“O Lord; in the morning will I direct my prayer...”
Prayer especially in the morning is to be the inspiration and the very place wherein we touch His presence and receive the breath of life to face the day before us. Unlike the material creation, the spiritual life requires the breath of life continuously. We are exhorted in John 15 to abide in the vine in order to live and bear fruit.
“And the Lord God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and man became a living soul.”
Our inherent weakness requires something far more than fleeting moments of inspiration. There is within God’s wisdom a need (on our part) and a provision (on His part) for our life to become grafted in by the continuous operation of Faith. It is from this live connection where the flow of Grace sustains us, transforms us, and brings us into the resources to live beyond the limitations of this earthly existence.
The One great aspect of prayer is not so much in our asking for things but in simplicity communing with Him who is our breath of life.
“To be a Christian without prayer is no more possible than to be alive without breathing.”
“If ye abide in me, and my words abide in you, ye shall ask what ye will, and it shall be done unto you”
THE SECRET Place OF ABIDING
“And He that sent me is with me: the Father hath not left me alone; for I do always those things that please Him“
The Son found the strength to obey through the power of prayer The religious tend to substitute prayer for obedience, but those who pray fervently will find in Christ the power to obey.
“And he went a little further, and fell on his face, and prayed, saying, O my Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me: nevertheless not as I will, but as Thou wilt”
“He went away again the second time, and prayed, saying, O my Father, if this cup may not pass away from me, except I drink it, Thy will be done”
If Jesus needed the power of prayer to face the enormity of the Cross, how much more do we need prayer for His grace to walk obediently! Obedience and prayer must be in parallel; when one is lacking the other will also be lacking.
“Have you noticed how much praying for revival has been going on of late – and how little revival has resulted? I believe the problem is that we have been trying to substitute praying for obeying, and it simply will not work“.
“And he spake a parable unto them to this end, that men ought always to pray, and not to faint” Luke 18:1
“Our Lord warns us against feeble prayer. This means that we must possess enough enthusiasm to carry us through the severe and long periods of pleading prayer. Fire makes one alert, vigilant, and brings one out as more than a conqueror.
The atmosphere about us is too heavily charged with resisting forces for lifeless prayers to make any progress. It takes heat, fervency, and fire to push through to the heavens where God dwells with His saints.
Fervency before God counts in the hour of prayer and finds a speedy and rich reward at God’s hands.”
“One thing have I desired of the Lord, that will I seek after…to behold the beauty of the Lord”
David spoke in Psalm 27 of the “One Thing”; the One Thing like a ring of great beauty comprised of three gems each one glittering with the rare splendor of their own eternal worth.
1. To dwell in His house/Presence
2. To behold the beauty of the Lord
3. To enquire, (search and to contemplate), in His Temple.
One of the singular joys of prayer is being afforded new glimpses of His being and character. There is an unspeakable grandeur of His presence that settles the disquiet within the human heart. There is a peace that invades the noise and the clamor of external things and above all, there is a beauty that beckons us to come and learn of Him within the quietness of His Own being.
It is the beholding of His beauty that transforms prayer from duty into a journey of being renewed in the truth of what life is about. The demands and busyness of the world with all of its harsh and insensitive ways are washed away in the stillness of His presence.
It is His beauty that draws men and women to Himself. Prayer is the essential wonder of our growth into the pursuit of an abiding life. It is the invitation into Himself.
It is no wonder that David wrote this powerful Psalm for the generations to come of his “One Thing” of which the “beholding of His beauty” was an intricate part of the whole.
May we as David spend time in His presence that we may ever grow in the dwelling, the beholding and the seeking of His wonder.
“One thing have I desired of the Lord, that will I seek after; that I may dwell in the house of the Lord all the days of my life, to behold the beauty of the Lord, and to enquire in his temple”
Prayer is simply the communion of our hearts with God. The touch of His presence brings fresh stirrings of His Own desire within our hearts; we become the altar upon which His incense burns. The closer we come to Him the more we find the Divine enablement to flow in His grace rather than relying on our own feeble efforts to pray effectually.
Travail is the precursor to new things being born in Him. Like a woman with child, the life within her is the source of travail. So also, Christ in His own, produces the cry for His New Creation to come forth in this Day.
“Likewise the Spirit also helpeth our infirmities: for we know not what we should pray for as we ought: but the Spirit itself maketh intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered”
True communion does not happen quickly. It involves an unfolding of hearts, a trust and a compliance on our part in order to be fully given to the will of God. His Presence is the great mystery of the universe. To enter into such a thing is a privilege beyond all others.
Our Walk and Our Prayer Life
As we grow in our sensitivity in touching these sacred places in God, we learn that our relationship with others greatly affects our relationship with Him. Unforgiveness, bitterness, pride, animosity and anger will greatly limit the true prayer of the Spirit of God within us. I cannot expect an audience with Him while I walk contrary to His ways.
“Likewise, ye husbands, dwell with them according to knowledge, giving honour unto the wife, as unto the weaker vessel, and as being heirs together of the grace of life; that your prayers be not hindered*”
(*literally in the Greek “that your prayers be not cut off“) 1 Peter 3:7
Unforgiveness and Prayer
The deeper we go in Christ the more we find the necessity of being exercised in the grace of forgiveness. Failure to extend to others the great need of forgiveness for ourselves will result in our own prayer life lacking His presence and His unction to move in concert with His Spirit.
“And when ye stand praying, forgive, if ye have ought against any: that your Father also which is in heaven may forgive you your trespasses. But if ye do not forgive, neither will your Father which is in heaven forgive your trespasses”
The insensitive of heart will remain unaffected by the graces of His Holy Spirit. True, effectual prayer is proportional to our participation in the graces of His Spirit.
“Blessed are the merciful: for they shall obtain mercy”
“Blessed are the pure in heart: for they shall see God”
The secret to communion with Christ is summed up in our walk; in honoring and obeying Him in our common, everyday life.
Those who obey His Word honour His Word.
“Blessed are they that do His commandments, that they may have right to the tree of life”
Prayer is the means to discovering the “Go” of God’s Will. It is in our time with Him that He communicates and empowers. In the enormity of Jesus facing Calvary’s wretched death, He who knew no sin about to become the sin-bearer of the world, He drew near unto His Father for strength and grace to walk out the Will of the Father. So it must be for us. Through the intimacy of prayer, we hear Him speak and have the privilege of participating in His Will in the earth.
“…making known to us the mystery of His will, according to His good pleasure which He purposed in Himself”
– Ephesians 1:9
The KJV of this verse speaks of something past tense: “having made known to us the mystery of His will”. There is something amiss in this past-tense translation which is not at all expressed in the original Greek. The Will of God is a daily thing. It is a mystery which unfolds as we commune with Him and allow His Lordship to speak into our hearts His purposes for the now of life. The true Christian Life is an adventure which can only be experienced through the medium of Obedience. Paul, writing to the Church at Ephesus, used the Greek participle concerning God “making known unto us the mystery of HIS will”. How blessed we are to discover fresh opportunities of Faith to walk in His purposes!
The more we obey the impulse of the Spirit the more we discover confidence; a growing boldness, a dynamic which arises out of our own experience with God. It is here the depth of our prayer life is revealed and established. Prayer without the communication of the Will of God to us should be disconcerting, for prayer is simply the participation of our heart with His. Obedience and prayer are harmonious. I know from my own personal experience the wrestling and struggles to obey that which He has given me to DO in my time alone with Him. Knowing and discovering His Will is a mystery which is only solved when I personally step into it. I can have a word or an impression of God to go, but until that step is taken His Will lingers, unfulfilled.
“Go ye therefore…”
“Go” is the impulse of God; “Go” is God’s heart to His Own. It is the word of God for us to explore, venture and invest ourselves in His purposes to make His salvation known to this world. What does that “Go” look like to you? Where does that “Go” personally take you? That is the exciting thing about the glory of prayer!The Go of God is bound up in us first coming in prayer, the secret place of communion (co-union) with Him.
“Come now therefore, and I will send thee…”
Unless we come to Him with a heart alive and burning with a desire to do His Will there will never be a “sending”. His Will is waiting for you to take His deliverance, His word of life and His love to heal the broken and lost of humanity. His House is filled with many who need His touch in their lives. Do we not hear the “Go” of God within our own hearts to be involved in making Him known?
It is the “lukewarm” who say, “I am rich, and I am made rich, and I have need of nothing”. They are content and feel no need to venture into the world around them nor expend themselves in making Him known. Those who need nothing will see nothing concerning the will of God. The soil which at one time received the seed of life with gladness has now become infested with the cares and comforts of this life and the life is choked with the thorns and thistles of their own sowing.
It is needful that we draw away from lukewarm living, carelessness and deception. Let us discover afresh the secret chambers of prayer and communion with Him. It is in this holy place that we feel the Fire of His Being igniting the altar of our hearts.
“Come now therefore, and I will send thee…”
God has a very simple and powerful remedy for us all: Prayer. The kind where we meet with Him and spend time alone in the holy atmosphere of His majesty. Not prayers asking Him for things, but prayers of communion where we learn to simply wait, child-like, without any other need but HIM. It is as we thus wait upon Him that we will find a renewing of our strength and a rising up to the honour of doing His Will. Prayer to the true child of God is not optional; it is the essential element of a fruitful life in Christ!
Eternal destinies are bound within our faithfulness to the talents He has graciously given us. The slothful, disobedient and the careless reap the disregard they show to the deposits of His gifts to us.
“And I was afraid, and went and hid thy talent in the earth: lo, there thou hast that is thine…”
To which Jesus declares:
“And cast ye the unprofitable servant into outer darkness: there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth”
“It is not the incorrect that the Lord despises but the proud; it is not the hot or the cold that the Lord spews out of his mouth but the lukewarm. When we are standing still out of fear of being wrong, we will certainly be regarded by him as ‘wicked and slothful’ not cautiously prudent.”
– Eric Foley
“Prayer is the participation of a heart in the Presence of God”
The highest call of life is one of relationship in Christ with God our Father. Effectual prayers ascend from hearts which have been subdued by His presence. It is from His glory whereby our hearts are made right to pray right.
“If ye abide in me, and my words abide in you, ye shall ask what ye will, and it shall be done unto you”
Abiding in Christ is the Spring from which effectual prayers are borne. Asking aright comes from our being right in our relationship with Him.
Prayer is the natural outflow of a life which is in relationship with God. Jesus easily spent all night in prayer with the Father for it was the basis of His relationship to God as a man. Jesus in teaching His disciples to pray began with the powerful words… “Our Father” and in our corresponding depth of relationship to Him will be the flow of our hearts unto Him.
“And this is life eternal, that they might know Thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom thou hast sent”
One of the great benefits of prayer is His redeeming presence. In touching Him we are reminded afresh of Him being our reference point concerning the temper and attitude of our hearts. It is in His presence where the impartation of His greatness, His gentleness, His Fire and peace strike the core of our hearts to restore a “right spirit” within us. It is easy to get carried away in the commotions without, the antagonism of the world and the stress of everyday life. Without the communion with Him in prayer it is easy to fall into the morass of self-wherein we fail to “take heed” to our ways and our words.
There is a quiet filled with the power of His dynamic life, ever moving, ever flowing and yet garmented in a stillness and peace which ever settles and stills our hearts. It is in this great presence we are afforded the divine enablement to become subdued and “right” before Him.
It is in our communion with Him where we touch the immensity and grandeur of His being. Humility is simply the fruit of touching His Presence. In our seeing of Him we see ourselves. Pride, anxiety, sorrow and our human-ness are engulfed in His Divinity. Our seeing of the situations around us, the broken relationships, the animosity of others and the perplexities of our own hearts become clarified and our path to walk through them become clear and filled with the dominion of His peace.
Prayer is God’s answer to the human condition. Time with Him is the only place where we can truly “take heed” to ourselves. Truth is more than words and teachings. Truth is revealed in the essence of the character in which we walk. The majesty of Christ was not only in the words He spoke but the life He lived. It was His life which gave weight to His words and so will it be with us. Prayer becomes the essential element to a life of change within the nucleus of our being. He is and ever will be our hope and source of life.
Effectual prayers arise from hearts who offer them in the same disposition as Christ Himself.
Liberty to pray effectually comes from our being in the Spirit of Christ.
“Now the Lord is that Spirit: and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty”
2 Corinthians 3:17
“No soldier on duty entangles himself in the affairs of life, that he may please Him who enrolled him as a soldier”
2 Timothy 2:4
Active duty is the posture of those who are alive in Christ. It is a Call which holds us to our posts ever watchful and ever engaged in the affairs of our hearts and in His Church. Their lives are governed by the full knowledge of the deceitful nature of their own hearts and the propensity of the church to slip into the darkness of slumber and lethargy.
It is ever the slumbering church which becomes the fearful church, for in her slumber she eventually awakes to discover that the enemies are at the gate and that she is ill prepared.
The Day is now dawning upon us, division and lawlessness is arising. Stay in the Spirit and we will not fall into fleshly carnal warfare. It is those who are not standing their posts, who are not on duty in Christ who get subverted to carnal issues.
“My kingdom is not of this world: if my kingdom were of this world, then would my servants fight…”
Jesus said IF His Kingdom was of this world then His servants would fight… but it is not of this world. If His people get caught up in the affairs of this dark world they cannot be active in His. It is a day to prepare ourselves to be at His disposal and to come to the place of grace and sacrifice. Suffering and glory cannot be separated.
May we encourage one another to stay in His Spirit and find grace to walk above the issue of this life. The rise of evil is upon us and blessed are they who find in Christ the grace to overcome evil with good.
Blessings to all my brothers and sisters; may we begin to feel the drawings of His Spirit into the union of His Life within us that we may be active in preparing one another to “stand in the evil Day”.
“Wherefore take unto you the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand”
“And the fuel on the altar shall be kept burning on it; it shall not be put out. And the priest shall burn wood on it morning by morning.”
The altar of the Old Covenant is a representation of our hearts in the New (Romans 12:1). It was the duty of the priests to keep the fire ever burning by adding wood “morning by morning”. In the morning as we set aside time to commune with our God who is “a consuming fire”. There is a necessity to touch the flame of the Eternal One that our own hearts may burn with a love for Him. It is this burning which keeps us from the temptations of the world and the impurities of our own selves.
As one man, greatly used of the Lord, stated: “an empty altar receives no fire”(1). Each morning we arise and lay ourselves before Him as a fresh offering that we might walk circumspectly and alert throughout the day. His fire ever falls upon the altar of sacrifice; as it was in the days of Elijah it shall be in this day.
May we discover the secret of His Flame. May we feel the embers of our hearts stirred by His Holy Breath until we are filled with the fire and intensity of His Spirit. He has an answer for cold hearts, for the lethargy in His house. It is nothing less than His presence burning within.
“Who maketh his angels spirits, and His ministers a flame of fire”
His true ministers carry the flame of God burning within their hearts. They cannot be satisfied with tepid prayers, powerless sermons and the lifeless conjectures of those whose lives do not align with their words. The fire of God purifies. It warms the very soul of man and brings Him into the zeal of the Lord for His House (John 2:16-17). There is a lamentation within over the condition and the temperature of the hearts of His people. There is a seeking of the purity, power and intensity of His Spirit to see His Unity arise in His House.
It is the “fervent prayer” of a “righteous man” that avails much, that brings forth the moving of His hand in the earth. Let us keep the flame burning within; let us seek out fellowship with others who will stir the embers of our hearts that we may know, to quote a good friend, “the fellowship of the flame”(2).
His beauty will arise out of the ashes of ourselves.
“To appoint unto them that mourn in Zion, to give unto them beauty for ashes, the oil of joy for mourning, the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness; that they might be called trees of righteousness, the planting of the Lord, that He might be glorified”
What is the purpose of these people?
“And they shall build the old wastes, they shall raise up the former desolations, and they shall repair the waste cities, the desolations of many generations”
This is the Day of the Lord and He Himself is appointing unto them who mourn over the state of the Zion of God in our day; beauty for ashes, the oil of joy for mourning and the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness! Let His fire fall afresh upon our hearts that He may be glorified by the lives we live and the words we speak!
“But you have come to Mount Zion, and to the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, and to innumerable multitudes of angels, to the festal gathering and assembly of the firstborn who are enrolled in heaven, to God the Judge of all, to the spirits of just men made perfect, to Jesus, the mediator of a new covenant, and to the blood of sprinkling that speaks better than that of Abel. See that you don’t refuse him who speaks.”!