Cannot pray or God says ‘no’

When I have decided to go in another direction from the will of God, I often find myself trying to run from the Bible, praying, and other Christians too. It is no wonder then that those who reject Jesus cannot pray. If they do though, and when I do, that prayer reaches the ear and heart of God. God wants me to love and serve Him with all of my heart, to confess Jesus to the world, to make the Bible my guide to life and to live by faith and prayer. I get it that Jonah was given a second chance.

Once again the Lord spoke to Jonah. He said, “Go to Nineveh, that great city, and proclaim to the people the message I have given you.” – Jonay 3:1-2 GNT

I can pray for Jesus to leave, just like the people who were around the demonic that was set free. He answered that request. Jesus did refuse the healed man’s request though. He asked if he could go with Jesus and Jesus said, “no.”

Then all the people from that territory asked Jesus to go away, because they were terribly afraid. So Jesus got into the boat and left. The man from whom the demons had gone out begged Jesus, “Let me go with you.”

But Jesus sent him away, saying, “Go back home and tell what God has done for you.”

The man went through the town, telling what Jesus had done for him. – Luke 8:37-39 GNT

I never saw this before, but what if the healed man wanted to come with Jesus because he was afraid the demons would come back.

Of course, this was because this man could be a light among the people of these Gentiles cities in a way that Jesus and the disciples could not. But it was also to cure the man of any superstitions. He might have thought that he had to stay close to Jesus so the demons would not come back. “Perhaps, too, his prayer was not answered, lest his fear should have been thereby sanctioned. If he did fear, and I feel morally certain that he did, that the devils would return, then, of course, he longed to be with Christ. But Christ takes that fear from him, and as good as says to him, ‘You do not need to be near me; I have so healed that you will never be sick again.’” – Spurgeon

Doubtless many have received the Holy Spirit the moment of their surrender to God before there was time to pray, but how many there are who know that their first definite baptism with the Holy Spirit came while they were on their knees or faces before God, alone or in company with others, and who again and again since that have been filled with the Holy Spirit in the place of prayer!

I know this as definitely as I know that my thirst has been quenched while I was drinking water. Early one morning in the Chicago Avenue Church prayer room, where several hundred people had been assembled a number of hours in prayer, the Holy Spirit fell so manifestly, and the whole place was so filled with His presence, that no one could speak or pray, but sobs of joy filled the place. Men went out of that room to different parts of the country, taking trains that very morning, and reports soon came back of the out-pouring of God’s Holy Spirit in answer to prayer. Others went out into the city with the blessing of God upon them. This is only one instance among many that might be cited from personal experience.

If we would only spend more time in prayer, there would be more fullness of the Spirit’s power in our work. Many and many a man who once worked unmistakably in the power of the Holy Spirit is now filling the air with empty shoutings, and beating it with his meaningless gesticulations, because he has let prayer be crowded out. We must spend much time on our knees before God, if we are to continue in the power of the Holy Spirit. – R.A. Torrey