The reason why many fail in battle is because they wait until the hour of battle. The reason why others succeed is because they have gained their victory on their knees long before the battle came…Anticipate your battles; fight them on your knees before temptation comes, and you will always have victory. R. A. Torrey
READ: Philippians 4:6.
God invites us to bring any need we face directly to His throne. This invitation is especially remarkable when we consider that it is from the God who created the universe with words (Hebrews 11:3), raised Christ from the dead (Ephesians 1:18-20), and already performed a miracle of rebirth in our lives (Ephesians 2:1-6).
- Do you spend much time with God in prayer?
- Do you keep track of your requests and His answers?
This is the God who has the obvious creativity and power to care for any need we have, and He invites us to bring our needs before Him. So why is it then that we do not pray as much as we should?
Pride? – like a little child who wants to care for his own needs without help, we sometimes have too high of an opinion of our ability to solve problems. We don’t recognise God’s superior power, and we think we can handle our lives on our own.
Unbelief? – sometimes, we simply don’t believe that God would answer if we did pray. Instead of bringing our requests before the Lord, we worry over them; disregarding the hundreds of promises in God’s word that He will hear us and help us when we pray.
Busyness? – it’s all too easy to fill our lives with important activities and ministry while neglecting the most important activity of seeking God’s face and power.
Praying is so critical; it is a conversation with God. How can we worship God for all eternity when we can’t even manage 5-mins down here? Well, perhaps for starters, we will see more and more and more things in eternity that we won’t have ‘time’ NOT to worship!
God loves His children coming to Him in prayer, and since prayer is our lifeline to God, to NOT pray is an insult to Him. Every ‘prayerless’ day is saying to God that you do no need Him today, and perhaps could even reflect idolatry as you are relying on yourself, or other people, or money, or something else instead.
- Would you think that neglecting prayer is not only a weakness, but a sinful choice?
Everyday we should be asking God for wisdom, guidance, comfort, help, protection, the list goes on. It is well said that he who is a stranger to prayer will also be a stranger to God’s power.
READ: Jeremiah 33:3 – let us never face a day in battle until we have faced the Father in prayer.
A man was once cutting a tree stump with an obviously blunt axe. He was only bruising the bark as sweat poured from his beaded brow. Someone suggested that he stop for a moment and sharpen the axe, to which he replied, “I’m too busy chopping the tree to stop for anything.” If he would only stop for a moment and sharpen the axe, he would be able to slice through the tree with far greater ease.
Stop at the beginning of each day to ‘sharpen the axe’ through prayer. Seek first the kingdom of God, and you will slice through that day with far greater ease.
Some people are constantly in prayer and as such are known as ‘Prayer Warriors’, which is wonderful. But this does not make them any more spiritual than you or me. We are ALL ‘tools’ on the Creator’s ‘workbench’ – only the Craftsman can pick up the tool and use it well.
- What do you think would be some characteristics of a ‘Prayer Warrior’?
- Would YOU like to be known as a ‘Prayer Warrior’?
READ: 1 Thessalonians 5:17, 1:3, 2:13; Romans 1:9; 2 Timothy 1:3 – we must pray without ceasing. Whether you do this or not will depend on how much focus on and faith you have in God.
Prayer does a lot of things, but here’s three things to think about for the moment:
1. Prayer allows us to be in ‘partnership’ with God
He chooses to use us with Him in what He is already going to do. It is such a privilege! How many times have you been blessed to hear that your (constant) prayer for someone was answered in their life? Or you prayed something for someone and at that time were not sure why you were praying for that particular thing in their life, but then you later discovered the reason?
READ: Romans 8:26 – sometimes we don’t know what to pray for or most of the time it’s for self-preservation – to get out of trouble. The Holy Spirit helps us as we go through trouble by praying for us according to God’s will. The Holy Spirit:
- Sees your trouble like you can’t see it.
- Sees God’s purpose for it.
- Sees Satan’s purpose for it (2 Corinthians 12:7; Job 1, 2).
- Knows your real strength to hold up under the infirmity.
- Knows who is watching you as you go through the infirmity.
- Knows how you will be able to minister to others because of your infirmity.
- Knows what kind of example you will be and how influential your example will be to future generations because of your infirmities.
You don’t see all of that, and so you don’t pray accordingly, but the Holy Spirit does. When He prays for us, He prays for us with all of that in mind. Perhaps He groans when He sees the carnality in our prayers? Perhaps He groans when He sees the delight Satan takes in making our infirmities worse? Christ wept for Lazarus in John 11:35–36, and so perhaps the Holy Spirit groans out of love for us? God has to put us through trouble, so we will grow and mature as Christians, but He takes no delight in our pain and suffering. Perhaps our sorrow touches the heart of the Spirit of God and causes Him to groan?
What a wonderful relationship we have with the Father!
2. Prayer frustrates the plans of the enemy
Our minds and thoughts may wander at times when we are in prayer. This is normally the enemy trying to interfere with our communion at that moment with God. The Devil doesn’t want us talking (and listening) to God – he doesn’t want God to answer our prayers, or for us to know the answers, because it can halt his plans.
READ: Daniel 10.
God always defeats the enemy though and turns things around. The next time all those thoughts, tasks, and distractions come in during your prayer time, just quickly jot them down on a notepad, and return to prayer again immediately. At the end of praying, not only would you have spent as much quality time with the Lord as you can (frustrating the enemy), but God has also given you your ‘To Do’ list for the day!
3. Prayer brings God joy
It is wonderful to know that we can bring delight to God simply by praying to Him (Proverbs 15:8).
READ: Revelation 8:3-4 and 5:8 – what a sweet smell our prayers are to God!
- Pray with faith (Hebrews 11:6) – it is so sad that sometimes we have more faith in man and his things than in God Himself.
- Pray with clean hands and a pure heart (Psalms 24:3,4) – confess your sins (1 John 1:7-9) to God daily through the blood of the Lord Jesus Christ – this is not for salvation, but for fellowship with God so that your prayers are not hindered.
- Pray genuine heartfelt prayers rather than vain repetitions (Matthew 6:7) – keep yourself in the love of God, and you will never pray hypocritical or selfish prayers. Just talk to your heavenly Father as candidly and intimately as a young child nestled on Daddy’s lap. God wants to hear from your heart.
- Make sure that you are praying to the God revealed in the Scriptures (Exodus 20:3-6) – Study the word; do not accept the world’s idea of who God is. Look to the thunderings and lightnings of Mount Sinai; gaze at Jesus on the cross of Calvary hanging in unspeakable agony because of the justice of a holy God. The God of the Holy Bible is the True, Living God.
The prayer that God answers is the prayer that is to God the Father, that is on the ground of the atoning blood of God the Son, and that is under the direction and in the power of God the Holy Spirit.
Allow the Craftsman to pick you up and create something beautiful through your life, for His glory. Pray!