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Chapter 31 - Prayer
Touch Him when you don’t know how to read the Bible, but touch the Word—touch Him; know His will; know God; know His purpose. Keep up a wonderful fellowship with the Son of God.
You can read a lot of books on prayer, some of which are quite materialistic, but no one has a form of prayer which is adequate for you. Every soul has to develop, and work out his own technique and method of prayer. Don’t try to work it out by somebody else’s method—it is good only for suggestions. We learn to pray by praying.—We can’t change God by prayer. Prayer never made God do anything. Prayer helps us become more adjusted to His will.
Look at Jesus; talk to Him; if you dare to, be informal with Him. Don’t be stilted and pray, “Oh, Thou, My God!” You can’t get very far that way. How many know He is very real; very tender. Do you know that the best prayers you ever prayed never had words in them? They are so clumsy; they don’t have words, because there is an understanding there; a deep, lovely, rich, inner fellowship that needs no words.
We don’t know prayer: the vocal prayers, and prayers of contemplation, all the different types of prayers. It is such a vast field! We just go clattering along, saying the best we can . . . “for Jesus’ sake, Amen!” To me it’s such a lovely, open field we ought to get into.
He loves His children, but some don’t know who they are, or what He is doing; they .don’t seem to know the basic, simple things that He is doing. These people know that prayer does things, so they use that as a weapon for everything under the sun, but there are a lot of things that just prayer won’t do. It means a terrific lot of intelligent cooperation with Him. We can pray our heads off, but if we don’t have the prayers channeled properly, with correct motivation, prayers are just like a lot of wings.
What prayers are answered? Prayers that fall into the category of the will of God. We can pray all we want to, but John says, “When we pray according to the will of God He heareth us.”
Now there is this: if we will persist, God has a permissive will which He will allow. If we keep teasing, and teasing, there is a permissive will of God which He will let us have if we persist, but He will send leanness to our souls. We have no growth; no blessing; no reward, but we will have our desire, and as a result, we will have leanness in our souls. So, we have the will of God; the permissive will of God; the good will of God; the good and perfect will of God. These are all degrees of the will of God in this operation. The best thing to do is to submit it to Him. (Rom. 12:2)
In the end, all that great big prayer has to be censored in the will of God. The Holy Spirit prays according to His will.
Jesus said, “Peter, Satan hath desired to sift you . . .” This should actually read: “Satan hath obtained permission of God to sift you—all of you, but I’ll stay over here and pray for you:”—Don’t pray now, and ask the Lord to kill the devil. He is going to use him. On the power of Jesus’ prayer, Peter got through.
Prayer is never wrestling with God, but wrestling with the powers of darkness. The “unjust judge” is not a picture of God. Our heavenly Father wants to answer us; His whole heart wants to bless us. He is not the “unjust judge”. (Luke 18:1-8)
Another prayer pattern we find, is the man asking for bread at midnight. (Luke 11:5-10) Sometimes we have to ask many times before the answer comes, but we must ask in faith. Hungry? He doesn’t tease us; He feeds us.
Jesus prayed because He had to, to keep that contact with the Father.
“I pray for them; I pray not for the world, but for them which Thou hast given Me; for they are Thine.” (John 17:9) I said, “Why Lord, your great intercessory work is not for all those sinners out there!” He said, “No, for this reason. The sinner must come under the power of My redemption before he is a fit subject for My intercessions. My intercession covers those who have already been brought through the redeeming processes. Those who have not yet accepted My redemption, have no access to My prayer, but as soon as they have come through My redeeming processes, they become a subject of My intercessions.”
That is why He said those strange words: “I pray not for the world—I have died for them—and if they can’t come in under My death, what do My prayers mean for them? I can’t do more than die! If they will come under My death purposes, then they will become subject to My prayers. So, I pray not for them—let them take the good of My death; then they will be accepted for My prayers, and I will intercede for them.”
Think of Jesus interceding for us this morning before we got out of our beds! That is how I wrote that hymn: “My High Priest is Interceding for Me.” He said to me, “You have faith that I am your Savior, so if you have faith in Me as your High Priest, My intercessory prayer will carry you.”
There is no prayer just like intercessory prayer. It is not saying prayers; nor is it just weeping, but He says, “With groanings that we can’t utter.” It is past words. Why? Because the Holy Ghost makes intercession in us, and through us according to the will of God, and we can’t make Him do anything else than that. We are yielded as an instrument; the Holy Ghost is praying—we aren’t praying. He has a vehicle that is pliable, surrendered, and He comes in and takes possession of us. Isn’t it sweet how He dares to do that? Very costly, and terrifying at times, but it’s real. How is this intercessory prayer formed? It is formed according to the will of God, “with groanings which cannot be uttered”; it cannot be expressed in our language; not even with tongues, because it becomes too intense. For whom is this intercession made? It is made for the saints.
Did you ever have the Holy Spirit moving through you? What did He say? I haven’t the slightest idea. He speaks secrets to the Lord. That’s scriptural. I don’t have to have an interpretation of what the Holy Ghost is saying to God through me. We don’t have to have an interpretation every time He speaks through us. It is unto the Lord.
PRAYER: In the next age Thou wilt give us a name; help us to spell it now, Lord. Oh, grant that, by Thy Spirit, Thou shalt find it etched upon our immortal spirits, long after these fading, little bodies have gone, and we move into a new age with Thee; for what Thou has accomplished here, will reflect through the ages to come.
Did you ever try to put yourself in somebody else’s place to get his reactions? You haven’t lived long in God unless you can dare to do that. Most people are too egocentric; tied within the confines of their own little life, and it’s impossible for them to sense how another person might feel, because they are wrapped up in the big I, ME, and MY.
If they would get out of themselves and over in the other person’s situation, and feel what they feel for a little while, there would be some charity released; some love would flow. But when people haven’t any sense when the love should flow; there is none. When we become identified with that awful, desperate need over there, the love of God flows right to it. In Hebrews 13:3, it says: “When ye pray, (real prayer), pray as though you were bound with the one you are praying for.” But we pray ‘nice’ prayers!
Did you ever get into the agony of prayer when you were identified with another’s need? That is intercessory prayer. We, in the Spirit, become identified with a need until we are united with it, or with a soul, or with a condition. No one in the flesh can pray a prayer like that. This is where intercessory prayer comes in. The Holy Spirit can pray prayers like that, because we can’t. He wants the vehicle; He wants the instrument tied up with the condition. That is real intercessory prayer.
There are all kinds of prayer. The best prayers never have words.
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