The Power of Prayer
in secret. And your Father, who sees in secret will reward you.
The disciples understood something of the connection between Christ’s wondrous life in public and His secret life of prayer. That is why they asked him: ‘Lord, teach us how to pray.’ (Luke 11:1) The prayer life of Jesus was their model and inspiration. Jesus was a man of prayer and had a secret life with the Father: ‘But Jesus Himself would often slip away to the wilderness and pray.’ (Luke 5:16)
The best way to learn to pray is to pray. JUST DO IT! God awaits us in the secret place of prayer. He is waiting to encounter us. In Luke 11:9-10 Jesus says: ‘So I say to you, ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives, and he who seeks finds, and to him who knocks it will be opened.’ A secret life with God brings us back to our original purpose and passion. It recalibrates our heart. When we find ourselves drifting away from the ultimate reason we are alive – to love God and be loved by God – the secret place realigns our priorities with love. It keeps the main thing the main thing in our lives.
ANDREW MURRAY said: ‘To be alone in secret with the Father should be your highest joy, because to the man who withdraws himself from all that is of the world and man, and waits for God alone, the Father will reveal himself.’
E M BOUNDS: ‘The man – God’s man – is made in the (prayer) closet. His life and his most profound convictions are born in his secret communion with God.’
CHARLES SPURGEON described other works as ‘mere emptiness compared with our (prayer) closets.’
JOHN WESLEY, founder of the Methodist Church, spent two hours a day in prayer.
MARTIN LUTHER, father of the Reformation, said: ‘If I fail to spend two hours in prayer each morning, the devil gets the victory through the day. I have so much business I cannot get on without spending three hours daily in prayer.’
HOW TO SUSTAIN PRAYER
The life of a believer is to be led by loving God, and being loved by Him. The secret of effective prayer is to have the heart filled with the Father-love of God. Anything that is not motivated by our love for God is unstable. Intimacy enables us to sustain prayer because it makes prayer a matter of spending time with the One we love, which is the natural desire of love. Then prayer is no longer a duty but something we love to do.
People sustain prayer for people and things they feel responsible for. We lift up our voices in prayer for those who need it and those for whom we feel a responsibility for. We must widen our sense of responsibility.
FAITH THAT GOD WILL SHOW UP:
PSALM 145:18 says: ‘The Lord is near to all who call upon Him, to all who call upon Him in truth.’ God wants to be with us. He wants to show up in response to our prayers. Every good and perfect gift comes from Him. He loves us and He wants to give us abundant good gifts. When we have a distorted view of God, we will lack faith and our prayers will be misdirected and ineffective. Many people still see God as an angry and judgemental God who wants to punish us rather than bless us with his love, mercy and grace. God is eager to answer when we call. He loves to respond to our genuine and honest prayers.
BELIEF IN BREAKTHROUGH:
We must have faith that our prayers will be answered. Many people go through the motions of prayer but with no real power because they don’t really believe their prayers move the heart of God. ISAIAH 64:4 says that God acts for those who wait for Him. God is moved to action on behalf of those who seek Him in prayer. Sustaining prayer isn’t so difficult when you believe that God hears and will respond to your prayers. You trust that breakthrough will come because God answers prayer. Our faith is not in our ability to pray, but in God’s ability to answer. It may take a while. It may seem like God is slow. But He will answer because you are praying.
When God speaks to you through dreams, prophetic words, Scripture, and other experiences, this provides fuel for the fire of prayer to keep burning. These things give us direction and confirm that we are on the right track, and encourage us to keep going.
Jesus knew that God was His Father. He never doubted that His Father would not be there for him. He told us to call God our Father. We are to relate to God as Father in the same way that Jesus did. ANDREW MURRAY said: ‘Live as a child of God, and you will be able to pray and must assuredly be heard as a child of God.’ The best that human fathers can give their children is nothing compared to the good things God gives His children. Jesus said: ‘If you know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father who is in Heaven give good things to those who ask Him!’ (Matthew 7:11) We must have revelation of our heavenly Father’s attitude towards us. The truth is that God finds our cries irresistible because He finds His children irresistible. When we approach Him as children, He turns to us as Father. When we know the goodness of Father-God’s heart, we will pray with confidence. The apostle John said: ‘Now this is the confidence that we have in Him, that if we ask anything according to His will, He hears us. And if we know that he hears us, whatever we ask, we know that we have the petitions that we have asked of Him.’ (1 John 5:14-15)