Wednesday, 24 January 2018

Effective Prayer

Scripture: James 4 v 3 "Ye ask, and receive not, because ye ask amiss, that ye may consume it upon your lusts."

James 5 v 15 - 16: "And the prayer of faith shall save the sick, and the Lord shall raise him up; and if he have committed sins, they shall be forgiven him.
 16  Confess your faults one to another, and pray one for another, that ye may be healed. The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much."

1 John 5 v 14 -15: And this is the confidence we have in Him, that, if we ask any thing according to His will, He heareth us: And if we know that He hear us, whatsoever we ask, we know that we have the petitions that we desired of Him."

Matthew 6 v 7: "But when you pray, use not vain repetitions, as the heathen do: for they think they shall be heard for their much speaking."

When we pray we see everything we ask for as urgent before God. We demand answers and sometimes we have a long, impatient wait. There is God's timing to be considered as He alone knows when its the optimum moment to respond.

James tells us that we don't get answers because we pray incorrectly, we pray selfishly. Its all about us and our family and our needs. Our God's family, and therefore ours too, is just everybody, so if you want to be heard take your eyes off yourself and pray for others.  If you need healing pray for people with the same condition and the merciful Lord will help all.

Years ago a Christian writer and speaker, Frank Foglio, had a daughter who was in a clinic in a catatonic state.  The only time she came out of it was when he visited her.  Then she became like a wild cat trying to kill him!

Many of his ministry engagements he came across similarly afflicted people and Jesus healed every one instantly through his prayers.  After years of this and no change in his daughter he went to see her for the last time.  She was much worse than before.  He left in tears and heartbreak.  Before he had gone far the Lord said to him, Praise Me for her healing!  He said, I can't.  Jesus urged him to start praising Him.  

Eventually he whispered a word of praise.  It built up until he was shouting praises to God.  Jesus said, Go back.  He turned the car around and when he saw his daughter she was totally healed and in her right mind!

Another block to getting answers is praying the same prayer over and over. The heathen do this. They have formal prayers that they pray in parrot fashion. If your child came to you every day and asked for help from a written down request he had to say ten times wouldn't you think it strange and stop listening?

What would it say about your relationship with your child?  You don't know each other. In Matthew 7 Jesus says 'I never knew you' just before sending people to Hell. So the most important thing between God and you is a proper personal relationship. You need to talk and listen to God and follow His leading. 

Think of a relationship with a friend. You get to know each other. Have times out together. Chat, probe, get into secrets and important knowledge of each other. If you remain guarded and closed the relationship stays on the level of acquaintance. So you may have met Jesus but never let Him into your life in an intimate way. That's why he says I never KNEW you.

Whatever we do as a love offering to the Lord He multiplies it back most generously. If you make a commitment, don't break it, even if it hurts. God honours us as we honour Him in what we commit to others. He will find a way of making it up to you.

The most important thing is to ask according to the will of God. Do not assume anything. Always check with Him and get confirmation. Not everything He does for others applies to you. If He gave Jack a car last week, it does not make you entitled to one this week.  He knows your needs and shuns your greeds.

When you are selfish and spend only on your own needs, you will see a loss in your earnings or an increase in your debts. Whenever you withhold a blessing the Lord cannot prevent the enemy from putting pressure on you. In Acts when the church began the Holy Spirit caused every Christian to bring everything they owned into the common pool.

They sold their houses and put the proceeds into the hands of the apostles. It was more important to spread the gospel message than for them to live in comfort.  They had the right priorities. These days most people look after No 1 first and are covered for every eventuality. They don't really need to trust God for much.

Twelve men turned the world upside down by faith after the ascension of Jesus and the coming of the Holy Spirit.  We have inherited their legacy written in the New Testament plus in their fervent prayers for all who would believe and come after them.

Acts 2 v 38 - 39: "Then Peter said unto them, Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost.
 39  For the promise is unto you, and to your children, and to all that are afar off, even as many as the Lord our God shall call."

Prayer:  Father God, we must pray in such a way that You hear us because our prayers line up with Your perfect will and plan for humanity. Then we will know what Your answers are. We pray for the church to be unified as one Body and be going in the same direction. We pray for Your family to love one another fervently. We pray for the healing power of Jesus to heal those who are ill. We pray that throughout the Body of Christ there will be strength, fortitude, compassion and peace which will bless us all going forward. In Jesus' name. Amen.