Guide to Prayer
Welcome to our Guide to Prayer! This article will give you a quick primer on worship-based prayer as you use your 29:59 guide. It's modeled after the Lord's Prayer in Matthew 6. We call it the "4/4 pattern of prayer": Reverence, Response, Requests, and Readiness.
We encourage you to read this article BEFORE making your first prayer entries.
The side columns on your right will allow you to quickly jump from one category to another. When you're done reading, simply click the Start Praying Button in the side column to enter your Scripture Prayer and Daily Prayers. If you really prefer to just start praying, you can always come back to read (or re-read) the Guide to Prayer as you so choose.
In the prayer pattern Jesus gave His disciples He instructs us to begin with a focus of worship. ("Our Father in Heaven, hallowed be Your name . . . "). We call this upward focus the "Reverence" stroke. This is the principle of "worship-based" rather than need-based prayer. It begins with the character of God as we take time to focus our entire being on the wonders of who God is. Ultimately, prayer is my response to the character of God, which leads to praise and thanksgiving.
As I get to know the God Who is, I will naturally respond to Him. This response is called prayer.
"...Our Father who is in heaven, Hallowed by Your name." ~Matthew 6:9
Praise is my response to the person, presence, position, power, greatness, majesty, and the love of God.
"Great is the Lord, and highly to be praised; and His greatness is unsearchable." ~Psalm 145:3
Thanksgiving is my response to the goodness, the graciousness of God.
"What shall I render to the Lord for all His benefits toward me?" "To Thee I shall offer a sacrifice of thanksgiving..." ~Psalm 116:12,17a
"Let us therefore draw near with confidence to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and may find grace to help in time of need." ~Hebrews 4:16
Prayer of Praise
Psalm 34:1-3; Hebrews 13:15
"Great is the Lord and greatly to be praised..." ~Psalm 48:1a
Praise is glorifying God for Who and What He is and for how this affects you. It is the most appropriate way to enter into His presence.
Since its source is God Himself, praise centers on the excellencies, perfections and glories of His nature, His character and His role in human affairs.
Praise God For His
Prayer of Thanksgiving
Psalm 116:2; Philippians 4:6
"In everything give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you." ~I Thessalonians 5:18 KJV
Thanksgiving is thanking God for what He has done and for what He is going to do. Since its source is the actions of God, thanksgiving declares positively both that He is the Giver of every good and perfect gift and that to the believer every gift is good, perfect and acceptable.
Thank God every day for at least one specific thing in the following areas of life and tell Him why you are thankful: Material possessions (house, car, shoes, etc.); Physical blessings (eyes, mind, mouth, etc.); Spiritual blessings (forgiveness, prayer, joy, etc.); People (one each day)
A Guide to Praise and Thanksgiving
Praise and thanksgiving are expressions of acknowledgement, approval, admiration, and adoration to God for Who He is and for what He has done.
Praise and thanksgiving please the heart of God.
"Yet Thou art holy, O Thou who art enthroned upon the praises of Israel." ~Psalm 22:3
"Through Him then, let us continually offer up a sacrifice of praise to God, that is, the fruit of lips that give thanks to His name...for with such sacrifices God is pleased." ~Hebrews 13:15-16
Praise and thanksgiving are the responsibility of every Christian.
"Sing for joy in the Lord, O you righteous ones; praise is becoming to the upright.? ~Psalm 33:1
Praise and thanksgiving should be learned and refined so as to make them glorious to God.
"O Lord, open my lips, that my mouth may declare Thy praise." ~Psalm 51:15
"Sing the glory of His name; make His praise glorious." ~Psalm 66:2
"Because Thy lovingkindness is better than life, my lips will praise Thee." ~Psalm 63:3
Praise and thanksgiving must be expressed to be valid.
"Let the redeemed of the Lord say so, whom He has redeemed from the hand of the adversary." ~Psalm 107:2
"Thou hast turned for me my mourning into dancing; Thou hast loosed my sackcloth and girded me with gladness; that my soul may sing praise to Thee, and not be silent." ~Psalm 30:11-12
Praise and thanksgiving will result in others trusting God.
"He put a new song in my mouth, a song of praise to our God; many will see and fear, and will trust in the Lord." ~Psalm 40:3
Praise and thanksgiving will be expressed:
- in various ways: spoken,written,sung,playedonaninstrument,etc.
- by various moods: joy,contemplation,peace,wonder,etc.
- with various intensities: quietness, shouting, tenderness, excitement, strength, etc.
- with various body expressions: raised hands, clapping, kneeling, prostrate, etc.
The various expressions of praise and thanksgiving are determined by such factors as
- the individual's personality
- the gift for which thanks is given
- the occasion that surrounds the particular instance
- the attitudes that prevail, etc.
No one way, mood, intensity or bodily expression is more right than any other. The only determining factor to God is the heartfelt, Spirit-led expression from an individual or group of individuals.
"The people whom I formed for Myself will declare My praise." ~Isaiah 43:21
Jesus taught a second element of biblical prayer when He said, "Your kingdom come, Your will be done, on Earth as it is in Heaven . . ." This speaks of our response to God's character in prayer as we consider His will from His Word and for the sake of His purposes on earth. This also involves yielding to the control of the Holy Spirit as I respond to His invitations to a fruitful and obedient life. Introspection and surrender mark this time of response. It is a season of pledged obedience to the will and Word of God, desiring the accomplishment of His will in our lives.
Prayer is My Response to the Will of God.
The will of God is not only the highest good, the greatest achievement and the best any person could hope for in this life, it is also the command of God. Therefore, because God is God, and God is our loving Heavenly Father, prayer becomes that time when I seek Him, not to bring Him to my viewpoint, but to bring myself to His, by the discovery of His will and way.
"...Thy will be done, on earth as it is in Heaven." ~Matthew 6:10
Because my will and His will, my desires and His desires, will be one and the same (when I pray like this), Jesus says to me:
"...Truly, truly I say to you, if you shall ask the Father for anything, He will give it to you in My name. Until now you have asked for nothing in My name; ask, and you will receive, that your joy may be made full." ~John 16:23-24
Prayer is My Response to the Invitations of God.
The Scriptures abound in invitations from God to pray, and in promises to those who accept:
- The invitation of God to fellowship
"One thing I have asked from the Lord, that I shall seek: that I may dwell in the house of the Lord all the days of my life, to behold the beauty of the Lord, and to meditate in His temple." "When Thou didst say, 'Seek My face,' my heart said to Thee, 'Thy face, O Lord, I shall seek.'" ~Psalm 27:4,8
- The invitation of God to rest
"...casting all your anxiety upon Him, because He cares for you.?" ~I Peter 5:7
- The invitation of God to find strength and wisdom
"He gives strength to the weary, and to him who lacks might He increases power." ~Isaiah 40:29
- The invitation of God to give me protection and help
"I waited patiently for the Lord; and He inclined to me, and heard my cry. He brought me up out of the pit of destruction, out of the miry clay; and He set my feet upon a rock making my footsteps firm." ~Psalm 40:1-2
- The invitation of God to bear one another's burdens, to be intercessors
Through the privilege of prayer we are able to intercede on behalf of others and thus glorify God.
"With all prayer and petition pray at all times in the Spirit, and with this in view, be on the alert with all perseverance and petition for all the saints." ~Ephesians 6:18
Pause for Listening
I Samuel 3:10: Hebrews 1:1, 2
"My soul, wait in silence for God only, for my hope is from Him." ~Psalm 62:5
"Be still, and know that I am God..." ~Psalm 46:10 KJV
Pause a few moments. Let your heart be still. Listen to see if God wants to speak to you.
"HEARING (COMES) BY THE WORD OF CHRIST." ~Romans 10:17
TO HEAR GOD'S VOICE is to perceive what God wants me to know.
"Who is the man who fears the Lord? He will instruct him in the way he should choose." ~Psalm 25:12
TO HEAR GOD'S VOICE is a sign that you are His child.
"My sheep hear My voice..." ~John 10:27
TO HEAR GOD'S VOICE is the normal everyday activity of His child.
"...TODAY if you hear His voice, do not harden your hearts... ~Hebrews 3:15
TO HEAR GOD'S VOICE is life's single greatest privilege.
"When I consider Thy heavens, the work of Thy fingers... what is man, that Thou dost take thought of him?" ~Psalm 8:3-4
TO HEAR GOD'S VOICE is a responsibility to be obedient.
"...not becoming a forgetful hearer but an effectual doer..." ~James 1:25
The one who chooses to listen to God with the intent of obeying will have the privilege of hearing God speak.
A Guide to Listening
"I am the Good Shepherd...The sheep hear His voice, and He calls His own sheep by name, and leads them out... and the sheep follow Him because they know His voice. And a stranger they simply will not follow, but will flee from him, because they do not know the voice of strangers." ~John 10:11, 3-5
Only sheep hear and recognize the voice of the Shepherd. Salvation is a prerequisite for listening to God.
Proverbs 4:20, 21 teaches sheep how to hear, recognize and follow the voice of the Shepherd:
"Give attention to My words..."-giving undivided, concentrated attention to God?s Word as you read (listen)
"Incline your ear to My sayings..."-being humbly teachable and obedient to what you read (choose to hear)
"Do not let them depart from your sight..."-not letting other, possibly contradictory, thoughts come into your mind (self-discipline)
"Keep them in the midst of your heart..."-letting your mind dwell on what you have read as the center and source of your life (meditation)
To listen to God's voice is a choice of your will with an intent to obey.
"The Lord God...awakens me morning by morning,
He awakens my ear to listen as a disciple.
The Lord God has opened my ear;
And I was not disobedient,
Nor did I turn back."
God has promised to speak to His sheep.
"...your ears will hear a word behind you,
'This is the way, walk in it,'
Whenever you turn to the right or to the left."
It is important - after you have asked God a question or are seeking His guidance - to stop and listen so He can speak. When you believe God has spoken, write it down to keep from forgetting.
"Give us this day our daily bread. And forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors." ~Matthew 6:11-12
This is the next element Christ teaches in His model prayer. This involves a period of heartfelt requests with the themes of resources and relationships.
Of course, Jesus had just said our Father knows our needs before we ask (Matthew 6:8). This is not a time of informing God of our needs as much as it is a conscious trust in God as the perfect definer and provider of our needs. It involves prayer about personal requests and the concerns of others. This focus also includes corporate concerns, such as congregational challenges or broader issues in the body of Christ. In all this, recognize that,
"...my God shall supply all your needs according to His riches in glory in Christ Jesus." ~Philippians 4:19
Responding to God's Promises for Provision through Petition and Intercession
Petition is my response to the power and wisdom of God, who is our Heavenly Father. I ask specifically, and He answers specifically.
"If you then, being evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more shall your Father who is in heaven give what is good to those who ask Him!" ~Matthew 7:11
Intercession is my response to the love of God for all people, especially those in His family.
"Save Thy people, and bless Thine inheritance; be their shepherd also, and carry them forever." ~Psalm 28:9
"Epaphras, who is one of your number, a bondslave of Jesus Christ, sends you his greetings, always laboring earnestly for you in his prayers, that you may stand perfect and fully assured in all the will of God." ~Colossians 4:12
Prayer Of Petition
James 4:2; Hebrews 4:15-16
"If you abide in Me, and My words abide in you, ask whatever you wish, and it shall be done for you." ~John 15:7
Petition is asking of God for yourself. It is your response to the power and wisdom of God, your Heavenly Father.
As children, we didn?t hesitate to tell our parents what we wanted or needed. Take God at His word as your Father with this same childlike faith.
He always answers; and even though His answer might be ?No,? be assured that it is for your best. Learn the difference between no answer (Psalm 66:18) and the answer "No."
Ask God For:
The Holy Spirit
"...how much more shall your heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to them that ask Him?" ~Luke 11:13 KJV
- of Himself
- of your position before Him in Christ
- of the task He would have you perform in life
- in one specific area of your life
- a habit to overcome
- a fear to be conquered
- courage gained, etc.
“Whatever you wish...” – anything and everything on your heart. If our obedience to God and our relationship with Him are up-to-date, then our needs and our desires fall into line with His will and He will answer.
Personalized Scripture Petitions
For An Understanding Heart
“I am as a little child: I do not know how to go out or come in...so give Your servant an understanding heart to judge Your people, to discern between good and evil.”
~I Kings 3:7b,9a
For Fellowship With Other Christians
“Lord, give me love and faith toward the Lord Jesus and toward all the saints, that the fellowship of my faith may become effective through the knowledge of every good thing which is in me for Christ’s sake.” ~Philemon 1:4-6
“For Your Name’s sake, O Lord,
Pardon my iniquity, for it is great...
Look upon my affliction and my trouble,
And forgive all my sins...
Guard my soul and deliver me:
Do not let me be ashamed, for I take refuge in You.”
“Make me know Your ways, O Lord, Teach me Your paths.
Lead me in Your truth and teach me, For You are the God of my salvation; For You I wait all the day.”
“Teach me Your way, O Lord, And lead me in a level path, Because of my foes.”
“Is anyone among you sick? Let him call for the elders of the church, and let them pray over him, anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord; and the prayer offered in faith will restore the one who is sick, and the Lord will raise him up, and if he has committed sins, they will be forgiven him.”
“Dear God of peace, make me holy in every part, and keep me sound in spirit, soul and body, without fault when our Lord Jesus Christ comes.”
~I Thessalonians 5:23
“I pray that my love may abound more and more in real knowledge and all discernment, so that I may distinguish between the things which differ and discern what is best, in order to be sincere and blameless until the day of Christ; having been filled with the fruit of righteousness which comes through Jesus Christ to the glory and praise of God.”
“O Lord, do not rebuke me in Your anger.
Nor chasten me in Your wrath.
Be gracious to me, O Lord, for I am pining away; Heal me, O Lord, for my bones are dismayed...
Return, O Lord, rescue my soul;
Save me because of Your lovingkindness...
I am weary with my sighing;
Every night I make my bed swim,
I dissolve my couch with my tears.”
“Grant me, dear Lord, according to the riches of Your glory, to be strengthened with power through Your Spirit in the inner man.”
For Spiritual Growth
“God of our Lord Jesus Christ, Father of glory, give me a spirit of wisdom and of revelation in the knowledge of Jesus. I pray that my eyes may be enlightened, so that I may know what is the hope of His calling, what are the riches of the glory of His inheritance in the saints, and what is the surpassing greatness of His power toward us who believe.”
For The Will of God
“Lord, I pray that I may stand perfect and fully assured in all the will of God.”
“Until now you have asked for nothing in My name; ask, and you will receive, that your joy may be made full.”
Prayer of Intercession
Psalm 28:9; James 5:14-20
“First of all, then, I urge that entreaties and prayers, petitions and thanksgivings, be made on behalf of all men, for kings and all who are in authority, in order that we may lead a tranquil and quiet life in all godliness and dignity.”
~I Timothy 2:1-2
Intercession is praying for others.
It is praying specific blessings for specific people. Below are some Scripture commands; there are many others:
- for all saints (family,friends,etc.whom God has placed on your heart) Ephesians 6:18
- for all men I Timothy 2:1
- for kings and rulers (political authorities) I Timothy 2:1
- for those who labor in the Gospel (ministers, church staff, Sunday School teachers, missionaries) Ephesians 6:19-20; Colossians 4:3
- for the sending forth of laborers Matthew 9:38
- for all who are in adversity Hebrews 13:3
- for believers who have fallen into sin Galatians 6:1
- for one another James 5:16
The first person(s) on God’s prayer list is “kings and all who are in authority.” They are the first ones we ought to pray for: the leaders of our country, specifically so that we may lead a tranquil and quiet life: it is easier to spread the Gospel in a land of good government.
We are to pray for our spiritual leaders, “that utterance may be given
to them, that they may open their mouths boldly, to make known the mystery of the gospel” (Ephesians 6:19) and that they may be “delivered from unprincipled and wicked men” (II Thessalonians 3:2). It has
been the delight of the devil to destroy entire ministries by attacks of criticism or accusation.
When you begin to pray for others – members of your family, fellow believers – you can pray Ephesians 1:17-19, “Lord, Father, in the name of Jesus, would you give to them a spirit of revelation. I pray that you open their eyes that they might know what is the hope of your calling, the joy of being a Christian, and to know what is your inheritance and the greatness of your power that is working in them.”
Praying biblically for others would include praying that they might comprehend the love of Christ (Ephesians 3:14-16); that their love
might grow and abound (Philippians 1:9); that they might learn to test things and approve what is excellent (Philippians 1:10); that they might be fruitful in every good work, increasing in the knowledge of God, strengthened with all might (Colossians 1:9-11).
Pray for others as specifically as you know how and as the Holy Spirit leads. As you pray for them, visualize them as helped by Christ.
Then, faithfully record how God answers your prayers. Your faith will deepen and grow as you experience God working in the lives of others.
Intercession Pleases God
“...and the Lord saw it...and wondered that there was no intercessor...”
~Isaiah 59:15-16 KJV
“...far be it from me that I should sin against the Lord by ceasing to pray for you...”
~I Samuel 12:23
God Our Heavenly Father has commanded us to pray.
He is pleased when we obey Him in faith.
“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 I will hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land.”
~II Chronicles 7:14 KJV
God Our Heavenly Father has enticed us to pray with promises.
He is pleased when we claim His promises.
“Call unto Me, and I will answer thee, and show thee great and mighty things, which thou knowest not.”
~Jeremiah 33:3 KJV
God The Son, Our Lord Jesus Christ, taught and practiced prayer.
He is pleased when we follow in His footsteps.
“Now He was telling them a parable to show that at all times they ought to pray and not to lose heart.”
God The Son, Our Lord Jesus Christ, is now engaged in intercession.
He is pleased when we join Him in His work.
“Hence, also, He is able to save forever those who draw near to God through Him, since He always lives to make intercession for them.”
God The Son, Our Lord Jesus Christ, died for all men.
He is pleased when we pray for them.
“First of all, then, I urge that entreaties and prayers, petitions and thanksgivings, be made on behalf of all men...”
~I Timothy 2:1
God The Holy Spirit, Our Helper, comes to aid in our prayers.
He is pleased when we allow Him to help us.
“And in the same way the Spirit also helps our weakness; for we do not know how to pray as we should, but the Spirit Himself intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words...”
God The Holy Spirit, Our Filler, wants us to join Him in prayer.
He is pleased when we take the time to do this.
“With all prayer and petition pray at all times in the Spirit...”
“...greater is He who is in you (Christ), than he who is in the world (Satan).”
~I John 4:4
Prayer of Confession
Psalm 66:18; I John 1:9
“...forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors.”
“Behold, the Lord’s hand is not so short that it cannot save; neither is His ear so dull that it cannot hear. But your iniquities have made a separation between you and your God, and your sins have hidden His face from you, so that He does not hear.”
“If I regard wickedness in my heart, the Lord will not hear...”
Confession is agreeing with God about sin: it is your response to His holiness.
As Isaiah lamented when he saw God, “Woe is me, for I am ruined! Because I am a man of unclean lips...” (Isaiah 6:5). As Peter fell down at Jesus’ feet, pleading, “Depart from me, for I am a sinful man, oh Lord!” (Luke 5:8)
Basic Goals and Principles in Righting Wrongs
Matthew 3:23, 24; Matthew 6:12, 14, 15; Matthew 18:1-35
A. Basic Goals.
To restore all relationships in the quickest time possible, while involving as few people as possible.
B. Basic Principles.
- The Christian who first becomes aware of a wrong has the responsibility to initiate and carry out God’s given procedures in taking care of it until it has reached a satisfactory completion.
- The time element involved: one ought to proceed as quickly as possible within the framework of God-given procedures.
- If you are not sure what to do, seek the counsel of a spiritual elder – but do not use any names.
A Guide to Righting Wrongs: God-given Procedures
A. Within the Family of God
- When You Are The Offender – The One Who Has Done Wrong –
a. First, it must be set right with God:
“Be gracious to me, O God, according to Thy lovingkindness; according to the greatness of Thy compassion blot out my transgressions. Wash me thoroughly from my iniquity, and cleanse me from my sin. For I know my transgressions, and my sin is ever before me. Against Thee, Thee only, I have sinned, and done what is evil in Thy sight, so that Thou art justified when Thou dost speak, and blameless when Thou dost judge.”
1) Confession to God
The verbal acknowledgement that you have done wrong according to God’s standards
“If we confess our sins, He is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.”
~I John 1:9
2) Repentance to God
Sorrow that results in action according to God-given procedures and in a return to God and His ways (“I will go your way”)
“I now rejoice, not that you were made sorrowful, but that you were made sorrowful to the point of repentance...a repentance without regret, leading to salvation...”
~II Corinthians 7:9-10
3) Acceptance of God’s forgiveness
By faith receiving the gift of forgiveness that God has given you solely by His work on the cross
“Therefore having been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ...” “...peace through the blood of His cross...”
~Romans 5:1 and Colossians 1:20
4) Rejoicing in your freedom from the burden
“Jesus answered them, ‘Truly, truly, I say to you, everyone who commits sin is the slave of sin...If therefore the Son shall make you free, you shall be free indeed.’”
b. Next, it must be set right with those offended:
“If therefore you are presenting your offering at the altar, and there remember that your brother has something against you, leave your offering there before the altar, and go your way; first be reconciled to your brother, and then come and present your offering.”
1) Confession to the offended
IMPORTANT! The confession should be only as public as was the offense. Just name the basic offense. The devil would want you to confess every thought to everyone.
2) Asking for forgiveness
Forgiveness is not a feeling; it is an act of obedience.
“I am sorry, but if only you had not...”
“I am sorry, forgive me.”
Placing a doubt
“If I have been wrong, I’m sorry.”
c. Third, satisfactory/necessary restitution must be made:
“Let him who steals steal no longer...Let no unwholesome word proceed from your mouth, but only such a word
as is good for edification according to the need of the moment, that it may give grace to those who hear.
“And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God...Let all bitterness and wrath and anger and clamor and slander be put away from you, along with all malice.”
- Anything stolen must be returned
- Lies told need to be confessed
- Gossip, slander, etc., that has hurt relationships and reputations must be repudiated
- Gratitude for favors received must be given
- Rebellion against authority experienced in attitudes and actions must be replaced with submissive spirit and actions
d. Finally, it must be set right with yourself (sin always damages you):
“When I kept silent about my sin, my body wasted away through my groaning all day long. For day and night Thy hand was heavy upon me; my vitality was drained away as with the fever heat of summer.”
- Accept God’s forgiveness and forgive yourself.
- Seek cleansing from the cause of the sins.
2. When You Are Offended – The One Who Has Been Wronged –
“Then Peter came and said to Him ‘Lord, how often shall my brother sin against me and I forgive him? Up to seven times?’ Jesus said to him, ‘I do not say to you, up to seven times, but up to seventy times seven.’”
a. You must seek reconciliation with the offender. (Handle it the minute it happens if possible.)
Under the Holy Spirit you must examine yourself to see if you have contributed in any way to the wrong that was done. Did you provoke?
2) Prayer preparation
Prayerfully you must go to the offender with a committed attitude of forgiveness and reconciliation.
3) Wise face-to-face confrontation
A good approach would be, “Have I done something that has caused you to be angry with me?” Always give the other person the benefit of the doubt and promote an attitude that wants restitution.
4) Finalize the matter
Do not leave until you have done all in your power to consummate the matter by the full restoration of relationship. Pray together.
3. When You Are The Christian Who Sees A Brother Sinning –
“Brethren, even if a man is caught in any trespass, you who are spiritual, restore such a one in a spirit of gentleness; each one looking to yourself, lest you too be tempted.”
“My brethren, if any among you strays from the truth, and one turns him back, let him know that he who turns a sinner from the error of his way will save his soul from death, and will cover a multitude of sins.”
a. Pause to pray for guidance.
You need to be very careful and Spirit-led. Yet, you cannot avoid your God-given responsibility to be a peacemaker.
b. Make sure of your own spiritual condition.
Galatians 6:1 seems to indicate only the “spiritual” ought to handle this. Take time to make sure your own obedience is up to date.
c. Approach the party whom you believe is the most likely to initiate God’s procedures. Have in mind a procedure to suggest to them.
d. At times it will be appropriate to go and participate in the reconciliation.
B. Outside The Family Of God
- When You, The Christian, Are The Offender –
Follow the same procedures as within the family of God.
- When You, The Christian, Are The Offended Or The Observer –
“And forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors...For if you forgive men for their transgressions, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive men, then your Father will not forgive your transgressions.”
a. As the offended, you must forgive without any demand from them or to them.
(See Romans 12:14-21; Luke 6:35-37)
b. As the observer, pray for them; but you have no responsibility to correct their errors.
Benefits of Righting Wrongs
A. It humbles a person: humility is a quality necessary for God’s blessing.
B. It draws people together: to seek and to give forgiveness always draws people together.
C. It exalts God: obedience to God’s commands always exalts God.
D. It results in a good conscience and the destruction of roots that cause habit patterns.
“And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one.”
~Matthew 6:13 NIV
The outward stroke reminds us of the spiritual contest before us, and more importantly, reassures us of the spiritual resources within us.
When we pray, “Lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil,” we recognize our own inability to overcome the temptations and attacks of daily life. We entrust our welfare for the warfare to the delivering force of our Divine Enabler, often through the power of His promises. We pledge ourselves to walk in obedience and victory as the fruit of our praying.
The Weapons of Our Warfare
“PUT ON THE FULL ARMOR OF GOD, then you will be able to stand your ground against the schemes of the devil.
Stand firm, I say:
Take salvation for helmet.
For coat of mail, put on righteousness.
Buckle on the belt of truth.
For sword, take that which the Spirit gives you – the words that come from God.
Let the shoes on your feet be the gospel of peace, to give you firm footing.
Take up the great shield of faith, with which you will be able to quench all the flaming arrows of the evil one.”
~Ephesians 6:11-18 NEB
The “Power Words” of Our Warfare
“The truth is that, although of course we lead normal human lives, the battle we are fighting is on the spiritual level. The very weapons we use are not human but powerful in God’s warfare for the destruction of the enemy’s strongholds. Our battle is to break down every deceptive argument and every imposing defense that men erect against the true knowledge of God. We fight to capture every thought until it acknowledges the authority of Christ.”
~II Corinthians 10:3-5 PH
There is a War going on. The tragedy is that most Christians are skeptics and uninformed, fearful or maybe only vaguely aware of this War. Like the soldier who sits in his barracks refusing to believe the reality of
war while his building is being shelled, they are in big trouble. Like the blindfolded boxer in a ring who only occasionally hits his opponent, more often than not there is just meaningless motion and the throwing of many punches in the air.
But Paul challenges us to “fight a good fight” as he himself did (I Timothy 6:12), to be a “soldier of Christ that pleases the One who enlisted us as soldiers.” (II Timothy 2:4), to put on the “full armor of God” (Ephesians 6:11, 13).
The Christian will not be able to prevail unless he knows who his adversary is:
“For our fight is not against any physical enemy: it is against organizations and powers that are spiritual. We are up against the unseen power that controls this dark world, and spiritual agents from the very headquarters of evil.”
~Ephesians 6:12 PH
“One cannot rob Satan’s kingdom without first binding Satan. Only then can his demons be cast out!”
~Matthew 12:29 TLB
“...Resist the devil and he will flee from you.”
He needs to know his enemies’ strategies and methods:
“Be careful – watch out for attacks from Satan, your great enemy. He prowls around like a hungry, roaring lion, looking for some victim to tear apart.”
~I Peter 5:8 TLB
“...able to stand safe against all strategies and tricks of Satan.”
~Ephesians 6:11 TLB
God inspired John to write, “But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become the children of God, even to those who believe in His name.” (John 1:12) The word “right” is the Greek word for “authority” – which is delegated power. A person in authority demonstrates his power through words: commands, requests, orders, rules, messages, etc. As Christians, we need to use our God-given authority in this War through the “power words” available to us.
The Words of Praise
“Sing to the Lord a new song; sing to the Lord, all the earth. Sing to the Lord, bless His name; proclaim good tidings of His salvation from day to day. Tell of His glory among the nations, His wonderful deeds among all the peoples. For great is the Lord, and greatly to be praised...”
Praising God is one of the most powerful weapons available for the Christian. God loves praise, and He inhabits the praise of His people. His presence ensures victory.
The Word of Truth
“For sword, take that which the Spirit gives you – the words that come from God...”
~Ephesians 6:17 NEB
The written Word of God is the sword of the Spirit that must be used to resist the Evil One and take his territory from him: the better the Word of God is known and the more it is used, the more effective the victory will be. This sword is what our Lord used when He was tempted by Satan at the beginning of His ministry.
The Name of Jesus
“And whatever you ask in My name, that will I do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son. If you ask Me anything in My name, I will do it.”
“...God...bestowed on Him the name which is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of those who are in heaven, and on earth, and under the earth.”
The name “Lord Jesus” has power in heaven and on earth. Our Heavenly Father recognizes and receives that which is offered in the Name – “Lord Jesus”; demons and devils recognize the authority of the Name. Use it.
The Word of Faith
...Jesus said to the disciples, “If you only have faith in God – this is the absolute truth – you can say to the Mount of Olives, ‘Rise up and fall into the Mediterranean,’ and your command will be obeyed. All that’s required is that you really believe and have no doubt!
Listen to Me! You can pray for anything, and if you believe, you have it; it’s yours!”
~Mark 11:22-24 TLB
When the Holy Spirit gives us a word from God, we then can speak this forth as a word of faith. Through the Holy Spirit, God gave me Psalm 112:1, 2 as a promise concerning my children. When harassed by the devil or when interceding on their behalf, I often use this as a word of faith.
The Blood of The Lord Jesus
“It was not with goats’ or calves’ blood but with His own blood that He entered once for all into the holy place, having won for us men eternal reconciliation with God.
“For if the blood of bulls and goats and the ashes of
a burnt heifer were, when sprinkled on the unholy, sufficient to make the body pure, then how much more will the blood of Christ Himself, who in the eternal spirit offered Himself to God as the perfect sacrifice, purify our conscience from the deeds of death, that we may serve the living God!”
~Hebrews 9:12–14 PH
“And they overcame him (Satan) because of the blood of the Lamb...”
“There is power in the blood – wonder-working power” – that is what the song says, paraphrasing the Word of God. Use the Word of the truth of the blood of Christ in warfare. Apply the blood for protection, for the tearing down of strongholds of the Enemy. Present your requests to the Father on the basis of the Blood of Christ and its atoning work.
The Word of Total Commitment
“And they overcame him (Satan)...and they did not love their life even when faced with death.”
There is something about the word of a totally committed person. There is a determination and a finality that comes from a person who has no intention of backing up – no matter what happens. The Enemy recognizes this, and also knows if we are committed or not.
The Word of Testimony (Witness)
“And they overcame him (Satan)...because of the word of their testimony...”
“Our faith is like that mentioned in the Scripture, ‘I believed and therefore did I speak.’ For we too speak
because we believe...”
~II Corinthians 4:13 PH
Telling what we have experienced in the grace of God is a powerful weapon for the glory of God. Speak up – tell what God has done for you. Say aloud, “God has done this in the past, and He will do it again.” Confess the mighty works of God, the past victories you have received, and what you expect Him to do.
The Word of Importunity
“Now He was telling them a parable to show that at all times they ought to pray and not to lose heart.”
“As an example, brethren, of suffering and patience, take the prophets who spoke in the name of the Lord.”
“Ask, and it shall be given to you; seek, and you shall find; knock, and it shall be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives, and he who seeks finds, and to him who knocks it shall be opened.”
God promises special attention when two agree and together ask Him for something. Often, we will need to seek others to join us in intercession.
Authority is useless unless it is used. You must speak the appropriate “power words” and stand firm.
“...be strong in the Lord and in the power of His might.”
~Ephesians 6:10 KJV
Let us always remember that we reign in life through Jesus. The Savior bruised the serpent’s head; all authority has been given to Christ; and we share the authority with Him because He has given it to us.
“Let the high praises of God be in their mouth, and a two-edged sword in their hand...to bind their kings with chains, and their nobles with fetters of iron; to execute upon them the judgment written: this honor have all His saints. Praise ye the Lord.”
~Psalm 149:6,8-9 KJV
Prayer Moves God Into Action
The unlimited potential of prayer as seen through the promises in the Bible is staggering, as God moves into action in the lives and situations that we bring before Him.
Yet, little praying is done.
Because the prayer life of many people has been discouraging and frustrating.
Because the basic feeling seems to be that prayer is an attempt to move God over to our point of view – to get God to do what we want done – to use Him as a means to our end.
So, somehow, it seems easier to try to do it ourselves the best we can, than to get God involved in it.
In prayer we ought to seek to discover God’s point of view and how, when, and where He wants us to move and live...and obey.