Labouring In Prayers And Fasting
By David J. Stewart
Colossians 4:12, “Epaphras, who is one of you, a servant of Christ, saluteth you, always labouring fervently for you in prayers, that ye may stand perfect and complete in all the will of God.”
God rewards individual believers for their labours. 1st Corinthians 3:7-8, “So then neither is he that planteth any thing, neither he that watereth; but God that giveth the increase. Now he that planteth and he that watereth are one: and every man shall receive his own reward according to his own labour.” No one else can stake claim in Heaven to our own rewards. Each Christian believer must earn their own rewards.
One of the most under preached truths in the Bible is the subject of prayer and fasting. These are inseparable. God never intended for fasting to fade away as a cultural trend only to be forgotten. Fasting is an important tool in keeping the believer humble and concerned about the things of others. We read some powerful words in Philippians 2:4-5 which teach us to think like Jesus, that is, think about the needs, burdens and affliction of OTHERS. Philippians 2:4-5, “Look not every man on his own things, but every man also on the things of others. Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus: tells us that Jesus thought about the needs of others. Verse 6 tells us to be likeminded by having the mind of Christ.” This is the core basis of praying. God wants us to pray for OTHERS more than for ourselves. This goes contrary to nearly everything taught by the mainstream religious community in America. Even in religious circles the major theme is still all about ME, MYSELF and I. The Bible wants us to think about OTHERS.
God Promises To Reward Praying And Fasting
Now here's the awesome thing! God knows that we are selfish by nature. We cannot change who we are. If you think about it, the Christian life is primarily selfish. That is, we serve God to be rewarded. We pray to receive. We run the race to finish. I want heavenly rewards and possessions that thieves cannot steal, clothes that moths cannot ruin and things that rust cannot oxidize. I know He will give them to me as promised. Romans 8:32, “He that spared not his own Son, but delivered him up for us all, how shall he not with him also freely give us all things?” It is perfectly acceptable to serve the Lord with the desire to receive rewards. In fact, that is the alluring motivation that God uses to get us to serve Him.
Let's be honest, most Christians don't ever fast and hardly any pray as they should. Even the best Christians go through dry spells of prayer, times of discouragement—whether due to worldliness, the cares of this life, or physical pain that weighs down our spirit continually. God has given to us a wonderful and powerful motivation, that is, laying up treasures in Heaven. We ought to pray and fast because we love Jesus. But at those times when we get discouraged, it is ok to serve God because we know that we are amassing possessions in eternity. God is perfectly acceptable of such eternal motives.
Moses fled Egypt to suffer affliction with God's people (his Hebrew brethren). The Bible says that Moses sought A GREATER reward from God than all the wealth of Egypt. Hebrews 11:24-26, “By faith Moses, when he was come to years, refused to be called the son of Pharaoh's daughter; Choosing rather to suffer affliction with the people of God, than to enjoy the pleasures of sin for a season; Esteeming the reproach of Christ greater riches than the treasures in Egypt: for he had respect unto the recompence of the reward.” Amen. Likewise, I esteem having Jesus Christ in my soul as being worth incomparable more value than all the treasures, pleasures and fame which this sin-cursed world has to offer. I love my Savior and I know that He loves me. That's priceless!
God has made it SIMPLE TO PRAY...
PRAYER MADE SIMPLE (God wants us to pray and has made every provision to help us do so)
I'm tired of ignorant preachers trying to make people feel bad for serving God with the intent of receiving heavenly rewards. The truth is that the Bible condemns serving God with the intent of worldly gain. The Bible never teaches that God won't reward someone with selfish motives for serving God. God is glad when we serve Him, even though our motives may not always be pure.
For example: A single man may drive a church bus simply because he likes a woman at church. Now he ought to drive the church bus because he loves Jesus. Yet, that man is still transporting people to Sunday School and church to hear the gospel preached. I believe that God will reward the man as a Christian for driving the church bus. People are still getting saved. Families are being reached. Men's lives are being built up in the Lord, including the driver of the bus. Rahab the harlot helped hide the Hebrew spies because she feared for the lives of her family. Yet God honored her for hiding the spies in Canaan, which was self-motivated and not an act of charitable benevolence. Rahab and her family were spared death when the Hebrews conquered The Promised Land. In Hebrews God lists Rahab as a hero of the faith for hiding the spies. Don't ever underestimate the goodness of God.
Jesus promised that a Christian will be rewarded for giving even a cup of water in a DISCIPLE'S NAME who follows Jesus. Isn't that precious? Matthew 10:42, “And whosoever shall give to drink unto one of these little ones a cup of cold water only in the name of a disciple, verily I say unto you, he shall in no wise lose his reward.” Are you starting to get the wonderful picture friend? God wants to reward us for everything we do for Him. God is going to judge all men, saved and unsaved alike, scrutinizing every work, word and thought, whether good or bad.
We ought not serve God with greed. 1st Timothy 6:7-10 teach us to be content with clothes and food. Albeit, it is perfectly acceptable to serve God with a desire to lay up treasures IN HEAVEN for ourselves. That's the mindset that God wants us to have. Notice in the following Scriptures that Jesus tells us to REJOICE OVER HEAVENLY REWARDS...
Luke 6:20-23, “And he lifted up his eyes on his disciples, and said, Blessed be ye poor: for yours is the kingdom of God. Blessed are ye that hunger now: for ye shall be filled. Blessed are ye that weep now: for ye shall laugh. Blessed are ye, when men shall hate you, and when they shall separate you from their company, and shall reproach you, and cast out your name as evil, for the Son of man's sake. Rejoice ye in that day, and leap for joy: for, behold, your reward is great in heaven: for in the like manner did their fathers unto the prophets.”
When the Bible teaches in Matthew 6:19-20 to “LAY UP FOR YOURSELVES TREASURES IN HEAVEN,” the Scriptures speak specifically about prayer and fasting...
Matthew 6:16-21, “Moreover 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. But thou, when thou fastest, anoint thine head, and wash thy face; That 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. Lay not up for yourselves treasures upon earth, where moth and rust doth corrupt, and where thieves break through and steal: But lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust doth corrupt, and where thieves do not break through nor steal: For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.”
Fasting is almost unheard of nowadays. I've even heard some preachers teach that fasting is not for modern times. I don't believe that. There's not one Scripture in the Word of God that teaches fasting is no longer in effect. How ridiculous! Fasting is letting go of the physical to grasp the spiritual. Hebrews 11:6 teaches that it is IMPOSSIBLE to please God without faith. Faith is the key that unlocks the windows of Heaven. Prayer is faith. It requires greater faith to continue praying when it appears that God is not answering. Since faith pleases God, it should be obvious then why God usually doesn't answer our prayers in immediate, obvious nor detectable ways. Luke 18:1-8 teaches this truth in the parable of the unjust judge. Very few Christians fast, because they've never been mentored and taught to do so. Few Christians are self motivated to serve God as they should.
The Philosophy Behind Prayer And Fasting (from Exploring Prayer With Dr. Jack Hyles)
God Wants Us To Pray Mostly For OTHERS
Note in our text verse above from Colossians 4:12 that the apostle Paul mentions “LABOURING fervently for you in prayer.” Prayer is often only thought of in selfish terms, praying for ourselves. Prayer is sadly viewed these days as a means of satisfying personal ambitions, lusts and desires. However, we read in Colossians 4:12 that Epaphras was a faithful servant of Jesus Christ who laboured intensely in prayer for OTHERS (“for you”). There are NO coincidences in the Bible. Everything is written the way it is for specific reasons, whether we know what those reasons are or not. God doesn't make mistakes.
Having said that, I want to bring your attention to Matthew 6:7-8 and Luke 12:5-13...
Matthew 6:7-8, “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.”
Notice in the preceding Scripture passage that God tells us NOT to pray long prayers, thinking that we are earning an answer to prayer or impressing God. God already knows exactly what we need before we even begin to pray. The reason why God wants us to pray is so that WE KNOW that we need Him. James 4:6 teaches that God resists THE PROUD who don't pray, but God gives GRACE to the humble. In 2nd Chronicles 7:13-15 God tells His people to humble themselves, pray, seek His face (His approval) and turn from their wicked ways so that God will forgive their sins and heal the land. Notice that humility precedes prayer. Proud people don't pray. God turns His face against the wicked, which includes those who don't pray.
So we learn from Matthew 6:7-8 that we don't have to pray lengthy prayers to receive answers from God. The Lord just wants us to pray, evidencing that we trust upon the Lord and need His help, provisions and guidance in life. Now notice the convicting Scripture passage in Luke 11:5-13 which teaches us to PRAY LONG PRAYERS FOR OTHERS...
Luke 11:5-13, “And he said unto them, Which of you shall have a friend, and shall go unto him at midnight, and say unto him, Friend, lend me three loaves; For a friend of mine in his journey is come to me, and I have nothing to set before him? And he from within shall answer and say, Trouble me not: the door is now shut, and my children are with me in bed; I cannot rise and give thee. I say unto you, Though he will not rise and give him, because he is his friend, yet because of his importunity he will rise and give him as many as he needeth. And I say unto you, Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you. For every one that asketh receiveth; and he that seeketh findeth; and to him that knocketh it shall be opened. If a son shall ask bread of any of you that is a father, will he give him a stone? or if he ask a fish, will he for a fish give him a serpent? Or if he shall ask an egg, will he offer him a scorpion? 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?”
How many of us spend most of our prayer time praying FOR OTHERS verses our self? The Lord thought about OTHERS while living on earth, and you can be assured that He still thinks about OTHERS today. Hebrews 13:8 proclaims “Jesus Christ the same yesterday, and to day, and for ever.” The same Lord Who cared about OTHERS, “who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross,” still CARES about OTHERS today. Here is a precious poem written by the faithful man of God, Pastor Jack Hyles...
Lord, let me live from day to day
In such a self-forgetful way,
That even when I kneel to pray,
My prayer shall be for others.
Others, Lord, yes, others;
Let this my motto be.
Help me to live for others
That I may live like Thee.
Why Wash Our Face After Fasting?
I was curious why the Bible tells us to wash our face after fasting to hide from others that we've been fasting. In the Bible they put ashes and often oil on their faces while fasting. I don't know who the following author is nor if the gentleman is a Christian, but he did well writing the following words to explain Matthew 6:16-18, which I want to share with you now...
“When you fast, do not look somber as the hypocrites do, for they disfigure their faces to show men they are fasting. I tell you the truth, they have received their reward in full. But when you fast, put oil on your head and wash your face, so that it will not be obvious to men that you are fasting, but only to your Father, who is unseen; and your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you.”
I want to remind you that, in Chapter 6, Christ moves from the general aspects of Christianity to specific items on Christian piety. And the three areas which we are covering in Chapter 6 is almsgiving, which has to do with our relationship to one another; praying, which has to do with our relationship to God; and now He is dealing in verses 16-18 with fasting.
If you read the whole passage, you will notice that Christ is contrasting these three areas with the practices and teachings of the scribes and Pharisees. For example in verse 1, Christ says:
“Be careful not to do your ‘acts of righteousness’ before men, to be seen by them.”
That is how the Pharisees were doing it. Then He gives His counsel on praying. Verse 5:
“And when you pray, do not be like the hypocrites, for they love to pray standing in the synagogues and on the street corners to be seen by men.”
Then, in verse 16, He goes to fasting:
“When you fast, do not look somber as the hypocrites do, for they disfigure their faces to show men they are fasting. I tell you the truth, they have received their reward in full.”
I want you to notice that Jesus is in harmony with all three of these areas concerning piety. But He is dealing with an area that has to be done correctly. Our almsgiving, our praying, and our fasting must be done in a true Christian way. And so I would like, first of all, to look at the text itself. We’ll go on with verses 17 and 18:
“But when you fast, put oil on your head and wash your face, so that it will not be obvious to men that you are fasting, but only to your Father, who is unseen; and your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you.”
First of all, what does the word “fast” mean? The Greek, as used here, actually means “abstinence from food.” That, basically, is what the word means. According to Luke 18:12, we know that the Pharisees fasted twice a week [Mondays and Thursdays]:
“I fast twice a week and give a tenth of all I get.”
It became a tradition. But when we look at scripture, we discover that they went far beyond God’s requirement.
When Moses gave them the Law, God required (through Moses) that the Jews fast only once a year and that was on the Day of Atonement. Then, after the Babylonian captivity, one or two more fast days were added. But then tradition began to add and add and add until twice a week they were fasting. Christ is not dealing here with the number of times. He is dealing with two things. He is dealing with the method of fasting and the reason for fasting.
I would like to show you the wrong reason and the wrong method for fasting and the right reason and the right method. First, let me say something about fasting. While most Christians lay stress on almsgiving and on praying, there has been a kind of departure from the emphasis on fasting. This was partly because of the way the Catholic Church handled fasting. Fasting became a requirement to attain salvation. Fridays you could not eat any meat. The Orthodox churches followed the same route and the result of this was that many felt that fasting was eliminated in the New Testament.
But if you read your New Testament, you will discover that Jesus did not do away with fasting; the Christian church did not do away with fasting. Let me give you a couple of examples. Right here in the passage that we just read, Jesus said, “When you fast.” He didn’t say, “don’t fast.” He said, “don’t fast like the hypocrites.” Also, we know that Jesus Himself fasted for 40 days before He entered the second phase of His ministry which was pointing Him toward the cross.
As another example, the Church at Antioch, when they were about to send Paul and Barnabas on their first missionary journey, spent a period of time in prayer and fasting. So fasting is clearly taught in the New Testament.
Let’s look now at the wrong reasons. Number one, we must never fast for an ulterior motive. In other words, we must not fast hoping that God will give us some extra blessing. We must not use fasting as a means of twisting God’s arm (“See, I am fasting.”) That is not taught in the New Testament. We do not fast because we want a favor of God. God has already blessed us with all the gifts.
By the way, the same can be said about tithe paying. We don’t pay tithe because we want our bank account to increase. God has not promised that. He has promised to make our bread and water sure. We must not fast for any self-interest. Fasting must be based on a spiritual relationship with God.
Let’s look at the wrong method now. Number one, we must not fast mechanically. This is what the Catholic and Orthodox churches did. They set aside certain days for fasting. We have Lent (40 days before the cross); we have weekly fasts. In the Anglican Church, the Catholic Church, the Orthodox churches, they fast mechanically; it is one of their requirements. It is part of their religious formula. We shouldn’t just go through the motions of fasting, for that is of no real benefit.
Number two, we must never fast for outward show. This is what Christ is condemning here. When the Pharisees fasted, they disfigured their faces, they put ashes on their bodies, and they looked as if they were half dead to show people that they were fasting. And Christ is saying that if they fast so that people may see them, they have their reward: they have been seen.
Let’s go now to the right reason. What is the reason for fasting? It must be a spiritual reason. For example, the Day of Atonement was a very solemn day for the Jews. It was a day of judgment. That is why the Lord admonished the Jews to fast on that day. When Christ was about to enter the second phase of His ministry, which pointed Him to the cross, He realized that this involved God-abandonment and He wanted to spend much time in fasting because He wanted to dedicate Himself to this cause.
If you look at all of the fasting in the New Testament, you will notice that all of it involves, to some degree, self-denial. Let me tell you why. When you become a Christian, no change takes place in your nature. Your nature remains sinful. Because this body of sin (Romans 6), the body of this death (Romans 7), this body of ours is controlled by the law of sin. Paul says, “sin that dwelt in my members.” Romans 7:23:
...But I see another law at work in the members of my body, waging war against the law of my mind and making me a prisoner of the law of sin at work within my members.
In Christian living, that body controlled by the law of sin is a great stumbling block to our Christianity. It is a hindrance to spiritual growth. Christ is saying that fasting is often an expression that we are taking up our cross and following Jesus Christ. There are two basic drives that are found in our bodies through the law of sin. Number one is our appetite and Number two is greed. Both of these need to be kept under subjection and fasting is simply turning to God and saying, “God, I want to humble myself before you; I want You to take over; I want to put myself completely in your hands.” And fasting is one form of self-discipline. Not to earn heaven, not to gain merit, but to remind yourself, to impose upon yourself that our bodies must not control us. It is our converted mind that must control the body.
Real fasting must do something to us. If you will turn to Isaiah 58, you will notice what God said through His prophet concerning fasting. If fasting makes you self-righteous and proud then you are not fasting in the correct way. True fasting should make you humble and concerned about others.
SOURCE: The Sermon on the Mount (Part 20 of 30)
Christian Women Can Serve God With Prayers, Fastings & The Gospel
This includes you ladies too. The apostle Paul mentions Christian women who laboured with him in the gospel. Philippians 4:3, “And I intreat thee also, true yokefellow, help those women which laboured with me in the gospel, with Clement also, and with other my fellowlabourers, whose names are in the book of life.”
Luke 2:37, “And she was a widow of about fourscore and four years, which departed not from the temple, but served God with fastings and prayers night and day. And she coming in that instant gave thanks likewise unto the Lord, and spake of him to all them that looked for redemption in Jerusalem.” Whew, that's good stuff! Amen! This 84 year old widow waited and watched for strangers who came to Jerusalem seeking redemption in Jesus Christ. They had heard from afar in foreign lands about Jesus Who died, was buried and then miraculously resurrected from the dead after three days. They traveled all the way to Jerusalem to find out how to be saved. They wanted redemption in Christ and this dear old lady eagerly awaited for them in Jerusalem to tell them about Jesus. Oh how the world still needs Jesus.
So many multitudes today are still seeking the redemption of their souls. Satan has blinded them with the lies of evolution. Satan has confused them with thousands of different religions. Satan has misled them with hundreds of false Bible versions. Satan has offered them hope in the false religion of religious humanism, which makes men feel comfortable in their unsaved condition, leaving out the gospel of Jesus Christ which is the only way of salvation to them that believe. Ladies, whoever you may be, if you are a Christian, then you have a golden opportunity to share the gospel and to serve God with prayers and fasting. It is entirely a matter of faith. Although God will answer prayers without fasting, fasting compels us to pray more fervently, since our flesh is unhappy that we are afflicting it by denying it food, et cetera. The flesh is our biggest enemy. Fasting is a means of subduing the flesh to boost our faith, letting go of the physical in order to grasp more of the spiritual. Romans 7:24, “O wretched man that I am! who shall deliver me from the body of this death?”
The Philosophy Behind Prayer And Fasting (from Exploring Prayer With Dr. Jack Hyles)
Please understand that prayer and fasting, and laying up heavenly rewards, have absolutely NOTHING to do with salvation itself, which is the free gift of God by faith in Christ Jesus our Savior.
Pray Without Ceasing
The Bible, God's Word, commands Christians to PRAY WITHOUT CEASING. In today's fast-pace, high-pressure, hustle-and-bustle world, it's very easy for Christians to forget to pray. It's tragic. We are spoiled in America, having an over-abundance of food, clothing, and toys to consume our time. There is generally a direct relation between our blessings and the amount to time we spend praying, i.e., as God blesses us, we forget about Him.
In Deuteronomy 6:10-12, Moses warned the Israelites about this... "And it shall be, when the LORD thy God shall have brought thee into the land which he sware unto thy fathers, to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob, to give thee great and goodly cities, which thou buildedst not, And houses full of all good things, which thou filledst not, and wells digged, which thou diggedst not, vineyards and olive trees, which thou plantedst not; when thou shalt have eaten and be full; Then beware lest thou forget the LORD, which brought thee forth out of the land of Egypt, from the house of bondage." Have you forgotten God in your busy life? Do you take time to pray? When's the last time you poured out your heart to God, and wept over the sinful condition of America?
I believe that the reason God tells us to pray without ceasing is because He understands that it's difficult to spend large amounts of time in prayer for a busy mother or a working father. I know, I know, there's the old saying that goes, “If you're too busy to pray, you're too busy.” But I know from my own experiences that once I begin to pray, I think of more things and people that need to be prayed over, and a few minutes can easily become a few hours. We don't always have the privilege of spending hours in prayer.
And quite frankly, PRAYER IS WORK. Colossians 4:12, “Epaphras, who is one of you, a servant of Christ, saluteth you, always labouring fervently for you in prayers, that ye may stand perfect and complete in all the will of God.” I love that Scriptures. Genuine prayer set aside as an activity by itself is work my friend. That's why most people don't pray. Notice that that the Apostle Paul was praying for OTHERS. In Luke 11:2-4 we find the Lord's Prayer (which is really the disciple's prayer because Jesus was teaching them how to pray), we are given a pattern to follow. Jesus taught in Matthew 6:7 not to pray long prayers, because God already knows our needs.
Persevering Prayer & Answers To Prayer
Carefully notice in Luke 11:5-10 Jesus taught about persevering prayer where we pray for OTHERS. This is where we ought to spend the greater lengths of time, because there are many people to pray for, and many spiritual as well as physical needs. Literally, God wants us to stop thinking about ourselves all the time. In Philippians 2:5 we are told to have the mind of Christ, and in Philippians 2:4 (the Verse before) we are told that Jesus thought on the things of others. Philippians 2:4-5, “Look not every man on his own things, but every man also on the things of others. Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus.” Jesus was concerned about OTHERS, not Himself. Oh, that we would learn this truth as God's children!
So when you go to pray, spend a few minutes on yourself and then spend some quality time praying for OTHERS in your life. Prayer makes a difference! If we don't care about others, then how can we reasonably expect God to cater to our selfishness. Most people pray for themselves, and that's it. Then they wonder why God doesn't answer. It's a total lack of faith. If God openly answered your prayers, then where is faith?
No, the way God works is behind the scenes, in ways unseen as Romans 1:20 teaches. It is the invisible things of God at work that we cannot see, such as the angels, God's power and the Godhead. When we pray we are looking to see God's eternal power, but the Bible says it is invisible, seen only by the things which are made. Pray my friend, and trust what you see around you as evidence that there is a God and He rewards those who diligently seek Him (Hebrews 11:6).
Since God sees what we cannot see, then we must trust Him, understanding that our prayers will often produce very different results that what we had intended. Trust the Lord, for He cares for you (1st Peter 5:7) and has promised to guide us (Proverbs 3:5-7). Do you know that the Bible never says God will answer all our prayers? Rather, the Bible teaches that if we acknowledge God in all our ways, then He will direct our steps. Psalms 34:7, “The angel of the LORD encampeth round about them that fear him, and delivereth them.”
Prayer Made Simple
Carefully study 2nd Chronicles 7:14,15... "If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land. Now mine eyes shall be open, and mine ears attent unto the prayer that is made in this place." Notice the progression:
- Humble yourself
- Seek God's face
- Turn from sin
This is God's divine order. This is what America needs today to get right with God. It all begins with humility. Tragically, America is a sinfully proud and stubborn nation. We are in desperate need of a spanking as a nation, because we are out-of-control brats in this country. The greatest blessing God could give America today would be harsh judgment, to drive us to our knees! We have flaunted our sins in God's face, even naming one of our cities... SIN CITY!
To Whom Do You Pray?
Unfortunately, of those people who do pray, few people genuinely pray to the God of the Bible. When most people go to pray, they recite the Rosary, a damnable doctrine of Roman Catholicism. God hates the Rosary because it is a manmade tradition that violates the Scriptures. Jesus forbade anyone from praying with vain repetitions.
God wants us to pray from our hearts, not from a prayer book. God hates prayer books! Do you think God is impressed when the President of the United States publicly reads a prayer that someone else wrote for him? No way! Prayer books are FORMALIZED religion, which quenches the work of the Holy Spirit of God. You can't mechanicalize the Christian life. God didn't intend for us to recite chants like dead robots. Listen for yourself.
Freemasons pray to the Great Architect, which is Satan in disguise. To whom do you pray? If we believe the Bible, then we must pray to the God of the Bible. There is NO other God (Isaiah 45:22). James 2:19 tells us that believing there is a God is not enough to get a person to Heaven. Yet, John 3:16 tells us that believing on Jesus Christ is enough to get us to Heaven.
Genesis 15:6 tells us that Abraham, "...believed in the LORD; and he counted it to him for righteousness." Thus, the only Biblical conclusion is that Jesus is the "LORD" which Abraham believed upon in Genesis 15:6. When we pray, we must always realize that Jesus Christ came to this earth as the manifestation of God, i.e., the Godhead, in the flesh (1st Timothy 3:16). This is why the Scriptures direct us to pray "in Jesus' name." This simply signifies our acknowledgment that it is Jesus' blood which gives us a right to approach God's throne of grace (Hebrews 4:15,16).
It is foolish for any believer not to exercise their right to the throne of grace, when God is offering to... give us grace to help in time of need (Hebrews 4:16).
Prayer is Trusting God
Oh! that Christians would learn to trust God--and that's what prayer really is... TRUSTING GOD. King David prayed in Psalm 56:1-4... "Be merciful unto me, O God: for man would swallow me up; he fighting daily oppresseth me. Mine enemies would daily swallow me up: for they be many that fight against me, O thou most High. What time I am afraid, I will trust in thee. In God I will praise his word, in God I have put my trust; I will not fear what flesh can do unto me." David didn't allow himself to become overwhelmed with worry; but rather, cast his burdens upon the Lord (1st Peter 5:7), trusting God to protect and deliver him. Please read, Don't Worry, Be Prayerful!
A U.S. study was done showing that prayer doesn't work. What ingrates! We disobey God, toss the Bible and prayer out of our public schools, teach our kids that there is no Creator, worship Santa and the Easter Bunny instead of God's Son, and then put God on trial for not answering our prayers. What is wrong with us? I'll tell you in one word... SIN. American's deserve nothing good from God; yet in His divine mercy He patiently waits for us to repent... "The 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." God is incredibly patient, but we are provoking His anger in America.
Shame on those who use prayer books, Rosaries, and recited prayers. If you can't pray from your heart at the drop-of-a-hat, then you aren't praying enough in your own personal life. Prayer is not a recital, or a speech. Prayer is not a religious ceremony. Prayer is when we reach out to our Creator from the sincerity of our heart. Prayer is asking God for His help, strength, and guidance in every area of our life. Proverbs 3:5-7 states, "Trust in the LORD with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding.
In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths. Be not wise in thine own eyes: fear the LORD, and depart from evil." Prayer is trusting God, by placing our worries, burdens, and concerns upon Him. The heathens are turning to Oprah Winfrey, John Edward, Char Margolis, Dr. Phil, Miss Cleo, James Van Praagh, and other demonically inspired imposters for guidance, who are leading the masses away from the God of the Bible. If you want guidance, then seek the God of the Bible, through the Bible.
There is an Omnipotent God in Heaven!
Oh! That believers would learn to pray continually! Do you know why people don't pray? It's because they don't get the immediate answers they want. This is due largely to the greedy televangelists today who have mislead people about God and prayer. Imposters like Joel Osteen and Creflo Dollar have reduced God to a genie in a bottle, who guarantee us health, wealth, and prosperity in this sinful world. Tell that to the martyrs in Hebrews 11:36-38.
Tell that to Lazarus, the beggar in Luke 16. Tell that to Paul, who suffered often... "Of the Jews five times received I forty stripes save one. Thrice was I beaten with rods, once was I stoned, thrice I suffered shipwreck, a night and a day I have been in the deep; In journeyings often, in perils of waters, in perils of robbers, in perils by mine own countrymen, in perils by the heathen, in perils in the city, in perils in the wilderness, in perils in the sea, in perils among false brethren; In weariness and painfulness, in watchings often, in hunger and thirst, in fastings often, in cold and nakedness" (2nd Corinthians 11:24-27). Are you sure you want to follow Jesus Christ?
Today's apostate religious world promises health, wealth, and success; but this is all of the Devil. 2nd Timothy 3:12 states... "Yea, and all that will live godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer persecution." 2nd Timothy 4:3 warns... "For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears." The Bible is so accurate, and perfectly describes these imposters who call themselves ministers of righteousness. They are ministers of covetousness!!!
We need to get back to the old-time religion in America, when Christians still believed that the Bible was God's inspired, infallible, inerrant, and preserved Word! I believe that to be the King James Bible (NOT the New King James Bible either, which is corrupt). Most people today view prayer as a "therapy" or a form of "meditation." Shame on us! Prayer at The White House has been diminished to a mere formal speech, prepared in advance for the President to recite. This is wickedness. Listen folks... THERE IS A GOD IN HEAVEN!
Praying According to God's Will
Prayer is asking. God wants to answer our prayers, but we need to ask according to HIS WILL... "And this is the confidence that we have in him, that, if we ask any thing according to his will, he heareth us" (1st John 5:14). Most people pray for the blessings of God, while deliberately disobeyed the commands of God. Does that seem reasonable, or fair, to you? Why should God answer the prayers of a nation that murders babies?
Have you spoken out against abortion? Have you spoken out against homosexuality? Are you contending for the faith? Are you are soulwinner? Do you care? Jesus said in Matthew 11:29,30... "Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light."
A "yoke" is a device placed upon two animals, to enable them to share the workload together. Jesus wants us to take His burden upon us, i.e., soulwinning. Then, and only then, can we truly begin to learn of Him. Many people have churchianity, but they have no desire to win souls to Christ. There is something very wrong with a devout religious person who has no desire to win lost souls to Jesus Christ.
Christians, now more than ever, need to pray without ceasing to God in Heaven. We ought to pray throughout the day, as we go about our busy schedule. Jesus Christ, while in the flesh, prayed often, setting a precedent for us to follow. Jesus often went up into the mountains, to pray all night. When's the last time you prayed ALL NIGHT? I don't think this is what pop singer, Lionel Richie, meant in his song All Night Long. Oh! That believers would learn to pray continually!
Do you know my friend that God loves you so much that He chose to LIVE INSIDE EVERY BELIEVER as the Holy Spirit the moment we are saved and for the rest of eternity (Romans 8:9)! Literally, God wanted to live inside me and you if you are saved. If you're not a Christian, then God very much wants you to become His child (2nd Peter 3:9). It warms my soul to know that God lives in me and loves me, and has sealed me with His Holy Spirit (Ephesians 1:13; 4:30).
“Pray without ceasing.” —1st Thessalonians 5:17
"And it came to pass in those days, that he went out into a mountain to pray, and continued all night in prayer to God." —Luke 6:12
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