Prayer for spiritual needs are answered

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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

 

 

Watch and pray for those in authority

watch and pray

Those in authority not only include those outside my world but it also includes me. I need to be specially on guard against common and offensive sin. Even though Leviticus describes something outside my practice, the analogy to watch and pray against the commission of wrong-doing is not lost on me.

The priests shall not profane the sacred offerings by letting any unauthorized people eat them; this would bring guilt and punishment on such people. I am the Lord and I make the offerings holy.” – Leviticus 22:15-16 GNT

I am under special temptation to commit sin in this area because of my very professional familiarity with the truth and service of God, I am likely to have irreverence, pronounce God’s word without feeling or act without divine inspiration.

My example is far more influential. When I am any of these things, either in time or immediately, those who I lead will know it. It will be communicated and will seriously lessen or at least lower the impression God could have had on their hearts and lives.

I therefore try to stay away from my human tendency to speak without thinking before God and others. It is foolish to speak too much and hear too little in God’s presence.

Be careful about going to the Temple. It is better to go there to learn than to offer sacrifices like foolish people who don’t know right from wrong. Think before you speak, and don’t make any rash promises to God. He is in heaven and you are on earth, so don’t say any more than you have to. The more you worry, the more likely you are to have bad dreams, and the more you talk, the more likely you are to say something foolish. – Ecclesiastes 5:1-3 GNT

“When we come before God, our minds are full of our own business rather than with the worship of God. When we talk too much, we usually talk like fools. This can be especially bad in the house of God.” – Wright

J. Edwin Orr used to advise brief, earnest prayers, especially in prayer meetings. He said that when one prays in a meeting, for his first three minutes everyone prays with him. Should he continue a second three minutes, everyone prays for him. Should he continue for a third three minutes, the others start to pray against him.

“For as it is not the loudness of a preacher’s voice, but the weight and holiness of his matter, and the spirit of the preacher, that moves a wise and intelligent hearer, so it is not the labour of the lips, but the travail of the heart that prevails with God.” – Trapp

“As personal and business cares produce dreams, which are unsubstantial things; so many words produce foolish and empty prayers.” – Wright

So I cry out to God to hear me.

Lord, my defender, I call to you.
    Listen to my cry!
If you do not answer me,
    I will be among those who go down to the world of the dead.
Hear me when I cry to you for help,
    when I lift my hands toward your holy Temple. – Psalm 28:1-2 GNT

For those who only pray as a formality, they may be content to go in life without their prayers being answered, but I cannot. I need more than just the comfort and submitting of my will – I need God to respond and I cannot rest completely until I hear from Him. I dread when even a little bit of time goes by when God is silent.

So I am not put off when I am in the spirit of prayer until I hear from God. My voice is not what I speak audibly, it is my heart voice. Raising my hands is an act of seeking mercy. Raising of hands has always been a form of devout posture, a readiness, and eagerness to receive blessings. I stretch my hands, empty as they are, seeking for them to be filled with everything I need. My expectation of a response is on His mercy. May I have a humble heart as I approach the throne of God.

We petition that forgiveness comes to us, as we forgive our debtors”, namely
as we spare and pardon all who have in any way injured us, either treating us
unjustly in deed or insulting us in word. Not that it is ours to forgive the guilt of transgression or offense, for this belongs to God alone (Isa 43:25). This, rather, is our forgiveness: willingly to cast from the mind wrath, hatred, desire for revenge, and willingly to banish to oblivion the remembrance of injustice. For this reason, we ought not to seek forgiveness of sins from God unless we ourselves also forgive the offenses against us of all those who do or have done us ill. If we retain feelings of hatred in our hearts, if we plot revenge and ponder any occasion to cause harm, and even if we do not try to get back into our enemies’ good graces, by every sort of good office deserve well of them, and commend ourselves to them, by this prayer we entreat God not to forgive our sins. – Calvin