The true Christian life and Christian work, are things that are impossible without God. We need answers to prayer. For example: unless the Lord makes the change in us – our hearts are not completely changed.
“Can the Ethiopian change his skin, or the leopard his spots? then may ye also do good, that are accustomed to do evil.” ~ Jeremiah 13:23
We cannot change our physical attributes. Why then would we think that we can change the spiritual condition of our heart? Only God, through the sacrifice of his Son, Jesus Christ, can do this.
And unless the Lord builds the house of God, which is the spiritual gathering of God’s people: the wrong type of people will be gathered together in worship.
- “Except the Lord build the house, they labour in vain that build it: except the Lord keep the city, the watchman waketh but in vain.” ~ Psalm 127:1
- “Know ye that the Lord he is God: it is he that hath made us, and not we ourselves; we are his people, and the sheep of his pasture.” ~ Psalm 100:3
Consequently, since we cannot do any of these things by ourselves, we must learn how to pray daily, and to implore for God’s mercy and help! And if we want to have a true daily prayer where God hears us, we must have already repented of and forsaken our sins.
“Now we know that God heareth not sinners: but if any man be a worshipper of God, and doeth his will, him he heareth.” ~ John 9:31
But note, false Christianity teaches that daily prayer means: “we sin every day, and therefore need forgiveness everyday.” So daily we must pray for the sacrifice of Jesus Christ for our sins.
But daily prayer is not supposed to be a daily sacrifice of Jesus Christ on the cross again! Sadly most of the so-called Christian religions of today believe in what is essentially: a daily sacrifice of Jesus Christ. But that has never been the plan of Almighty God.
“Therefore leaving the principles of the doctrine of Christ, let us go on unto perfection; not laying again the foundation of repentance from dead works, and of faith toward God, Of the doctrine of baptisms, and of laying on of hands, and of resurrection of the dead, and of eternal judgment. And this will we do, if God permit. For it is impossible for those who were once enlightened, and have tasted of the heavenly gift, and were made partakers of the Holy Ghost, And have tasted the good word of God, and the powers of the world to come, If they shall fall away, to renew them again unto repentance; seeing they crucify to themselves the Son of God afresh, and put him to an open shame.” ~ Hebrews 6:1-6
You cannot put Jesus Christ to a shame everyday with your sins, and expect him to listen to your prayers. So the daily sacrifice is supposed to be us: as we daily carry our cross and follow in his footsteps.
“And he said to them all, If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow me.” ~ Luke 9:23
Even starting in the Old Testament, the people of God would gather for prayer every morning and every evening, to identify with the daily sacrifice that was done at the same time. The morning and evening sacrifice was ordained of the law. But the people gathering for prayer, was only done by those who had the burden for prayer. Because prayer is a waste of time, if the people don’t have a heartfelt burden for it, and there’s no sacrificial love in it.
“And thou shalt say unto them, This is the offering made by fire which ye shall offer unto the Lord; two lambs of the first year without spot day by day, for a continual burnt offering. The one lamb shalt thou offer in the morning, and the other lamb shalt thou offer at even” ~ Numbers 28:3-4
In the Old Testament this time of daily prayer, where the people would identify with the sacrifice while their prayers were going up, was considered critical to the spiritual life of Israel. One of the darkest times in their history was when a foreign adversary took away from them the daily sacrifice and prayer.
“Yea, he magnified himself even to the prince of the host, and by him the daily sacrifice was taken away, and the place of his sanctuary was cast down. And an host was given him against the daily sacrifice by reason of transgression, and it cast down the truth to the ground; and it practiced, and prospered.” ~ Daniel 8:11-12
And in the Old Testament, even for individuals, their spiritual life was dependent upon prayer. David expressed it this way:
“Evening, and morning, and at noon, will I pray, and cry aloud: and he shall hear my voice.” ~ Psalm 55:17
Prayer was so critical to Daniel, that he was willing to endanger his physical life, that he might continue his prayer life. So when the king signed a law threatening death to true praying: Daniel still prayed as he always did.
“Now 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.” ~ Daniel 6:10
When Jesus was on Earth, he considered prayer so important to the spiritual life of the people, that he physically drove out the people who would violate that sanctity of prayer within the temple.
“And Jesus went into the temple of God, and cast out all them that sold and bought in the temple, and overthrew the tables of the money changers, and the seats of them that sold doves, And said unto them, It is written, My house shall be called the house of prayer; but ye have made it a den of thieves.” ~ Matthew 21:12-14
Today the New Testament people of God, individually and collectively, are the temple of the Lord. We are supposed to be the house of prayer. And like the New Testament apostles and disciples of the Lord did, we also need our times of prayer every day.
“Praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, and watching thereunto with all perseverance and supplication for all saints” ~ Ephesians 6:18
Prayer is not about something we do be seen of others, or because others expected of us. It must be something we personally do because of love and thanksgiving towards God. And because we especially have a heartfelt burden for the needs of other.
“And 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. But 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.” ~ Matthew 6:5-6
Also do not pray with a bunch of repetition and chanting. That is not how you would speak to someone here on Earth. So why do we think we need to talk that way to God?
“But when ye pray, use not vain repetitions, as the heathen do: for they think that they shall be heard for their much speaking. Be not ye therefore like unto them: for your Father knoweth what things ye have need of, before ye ask him.” ~ Matthew 6:7-8
Sometimes we think we know what we need. But the reality is sometimes the things we think we need, we don’t. And often there are other things that we don’t even know we need. So we should be thankful that God knows better what we really need. And we should express that to him in prayer.
“And this is the confidence that 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.” ~ 1 John 5:14-15
And so the best prayer always is the one that is submitted to God’s will. That can sometimes be very difficult. For it was even very difficult for the Lord Jesus to submit his prayer to the Father when he was in the garden praying.
“And he was withdrawn from them about a stone’s cast, and kneeled down, and prayed, Saying, Father, if thou be willing, remove this cup from me: nevertheless not my will, but thine, be done.” ~ Luke 22:41-42
Because the Father’s will was done, today we can be saved. And so if we will allow the Father’s will, rather than our own in our prayers, amazing things can happen!
“Now unto him that is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that worketh in us” ~ Ephesians 3:20
So what prayer power is working within us? Is it the power of our own will? Or is it the power of the sacrificial love of our Lord Jesus Christ? Let us submit our prayer requests to the sacrificial love purpose of our Savior!
“Likewise the Spirit also helpeth our infirmities: for we know not what we should pray for as we ought: but the Spirit itself maketh intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered. And he that searcheth the hearts knoweth what is the mind of the Spirit, because he maketh intercession for the saints according to the will of God. And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.” ~ Romans 8:26-28
Often the most powerful prayers are those that are made from such a heavy heart, that words cannot be expressed to fully convey what we’re feeling. And at those times, God perfectly understands and knows the best answer.
Finally, we must be careful that Satan does not trick us to place things in the way of our prayers being answered. God requires that true Christians should be able to agree in prayer. Non-agreement in prayer is one of the principal hindrances to the power of God working in the church.
“Likewise, ye husbands, dwell with them according to knowledge, giving honour unto the wife, as unto the weaker vessel, and as being heirs together of the grace of life; that your prayers be not hindered. Finally, be ye all of one mind, having compassion one of another, love as brethren, be pitiful, be courteous: Not rendering evil for evil, or railing for railing: but contrariwise blessing; knowing that ye are thereunto called, that ye should inherit a blessing.” ~ 1 Peter 3:7-9
The spiritual sacrificial prayer altar must be free of division among true brothers and sisters.
“Therefore if thou bring thy gift to the altar, and there rememberest that thy brother hath ought against thee; Leave there thy gift before the altar, and go thy way; first be reconciled to thy brother, and then come and offer thy gift.” ~ Matthew 5:23-24
One of the most powerful manifestations of God’s power ever, happened on the day of Pentecost. And the reason why it happened: because the apostles and the disciples were in agreement in prayer!
“And when the day of Pentecost was fully come, they were all with one accord in one place.” ~ Acts 2:1
Both at that time, and at a later time when there was another powerful shaking of God’s Holy Spirit, the true Christians were living under the threat of persecution.
“And when they had prayed, the place was shaken where they were assembled together; and they were all filled with the Holy Ghost, and they spake the word of God with boldness.” ~ Acts 4:31
When our hearts individually and collectively are in the right place. The scripture tells us we have a right to come boldly to the throne with our prayers!
“Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need.” ~ Hebrews 4:16
May we never neglect this special privilege that we have through the mercy and grace of our Lord Jesus Christ. The privilege to pray in the name of Jesus!
“And whatsoever ye shall ask in my name, that will I do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son. If ye shall ask any thing in my name, I will do it. If ye love me, keep my commandments. And I will pray the Father, and he shall give you another Comforter, that he may abide with you for ever” ~ John 14:13-16
The greatest thing we could ask for, and the greatest thing we can receive, and the greatest thing that God wants to give to us: is himself! So why wouldn’t we be willing to give of our self completely to God? Do we really want this? Then let us ask him with a pure and sacrificial loving heart, and he will certainly answer!
“If ye then, being evil, know how to give good gifts unto your children: how much more shall your heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to them that ask him?” ~ Luke 11:13
And once we have truly received the Spirit of the Lord into our hearts, may we continue to daily offer that sacrifice of our lives, so that he may choose how to use us, and where to use us, in the salvation work of the kingdom of God.