Floods of asking prayer

Ask the Lord for rain in the spring of the year. It is the Lord who sends rain clouds and showers, making the fields green for everyone. – Zechariah 10:1 GNT

I love the invitation to come and pray and to ask. The call to pray and ask for blessing makes a difference. It touches the real life of my soul. Why do I feel that prayer is the least important or the least glorifying to God? When I come to Him in prayer and asking, I am giving Him glory.

When I pray asking, I am acknowledging that God is the authour of all good things and that I depend on Him for everything in my life. By praying I am acknowledging that I can do nothing of my own and so I come, humbly, asking for God’s grace and mercy. In fact, when I approach God, sometimes the first words out of my mouth, when I pray, is ‘God be merciful to me, a sinner.’

The atheistic philosopher of the present day laughs at such a verse as this, and sneeringly asks, “ What possible connection can there be between men and women praying to God and the showers of rain which fall upon the earth?” “Why!” saith he, “according to the laws of nature, showers fall at such-and-such seasons; and if the atmosphere should not happen to be in such-and-such a state, all the praying in the world cannot produce a single drop of rain.” But faith can clearly see where reason is blind; and the prayer of faith moves the arm of God, and the arm of God controls what the philosopher calls the laws of nature, and so the rain descends. Let us learn, from this precept and promise, the power of believing prayer. Prayer hath the key of nature as well as the key of heaven hanging at her girds. Observe also that, when we have received one mercy from the Lord, we are to go on to pray for another. These people must have had “the former rain”, yet they were to ask for “the latter rain” also; and if you, dear friends, have had “the former rain” of conversion, go on to ask the Lord for “the latter rain” of sanctification. If, in our church-fellowship, we have had “the former rain” of gracious additions to our numbers, we must ask for “the latter rain” by praying that God would continue thus to bless us. When we cease to pray for blessings, God has already ceased to bless us, but when our souls pour out floods of prayer, God is certain temporary floods of mercy. – Spurgeon

So I ask for blessing when I pray for God promises to send it as an answer to such a prayer. I pray passionately and often because I know the blessing of God.

To pray then in the name of Christ is to pray on the ground, not of my credit, but His; to renounce the thought that I have any claims on God whatever, and approach Him on the ground of God’s claims. Praying in the name of Christ is not merely adding the phrase “I ask these things in Jesus’ name” to my prayer. I may put that phrase in my prayer and really be resting in my own merit all the time. But when I really do approach God, not on the ground of my merit, but on the ground of Christ’s merit, not on the ground of my goodness, but on the ground of the atoning blood (Heb. 10:19), God will hear me. Very much of our modern prayer is vain because men approach God imagining that they have some claim upon God whereby He is under obligations to answer their prayers. – R. A. Torrey

Content to pray, for God to hear and answer

But when King Uzziah became strong, he grew arrogant, and that led to his downfall. He defied the Lord his God by going into the Temple to burn incense on the altar of incense. – 2 Chronicles 26:16 GNT

Why is it that there seems to be a pull away from praying? In Uzziah’s case, the temptation to be something he wasn’t and to approach God in a role that God never invited him into. There is this desire to worship something that is not meant to be worshipped or to give higher honour to something that replaces my desire to only honour God.

How I approach my Creator God in prayer is important – if for a moment there is an expression of pride (like Uzziah) – what a warning signal that would be. The other side of pride is not praying at all because I believe I have no need to pray to Him.

I am called to come humbly, as a servant of the Lord, and yet I can come boldly. It is in the coming with a humble heart that I can expect Him to hear and answer my prayer.

Prayer in the name of Christ has power with God. God is well pleased with His Son Jesus Christ. He hears Him always, and He also hears always the prayer that is really in His name. There is a fragrance in the name of Christ that makes acceptable to God every prayer that bears it.

But what is it to pray in the name of Christ?

Many explanations have been attempted that to ordinary minds do not explain. But there is nothing mystical or mysterious about this expression. If one will go through the Bible and examine all the passages in which the expression “in My name” or “in His name” or synonymous expressions are used, he will find that it means just about what it does in modern usage. If I go to a bank and hand in a check with my name signed to it, I ask of that bank IN MY OWN NAME. If I have money deposited in that bank, the check will be cashed; if not, it will not be. If, however, I go to a bank with somebody else’s name signed to the check, I am asking IN HIS NAME, and it does not matter whether I have money in that bank or any other, if the person whose name is signed to the check has money there, the check will be cashed.

If, for example, I should go to the First National Bank of Chicago, and present a check which I had signed for $50.00, the paying teller would say to me: “Why, Mr. Torrey, we cannot cash that. You have no money in this bank.” But if I should go to the First National Bank with a check for $5,000.00 made payable to me, and signed by one of the large depositors in that bank, they would not ask whether I had money in that bank or in any bank, but would honor the check at once.

So it is when I go to the bank of heaven, when I go to God in prayer. I have nothing deposited there, I have absolutely no credit there, and if I go in my own name I will get absolutely nothing; but Jesus Christ has unlimited credit in heaven, and He has granted to me the privilege of going to the bank with His name on my checks, and when I thus go, my prayers will be honored to any extent. – R.A. Torrey

Public prayer answered

Those from one city will say to those from another, ‘We are going to worship the Lord Almighty and pray for his blessing. Come with us!’ Many[c] peoples and powerful nations will come to Jerusalem to worship the Lord Almighty and to pray for his blessing. – Zechariah 8:21-22 GNT

What a demonstration of public worship and of prayer. God is the object of that worship and prayer, not any idols that may have been built and prayed to before. While there are many ways to pray, and private prayer is definitley one of them, there is something to be said about public prayer – a place where God grants His presence and shows Himself to be a God hearing and answering prayer.

There is a call to each and every generation to make the duty of prayer a part of their conscience business of the day. They would not live a day without spending time with God. In fact, their very being is dependent on Him as is receiving His mercy and grace.

Jesus shared a public prayer with us in the raising of Lazarus.

Deeply moved once more, Jesus went to the tomb, which was a cave with a stone placed at the entrance. “Take the stone away!” Jesus ordered.

Martha, the dead man’s sister, answered, “There will be a bad smell, Lord. He has been buried four days!”

Jesus said to her, “Didn’t I tell you that you would see God’s glory if you believed?” They took the stone away. Jesus looked up and said, “I thank you, Father, that you listen to me. I know that you always listen to me, but I say this for the sake of the people here, so that they will believe that you sent me.” After he had said this, he called out in a loud voice, “Lazarus, come out!” He came out, his hands and feet wrapped in grave cloths, and with a cloth around his face. “Untie him,” Jesus told them, “and let him go.” – John 11:38-44 GNT

There are a few reason Jesus prayed out loud other than this was a time that the crowd (and I) needed to hear Him pray. I love the fact that He did not pray this prayer for His own benefit. I also loved the fact that He did not ask God to raise Lazarus, but rather thanked God for listening to His prayers. His only request that the people listening would believe that the Father had sent Him.

Much prayer is insincere. People ask for things which they do not wish. Many a woman is praying for the conversion of her husband, who does not really wish her husband to be converted. She thinks that she does, but if she knew what would be involved in the conversion of her husband, how it would necessitate an entire revolution in his manner of doing business, and how consequently it would reduce their income and make necessary an entire change in their method of living, the real prayer of her heart would be, if she were to be sincere with God:
“O God, do not convert my husband.”
She does not wish his conversion at so great cost.

Many a church is praying for a revival that does not really desire a revival. They think they do, for to their minds a revival means an increase of membership, an increase of income, an increase of reputation among the churches, but if they knew what a real revival meant, what a searching of hearts on the part of professed Christians would be involved, what a radical transformation of individual, domestic and social life would be brought about, and many other things that would come to pass if the Spirit of God was poured out in reality and power; if all this were known, the real cry of the church would be:
“O God, keep us from having a revival.”

Many a minister is praying for the baptism with the Holy Spirit who does not really desire it. He thinks he does, for the baptism with the Spirit means to him new joy, new power in preaching the Word, a wider reputation among men, a larger prominence in the church of Christ. But if he understood what a baptism with the Holy Spirit really involved, how for example it would necessarily bring him into antagonism with the world, and with unspiritual Christians, how it would cause his name to be “cast out as evil,” how it might necessitate his leaving a good comfortable living and going down to work in the slums, or even in some foreign land; if he understood all this, his prayer quite likely would be—if he were to express the real wish of his heart,— “O God, save me from being baptized with the Holy Ghost.”

But when we do come to the place where we really desire the conversion of friends at any cost, really desire the outpouring of the Holy Spirit whatever it may involve, really desire the baptism with the Holy Ghost come what may, where we desire anything “in truth” and then call upon God for it “in truth,” God is going to hear. – R.A. Torrey

Holy prayer seeking God’s favour

Two things, it is great to see young people serving God and it is greater still to see them discipled by mature followers of Jesus. Unfortunately, they sometimes take on the characteristics of their mentors but fail to develop that character for themselves. Once the mentor takes a step back, the stand to follow Jesus may not last too long. This was the case for King Joash.   

He did what was pleasing to the Lord as long as Jehoiada the priest was alive. – 2 Chronicles 24:2 GNT

When Joash became king he was very young – seven years old. He grew up surrounded by God being praised and worshipped and where holy prayer was offered continuously. When his mentor and guardian died, he had his blessings and prayers.

It is important that discipleship contains the diligent activities of weekly fellowship, Bible-reading and prayer. Those things bring noticeable change.

The people of Bethel had sent Sharezer and Regemmelech and their men to the Temple of the Lord Almighty to pray for the Lord’s blessing. – Zechariah 7:2 GNT

While hypocrites pretend to pray and in doing so there is no real prayer. Anyone who desires to pray, adds faith to that. In reality, I see God’s favour by praying and by yielding in obedience to Him, in many ways making sure I was pleasing Him.

That little expression “in truth” is worthy of study. If you will take your concordance and go through the Bible, you will find that this expression means “in reality,” “in sincerity.” The prayer that God answers is the prayer that is real, the prayer that asks for something that is sincerely desired. – R. A. Torrey

Taught to pray

But when the seventh angel blows his trumpet, then God will accomplish his secret plan, as he announced to his servants, the prophets. – Revelation 10:7 GNT

What is the God’s secret plan?

1 Corinthians 15:24 GNT: “Then the end will come; Christ will overcome all spiritual rulers, authorities, and powers, and will hand over the Kingdom to God the Father.”

Matthew 6:10 GNT: “may your Kingdom come; may your will be done on earth as it is in heaven.

I think that I could play a part in God accomplishing His secret plan by praying like this – pray that His kingdom come and His will be done. Amen.

Take as an illustration of questions that are constantly coming up, the matter of theater going, dancing and the use of tobacco. Many who are indulging in these things will ask you triumphantly if you speak against them, “Does the Bible say, ’Thou shalt not go to the theater’?” “Does the Bible say,‘Thou shalt not dance’?” “Does the Bible say,‘Thou shalt not smoke’?” That is not the question. The question is, Is our heavenly Father well pleased when He sees one of His children in the theater, at the dance, or smoking? That is a question for each to decide for himself, prayerfully, seeking light from the Holy Spirit. “Where is the harm in these things?” many ask. It is aside from our purpose to go into the general question, but beyond a doubt there is this great harm in many a case; they rob our prayers of power. – R.A. Torrey