PRAYERS AND PRAYER-MEETINGS.
I have been to many different prayer-meetings in different churches and groups throughout my life-time. A lot of them have been very good, but sometimes I return home and I cry over lack of leadership and a lot of confusion. That has caused division instead of oneness in the Spirit. I have been to other meetings with a strong leader and she or he is the only one allowed to pray. That is also wrong.
To pray and to pray with others is not exactly the same. I will write about some principles for praying and for prayer-meetings.
I love to pray and people can very seldom come to my home without ending the visit with praying. Several people have called my home for a “House of Prayer.” I myself think that I should pray more than I do. I do believe that Jesus wants to spend time with me and I do not always make Him as my first priority. Praying isn’t just coming to Him with a long list of orders. Praying should first and foremost be a time of fellowship with the Lord.
Why do we pray? First and foremost because God has asked us to pray. The prayer: “Our Father” is a prayer that Jesus taught His disciples to pray. We can find it in Matthew 6:7-14. It starts with Our Father, hallowed be Thy name. It continues by praying for His kingdom to come and His will to be done on earth as it is in heaven. The focus is on Him and not on us. Then it shifts and we can pray for our daily bread and then we ask Him to forgive us our sins as we should forgive our debtors. We are taught to ask God to save us from evil and then the focus comes back to God. “For Thine is the Glory and the Power!” The prayer starts with God and it ends with Him. I like to do things in the same way as Jesus and I therefore believe that our prayers both private and in our prayer-meetings should start with God and end with God. I know of prayer leaders that put their lists of requests aside when they approach the Throne-Room and they do not use the list before they have been satisfied by the presence of the Lord. I am not quite there yet, but on my way.
The Lord is not a coffee machine. He is alive and wants a living two-ways communication with us.
We do not pray to get a better conscience, nor do we pray to get all our needs met. In Matthew 6 we can read that we do not need to use many words since the Lord knows out needs before we mention them. He has promised to take care of us, but we are often acting as that is not the case. I have lately discovered that I have more disbelief than I thought. We read in Hebrew 11:6 that we cannot please God without faith. If we are children of God, we have received a certain amount of faith, but we are often praying without expecting an answer to our prayer requests. In Jeremiah 33:3 we read that we can cry unto the Lord, and He will answer us. I actually call this a telephone number to God. He is always available. There is no sign saying: Out for lunch, call later.” We have a promise that He will answer us when we pray. In Matthew 21:22 we read that we will get answers to our prayers when we pray in faith. Another place we read that we receive answers to our prayers when we pray according to His will. We cannot expect answers to our prayers when they are against the principles of God and the Word. I heard of a prayer-group that prayed for divorce. The couple they prayed for were happily married. That is witchcraft and not a prayer according to God’s will.
Everybody does not pray in the right spirit.
Wounded people might think that those who have wounded them are their enemies, forgetting that Ephesians 6 says that our battle is not against flesh and blood, but against powers and authorities in the heavenly places.
People are never our enemies.
People can hurt us and even do damage to us, but we have no other choice than to forgive them. Our emotions can be very slow in forgiving so we might have to forgive many times before we are so healed that we can talk about it without pain. Romans 12 says that the revenge belongs to the Lord. We should bless our enemies. This time it talks about people that we consider as enemies. Our blessings might lead them to repentance.
Back to praying. In the letter to James 5 it is written a lot about praying. We read in the 16th verse that the prayers of the righteous man have great effect. We do not waste any time when we pray. We read in the same chapter that if anyone is suffering, he should pray. If you are sick, you should call the eldest of the church and he or she should pray over you and anoint you with oil in the name of the Lord. The prayer of faith should save the sick.
Praying must not become a ritual without meaning.
I know that we have written prayers, made by others and it is not wrong to pray these prayers if you do it from your heart. In Matthew 6 we find a warning. We should not use a lot of words and pray like the heathens or the hypocrites.
PRAY FROM YOUR HEART!