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My Path to the Prayer Room

2015-04-01 13.44.51After working over 30 years in corporate America and rendering public service in a state government agency, I am finally where I belong—the Prayer Room.  Although it is not a popular place, nor is it a public meeting place, it is the perfect place for me simply because by nature I am a private person.  As an only child, I adjusted quickly to solitude and I learned to embrace silence.

The Prayer Room is the place designated to pray; the supernatural is welcomed to invade the natural, which results in spiritual transformation.   Change is not always visible to the naked eye, yet there are moments when obvious change has taken place beyond our finite comprehension.

I am so thankful that purpose pursued me! I am at peace in this place of prayer, where God’s presence penetrates the core of my being, invades my heart and pure worship captivates my soul.  I have been summoned to this place for purpose.

Bless the Lord, O my soul; and all that is within me, bless His holy name! 

My journey to this place was destined by God before the foundations of the world. It is being in this place that I am convinced of my call to prayer and intercession. More importantly, I am humbled to be entrusted with serving my King and partnering with Him in Kingdom assignment.

“For we are God’s [own] handiwork (His workmanship), recreated in Christ Jesus, [born anew] that we may do those good works which God predestined (planned beforehand) for us [taking paths which He prepared ahead of time], that we should walk in them [living the good life which He prearranged and made ready for us to live].” Ephesians 2:10 AMP

The path that I traveled these 30 plus years has not been without challenges—detours, obstacles, curves, and cliffs (trials and tribulations).  As I reflect on my journey, I am convinced that God Almighty had me on the path to promise even when I didn’t realize it. He has proven Himself faithful to keep His promise: “I will never leave you nor forsake you.”

Now that I’m in this secret place, I know there is more for me to learn and do. As Apostle Paul said,”

“I don’t mean to say that I have already achieved these things or that I have already reached perfection. But I press on to possess that perfection for which Christ Jesus first possessed me.  No, dear brothers and sisters, I have not achieved it, but I focus on this one thing: Forgetting the past and looking forward to what lies ahead,  I press on to reach the end of the race and receive the heavenly prize for which God, through Christ Jesus, is calling us.” Philippians 3:12-14

 

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Jesus knows your pain

Young Man with His Hand on His ForeheadKnowing that Jesus knows how you feel should change your perspective.  At least, it changes my perspective on everything. It gives me reason to persist in prayer.

At my local church’s noon day bible study, we are watching the “Easter Experience.”  Episode 3 reminded of just how much Jesus endured—the beating, mocking and humiliation—that qualifies Him to know the depth of my pain.  He knows about…

  • Emotional pain. He experienced grief, anger and agony. He knows how it hurts to be mocked, ridiculed, falsely accused.
  • Relational pain. He experienced rejection and betrayal. Those he had walked with for three or more years deserted Him in the hour they should have stood in support of Him.  After all, they were eye-witnesses to His compassion and care for them and the multitudes He ministered to. Yet, they denied their relationship to Him and ran away leaving Him alone.
  • Physical pain. He experienced physical pain. Can you imagine being beaten as if tenderizing meat before cooking it?  Or the blood that streamed and splattered after each pulverizing blow? Can you image the severe pain when a crown of thorns was placed on His head?

It was a flinching reaction for me just watching the Roman soldiers, who were experts at beating a man.  But this was not just any man; this Man was innocent! He had committed no sin or did no wrong.  This was Jesus, the Beloved Son of God, being beaten. His body was being crushed so that we can be healed and whole!  His blood was shed so that we could be forgiven and cleansed from sin. It was an emotional moment as I watched the blood splatter and the soldiers gasping for breath because they were exhausted from beating this innocent Man unmercifully.

Then, my perspective changed when I remembered Isaiah 53:

He is despised and rejected by men,
A Man of sorrows and acquainted with grief.
And we hid, as it were, our faces from Him;
He was despised, and we did not esteem Him. Surely He has borne our griefs
And carried our sorrows;
Yet we esteemed Him stricken,
Smitten by God, and afflicted.  But He was wounded for our transgressions,
He was bruised for our iniquities;
The chastisement for our peace was upon Him,
And by His stripes we are healed.  All we like sheep have gone astray;
We have turned, every one, to his own way;
And the Lord has laid on Him the iniquity of us all. He was oppressed and He was afflicted,
Yet He opened not His mouth;
He was led as a lamb to the slaughter,
And as a sheep before its shearers is silent,
So He opened not His mouth.

Then my perspective changed when realized it should have been me. This realization birthed in me eternal gratitude, which will always be expressed in my prayer: “Thank You, Lord for suffering in my place!”  I am so grateful that we don’t have a High Priest who is out of touch with our reality. He’s been through weakness and testing, experienced it all—all but the sin. So in prayer I will always walk right up to him and get what he is so ready to give. Take the mercy, accept the help.

Learning to Pray

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In the book, Prayer Principles for Beginners, the author made what some might consider a controversial statement.  She said,

“The truth is no one can actually teach another person exactly how to pray because it is personal dialog with God.”

Knowing that it may be controversial, she explained by giving Jesus’ example.  She wrote:

We can only give a pattern to follow, principles and guidelines from God’s Word to prepare and equip you for a life of prayer. In Luke 11:1, the disciples asked Jesus, ‘Lord, teach us to pray…’  Jesus gave them a model or pattern to follow. He established principles and guidelines to help them gain a new perspective on the Kingdom of Heaven and their approach to a relational God who desires to have a parent-child relationship with those who belong to Christ. These same principles are applicable for us today.  It is about relationship.

If the concept of prayer is based on parent-child relationship to the Father, learning to pray should be different because the process of personal growth and development changes.  In essence, we have the principles and patterns of prayer, but how we learn to pray is synonymous with our spiritual growth and relationship to God. For example, our parents taught us a prayer that we learned and recited as a child before going to bed every night. It became a nightly routine sometimes with a BedtimePrayerparent kneeling with us or leading us until we memorized it:

Now I lay me down to sleep, I pray the Lord my soul to keep.  May God guard me through the night And wake me with the morning light. Amen.

Hopefully, no adult that has accepted Jesus Christ as Savior and Lord is still praying the above prayer. The idea is as we grow in age and spirituality, being in relationship with Christ, our prayers change as our level of understanding increases. Basically, as we become spiritually mature Christians, our conversation with the Father (prayer) should reflect our maturity as well as our level of commitment to Christ.  Moreover, when our personal faith in God increases, and we grow in the knowledge of God through experiences, we learn how to pray through the power of the Holy Spirit–the Spirit of Truth. Yet, we must follow the pattern, apply the principles and become habitual in the practice of prayer in order to be consistent in our learning experience.

Sure, no one can actually teach another person exactly how to pray because it is personal dialog with God. However, we learn to pray as we grow in our relationship to the Father and His Son, Jesus  Christ through the practice of prayer.

Prayer of Confession

I acknowledged my sin to You,
And my iniquity I have not hidden.
I said, “I will confess my transgressions to the LORD,”
And You forgave the iniquity of my sin.” —Psalm 32:5

If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness (1 John 1:9)

I am so thankful that Father God is kind and forgiving. After all, it was kindness and unconditional love for us that He made Jesus Christ, who had no sin be sin for us so that in Him we might become the righteousness of God (2 Corinthians 5:21). And He continues to forgive all who will acknowledge/confess their sin to Him now.

Confession is an essential form of prayer (communication with God); it is also a serious aspect of the Christian lifestyle. When we acknowledge or confess (admit) our sins, ask for forgiveness and repent, God is faithful and just to forgive us, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness (1 John 1:9). 

In order to confess/acknowledge our sins, we should be sensitive to the work of the Holy Spirit.  The Holy Spirit convicts us of our wrongdoing; He shows us the sin in our life so that we deal with it. If we don’t confess our sins, receive God’s forgiveness and cleansing power, we will continue to commit sinful acts.  If we continue in sin, we cannot continue walking in the light and enjoying relationship with Christ. Sin can be compared to an infection that if goes untreated will spread and result in death.  Spiritually speaking, if we don’t confess our sins to the Lord and allow Him to cleanse us, we risk being disconnected from Him and dying spiritually.

We should prayerfully examine our lives frequently, daily if necessary, to make sure we don’t allow sin to fester in our lives.  I might also note that sins of the heart (jealousy, envy, covetousness) are sometimes easier to overlook than sinful acts such as fornication, adultery, theft, murder.  Sin cannot be classified or categorized as “small”  and “big”.  We must confess all sin.

Also, use Scriptures when confessing your sins to God.  Here is an example of a prayer of confession:

Heavenly Father,

I come to you in the Name of Jesus Christ, my Savior and Lord.  I ask You to have mercy upon me, Father, according to your loving kindness. Wash me and I shall be clean; purify my heart, cleanse me from all unrighteousness as you said in your word according to 1 John 1:9.  Lord, I confess I sinned against you; I acknowledge my disobedience.  I ask that you forgive me for grumbling and complaining and not walking in faith.  I know that without faith it is impossible to please you.  My desire is to please you, Father. Help me control my anger and have the right attitude that reflects your character. I am sorry;I turn away from my sin toward you in all honesty. Create a clean heart in me and renew my spirit to remain loyal to you.  Thank you, Father for forgiving me and cleansing me.  In Jesus’ Name with thanksgiving. Amen.

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I recommend that after you pray, remain in silence to listen for Him to speak to your spirit concerning your confession and request for forgiveness.  Make sure you confess all known or revealed sin; you may want to be specific about your sin (in your private prayer time, of course).  After you’ve finished praying,  He may give you Scriptures, or speak in a still small whisper to assure and comfort you.  However, if He does not speak immediately after your prayer,  let your faith and the Word give you the assurance that your prayer was heard, and you are forgiven, if you prayed earnestly in faith. 

Prayer of Adoration

Adoration is an element of prayer that should always be included in our conversation with God. It involves praise and worship. We should always acknowledge God’s “worthship” or worthiness to be adored. Adoration is always appropriate whether our specific prayer requests have been answered or not.  God deserves our adoration because He is God!

Prayers of adoration simply means we exalt, esteem, bless and honor the Lord.  We reflect upon His character—holiness, goodness, love, mercy, power, grace and dominion.

Revelation 4:11, “You are worthy, O Lord, to receive glory and honor and power, for You created all things, and by Your will they exist and were created.”  In essence, we are to adore the Lord because He is worthy…He created all things, and brought everything into being because that is what He wanted to do.

When you draw closer to God through prayer, most of your prayer time should be devoted to adoring Him. I have learned that prayers of adoration opens the window of blessings and brings you into the very Presence of God Almighty. Often times the more you adore Him the need to make requests isn’t necessary. Since He knows what we need before we ask, He will grant our unspoken requests and give us the desires of our heart that are aligned with His will and plan for our life.  How awesome is that?

Let’s adore Him now:

Our Father,

You are holy and righteous and just, deserving of praise, honor and glory!  Your name is great and greatly to be praised. Before the earth was formed, You are! You are from everlasting to everlasting. We honor You and give You the praise you deserve. You are good and your mercy endures forever from generation to generation. Oh! how we adore you, and magnify Your name.  You are the only true God above all gods. There is none like You. We worship You in spirit and in truth.  Oh! Lord, faithful and true, how excellent is Your name in all the earth. We bow down to You and worship You in the beauty of holiness.  Let all the people praise You! How majestic is Your name! The heavens declare your glory and from our lips we offer you the fruit of praise, and bless Your Holy Name, our Lord and our God, forever and ever. Amen!

 

Prerequisites for Answered Prayer

Is prayer like having a “blank check” to ask God for anything we want and expect to receive it?

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22 And Jesus, replying, said to them, Have faith in God [constantly].

23 Truly I tell you, whoever says to this mountain, Be lifted up and thrown into the sea! and does not doubt at all in his heart but believes that what he says will take place, it will be done for him.

24 For this reason I am telling you, whatever you ask for in prayer, believe (trust and be confident) that it is granted to you, and you will [get it].

25 And whenever you stand praying, if you have anything against anyone, forgive him and let it drop (leave it, let it go), in order that your Father Who is in heaven may also forgive you your [own] failings and shortcomings and let them drop. Mark 11:22—24, Amplified).

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I recall how Mark 11:22-25 became alive in me years ago; it changed my perception on prayer.   It was the “seed” that produced the faith I needed to rise up and pursue a consistent and fervent life of prayer.  This shifted my prayer life to a higher dimension for which we have been called. Believe it and put into practice so that you will know that God still does answer prayer.

Sure it may appear to be a blank check, but it is not.  There are two prerequisites in these passages that are essential to answered prayer. They are: Faith and Forgiveness.

First, let’s recap the scenario and circumstances surrounding this lesson on prayer.  After Jesus’ triumphal entry into Jerusalem, He and the disciples went out to Bethany.  The next day upon leaving Bethany, Jesus was hungry and saw a fig tree with leaves from a distance, which ordinarily meant there were figs on the tree.  However, when He reached the tree there were no figs only leaves because “it was not the season for figs.”  However, there should have been edible buds on the tree since leaves were on it.Since there were no edible buds, it was the indication that the tree would be fruitless that year.

Throughout Old Testament history and prophecies, the fig tree and its fruit (fig) were associated with God’s promises of prosperity and carried prophetic warnings.  The fig tree was a symbol of long-continued well-being and prosperity.  Therefore, for the tree to have leaves but no edible buds, which was a sign that there would be no figs, means it was out of divine order, and unproductive in accordance with God’s purpose and promises. Also, note this was the condition of the Jewish leaders (Pharisees, Sadducees and Scribes) at that time—unproductive and out of alignment with God’s purpose and promises. This tree represented creative deception (false advertisement, if you will).  So Jesus made a prophetic declaration in faith against the tree (He cursed the tree).  He said to the tree, “No one ever again shall eat fruit from you” (Mark 11:14).

At this point, it was an object lesson for the apostles, and an impartation that released the power of the spoken word (prophetic declaration).  This is just as relevant for us today.  However, please note that EVERYTHING declared must align with the order of God, and anything that personifies deception, or opposes God’s promises and the productivity that He has ordained must not be allowed to remain.

The next day Peter observed the fig tree and pointed out to Jesus that the tree He cursed was withered. Jesus’ reply to Peter’s observation appears unrelated and definitely unexpected.  He said, “Have faith in God.”  What does a withered fig tree have to do with faith in God?  I’m glad you ask.  The withered tree is the manifestation of a declaration of faith that was in agreement with the will, design and order of God.

This kind of faith is supernatural and progressive—faith in the power of God so much so that what you say is aligned with what you know to be His purpose will come to pass. Your faith must be evident by what you say and do.  Jesus demonstrated the “power” of the spoken word against something that is not aligned with the will of God. Specifically, the tree was planted to bear fruit for food (Genesis 2:9a).  If there were leaves on the tree there should have been fruit. Having leaves and no fruit was deceptive in nature and against God’s divine order. Again, this was an object lesson for the disciples because they didn’t have that level of faith yet.  However, Jesus imparted this knowledge unto them—a key to prayers being answered is having faith in God and speaking.  Believing that what you say will happen, it will be done for you as long as it is in agreement with God’s will, way and word. Wow!

“…whatever you ask for in prayer, believe (trust and be confident0 that is granted to you, and you will [get it]” Mark 11:24, Amplified).

Have you prayed for anything?  Do you believe you will receive it, or do you believe you have already received it?  To believe you have received it is to believe your request has been granted in the Spirit realm before it’s manifested in the natural.

This is why many of our prayers are not answered, or should I say not being manifested in the natural.  We don’t make faith declarations; neither do we believe until we see the manifestation in the natural.  NOW faith is the assurance (the confirmation, the title deed) of the things [we] hope for, being the proof of things [we] do not see and the conviction of their reality [faith perceiving as real fact what is not revealed to the senses]”  Hebrew 11:, Amplified.

At the moment Jesus spoke to the tree, he knew his prayer was heard and answered by God the Father and would be manifested in the natural. Another example is in John 11:41-42. Jesus’ prayer for the resurrection of Lazarus had already been answered. How do we know? “And Jesus lifted up His eyes and said, Father, I thank you that you have heard Me. Yes, I know You always hear and listen to Me, but I have said this on account of and for the benefit of the people standing around, so that they may believe that You did send Me [and You have made Me Your Messenger].” 

 When you pray with confidence that your prayer is already answered, the manifestation of it is for the benefit of others so that they will believe.  Therefore, your petition or requests should always be aligned with God’s will.  Lazarus being raised from the dead was already God’s desire (John 11:4).  When we pray for what we know is God’s will, we should also expect our prayer to be answered simply for the purpose of bringing glory to God through our faith in His Son Jesus Christ.

“Now this is the confidence that we have in Him, that if we ask anything according to His will, He hears us. And if we know that He hears us, whatever we ask, we know that we have the petitions that we have asked of Him.” I John 5:14-15

The second prerequisite is forgiveness.  Jesus makes it clear to the disciples that forgiveness is a necessity for answered prayer.  Forgiveness is a fundamental principle in the kingdom of God (Matthew 18:21-35). After all, forgiveness is central to the plan of salvation. Because the Father forgives us, we must forgive others. Forgiveness is a matter of the heart, and the condition of our heart determines the truth about our relationship with the Lord as well as others. Basically, our relationship with others is just as important as our relationship with the Lord when it comes to answered prayer.

Therefore, if we want our prayers answered, we must keep our hearts pure“And whenever you stand praying, if you have anything against anyone, forgive him and let it drop (leave it, let it go), in order that your Father Who is in heaven may also forgive you your [own] failings and shortcomings and let them drop” (Mark 11:25, Amplified). 

 Ultimately, not only does unforgiveness hinder answers to prayer, it severs our connection with the Father. There can be no bitterness or resentment to block the lines of communication and fellowship with God.

What assurance to know that our prayers are answered because of our faith in God. However, to live with the assurance of answered prayer, we must guard our heart from the pollutions of the world and the lustful desires of our sin nature. We must rely on the Word of God, the Holy Spirit, and the cleansing power of the Blood of Jesus to purify our heart that we may be able to freely forgive others and receive forgiveness from our Father.

The good news is God still answers prayer today!  Don’t give up! What are you praying for? Do you believe your prayer will be answered, or is already answered and you’re waiting on the manifestation?  If you believe it’s already answered and you’re just waiting for the manifestation, then you should be saying as Jesus said, “Father, I thank You that You have heard me…”

APPLICATION:

Will you confess any unforgiveness that has hindered your prayers from being answered?  If so, repent; ask God for forgiveness and start fresh in faith believing the Word of God.

After reading and meditating on this, how will you change your approach when going to God in prayer?

Will you pray with greater expectation, and yet wait patiently for the manifestation of your answer?

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©2007, ©2012 Queen E. F. Phillips

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