baal. 14Therefore pray not thou for this people, neither lift up a cry or prayer for them: for I will not hear them in the time that they cry unto me for their trouble. Because of this God told Jeremiah not even to pray for Israel.
31Now we know that God heareth not sinners: but if any man be a worshipper of God, and doeth his will, him he heareth The Lord hears the prayers of the righteous, righteous according to Him.
1 Peter 3:12
12For the eyes of the Lord are over the righteous, and his ears are open unto their prayers: but the face of the Lord is against them that do evil. But He turns away from those who are evil in His eyes. Our book is meant to be suggestive only. We realize we know only a little. God will constantly disclose more to you and to us. Ask Him in your morning meditation what you can do each day for the man who is still sick. The answers will come, if your own house is in order. But obviously you cannot transmit something you haven't got. See to it that your relationship with Him is right, and great events will come to pass for you and countless others. This is the Great Fact for us. Pg 164
Jesus also told us how our mind set must be when we come to Him to go to the Father for us.:
Matthew 21:21-22 21Jesus answered and said unto them, Verily I say unto you, If ye have faith, and doubt not, ye shall not only do this which is done to the fig tree, but also if ye shall say unto this mountain, Be thou removed, and be thou cast into the sea; it shall be done. 22And all things, whatsoever ye shall ask in prayer, believing, ye shall receive. We must believe that what we are asking for will be given to us. This part of prayer will come as we strive to serve Him to the best of our ability, but we must come to believe that we will receive what we ask for if it is in accordance with Gods will.
1 John 5:14-15
14And this is the confidence that we have in him, that, if we ask any thing according to his will, he heareth us: 15And if we know that he hear us, whatsoever we ask, we know that we have the petitions that we desired of him. This is where our confidence comes from asking according to His will that He will hear our petitions. His will is that all will repent and obey Him.: 2 Peter 3:9 9The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance Repenting being the first step in obedience.
It is also the first step in seeking His wisdom. But it is not about half baked prayers and serving Him when or how we want to.: James 1:5-8 5If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him. 6But let him ask in faith, nothing wavering. For he that wavereth is like a wave of the sea driven with the wind and tossed. 7For let not that man think that he shall receive any thing of the Lord. 8A double minded man is unstable in all his ways. Asking in faith is another way of saying obedience because if we believe God and His word we will become obedient to His will. Remember: Proverbs 15:29 29The LORD is far from the wicked: but he heareth the prayer of the righteous
God wants us to depend on Him and the way we do is through our prayers and our supplications for His help.: Luke 18:1-14 1And he spake a parable unto them to this end, that men ought always to pray, and not to faint; 2Saying, There was in a city a judge, which feared not God, neither regarded man: 3And there was a widow in that city; and she came unto him, saying, Avenge me of mine adversary. 4And he would not for a while: but afterward he said within himself, Though I fear not God, nor regard man; 5Yet because this widow troubleth me, I will avenge her, lest by her continual coming she weary me. 6And the Lord said, Hear what the unjust judge saith. 7And shall not God avenge his own elect, which cry day and night unto him, though he bear long with them? 8I tell you that he will avenge them speedily. Nevertheless when the Son of man cometh, shall he find faith on the earth? 9And he spake this parable unto certain which trusted in themselves that they were righteous, and despised others: 10Two men went up into the temple to pray; the one a Pharisee, and the other a publican. 11The Pharisee stood and prayed thus with himself, God, I thank thee, that I am not as other men are, extortioners, unjust, adulterers, or even as this publican. 12I fast twice in the week, I give tithes of all that I possess. 13And the publican, standing afar off, would not lift up so much as his eyes unto heaven, but smote upon his breast, saying, God be merciful to me a sinner. 14I tell you, this man went down to his house justified rather than the other: for every one that exalteth himself shall be abased; and he that humbleth himself shall be exalted. As we come to see exactly what the human condition is made up of we see that we are all capable of falling short and that one sin is no different than any other.: James 2:10 10For whosoever shall keep the whole law, and yet offend in one point, he is guilty of all.
Now although we have group prayer and we sometimes come together with others and pray Jesus tells us to pray to the Father in private. This is where we really lose ourselves in complete abandonment to communicating with God.: Matthew 6:5-6 5And when thou prayest, thou shalt not be as the hypocrites are: for they love to pray standing in the synagogues and in the corners of the streets, that they may be seen of men. Verily I say unto you, They have their reward. 6But 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. That our prayers should mainly be between us and God. Not to pray for show or make a great spectacle of our prayer.
Now a part of prayer that is not commanded of us but that is a way of insuring that our prayers are heard is to pray toward Gods holy temple. When Solomon built the temple of the Lord in Jerusalem he had a request of the Lord.:
1 Kings 8:41-50
41Moreover concerning a stranger, that is not of thy people Israel, but cometh out of a far country for thy name's sake;42(For they shall hear of thy great name, and of thy strong hand, and of thy stretched out arm;) when he shall come and pray toward this house; 43Hear thou in heaven thy dwelling place, and do according to all that the stranger calleth to thee for: that all people of the earth may know thy name, to fear thee, as do thy people Israel; and that they may know that this house, which I have builded, is called by thy name. 44If thy people go out to battle against their enemy, whithersoever thou shalt send them, and shall pray unto the LORD toward the city which thou hast chosen, and toward the house that I have built for thy name: 45Then hear thou in heaven their prayer and their supplication, and maintain their cause. 46If they sin against thee, (for there is no man that sinneth not,) and thou be angry with them, and deliver them to the enemy, so that they carry them away captives unto the land of the enemy, far or near; 47Yet if they shall bethink themselves in the land whither they were carried captives, and repent, and make supplication unto thee in the land of them that carried them captives, saying, We have sinned, and have done perversely, we have committed wickedness; 48And so return unto thee with all their heart, and with all their soul, in the land of their enemies, which led them away captive, and pray unto thee toward their land, which thou gavest unto their fathers, the city which thou hast chosen, and the house which I have built for thy name: 49Then hear thou their prayer and their supplication in heaven thy dwelling place, and maintain their cause, 50And forgive thy people that have sinned against thee, and all their transgressions wherein they have transgressed against thee, and give them compassion before them who carried them captive, that they may have compassion on them:
So Soloman asked the Lord that if anyone prayed toward His holy temple to hear their pleas and answer them. And wherever Israel may be scattered for their disobedience if they repent and turn back to Him to hear their pleas and answer them.:
1 Kings 9:1-3
1And it came to pass, when Solomon had finished the building of the house of the LORD, and the king's house, and all Solomon's desire which he was pleased to do, 2That the LORD appeared to Solomon the second time, as he had appeared unto him at Gibeon. 3And the LORD said unto him, I have heard thy prayer and thy supplication, that thou hast made before me: I have hallowed this house, which thou hast built, to put my name there for ever; and mine eyes and mine heart shall be there perpetually. And the Lord told Solomon that He would indeed grant him his request. For this reason we can face toward Jerusalem, believing what we ask for will be heard, if we are walking in Gods righteousness to the best of our ability. Wherever you may be you can figure out the closest way to Jerusalem and face the temple while you pray if you want to. From the United States it is east. But remember we are not praying toward the east! We are praying toward the holy temple of God! Daniel prayed in this manor three times a day. Daniel 6:10 10Now when Daniel knew that the writing was signed, he went into his house; and his windows being open in his chamber toward Jerusalem, he kneeled upon his knees three times a day, and prayed, and gave thanks before his God, as he did aforetime.
And David had it written in the book of Psalms.: Psalm 5:1-7 1Give ear to my words, O LORD, consider my meditation. 2Hearken unto the voice of my cry, my King, and my God: for unto thee will I pray. 3My voice shalt thou hear in the morning, O LORD; in the morning will I direct my prayer unto thee, and will look up. 4For thou art not a God that hath pleasure in wickedness: neither shall evil dwell with thee. 5The foolish shall not stand in thy sight: thou hatest all workers of iniquity. 6Thou shalt destroy them that speak leasing: the LORD will abhor the bloody and deceitful man. 7But as for me, I will come into thy house in the multitude of thy mercy: and in thy fear will I worship toward thy holy temple
The last element of prayer that we will deal with is fasting. This is only commanded once a year on the day of Atonement, but is a way to insure that our prayers are heard by God.: Isaiah 58:4 4Behold, ye fast for strife and debate, and to smite with the fist of wickedness: ye shall not fast as ye do this day, to make your voice to be heard on high.
In the 23rd chapter of Leviticus the Lord commands Moses to tell all the people His high holy days or feast days.: Leviticus 23:1-2 1And the LORD spake unto Moses, saying, 2Speak unto the children of Israel, and say unto them, Concerning the feasts of the LORD, which ye shall proclaim to be holy convocations, even these are my feasts.
The feast of atonement is a day set aside to fast onto the Lord to offer an affliction for sins. It is the one day that God has commanded us to afflict our bodies by abstaining from food or drink, and it points to the suffering that Jesus suffered when He died for our sins.
Leviticus 23:26-32 26And the LORD spake unto Moses, saying, 27Also on the tenth day of this seventh month there shall be a day of atonement: it shall be an holy convocation unto you; and ye shall afflict your souls, and offer an offering made by fire unto the LORD. 28And ye shall do no work in that same day: for it is a day of atonement, to make an atonement for you before the LORD your God. 29For whatsoever soul it be that shall not be afflicted in that same day, he shall be cut off from among his people. 30And whatsoever soul it be that doeth any work in that same day, the same soul will I destroy from among his people. 31Ye shall do no manner of work: it shall be a statute for ever throughout your generations in all your dwellings. 32It shall be unto you a sabbath of rest, and ye shall afflict your souls: in the ninth day of the month at even, from even unto even, shall ye celebrate your sabbath.
Let's look briefly at what this soul is that is being afflicted.: Genesis 2:7 7And the LORD God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul. A soul is nothing more than your body. This is a lesson in itself and many scriptures tell of a soul eating, drinking, speaking, or doing many functions that are associated with the Human body.: Ezekiel 18:4 4Behold, all souls are mine; as the soul of the father, so also the soul of the son is mine: the soul that sinneth, it shall die. So now that we see that the soul is a body, let's get back to fasting.
There are times when we want the answer to something whether it is how to be of help to someone or understanding of scripture and we can seek it with prayer and fasting.: Daniel 9:3 3And I set my face unto the Lord God, to seek by prayer and supplications, with fasting, and sackcloth, and ashes:
There are instances when we really want to know some particular guidance, and we can add fasting to our prayer and supplications.: Ezra 8:21-23 21Then I proclaimed a fast there, at the river of Ahava, that we might afflict ourselves before our God, to seek of him a right way for us, and for our little ones, and for all our substance. 22For I was ashamed to require of the king a band of soldiers and horsemen to help us against the enemy in the way: because we had spoken unto the king, saying, The hand of our God is upon all them for good that seek him; but his power and his wrath is against all them that forsake him. 23So we fasted and besought our God for this: and he was intreated of us.
And there are times when we fast along with repenting.: Jonah 3:5-10 5So the people of Nineveh believed God, and proclaimed a fast, and put on sackcloth, from the greatest of them even to the least of them. 6For word came unto the king of Nineveh, and he arose from his throne, and he laid his robe from him, and covered him with sackcloth, and sat in ashes. 7And he caused it to be proclaimed and published through Nineveh by the decree of the king and his nobles, saying, Let neither man nor beast, herd nor flock, taste any thing: let them not feed, nor drink water: 8But let man and beast be covered with sackcloth, and cry mightily unto God: yea, let them turn every one from his evil way, and from the violence that is in their hands. 9Who can tell if God will turn and repent, and turn away from his fierce anger, that we perish not? 10And God saw their works, that they turned from their evil way; and God repented of the evil, that he had said that he would do unto them; and he did it not.
It is in the afflicting of our souls as a sign of sincerity along with honest prayers and supplication that a fast is heard by our God. The one thing that we must remember is fasting, like prayer, should be between you and God!: Matthew 6:16-18 16Moreover when ye fast, be not, as the hypocrites, of a sad countenance: for they disfigure their faces, that they may appear unto men to fast. Verily I say unto you, They have their reward. 17But thou, when thou fastest, anoint thine head, and wash thy face; 18That thou appear not unto men to fast, but unto thy Father which is in secret: and thy Father, which seeth in secret, shall reward thee openly. It is not something that we should make known to anyone. We don't fast for pats on the back or to feed our ego. We fast so that the Lord will see our affliction and hear our pleas.
Sometimes it seems that the only way we can get an answer is through prayer and fasting.: Mark 9:28-29 28And when he was come into the house, his disciples asked him privately, Why could not we cast him out? 29And he said unto them, This kind can come forth by nothing, but by prayer and fasting.
Prayer and fasting is something that comes to each individual with practice and patience. As with any other aspect of the spiritual life we receive increase only by God, for His glory in His time. We will continue to grow as we earnestly continue to seek Him.
9O fear the LORD, ye his saints: for there is no want to them that fear him. 10The young lions do lack, and suffer hunger: but they that seek the LORD shall not want any good thing. 11Come, ye children, hearken unto me: I will teach you the fear of the LORD. 12What man is he that desireth life, and loveth many days, that he may see good? 13Keep thy tongue from evil, and thy lips from speaking guile. 14Depart from evil, and do good; seek peace, and pursue it. 15The eyes of the LORD are upon the righteous, and his ears are open unto their cry. 16The face of the LORD is against them that do evil, to cut off the remembrance of them from the earth. 17The righteous cry, and the LORD heareth, and delivereth them out of all their troubles. 18The LORD is nigh unto them that are of a broken heart; and saveth such as be of a contrite spirit. 19Many are the afflictions of the righteous: but the LORD delivereth him out of them all. 20He keepeth all his bones: not one of them is broken. 21Evil shall slay the wicked: and they that hate the righteous shall be desolate. 22The LORD redeemeth the soul of his servants: and none of them that trust in him shall be desolate.
We have entered the world of the Spirit. Our next function is to grow in understanding and effectiveness. This is not an overnight matter. It should continue for our lifetime. Pg 84
1 Thessalonians 5:21-23
21Prove all things; hold fast that which is good. 22Abstain from all appearance of evil. 23And the very God of peace sanctify you wholly; and I pray God your whole spirit and soul and body be preserved blameless unto the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.