“The purpose of prayer is not to persuade or influence God, but to join forces with Him against Satan – that is the main thing to keep in mind in prayer.” From the classic: QUIET TALKS ON PRAYER by S.D. Gordon.
What is prayer? At first, prayer, to me, was simply talking to God. However, as I mature spiritually, prayer takes on new depths. Now, in addition to talking to God, prayer to me also means invading the spiritual realm. I find this picture also fits in with Gordon’s above statement. “Quiet Talks on Prayer” is a classic work still available today although it was written over a hundred years ago, in 1904.
Here are a few key reasons why it is in the best interest of Christians to pray:
#1 How do we join forces with God against Satan? Scripture tells us to pray according to the will of God. (1 John 5:14) The will of God is found in Scripture. When we pray according to the Scriptures, I believe we vocalize into the spiritual realm the will of God because we use the words of God which, when spoken by us, actually exercise authority into the spirit world where they become an active force of power against the enemy. Our prayers then create the effect Gordon pictures for us – that of joining forces with God against Satan.
And that is one good reason why it is so much in the Christians best interest to pray; to joint forces with God against Satan.
#2 With the picture of this winning battle, it becomes clear why it is so much in our best interest to know and to speak the will of God; for it gives more strength to the winning side. As in physical battle, if the winning side is strengthened, there are fewer losses, and quicker, more numerous, happy victories!
And that is another good reason why it is so much in the Christians best interest to pray; to shorten the battle.
1 John 5:14-15 NKJ
“This is the confidence we have in approaching God: that if we ask anything according to His will, He hears us; and if we know that He hears us – whatever we ask – we know that we have what we asked of Him.”
‘Prayer then is not a means for us to persuade a reluctant God to do something against His better judgment; but rather coming to God for the fulfillment of His will. It is a working together with God. It is our announcement of His will and authority into the spiritual world, where we become the heralds of His will into that world.’ John Walvoord, Dallas Theological Seminary, summer ’78 issue of KINDRED SPIRIT.
Addressing born again believers, the Bible at Luke 10:19-20 tells us:
“I have given you authority … to overcome all the power of the enemy, nothing will harm you. However do not rejoice that the spirits submit to you, but rejoice that your names are written in heaven.”
Notice to whom that authority is given: the believer. Notice whose authority it is: God’s. When you give something, do you still have it? Sometimes, no. Sometimes, yes. Sometimes you still have a part of what you have given. i.e. cash or one candle lighting another.
We need to pray because we have a piece of God’s pie. Something given, is to be used. Authority given is of no use unless it is exercised. If His authority has been shared with us, we please God when we use what He has given.
God and man working together, is what brings it all together!
Let us not faint in doing our part.
*And that is a third reason why it is in the best interests of Christians to pray; to use the power which God gives us and to use it as He instructs.
On the February 22 page of the larger daily devotional “SPARKLING GEMS” by Rick Renner who is one of Christ’s Key Ambassador’s to Russia, Renner gives an effective explanation of the ‘double edged sword’ as mentioned in Scripture.
“For the Word of God is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any two edged sword.” Heb. 4:12
“And He had in His hand seven stars: and out of His mouth went a two-edged sword; and His countenance was as the sun shineth in His strength.” Rev. 1:16
Renner tells us the Greek for ‘two-edged’ is the word distomos: di-meaning two, stomos meaning mouthed. Distomos meaning two-mouthed!
Rick Renner says of the Revelation sword:
“First, that word came out of the mouth of God. Next, it came our of your mouth! When it came out of your mouth, it became a sharp, “two-edged” – or literally, a “two-mouthed” – sword. One edge of this sword came into existence when the
Word initially proceeded out of God’s mouth. The second edge of this sword was added when the Word of God proceeded out of YOUR mouth!”
So again we see that when we pray Scripture, we actually partner with God, that ‘thy will may be done on earth as it is in heaven.’
And that is a fourth good reason why it is in the best interests of Christians to pray; that we partner with God.
Paul urged the Thessalonians,
“pray continually: give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus, do not put out the Spirit’s fire…” 1 Thessalonians 5:18-19
…and to the Ephesians:
“And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the saints. Pray also for me, that whenever I open my mouth, words may be given me so that I will fearlessly make known the mystery of the gospel.” Eph 6:18
That there is a great conflict on, in the upper spirit world, seems evident. The above examples of Scriptures tell us how to pray for ourselves and for our missionaries at home and all over the world.
When we don’t know how to speak as we should, we are able to appropriately ask that our minds be alert, and that whenever we open our mouth, words be given so that we may speak things of God with confidence and peace (fearlessly). We are able to pray this for ourselves and for others, in any and all situations.
And that is a fifth good reason why it is in the best interests of Christians to pray; that we and our missionaries be effective.
A more modern, contemporary writer on the topic of prayer, Dutch Sheets says it this way in chapter seven of his book INTERCESSSORY PRAYER How God Can Use Your Prayers to Move Heaven and Earth:
“Taking hold of together with against:
“Another tremendous way the Holy Spirit aids us in intercession is hidden in the meaning of the word ‘helps’. “And in the same way the Holy Spirit helps us in our weakness (Rom 8:26). The Greek word is sunantilambanomai. It is a compound word made up of three words. Sun means “together with”, anti means against, and lambano means “to take hold of”. Putting them together, a very literal meaning of the word would be ‘take hold of together with against’.”
And that is a sixth good reason why it is in the best interests of Christians to pray; to take hold of together with against.
Seven, seems a significant number, let us close with a seventh good reason why it is in the best interests of Christians to pray.
In the 1800’s, early 1900’s, E. M. Bounds (1835-1913) wrote “Power Through Prayer’ and “Purpose in Prayer”. Today they may be found bound together in one volume as a classic.
Purpose in Prayer closes with these words:
“The place of revealing and of equipment, of grace and of power, is the prayer chamber, and as we meet there with God we shall not only win our triumphs but we shall also grow in the likeness of our Lord and become His living witnesses to men.
“Without prayer, the Christian life robbed of its sweetness and its beauty, becomes cold and formal and dead; but rooted in the secret place where God meets and walks and talks with His own, it grows into such a testimony of Diving power that all men will feel its influence and be touched by the warmth of its love. Thus, resembling our Lord and Master, we shall be used for the glory of God and the salvation of our fellow men.
“An that, surely is the purpose of all real prayer and the end of all true service.” – E.M. Bounds
And that is a seventh, but by no means final, reason why it is in the best interests of Christians to pray; that our life not be robbed of its sweetness and beauty.
clip art from: ChristArt.com – end-