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Saturday, March 3, 2012

Lord, Teach Us To Pray! Part 3

Introduction continued...

The Bible has much to say on the topic of prayer. Although you can’t get a degree in prayer from any theological seminary, although you can’t major in prayer at any university, the Bible speaks more of prayer than it does about being a pastor, a preacher or an evangelist.

If it is true, and you can calculate the worth of a man by the number of his enemies, then we can just as readily calculate the worth of prayer by the vitriolic hatred the enemy has towards it. The devil hates a praying Christian. He hates a praying Christian, because he fears a praying Christian, and he fears a praying Christian because a praying Christian is one who has come to the knowledge of how paramount prayer is in their life. The devil knows that prayer works!

There is power in prayer, and the devil knows this better than most Christians today. It’s not because he’s got nothing better to do that the enemy is constantly attempting to distract believers from prayer, it’s not because he’s got nothing better to do that he is constantly attempting to stifle the prayer lives of the saints, it’s because he knows the power that resides in the effective, fervent prayer of the righteous.

The spiritual health of an individual or a congregation can be determined by the importance they place on their prayer life, and the time they devote to prayer. The instant a church ceases to pray, it begins to die. The instant a believer ceases to pray, their heart begins to grow cold toward the things of God, the lines of communication having been severed.

No man can work for God without first having spent time with Him. No man can walk in authority, no man can do great and mighty works through the power of the Holy Spirit, no man can rightly divide the gospel, and no man can preach the whole counsel of God, without having an established, vibrant, and ongoing life of prayer.

To the true believer, a prayer life becomes second nature, yet perpetually fresh, and new and strengthening. By second nature, I do not mean habitual in the sense of repeating the same tired words over and over again, but rather as much of an extension of the individual as hearing, or seeing or breathing in the physical.

We see the end result of the absence of prayer in today’s church more vividly than ever before during the history of mankind. Because we have strayed from prayer, because we have replaced prayer with other things, our sermons lack conviction, our teachings lack power, our worship lacks fire, and seeing as we make no headway in bringing the lost into the household of faith, we resort to worldly means and methods by which to attract them to the house of God.

Without prayer, we can be neither effective nor efficient in the work of the Kingdom of God.

Yes, diplomas and accolades provide a cold sort of comfort to some, having a title before their name keeps others drudging along attempting to break up the same fallowed ground, but true power, true conviction, true fire, true passion is sorely lacking in the hearts of a great many spiritual luminaries today.

Prayer is a force; it is a divine fire, which the enemy attempts to put out every time such a fire is ignited and takes on proportions. The enemy knows that if the fire of prayer is allowed to spread, it will burn away duplicity, it will burn away hypocrisy, it will burn away selfishness, it will burn away the desire for the things of this earth, and the only thing that will remain, the only thing that will survive the flame is a pure and spotless desire for all of God in our lives.

The attacks on praying Christians and praying congregations are vicious and merciless, the enemy doing everything in his power to distract from prayer, or cause the individual to lose his focus and become bogged down by other things.

I’ve heard countless stories of prayer groups getting together weekly, crying out to God, beginning to see the power of God made manifest in their lives only to get sidetracked, distracted, and diverted to doing other things, or squabbling among themselves over issues they later deemed as irrelevant.

Begin to pray consistently, begin to pray fervently, then when the attacks come, and they will come, have the presence of mind to identify it as an attack of the enemy and rebuke it.

All I can do is go on this journey with you, but learning something without applying it is like having half of an equation and expecting to find the right answer to the problem.

Learning how to pray is important. It is important enough that it was the one thing the disciples asked Christ that He teach them. After learning how to pray however, we must go about the actual act of prayer, building up our prayer life, and learning to be in the presence of God.

There is no quick fix, and there is no magic pill. One becomes a prayer warrior by praying, and one’s prayers are effective once they learn how to pray.

There are many questions in regards to prayer that we will answer throughout this series. What is prayer? Why is it we are commanded to pray? Why should we have a prayer life? Why, if God already knows all things, should we take the time to pour our hearts out to Him? Why, if God already knows the desire of our heart, should we make it known to Him through prayer? Why does God sometimes delay in answering our prayers and supplications? Why does the Bible insist that we be persistent, and determined in our prayers? What can we glean from the prayers of those that came before us?

If at the end of this series I will have encouraged someone to redeem the time, and give prayer the rightful place of honor it deserves in their heart, if I will have aided in any small way to fan the flames of desiring to spend more time in fellowship with God, then it will have been a worthwhile journey indeed.

With love in Christ,
Michael Boldea Jr.

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