The privilege of prayer.

phipps

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More on why we pray in Jesus' name.

Jesus said, “Ye shall ask in My name: and I say not unto you, that I will pray the Father for you: for the Father Himself loveth you.” “I have chosen you: . . . that whatsoever ye shall ask of the Father in My name, He may give it you” (John 16:26-27; 15:16). To pray in the name of Jesus is something more than a mere mention of that name at the beginning and the ending of a prayer. It is to pray in the mind and spirit of Jesus, while we believe His promises, rely upon His grace, and work His works.

Hebrews 4:14-16 says, “Since we have a great High Priest who has passed through the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold fast our confession for we do not have a High Priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but one who in every respect has been tempted as we are yet without sin." "Therefore"— crucial word — therefore, let us with confidence draw near to the throne of grace. We only can come to God in prayer pleading for grace, because we have a High Priest, which is why we pray in Jesus’ name.

We have no access to the Father without Christ and His name. And so when we pray in Jesus’ name we are saying to the Father; I am coming not in my own name, not in my own merit, not in my own worth. I am coming because Christ loved me. Christ died for me. Christ rose for me. Christ intercedes for me.
 

phipps

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God’s Responses to prayer in the Bible.

God Ignores the Prayer

At times we feel that God ignores our prayer, while in reality this is not true. God has different ways of answering prayer, "And when Saul inquired of the Lord, the Lord did not answer him, either by dreams or by Urim or by the prophets." (1 Samuel 28:6), acting according to his schedule and for the good of his children. Only a few cases are reported in which God did not react to prayer. This happened when certain people made decisions against God, but then realized in their distress that they needed God (see 1 Samuel 28:6; Psalm 18:41).

God Does Not Grant the Request
In Deuteronomy 3:26 God refused to let Moses enter the promised land. The reason was that Moses had acted on his own authority and against God’s will (Numbers 20:1-13). Moses’ request was not granted as he expected. Yet, it was granted in a better way--Moses was taken to heaven (Jude 1:9; Matthew 17:1-3).

God Grants the Request
Many cases in Scripture show that God actually listened to prayers and answered them accordingly.

(1) Jesus promises - Matthew 18:19; 21:22; John 14:13-14; 15:7, 16; 16:23 to answer prayers.

(2) Prayers for the sick are - James 5:13-16 being answered in God’s ways.

(3) Elijah’s prayers were - James 5:17-18 answered.

(4) Daniel’s prayers were - Daniel 2:16-23; 9:1-19; 10:12-14 answered.
 

phipps

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Jesus is a friend who sticks closer than a brother

As we’ve seen, it’s by praying that we commune with God. We pour out our deepest needs and desires to Him with the assurance that He will answer according to His will.

So whatever we're struggling with God will gladly help us if we commit our problems to Him. He says:

“Come unto me all you that labor and are heavy laden and I will give you rest” (Matthew 11:28).

All heaven is eagerly waiting to hear our simple, and sincere prayers. God wants to commune with us. And we are assured that “whoever shall come unto Him shall in no wise be cast out” (John 6:37).

We should have faith that God hears all prayers and answers them all according to His will. Miracles still happen even today, in answer to prayer. And He is waiting to hear all our prayers.

He is “a friend who sticks closer than a brother.” Also, “He is very compassionate, and of tender mercy” (Proverbs 18:24; James 5:11).

Building a friendship with people is a process, so it is with God too.

God is inviting us to begin a friendship with Him by saying a prayer. Then as we progress each day, step by step, we will see that as we continually draw closer to Him, He too will draw closer to us (James 4:8).
 

phipps

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James 5:15-16, "And the prayer of faith will save the sick, and the Lord will raise him up. And if he has committed sins, he will be forgiven. Confess your trespasses to one another, and pray for one another, that you may be healed. The effective, fervent prayer of a righteous man avails much."
 

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“The Scriptures admonish us to “pray without ceasing.” This does not mean that we are to spend all of our time on our knees in formal prayer. It does mean that we must live and serve our Lord in the atmosphere of prayer. “Pr3.1

“Prayer is the channel of communication between our souls and God. God speaks to us through His word; we respond to Him through our prayers, and He always listens to us. We cannot weary or burden Him by our frequent heart to heart communications. “Pr3.2

“We have come to serious times. Events in our world call upon every follower of Christ to be totally in earnest in our relationship with God. To strengthen this relationship and satisfy our emotional and spiritual needs, we must learn the power of prayer. We must plead with the Lord, like the disciples of old, saying, “Lord, teach us to pray.”pr3.3

“That God is willing and ready to hear and to respond to our heartfelt prayers under all circumstances is profoundly reassuring. He is a loving Father who is interested both when things are going well and when the vicissitudes of life deal us devastating, tough, and terrible blows. When we feel like crying out, “God, where are You?” It is good to know that He is just a prayer away. “Pr3.4

“One writer has said, “More things are wrought by prayer than this world dreams of.” It is also true of the church. “A revival of true Godliness among us is the greatest and most urgent of all our needs. To seek this should be our first work” (Selected Messages 1:121). God will do things for us when we pray that He will not do if we do not pray (The Great Controversy, 525). We acknowledge that we need the outpouring of the Holy Spirit. But this can be accomplished only as we pray individually and collectively. When God's people pray earnestly, sincerely, individually, and collectively, God will answer. Great things will happen in and among God's people. And the world will feel the impact as the Holy Spirit comes to equip and empower His people. “PR3.5

“Opening the Heart to a Friend—Prayer is the opening of the heart to God as to a friend. Not that it is necessary in order to make known to God what we are, but in order to enable us to receive Him. Prayer does not bring God down to us, but brings us up to Him. “Pr8.4

Happy Sabbath.
 

phipps

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Prayer to Be First Activity of the Day — Consecrate yourself to God in the morning; make this your very first work. Let your prayer be,

"Take me, O Lord, as wholly Thine. I lay all my plans at Thy feet. Use me today in Thy service. Abide with me, and let all my work be wrought in Thee."

This is a daily matter. Each morning consecrate yourself to God for that day. Surrender all your plans to Him, to be carried out or given up as His providence shall indicate. Thus day by day you may be giving your life into the hands of God, and thus your life will be molded more and more after the life of Christ.

The very first out-breathing of the soul in the morning should be for the presence of Jesus. "Without Me," He says, "ye can do nothing." It is Jesus that we need; His light, His life, His spirit, must be ours continually. We need Him every hour. And we should pray in the morning that as the sun illuminates the landscape, and fills the world with light, so the Sun of Righteousness may shine into the chambers of mind and heart, and make us all light in the Lord.

We cannot do without His presence one moment. The enemy knows when we undertake to do without our Lord, and he is there, ready to fill our minds with his evil suggestions that we may fall from our steadfastness; but it is the desire of the Lord that from moment to moment we should abide in Him, and thus be complete in Him. — {Pr 23.1 - Pr 23.2}.
 

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The concept of praying the Rosary or any string of beads, is never mentioned in Scripture because it is a human invention. It is not Biblical and it is not of God.

The Bible encourages us to pray to God and not to men or women. Jesus encouraged us to pray to the Father in Matthew 6:9-13. Jesus never encouraged us to pray to Mary or any human being. To pray to anyone other than God is a violation of the second of the Ten Commandments. We are not to worship anyone other than God.

In addition, Mary was not holy. In Mary’s prayer, “The Magnificat,” Mary calls God her “Saviour.” The prayer is found in Luke 1:47. Mary states that she needs a Saviour, and she calls God her Saviour. Since only sinners need a Savior, Mary admits in prayer to God that she needed a Saviour. She said this just after Jesus was conceived in her womb.

In summary, praying the Rosary or any other beads does not provide forgiveness of our sins, relief from punishment, or provide certain graces; nor does it give us victory over hell. Praying the Rosary is a deceptive practice that cannot be found in the Bible. It is heretical.

Our Sins Are Forgiven By God The Father.

Nowhere in Scripture are we told that Mary forgives our sins, pleads for our forgiveness with the Father and blesses us with graces. There are no promises that Mary does anything for Christians. Also, note that Mary does not appear in the pages of Scripture after Acts 1.
 
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phipps

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Fasting and Prayer.

Fasting and prayer are talked about throughout the Bible for many reasons such as worshipping God, to express grief, to prepare for ministry, to seek God's wisdom, and more.

Fasting is abstaining from all or some kinds of food or drink, especially as a religious observance. A number of studies have suggested intermittent fasting has numerous health benefits, including weight loss, lower blood pressure and reduced cholesterol.

Dr. Bill Bright, in his guide Why You Should Fast, listed the following reasons for seeking God through self-denial.

Fasting was an expected discipline in both the Old and New Testament eras.

Fasting and prayer can restore the loss of the “first love” for your Lord and result in a more intimate relationship with Christ.

Fasting is a biblical way to truly humble yourself in the sight of God.

It enables the Holy Spirit to reveal your true spiritual condition, resulting in brokenness, repentance, and a transformed life.

Fasting will encourage the Holy Spirit to quicken the Word of God in your heart and His truth will become more meaningful to you.

Fasting can transform your prayer life into a richer and more personal experience.

Fasting can result in a dynamic personal revival in your own life and make you a channel of revival to others.

Documentation is mounting that shows FASTING to not only benefit the spiritual parts of our lives, but it also affects us -- positively -- physically and mentally.
 

phipps

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Biblical Fasting and praying.

Matthew 6:17
doesn’t say, “If you fast,” but rather, “When you fast.” Fasting has always been part of the lifestyle of believers, just like praying and studying the Bible. In fact, every major character in the Bible fasted. And even now Jesus is fasting: He promised He would not drink grape juice again until we are all together in heaven (Matthew 26:29).

Have you ever thought about the fast Christ is currently keeping for you and me?

If we study all the fasts in the Bible, we find that every time God’s people prayed and fasted, God worked mightily on their behalf. From deliverance from their enemies in battle to supernatural deliverance from prison, to the outpouring of the Holy Spirit at Pentecost, and on and on, we see a pattern. And this pattern repeats itself all down through Christian history.

Hudson Taylor once said, “Perhaps the greatest hindrance to our work is our own imagined strength; and in fasting we learn what poor, weak creatures we are—dependent on a meal of meat for the little strength which we are so apt to lean upon” (J. Hudson Taylor, ed., China’s Millions, 1887).

Of course, in Bible times fasting wasn’t merely a denial of food. It was a time of heart evaluation as the petitioner sought God’s blessing or deliverance in some situation.

Inspiration encourages us: “Men need to think less about what they shall eat and drink, of temporal food, and much more in regard to the food from heaven, that will give tone and vitality to the whole religious experience” (Counsels on Diet and Foods, p. 90).

If a fast is not combined with extra time in the Word and seeking God in prayer, it would better to term it dieting! However, true biblical fasting is not about dieting, nor is it about selfrighteous attitudes to impress others of our piety.

Referring to the outward type of fasting the hypocrites practiced, one Bible commentator writes,

"Do we not often [even today] feel that there is something meritorious in the very inconveniences which we suffer in our acts of self denial? . . . [However, ] the pain and inconvenience which we may endure by the most rigid fasting are not meritorious in the sight of God. They are not that at which he aims by the appointment of fasting. He aims at justice, truth, benevolence, holiness (Isa. 58:6– 7); and he esteems the act of fasting to be of value only as it will be the means of leading us to reflect on our faults, and to amend our lives (Albert Barnes, Notes on the Bible [1834] on Isaiah 58:5).

It’s important to remember that we can’t earn God’s blessing or answers by prayer and fasting any more than we can earn our own salvation. Fasting doesn’t substitute for obedience or personal surrender. However, it is a means of cleansing the heart of distractions and helping us have a more receptive frame of mind to what God wants to do in our life and through our prayers. And we are promised, “To those who in humility of heart seek for divine guidance, angels of God draw near. The Holy Spirit is given to open to them the rich treasures of the truth” (Christ’s Object Lessons, p. 59).
 

phipps

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Jesus said about fasting, “Moreover, when you fast, do not be like the hypocrites, with a sad countenance. For they disfigure their faces that they may appear to men to be fasting. Assuredly, I say to you, they have their reward. But you, when you fast, anoint your head and wash your face, so that you do not appear to men to be fasting, but to your Father who is in the secret place; and your Father who sees in secret will reward you openly" (Matthew 6:16-18).

When we fast, we should be careful not to call attention to what we are doing.

Fasting is meant to strengthen us Spiritually and bring us closer to God. It should be accompanied by deep prayer and deep delving into the word of God.

Fasting often clears the mind and helps us separate the carnal desires from spiritual priorities.

Fasting is always accompanied with prayer.

We should always consult a doctor if we intend to fast for extended periods of time (up to 40 days), and remember that the major work of scriptural fasting is in the realm of one’s spirit.
 
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