The Acceptable Prayer
When discussing prayer I have a favourite saying, it goes like this, “God is not interested in holy prayers as He is interested honest prayers”. For it is the honest prayer that gets Gods attention. All too often people get themselves into a rut by believing that God needs to hear only holy sounding prayers, He does not, He seeks honest prayers from an honest heart.
Prayer is simply open honest communication with God. It is an expression of your heart to Him, for He knows exactly the condition of your heart at any given moment. Open dialogue with God will cause the requests of the prayer to be answered.
There are basically two kinds of prayer, A) the prayer of petition, or B) the prayer of praise, adoration or thanksgiving. Each prayer has it’s rightful place and should be used within it’s context, this is brought out for us in Matthew 7:7, “Ask, and it shall be given you; seek and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened to you”. The Lord Jesus is giving clear instruction, to make our demands known, and in doing so we expect the answer to be forth coming. No-one ever received an answer to prayer without first believing that it would happen. Did you notice that if you take the first letter of each word, “Ask, Seek, Knock”, that they form an acronym, once again you get the word ASK. Just put words- to your request and ask, God will grant it.
God is called El Shaddai, The Almighty or the God of More than Enough. No petition, request, supplication or prayer can go unanswered when El Shaddai has sworn that He will see to it. Psalm 50:15, “And call upon me in the day of trouble: I will deliver thee and thou shalt glorify me”.
Although prayer is communication with God, that communication has certain conditions that should be met in order to achieve the very best in God. These are not conditions of works but rather conditions that “work”. To pray with understanding is to allow these conditions to flow from you.
Condition 1) Pray in the Name of Jesus
To use the name of Jesus in prayer is to take His authority, position and power and infuse your life with them. It is to readily admit that all Jesus is, so too are you in this world.
1 John 4:17b, “But as He is, so are we in this world”. Whatever your circumstance, if it is less than what Jesus is living in right now, then we must place Him into it and see it changed through the power of prayer in His name, AJesus@. Colossians 3:17, “And whatsoever ye do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God and the Father by Him”.
We should never pray, “for Jesus sake”, our prayers are for our sake not His. It is His name that makes the change, His power from His name working within us. It is what we have in Him that causes the name of Jesus to work for us. If this be true, and it is, then we must ask ourselves, what is it that we either have or are in Him? The best way to answer this question is to see what He is to us, for all He is so are we in this world.
He is Our Justification
First, He is our justification, or the One who will justify us before the accuser. justification is derived from the Greek word, “dikaioma”, it means acquittal or to be exonerated, pardoned, released or vindicated. Jesus took upon Himself all our offenses (sins). This act made Him the only one who could ever lay any charge against us. yet He choose not to find us guilty, but to grant to us forgiveness from our offense and the charges of the devil. He freed us by and into His grace.
He chose to stand in our stead becoming guilty for us, then destroying Satan and his charges against us. He became our justification. Romans 3:24&26, “Being justified freely by His grace through redemption that is in Christ Jesus. (vs.26) To declare I say at this time His righteousness: that He might be just, and the justifier of him which believeth in Jesus”.
We are now able to walk free from all condemnation due to His justifying us through His shed blood and by His Holy Spirit. Romans 8:1, “Therefore there is no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but rather after the Spirit”.
When in prayer we recognize that we have been justified from all past sin, we may go to God with a clear, clean spirit. It is freedom gained by the Justifier, Jesus, and not something that is looked lightly upon. This justification is a free gift given to us, not something we must earn through our works, for our works would bring us into condemnation not justification, they are so puny in comparison to what Jesus freely gave to us.
Romans 5:15-18, “But not as an offence, so also is the free gift. For if through the offence of one, (Adam’s sin) many be dead, much more the grace of God, and the gift by grace, which is by one man, Jesus Christ, hath abounded unto many. And not as it was one that sinned, so is the gift: for the judgement was by one to condemnation, but the free gift is of many offenses unto justification. For if by one man’s offenses death reigned by one: much more they which receive abundance of grace and the gift of righteousness shall reign in life by one, Jesus Christ. Therefore by the offence of one judgement came upon all men to condemnation even so by righteousness of one the free gift came upon all men unto justification of life”.
Freedom from all the guilt that Satan may place upon you because your sin is yours through the justification of Jesus Christ. allow justification to work for you in prayer. Know that in it you can approach the throne room of God with no burdens from any sin.
Now some may say, “I had been justified by Jesus, But I fell back into a certain sin and now I know that God won’t hear me any more. So there is no hope for me and certainly no sense in my praying”. Not so, as we see in the next area of what He is for us and in us.
He Is Our Propitiation
It is true that when we sin is takes from us a part of our relationship that we have with God, thus in prayer we do not believe or have assurance that God is even hearing us, let alone going to answer us. God is ever unchanging, so too is His love, for He is love. He doesn’t just have love, he is love. Therefore He desires that when we do miss the mark (the description for sin), that we run to Him, gain our forgiveness and then move on in the love that He has for us. 1 John 4:10, “Herein is love, not that we loved God, but that He loved us, and sent His son to be the propitiation for our sins”. He has all our sins covered, shouldn’t we as well set them aside so that we may increase in our fellowship with God through our prayers.
Some find it difficult to let go of their sin because of the multitude of offenses or the magnitude of the sin. yet if they would only realize that Christ Jesus is the propitiation for not only their sin but the entire worlds, the size of theirs would matter little. 1 John 2:2, “And He is the propitiation for our sins; and not ours only, but also the sins of the whole world”. What sin is it that Christ Jesus through His offering of Himself could not cover? The greatest sinners of all time, Hitler, Capone, Kahn, all could have had their sin covered and cancelled had they only called upon Jesus with a repenting heart and turned and went another way, all because of His being their propitiation.
Don’t allow a lie of the devil to steal from you the relationship of grace and glory in Christ, receive forgiveness right now. Go on in God, live the kind of life that He has for you through the gift of forgiveness. His forgiveness allows you to live a new life designed in Him for your success. Galatians 2:20, “I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me”. You no longer have worry about your past life, put it behind you, you’ve been redeemed from it. Galatians 3:13, “Christ has redeemed us from the cruse of the law, being made a cruse for us: for it is written, Cursed is everyone that hangeth on a tree”. Upon the cross He bore your, so now freely you may go to Him.
He Is Our Life
All too often we fail to develop our prayer life in Him because we fail to see Him as our very life. The breath that God blew into man was the very breath of God, His life. The Greek word is “Zoe”, it means; the God kind of life, the kind of life God wants you to live. Thee offering that Jesus gave of himself was to cause that relationship of living in Him to come alive in us.
I like the way Kenneth Wuest says it in His translation of the New Testament, John 15:1-8, “I, in contradistinction to anyone else, am the vine, the genuine vine, and My Father is the tiller of the soil. Every branch in me not bearing fruit He takes away. And every branch bearing fruit, He cleanses it in order that it may keep on bearing more fruit. As for you, already you are cleansed ones because of the word which I spoken to you. Maintain a living communion with me, and I with you. Just as the branch is able to be bearing from itself as a source unless it remains in a living union with the vine, so neither you, unless you maintain a living communion with me.
As for myself, I am the vine. as for you, you are the branches. He who maintains a living communion with me and I with him, this one is bearing much fruit, because apart from me you are not able to do anything. If anyone is not maintaining a living communion with me, he is thrown outside as the branch is and caused to wither. and they gather them and into the fire they throw them, and they are burned. If you maintain a living communion with me and my words are at home within you, I command you to ask, at once, something for yourself, whatever your heart desires, and it will become yours. In this my Father is glorified, namely, that you are bearing much fruit”.
Here the Lord is giving us the most important key to having answered prayer. That key is maintaining a living communion with Him. Communion is: the act of sharing, or holding in common; participation; association, fellowship. The living communion would then be the sharing of everything that is relevant to life itself. Therefore as we place Jesus in our life, we then share with Him all things that would bring us into that oneness or the prefect fellowship.
As much as He is committed to us, He wants us committed to Him. He wants nothing held back from Him, whether good or bad, His desire is that you share it with Him. What will make the difference in prayer or fellowship with Him is His Words. Notice the text says, “My words are at home within you”, the only way His words can come into residence within you is by continual use of them. You at all times, in every situation, allowing only His words to proceed from your mouth.
What takes place is this living communion while His words are being spoken your mouth, a command. But what command, “I command you to ask at once, something for yourself, whatever your heart desires”. God is very interested in granting to you the desires of your heart. Why, because of that living communion or fellowship you have, for within that fellowship there will come a time the only thing which you will desire is greater fellowship with the Father, the son and their Holy spirit. It will be through this living relationship that you will come into fullness of God and all other things will be secondary at best.
It is through this fellowship, this living communion with God that your life in Him grows to it’s fullest. That Zoe life of God comes through close fellowship in Him. The ability to ask what you desire is within that Zoe life that you share in Christ in God.
What does this do to your situations and circumstances? Well if all things are held in common, then God has a share in them as well. God will in no way leave them to bring destruction upon you. For what destroys you will harm God. No, He will see to it that all situations are worked out to His glory. Therefore in prayer don’t hesitate to bring in Him your worries or concerns, your desires and dreams as well, He will look after them all.
He Is Our Mediator
Some might ask, “why do I need a mediator, I can go to God just as I am”, that is not what scripture or Jesus Himself says. They say, “I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto to the Father, but by me”. John 14:6. If Jesus says that He is the only way to get to God then we need to heed that lesson and go to the Father through Jesus, this is the reason we need a mediator.
When we tie ourselves to Him and allow Him to do what He will in our lives we will quickly see new and changing responses to our prayers. Our faith just seems to work that much better, this is because we are no longer getting a answer based upon our faith but rather based upon His. Ephesians 3:12, “In whom we have boldness and access with confidence by the faith of Him“. It is not the faith in Him, but the faith of Him, He puts His faith on the line for us. He mediates between God and ourselves to see to it that our needs are truly met.
Why even His name speaks to us of this mediation process. Christ Jesus means: God to man, Jesus Christ means: man to God, Jesus is centre of the relationship. As a mediator He is our arbitrator, our go between. He went between God and ourselves, God looks upon you and sees Him, He sees Jesus as pure, clean and holy, therefore He sees you the same way all because of Jesus’ mediation process.
All God is, Jesus is, all that man requires Jesus is. His being our mediator is much greater, far higher, than just our idea of a negotiator. As mediator, He is also a peacemaker, Christ came and made peace between God and man. through His blood the peace of God has been granted unto us. when there is peace we can go freely to God with no guilt or condemnation, we go with full assurance of life becoming all that He has planned for us.
He through His death and resurrection brought all life, (now and throughout eternity). He has redeemed us, and forgiven us of all wrong doing. we therefore can go to God with freedom knowing our prayers (through meditation of Jesus) will be answered. Hebrews 9:15, “And for this cause He is the mediator of the New Testament, that by means of death, for the redemption of transgressions that were under the first testament, they which are called might receive the promise of eternal inheritance”.
Surely the first condition of prayer must be praying in the name of Jesus, for He truly is the answer to every prayer we may utter. Do as He said, “Ask, and you shall receive”.
Conditions of Prayer #2 Pray By Faith
After we have learned what it means for us to be able to use the name of Jesus in our prayers we must learn that every prayer, indeed everything, that we do must be done through faith.
Faith truly is a strong condition by which all prayer must be given to God. Hebrews 11:6, “But without faith it is impossible to please Him: for he that cometh to God must believe that He is, and He is a rewarder of them that diligently seek Him”. So without faith in our prayer God is not pleased, everything that we do God looks for faith therein. Faith is: expectation, hope, trust, confidence and reliance. Therefore to have faith in God one would possess each one of these qualities. Let’s look at each as to how they relate to our prayers.
Expectation in prayer is: the anticipated arrival of exact request. From Hebrews 11:6 we can readily see that we should live our lives in expectation. God is the one who grants to us our expectations. “He is a rewarder of them that diligently seek Him”. Within that reward is your expectation, however we look not to the reward but rather to the rewarder to bring to us what we are believing for.
We know that nothing is impossible to God, therefore the request that we are asking for will come to us when we look to Him for the answer. Matthew 21:22, “And all things, whatsoever ye shall ask in prayer, believing, ye shall receive”. It is that believing that brings the answers in prayer. We are in a continual mode of looking toward God to bring our answers to our requests. We can have this expectation due to the fact that regardless of how big our request maybe, we know that “with God all things are possible” Matthew 19:26b. c/f Luke 13:7
Expectation however works only if a relationship and fellowship in God has been developed. This is quickly realized when see the expectations that God has in us.
In Hebrews 11:6 four expectations that God has of us are given: A) To please God, this is done through our obedience to Him. 1 John 3:21-22, “Beloved if hearts condemn us not, then we have confidence toward God. And whatsoever we ask, we receive, because we keep His commandments, and do those things that are pleasing in His sight”. What pleases God, our obedience to Him. There is a song that says “In Him we live and move and have our being”, that is exactly what He wants us to do, live in Him. When that residence is made everything we will do will be directed by Him, therefore pleasing to Him.
B) To come to God, this means at the moment the circumstance of the request begins, not waiting until the very last moment and then seeing that all else has failed, we say, “I guess now I’ll go to God”. If you have residence in God He already knows that you have a need, why wait to take to Him? Philippians 4:6, “Be careful for nothing; but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God”. Of course it should go without saying that you’ve got to have a good and right attitude toward God, for if your attitude is wrong you will not even have a prayer life let alone fellowship with Him. “Be careful” speaks to us of this attitude, care is worry, worry is wrong, it’s sin, it therefore is a wrong attitude. Don’t wait until the worry is so heavy upon you that you then think it is time to go to God, run to Him the very moment something seems to be going amiss. Check out your attitude is it right toward God?
C) Believe that He is, is what, everything you will ever need or require. This is where the power of God will come into your circumstance the quickest, when you believe that God is the answer to that situation. John 16:23-24, “and in that day you shall ask me nothing. Verily, verily, I say unto you, Whatsoever ye shall ask the Father in my name, He will give you. Hitherto have ye asked nothing in my name: ask, and ye shall receive, that your joy may be full”. He is right there waiting for your request of faith so that He might go forth and grant the answer to it.
God is not interested in your failure to meet your need, because He is the answer, and if you will come to Him believing that He is, then He will be. What you can not do, He can.
D) Believe that He is a rewarder, did you know that you too are a rewarder to God as well. How? God inhabits the praises of His people, His reward is your praise to Him. For what He has done for you, you will praise Him, but what is greater is to praise for who He is in your life. As He sees to it that you gain the reward of faithfulness, He knows as well that He gains His reward of love, praise and fellowship by granting the request that you have of Him. Lamentations 3:22-23, “It is of the Lord’s mercies that we are not consumed, because His compassion’s fail not. They are new every morning: great is thy (His) faithfulness”. Every morning brings a new opportunity for each of us, God and ourselves to show our great rewards to each other.
This is a good place to explain the word rewarder, it is the Greek word “misthapodots” which means: one who pays wages, (Vines). This carry’s a duel meaning as well; to receive remuneration for performance, or, to receive the results of conduct. Both apply to the expectations that God has in us, He is our source of all our supply, therefore our remuneration is of Him, His remuneration comes through our trusting Him. The result of our conduct, that is the conduct of obedience, to see God grant us our desires and the result of His conduct is our ever growing love that we give to Him. Both are rewarded, both grow and go in one another.
Next we said that faith is hope, not the wishful thinking kind of hope, but favourable and confident expectation. Hope that will bring happiness and goodness. Hebrews 11:1, “Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen”. Hope takes on the shape of our desire, as our substance or material, hope builds on faith. Faith sees the requirement, hope is what the requirement is made of. God is author or the instructor of how to use our hope.
Romans 15:13, “Now the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing (faith), that ye may abound in hope, through the power of the Holy Ghost”. Your hope is created in God, is God able to fail, of course not, nor is He able to disappoint your hope, He is the one who fulfils it. God is the subject of our hope, He is author of our faith but the subject of our hope. In other words our hope is in Him, He becomes the one to accomplish or complete and finish our hope. In Him we realize the magnitude of our hope, which is always greater than the size of our circumstance.
In God we learn two key points is the area of hope, A) we hope in His Word, B) we hope in His mercies.
We hope in His word, because His Word is everlasting. Luke 21:33, “Heaven and earth shall pass away: but my words shall not pass away”. If His words are everlasting then they are what we apply to ever situation regardless of what our senses will tell us. We must remember that the senses will lie to us, God’s word will never lie, it only tells of what the outcome will be. That is why we apply the word to each and every circumstance we face in our lives.
Psalm 119:114, “Thou art my hiding place and my shield: I hope in thy Word”. Pressures of life can be overwhelming from time to time, to run and hide is what most want to do, so if you must, hide in God. For when you come out of hiding the situation will be answered. God is also your shield, this means that He is your protection, in Him your hope is safe through His word that you have spoken forth from your mouth. Isaiah 55:11, So shall my word be that goeth forth out of my mouth, it shall not return unto me void, but it shall accomplish that which I please, and it shall prosper in the thing whereto I sent it”.
We also said that we hope in His mercies, Psalm 33:18, “Behold, the eye of the Lord is upon them that fear (love) Him, upon them that hope in His mercy”. God is there watching out for those who are in love and fellowship with Him. We find that just some of His mercies are listed in Galatians 5:22-23, we take them and live in them, “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, temperance: against such there is no law”. We may sum up God’s mercies as; compassion, forbearance, forgiveness, kindness and sympathy. When we gain this great mercy it becomes easy to place our trust in Him, the giver of all mercies.
Trust & Confidence
We said that faith is trust, but trust in what, trust in God and in His Word. The Hebrew word for trust is “batah”, which means “to confide in”. God is our confidant, He is our companion, our ally, our benefactor and our support. It is for this reason that we can place our complete trust in Him. However we cannot do this unless we have learned everything about Him, we do this by spending as much time as possible with Him in prayer and in His word. More than any of these things that God is, He is our friend. As our friend we do everything together, each protects the other from anything that may come between that friendship. That is trust.
Psalm 37:3-5, gives us the best example of this friendship, “Trust in the Lord, and do good; so shalt thou dwell in the land, and verily thou shalt be fed. Delight thyself also in the Lord; and He shall give thee the desires of thy heart. Commit thy way unto the Lord; trust also in Him; and He shall bring it to pass”. Three elements that sum up friendship best are found here in this passage, trust, delight and commit.
Trust according to the Psalmist brings: defence and protection 5:11, God’s abiding presence 9:10, deliverance 17:7, goodness 31:19, fruitfulness 34:22, a safe dwelling place 37:3, food 37:3, answered prayer 37:5, freedom from fear 56:11, insusceptibility of evil and plagues 91:4, stability 125:1. All this because of faith exercised in the best friend anyone could ever know.
Trust will put us into overabundance or the very best of God, a safe place in God in all circumstances. Proverbs 29:25b, “whosoever putteth his trust in the Lord shall be made safe”. With that safety comes prefect peace, why, because God is seeing to every trial and situation, He is taking all the worry and confusion and we are allowing Him to do so, to perform it. Isaiah 26:3-4, “Thou will keep him in prefect peace, whose mind is stayed on thee: because he trusteth in thee. Trust ye in the Lord for ever: for in the Lord Jehovah is everlasting strength”. Prefect peace and everlasting strength are to be found in the trust or confidence that we place in God. Everlasting strength gives us an indication as to how long this trust will go on, as long as His word is upon it, or forever.
Trust, we find is a matter of good stewardship, or being faithful with what has been placed in your control and then honouring the one granting the trust. Luke 16:10-11, “He that faithful in that which is least is faithful also in much: and he that is unjust in the least is also unjust also in much. If therefore ye have not been faithful in unrighteous mammon (money, riches), who will commit to your trust the true riches”? He, the Lord Jesus, is teaching us that if we will not do what we know to do with the money that has been entrusted to our keeping, then those true riches of the kingdom of God will not come our way. This is the prime reason that most Christian live lives of failure, poverty, sickness and destruction, they simply have been found untrustworthy in the smallest of matters, their money. All who never receive of God are within this group of people, the untrustworthy.
To have faith is to be trustworthy, or to accept the responsibility for your actions and the conduct that you take part in. God wants His people living lives of faith, therefore He demands that we place our complete confidence in Him and not in our abilities, our money, or our own wisdom. He is sure to come quickly to the aid of all who have developed in Him a trusting heart.
The trustworthy are servants, they use all that they have, all the power in their control to serve God and His family. When the opportunity arises to misuse what they have been entrusted with they never accepted it, thus being found faithful and trustworthy they are promoted by God into greater things. Many desire to serve God in ministry, this can only be accomplished through be found faithful or trustworthy to what He has already given to you.
1 Thessalonians 2:4, “But as we were allowed of God to be put in trust with the gospel, even so we speak; not as pleasing men, but God, which trieth our hearts”. Our purpose is to be found trustworthy in all that has been instilled into us, or in other words be found using what God has given to us. Many seek God for greater manifestations, yet they are unfaithful to use what He has already given, i.e. speaking in a heavenly language, if your not using what He has given, He will not give more.
Reliance is also to be found trustworthy. It is the development of trust in the Word of God spoken forth from our mouths. We through faith rely upon God to do what His word says, but as God has taken up His residence within our hearts, His word must come out of our mouths. So then He relies upon us as much as we rely upon Him to spread the word of God, which is the good news of the gospel.
The spoken word of course must be the revealed word, the word that has become real in our hearts, otherwise it is just a exercise in religion which will do no good to any. The best way to concluded part A of this second condition of prayer would be to quote Mark 11:22-24 from three different versions of the Bible.
The Amplified Version, “Truly, I tell you, whosoever says to this mountain, Be lifted up and thrown into the sea! and does not doubt all in his heart, but believes that what he says will take place, it will be done for him. 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]”.
The Wuest New Testament, “Be constantly having faith in God. Truly, I am saying to you, Whoever says to this mountain, Be lifted up and be thrown into the sea, and does not doubt in his heart but believes that which he says comes to pass, it shall be his. On this account I am saying to you, All things which you are praying and asking for, be believing that you received them, and they shall be yours”.
The Weymouth New Testament, “Have faith in God. In solemn truth I tell you that if any one shall say to this mountain, ‘Remove, and hurl thyself into the sea,’ and has no doubt about it in his heart, but steadfastly believes that what he says will happen, it shall be granted him. That is why I tell you, as to whatever you pray and make request for, if you believe that you have received it, it shall be yours”.
Have faith in God, speak His word, trust Him to perform and you will quickly see the desired result of your prayer. Notice that each translation puts the receiving of the answer before the granting of it. In other words once the prayer has been spoken in faith we must leave it in God’s hands to complete it or fulfil it. That is faith.
Faith Filled Words
The person who is ruled by faith will be the person who controls the words that they speak. What will proceed from their mouths regardless of what they may be facing will be faith filled words. You may ask, “what’s a faith filled word”? I’m glad you asked that, a faith filled word is a word that has been charged with the power of the Word of God.
The person who has learned this will view every situation with wisdom and then speak words of life into any circumstance they may face. This means over everything only the words of God are what is likely to proceed from their mouths. In actuality they have put into practice the exact same principles that God used in creating the entire universe. These are the same principles that Jesus used in preforming all the miracles that He did. They both spoke faith filled words and the result was exactly what they had desired.
One needs but read the very first chapter in the Bible and will quickly learn this principle. Ten times in thirty one verses we find, “And God said“, all that we survey today was created through the speaking of faith filled words by God. After God had said it, notice that it also say’s “and it was so”, every time God spoke He had “expectation” and expectation became reality. So then, we can say that faith filled words are a spiritual law, working whenever the law is applied. It is these kind of words that please God when we go to Him in prayer.
Keep in mind that in prayer you are engaged in holy communication with God. He is looking for fellowship with you as much as you are desiring fellowship with Him. Prayer requires two actions on your behalf to draw nearer to God. Those two actions are submission & obedience, Isaiah said it this way “If ye be willing and obedient, ye shall eat of the good of the land”. Isaiah 1:19.
Willingness is submission, submission to God is the keeping of His commandments. “Now by this we know that we know Him, if we keep His commandments”, 1 John 2:3. This for some is the hardest of all tasks. Some may make great claims of how much they have a love for God, yet they find it difficult to submit to what He may require of us, John has a response for this as well, 1 John 5:3, For this is the love of God, that we keep His commandments”. In keeping of these commandments we show ourselves to be submissive to God.
“What, what commandments do we have to keep”, many ask. Well Jesus sums up all the commandments in a few words. “Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and all thy soul, and with all thy mind. This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself”. Matthew 22:37-39. In other words when we submit everything we think, have, and are, to God, holding nothing back from Him we keep the first commandment. In Him we become everything, in us… He is our everything.
The submissive person is an obedient person. When in prayer, we listen for the voice of God and look forward to hearing Him, however once we have heard from God do we obey? The application of faith is an act of obedience, when we have trained ourselves to listen and obey God the first time He speaks then and only then will we experience instant fulfilment to our prayers. The longer we take to obey the longer it will take to receive.
Prayers are hindered in two fashions A) fallen angels assigned to prevent the answer from coming, and, B) disobedience to the voice of the Holy Spirit. What we need, is to be ready to come against both with the power of the Lord. It is not with others that we battle, it is with Satan, therefore we ought to be ready to tear him down and to avenge any disobedience. 2 Corinthians 10:3-6, “For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war after the flesh: (For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but mighty through God to the pulling down of strongholds:) Casting down every imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ. And having a readiness to revenge all disobedience, when your obedience is fulfilled”. The intent of the verse is, whether Satanic or disobedience both can be put to flight, yes we must battle, but the victory is ours with our heavenly weapons.
The weapons that we use are three and a threefold cord is not easily broken. They are: A) The name of Jesus, B) the blood of Jesus, and C) The word of God. When these powerful weapons are used against Satan, nothing that he has assigned against us may stand. To not make use of these however is leave ourselves open to certain defeat and possible destruction. To use them we quickly come in agreement with Isaiah when he said, “No weapon that is formed against thee shall prosper; and every tongue that rises against thee in judgement thou shall condemn. This is the heritage of the servants of the Lord, and their righteousness is of me, saith the Lord. Isaiah 54:17.
Some may not agree that the only way to pray is the speaking forth of the word of God. They argue that “God knows all, therefore I should tell God exactly the way I feel”. No-one disputes your feelings, especially God, but it is not feelings that bring the answers to prayer, it is the Word. Jesus said “The words I speak unto you, they are spirit, and they are life”, John 6:63. If you allow your feelings to guide you, you will be listening to the voice of lies. Feelings will only paint the kind of picture that they want you to see, they are the imaginations that require the casting down. Allowing the Word of God to do it’s work in prayer is to allow truth to spring forth correcting the situation.
Never prayer how you feel, now that’s not say that you can’t tell God what is taking place, but always pray the desired answer according to the Word of God. Perhaps like this “Lord, today I received a bill that right at this moment I am not able to pay. However your word says ‘that my God shall supply all my needs according to His riches in glory’. Therefore Lord I receive this amount by faith, knowing that God you always honour your word”.
A simple prayer but an accurate one that will get results. The situation gets explained but does not become the object of the entire prayer. Faith is spoken forth, the Word of God applied to the problem, now the patience is exercised until the answer is forthcoming.
It is through the speaking (keeping) of the words of Jesus that we show our love for Him. As He sees this love He will take up residence with God in us making us Their home. “If any man love me, he will keep my words: and my Father will love him, and we will come unto Him, and make our abode with him”. John 14:23. How great a promise to have the life that God desires us to have, but greater yet is having God indwell us making certain that we live the life that He has for us. Simply because we chose the higher life, that of living by faith in Him and through the keeping of His words.
The higher life isn’t the easy life, it is the most rewarding life. “If ye abide in me, and my words abide in you, ye shall ask what ye will, and it shall be done unto you”. John 15:7. Verse 8 in the Weymouth New Testament says “By this is God glorified-by your bearing much fruit and thus being true disciples of mine”. The abiding or having your home in Jesus comes through your speaking forth His words, this brings glory to God and that brings answers to prayers, having your prayers answered in evidence of your life in Christ, the circle becomes complete.
The fulfilment of your wants, needs and desires can only be met through faith placed in the word of God then spoken forth as fact regardless of what the circumstance may be showing you. The servant of God will live in Him, having all these wants, needs and desires met. Psalm 23:1 “The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not want”.
Psalm 34:9-10, “O fear the Lord, ye His saints: for there is no want to them that fear Him. The young lions (the disobedient) do lack, and suffer hunger: but they that seek the Lord shall not want any good thing”. How is it then that there is lack in our lives, by not living in that fear or love of God. Why would anyone who may have this knowledge choose to depart from God and live in less than God best? Because they do not want to spend the required amount of time in fellowship with God. They say it’s “hard work”, reality is that when you are in close fellowship with someone you love, it is not hard to spend time in communication with them.
Many also refuse to walk by faith and speak the word of God because they believe another lie of the devil, which is, “God won’t answer my prayer request because He is tiring to teach me something”. Nothing could be further from the truth, GOD DOES NOT use anything harmful or hold back any good thing to teach you something. “For the Lord God is a sun and shield: the Lord will give grace and glory: no good thing will He withhold from them who walk uprightly”, Psalm 84:11. Suffering harm, lack, need, sickness, death or disease IS not in the plan of God. If He needs to teach you something He will use His word to do so. “All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness”. 2 Timothy 3:17.
What we need to do settle in our hearts that God really is interested in giving us the best that He has. Learn that when we have asked we receive, not something evil, but the goodness of God. “Ask, and it will given to you: seek, and you will find; knock, and the door will be opened to you. For it is always he who asks that receives, he who seeks finds, and he who knocks that has the door opened to him. What man is there among you, who if his son shall ask him for bread will offer him a stone? Or if the son shall ask him for a fish will offer him a snake? If you then, imperfect as you are, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in Heaven give good things to those who ask Him! Matthew 7:7-11, (Weymouth New Testament).
“Surely this must cover only the things of spiritual significance, after all the gravity of every situation requires a spiritual solution”, sounds like unbelief to me. That fact is that all things are covered in this kind of prayer, “And all things, whatsoever ye shall ask in prayer, believing, ye shall receive” Matthew 21:22. Now remember of course that we have residence in Christ, therefore all things that we will ask will be those things that will bring the Father glory. Healing, prosperity can be asked for, God receives no glory when are lives are locked in poverty or sickness.
“Well maybe I can ask for something that is sinful then”, mocks the critic of faith. No, the key word in the verse is “believing”, no person can ever go to God asking for something sinful and believe that they will receive it, it is simply foolishness, like the critic.
“But God must put a limit on answering this kind of prayer requests, He surely does not want us get carried away with this thinking, right”. Nope, sorry wrong again, in fact God encourages us to think big, dream big, then He in return does beyond even that. “Now to him who, by (in consequence of) the [action of His] power that is at work within us, is able to [carry out His purpose and] do superabundantly, far over and above all that we [dare] ask or think-infinitely beyond our highest prayers, desires, thoughts, hopes or dreams. Ephesians 3:20 (Amplified New Testament).
It soon becomes apparent that only those who have been greatly deceived can truly believe the propagated lie, “God desires us to live a life far below His very best”. This false teaching [God wants you to learn from poverty, sickness and disease] has it’s roots in Hinduism and similar far eastern cults. Reject what man has taught and go with what the Word of God says. Always base your decisions on the Word, your heart will bring you confidence that God will supply, that is what faith is all about, confidence of the heart. “And hereby we know that we are of the truth, and shall assure our hearts before Him (by Loving actions). For if our condemn us, God is greater than our heart, and knoweth all things. Beloved, if our hearts condemn us not, then have we confidence toward God. And whatsoever we ask, we receive of Him, because we keep His commandments, and do those things that are pleasing in His sight”, 1 John 3:19-22. Which brings us back to faith as Hebrews 11:6 said, without faith it is impossible to please God.
Conditions of Acceptable Prayer #3 Pray In Sincerity
Sincerity: freedom from deceit, hypocrisy, duplicity, to be genuine, unadulterated and unimpaired.
It would seem that when one discusses prayer that it would not be necessary to encourage those partaking in the discussion to be sincere in their prayer’s. After all, prayer is offered to God, not someone that may be manipulated or deceived into granting a request. Yet many live lives locked away from God due to their failure to come to God in sincerity.
Once again we quote, “God is not interested in holy prayers, He is interested in honest prayers”. Today there are many who have the ability to pray long holy sounding prayers, but from within they pray nothing more than imprecatory prayers. What’s an “imprecatory prayer”, this a prayer used to curse or call down evil on another person. We have an example given to us in Luke. Luke 9:53-56, “And they did not receive Him, because His face was as though He would go to Jerusalem. And when His disciples James and John saw this, they said, Lord, wilt thou that we command fire to come down from heaven, and consume them, even as Elias did? But He turned and rebuked them and said, Ye know not what manner of spirit ye are of. For the Son of man is not come to destroy men’s lives, but to save them”.
James and John would have used what we call imprecatory prayer. The main purpose of this kind of prayer is to display the power of God for self gratification, God does not get involved in such stupidity. Many who pray these so called holy prayers are simply using the prayer as an opportunity to lecture or preach to others who may be listening. This is in fact better known as charismatic witchcraft, which of course has no value and certainly cannot be performed in sincerity.
One may ask, “don’t people who pray sincere prayers pray for long time periods”? Yes, many do but it is not how long you pray, but what is the value of the time spent in prayer. The sincere person does something that others do not, that is called praying from the heart. Deuteronomy 4:29, “But if from thence thou shalt seek the Lord thy God, thou shalt find Him, if thou shalt seek Him with all thy heart and with all thy soul”. The length of time spent seeking God is not relevant, it is the quality of that time that counts. Many people go to prayer, but as they pray their minds are thinking about one situation or another, their minds are not on whom they are praying to. In communication, God is not unlike any-other person, He wants us to listen to Him when He talks, He wants our attention when we are talking to Him. Just as we want the same from Him, so the amount of time is not as important as the quality of time.
Sincerity in prayer requires several things, all of which proceed from the heart, humility, integrity, truth, and love. 2 Chronicles 7:14, “If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves [humility], and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways [integrity]; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin [truth], and will heal their land [love]”.
“Shall humble themselves”. God knows the heart of all who come to Him, He desires that those who do approach Him will do so in humility. The above scripture is written not to those who do not know God but rather to those whom He has called His. He has placed His name upon them, but there is a problem, they have become prideful.
Proverbs 16:18, Pride goeth before destruction, and a haughty spirit before a fall”.
He states that they must humble themselves. Humility is not bowing down to the ground, to show God what a worm you may be. God does not see His creation (His children) as anything less than what His Word declares them to be. The act of bowing is an outward expression of the condition of yielding. Humility is the yielding of all that is proud or prideful to God. The humble are those who are 100% yielded to God.
Yielding is submission, we submit our desires, will and emotions to God, He in turn sees to it that we are given all that He promises in His Word. 1 Peter 5:6-7, “Humble yourselves therefore under the mighty hand of God, that He may exalt you in due time: Casting all your care upon Him; for He careth for you”. Some believe that God is not interested in rewarding any for submitting their life to His, yet this scripture says that we will be exalted when we walk in humility.
Our best example of any humbling themselves on behalf of others is Jesus. Philippians 2:5-11, (Weymouth New Testament), “Let this same disposition be in you which was in Christ Jesus. Although from the beginning He had the nature of God He did not reckon His equality with God a treasure to be tightly grasped. Nay, He stripped Himself of His glory, and took on Him the nature of a bondservant by becoming a man like other men. And being recognized as truly human, He humbled Himself and even stooped to die: yes, to die on a cross. It is in consequence of this that God has so highly exalted Him, and has conferred on Him the Name which is supreme above every other, in order that in the Name of Jesus every knee should bow, beings in heaven, of those on earth, and of those in the underworld, and every tongue should confess that JESUS CHRIST is LORD, to the glory of God the Father”. In humbling Himself He defeated the enemy giving life to all who would call upon Him as Lord and Saviour. In return He is exalted to highest place. Most would say that He had it all before He became man giving it all up, but there is one thing He did not have, and that was the reason He gave everything up. He did not have you and I, man was lost to Him, He had to give His life so that we could be His reward. You mean everything to Him, so much so that He gave His very life, what does He mean to you?
Scripture gives us many blessing for living a life of humility before God. One is redemption as discussed above. Another is honour, Proverbs 15:33, “The fear of the Lord is instruction of wisdom; and before honour is humility”. Through humility honour is coupled with riches and life, Proverbs 22:4, “By humility and the fear of the Lord are riches, and honour, and life.
Through humility we gain fellowship with God in the highest places, Isaiah 57:15, “For thus saith the high and lofty One that inhabiteth eternity, whose Name is Holy; I dwell in the high and holy place, with him also that is of a contrite and humble spirit, to revive the spirit of the humble, and to revive the heart of the contrite ones”.
It is the humble that gain the rest of their souls, Matthew 11:28-30, (Phillips), “Come unto me, all of you who are weary and over-burdened, and I will give you rest! Put on my yoke and learn of me. For I am gentle and humble in heart and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light”. Turning your burdens over to Jesus, and leaving them there will produce for you desired results. This means taking on a spirit of humility instead of being proud and saying, “No I’m going to work this out on my own”, that only will lead to disaster. Jesus will produce results causing your soul to be in complete rest.
It is those who operate in humility that will be those who achieve greatness, the proud may appear great but it is a delusion on their behalf. Have you ever notice true heros are those who are humble, they are not those of the Hollywood films, hero’s on screen, prideful deadbeats off. True humility will cause the person to be a servant of others, no not someone to walked upon, (Jesus was never walked upon by any), but someone who freely gives their life into others so that the others lives could become what they desire. Matthew 20:26-28, (Phillips), ” No, whoever among you who wants to be great must become your servant, and if he wants to first among you he must be your slave-just as the Son of Man has not come to be served but to serve, and give His life to set many others free”. Humility is the path to living a victorious life as a Christian.
Many understand that their lives are greater when they are in unity with God and the others around them, unity comes through the spirit of humility. Ephesians 4:1-3, (Phillips), “As the Lord’s prisoner, then, I beg you to live lives worthy of your high calling. Accept life with humility and patience, generously making allowances for each other because you love each other. Make your aim to be at one in the Spirit, and you will be bound together in peace. Check out your life, is there no peace, rest, contentment or answer to prayers, then there could be an area of pride that you may need to rid yourself of.
“Seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways”. Sincerity in prayer requires a life led by integrity, although this sounds like a need of repentance (which it is) it is more of a demand that His people live their lives in integrity. Integrity is; adherence to moral and ethical principals: soundness of moral character; honesty. It is through our integrity that we become established in our lives. As humility will bring peace, promises, rest and contentment, integrity establishes us in them. Psalm 41:11-12, “By this I know that thou favorest me, because mine enemy doth not triumph over me. And as for me, thou upholdest me in mine integrity, and settest me before Thy face for ever”. Repentance is but the first step of integrity.
What is absolutely necessary is that once we have set for ourselves a standard of life based upon the Word of God that we never compromise it for anything else. In order to establish these standards we must conform our lives to Christs. Whatever He is we must strive to become, we bear His family title in ourselves “Christian”. Therefore it is both our responsibility, and His, to see to it that live up to that royal family position. Romans 8:28-30, (Phillips), “Moreover we know that those who love God, who are called according to His plan, everything that happens fits into a pattern for good. For God, in His foreknowledge, chose them to bear the family likeness of His Son, that He might be the eldest of a family of many brothers. He chose them long ago; when the time He called them, He made them righteous in His sight, and then lifted them to the splendour of life as His own sons”.
Once you enter into the family, God has certain life patterns that He desire that we live within. His highest desire is that we live like Him. A life of integrity would be to imitate exactly what Jesus is and not jeopardize, endanger or do anything to discredit it. Ephesians 5:1-2, (Weymouths New Testament), ” Therefore be imitators of God, as His dear children. And live and act lovingly, as Christ also loved you and gave Himself up to death on our behalf as an offering and sacrifice to God, a fragrant odour”.
So how does this relate to prayer, simply this, are the words you are offering up to God a true representation of you, or are they something that you are using trying to make you look better than what you really are. God wants you to be you, and wants that you to patterned after Him. Hebrews 13:8, Jesus Christ, the same yesterday, today and forever”. He ever unchanging, yet He can except change. The change He excepts is that of our changing into what He is. Integrity would never allow change for anything that is less than what He is. We put forth His word in our lives and then we stand upon it, ever settling it in our hearts, He performs it causing the change to be completed. Jeremiah 1:12, (Lamas), “Then the Lord said to me, You have well seen; for I will hasten my word to perform it”.
In order to incorporate integrity into our prayer lives we must live it. To live it, we will do several things so that it is constantly before us. Even when faced with situations that require wisdom that you have not yet gained, cling on to integrity, it will be your defence until knowledge is given and a decision made. Job 2:9-10, “Then said his wife unto him, Doest thou still retain thine integrity? Curse God and die. But he said unto her, Thou speakest as one of the foolish women speaks. What? shall we receive good at the hand of God, and shall not receive evil? In all this did not Job sin with his lips”. Notice that Job did not say that evil was from the hand of God as some teach, just that he had received it. So as far as Job was concerned he would maintain his integrity until he knew exactly what was taking place. The result of this action of not backing off his integrity was that when it was all over he received twice as much.
We must allow ourselves to come under the judgement of the Lord. For His judgement is true and just, and if we will heed it, it will develop in us a lifestyle of integrity. For once God has spoken and we have performed we will never look back, or be tempted by the things of this world. Psalm 7:8, (Lamas), The Lord shall judge the people; judge me O Lord, according to my righteousness and according to the integrity that is in me”.
Once we have been established in our integrity, allow it to be your guide. We are often told the “still small voice of the Holy Spirit will be our guide”, this true, but before even the Holy Spirit will give direction the integrity that we have established from the Word of God will lead us first. Proverbs 11:3, The integrity of the upright shall guide them; but the perverseness of transgressors shall destroy them”. It is, after all, the Holy Spirit that will lead us into integrity.
The very best summation of the person of the highest integrity can be found in, Psalm 15, “Lord, who shall abide in thy tabernacle? Who shall dwell in thy Holy hill? He that walketh uprightly, and worketh righteousness, and speaketh truth in his heart. He that backbiteth not with his tongue, nor doeth evil to his neighbour, nor taketh up a reproach against his neighbour. In whose eyes a vile person is contemned; but he honoureth them that fear the Lord. He that sweareth to his own hurt and changeth not. He that putteth not out his money to usury, nor taketh reward against the innocent. He that doeth theses things shall never be moved”. This the sincere person, this the person who may go to God and know that his prayer shall answered. This is not something that we work to obtain, rather it is the life that we have already obtained in Jesus therefore we live it.
“Then will I hear from heaven, and forgive their sin”. In prayer we must live and speak the truth. Why is so much of this writing dealing with lifestyle? because as a Christian our entire life is offered up to God as a prayer itself.
Just as we walk in humility and integrity, we walk also in truth. Truth is; conformity to fact or reality. What reality is there in living a life that below the standard that has been set for us by God? None. What facts are there that are contrary to the Word of God? None. If anything or anyone says that this or that is truth and it is contrary to what the Word of God says then it is a lie and it must be rejected with all the energy one may have.
We call the Word of God truth because it is the tool with which we are brought into the reality of freedom, the reality of the kingdom of God, the reality of the Zoe life of God.
Truth is not common sense, for what is not common to man makes no sense to him. It only becomes truth to him once to has discovered it and made it a reality to himself. We measure truth by the Word as our standard, therefore truth must be the same as God, unchanging. Malachi 3:6, “For I am the Lord, I change not”.
So what then are the standards to which truth attaches itself? They are many yet through them all truth becomes the life that we enjoy most. For it is through truth that even gain our life from, this truth has a name, it is Jesus. John 14:6, (Wuest), “Jesus says to him, I alone, in contradistinction to all others, am the road and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me”. We then must derive our entire lives from within Him as He is the truth that we require to live. It is the continual state of abiding or living within Him that creates our lifestyle of continual prayer. Offering to Him His own Words back as prayer, which is the certainty that brings the answers. John 15:7-8, (Wuest), “If you maintain a living communion with me and my words are at home in you, I command you to ask, at once, something for yourself, whatever your heart desires, and it will become yours. In this my Father is glorified, namely, that you are bearing much fruit. So shall you become my disciples”.
Truth coupled with many of the other attributes of God (placed within us) will always bring us into a realm of victory. Integrity will never allow us to back away from that which is true, in like manner the other attributes will perform as well.
Mercy & Truth, is a roadway that truth leads the righteous down. Psalm 25:10, “All the paths of Lord are mercy and truth unto such as keep His covenant and His testimonies. Mercy is outward expression of compassion, or it is the tool which is used to meet the need of the needy. Truth never denies the power of mercy, nor does it ever turn mercy away from the needful. In prayer we receive the mercy of God into our lives, for ourselves and to enable us to give it out to others. Mercy is said to be pity, but it far greater. Pity may only cause one to experience sympathy, where mercy pushes one forth into action, equipping the individual to live in victory and resolving the situation.
Pray In Sincerity
Kindness & Truth, kindness is best described as; compassionate usefulness. 2 Samuel 2:6, (Lamas), “Now may the Lord show kindness and truth to you”. Compassionate usefulness cannot be given outside of truth, if one is giving it must be completed in such a manner as there are no other motives other than that of the giving. To be useful to someone is not just to be there in a need, hoping that they may give something in return, but just for the pleasure of giving. The rewards of giving will always come, it is God who is responsible to see to it that they come not the recipient of the kindness. We show kindness in prayer by allowing ourselves to be open to any request that the Lord may ask of us. A synonym of kindness is thoughtfulness, exactly what God wants us to be offering up to Him during our prayer time. Our thoughts upon Him, His upon us. Sowing consideration, we reap kindness, we earn respect, making our connection with God in kindness, none of which may be accomplished without truth.
Goodness, Righteousness & Truth, Ephesians 5:9, (Weymouth), “Live and act as sons of Light-for the effect of the Light is seen in every kind of goodness, uprightness and truth-and learn in your experiences what is pleasing to the Lord”. How is that one may be seen as good and upright yet not walk in truth? They can’t. Every act of benevolence, and every act of righteousness can only be accomplished through truth. Is the thief who gives into the hungry by means of thievery seen as a good and upright person? Of course not, they are still perceived as a thief, they’re punishment of restoration of 7 fold is still applicable. (Proverbs 6:30-31) The key factor of goodness and righteousness is truth, anything that is performed as good and right but done deceitfully will be corrupted in the final analysis. If we offer prayer to God based on our goodness or righteousness then we offer corrupt prayer. We must base all that we do on Jesus’ goodness and His righteousness, for this in Him is a perfect prayer.
Meekness & Truth, Psalm 45:4, (Lamas), “Your majesty is triumphant; ride upon the word of truth and meekness and righteousness; your law is upheld by reverence for your right hand”. Meekness is humility in action toward man, from which we derive the word saintly. A saint is a humble person who has placed meekness into His lifestyle. More importantly it is the “inward grace of the soul” into which no man may view but from which God is seen in all. It is this inward grace that gives God pleasure [for it equips us to accept His plan for us] and it is from this meekness that enables such a one to become one of those who will “inherit the earth”. Another description would be forbearance, or the act of standing ones ground in love. Meekness is gentleness, doing what must be done, but doing it with a moderate temperament. Truth allows meekness to take it’s stand, forgiving and giving to all who may require it. Truth coupled with meekness brings you to the Majesty on High, in grace…..triumphantly.
Peace & Truth, 2 Kings 20:19, “Good is the word of the Lord which thou hast spoken. And he said, Is it not good, if peace and truth be in my days”? The very key to living a peaceful life is to live it by the power of truth. When that which is true is spoken forth there is never a need to back away from it. There is harmony, tranquillity, rest and contentment when we live through the power of peace and truth. The Greek word for peace is, “eirene”, which means: peace, quietness, rest, literally and figuratively “prosperity”. 2 Thessalonians 3:16, “Now the Lord of peace Himself give you peace always by all means. The Lord be with you all”. Paul’s conclusion to this book of the bible still stands today, The Lord of peace will grant such powerful peace to those who are sincere with Him in prayer.
The power of sincerity in prayer is brought to it’s fullest through the these assisting elements of truth, mercy, kindness, goodness, righteousness, meekness and peace. We need but keep in mind that we have chosen this kind of life for ourselves but it has been chosen for us by God. Can anyone truly believe that the life that God has chosen for us would be one of disaster, sick, poverty, lack or any other such things? Of course not, God has chosen you to be fruitful and this will be accomplished by faith in Him, shown forth in the sincerity of prayer. John 15:16, “Ye have not chosen me, but I have chosen you, and ordained you, that ye should bring forth fruit, and your fruit should remain: that whatsoever ye shall ask of the Father in my name, He may give it you”.
“And heal their land”, speaks to us of the love God has for us. God is so much in love with His creation that nothing Satan could do could stop Him from seeing to it that man was brought back to Him. Things means very little to God, He can always just create more things. However once He has created you, you became the last one exactly like yourself that God will ever make. There is only one of each person, that is why we are called individuals, that is why we are so very precious to God. There could never be another you, if you were to be lost and go to hell, you become lost to God forever, it would grieve Him. That is why He gave the only thing that could insure that you would ever be with Him, His Son. That is love.
The death and resurrection of Jesus is the only plan by which restoration of fellowship with God is accomplished. God basically said “I love you so much, all that I have I give you”. What is your response to that love? Many millions reject it, thus they are forever lost, never becoming what they could have been in God, never being, just existing until the ugly hand of death removes them far from God’s great love.
There is a day coming that “no more tears will be shed in heaven”. It is not our tears that are being shed, once we obtain our heavenly life there is no need for us to shed tears. The tears are the tears of God for those who are forever lost to Him. Why does God delay in commanding Jesus to return, simply because He wants all to come to Him gaining eternal life. He wants none to perish, if they should it is their own decision. His love truly is immeasurable.
How does one love God and others? The same way God loves us…..exceedingly. Psalm 119:167, “My soul hath kept thy testimonies: and I love them exceedingly”. This exceeding love is accomplished by our loving the same way Jesus loved us. John 15:12, This is my commandment that ye love one another, as I have loved you”.
We hear so much on the topic of love, how to love, when and where to love, what is love? You would think after all the teaching every person on the face of the earth would be the epitome of love itself. However most people have never experienced love of any kind in their life, regardless of the amount of love that has been taught. Why? Because of the lack of sincerity not only in the teaching of love but in the action thereof as well.
Sincerity is lost in love because of the lack of understanding that most have in it, yet God say’s have the “Agape” kind of love. As much as we have heard from the scripture dealing on love, hear it again for the first time. Let us study together the love chapter of the Bible this will give us a working knowledge of “agape love”.
1 Corinthians 13:4-8a, “Charity suffereth long, and is kind: charity eniveth not; charity vaunteth not itself, is not puffed up. Doth not behave itself unseemly, seeketh not her own, is not easily provoked, thinketh no evil; Rejoiceth not in iniquity, but rejoiceth in truth; Beareth all things, believeth all things, hopeth all things, endureth all things. Charity never faileth”.
1) Verse 4, suffers long means this love is patience, it is nonresistant love, love that is not in a hurry to accomplish anything, it has learned to wait on what God wants done.
2) Verse 4, love is kind, kindness, love in performance, this is a useful kind of love, a love that one may be assured of never ending. It is a love that all may rely upon no matter what.
3) Verse 4, love envieth not, magnanimity, love while living, magnanimity is: generous in forgiving an insult or injury, free from petty resentfulness or vindictiveness. High minded, noble. Proceeding from or revealing nobility of mind, character, or spirit.
4) Verse 4, love vaunteth not itself is not puffed up, submissiveness, love camouflaged, this is love within love, in other words, this is love that is instilled into another regardless of who or what the other is.
5) Verse 5, does not behave itself unseemly, civility, love in audience, love is the same whether or not it is being watched. It is ever changing and improving so that people are always amazed by it’s power.
6) Verse 5, seeks not her own, altruistic, love of substance, it is the quintessence of love (loves in it’s most purest and most essential form).
7) Verse 5, is not easily provoked, thinks no evil, tranquillity, love in integrity, love that is at peace and in truth in all things.
8) Verse 6, Rejoiceth not in iniquity, but rejoiceth in truth, honourable, love in behaviour, hates iniquity for it brings a separation of love, but will stand for what is pure, true and right.
9) Verse 7, Beareth all things, believeth all things, hopeth all things, endureth all things, forbearance, love in affirmation, love that will go through it all with God and have yourself come into victory with Him.
Verses 4-6 deals with the love that man will share with other men, however verse 7 is the love that man shares with God. Misunderstanding this verse, many have used it to misuse and abuse others in the body of Christ, especially those in ministry. They believe that it is “their right” to do those things which are ungodly to others and the godly must except them without question. The abuser himself (herself) clearly is not operating within love’s power themselves.
A clearer picture of the power of love is given in the Phillips New Testament in Modern English from which we now quote; “This love of which I speak is slow to lose patience-it looks for a way of being constructive. It is not possessive: it is neither anxious to impress nor does it cherish inflated ideas of its own importance. Love has good manners and does not pursue selfish advantage. It is not touchy. It does not keep account of evil or gloat over wickedness of other people. On the contrary, it shares the joy of those who live in truth. Love knows no limits to its endurance, no end to its trust, no fading of its hope; it can outlast anything. Love never fails”.
“Love never fails”, It is the sincerity of prayer that brings love into position of never failing. God knows the limits that He has placed upon His love for you [there are none], sincerity of prayer keeps that flow of love happening between God and yourself. To be openly honest with God takes courage, frankness, repentance and a unwavering love. In return God see’s to it that you never fail.
Agape kind of love is not something that is controlled through emotions but rather is a unchangeable decision on the behalf of the giver that they will operate in love. It is the kind of love that can only be identified by the actions
of the persons involved, ie. God’s love toward man, it can only be seen once man enters into that love. From outside it appears as a long list of do’s and don’ts and can’s and cannot’s. Within it is a lifestyle of deliverance, health, prosperity and preservation we the loved know it as salvation.
Scripture tells of another kind of love which in the Greek is called, “phileo”. Phileo love is the outward tender affection given to another. What the intent of 1 Corinthians 13:4-8a is both apage and phileo love are to be used in our walk as a Christian. The unwavering, unchangeable love that can be readily seen by the affection displayed for one and another. This is the sincerity of love. This the sincerity of prayer.
Condition #4 Pray In Righteousness
This is often a misunderstood topic, righteousness has been past off as many differing things, the greatest being that of personal works that assist in attaining the favour of God and giving assurance that upon death one receives the reward of gaining heaven. Frankly speaking, works righteousness does not work. There is nothing you can do to buy your way into the kingdom of God. God and His kingdom are not up for sale, your works are but filthy rags when compared to that which Jesus Christ has performed. Isaiah 64:6, “But we are all as a unclean thing, and all our righteousness are as filthy rags”.
What we must gain first is an understanding of what righteousness is: righteousness is an old English word for rightwiseness or right doings. The Greek word for righteousness is, “dikaiosune”, which means: equity of character.
Equity is that which is fair and just. So righteousness is the ability in ones character, constitution, or nature of the qualities of being fair, equitable, impartial, unprejudiced, honest, honourable, scrupulous, ethical and lawful. Once one examines themselves in righteousness they must come to the conclusion that they cannot in themselves attain such a lifestyle. That there is great need for something more in our life than that which we on our own can offer or perform. That was part of the reason that Jesus came and offered Himself up on our behalf. Therefore the righteous of God must be those who are of faith. Romans 1:16-17, “For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to everyone that believeth; to the Jew first, and also the Greek. For therein is the righteousness of God revealed from faith to faith: as it is written, The just shall live by faith”.
So then to live righteous we must do so through faith, yes we may be called the just and the righteous, but we cannot do so if we walk outside of the realm of faith. Faith then is the first and most vital key to living the life of righteousness for without faith none of the remaining keys can work.
To obtain righteousness, we live in faith, but faith in more than just our own works or knowledge, it is the faith of Jesus Christ in our own lives. Romans 3:22-26, “Even the righteousness of God which is by faith of Jesus Christ unto all them that believe: for there is no difference: For all of have sinned and come short of the glory of God. Being justified freely by His grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus: Whom God hath set forth to be a propitiation through faith in His blood, to declare His righteousness for the remission of sins that are past, through the forbearance of God; To declare, I say, at this time His righteousness: that He might be just, and the justifier of him that believeth in Jesus”. So then our faith is within the works that Jesus did for us. Our righteousness can be held only within the content of the works of Jesus. We were all brought into righteousness upon this bases. All have sinned, this alone is sufficient to keep us away from the life of righteousness, but Christ has through His work brought us into righteousness.
We soon delight ourselves in the work of Christ and therein comes our desire to do what is right. Therein we choose God and do that which is pleasing to Him. Our life of righteousness is for that one reason alone, the pleasing of God, which of course can only be done through faith. Hebrews 11:6, “But without faith it is impossible to please Him: for he that cometh to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of them that diligently seek Him”. Righteousness and faith are inseparable, through faith in Jesus we may live righteously thus pleasing God.
Why do we want to please God, isn=t He the one that gave us all the laws that we have to keep and that we can not do, causing us to lose our righteousness? That is still the kind of questioning that keeps one from living righteously. The reason God brought His law to man was not that man would be shown as a sinner, but rather that God would be seen as a great God of love. For all the commandments of God are but to keep the creation He loves most from harms way. We call Jehovah God, “Our Father”, for it is the Father’s heart to do to His children what is best for them. How many fathers desire to harm their children? None, a father wants the very best for his children therefore he instructs them in ways of righteousness, or he gives them certain rules by which they are to live by. If they heed their fathers voice no harm comes their way, thus pleasing their father. The Father God has done exactly the same in what He requests of us. Following after His requests is called living by faith and that is imputed to us as righteousness. Romans 4:1-8, “What shall we say then that Abraham our father, as pertaining to the flesh, hath found? For if Abraham were justified by works, he hath whereof to glory; but not before God. For what saith the scripture? Abraham believed God, and it was counted unto him for righteousness. Now to him that worketh is the reward not reckoned of grace, but of debt. But to him that worketh not, but believeth on Him that justifeth the ungodly, his faith is counted for righteousness. Even as David also describeth the blessedness of the man, unto whom God imputeth righteousness without works. Saying, Blessed are they whose iniquities are forgiven, and whose sins are covered. Blessed is the man to whom the Lord will not impute sin”.
How then do we gain this righteousness, if it cannot come through what we do, we may never be able to lay hold of it? Not so! Righteousness will come unto you in exactly the same way as does salvation. Romans 10:8-11, “But what saith it? The word is nigh thee, even in thy mouth, and in thy heart: that is, the word of faith, which we preach. That if thou shall confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thy heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shall be saved. For with thy heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation. For scripture saith, Whosoever believeth on him shall not be ashamed”. Faith expressed from a heart of righteousness through our words and our lifestyle will be the evidence of the righteousness of Jesus Christ living within us.
We cannot do this of or in ourselves, in our body, or through our flesh. We must accomplish this through the ability of the spirit of God. Romans 8:8-11, “So then they that are in the flesh cannot please God. But ye are not in the flesh, but in the Spirit, if so be that the Spirit of God dwell in you. Now if man hath not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of His. And if Christ be in you, the body is dead because of sin; but the Spirit is life because of righteousness. But if the Spirit of Him that raise up Jesus from the dead dwell in you, He that raise up Christ from the dead shall also quicken your mortal bodies by His Spirit that dwelleth in you. God’s Spirit the Holy Spirit living in mortality yet the making the mortal righteous.
Righteousness By Faithfulness
Being made righteous by the faith Christ Jesus energizes us into action for Him, as we are of faith we show ourselves faithful. Our works are as filthy rags yet our faithfulness is our offering of self to God into righteousness. So then righteousness is best seen by God and others by faithfulness.
Seven areas of faithfulness are:
Being faithful in the days that God calls holy.
Embracing those things that pleasing to God.
Living in the covenant of God.
Joining yourself to the Lord.
Ministering to the Lord.
Loving the name of Lord.
Being faithful in all responsibilities, (natural, mental, and spiritual).
Isaiah 56:1-5, “Thus saith the Lord, Keep ye judgement, and do justice: for my salvation is near to come, and righteousness to be revealed. Blessed is the man that doeth this, and the son of man that layeth hold on it; That keepeth the sabbath from polluting it, and keepeth his hand from doing and evil. Neither let the son of the stranger, that hath joined himself to the Lord, speaking and saying, The Lord hath utterly sperated me from his people: neither let the eunuch say, Behold I am a bare tree. For thus saith the Lord unto the eunuchs that keepeth my sabbaths, and choose the things that please me, and take hold of my covenant; Even unto them will I give my house and within my walls a place and a name better than of sons and daughters: I will give them an everlasting name, that shall not be cut off”.
Condition 5 Pray With Forgiveness
Mark 11:25-26, “And when you 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 heaven forgive your trespasses”.
One of the most forgotten keys to answered prayer is this, the principal of forgiveness. All too often those who have harmed or hurt us are quickly lost from our prayer lives. “They hurt me, I can’t pray for them”, yet dying on the cross Jesus said, “Father forgive them”. To the very end Jesus choose to forgive. It very well may be one of the hardest choices we will be faced with will be that of having to forgive someone who has cost us and hurt our hearts. Through granting it we gain personal forgiveness by God, without it we receive personal judgement by ourselves.
Allow me to paraphrase this verse, “And when you pray, standing, knelling or even sitting, forgive, no matter what anyone has done to harm you: absolve, acquit, pardon and exonerate them. For by doing this you will be found free from all that you have done that is wrong, pardoned by your Father, the one with all of heavens power backing Him to see to it that you are forgiven. But be warned that which you will not forgive, absolve, acquit, pardon or exonerate will be charged and held against you on your account. For how you forgive another, God also will forgive you in like fashion and after the same manner. Your forgiveness is held in the balance by your forgiving. Your Father with all of heavens backing will withhold your forgiveness just as you have withheld another’s”. (Ron Kalenuik)
For the lack of forgiving, many hold themselves within their own bondage’s. They do not realize that to retain a hurt only deepens it within themselves. In reality the one who has caused the hurt very well may have more control over their victim after they have left the scene because of this. The continual dwelling on the hurt keeps that one from seeking and serving God to their very best. They hold their hurt in, meditating upon it, causing it to grow larger than it actually was, possibly building on it until it becomes all that they think of, ruining their lives. This kind of meditation leads to many differing sins, no the least of which is idolatry. For if they allow a hurt to take control of their life until it is all that they think of, they have lost God, replacing Him, making Him secondary or worse to their own hurting feelings. Had they chosen forgiveness, then the one capable of healing the broken hearted might have been able to do His work. As it is, they chose to retain their hurt, which will become their sin as well.
It is not unusual that the unforgiving become bitter, jealous, envious and spiteful people. Unforgiveness is a cancer that eats away at the heart of man until his soul is fragmented so badly that they become hard, callous and cruel.
Judgement, condemnation and forgiveness all work arm in arm with each other. When we hurt some one or they hurt us we judge them, and usually we find them lacking and therefore guilty. Once we have placed them under our sentence we meet out what we consider just punishment, we condemn them to our sentence, where they will remain until we choose to forgive. However as long as they remain there, so do we.
Luke 6:37-38, “Judge not, and ye shall not be judged: condemn not, and ye shall not be condemned: forgive, and you will be forgiven. Give and it shall be given unto to you: good measure, pressed down, and shaken together, and running over, shall men give into your bosom. For with the same measure that ye mete withal it shall measured to you again”.
We truly are locked to our decision as to whether we forgive or not. Luke is explaining to us that the power to receive from God through men is held consideration of whether or not we do forgive. How much forgiveness we grant is the same quantity that is brought back to us. Don’t forgive, don’t expect to be granted forgiveness, it is that simple. Notice that men give into your bosom or your heart, Jesus is teaching us that when we choose to forgive we protect our hearts. Others will give into our hearts so that we may have and over abundance of love and forgiveness for them. Retain unforgiveness and place the heart in jeopardy.
Forgiveness is not a attribute that is granted just during times of benevolence, it is a way of life. One must continually live therein. There are three characteristics that mark the life of a Christian, they are; love, acceptance and forgiveness. All require great effort on the behalf of the one living the Christian life, but greater still are the rewards of living therein.
As we have already seen forgiveness protects ourselves as much as it frees the one who requires it. As both live within the power of forgiveness a union is formed, this is not a dual union but rather a union of three. God, yourself and the forgiven. It is the exact example that Jesus gave to us. Jehovah, Jesus, and me, so to speak. Jesus being the centre of all, because of this union of three, forgiveness is offered in faith rather than through emotions. If one relies on feeling right or feeling good about another before they will forgive, then they will never forgive.
Keep in mind that forgiveness is tied into your prayer life and that without it no prayer would be answered. Faith will not work in an unforgiving heart and where there is no faith it is not possible to please God.
Much is made of getting even when another does us wrong, but that is the thinking of the world not of God, it is certain to bring one into disfavour with God for there is no faith in revenge. 1 John 5:4-5, “For whatsoever is born of God overcometh the world: and this is the victory that overcometh the world even our faith. Who is he that overcometh the world but he that believeth that Jesus is the Son of God? Set aside all need of revenge, live the higher life of forgiveness. No hurt is too big to be forgiven, no gap to large that can not be bridged by the power of forgiveness. Unforgiveness is a sickness and a violation of a New Testament law bringing one into sin. So then release yourself, be whole and well, forgive and be forgiven.
As much as we are hurt by people, it is not people who are our enemies, they may be nothing more than puppets of Satan living a life full of strife. No one who names Jesus Christ as their saviour need walk in the way of the strifeful but can have complete freedom by choosing to forgive each time a strifeful situation may arise. By ridding all strife in our lives we enable ourselves to fellowship with even the most vial of those who have hurt us. 1 John 1:7-9, “But if walk in the light, as He is in the light, we have fellowship one with another, and the blood of Jesus Christ His Son cleanseth us from all sin. If we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and cleanse from all unrighteousness”. Thus operating in forgiveness defeats the plan, purposes and pursuits of Satan in our life.
Unforgiveness will bring; frustration, aggressive violent behaviour, insecurity, loneliness, uncertainty, resentment and emptiness. However forgiveness establishes one in; success, submission to God’s favour, confidence, friendship, assurance, and completion. All that matters is Christ Jesus, He can and will heal the broken hearted, but His healing salve is forgiveness.
You can make your life fizzle or sizzle! It depends on your choice to forgive or to retain another’s hurt. Forgiving will be the evidence by which your love will be seen and established. 1 John 4:4&7-11, “Ye are of God, little children, and have overcome them: because greater is He that is you, than he that is in the world. Beloved let us love one another: for love is of God; and everyone that loveth is born of God, and knoweth God. He that loveth not knoweth not God; for God is love. In this was manifest the love of God toward us, because that God sent His only begotten Son into world, that we might live through Him. Herein is love, not that we loved God, but that He loved us, and sent His Son to be the propitiation for our sins. Beloved, if God so loved us, we ought also to love one another”.
Condition 6 Pray The Will Of God
Many do not understand that they can pray the will of God, instead they complete their prayers with, “If it be thy will”. What is promised in the Word is our assurance that it is the will of God, to qualify a prayer with If it be thy will is to deny that God can grant it, and to reject what Jesus has paid for upon the cross. Most would simply say that they don’t know the will of God in a certain situation, they have not gone to His Word then and found out what He has said regarding their circumstance.
Look toward the prayer that Jesus taught as an example of praying to God. Matthew 6:9b-13, “Our Father which art in heaven, Hallowed be thy name. Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done in earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread. And forgive us our debts, as we have forgiven our debtors. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil: For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, forever, Amen”.
What appears like a simple statement has throughout the centuries confused and perplexed man. How could the will of God be accomplished here on earth when there is so much evil happening? How is it that we say that God took our babies, made us sick, or caused us to go without, and still we believe that when we get to heaven none of these things will take place? God does not change, Malachi 3:6, “I am the Lord, I change not”. Either He is the God of good or He is the God of evil, the decision will lie with you, you choose the type of God you would have, which will you serve?
The statement is, “Thy will be done in earth as it is in heaven“, we must therefore conclude that what is happening here now, will also happen when we get to heaven. If this be so, do you really want to go to such a place? Why would anyone want to continue to live the same in heaven as they do now? Well of course no-one would, and that is not the plan of God for us to do so when we do arrive in our heavenly place.
However just as it is not the plan of God to so then, it is not the plan of God to so now.
God’s intent is that what is taking place in the heavenlies would be exactly the same in the earth now.
We must give closer examination to this verse if we are truly going to enjoy God’s best long before we arrive in heaven. After all the verse does say, “in earth as it is in heaven”.
These are Jesus’ words, no man has made them up, nor is any-other able to take from them, they are eternal.
So how do we accomplish this “will of God” in our lives. Look at Romans 12:1-2, (Weymouth New Testament), “I plead with you therefore, brethren, by the compassions of God, to present all your faculties to Him as a living and holy sacrifice acceptable to Him. This with you will be an act of reasonable worship. And do not follow the customs of this present age, but be transformed by the entire renewal of your minds, so that you may learn by experience what God’s will is-that will which is good and beautiful and prefect”. What we learn from this passage of scripture alone will cause us to settle it in our hearts once and for all that God’s will is prosperity. Within these two scripture verses we are given the knowledge as how to live in God’s will forever. So lets examine them, learn from them and never allow them to depart.
First we must, “present all your faculties to Him”. Give God everything you have, your thoughts become His, your desires become His, your emotions become His, you are presenting or holding nothing back for everything that makes you, you become his. This of course is not easy but if we will follow the pattern set out for us then we will achieve God’s will in our lives.
The King James says, “present our bodies”, but if all we offer to God is our bodies then the most important parts that make us beings will be kept back from God. This is a more accurate translation, it reveals that God wants more than just a body that will die and return to dust. He wants our souls and spirits as well, so that He may change them from worthless into glorious, from dead into living. The request is not unreasonable, as we make the same demands upon God. If you desire everything from God then you too must be willing to give up everything. God gave His very best, His Son Jesus, so that you might gain from God all that heaven may offer. So then we too must be ready to give God our very best.
Secondly we must present these faculties to Him as, “a living and holy sacrifice”. What could this possible mean? Simply, we are to cleanse ourselves, spirit, soul and body. Holiness is living a sanctified life before God. It may easier understood by saying that we separate our spirits, soul and bodies from the things of the world and we attach ourselves to the things of the Word, or of God. It is the course of life set for us by God and toward which we strive to attain.
2 Corinthians 3:18, “But we all, with open face beholding as in a glass the glory of the Lord, are changed into the same image from glory to glory, even as by the Spirit of the Lord”. The intention of God is that we are changed into His glory. We must keep in mind that within the glory of God there is no poverty, no sickness, no disease, no death. God’s glory can only offer to us life in it’s fullest, which is prosperity, which is living in the will of God.
The fact is that even the word, “changed” will reveal to us that promise, it is the Greek word “metamorphoo” from which we get the word metamorphose, meaning transfigured. Have you ever witnessed a caterpillar transfigured into a butterfly, from something ugly into something beautiful. This is the same transfiguration sanctification will bring you into. In the world there is ugliness, go through the metamorphose of God and come through cleansed and beautiful. 2 Corinthians 7:1, “Having therefore these promises, dearly beloved, let us cleanse ourselves from all filthiness of the flesh and spirit, perfecting holiness in the fear of God”. By our choosing to cleanse out the filth we will walk in holiness.
Next, once we have cleansed ourselves we present ourselves as, “acceptable to Him”. To be acceptable is to be: believable, credible, fiduciary [to be a trustee or guardian], plausible, trustworthy. We may sum all these up with one definition: to be pleasing.
We must never give into the works of the flesh, Galatians 5:19-21, “Now the works of the flesh are manifest, which are these; adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lasciviousness, idolatry, witchcraft, hatred, variance, emulations, wrath, strife, seditions, heresies, envyings, murders, drunkenness, revellings, and such like: of which I tell you before, as I have also told you in times past, that they which do such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God”. To do these we put our entire lives a risk, there can certainly be no entering into the prosperity of God, for in doing these we cannot be pleasing unto God, certainly we are not acceptable to Him. How then can we be fulfilling His will if we live such lives? We cannot.
It is time for the church of God to return to calling sin, sin. Forget what the world is saying is politically correct, and begin doing that which is correct. We have become so involved with human rights that we have forgotten to do what is right. The world is full of lost and dying people looking to God for salvation. It must be presented to them from the church of God, it was to the church that the Bible was given. It is to the church that scripture such as 2 Chronicles 7:14 applies, “If my people, which are called by My Name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways: then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land”.
In order to do the will of God, we must be found walking in the Spirit of God. Galatians 5:22-25, “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, faith, meekness, temperance: against such there is no law. And they that are Christ’s have crucified the flesh with the affections and lusts. If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit”. This is the path to being acceptable and pleasing with God.
We must not forget that in all that we do, it is done through faith. God looks for faith in every breath that we take, without faith we are either living in fear or just drifting along, neither of which will be helpful to us. Hebrews 11:6, “But without faith it is impossible to please Him: for he that cometh to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of them that diligently seek Him”.
We found that Paul say’s in Romans 12:1, “This with you will be an act of reasonable worship”. Some may think that living this kind of sin free life is unreasonable, that they just can’t do it. However Paul says that it is reasonable worship, the key to living a clean and holy life he gives in two words, reasonable worship. When we live a life of worship, we enter into the most holy place of God, if then we are there can any of the outside worlds ugliness affect us, not at all.
It was David King of Israel that exposed this secret to us, we should then live in it. Psalm 34:1, “I will bless the Lord at all times: His praise shall continually be in my mouth”.
Living in continual praise and worship is to be looking toward Him during every moment of our lives, the very best and the worse. This is exactly what He seek and desires from us.
Those who have cleansed their lives and have entered into worship serving God will find Him to be everything that they could ever want, need or desire. Praise will lead to trust, trust to fellowship, fellowship to communion, communion to praise. Somewhere within that cycle God always meets the requirements that we place upon Him. Psalm 62:8, “Trust in Him at all times; ye people, pour out your heart to Him: God is a refuge for us”. A refuge is: a escape, shelter, sanctuary or even a resort. Through our trust He becomes all these as we require them.
Returning back to Romans 12:2, we find our next area that we look to improving. Paul says, “And do not follow the customs of this present age”, in the King James it says, “be not conformed to this world”. We are not to adapt, agree, comply, yield or accommodate to anything that world has to offer. If it is contrary to the plan and Word of God as to our living a holy life we must be quick to reject it. Many agree that such things as illicit sex, drugs, alcohol, theft and murder must be rejected. Yet it goes much deeper than this, we must set for ourselves the very highest standards, we must decide that if it is what the Word says then we will never exchange it for something temporal, like money made in a borderline ethical business deal.
Paul continues our metamorphose by telling us to “be transformed by the entire renewal of your minds”. Renewing our minds can only be accomplished through one means, that is the Word of God. When we live our lives centred in the Word we find that all required victory is easily come by. Departing from the Word results in departing from God, when we live outside of God we must live inside the realm of Satan. God has more to offer than the devil, therefore remain in God. Ephesians 4:23-24, “And be renewed in the spirit of your mind; And that ye put on the new man, which after God is created in righteousness and true holiness”. We begin to think differently, what was attractive in the world is no longer, what was never appealing from the word of God now becomes life sustaining.
The result of this metamorphose is “that you may learn by experience what God’s will is-that will which is good and beautiful and prefect”. Your life in God gives you the experience that you require to live in God’s will. Once having accomplished these we will then know the will of God for us in every circumstance. Not only know it, but also have proved it. In proving it we affirm it to be so, we ascertain it as so, then we demonstrate it establishing it in our hearts, finding it to be good, beautiful and prefect.
It is for this reason that we never pray, “if it be thy will”. If we are walking in light of scripture, we are walking in the will of God, never lacking or doubting where or what God’s will may be.
Thy Will Be Done
Returning now to the Lord’s prayer, Matthew 6:9, “Thy will be done in earth as it is in heaven”. The will of God can be obtained in all things when we approach it from the Word of God. This verse of scripture reveals three powerful elements that once realized we may incorporate them into our lives and walk in the will of God in all things.
In order to see these elements in their fullest strength it is necessary to break the verse into three parts. A) Thy will be done, B) In Earth, C) As it is in heaven.
Now we must examine what each part reveals to us. “Thy will be done”, speaks to us of dedication or devotion. We must then ask ourselves, whose dedication, ours or God’s? This is God’s dedication, God’s devotion to us. God is absolutely dedicated to His plan to bring man to salvation. He has devoted all of His resources in heaven and earth to see this plan come into existence in your life.
We know that plan as the plan of salvation, the greatest plan any-one has ever implemented. John 3:16, “For God so love the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth on Him might not perish but have everlasting life”. The Greek word for salvation or save is, “sozo”. However sozo carries more than just the meaning of eternal life, it also means: to deliver, to protect, to be made whole, to preserve, to do well or have prosperity.
As we said, God is completely dedicated to bringing this plan forth, within it are all your required results that you demand for life. Examples of the word sozo in scripture may be found in the following scripture verses as well as in more than 130 others.
Matthew 1:21, “And she shall bring forth a son, and thou shall call His name Jesus: for He shall save [sozo] His people from their sins”. Sozo here means: deliver.
Matthew 8:25, “And His disciples came to Him, and awoke Him, saying, Lord, save [sozo] us: we perish”. Sozo here means: to protect.
Matthew 9:21, “For she said within herself, If I may but touch His garment, I shall be made whole [sozo]”. Sozo here means: to be made whole.
Matthew 14:30, “But when he saw the wind boisterous, he was afraid; and beginning to sink, he cried, saying, Lord save [sozo] me”. Sozo here means: preserve.
Mark 6:56, “And whithersoever He entered, into villages, or cities, or country, they laid the sick in the streets, and besought Him that they might touch if it were but the border of His garment: and as many as touched Him were made whole [sozo]”. Sozo here means: to be healed.
John 11:12 “Then said His disciples, Lord if he sleep, he shall do well [sozo]”. Sozo here means: to do well or prosper.
It is the “good will” of God to complete His work of salvation in us to it’s fullest and then give us everlasting life. Life forever in the present condition that most live in is not worth living. Thus the plan of salvation was given in order that we may rise above such drudgery. God is devoted to you to see you through your present circumstance, it is His will, it is your salvation.
He didn’t create His plan just for a select few apostles or disciples, He made His will universal or unlimited. This is what we find in the words, “in earth”. God’s will is to be completed in the earth by those who are walking in His plan of salvation.
Jesus prayed “Thy Kingdom come” and then went on to explain that this kingdom had already come, it was within Him. Then He said that He and His Father would come and live within those who love Him causing the kingdom of God therefore to be within them as well. Thus the universal plan of God comes into the earth through those who have Christ ruling and reigning in their lives. Through our continual communion with Jesus all what takes place in heaven comes and has residence in us as well, causing the will of God to be done in the earth. John 15:1-4, (Wuest), “I, in contradistinction to anyone else, am the vine, the genuine vine, and my Father is the tiller of the soil. Every branch in me not bearing fruit he takes away. And every branch bearing fruit, He cleanses it in order that it may keep on bearing more fruit. As for you, already you are cleansed ones because of the word which I have spoken to you. Maintain a living communion with me, and I with you. Just as the branch is unable to be bearing fruit from itself as a source unless it remains in the a living union with the vine, so neither you, unless you maintain a living communion with me”.
We must then ask ourselves what is happening in heaven that we might cause it to happen in the earth as well? What could Jesus the King of Kings be like? What is He offering those in the heavenly realm that I might partake in, in the earthly realm? To answer these we go back to our definition of “in earth”, meaning: universal or unlimited. Universal means: A) a state or quality of being universal, B) unrestrictive fitness or adaptability, C) an all embracing range of knowledge, abilities, etc. All these definitions can be summed up by speaking one word, “Jesus”. He is everything and all things. He rules the universe, He lives in you.
“A state or quality of being universal”,
This being true brings us into concert or harmony with the will of God causing nothing to be impossible to us. As we adapt to the universality of Christ we take on the greater part of the last two definitions, coming into the will of God and then into victory in every situation. Thus the scripture “I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me” Philippians 4:13. becomes a reality.
Thus we choose to conform to what God through His son, the Word dictates to us. This is the meaning of the third part of our verse, “as it is heaven”. God dedicated to us bringing a universal plan allowing us to conform with it through our obedience to it.
Now conformity means: correspondence in form, manner, or use, agreement, harmony, congruity, compatibility, integrity, oneness. We become one with the plan of God through Jesus, preforming the will of God in it. We conform to the heavenly lifestyle, which proves to be one of health, liberty, freedom, prosperity, the superabundant life in Christ Jesus. Ephesians 3:20, (Amplified New Testament) “Now to Him who, by (in consequence of) the [action of His] power that is at work within us, is able to [ carry out His purpose and] do superabundantly, far over and above all that we [dare] ask or think-infinitely beyond our highest prayers, desires, thoughts, hopes or dreams”.
All we need do is but conform our lives to His, live as He is, walk in His love. 1 John 4:17, “Herein is our love made prefect, that we might have boldness in the day of judgement: because as He is so are we in this world”. However Jesus is now, so are we in this world when we have applied the will of God through the power of His love into the kingdom of God here in this world.
Condition Seven to Acceptable Prayer Never Give Up
There are many reasons why the prayers of an individual may seemingly go unanswered. Some may say that one has lost faith, or another is living in sin, while yet another is simply not worthy enough for God to give them audience. These are very poor reasons if not ones that are completely ridiculous. Faith does play a role in prayer as we have discussed in an earlier section of this writing. Sin will keep some from praying, so run to God instead of from Him when you miss the mark. And you are never unworthy for God to give you His attention, for Christ Jesus has made you worthy.
The most singular reason that prayer goes unanswered is that the person has given up, not only on what they know to be fact, but also on the life that they have in God and Jesus. To give up is to give in and accept defeat, believing more in the failure to receive than in the fact that it has already been accomplished for you by Christ Jesus.
Giving up will cause our emotions to run wild with us and will trigger the failure mechanism. Failure is the drawing away from God and His Word and substituting it with religion, or some other empty theory such as secular humanism. It is nothing more than the breakdown of the belief system of an individual. As the belief system deteriorates the person begins to neglect the things of God and His Word until there becomes an insufficiency of the Zoe life of God in the spirit. They become unwilling to do what must be done to draw themselves back to the Lord so they replace their relationship with religion and their fellowship with traditions.
A mechanism is an assembly of situations or circumstances that move together to complete a certain function. So then the failure mechanism would be a group of circumstance that work together to draw one away from God and His Word. These circumstances or action may include (but are not limited to) the following:
Subordinating the spiritual to the material
Routine or habitual actions
Before we delve closer into this study keep in mind this one thing, everyone experiences some kind of failure from time to time, however the act of failing does mean you are a failure. To be a failure one would have to live a life that is controlled completely by the failure mechanism.
We find that the best teaching on not giving up comes from Jesus Himself in Mark chapter 4, verses 14 through 20.
“The sower soweth the word.”
The sower is the Lord Jesus and those whom He has called to proclaim His gospel which is His Word.
“And these are they by the way side, where the Word is sown;but when they have heard, Satan cometh immediately, and taketh away the word that was sown in their hearts”.
This represents the group of people who refuse the Word of God, notice that it says that they have heard it. To hear something spiritually is to receive it in your heart and to confirm it as a true fact. But Satan comes at once to cause this group of people to be the first in the failure mechanism, the first to give up.
Subordinating the spiritual to the material.
The beginning of giving up or the failure mechanism is the subordinating the spiritual to the material. What one comes to believe is that what the world has to offer is greater and more attractive than what the Word has to offer. They in fact cause the things of the Word to become inferior or subservient to their materialistic desires implanted into their hearts by Satan. They literally make the Word of God a serf or slave to their hunger for the things of the world using the Word only when it will serve them to gain their own evil way. The devil offers them what appears to be something more attractive than what the Word offers them. His fear is that they may discover that just the opposite is the truth.
Routine or Habitual Actions
“And these are they likewise which are sown in stony ground; who, when then have heard the word, immediately receive it with gladness; And have no root in themselves, and so afterwards, when affliction or persecution ariseth for the words sake, immediately they are offended”.
This verse represents the next group of people who give up. The word at one time was a treasure to them, but through routine or habitual actions, the word becomes empty and void of its power.
Many person when they first come to Christ receive Him with great joy but they do not continue in Christ, they let Him go for one reason or another and soon they are very distant form Him. Being distant from Him causes what was once planted within to dry up and wither away, they see that this love is dying but due to their stand in their community, those with whom they associate, or their position where they are employed they jeopardize their place in Christ Jesus.
Once having done this they enter into a lifestyle that is simply routine, or automatic, progressing (actually regressing) in the same direction never wavering from it. The routine is usually made up of a life that excludes contact with the Word of God and with any person who believes it. Bible believing and teaching churches are quickly rejected for those who preach a gospel of no conviction, even those who allow sin because at any given moment it may not be sin right then. Sin is always sin and nothing that extracts from God will change that.
These are the people of situational ethics, the situation is what demands what is right or wrong, no, the word of God is plain as to what is right and wrong and it must be that which we adhere to. Because their action are so routine any whitewashed teaching will sound good to them, they unwilling to seek out Gods word will be led astray by it.
The result of the routine actions of this group of people will be great frustration. They enter into frustration because a life that is routine is unfulfilling and eventually meaningless. The frustrated person experiences one disappointment after another while they reject Christ and His Word not realizing that rejection is the obstruction that is keeping them in a cycle that they are bound to repeat. Returning to the Word of God will break the cycle and the frustration, giving a new outlook on life in Christ and taking on the challenges of the word finding life fulfilling not routine and boring.
Strife, Resentment, Insecurity
“And these are they which are sown among thorns; such as hear the word,
And the cares of this world, and the deceitfulness of riches, and the lust of other things entering in, choke the word and it becometh unfruitful”.
Strife, there is a tug of war that goes on in the heart of a believer between the things of God and His word and the pressures that Satan applies through the necessities of living life in the world.
These sown among thorns are those whose lives are in constant strife being pulled in one direction but desiring to go another. The “cares of this world”, shows the strife that one carries with them as they are challenged by the Word, as to whether or not they will leave the world behind and go Gods way. Cares of this world means, the worries, concerns, conflicts and struggles and fruitlessness of this present day in age. If we attempt to live in them and exclude Jesus then we truly do live a life of strife. 2 Timothy 2:26, shows that those in strife are bound and held captive by Satan to do his bidding. How sad that they gave up on the word and choose a life of care, a life of strife.
Next we see that it is those who are caught by “the deceitfulness of riches”, they become resentful of God and those who serve Him. Riches are not the problem, the problem is being deceived by riches. Many persons rich and poor are deceived by wealth, however had they not given up on God, prayer and the Word they would not have had to enter a life of resentment.
The resentful person believes that everyone owes them something, but they have earned nothing. The resentful person believes that God is out to destroy them when in fact if they had not given up on Him they would readily see that He desires that they succeed and not fail. The resentful is full of self-pity, blaming others for their failures and never giving credit to those who assist them when they succeed. The resentful person is full of greed, always striving for something better but never content with what they have and usually unwilling to do or pay what it costs to obtain that which is better.
We must keep in mind as well that riches may not necessarily refer to money and wealth, many a poor person are rich in other areas. You can be rich and full in all areas when you remain in Jesus, His Word and in prayer.
Insecurity, “The lusts of other things”, can man not be content with such as he has without viewing what another has and longing after it? Possibly not, at least not until he becomes sold out 100% to Christ Jesus, then all insecurity goes and he receives all that Jesus died for. The insecure person are not that way because of what they do not have but rather because of a poor attitude toward that which they do have. They look on the things of others and believe that if they only had that they too would be happy and content, NOT.
Insecurity is based upon their own inner inadequacies which cannot become fulfilled until Christ is made the centre of their heart. The insecure person will always be a failure in their own eyes due to the constant nagging of the lie of inadequacy. Satan plays upon their mind telling them that they can never meet the challenge that is placed before them so why try. The bible says however that we can do all things through Christ who strengthens us.
The more they fail to obtain their goal, the more they lust after other things, the more they criticize themselves, the more they give up trying to see Jesus.
Loneliness & Emptiness
Those who become caught in the three traps above, (strife, deceitfulness and insecurity) have only lives of loneliness and emptiness to look forward to. Although every person experiences periods of loneliness in life, those who have come to trust Jesus know that he will never leave them nor forsake them therefore the feelings is a lie and they can go on in life in victory. If however we dwell on that loneliness it can take over our lives and push us further into giving up on God and ourselves.
Once loneliness has created the feelings of being forsaken, friendless, rejected, withdrawn and isolated the person becomes plagued with an empty, abandoned, vacant feeling in the heart. This is the place where Satan creates the hopeless feeling that God has given up upon them and therefore it is no use to continue in the things of God.
This is one of the most dangerous lies ever put forth by the devil and is the cause of many ruined lives. The person who has given up not only has their own life effected but also that of friends, family and church members who have come to rely upon them. Stability in the Christian life is rare, those who are hurting because they have given up need those who have not to stand with them, to love them and see them through.
The lonely empty Christians are the ones who subject themselves to many harmful things, they are the backslidden ones. They, in this state need to be loved and encouraged in the Lord. Not condoning that which they may be involved in, but not writing them off as well. The church needs to heal their wounded not leave them to die in the Satanic system. Some may choose death, but this only comes because they have given up on themselves as well as God, but through love we just may be able to offer them the grace of God, and bring them to a place where they once again see themselves as the forgiven.
“And these are they which are sown on good ground; such as hear the word, and receive it, and bring forth fruit, some thrityfold, some sixty, and some an hundred”.
The final result of never giving up in prayer or fellowship with God or sowing the word is that there is an abundant supply that God has for those who are found faithful. Hearing the word of God is not enough, it must be received in the heart and acted upon. Yes, Satan comes to steal away that which is sown but if we never give up we will never fail and the devil will never be able to steal the word from our heart.
These are they who rid themselves of all frivolous, impractical, insignificant, careless and superficial actions and begin to act responsibly to what the Word has instilled within their hearts. They set aside all the cares, worries concerns, all the deceitfulness of riches and all lusts and push ahead with God. In other words these are those who mature in Christ and remain in Him in fellowship through a strong prayer life.