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Sunday, January 31, 2010

The Importance of Prayer

I am in the Prayer Room at IHOP in Kansas City, and it is a place filled with the glory of God. One thing that I have learned since I have been here is the importance of prayer. The things of the world fade in the light of His presence. There are different types of prayer and prayer focus, and I have seen most of them here, but not all. There are superficial prayers like "Lord Bless Me" or "Now I lay me down to sleep." Prayers of rote may be good for children, but God wants to take us deeper.
Leonard Ravenhill, Charles Finney, and a few more old time Preachers spoke of agonizing prayer. This is a very uncomfortable type of prayer, and it is gut-wrenching and when accompanied by the spirit of God, it brings much results and rewards. When we agonize over our sins, the sins of friends and family, over the sins of the past, over the sins of the nations, then we are beginning to tap into God. God is a loving Heavenly Father.
First the natural comes, and then the spiritual comes later. We begin with the known and move to the unknown. We begin by praying out of our mouths to God in times of need, in times of desperation, and then in friendship with God. Once we are Spirit-filled, the Bible says that we should pray in the spirit in  tongues. We begin to groan in the spirit, things we do not understand but our Father (ABBA) knows and understands. No one ever prays too much. There are special callings in intercession, but everyone that is a believer is called to pray. God's Word tells us that HE "will never leave us, nor forsake us." (Heb.13:5b) God is our Father and our friend. He is not stuffy and HE does not judge as man judges. He loves us with an everlasting love. Man looks on the outside, but God looks on the heart.
Just what is this things that we call "Prayer." Prayer is communication (talking AND listening) to God. The Bible says that we should worship God in "spirit and in truth." His Word is God's law, "Thy Word is truth." The spirit of God is love, it is the very nature of God. The Bible says that "God is love." Love is not "self-centered" but it is "other-centered." It considers the needs and desires above the self desires and the needs of the flesh. Love sacrifices for the good of those around them. Love lays down His life for His friends and family.
Prayer is such a sacrifice. Prayer takes us from the "self life" and into the "Christ life." I guess it takes us from what we want, and it opens our eyes to the needs of others, and makes us willing to do it. When we become a spirit filled believer, the spirit of God or the spirit of Christ intercedes for others through us. Sometimes when we do not even realize it. The purposes and plans of God appear sometimes and we are caught unaware, because we are "busy" or because we are not listening. Nevertheless, God is faithful. If we are a child of God,  a son or daughter of Zion, then the Shepherd is leading us and guiding us. Psalms 32:8 says that "God will lead us on the best pathway for our lives." God wants the best for His children.
We must cry out to Him. When we don't know what to do, we should pray in the spirit till a release comes in the spirit. If we cannot find God, then we need to Worship Him. When we Worship God, He finds us. The Bible tells us that "The Father seeks such to Worship Him in spirit and in truth" (paraphrased)
Intercession and Worship walk hand in hand, like male and female. Out of the heart springs "rivers of living water." These waters are the Word of God which springs up in Worship and via intercession. The Word of God erupts, it springs forth, it shoots forth through the lips and brings health, healing, produces joy unspeakable and full of glory, and in the church everyone shouts "Glory!" All of our springs are in Him.
My prayer for all of us is that we would know Him as the Son knew the Father. Jesus only did what He heard the Father do. Sometimes that means separating your "self of body" from the crowd. In Him, we follow the cloud and not the crowd. In Him, we walk to the tune of a different drummer. God speaks, then we move. We wait upon God. First comes the directions or instructions from God, then we follow His command. For some, like me and you, this is a life long lesson. It will all be worthwhile when we get to Heaven.  

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