Tag Archives: God the Father

Prayer – Protecting the promise

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Two bouncersWe saw from last week’s post the incredible power in the prayer promise to those who find their identity in the 41414 Club.

This promise and power must be protected from wrong or immature use. This is why there are two major “bouncers” on the door to this promise club guarding the entrance.

The name of the first “protector” is “Sonship”.

The power of prayer is protected by the proven character of Jesus, the Son, modeled and built into our lives. Like a baby’s first cry as it leaves the womb, so our first Holy Spirit inspired prayer, which births us into the environment of faith, reveals the Son in us.

“For you did not receive a spirit that makes you a slave again to fear, but you received the Spirit of sonship. And by him we cry, Abba, Father.” Romans 8:15

Jesus underlined that this was the first requirement for learning to pray in answer to his disciples request  to teach them how to pray. He gave them the key to the prayer door.

“This, then is how you should pray: Our Father…” Matthew 6:9

Matthew 7:7 – another elite club – “club 77”, also emphasises the strong “sonship” element needed to seize the power filled promise of “Ask and it will be given to you.”

“If you, then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give good gifts to those who ask him!” Matthew 7:11

God is working to create within us the character of His Son.

One way of doing this is to spend time remaining, abiding, in His presence. Spending many hours imbibing the character of the Son through His Word in the Bible is a vital part of this process of daily transformation.

“If you remain in me and my words remain in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be given you.” John 15:7BarMitzvah

Like Daniel in the Old Testament, we need to be able to fuel our prayer through a vital understanding of God’s prophetic word and purpose. ” In the first year of his reign, I, Daniel, understood from the Scriptures, according to the word of the LORD given to Jeremiah the prophet, that the desolation of Jerusalem would last seventy years.” How long will the “desolation” of our churches last? At least until dutiful sons give themselves to prayer and understanding of the Word of God. We need a genuine Bar Mitzvah – we must become true sons and daughters of the commandment, entering into the maturity of ministry and prayer.

Flawed character leads to wrong motivation and a frustration of the whole prayer experience. The apostle James puts it very clearly:

“When you ask, you do not receive, because you ask with wrong motives, that you may spend what you get on your pleasures.” James 4:3

Hedonism and love for the world will take us out of the genuine prayer experience.

True intercessors are in the “word system” not the “world system”.

The road to sonship is paved with discipline and correction. Hebrews 12: 5-12 puts this very clearly.

“My son, do not make light of the Lord’s discipline, and do not lose heart when he rebukes you, because the Lord disciplines those he loves, and he punishes everyone he accepts as a son. Endure hardship as discipline; God is treating you as sons. For what son is not disciplined by his father?…No discipline seems pleasant at the time, but painful. Later on, however, it produces a harvest of righteousness and peace for those who have been trained by it.”

Allow the painful experience of life to train us for prayer.

DisciplineThe apostle John never gave up on the prayer promise theme, and, even in his old age, he was constantly coming back to the theme. He emphasised that prayer was all about having the right character, the right heart. Being an obedient and pleasing son was far more important than having intellectual gifts or charismatic prosperity formulas.

“Dear friends, if our hearts do not condemn us, we have confidence before God and receive from him anything we ask, because we obey his commands and do what pleases him.” 1 John 3:21-22

And what then ultimately pleases God? What must I do to please Him and obey his commands?

“And this is his command: to believe in the name of his Son, Jesus Christ, and to love one another as he commanded us.” v.23

Faith and love – Pistis and Agape. Two essential qualities of character which release the power of the prayer promise to us.

And the greatest of these is love…

Prayer – Don’t you Worry Child…

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 “Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”  Philippians 4:6-7

Mr WorryAre you a worrier? Don’t despair, worry can be a great springboard into prayer. When you worry you are demonstrating a willingness to take responsibility for something. You are carrying a burden. This is a great beginning, but you need to focus on the “positive possibility” by taking worry into prayer.

“What anxiety and hope actually have in common is a sense of what is possible. In anxiety we anticipate possible danger. In hope we anticipate possible deliverance.” Juergen Moltmann

The Greek word for anxiety is merimnaó which carries a sense of literally “being torn apart.” We all know that feeling of being torn apart, churned up on the inside, as our anxious thoughts prophetically run wild and predict the worst possible scenarios for the burdens we carry. These burdens may be about “anything” – big or small, but all our anythings and “everythings”  can be transformed by a simple step.

We need to change trains.

Leave the train of anxiety which is heading to a painful dead-end and catch the new train of prayer which will take you to the place of wholeness, peace and “shalom.” Instead of having a torn heart and a spinning mind, you can find the place of harmony and togetherness, shielded by hope in, and intimacy with Christ. There are three important stops on this prayer train:

Proseuché

This is literally the “place” of prayer. In a world which had no room for the Messiah at Christmas, we often find “no place” for prayer in our lives. We need to make space for God, give a place to the supernatural act of talking to heaven. Having a physical place to go to can be a great help in developing this discipline of space making. The original Greek word also means “to wish towards.” Wishing heavenwards – a great definition of prayer. Wishing to the little gods of money and power will never bring the deliverance hoped for and will inevitably put us back onto the train of worry. However, those who have found the space to wish beyond the earth to a benevolent, redeeming God will be rolling along on the tracks of peace.

Deésis – Petition/Supplication

This was often seen as an entreaty addressed to a King. the Greek word means “being in lack”, and true prayer uncovers the bounty of the giver but the sheer dependence of the petitioner. The great Chinese pastor Watchman Nee put it this way.

“True prayer uncovers the emptiness in the petitioner but the fullness in the Petitioned”

It is in this place of supplication that the groanings of the previous post, find their expression. It is in the place of petition that we are thrown into seasons of fasting and tearful entreaty.

Eucharistia – Thanksgiving/Grace in actioneucharist

This last station is by far the most beautiful. It is finding the place of thanks and gratitude. An attitude of gratitude is the key to successful praying and a life of shalom. It is no surprise that the Greek word gives us the same word for the thanksgiving meal that Jesus shared with his disciples. We are called to bring every person and situation to that place of thankful grace. By prayer, it is as if we can pass on the piece of sacrificial bread to the prayer subject and say “The Body of Christ keep you in eternal life.” Thank you Lord for this person, thank you for this situation. Thank you for taking me to this place and time in my life. Linger long at the station of thanksgiving, as it will truly deliver you from the pagan prayer of worry and accusation.

The Pagan prayer

“And when you pray, do not keep on babbling like pagans, for they think they will be heard because of their many words. Do not be like them, for your Father knows what you need before you ask him.” Matthew 6:7-8

 “So do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them.” Matthieu 6:31-32

The pagan prayer is a man centred, works orientated (many words) religious duty. It wants things in return for works. It seeks the gift rather than the giver. It prefers food to the Father. It will take you onto the tracks of worry.

Seek a King not a thing!

“But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.”  Matthew 6:33

Seek the giver, seek the Father. You don’t have to pray for stuff. Forget about it! Seek first, prioritize a living, intimate relationship with your Father King and all the blessings of life will follow.

From this place of relationship, provision, peace and security, you will have space to pray for the really important stuff…

Are you on the Shalom train?