Prayer for spiritual needs are answered

Kisongo Trek Resource

Another great Psalm that leads us to prayer is Psalm 79. It starts with lament, moves into supplication and then there is prayer for vindication, forgiveness and reprisal and finally ending in praise for God responding.

Lord, will you be angry with us forever?
    Will your anger continue to burn like fire? – Psalm 79:5 GNT

I love that the writer did not ask why there was trouble but rather the question of how long must they suffer. It is the question that moved them from lament to prayer.

Turn your anger on the nations that do not worship you,
    on the people who do not pray to you. – Psalm 79:6 GNT

Doesn’t this make sense – why pick on me? Why not the ones who are really out of line? Hear us the prayerful, and mess around with the prayerless.

Do not punish us for the sins of our ancestors.
    Have mercy on us now;
    we have lost all hope. – Psalm 79:8 GNT

The urgency of the prayer was the acknowledgment that there were generational sins involved. I need to make this my prayer and make it a continual prayer. 

The concept of former iniquities suggests a principle. “Sins accumulate against nations. Generations lay up stores of transgressions to be visited upon their successors; hence this urgent prayer.” – Spurgeon

The Book of Common Prayer has this verse sounding like this –

O remember not our old sins, but have mercy upon us, and that soon; for we are come to great misery.”

I have never called on God in regards to His honour, but I like it when I read this prayer here. One day I might have too.

Help us, O God, and save us;
    rescue us and forgive our sins
    for the sake of your own honor. – Psalm 79:9 GNT

I will try to wisely use it understanding it will be my greatest weapon when I am in battle with the evil one. In fact, is not the name and honour of God the mightiest weapon I have when it comes to prayer?

“Prayer is therefore here made by the faithful, that God, not to gratify any vindictive spirit of theirs, but to vindicate his own attributes, would break the teeth of the oppressor, and work a public and glorious salvation for his chosen.” – Horne

There is something about God watching over me that gives me joy in the midst of my troubles.

I watch over it and water it continually. I guard it night and day so that no one will harm it. – Isaiah 27:3 GNT

In fact this idea comes from Jesus teaching on delivering me from evil and I know He hears for His is the power. For this reason I have courage when I pray today.

We have courage in God’s presence, because we are sure that he hears us if we ask him for anything that is according to his will. He hears us whenever we ask him; and since we know this is true, we know also that he gives us what we ask from him. – 1 John 5:14-15 GNT

My courage comes from the assurance of eternal life. I am not sure that one could pray according to the will of God except that they would be in a place where they have already prayed asking God to save them from their sins.

THE PROMISE: WHEN WE PRAY, GOD HEARS US AND WE HAVE THE REQUESTS THAT WE ASK OF HIM

Isn’t this why prayer is not optional – it is absolutely essential for if I do not pray then I am not living by faith in God. And if I do not pray, I am trusting in myself, which is no difference to what the world is doing.

  • This promise means I can have courage when I approach God in prayer
  • This promise means I come into His presence when I pray
  • This promise means I can ask anything according to His will and He will hear me
  • This promise means that I know He hears me and I will receive from Him the requests that I have asked from Him

Here is a truth I know to be real – I must ask according to God’s will. Only when I do not know God am I not seeking God’s will in prayer. Prayer is not talking God into giving me what I want, it is rather me submitting my will to His.

Maybe the big question is, how do I determine what God’s will is? And the next difficulty to overcome is how can I pray according to God’s will when His ways are not even my ways – I am thinking in ways that make sense to me. Ask John when it came to the death of his brother James. James died, yet Peter was rescued from the same fate. Notice Jesus did not pray that Peter would be able to resist the evil one’s attack, as I would have, He prayed rather that Peter’s faith would not fail and that he would be restored.

Prayer is what I do even when I do not understand God’s will or ways. I should be praying for God to give life to whose who are separated from Him.

If you see a believer commit a sin that does not lead to death, you should pray to God, who will give that person life. This applies to those whose sins do not lead to death. But there is sin which leads to death, and I do not say that you should pray to God about that. All wrongdoing is sin, but there is sin which does not lead to death. – 1 John 5:16-17 GNT

Prayer is essential in the restoration process.

…thou must in thy meditation quicken thy own heart. Enter into a serious debate with it. Plead with it in the most moving and affecting language, and urge it with the most powerful and weighty arguments. It is what holy men of God have practiced in all ages. Thus David: ‘Why art thou cast down, O my soul? and why art thou disquieted within me? Hope thou in God; for I shall yet praise him, who is the health of my countenance, and my God.’ And again; ‘Bless the Lord, O my soul! and forget not all his benefits!’ This soliloquy is to be made use of according to the several affections of the soul, and according to its several necessities. It is a preaching to one’s self; for as every good master or father of a family is a good preacher to his own family, so every good Christian is a good preacher to his own soul. – Richard Baxter

 

 

Proper frame of mind to pray

proper state of mind to pray

The title is a little bit off today because I actually do not believe that you have to be or that there is a proper frame of mind one has to be in so that you can pray. I was thinking of this as I engaged with Psalm 35 and I heard a description of it as being an “imprecatory” prayer. When I used the Google dictionary, it could not define it but it did define the verb tense of the word which would be to imprecate – meaning “to invoke or call down (evil or curses), as upon a person.”

So what does that mean – are we giving ourselves permission for such a prayer because David prayed it? May be David prayed it because God Himself cursed those people for continued evil. One thing for sure, David’s choice of emotional words would indicate that he could not win the fight he was in alone. He needed God’s help and he asked for it. Maybe in really desperate times I might be moved to pray this way too.

Lift up your spear and war ax
    against those who pursue me.
Promise that you will save me. – Psalm 35:3 GNT

Here is the call for God to step in and get involved. I have to assume that I can only engage this kind of prayer if I myself am in right standing with God. This is not a wish for evil to happen, it is one where I am in real danger of harm, maybe death.

But destruction will catch them before they know it;
    they will be caught in their own trap
    and fall to their destruction! – Psalm 35:8 GNT

I think David knew the character of those who were trying to oppose him and he knew they would not stop unless they were made to stop by force. That force seemed to be such that it needed more than the strength of a person or of people. Even the most powerful people we know have limits on what they can do. I can imagine this prayer being so relevant to those of us who have no power at all.

In review, I can pray this kind of prayer when my cause is one God can support, I may experience terrible harm and there is no one else who can come to my rescue. This is not a prayer for vengeance but one of dependence on God as my only hope of help. When I try and put myself in this situation, I think of how will I have the patience to wait on God when I need Him to act so quickly?

They do not speak in a friendly way;
    instead they invent all kinds of lies about peace-loving people. – Psalm 35:20 GNT

It is not just about being annoyed or bothered, if you will. This is about verbal abuse that is cruel and unrelenting.

Rouse yourself, O Lord, and defend me;
    rise up, my God, and plead my cause. – Psalm 35:23 GNT

This is what goes through my mind while I am pleading for God to relieve me from the evil that I feel is coming my way – can my enemy be asking for the same relief because of my call for God to take action against them? This is why I need to be sure I am in right standing with God.

You are righteous, O Lord, so declare me innocent;
    don’t let my enemies gloat over me. – Psalm 35:24 GNT

This is not an issue of mutual recrimination – I am innocent and there is nothing I have done to bring on this kind of hatred. I believe that this kind of prayer does not come from a heart that simply wants to harm someone. I will know this for sure when God comes through for me – I should experience joy.

Then I will proclaim your righteousness,
and I will praise you all day long. – Psalm 35:28 GNT

How long will this joy last – how long will I be praising God? It could last all day long.

What does all of this look like in terms of my eternal life.

If you wait until the wind and the weather are just right, you will never plant anything and never harvest anything. – Ecclesiastes 11:4 GNT

This is another point about being in a proper frame of mind in order to pray. If I go by my feelings and do not remember that I have a Saviour who has infinite power to save me, I will not engage in prayer or in faith. If I continually look at my on condition in life, my own hopes, my own broken promises, then I will stay exactly where I am.

If I live by my frames and feelings I will get into the same situations. How often I have said, “I do not feel like praying,” and thankfully realize that this is the time I really need to be praying the most, where I am most evidently in need of prayer. If I wait until I am in a proper frame of mind to pray I will not pray. Maybe not so blunt and easy to be self-aware of but I could also say, “I cannot trust the promises of God” or another is “I should like to joy in God and believe in His Word, but I find nothing there.” How and what in the world can build myself up from there? Those are signals that I am on the wrong track – my hope is in the finished work of Christ. Winds and clouds will not get me there.

The worst sin is prayerlessness. Overt sin, or crime, or the glaring inconsistencies which often surprise us in Christian people are the effect of this, or its punishment. We are left by God for lack of seeking Him. The history of the saints shows often that their lapses were the fruit and nemesis of slackness or neglect in prayer. Their life, at seasons, also tended to become inhuman by their spiritual solitude. They left men, and were left by men, because they did not in their contemplation find God; they found but the thought or the atmosphere of God. Only living prayer keeps loneliness humane. It is the great producer of sympathy. Trusting the God of Christ, and transacting with Him, we come into tune with men. Our egoism retires before the coming of God, and into the clearance there comes with our Father our brother. . . .

Not to want to pray, then, is the sin behind sin. And it ends in not being able to pray. That is its punishment — spiritual dumbness, or at least aphasia, and starvation. We do not take our spiritual food, and so we falter, dwindle, and die. “In the sweat of your brow ye shall eat your bread.” – Peter T. Forsyth – “The Soul of Prayer,” in A Sense of the Holy, p. 137)