'The Precious Privilege of Prayer'
by Travis Wiginton
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Our prayers must mean something to us if they are to mean anything to God!
Prayer is more than 'a wish turned Heavenward':
It is the 'voice of faith directed God-ward'.
Prayer fails many times because it is an obligation, rather than a privilege!
Too many times, we pray to change or affect God....
when Prayer needs to change or affect us!
This is what God desires and we should also!
George Sweeting shared in Moody Monthly:
"Prayer is a natural function of life. The cultivating of Prayer is not importing an alien, but is training a native citizen of the soil."
1) PRAYER IS FIRST AND FOREMOST COMMUNION WITH....AND ONENESS WITH....GOD.
This is available to anyone who desires it....learned or unlearned....rich or poor.
It CAN be the loftiest aim within the reach of any soul.
God desires it most of all from us. He looks forward to it....and so should we!
The greatest gift of God in Prayer is Himself...
and whatever else He gives, is incidental and secondary.
In Acts 4:13, the people took note that Peter and John had 'been with Jesus'.
This is what I have desired as husband, father, pastor, preacher, friend and neighbor.
The New Testament uses the word 'abiding'.
Paul calls it 'union with Christ'..."I in Christ and Christ in me".
This happens when we take a position by repentance and faith...
and Christ by His Spirit, comes to live in us.
Colossians 3:11 tells us that "Jesus is all in all".
In John 15, Jesus refers to it as 'the vine and the branches'.
In verse 4, "Abide in me and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, except it abide in the vine; no more can you, except you abide in me."
In verse 7: "If you abide in me and my words abide in you, you shall ask what you will and it shall be done unto you."
A Monk, Brother Lawrence, found joy in Jesus just as much working in the kitchen at a monastery, as he did elsewhere.
In his wonderful little book, 'Practicing the Presence of God', he wrote the following:
"We should establish ourselves in a sense of God's presence by continually coming to Him."
The New Testament calls it 'Prayer Without Ceasing'.....
which is mainly living in the attitude, spirit and practice of Prayer.
We need to live in total dependence on God and continuing fellowship with Him.
Be careful here, for even though communion with God is the 'aim of Prayer'; perhaps the single greatest difficulty in maintaining the habit of Prayer is our tendency to make it a pious form or habit and not a vital transaction and relationship!
In other words, conscious fellowship with the Father Who cares!
In Luke 15, God is pictured as:
a loving Shepherd...
a warm-hearted woman...
and the father of prodigals.
All of these depict God as One Who is ready to hear and answer Prayer.
Prayer is the breathing of the soul....
and we need to breathe often and deeply in order to really live!
So, commune often with the God Who cares!
This is what I call 'Oneness with The Three in One'
anytime, anyplace and any circumstance.
2) PRAYER IS THE CALL (OR CRY) TO THE ONE WHO CARES MOST OF ALL
If Prayer is 'oneness with God', it is also 'openness toward God'.
I John 2:1 calls us 'little children' and God is our Father Who responds to our cries and calls.
Jeremiah 33:3: "Call unto me and I will answer you and show you great and mighty things which you know not."
Psalms 34:15: "The eyes of the Lord are upon the righteousness and his ears are open unto their cry."
Psalms 105:1: "Oh give thanks unto the Lord; call upon his name and make known his deeds among the people."
Psalms 145:18: "The Lord is near unto all them who call upon him, to all who call upon him in truth."
Sometimes, the answers to our prayers may seem slow.....
but God will let us learn lessons from what we're going through.
Vance Havner said, "God seldom shouts and does not wear track shoes!"
God WILL answer your call (cry)!
He wants us to be sensitive to The Spirit and sometimes, He speaks in a still small voice.
(I Kings 19:11-12)
Bill Borden of Yale University, was a great witness on campus and longed to go to the Middle East as a missionary to the Muslims. He died at 30 yrs. of age before his desire was fulfilled. A biographer said, "Bill Borden won for 2 reasons: he always carried his Sword (Bible) and he looked up for strength."
Sometimes in our lives (like Bill Borden), there seems to be no rhyme nor reason, but we have The Truth that God's Promises are always true ....and all things work together for good to those that love God and are the called according to his purpose." (Romans 8:28)
For example: Many missionaries have felt the call to missions because of the life (and death) of Bill Borden.
It may be the length of time God permits us to stay here, is not so much the work we are to do, but the closeness of relationship to Himself that He wants us to attain.
After all, life here is preparation for Heaven.
3) PRAYER IS CONFIDENCE IN....AND COMMITMENT TO.....GOD
Hebrews 4:14-16: "Seeing 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. For we have not a high priest who cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities; but was in all points, tempted as we are, yet without sin. Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need."
The more we pray, the more confidence we can have in God and in ourselves.
Let us (a privilege)....come (a plea)....into His presence (a power).
The apostle Paul did not have more of God than we do.....
but perhaps God had more of Paul.
I John 5:14-15 also speaks of confidence: "This is the confidence we have in approaching God, that if we ask anything according to his will, he hears us. And if we know that he hears us, whatever we ask, we know that we have the petitions we desired of him."
Dr. T.W. Hunt of Southwestern Seminary in Ft. Worth, Texas says, "There is one great secret knowing 'how' to pray; the greatest secret to prayer is knowing 'who God is' and start with His attributes - Omnipotent, Omniscient, Transcendent, Infinite, Immortal, Immutable, Wise, Holy and Loving."
For several years now, Henry Blackaby has shared workshops on 'Experiencing God'.
He writes, "The realities of experiencing God are:
1) God is always at work around you.
2) God pursues a continuing love relationship with you that is real and personal.
3) God invites you to become involved with Him in His work.
4) God speaks through the Holy Spirit, the Bible, Prayer, circumstances, in the church to reveal Himself, His purposes and His way.
5) God's invitation for you to work with Him ALWAYS leads to a crisis of belief that requires faith and action.
6) You must make major adjustments in your life to join God in what He is doing.
7) You come to know by experience, as you obey Him and He accomplishes His work through you.
My college pastor and longtime friend, Dr. E.F. "Preacher" Hallock of Norman, Oklahoma (now deceased) wrote in his book, 'Always in Prayer':
"To pray in the name of Jesus is to be so attached to Him, so united to Him, that.....
His thoughts become my thoughts;
His desires become my desires;
His life becomes my life;
His nature becomes my nature;
His prayers are my prayers."
'Preacher' always taught 3 priorities in the Christian life:
Bible Study, Prayer and Promises.
He said many times, "Find at least 15 minutes to Pray, but read the Bible half of that time for it is more important what God wants to say to us, than what we want to say to God."
He emphasized: "Talk to God, but don't hang up on Him until you meditate on Scripture and hear what He wants to say to you!"
So please remember that satan fights you hardest at the point of Prayer...
but he will flee when Bible Study, Prayer and you claiming the Promises
become a conviction and continual practice in your life.
Jesus Himself said in Luke 18:1, "Always pray and faint not".
Saving time for Prayer does not work!
It has to be a priority or it will get lost in the shuffle of schedules and subsitutues!
When one man was asked 'What is the secret of revival?'
He replied, "There is no secret....Ask, Seek and Knock!'"
Ephesians 6:13-17 describes the armor for Christian warriors and in verse 19,
"Praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit and watching with all perseverance."
In it all, and for all, Prayer is priority!
Please remember that when we pray, we get what God can do....
when we don't pray, we get what we can do.
The precious privilege of Prayer is a great partnership between you and
the King of Kings and the Lord of Lords!
Don't miss out on it....He will do His part......Prayer and Faith are OUR part.
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Oh Travis this is a wonderful and much needed article! Prayer as you say IS a precious privilege! When we draw near to God, He draws near to us. Prayer then becomes continual because God is so near, it is a delight and a joy to talk to Him. Not just to go to Him for needs, but to get to know Him, to get to know what pleases Him and what He wants to show us in His word. Then the word TOO becomes so very exciting, for the Holy spirit begins to show and reveal what God wants us to know and to understand. Bless you and La Moyne for your love and your faithfulness to our Mighty God. In His love, Sharon