**** FEBRUARY 2020 ****

PRAYER

Paul Galligan

In Matthew 6:5-13 Jesus is giving instructions to His disciples regarding prayer, and in verses 9-13 He gives us what is called the Lord's Prayer. But it is actually the disciples prayer, or it is the model prayer which disciples in every generation can follow and build their prayer life upon, because all the important issues and facets of prayer, that ought to be covered in prayer, are set out by Jesus in this model prayer. It is the prayer that opens the door into the kingdom.

In 1 Timothy 2:1, the apostle is instructing the church that prayer should have first place. He exhorts "first of all that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks be made for all men". Paul lists four modes or means of prayer. There are supplications; there are prayers; there are intercessions, and all of this is in the context of giving thanks.

What are supplications? The dictionary says they are entreaties, or humbly begging, making petition. It suggests a serious pleading and crying out to God for particular people [all mankind].

What are prayers? The Word Wealth {Spirit Filled Life Bible} at Matthew 6:5 explains the Greek word 'proseuchomai'. Prayer is to God and includes 'making a vow'; prayer is 'invocation, request, or entreaty'. This Greek word is the most frequent word for 'prayer'. Prayers include supplications but more generally prayer is our communication with God. This means prayer is a dialogue and we should listen for His answers.
Philippians 4:6 tells us that it is by prayers and supplications that we "make our requests known to God." We know God has answered by the witness of "the peace of God" (v7) coming into our spirit.
Prayers and supplications are to be made "in the Spirit" (Eph.6:18). This means that in our prayer life we are to move from the soul realm to the spirit realm, where God is able to guide us.


What are intercessions? To intercede is to go on behalf of or to go between. It is to plead in favour of someone else; it can mean to mediate; it means to represent another at the throne of grace; to petition an authority on behalf of another.
Hebrews 7:25 tells us that Jesus "always lives to make intercession for them [the saints]".
Romans 8:26 tells us that the Holy Spirit is our intercessor. "The Spirit Himself makes intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered". The Holy Spirit "makes intercession for the saints according to the will of God" (v.27).

1 Thess.5:17-18 tells us to "pray without ceasing" and "in everything give thanks; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you."
Ephesians 5:20 tells us to be "giving thanks always for all things." The giving of thanks is the attitude of a Spirit-filled believer and thankfulness to God is the attitude to undergird all prayer. Giving thanks in the context of prayer builds our faith to believe God.

The essential role of prayer

In Philippians 4:6-7 Paul tells us that we should pray about everything. Paul echoes the words of Jesus in Matthew 6:25-34: "be anxious for nothing".
Note that Paul mentions supplications again in Philippians 4, and that the prayer and supplication should be with the giving of thanks. In this context he says, "let your requests be made known to God". You will know you have the breakthrough when the peace of God "which surpasses all understanding" pervades you. You may not see the literal answer immediately, but you know because of the peace that God has heard your prayer and the answer will come forth.

THE WAY THAT JESUS PRAYED

With intensity

There are various references to Jesus praying, but we want to look at the intensity of His prayer life as referred to in Hebrews 5:7 "who in the days of His flesh, when He had offered up prayers and supplications, with vehement cries and tears to Him who was able to save Him from death, and was heard because of His godly fear". In this reference the intensity of the prayer life of Jesus is revealed! Have we ever come to that place of 'vehement cries' and 'tears'? Note that even in the intensity of His need, Jesus kept His focus fully on "Him who was able to save Him from death, and was heard because of His godly fear".

With groans and tears

In John 11:33-38 we see Jesus at the tomb of Lazarus. Jesus had come to visit Lazarus' family but from when Jesus first received the news of Lazarus' illness, He said, "This sickness is not unto death, but for the glory of God, that the Son of God may be glorified through it" (Jn.11:4). In John 11:11 Jesus told the disciples "our friend Lazarus sleeps, but I go that I may wake him up". Jesus came in faith - He knew that Lazarus was to be raised.
When Jesus came to the tomb, the Scripture says "He groaned in the spirit and was troubled" (v.33); "Jesus wept" (v.35); "Then Jesus again groaning in Himself" (v.38) said "Take away the stone" (v.39).
Then Jesus prayed publicly (v.41-42), thanking God for hearing Him. But Jesus had not spoken any prayers: He had groaned, He was troubled in the spirit and He wept, and He groaned again, and then He knew that God had heard Him, and the miracle would happen. Lazarus would come forth (v.43-44). Jesus said that He prayed out loud to the Father "because of the people who were standing by ... that they may believe that You sent Me" (v.42).
Notice how Jesus prayed: with groans and tears, and being troubled within Himself, in His spirit. In Romans 8:26-27 Paul teaches us that this is how the Spirit of God works in us to make intercession: "The Spirit Himself makes intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered. Now He who searches the hearts knows what the mind of the Spirit is because He makes intercession for the saints according to the will of God". This deep prayer and intercession in the Spirit is meant to be for all the saints. This is how we break through into the will of God, no matter what our circumstances or condition is.

THE AMAZING WAY THAT GOD ANSWERS PRAYER

We are exhorted by Paul to pray "for all men, for kings and all who are in authority" (1 Timothy 2:1b-2a). The result of such prayer will be that we "lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and reverence" (v.2b).
The church has a responsibility to pray for the nation and its government. This pleases God (v.3). Such prayer is "good and acceptable in the sight of God our Saviour" (v.3). God "desires all men to be saved" (v.4). Men will be saved by coming "to the knowledge of the truth" (v.4).

What is that truth?

The answer is: "For there is
one God 

If men come to believe this message, then they can be saved. This is the great truth of God that will bring men to salvation, even kings and rulers.
This statement of truth needs "to be testified" (v.6).

God will appoint those who will testify

Then Paul makes a remarkable statement: he says, "for which I was appointed a preacher and an apostle - I am speaking the truth in Christ and not lying - a teacher of the Gentiles [nations] in faith and truth" (v.7). There is an amazing link between praying for all men and rulers and the resultant raising up of preachers, apostles and teachers, who can make known the truth of God: that His salvation can only be known and experienced by coming to the knowledge of the truth of the redemptive work of Jesus Christ.
God answers our prayers for all men, for kings and those in authority by raising up more preachers, apostles and teachers, to testify to the truth of God and of Jesus Christ the only Mediator.

Testimony

As an apostolic company we are committed to prayer and we value much and are guided by the prayer Jesus gave us and Paul's instructions in 1 Timothy 2. Now after 22 years in apostolic ministry we have seen God's answers to our prayers. God has raised up preachers, apostles, teachers, chaplains in schools, hospitals and prisons, teachers of Religious Instruction in Government schools; doors opening for itinerant ministry through many parts of Australia, and the raising of many apostolic ministries in the nations.

WHAT AN AMAZING GOD! Let us give ourselves to prayer!

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