I continue to share just some things on the subject of prayer. There is of course much more to examine by way of learning on the subject, but I am limiting myself and rather than taking a full perspective-type look, needing quite a few blog posts, I hope there are some encouraging points in this the last, for now, on the subject.
PRAYER INTO THE AIR? Part 2 (2019)
The Lord Jesus Christ walked in constant 24/7 communion with His unseen Father. This, if you like, is why we often fall short as Christians – we don’t walk in that constant communion.
But at least we know how we are to set ourselves, what our task for the day is – it is to walk in this constant-communion with The Lover of our souls.
The Bible describes this communion in words that should be familiar to every true Christian: Galatians 5/25: If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit.
We who have received Christ, by giving Him permission to enter and make His abode with us, are ‘born of His Spirit, washed in His blood’, as the old classic hymn tells us.
He is the one in whom we live and move and have our being.
The instruction that accompanies living in The Spirit – is that we need to also walk in the Spirit, – which speaks of constant communion.
In simple terms God-conscious – all of the time. Walking in communion each moment of the day.
It is when we fail to walk in the Spirit and instead walk again as we walked before we met Christ, in the desires of the flesh, whatever they be – then we get into problems again. One of the results of this neglect can include neglecting payer.
Prayer first and foremost is the ‘Practice of the Presence of God’ – this is faith.
In that relationship of communion with God The Father through Jesus His Son – we walk as Jesus walked (I John 4/17)
All the answers we need spring-up and come into our hearts and minds as a result of that relationship.
So there is no formula for prayer, or for getting answers to prayer – there is only relationship.
Jesus gives us a profound insight in the story of Lazarus.
When lifting His eyes to heaven and praying to His Father – He is heard to say in earshot of His disciples (v42): John 11/
41 Then they took away the stone from the place where the dead man was lying. And Jesus lifted up His eyes and said, “Father, I thank You that You have heard Me. 42 And I know that You always hear Me, but because of the people who are standing by I said this, that they may believe that You sent Me.” 43 Now when He had said these things, He cried with a loud voice, “Lazarus, come forth!
‘I know that You always hear Me…’ is the profound insight, revealing to us that He was indeed, in constant fellowship and conversation with His Father in heaven, – in short, that is prayer!
Constant conversation internally, to such a degree that there was no need to speak audibly, but He did so for the benefit of those around Him – so that they would realise that He asked the father to raise Lazarus from the dead and the Father was about to give an instant answer to the prayer, and a miracle was about to take place.
This has to be the most dynamic kind of praying. The kind that receives instant results, as demonstrated in the life of The Lord Jesus Christ.
Daily – miracle after miracle came – through communion with His Father.
When we pray our greatest joy would be – those kind of answers. Instant coffee answers.
But our experience is somewhat different is it not? Hyper-faith messages do not allow for any other kind of answers. Some in the ministry, consciously or unconsciously create a kind of exclusive mystique around their ministry.
This would lead us to believe that all their prayers, are all instantly answered and bring their desired result. Why? Because they have greater faith than the rest of us, or so we are (by some ministries) led to believe.
So that if you do not get your answers exactly as you have asked – it is your unbelief that is the problem. This is the impression some are left with, after listening to faith preachers.
The truth is these ministries may well be strong in faith, and have proved God on many occasions, but often large portions of Scripture are abandoned or not referred to in this kind of preaching.
Taking this ‘lack of faith accusation’ on board some lose the actual faith that they had in the first place. Concluding it was not enough, and therefore they are weighed in the balance and found wanting.
Condemnation comes next – and we know who that comes from.
It is true that we all need at some time to be upbraided for our unbelief. But make sure you know who is doing the correcting!
For Christians – God Corrects and doesn’t condemn – there is a difference, but many Christians take condemnation from the devil thinking it is correction from The Lord.
II Corinthians 11/32.
But when we are judged, we are chastened by the Lord, that we may not be condemned with the world.
God does correct in love.
Afterward he appeared unto the eleven as they sat at meat, and upbraided them with their unbelief and hardness of heart, because they believed not them which had seen him after he was risen…
On other occasions The Lord similarly corrected the disciples for their unbelief. (e.g. Matthew 16/11)
But supernatural things have taken place without any kind of human origination, other than the maintaining of a relationship with The Lord on a daily basis.
An example would be Peter, who decided to go to the housetop and pray before a meal.
Without any kind of ‘special’ faith on this occasion, he simply entered into his normal communion with The Lord in prayer, and suddenly he fell into a trance, and had a vision, in which he was directed by God in a certain way (for full story read Acts 10 v9).
My point is – God sovereignly planned (i.e. therefore the Father’s will) that he should be supernaturally directed to certain people, through the giving of this vision.
So this beyond-the-ordinary spiritual experience did not require greater faith on his part. He had a trance experience, not to be confused with demonically induced trance states, those who are involved in the occult – seek to attain.
For the Christian it is – relationship through prayer. Prayer maintaining relationship.
When we are in relationship with God and His word, and things don’t happen exactly according to our hopes or desires, even after much prayer. This is one of the chief discouragements for believers.
What happened? Why was the prayer not answered?
Already we are asking questions.
Now God can handle us asking Him a question – but we can’t question God.
See the difference? When we genuinely do not understand – we can ask The Lord any question.
But when things do not work out as we think they should – many question God, but really it is an accusation, not a genuine question.
We cannot accuse God, there is no counsel against Him. There is one accuser of the brethren and of God. (Revelation 12/10. Genesis 3/1).
The disciples asked Jesus to increase their faith – it always struck me how on the surface it seemed to me, that He changed the subject.
5 The apostles said to the Lord, “Increase our faith!”
6 He replied, “If you have faith as small as a mustard seed, you can say to this mulberry tree, ‘Be uprooted and planted in the sea,’ and it will obey you.
If you have faith as small as…
Jesus was just stating the facts. He was not increasing their faith. He felt it more important to say what faith could bring.
We desire to be honest. But desire also to maintain a good confession of faith.
So let’s settle for holding on to the faith we have, that is nourished through relationship, and not get carried away into the realm of reasoning that steals the faith we have.
Answers? They must come as relationship becomes more intimate.