“They shall come with weeping, and I will lead them with prayers. I will cause them to walk by rivers of waters, in a right way; they will not stumble in it…”
Prayer is the secret of the life of a Christian. It is in this secret place that our hearts meet with our heavenly Father in the bonds and the merits of Christ. Prayer is much more than asking God for things and help in our situations; it is the sacred place of listening to Him and hearing His Will and purpose for our life. Prayer is the participation of our hearts in the wonder of God.
Communion with God is to be the center and focus of our lives. It is as we draw near to His presence that our hearts are softened and touched by His heart. There is a posture that seeps into our hearts by the touching of the Holy; we become still and bowed before our God. In that moment we know our place before Him, and we are enabled to hear the “still small voice” of our God. Oftentimes His directions come to us in whispers infused with faith to walk in His way. The secrets of the Lord often come in quiet times of prayer and communion with God.
“Surely I have behaved and quieted myself, as a child that is weaned of his mother: my soul is even as a weaned child”
The magnitude of His presence quiets our being and in that wonder we are “weaned” of our wants and needs; like a contented child resting in the arms of its loving mother.
“I will lead them with prayers”
Those who pray much, hear much and see glimpses of Him that overwhelm the heart with the immensity of His presence. Prayer is the secret of faith, the wellspring of peace, and a hiding place for His children.
“He that dwelleth in the secret place of the most High shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty”
“…Ye ask, and receive not, because ye ask amiss”
Our faith determines the nature of our requests. If we walk in the Spirit our requests, desires and needs will be consistent with the nature and sphere of our walk. If we walk in the flesh our request will be congruous with the lusts and appetites of the flesh. It is here we are given insight into the heart of our heavenly Father. In His love he may not answer or at the least delay prayers that are offered amiss.
Asking amiss can include anything from our own selfish desires to praying on behalf of others without understanding the purpose of God within the situation. It requires a seeking on our part as to what the will of God is in order to pray in faith. As we come before Him we discover the “secret of the Lord” in the need presented to us. There are many things hidden from our eyes; secret things known only to the Lord. Yet as we seek His face it is His joy to reveal the hidden things that our petitions may be accurate and aligned with His purposes. Such prayers readily find their way to the “Throne of Grace” where He is waiting to meet the need of the moment.
Elisha and Jericho
“And the men of the city said to Elisha, Behold, now, the site of the city is good, as my lord sees, but the waters are bad; and the ground causes barrenness. And he said, “bring a new dish to me, and put salt there.” And they took it to him. And he went out to the source of the waters and threw salt there, and said, so says Jehovah, I have given healing to these waters; there shall not be death and sterility there anymore. And the waters were healed to this day, according to the word of Elisha that he spoke.”
2 Kings 2:19-22
One of Elisha’s first miracles was healing the waters of Jericho. Rather than praying for the waters at the city, Elisha understands in the Spirit that the waters needed to be traced to the spring from which they flowed. Many times we pray and offer counsel concerning a situation at hand but if we seek the Lord He will lead us to the “source” or cause; therein we discover a true and lasting solution. Left to ourselves we tend to deal with the symptom rather than the cause. Prayers asked amiss will hinder the power of God being released.
“Ye ask, and receive not, because ye ask amiss”
Prayer and Obedience
Another cause of unanswered prayer is that often our prayers require obedience to be combined with insight. Elisha took the “new” dish of salt, cast it into the spring of the waters and then spoke the Word of the Lord over it. We must see that prayers without obedience can remain unanswered. Sometimes we ask amiss because we walk amiss!
“…IF you will receive My words, and treasure up My commandments with you, so that you attend to wisdom, you shall extend your heart to understanding”
“…IF you cry for discernment, lifting up your voice for understanding”
“…IF you seek her as silver, and search for her as hidden treasures”
“…THEN you shall understand the fear of Jehovah and find knowledge of God”
In understanding the fear of the Lord we are given access to the knowing of Him. We live in a day in which understanding is relegated to teachings and concepts but the true knowing of God must be on an experiential basis not a doctrinal one. There is a Way that we can grow into the understanding of the fear of the Lord; it is a way fraught with conditional promises. Religion does not like the word “if” for it denotes responsibility and accountability; the pathway to discipleship is full of this word. “If” in the scriptures confirms the exercising of our own will and choice. It is the determining factor of a person’s walk with God and God’s walk with them. The beauty of God is that all of His “ifs” to us culminate in His “then” to us, for He desires relationship and investment on both of our parts. God has invested His Son and we are asked to simply comply with His “ifs”. Every promise given by God is conditional. It requires faith and faith is revealed by doing. “If” implies more than an intellectual acknowledgement; it is in itself a conditional statement requiring our response.
This is the phrase given to us. A quick glance at these two words brings us not only to a conditional response, but more importantly a personal one. Many wait for someone else to do a thing or pray that somehow the “then” will come to pass. The promises wait for those who fulfill the “if” which must precede the blessing of the promise.
God will never circumvent the fulfilling of the promise without the corresponding “if’s” being met in our lives on a personal basis. No amount of prayer will short circuit God’s desire for our obedience.
Religion is expecting God’s approval without walking in God’s way.
God Never Tells Man To Do Something That Man Cannot Do
* Noah built the ark ---------------------God flooded the earth* Moses stretched forth his hands---------God parted the waters* Joshua marched around the walls---------God tore them down* Elijah smote the water------------------God parted the waters* Elisha threw the stick in the river-----God made the iron swim* Naaman dipped 7 times-------------------God healed his leprosy* We lay hands on the sick----------------God will heal
“IF and THEN” are the realities of His Way to the fulfillment of His Life in us.
“But what things were gain to me, those I counted loss for Christ”
In this scripture we read the language of one in whom the Cross of Christ was a living reality. This expression is the “the Law of the Spirit of Life in Christ Jesus”. The power of God revealed within the life of an individual is summed up in this one verse. Men and women may fast and pray for this power but the essence of God is expressed through the lives of those who walk in the substance of this truth.
“For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth…”
Religious people often pray for things that only obedience can unlock. Prayer is essential to a life in the Spirit; it is through prayer that we find Grace and divine enablement to live the life of obedience. Religion attempts to replace obedience with prayer. The true Christian experience is through prayer we become obedient. When power is lacking in God’s house it is the result of the church embracing a crossless Gospel. The Gospel of the Cross of Christ will bring His Life, His Power, His character and His Glory into this dark world through the medium of a surrendered people.
“But what things were gain to me, those I counted loss for Christ”
The measure of all that we do, embrace, declare and allow into our lives is to be measured by this one principle: His Life in us. The decree of God is such that in order to live in one realm we must experience death in the other. We cannot find life in this world and expect to hold on to His Life in the other. We are living in a day of choice. Discipleship is a decision that no one else can make for us. It is a decision of the heart; a decision based upon love. What men love they serve, as Jesus sums up so succinctly in this verse…
“For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also”
It takes very little discernment in our interactions with others to discover what the treasure is in their lives. Out of the abundance of the heart men speak and thereby reveal their primary love.
“So is he that lays up treasure for himself, and is not rich toward God”
Spiritual poverty is the result of the choices we make. We are the “epistles” read of all men. The depth and power of God is expressed through “earthen vessels” and as such we must bear the responsibility for the life we express. We have lost sight of our responsibility to show forth His light and life in this world. It is the fruit of a Gospel which has lost sight of God; a gospel that is centered upon people rather than God. Where men absolve themselves of accountability and relegate their walk to words, teaching and statements of faith, Godlessness and unrighteousness become acceptable. It is in such a time that God raises up the Prophetic to “show the (heavenly) house to the (earthly/fallen) house” (Ezekiel 43:10).
“Thou son of man, shew the house to the house of Israel, that they may be ashamed of their iniquities…”
The religion of today wants to be able to love this world, walk and live in the ways of this world and yet take hold of all the things of God. Such things will never be.
“Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him”
1 John 2:15
It is through the true fellowship of the Spirit and in the worship of Him where the things of His life become more real to us than the dim things of earth. Wherever His people gather and commune together in the Love of Jesus that men and women are drawn out of this world and into His.
“But ye, beloved, building up yourselves on your most holy faith, praying in the Holy Ghost, Keep yourselves in the love of God, looking for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ unto eternal life”
“This dandelion has long ago surrendered its golden petals, and has reached its crowning stage of dying–the delicate seed-globe must break up now–it gives and gives till it has nothing left.”
Art Work by Lilias Trotter (14 July 1853 – 28 August 1928) A Missionary who poured out her life to the call of Christ in Algeria. Her artwork is the expression of her devotion to that Call.
The other day I had a vision of the Altar at which Elijah prayed and of the Fire that fell; I had the sense of HIS INTENSE DESIRE to do so again in the hearts of His Own who fear, obey and follow HIM. Our God is a consuming fire and His Manifest Presence is the cry and desire of all true hearts.
“I am come to send fire on the earth;
and what will I, if it be already kindled?”
“And it came to pass at the time of the offering of the evening sacrifice,
that Elijah the prophet came near, and said,
Lord God of Abraham, Isaac, and of Israel,
let it be known this day that thou art God in Israel,
and that I am thy servant,
and that I have done all these things at thy word…* Hear me, O Lord, hear me, that this people may know that thou art the Lord God, and that thou hast turned their heart back again. Then the fire of the Lord fell…!”
Words that came today…
Faith without Fire; Words without the Burden of the Lord; Prayers not birthed of obedience
and that do not bring a greater obedience; Are the offerings of a lukewarm heart.
SEND THE FIRE
“God of Elijah, hear our cry: Send the fire, send the fire, send the fire! To make us fit to live or die, Send the fire, send the fire, send the fire! To burn up every trace of sin, To bring the light and glory in, The revolution now begin, Send the fire, send the fire, send the fire!
*NOTEHow little we realize the connection between obedience and prayer. We see here that Elijah after he had obeyed the Word of God prayed and the fire fell. Prayers of this nature require prevenient acts of obedience in order for the prayer to be answered. God hears those who obey and walk in righteousness. “The effectual fervent (fiery) prayer of a righteous man availeth much”.