picture in my mother's living room.  Author unknown

Prayer by Frances M. McCrory-Meservy 1998

Several years ago I asked God how prayer worked and he gave me a picture of  prayer in my head.  It's hard to explain the picture because even though it was moving, it was one big still picture.

The picture was a person's whole life from beginning to end.  The person had on the armor of God and was fighting a battle (their sword was God's word & their shield was faith) with the temptations and Satan's traps. The temptations and traps were dressed in military uniforms.  That was the moving picture.  The temptations and traps never left their places in the picture.  They just fought with the person as he came through their area in the person's life.  The person was fighting for his life. 

There were circles of light spaced between each fight where the person would stop and get down on his knees and pray.  This was a safety zone where the temptations and traps could not enter.  When the person prayed, the prayer went straight up to God.  The prayer was instantly answered but the answer did not always come immediately into the same circle it was prayed in.  Most of the time the person had to move forward in time into the answer. 

He also showed me that he does not move on our behalf unless we pray (ask).  When we are struggling to do something, it is usually because we did not ask God to help us get it done.

I was amazed and elated at the same time.  God answers every prayer.  We just have to move into the answer.  Also when we pray, we are kept safe from temptations and Satan's traps.  WOW!  How God answers (yes or no) is between the person and God.

The Bible tells us how to pray:

Lets learn from the Lord's Prayer: "Our Father in heaven," We are to acknowledge that God is our Father and he is in heaven. 

(Ro. 8:16) "hallowed be your name."

We acknowledge that God and his name are to be honored and not used in vain.

(Ex. 20:7) "Your kingdom come,"

We want the Holy Spirit to come continually and keep us filled so we can have God's kingdom in us continuously.

(Lk.17:21; Eph. 5:18)"Your will be done on earth as it is in heaven."

God's will is being done in heaven: we want his will on earth also. We know his ways are not our ways and his ways are better than ours. If you don't believe that, look around you: we sure have made a mess of our earth.

God has built certain principles into the universe and we blunder because we do not know what they are or think we know better than God. We need to study the Bible, learn how to walk in the Spirit and listen to God's small still voice.

(Phil 3:18-20) "Give us today our daily bread."

We are to take one day at a time and not worry about tomorrow. Planning is OK: worry is not.

(Phil. 4:19) "Forgive us our debts, As we also have forgiven our debtors."

Forgive as we forgive. If we forgive people, God will forgive us. If we don't forgive, God will not forgive us. But what is a debt? A debt is something owed whether it is money, a wrong done to you or an apology. Anything that harms a person or makes them feel bad counts as a debt.

(Matt. 6:14,15) "And lead us not into temptation,"

God knows we have plenty of temptation on earth; but, the Bible also says there is no temptation except what is common to man. Our own human nature leads us into temptation.

(Ja. 1:13-15; 1 Cor. 10: 1-13) "but deliver us from the evil one."

The Bible says God will always provide an escape for us when temptation comes. The question is: do we want an escape? The Lord's prayer shows us the attitude we should have when we pray. We should acknowledge him as our Father and honor Him and His name. Since we are His name bearers, we should do nothing that would dishonor Him. We are to stay filled with the Holy Spirit and do God's will on earth. We are to live one day at a time and not worry about tomorrow. We are to forgive others so we can be forgiven. If we fall into temptation, we are to realize it is not God tempting us: only our human characteristics that are common to man. Even though our own desires tempt us, God always provides a way out: we simply have to look for and use it.

We see two things here. Make sure we have forgiven everyone else first, and do not doubt. Doubt hinders our prayers; therefore, we must believe in what we are asking for or have faith in it. The assurance comes from the Holy Spirit in the form of peace. If we pray for something that is against God's will such as, asking for another woman's husband, the Holy Spirit will not give us assurance because God's word says we should not commit adultery. In fact, the Holy Spirit probably would lift peace from us as a first step in discipline. Hopefully, that would be enough to change our minds.

How then can we be sure that our request will be granted? In Romans 10:17, we find that faith comes from hearing God's Word. We need to do a little research to find what God approves and disapproves. Anything not disapproved can be asked for if the motive is honorable and it doesn't hurt someone else.) It is best to search for a special promise that applies to our request. Now if we relate this to a non-Christian you want to lead to Jesus, we find the scripture that tells us that God wants all men to be saved. 

In this scripture, we understand that God wants all to be saved. All will not be saved; but God wishes all men would be saved. We do have a choice in the matter about whether we accept the gift of salvation.

The only part left is motive.  Are our desires honorable?  Honorable never brings shame.  Honorable brings praise to God.

1.    Find out what God's will is in the matter.  Get a really good concordance (be it book or software) and research what you want.

2.    Forgive anyone you are angry with. (How to forgive)

3.    Make sure you are not praying selfishly.  What is your motive for praying this prayer? 

4.    Bear the fruit of the Spirit (allow God's Spirit to flow through you). (Fruit of the Spirit)

5.    If you are mean to your wife, God will not answer your prayers.

6.    Do not doubt.

1 Chr 5:20 And they were helped against them, and the Hagrites were delivered into their hand, and all who were with them, for they cried out to God in the battle. He heeded their prayer, because they put their trust in Him.

Psa 20:7 Some trust in chariots, and some in horses; But we will remember the name of the LORD our God.

Psa 44:7 For I will not trust in my bow, Nor shall my sword save me.

Psa 49:5-7 Why should I fear in the days of evil, When the iniquity at my heels surrounds me? Those who trust in their wealth And boast in the multitude of their riches, None of them can by any means redeem his brother, Nor give to God a ransom for him;

Psa 62:10 Do not trust in oppression, Nor vainly hope in robbery; If riches increase, Do not set your heart on them.

Psa 118:8-9 It is better to trust in the LORD Than to put confidence in man. It is better to trust in the LORD Than to put confidence in princes.

Psa 119:42 So shall I have an answer for him who reproaches me, For I trust in Your word.

James 3:17-4:3 But the wisdom that is from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, willing to yield, full of mercy and good fruits, without partiality and without hypocrisy. Now the fruit of righteousness is sown in peace by those who make peace. Where do wars and fights come from among you? Do they not come from your desires for pleasure that war in your members? You lust and do not have. You murder and covet and cannot obtain. You fight and war. Yet you do not have because you do not ask. You ask and do not receive, because you ask amiss, that you may spend it on your pleasures.

1 Pet 1:22-25 Since you have purified your souls in obeying the truth through the Spirit in sincere love of the brethren, love one another fervently with a pure heart, having been born again, not of corruptible seed but incorruptible, through the word of God which lives and abides forever, because "All flesh is as grass, And all the glory of man as the flower of the grass. The grass withers, And its flower falls away, But the word of the LORD endures forever." Now this is the word which by the gospel was preached to you.

1 Pet 2:1-3 Therefore, laying aside all malice, all deceit, hypocrisy, envy, and all evil speaking, as newborn babes, desire the pure milk of the word, that you may grow thereby, if indeed you have tasted that the Lord is gracious.

Prov 6:16-19 These six things the LORD hates, Yes, seven are an abomination to Him: A proud look, A lying tongue, Hands that shed innocent blood, A heart that devises wicked plans, Feet that are swift in running to evil, A false witness who speaks lies, And one who sows discord among brethren.

Mark 11:22-25  "Have faith in God," Jesus answered. "I tell you the truth, if anyone says to this mountain, `Go, throw yourself into the sea, `and does not doubt in his heart but believes that what he says will happen, it will be done for him. Therefore I tell you, whatever you ask for in prayer, believe that you have received it, and it will be yours. And when you stand praying, if you hold anything against anyone, forgive him, so that your Father in heaven may forgive you your sins." 

1 Tim 2:14 Therefore I exhort first of all that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks be made for all men, for kings and all who are in authority, that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and reverence. For this is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Savior, who desires all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth.

Mal 2:13-16 And this is the second thing you do: You cover the altar of the LORD with tears, With weeping and crying; So He does not regard the offering anymore, Nor receive it with goodwill from your hands. Yet you say, "For what reason?" Because the LORD has been witness Between you and the wife of your youth, With whom you have dealt treacherously; Yet she is your companion And your wife by covenant. But did He not make them one, Having a remnant of the Spirit? And why one? He seeks godly offspring. Therefore take heed to your spirit, And let none deal treacherously with the wife of his youth. "For the LORD God of Israel says That He hates divorce, For it covers one's garment with violence," Says the LORD of hosts. "Therefore take heed to your spirit, That you do not deal treacherously."

John 15:16 "You did not choose Me, but I chose you and appointed you that you should go and bear fruit, and that your fruit should remain, that whatever you ask the Father in My name He may give you.

Phil 2:3-4 Let nothing be done through selfish ambition or conceit, but in lowliness of mind let each esteem others better than himself. Let each of you look out not only for his own interests, but also for the interests of others.

1 Pet 3:7 Husbands, likewise, dwell with them with understanding, giving honor to the wife, as to the weaker vessel, and as being heirs together of the grace of life, that your prayers may not be hindered.

1 Pet 3:12 For the eyes of the LORD are on the righteous, And His ears are open to their prayers; But the face of the LORD is against those who do evil."

James 4:1-3 Where do wars and fights come from among you? Do they not come from your desires for pleasure that war in your members? You lust and do not have. You murder and covet and cannot obtain. You fight and war. Yet you do not have because you do not ask. You ask and do not receive, because you ask amiss, that you may spend it on your pleasures.

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