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"Christ's Precious Promise to Those Who Will Pray"
by Barbara Smith

The Lord Jesus then reminded His disciples of the tenderness and care which they gave their children. (Luke 11:11-12) They would not tease them nor would they give them anything that might harm them. If men, whose hearts are evil, can give goo gifts, how much more will their heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit?

God Initiates the Call to Restore COMMUNICATION!
As much as God wants you to call Him, it is He who calls you to pray. His heart breaks for a generation that seems to know Him not: "For we shall surely die and are like water spilled on the ground which cannot be gathered up again. Yet God does not take away life, but plans ways so that the banished one may not be cast out from him. (2 Sam 14:14)

God has done the work, taken the first steps, and waits upon us to talk to Him. You are connected the heavenly phone is ringing, friends.

  • He doesn't want to avoid me, but I want to avoid HIM!

HE means our conversation to be a two-way conversation, enabled by the indwelling Holy Spirit who prays when words fail me; who knows what I need when I don't. (Rom. 8:26-27) Through the work of the Spirit God hears our humble prayers, He strengthens our hearts and inclines God's ear in our direction. (Ps 10:17)

The moment when I want to avoid prayer, is the very moment to stop what I am doing and PRAY! It is said that Martin Luther, when he was too busy to pray, added an extra hour to his prayer time -- He did not trust his personal sense of priorities.

Comprehension of Christ's simple teaching about prayer, I learned, does not mean immediate answers or split second mastery of spiritual truth. E.M. Bounds noted that, "God's acquaintance is not made hurriedly." He certainly will answer a desperate believer's "arrow prayers," but "He does not bestow His gifts on the casual or hasty comer and goer. To be much alone with God is the secret of knowing Him and of influence with Him."

Now, may I ask, when was the last time you were "much alone" with God? Remember as we go through this material and as we work in the small groups and when you go home from this weekend: "God's acquaintance is not made hurriedly."

This is not a guilt trip but if you give God a portion of your day, HE will redeem your time. Redemption is HIS business! Jesus had the same twenty-four action packed hours we do, and HE managed to pray. Yes, it takes time and I know you are busy, but a woman who is to busy to pray, is busier than God wants her to be.

God Enables Our Prayers and Always Answers
God says: "If the people who bear my Son's name will humble themselves -- get down on their knees and ASK, SEEK, KNOCK, then I will hear from heaven, will forgive their sin, and will heal their land." (2 Chr. 7:13-14) Do you believe that?

What will you do with this great invitation and powerful resource that God gives to all believers -- not just the eloquent ones?

  • Study the word to find what God's will is for it is revealed in His promises
  • Study a promise of God; don't fixate on what you think you must have.

Ask Christ for the strength to obey what the Word shows you: Divine guidance is available to every believer. Christ walks as closely with us as HE did with the disciples (Galatians 5:16) He will never leave us, and He is concerned with our whole manner of living. He is not a psychic friend, telling us what to do. He wants to give us faith to live out HIS commands. We know what to do: He has written His law in our hearts. We need His strength to obey what He has commanded us to do.

God Monitors Our Hearts and Screens Our Calls
God will always answer the prayers of HIS people. The Bible also tells me that He promises to answer prayer. " . . . This is the confidence which we have before Him, that, if we ask anything according to His will, He hears us." (I Jn 5:14-15)

If we know that He hears us in whatever we ask, we know that we have the requests which we have asked from Him. Ask anything according to His will, He hears us. Pray for fulfilment of the promises God has made in the Bible.

The Bible tells us that He has revealed His will to us: "The secret things belong to the LORD our God, but the things revealed belong to us and to our sons forever, that we may observe all the words of this law. Deut. 29:29 How can we observe what we won't read or study or memorize? What we don't know about all the words of this law may be hindering our prayers.

God is always at work -- creating a stronger connection. The Bible comforts us, explaining that Christ is praying for us: "He always lives to make intercession for us." (Heb 7:25) Perhaps this summer He is praying for me to become a more diligent prayer warrior and Pray without ceasing.

  1. Why we resist praying
    If the words, "Yes, but " are still warring with your spirit, may I encourage you? Give even what distracts your prayers to God. Your problems are not a surprise to Him. NOTHING is in your life or my life that did not pass through HIS hand. When you come to Him, He will bring to mind Scripture or direct you to Bible passages. HE makes the time to talk to you won't you?

  2. Overcoming resistance to prayer
    Let's pray through four topics, four "R's" that can wreck our prayers: relationships responsibilities reactions and righteousness.

Praying about Our Relationships
God built women to relate. If no man is an island, neither is a woman! But many of us are alone even in marriages or large families or big churches. Yet not one relationship or the lack of one in your bundle surprises God. Each one He has permitted, or withheld for your good and HIS glory. If you believe that, right now, take a few minutes: what do you long for God to do with the different relationships in your life?

Praying about Our Responsibilities
God built women to work. He gave us brains and brawn, albeit distributed differently, to be uniquely used as co-laborers with men to cultivate HIS Creation, to be fruitful and multiply. Not one of your duties, obligations or responsibilities staggers God. He is allowing you take on whatever your heart desires. Right now, take a few minutes: ask yourself, what do you long for God to do with the different duties, obligations and responsibilities in your life?

Praying about Our Reactions
(Better known as our emotions: we can't live without them and others can barely survive with them!) God built and wired each of us when HE knit us together in our mothers' wombs. (Psalm 139) Before a word was formed on our tongues HE knew what it would be.

  • He heard the grumble, the sly murmur, the stinging rebuke.
  • HE heard the whispered plea for comfort and anguished cry of grief.

How do you react when twice a month your body goes nuts? How do you react when you run out of money three days before payday or when an unexpected phone call changes your life?

God has permitted every situation and suffered every one of your reactions to every situation in your life. If you believe that, what do you long for God to do with your emotions?

Praying about Our Righteousness
What is the source of your righteousness? You may be new to the Body of Christ, having spent long years drawing water from the well at noon, like the Samaritan woman. You may be sitting here with the unique privilege of a godly heritage: mothers and aunts, grandmothers and great-grandmothers who taught you to fear God and keep His commands.

Understanding how and why you are standing before God, will make a difference in your prayer life. "For all of us have become like one who is unclean, and all our righteous deeds are like a filthy garment; and all of us wither like a leaf, and our iniquities, like the wind, take us away." (Isa 64:6)

Do you know the garment that Isaiah is referring to is not the garment worn to do chores that might get soiled and need washing? Here, Isaiah uses the word for stained menstrual garments rags that would never be recycled but burned outside the camp!

What would you like God to do with your personal righteousness? Ask for the righteousness that comes from Christ alone: "For no man can lay a foundation other than the one which is laid, which is Jesus Christ . . . each man's work will become evident; for the day will show it, because it is to be revealed with fire; and the fire itself will test the quality of each man's work. If any man's work which he has built upon it remains, he shall receive a reward. If any man's work is burned up, he shall suffer loss; but he himself shall be saved, yet so as through fire. (1 Cor 3:11-15)

Christ actively prays for you. Christ agreed to engrave YOUR name on the palms of His hands, so that when He prays for you, your needs are ever before Him. "Behold, I have inscribed you on the palms of My hands; your walls are continually before me. (Isa 49:16, Hebrews 7:25) NOTHING has gotten by your broken defenses that God doesn't have a plan to rout the enemy!

Remember you have a prepaid, unlimited private connection, and Christ bids his disciples to "Ask . . . seek, . . . and knock . . . For everyone who asks receives, and he who seeks finds, and to him who knocks it shall be opened."(Matthew 7:7-8)

Are you still dawdling outside the Throne because you don't have the right words? What would you say? Well nothing is wrong with awe-struck silence. Nor is it wrong to fall face down and worship. Silent worship is acceptable until the Holy Spirit prompts us to speak. And the Spirit may do all the praying: "for we do not know how to pray as we should, but the Spirit Himself intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words; and He who searches the hearts knows what the mind of the Spirit is, because He intercedes for the saints according to the will of God." (Rom 8:26-27)

Prayer is the mechanism that keeps me in touch with my God. It is the soul's desire for God, expressed in praise and petition. Now just like there is a right way and a wrong way to use a phone I am learning there are better and worse ways to pray. D. God is completely trustworthy.

Christians address the Holy One of Israel as Father through faith in Christ. The Christian faith is unique in that we pray because God invites us to pray so HE can talk to us.

When you are praying, remember: Don't hang up if you think you hear static or if you think the line is dead. Deposit some more time in your conversation Speak clearly and distinctly, repeating the great promises from Psalms and the prophets, reading and singing the great old hymns He will pick up.

One major concern we women have, is those we love. We want our loved ones to know the Lord Jesus Christ!

"Oh God save my husband, my parents or children!" is a worthy plea. Racing into the Throne Room with this upon our hearts is not wrong but, like the child who won't sit still long enough for a conversation about the family's plans, you may miss the joy of being a part of God's plans for your loved one when you won't sit still long enough to talk through what God has in mind.

Has God made a promise -- said anything in the Bible -- upon which you can base a conversation about a loved one's spiritual well-being?

Praying intelligently is reminding God of HIS words. His words comfort me and challenge me: His Holy Spirit searches my heart, revealing unbelief, wickedness, rebellion.

Use God's own words to talk to God about the burdens you have for the lost whom you love. Consider applying what Paul and Peter said about those we love. "For the unbelieving husband is sanctified through his wife, and the unbelieving wife is sanctified through her believing husband; for otherwise your children are unclean, but now they are holy." (1 Cor. 7:14) "The Lord is not slow about His promise, as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing for any to perish but for all to come to repentance." (2 Pet 3:9)

Oh God, thank you for your word your promise, "not wishing for any to perish but for all to come to repentance." I bring before your Throne _________. God I want them to know you, please to enjoy you forever. In your time Father, reveal yourself- -make them see YOU for who you are Gracious God, sanctify me forgive my sins which drown out your message of Grace in ______'s life. Thank you that while there is life there is hope.

Another major issue for women is fretting being fearful being "concerned." We are very, very good at that, aren't we? Do you know some promises from Scripture that cast out fear and build faith?

  • O God, I know that the fear that is paralyzing me now is a snare, because I fear man, not You. (Prov. 29:25) Whatever the source of my anxiety and fear that threatens me, You know the end. (Isa 7:4-7) And You mean not to harm me. (Jeremiah 29 11)
  • God, although my heart is anxious, I believe your promise in Isaiah: "Take courage, fear not. Behold, your God will come with vengeance; the recompense of God will come, but He will save you." (Isa 35:4)
  • O God, Be the shield for me you promised to be for Abram and may the comfort of Your protection be my great reward. (Gen 15:1)
  • God I believe that as You rescued Moses and the Israelites from the hand of the Egyptians, You will protect me from those seeking to harm me. (Exod 14:13) Cause my eyes to see what You have placed before me . . . and take away the blindness of fear and dismay! (Deut 1:21)
  • God, your servant David walked through the valley of the shadow of death and did not fear evil for he knew Your real presence, your comforting rod and staff. (Ps 23:4) Therefore, I will rely upon your discipline and guidance, trusting your comfort in these perilous times.
  • O God, I fear You more than I fear my circumstances. Please grant that I may I instill a Holy fear of YOU in my children. (Deut 4:10)
  • And Father, that whatever befalls me, you are making me a fisher of men! (Luke 5:10)

God understands the burdens of women in this day and age. From your small group discussion, you see that He did in the Bible biographies you read. Praying to Him and with Him through our burdens, instead of hiding them, frees our souls, and allows us of serving Him and those we love.

In the Bible, God gave us several examples of women with heavy burdens. HE will make the time to talk to you why won't you? (See the Proverbs 31 Prayer)

Remaining a Woman of Prayer
No issue brings believers more grief , or even doubt, as quickly as God's seeming refusal to answer our prayers. Doesn't He care? What are we doing wrong? Is God really REAL? When your prayers are unanswered, don't be so quick to assume that God's off in China or just plumb distracted. If He can keep HIS eye on the sparrow's needs, HE will keep a watch on you! His slowness is part of the perfect plan HE is working on YOUR behalf for His glory. Would you consider the following as you wait upon the Lord? What do you learn from these points that might strengthen your prayer life, especially if you are tired and hurting?

  1. Ask the Lord to examine your heart using Ps 139:23-24 as a guide: Search me, O God, and know my heart; try me and know my anxious thoughts; And see if there be any hurtful way in me, and lead me in the everlasting way.

  2. Do you believe God listens or answers your prayers? Then how could you apply this verse? "And you shall remember all the way which the LORD your God has led you in the wilderness these forty years, that He might humble you, testing you, to know what was in your heart, whether you would keep His commandments or not. (Deut 8:2)

  3. You have listened to His gracious invitation to pray now personalize James 1:5-8 ". . . Let him ask in faith without any doubting, for the one who doubts is like the surf of the sea driven and tossed by the wind. For let not that man expect that he will receive anything from the Lord, being a double-minded man, unstable in all his ways." Now, can you honestly record your doubts He knows what they are; He wants you to see your apprehensions for what they are. If we confess our doubts and repent, HE is faithful to forgive and cleanse us from doubt.

  4. How do you express your gratitude to God? Are your thanksgivings to God as specific as your requests? How much time do we spend meditation with thanksgiving upon the word? Look at David's prayers--Paul's and Peter's. Indeed it was Christ's manner of THANKSGIVING that made Him recognizable! Only one leper thanked Jesus for healing (Luke 17:17) In the past twenty-four hours, God has sustained you. Can you think of 24 praises? Or, is it easier to recount 24 problems? Hmmmmmm. Selfish motives damp out our prayers It is *OK* to ask for specific things what are we intending to do with them? Sometimes we have not because we ask not and when we ask, we ask with the wrong motives. If we confess our selfishness, HE is quick to forgive when we repent, and cleanse us from our selfishness.

  5. Have you and placed silly idols on His throne? (An idol is anything that we think about or love more than God. Regarding our children's pleasures or comforts above God's glory is idol worship -- His silence apparent deafness to our desperate prayers may be He's sick of seeing us worship false gods.) Consider and apply this verse: "Son of man, these men have set up their idols in their hearts, and have put right before their faces the stumbling block of their iniquity. Should I be consulted by them at all? (Ezek 14:3)

  6. If we examine our hearts -- and they do not condemn us -- check out your giving yes I mean time and money! "He who shuts his ear to the cry of the poor will also cry himself and not be answered. (Prov 21:13) Powerlessness in prayer may be tied to downright stinginess It was said of George Mueller, what he received from God never stuck to his fingers - What's sticking to your fingers that God gave you so that you would bless others? How are you acting upon: "And my God shall supply all your needs according to His riches in glory in Christ Jesus." ( Phil 4:19)

  7. As our great grandmothers' "hobble skirts" limited the range of a woman's gait so an unforgiving spirit hobbles a prayer warrior and may disqualify her from praying.

  8. Husband-wife relationship as well as other close personal relationships can foil our prayers. "Hang up and dial again," God may be whispering, if you are not tending the relationships HE formed in your life.
    • Are you submitting and honoring your husband, letting go of anxiety and fear in all relationships? (1 Pet 3:6-12)
    • Are your attitudes and your actions harmonious, sympathetic, brotherly, kindhearted, and humble in spirit? (1 Pet 3:8) Or are you returning evil for evil, or insult for insult, while withholding a blessing? (1 Pet 3:9)

"Let [the woman] who means to love life and see good days Refrain [her] tongue from evil and [her] lips from speaking guile. And let [her] turn away from evil and do good; let [her] seek peace and pursue it. "For the eyes of the Lord are upon the righteous, and His ears attend to their prayer, but the face of the Lord is against those who do evil." (1 Pet 3:10-12)

More Ideas to keep praying

  1. When you approach the Throne of Grace where Jesus is positioned, pleading for you, what do you want HIM to do? How does this passage interface with your prayers:
    "What do you want Me to do for you?"
    "And the blind man said to Him, "Rabboni, I want to regain my sight!" (Mark 10:51)

    Cry for mercy and He will bid you come close. Jesus asks those who call out to Him:

    Is your prayer:
    "Give me sight, Lord! Open my eyes to see wonderful things from thy Law." (Ps. 119:18) Note: the blind beggar cast off his cloak when Jesus called him: when Christ calls you, take off any encumbrances, such as a sense of your own sufficiency or worth. Also, note, the beggar then followed Christ. Is your passion to continue with Jesus to Calvary, where you will put to death your sin nature?

  2. Prayer prepares us to participate in God's plans it protects us and others too. Prayer prepared Christ for his ordeal in the Garden rest defeated the disciples who could not watch one hour. Though they were rested -- they were unprepared. What areas in your life need prayer protection?

  3. Fear for their personal safety caused them to flee. Peter's zeal overrode his purpose, which was to serve Christ. Prayer steadied Him and enabled Him to keep His own counsel and restrain Himself so that God's purposes could be accomplished What is going on in your life now that is creating fear in you or agitating you past common sense? If you are so burdened, read Matthew 11:28-29. What is your hope?

© Barbara W. Smith 1998, all rights reserved
Selected from material prepared for a prayer conference at the First Baptist of Alto Loma's Women's Prayer Retreat. Permission is given to reprint any of Barbara's articles in non-profit publications as long as the article is reprinted in full and contains the copyright information and Web site address.

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