For a Quick Summary of the Keys to Prayer, Scroll Down to Points 16 & 17 on This Page
The Art of Prayer
The plan of God is to end evil and suffering forever (Exodus 34:6-7; Matthew 13:37-43; I Corinthians 15:24-28; 1 Timothy 1:5; Revelation 21-22). The ultimate purpose of God in all His present dealings with man is to bring him back to the place where he was before the fall (beloved fellowship) and purge him of all possibility of failing in the future. “The object and purpose of our instruction and charge is that all believers would be filled with love that comes from a pure heart, and a clear conscience, and genuine faith.” —1 Timothy 1:5
Prayer is a real art that must be learned before we can get anything that we want from God. It is simply the art of a child getting things from its truly unconditionally-loving father. This takes in the idea of true relationship between God and the one who prays (Matt. 7:7-11). We must learn to draw nigh to God and rely wholly upon Him for needed grace for body, soul, and spirit (James 4:7-10). We must become skilled in faith and prayer and cease all doubting, as we have seen in other pages, and then prayer will become a simple transaction of love-business between God the Father and His child.
In learning to pray, we must practice prayer until we become accomplished. It is like learning to do any other thing. Practice makes perfect and without this it will not be accomplished. We can learn all about prayer and if we do not practice much and often the art of praying will not be learned. Concentrate upon prayer whenever time permits. Even learn to pray while at work. This can be done with great profit. We can work better or do anything much better if we will learn to pray at all times. Prayer is being in intimate union and harmony with God and naturally those in intimate harmony can do things so much better. We will succeed in life to the extent we harmonize with God and His creation.
Make prayers as simple and definite as possible. Turn all your problems over to Him. Depend upon Him to help you and He will. Do not be afraid to take the least problem to Him for He cares and is pleased when we have simple child-like faith in Him. He has revealed to us that even the very hairs of our head are numbered and that not one sparrow falls to the ground without His knowledge (Matt. 10:21-31). Let God be your friend in every area of your heart and phase of life.
“Prayer is our declaration of dependence on the Lord.” ("Yes, I am the vine; you are the branches. Those who remain in me, and I in them, will produce much fruit. For apart from me you can do nothing.” —Y’shua Messiah (Jesus the Christ) @ John 15:5) —Philip Yancey
He is interested in your salvation (your freedom, your health, your finances, your relationships, your business, your recovery) and in all things you are concerned about. Do all you can and then leave the rest with God.
GROUND FOR ASKING AND RECEIVING
The true ground for prayer and its answer is to accept His gift of freedom and have the right relationship to God. Only those persons who truly believe in, trust in, cling to, rely on, in relationship with Him have the right to ask and receive anything that they want from God. (Many refer to these as the “saved.”) Those who rebel and refuse to surrender their lives to God and become reconciled to Him have no true ground of approach to God except to repent. They have no foundation for their faith except promises of forgiveness. (This is why many refer to these as the “unsaved.”) God, many times in His mercy, helps the unsaved and hears their cry of despair, but He is not obligated to do for them what He has promised His children until they obey Him. It is merely because He wants to prove to the unsaved His love and mercy even though s/he is a rebel that God sometimes hears an unsaved person. Paul said, "the goodness of God leads us to change [repentance]" and "God commends His love toward us, in that, while we were yet missing the mark (sinners) Christ died for us" (Rom. 2:4; Rom 5:8).
WHAT THE UNSAVED CAN LEGALLY CLAIM
The first promise that the unsaved can legally claim through the death of Christ is that of forgiveness and cleansing from all sin (Acts 2:38;Acts 3:19; 1 John 1:9). If an unsaved person will truly repent and turn from sin to hating it [righteousness] and accept His gift of freedom, s/he is immediately on praying grounds for anything else that God has promised to man. So a right relationship with God is the true ground of asking and receiving (Matt. 7:7-11; Luke 11:1-13; John 14:12-15; John 15:7,16; John 16:23-26; 1 John 3:20-24;1 John 5:13-15).
ASKING AND RECEIVING ARE PERSONAL RIGHTS OF CHILDREN
With the proper relationship to God it becomes our family right, our legal right, our redemptive right, our gospel right, our needful right and our creative right to ask and receive anything and everything that the Father has promised His own children. There should be no question as to personal rights or the outcome of prayer according to those rights, for all things belong to God and His children, and His sons will inherit all things in the end when rebellion is put down (Rom. 8:17-18; 1 Peter 1:2-5). If all things belong to us and we will finally inherit them, why should it not be our right to get what God has promised we can have in this life?!
Y’shua the Messiah (Jesus the Christ) taught us that children of God have a right to get all their prayers answered. Some argue that it is not God's will to answer every prayer; but we answer, it is always God's will to answer any prayer that is prayed in faith for any thing that is covered by the promises of God. (See Point 13 below.)
When the Gentile woman came to Jesus to get her daughter healed, Jesus answered, "It is not meet [fair/good] to take the children's bread, and cast it to the dogs" (Matt. 15:21-26). She answered wisely and asked for only the "crumbs" that are the right of a dog. He could not resist her faith and said, "O woman, great is thy faith: be it unto thee even as thou wilt; and her daughter was made whole from that very hour." This certainly teaches that children of God have certain rights in the heavenly family. They have just as much right to expect good things from God as any child in an earthly family has a right to expect things from his wealthy and loving parents. At least one has the rights of a dog if not the rights of a child, so let us have at least the faith of a dog if not the faith of a child.
Prayer, the Keys of Asking and Receiving
1. LEARN TO PRAY PEOPERLY. This is one of the greatest lessons to learn about prayer. We cannot get an answer unless we pray properly. In Luke 11:1 we have a record of the disciples observing how J’shua the Messiah (Jesus the Christ) prayed. They knew that God always heard Him. There was such absolute simplicity and assurance when He prayed, and there came a hunger to them to know how to pray as He could. They asked Him "Lord, teach us to pray, as John also taught his disciples." This should be the daily longing of every true child of God. The need of knowing how to pray properly is the need of the hour.
Christ is the greatest teacher of prayer. He practiced it Himself. We must learn to pray like Jesus, and God will always hear us, for He always heard Him and God is no respecter of persons (Rom. 2:11). The following points will enable anyone to learn the art of prayer as far as knowing what to do is concerned. They never will give a practical experience of prayer. That remains for much practice in following doggedly the lessons learned by us concerning what to do to get answers to prayer. Knowing what to do and doing it are two different things. There must be not only a knowledge, but there must be obedient yielding to the light we have concerning prayer if we are to get an answer to prayer. Since we know our need of knowing how to pray, and since we have the greatest teacher to help us to pray, let us apply ourselves until prayer becomes second nature to us as it was with Him.
2. THE MODEL PRAYER. (Luke 11:2-4). The so-called Lord's Prayer is really a prayer for disciples or learners of how to pray. It was given on the occasion when the disciples asked, "Lord, teach us to pray, as John also taught his disciples" (Luke 11:1-4). All of us believers can consider ourselves mere learners and model after this prayer until we have graduated from the school of prayer. At least, until the time comes when we get every prayer answered that we pray. With this as the goal, we can all consider ourselves in the same school learning the same lessons on prayer. There are several lessons we need to learn about this prayer:
(1) OUR FATHER. This teaches a new and
right relationship to God by the new birth (John 3:1-8; 2 Cor. 5:17; Gal.
5:24; John 15:7; 1 John 2:29; 3:7-10; 5:1-4, 13-18). It is generally taught
that people in the Old Testament days never dared address God as "Father,"
because they were not born again, but a search for scriptures to prove this
point only proves the contrary. People of all ages past were born again by faith in the coming
Redeemer and His blood that was to be shed, just as we today are born again
by faith in the blood that has been shed. This is clear from Deut. 14:1;
32:18; 2 Sam. 7:14; 2 Chron. 28:6; Isa. 1:2; 63:16; Hosea 1:10; Ps. 82:6;
Starting us off with “Our Father” is also to awaken in us:
- Child-like trust and faith
- Child-like dependence
- Child-like submission
- Child-like awe and reverence
- Father-child relationship
Not only should we have the new and right relationship to God, but we must learn to whom prayer should be addressed. God the Father—our Father, is the one that should be addressed in prayer. J’shua (Jesus) taught us that in John 16:23-26, "In that day [when I go back to the Father] ye shall ASK ME NOTHING.... Whatsoever ye shall ASK THE FATHER in my name, he will give it you. Hitherto have ye asked nothing in my name: ASK, AND YE SHALL RECEIVE, that your joy may be full.... At that day ye shall ASK IN MY NAME." God the Father is the head of Christ and the Holy Spirit, and therefore He should be the one directly addressed in prayer (1 Cor. 11:3; Eph. 3:14-16).
The habit of praying either to Jesus or to the Holy Spirit personally is best to be broken, for we have no authority for any such praying. It is true that God overlooks ignorance of this fact as well as of other facts but if we want to learn to pray, we should learn right and always practice what we learn. God's Word should not be ignored on this point any more than on other points. Children of God sometimes, because of the freedom that they have found in Christ, willfully ignore certain ‘technical’ facts of truth and never seem concerned to obey to the letter. This may be the cause of so much unanswered prayer, for we are told that "to him that knoweth to do good, and doeth it not, to him it is sin" (James 4:17). People sometimes take the attitude that we are not going to pay any attention to little details like this, but we warn that it would be best to keep the letter of the Word at least, since an attitude which disregards things written is certainly not the spirit of the Word. God commands obediently yielding to the Word, not to what we think is right. It will not be a sin to obey the letter. When we transgress the letter of the Word, we do not obey the spirit or the letter of the Word. To do the will of God will not make us formal. If it does, to maintain a form is much better than to disobey God and His Word. Saul learned that, and his lesson was recorded for our profit (1 Sam. 15:22-30).
We are not trying to teach that one should not recognize Christ or the Holy Spirit in prayer and communion. Give them their proper scriptural place and worship all three persons in the Godhead and commune with all three in the proper way, but address all petitions to the Father in the name of Jesus by the power of the Holy Spirit. Praying in the name of Jesus to Jesus is foolish, and praying to God and not in the name of Jesus has no promise of reward. All prayer that ignores Jesus or the Holy Spirit in their proper place is not a true biblical prayer and has no assurance of being heard by God.
(2) "WHICH ART IN HEAVEN." This teaches that people are associated with God in Heaven itself, and states the place where God dwells. Paul said, "our conversation [citizenship] is in heaven; from whence we look for the Saviour" (Phil. 3:20-21). The child of God should constantly recognize the source of his blessings and the place of his citizenship, which guarantees to him certain rights just as much as any citizen of any other country.
(3) "HALLOWED BE THY NAME." This teaches the new manner of approach to God. Worship, adoration, and praise should precede petitions and go along with them (Phil. 4:6; Heb. 13:15-16). This procedure abounds in all the psalms. If our praise of God balanced our asking, we would receive more. Praise demonstrates faith, and faith brings the answer to prayer. If we do not seem to have faith, let us praise God much for what we have received and what we are going to receive, and faith will grow that will dare believe God for anything.
(4) "THY KINGDOM COME." This puts
the interests of God and the kingdom first—the needs of others before our own
desires. This is loving our neighbors as ourselves. The
(5) "THY WILL BE DONE, AS IN HEAVEN, SO IN EARTH." This accepts and agrees with the Father's will in all things. It is submission in prayer to the will of God, yet refuses to be denied concerning all that is promised as God's will. If we would be just as dogged in refusing failure in prayer as we are in accepting failure, there would be very little failure.
In the sermon on the
(6) "GIVE US DAY BY DAY OUR DAILY BREAD." After we have followed the above instructions, we have the proper relationship to God; we have directed our prayer to the right source; we have worshipped God, not to get from Him, but because we love Him; we have put the interests of the kingdom first; we have the definite promises before us that definitely cover our needs; and we accept what we are to pray for as the will of God; then we are ready to make our petition known to God. It is sad to say that the majority of us who pray have our own interests first and always. All we know about prayer is "Give me, give me, give me," and that is about all God hears. This is all right in its proper place, but we must show God we have His interests at heart as well as those of others and that we love Him and long to bless others regardless of personal needs. When Solomon took this attitude he was heard of God (1 Kings 4:4-15).
When Charles Page, a multi-millionaire of
(7) "AND FORGIVE US OUR SINS; FOR WE ALSO FORGIVE EVERY ONE THAT IS INDEBTED TO US." Confession of sins and personal wrongs to others goes far in getting answers to prayers. We cannot expect to keep sinning or have the wrong attitude toward others and still be heard of God. If we would quit the sin business and live in peace, and love all others as the gospel teaches, answers from God could be expected without going through a long process of building up faith again. In Matt. 6:14, Jesus based answer to prayer upon mercy shown to others. When we forgive we can expect God to forgive. When we are kind and good and merciful we can expect the same consideration from God.
(8) "LEAD US NOT INTO TEMPTATION, BUT DELIVER US FROM EVIL." Guidance and deliverance from God should be part of our prayer life, and it can be expected when we have faithfully met all the conditions mentioned above of asking and receiving. Remember, God’s love for us is unconditional and benefits of God’s promises are conditional.
3. THE BOLDNESS OF GOD'S FRIENDS (Luke 11:5-8; Heb. 4:14-16; 10:19-23.) One of the greatest secrets of asking and receiving is that of being bold to come to the throne of grace. This shows immediate need as well as friendship with God. When we are afraid to come boldly to God this fear indicates lack of faith and trust, and this in turn, indicates that either our heart is not right or that we are under direct attack from demons. When we live clean and holy before God, there is a natural confidence in God which is a result of a close walk with God. If we are living a true Christian life and we still feel fear of God and are timid about coming to God, we may be under attack by demons. In that case he should resist the devil and ignore such feelings and approach God in all confidence. We can always tell whether we have missed the mark [sinned] and are being convicted by the Holy Spirit or condemned by the opposing spirits. If there has been no known sin, then without doubt evil spirits are trying to counterfeit convictions (condemn) of sin where no sin has been committed.
Jesus gives an illustration of this boldness in friendship in Luke 11:5-8. One friend went to another for bread at midnight because he had to have it at that time and not on the morrow. He got it, not because of friendship, but because of boldness in importunity. Friendship creates boldness to make demands on a friend. The greater the friendship the greater the boldness in times of need.
In Heb. 4:14-16 we are commanded to come boldly to the throne of grace to obtain mercy to help in time of need. This boldness is based upon the fact that we have a great high priest who is touched with the feeling of our infirmities and who has been tempted in all points as we are. With such a mediator between God and man and with such a friend representing us before the Father we cannot fail to get answers to our prayers (Rom. 8:34; 1 Tim. 2:4-6).
The basis of coming to God in Heb. 10:19-23 is the blood of Jesus Christ, which gives us a new way of approach to God so that all of us can "draw near to God with a true heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled from an evil conscience.... Let us hold fast the profession of our faith without wavering; for he is faithful that promised."
4. FAITH IN THE CERTAINTY OF ANSWERED PRAYER AND THE INFINITE FATHERHOOD OF GOD (Luke 11:9-13).
5. The ALL-COMPREHENSIVE GIFT (Luke 11:9-13). Jesus promised that children of God had a greater gift that was due them than what they had received in the new birth. The gift of the Holy Spirit is here promised to every child of God. His help is one of the secrets of successful praying. The fact that this gift is promised only to children of God proves that it is not the reception of the Holy Spirit in a measure at the new birth, which experience comes to every child of God when born again (Rom. 8:9,14-16).
This all-inclusive gift refers to the fullness of the Holy Spirit in the life of the believer after the new birth. We must be a child of God before we can receive the fullness of the Spirit. This was the case with Jesus (Matt. 3:16-17; Luke 4:18-21; John 3:34); the disciples (Acts 2); the Samaritans (Acts 9:5-25); Paul (Acts 9:1-17); and the Ephesians (Acts 19:1-7). In the case of Cornelius, God saved and gave them the Spirit baptism all at once (Acts 10:43-48; 11:14-18; 15:7-11); so we can receive the Spirit baptism at the time we receive the new birth if we believe. If we do not, which is true of many, then we should ask God for it, as Jesus taught in Luke 11:13, "HOW MUCH MORE shall your heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to them that ask him?" This whole passage (Luke 11:9-13) proves that gifts for people who are already children is the subject. God gave this gift to Cornelius and his house when they were saved to prove that there is not necessarily a time element between the various blessings of God. If there is a time between any blessings of God it is because of the individual knowledge and faith limiting God to work in a certain way.
The Holy Spirit is one of our great helpers
in prayer: "Likewise the Spirit also helpeth our infirmities: for we
know not what we should pray for as we ought: but the Spirit himself maketh
intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered." With both
Christ and the Holy Spirit as our helpers how could there be a failure in
6. THE POWER OF PERSEVERING PRAYER (Luke 18:1-8). One chief secret of answered prayer is that of perseverance. "Men ought always to pray and not to lose heart." Jesus illustrated this truth by showing how a widow was avenged of her adversary by pestering a judge until he said in himself, "Though I fear not God, nor regard man; Yet because this widow troubleth [pestereth] me, I will avenge her lest by her continual coming she weary [pester] me." Jesus added, "And shall not God avenge his own elect, which cry DAY AND NIGHT unto him, though he bear long with them? I tell you he will avenge them speedily." If Elijah had become discouraged in praying for rain every time his servant reported no rain, he never would have got rain. He prayed seven times with his face between his knees and the seventh time rain came (1 Kings 18:42-46).
7. HUMILITY IN PRAYER (Luke 18:9-14). Jesus here gives us a parable of the publican and the Pharisee who prayed together in the temple. By this He showed very clearly that humility was one of the secrets of successful praying. One humbled himself and smote upon his breast and would not so much as look up to Heaven, saying, "God be merciful to me a sinner." Jesus said that man went down to his house justified rather than the Pharisee who was so proud of himself and his good life that he took all his prayer period to brag about himself to God. He was self-righteous and despised others, and these kinds of people who pray are never heard of God. He ended this story by saying, "For every one that exalteth himself shall be abased, and he that humbleth himself shall be exalted." If we want to be heard of God we must take an humble attitude, not depending upon our own merits in the least.
One of the greatest faults of old Christians is to depend more upon how long we have been saved, how good we have lived, how much better Christians we are than others, and how much more experienced and advanced in grace we are than others. We seem to think prayer and its answer are based upon these things. We think that God ought to jump at the chance to hear our prayers. We seem to think that we are special pets of God because of long service and faithful lives in holiness. We often complain because God will not heal us or otherwise answer our prayers, and because He does answer prayers and heal and bless some old sinner that knows that he has no merits to base a single prayer upon. This is the reason some are heard and some are not. God does not care for one good thing we have done or how long one we have been saved when it comes to the answer to prayer. He does not judge or answer on these grounds. He answers solely according to the attitude of humility and faith on the part of the one praying. It is to the discredit of many old believers that we have not learned more about God and His Word than to expect God to answer on any other basis.
8. GET ALONE WITH GOD (Matt. 6:5-8). This secret of answered prayer must be learned well by the believer. Jesus taught that answers to prayer would be given when men learn to get alone with God and pray to be heard of God and not men. Private prayer in secret has the greatest chance of an answer because of the fact that there is no temptation to pray to be heard of men. One does not search for flowery words to use in prayer when alone. He simply gets down in earnest and pours out his soul to God and voices his needs in the most simple terms. One secret of asking and receiving then is to "pray to thy Father in secret; and thy Father which seeth in secret shall reward thee openly." No believer ever learns to pray right unless he spends much time alone with God in sweet personal communion. This does not forbid public prayer, but it does forbid all public praying to be seen of men. We can pray in secret, yet in public, if we will shut out all thoughts of people and pray to be heard of God alone. We would be guilty of praying a public prayer in private, if we try to pray loud enough to attract attention of people to our praying.
9. THE WORD OF GOD AND PRAYER (Matt. 8:8; John 15:7). If we want to get answers to prayer let us first get the promises of God that cover our need and accept the answers as already being God's will by His Word. Let us have faith in the Word as the basis of God's will and the assurance of the answer. The centurion said, "speak the word only, and my servant shall be healed." He told the Lord that he believed that His word was all-sufficient to cast out the demons in His servant, just as his own word was sufficient to get action on the part of the hundred soldiers under his authority. Jesus marveled at this faith. So if this is what faith is, we can all have faith if we want to have it. Faith is simply taking God at His Word.
So much praying is done without any regard to whether God has promised the thing that is asked for, or without any thought of believing the promise or accepting the answer as a fact if the promise is known. There is no real, tangible connection between prayer and the Word of God, and hence prayer goes unanswered. If we cannot believe what God has said, we make God a liar; and He then is not under obligation to answer at all. If we want to obligate God to an answer we must take God at His word and count it a settled fact that we have the thing prayed for according to the Word. All praying should be done on the basis of the Word of God, and the promises should be quoted and used in prayer. God knows what He has promised, but He wants us also to know it and ask accordingly in faith, nothing wavering (James 1:5-9). "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).
10. THE FAITH THAT TAKES. This secret of answered prayer is very clear in Scripture. Note how simple the Bible is on this point: "Have faith in God For verily I say unto you, That whosoever shall say unto this mountain, Be thou removed, and cast into the sea; and SHALL NOT DOUBT IN HIS HEART, BUT SHALL BELIEVE THAT THOSE THINGS WHICH HE SAITH SHALL COME TO PASS, HE SHALL HAVE WHATSOEVER HE SAITH. Therefore I say unto you, WHAT THINGS SOEVER YE DESIRE, WHEN YE PRAY, BELIEVE THAT YE RECEIVE THEM [Believe that you have got them], AND YE SHALL HAVE THEM" (Mark 11:22-24); "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" (Heb. 11:6); "If any of you lack wisdom [or any thing else], let him ask of God, THAT GIVETH TO ALL MEN LIBERALLY, AND UPBRAIDETH NOT; AND IT SHALL BE GIVEN HIM. BUT LET HIM ASK IN FAITH NOTHING WAVERING. For he that wavereth is like a wave of the sea driven with the wind and tossed. FOR LET NOT THAT MAN THINK THAT HE SHALL RECEIVE ANY THING OF THE LORD" (James 1:5-9).
The central thought in all these passages is: "BELIEVE THAT YOU HAVE GOT IT AND YOU SHALL HAVE IT." Believe that it is already yours. See yourself with it. Believe that you have got it already whether you literally see it or not. "Faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen" (Heb. 11:1). Faith laughs at impossibilities and counts all things possible. It "calleth those things that be not as though they were" (Rom. 4:17-22). One cannot have faith for something that he already has, for "hope that is seen is not hope; for what a man seeth, why doth he yet hope for? But if we hope for that we see not, then do we with patience wait for it" (Romans 8:24-25).
Whoever uses faith can master all; have all he desires; and there are no bounds to what he can get. Faith will break through all barriers of reasonings, questionings, doubts, and thoughts of unbelief. It will take hold of what is wanted by an unshakable determination and will refuse to be denied. Faith will do all the Bible says it will do. Work what faith you have and refuse to be discouraged. Every impossible thing has finally yielded to pounding and increased pressure. What we do not Use we lose is a divine law that never fails. Likewise it is a divine law that whatever we Use increases (Luke 8:18; Rom. 10:17; Gal. 6:7-8).
The Scriptures cited above also prove the unlimited possibilities of prayer if one will use the faith that takes. Jesus said, "If thou canst believe, all things are possible to him that believeth" (Mark 9:23) and "All things, whatsoever ye shall ask in prayer, believing, ye shall receive" (Matt. 17:20; 21:21-22). This is how men got answers in Bible days (Matt. 9:2, 27-29; Heb. 11). This is the only way we will get answers today; so we might as well stop deceiving ourselves that God might answer apart from firm, unwavering faith. He will not, for He said He will not, and He cannot lie (Heb. 11:6; James 1:5-9). Faith and prayer will move mountains, but faithless prayer will not move an anthill.
11. FASTING AND PRAYER-THE CURE FOR UNBELIEF. The disciples asked the Lord why they could not heal the lunatic boy. Jesus said, "Because of your unbelief.... Howbeit this kind goeth not out but by prayer and fasting" (Matt; 17:14-21). Faith needs prayer for its development and full growth, and prayer needs fasting for its development and full growth. Fasting is a biblical doctrine and has done wonders when used in combination with prayer and faith. To fast means to abstain from food, which was very involved in the cause of the fall of man. It is humbling the soul before God (Ps. 35:13); chastening of the soul (Ps. 69:10); and crucifying the appetites and denying them so as to give entire time to prayer (2 Sam. 12:16-23; Matt. 4:1-11). It manifests earnestness before God to the exclusion of all else (1 Cor. 7:5). It manifests obedience and gives the digestive system a rest (Matt. 6:16-18; 9:15, Luke 5:33). It demonstrates the mastery of man over appetites; aids in temptation; helps give power over demons; develops faith; crucifies unbelief; and aids in prayer (Matt. 4:1-11; 17:14-21).
All believers are supposed to fast but no regulations or set rules are ever given as to how long or how often. That part is left up to the individual desire and needs (Matt. 9:14-15; 1 Cor. 7:5; Acts 13:1-5). Men should fast when under chastening (2 Sam. 12:16-23); when under judgment (1 Kings 21:27); when in need (Ezra 8:21); when in danger (Esther 4); when worried (Dan. 6:18); when in trouble (Acts 27:9, 33; when in spiritual conflict (Matt. 4:1-11); and when desperate in prayer (Acts 9).
If fasting and prayer are so prominent in the Bible, modern Christians should do more of them until we get power with God over all the powers of the devil. Many things about fasting and its benefits are not known to modern people, but people through the ages who have been people of great prayer have also fasted much.
12. THE POWER OF UNITED
PRAYER. When other things fail to produce answers to prayer try the secret of
united prayer: "If two of you shall agree on earth as touching any thing
that they shall ask, it shall be done for them of my Father which is in
heaven. For where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I
in the midst of them" (Matt. 18:18-20). There is nothing as powerful as
united prayer. When the church at
13. THE ALL-INCLUSIVE CONDITION OF ASKING AND RECEIVING. "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). When we have met the all-inclusive condition of this verse we do not even have to think of any other condition. Many times we hinder our own prayers by manufacturing conditions. Once in a classroom each student gave a different condition of what they thought people had to do in order to get prayers answered. So many conditions were required to get a single prayer answered that it would have been impossible for anyone to get one prayer answered by God. Finis Dake said, "Away with all these conditions. It is no wonder that God can seldom get to answer a prayer for us. We manufacture so many conditions that hinder our faith that God cannot work." He then showed them the all-inclusive condition, and told them that when this is met we can forget all others.
Some argue that it is not God's will to answer every prayer; but we answer, it is always God's will to answer any prayer that is prayed in faith for any thing that is covered by the promises of God. It is God's will for you to get what you will if you are in Christ and His words are in you. You will not ask one thing that the Word of God forbids as long as you are in harmony with it. Such statements as: "nothing shall be impossible to you . . . all things, whatsoever ye shall ask in prayer. believing, ye shall receive.... What things so ever ye desire.... ask what ye will" and like statements prove that it is always God's will for you to get what you want and desire (Matt. 17:20; 21:22; Mark 11:22-24; John 14:12-15; 15:7, 16; 16:23-26). The human will then is free to ask what it wills, and what it wills is always God's will as long as it is in harmony with the Word of God.
God has chosen you to ask what you will that much fruit can be produced for God and that the world may see the greatness of God's power (John 14:12-15; 15:7, 16; 1 John 5:14-15).
14. THE ALL-PREVAILING PLEA. Jesus said, "in my name" we were to ask God for what we want. He gave the assurance that God will always honor His name in prayer (John 14:12-15; 15:7, 16; 16:23-26). When we plead the name of Jesus in prayer God is bound to answer prayer, for He always hears His own beloved Son (Rom . 8: 32).
15. THE CHILDREN'S RIGHT. Jesus taught us that children of God have a right to get all their prayers answered. When the Gentile woman came to Jesus to get her daughter healed, Jesus answered "It is not meet to take the children's bread, and cast it to the dogs" (Matt. 15:21-28). She answered wisely and asked for only the "crumbs" that are the right of a dog. He could not resist her faith and said, "O woman, great is thy faith: be it unto thee even as thou wilt; and her daughter was made whole from that very hour." This certainly teaches that children of God have certain rights in the heavenly family. They have just as much right to expect good things from God as any child in an earthly family has a right to expect things from his parents. At least one has the rights of a dog if not the rights of a child. With this kind of faith we cannot fail to get what we want from God.
16. FIVE STEPS TO ANSWERED PRAYER. If we will follow faithfully the following steps in prayer we can be sure of an answer:
(1) Decide what you want from God and get the Scriptures that definitely promise you these things. Get these promises firmly fixed in the heart and not only in the mind. Be ready to use them against demons who will try to make you doubt God and rob you of what you want.
(2) Ask God for the things you want and believe that you have got them. Believe God, not Satan; the truth, not a lie. Let every single thought and desire affirm that you have got what you asked. Never permit a mental picture of a failure to be in your mind. Never doubt for one minute that you have the answer. If doubts persist, rebuke them and get your mind on the answer and constantly affirm that the promises are true and that prayer has been answered. Eradicate every suggestion, image, vision, dream, impression, feeling; in fact, extirpate all thoughts that do not contribute to your faith that you have what you have asked.
(3) Thoughts are governed by observations, associations, and teachings. Guard against every evil thought that comes into the mind. Stay away from all places and things that will not support your affirmation that God has answered prayer. Meditate constantly on the promises upon which you base the answer to your prayer. See yourself with what you have asked for and make plans accordingly as if it were already a reality. Do not forget what you have asked of God and hold on until the full answer materializes.
(4) Pray constantly and look heavenward. In your waking moments think on the greatness of God and His goodness. Count your blessings and faith will increase. Breathe deeply the life of God in your inner spirit. Lift your heart to God constantly in gratitude and increasing praise for what He has done and for what He is doing for you now. Maintain that all things are possible to the believer.
(5) Make every prayer relative to what you have asked a statement of faith instead of unbelief. You can say "I do have faith" or "I do believe that I have what I have prayed for" just as easily as you can make statements of unbelief. You can think thoughts of faith as easily as you can think thoughts of doubt and unbelief. Do not accept no as an answer. Do not be denied. It is your family right, your redemptive right, your gospel right, and your creative right to have what God has promised. It will come. It is yours now, so accept it and it will become a reality.
17. To sum up the keys of prayer we may state briefly the essential elements of prevailing prayer:
(1) RIGHT RELATIONSHIP-with both God and man (Matt. 5:23; 6:9, 15; 18:15; 1 John 3:20-22; 5:14-15).
(2) ADORATION-worship God and love all men (Matt. 6:9; 1 John 3:18-22; Phil. 4:6; Heb. 13:15).
(3) UNSELFISHNESS-put the interests of God and others first (Matt. 6:10).
(4) RESTITUTION-where possible (Matt. 5:23; 18:15).
(5) FORGIVENESS-be merciful to others (Matt. 6:14-15; 18:21; Eph. 5:32).
(6) BOLDNESS-be free from fear and doubt (Heb. 10:19-23).
(7) UNMERITORIOUS-base the right to an answer upon the work of Christ only, not upon personal merits (John 14:12-15; 15:7).
(8) FAITH-believe in the certainty of answered prayer (Luke 11:9-13).
in the Spirit (
(10) PERSEVERANCE-don't lose heart (Luke 18:1-8).
(11) HUMILITY-realize you are nothing (Luke 18:9-14; Gal. 6:3).
(12) UNPRETENTIOUS-make no outward show before others (Matt. 6:5-8; Luke 18:9-14).
(13) SACRIFICIAL-deny personal pleasure and feelings and concentrate upon the answer until it comes (1 Cor. 7: 5; Matt. 4:1-11).
(14) UNITY-oneness with both God and man (Matt. 18:15-20; Acts 2:1-4, 42-47, 4:23-33, 1 Cor. 1:10; Eph. 4).
(15) CONSECRATION-be all and all for God (John 15:7; 2 Cor. 5:17).
(16) CONFESSION-acknowledge own faults (James 5:14-16).
(17) HOLINESS-have a pure life and motives (Ps. 66:18).
(18) INSPIRATION-depend upon the Holy Spirit (Rom. 8:26-27).
(19) PETITION - make requests known (Phil 4:6; 1 John 5:14-16).
(20) WHOLE-HEARTEDNESS-put whole life into worship (Matt. 22:37).
(21) EARNESTNESS-be sincere (1 Thess. 3:10; James 5:17).
(22) IMPORTUNITY-press claims before God (Luke 11:5-8).
(23) STUBBORNNESS-refuse to be denied (Luke 18:1-8; Matt. 15:21-28).
(24) CONFIDENCE-never doubt (1 John 3:21-22; 5:14-15).
(25) JOY-be happy that you are going to receive (Luke 24:52-53).
(26) TRUST-be anxious about nothing (Phil. 4:6).
Your own portable document of The Five Steps to Answered Prayer and this Summary of Its Keys.
"Prayer isn't a time to give orders, but a time to report for duty." (“Don’t fret or worry about anything; but in every thing by prayer and petition with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God.” —Philippians 4:6)
A Lesson on Unanswered Prayer
At Deuteronomy 3:23-26 is Moses' last plea to enter the Promised Land and not be denied because of the one sin of striking the rock twice (Deut. 3:23-25; 4:21-22; Num. 20:8-13).
(Speaking to the rock was all that was required of Moses, and it would have been effective in proving to Israel the benefits of the Messiah who was typified by the rock (2Cor. 10:4). The rock had already been struck once, typifying Christ's crucifixion which was only to happen once for all men (Ex. 17:6; Rom. 10; Heb. 9:25-28). Merely speaking to the rock would have brought the same benefits as striking it before. The same is true now of Christ: all one must do is ask and receive (Mt. 7:7-11; 21:22; Mk. 11:22-24; Jn. 15:7,16; 16:23-26). Speaking harshly to Israel was unbecoming to Moses; not speaking to the rock as commanded was an act of unbelief (Num. 20:12). This was a significant failure in light of the great work entrusted to Moses in the development of the spiritual and typical program God was revealing to the whole world through Israel. Thus, Moses did not set God apart as sacred and to be revered by all the people (Num. 20:12). Aaron could have checked this rash and disobedient act, for he was given the instructions along with Moses (Num. 20:6-8), but he failed as well. Hence, he was an accomplice in unbelief and sin, and both were cut off from entering the promised land (Num. 20:12-13).
The "we" at Num. 20:10 called attention to Moses and Aaron as the source of supply, not God. Striking the rock (Num. 20:11) was a serious sin because this was the spiritual rock of Israel, identified with the Messiah; striking it typified His crucifixion. To strike it twice meant crucifying Christ afresh. Therefore, God punished for transgression in type the same as He will punish for it in reality, though not as severely as He will punish one who actually crucifies to himself the Son of God and puts Him to an open shame (Heb. 6:4-9; 10:26-29).
Water came out abundantly (Num 20:11) as it did when the rock was first struck (Ex. 17:6; 2Cor. 10:4), typifying that the benefits of the crucifixion are abundant to all men, even hardened rebels. However, men must accept and use the provision made for them or it will be in vain as far as they are concerned. Unbelief: This is the official reason Moses and Aaron were not permitted to enter the promised land (Num. 20:12,24; Dt. 3:18-29).)
This refusal to answer Moses is not an example of God saying no to those persons who pray according to His will and the Word of God. Some accidentally say that God always answers prayer, but sometimes says “no.” This is a deceptive excuse of unbelief. God never has and never will say no to any child of His—anyone who is in Christ and is sincerely asking according to the promises given. God may say it to persons who live in unbelief and use this and every other kind of excuse of unbelief in prayer, but He will surely not say it to persons of faith who ask in faith in the name of Jesus Christ, and according to His promises. God cannot and will not refuse to fulfill His own Word. He will meet His own obligations as plainly stated (Numbers 23:10; Psalm 89:34; Psalm 119:89,90,160; Isaiah 46:11; Isaiah 55:10-11; 2 Cor. 1:20; Titus 1:2; Hebrews 10:28). See John 14:12-15; John 15:7,16; John 16:23-26; Hebrews 11:6; James 1:4-8. When prayer is not answered, sin and judgment are plainly involved (as in the case of Moses in this section), or it is the result of unbelief (Matthew 17:20; Matthew 21:22). The will of God is not a question where one is truly a child of God, and asking according to the promises, for it is the revealed will of God for His children to ask what they will and desire (Mark 11:22-24; John 15:7). [Source]
“For His divine power has given unto us all things that pertain unto life and godliness, through the knowledge of Him who has called us to glory and goodness. And by that same mighty power, He has given to us exceeding great and precious promises; that by these you all might be partakers of the Divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust.” (2 Peter1:3-4) There are 750 promises in the New Testament alone.
“This Good News tells us how God makes us right in his sight. This is accomplished from start to finish by faith. As the Scriptures say, ‘The just shall live by faith.’” (Romans 1:17; Galatians 3:11; Habakkuk 2:4)
“He personally bore our sins in His own body on the tree, that we, being dead to sins, should live unto righteousness: by whose stripes you were healed.” (1 Peter 2:24) How to access God’s healing and keep it.
“For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.” (Ephesians 6:12) See the reality of evil, Satan, or the devil
“…He who rules over men must be just, ruling in the fear of God...” (2 Samuel 23:2‑4) See our need for govern-ment and its real nature
Link to God's Plan for Mankind
Thank you Finis Jennings Dake and Dake Publishing
Thank you Derek Prince Ministries and his book Foundational Truths for Christian Living