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The Fundamentals of Prayer


Prevailing Prayers
by
Dan Augsburger

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Toronto Maranatha Prayer Series


Introduction


Many individuals have prayed down blessings on the people around them, including,

• Job: Sacrificed for his children (Job 1:5)
• Abraham: Interceded for cities (Gen. 18:22,23)
• Jacob: Gained life-changing blessing (Gen. 32:26)
• Moses: Fire was quenched (Num. 11:2)
• Elijah: Rain was withheld (1 Kings 17:1)
• Elisha: Restored boy’s life (2 Kings 4:32-36)
• Daniel: Obtained wisdom (Dan. 10:12)
• Nehemiah: Obtained materials and time to rebuild Jerusalem (Neh. 2:4-8)
• Jesus: Prayed for His disciples

“The prayers of God’s saints are the capital stock in heaven by which Christ carries on His great work upon the earth. The earth is changed, revolutionized; angels move on more powerful, more rapid wings; and God’s policy is shaped when the prayers of His people are more numerous and more efficient.”  E. M. Bounds on Prayer p. 11


Charles Finney’s Experience: “No! I suppose I need to be prayed for, for I am conscious that I am a sinner; but I do not see that it will do any good for you to pray for me; for you are continually asking, but you do not receive. On further reading of my Bible, it struck me that the reason their prayers were not answered was because they did not comply with the revealed conditions upon which God had promised to answer prayer; that they did not pray in faith, in the sense of expecting God to give them the things they asked for.” Charles Finney, Memoirs


The Fundamentals of Prayer
1. Believe in the power of prayer!

“Now this is the confidence that we have in Him, 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 the petitions that we have asked of Him.” 1 John 5: 14,15

“Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock and it will be opened to you.  For everyone who asks receives, and he who seeks finds, and to him who knocks it will be opened.” Matthew 7:7,8

“If two of you agree on earth concerning anything that they ask, it will be done for them by My Father in heaven.” Matthew 18:24

“If you have faith as a mustard seed…nothing will be impossible for you.” Matthew 17:20

“Open your mouth wide, and I will fill it.” Psalms 81:10

“Prayer is the key that unlocks the door of God’s treasure-house…. The greatest thing we can do for God or for man is to pray. For we can accomplish far more by our prayers than by our work.  Prayer is omnipotent; it can do anything that God can do!  When we pray God works.” Unknown Christian, Kneeling Christian, p. 9, 18.

"God knows our wants, and has provided for them.  The Lord has a treasure house of supplies for His children, and can give them what they need under all circumstances. There is not a burden but He can remove, no darkness but He can dispel, no weakness but He can change to power, no fears but He can calm, no worthy aspiration but He can guide and justify." That I May Know Him, p. 224

In prayer, “God turns Himself over to the will of His people.  When Christ becomes our all in all, prayer lays God’s treasures at our feet.” E. M. Bounds, Prayer, p. 177. 


The Fundamentals of Prayer
1. Believe in the power of prayer!
2. Hold out for answers.

“Whatever things you ask, when you pray, believe that you have received them, and you will have them.” Mark 11:24

"We should believe that God will answer our prayers, and not trust to feeling.  We should say, 'My gloomy feelings are not evidence that God has not heard me….’ We are to trust to the promise of God. We are to go about our business believing that God will do just what He has said He would do, and that the blessings we have prayed for will come to us when we most need them.  Every petition enters into the heart of God when we come believing.” That I May Know Him, p. 230 

 “If we would do much for God, we must ask much of God; we must be men of prayer.’ (Payson) If our prayers are not answered — always answered but not necessarily granted — the fault must be entirely in ourselves and not in God. God delights to answer prayer, and He has given us His word that He will answer.” Kneeling Christian, p. 22.

“He wants to impress deep on our minds this one truth, that we may and must most confidently expect an answer to our prayer. … Next to the revelation of the Father’s love, there is in the whole course of the school of prayer, not a more important lesson than this: ‘Everyone that asketh, receiveth.’” Andrew Murray, With Christ in the School of Prayer, p. 21.

“It is one of the terrible marks of the diseased state of the Christian life in these days, that there are so many who rest content without the distinct experience of answer to prayer. They pray daily, they ask many things, and trust that some of them will be heard, but know little of direct definite answer to prayer as the rule of daily life. “The proof that we have prayed aright is the answer. If we ask and receive not, it is because we have not learned to pray aright. (God) would tell us that we are not to rest without an answer because it is the will of God, the rule in the Father’s family: every childlike believing petition is granted. If no answer comes, we are not to sit down in the sloth that calls itself resignation, and suppose that it is not God’s will to give an answer. There must be something in the prayer that is not as God would have it. We must seek for grace to pray so that the answer may come. It is far easier to the flesh to submit without the answer than to yield itself to be searched and purified by the Spirit, until it has learnt to pray the prayer of faith.” Andrew Murray, With Christ in the School of Prayer, pp. 32, 33, 34


The Fundamentals of Prayer
1. Believe in the power of prayer!
2. Hold out for answers.
3. Ask specifically.

“If you then being evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father who is in heaven give good things to those who ask Him.”
 Matthew 7:11

“To pray aright, is to ask God in faith for the very things you need….”  Youth Instructor, October 1, 1855

“It is part of God’s plan to grant us, in answer to the prayer of faith, that which He would not bestow did we not thus ask.” Great Controversy, p. 525

“I learned that prayer was the secret which overcame every obstacle, the key that unlocked every closed door. I felt like a child learning a new and wonderful lesson—as I saw benches, tables, chairs, stove, fuel, lamps, oil, even an organ coming in answer to definite prayer for these things. But the best sight of all was when men and women, deep in sin, were converted in answer to prayer.…” Know God Answers Prayer, p. 21.


The Fundamentals of Prayer
1. Believe in the power of prayer!
2. Hold out for answers.
3. Ask specifically.
4. Partner with Jesus.

“Whatever you ask the Father in My name He will give you. Until now you have asked nothing in My name. Ask, and you will receive, that your joy may be full.” John 16:23,24

“Christ has opened the way for us to approach God. He says, ‘Make use of My name. It will be your passport to the heart of My Father and to all the riches of His grace.…” Signs of the Times, June 18, 1902

“To pray in Christ's name means much. It means that we are to accept His character, manifest His spirit, and work His works. The Saviour's promise is given on condition. "If ye love Me," He says, "keep My commandments." He saves men, not in sin, but from sin; and those who love Him will show their love by obedience.” Desire of Ages, p. 668


The Fundamentals of Prayer
1. Believe in the power of prayer!
2. Hold out for answers.
3. Ask specifically.
4. Partner with Jesus.
5. Expect an answer.

“…Whatever things you ask when you pray, believe that you receive them, and  you will have them.” Mark 11: 24

“If you can believe, all things are possible to him who believes.” Mark 9: 23

“Pray in faith. And be sure to bring your lives into harmony with your petitions, that you may receive the blessings for which you pray. Let not your faith weaken, for the blessings received are proportionate to the faith exercised. Pray, believe, rejoice. Sing praises to God because He has answered your prayers. Take Him at His word. "He is faithful that promised." Hebrews 10:23. Not one sincere supplication is lost. The channel is open; the stream is flowing.” Testimonies Vol. 7, p. 274

The Prevailing Sequence

Pray         Fact     (We pray because we have found a promise in the God's Word.)
Believe    Faith     (We believe we will obtain an answer because God has promised to answer.)
Rejoice    Feeling     (We begin rejoicing in advance for the answer that will most surely come.)

F B Meyer, the great English preacher has a chapter on this sequence, called
"Fact, Faith, Feeling" from the book Secret of Guidance. His chapter isn't directly on prayer, but the same principles apply.


The Fundamentals of Prayer
1. Believe in the power of prayer!
2. Hold out for answers.
3. Ask specifically.
4. Partner with Jesus.
5. Expect an answer.
6. Ask that God’s will be done.

“Now this is the confidence that we have in Him, 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 the petitions that we have asked of Him.” 1 John 5: 14,15

“You ask and do not receive, because you ask amiss, that you may spend it on your pleasures.” James 4: 3

“Christ… makes it plain that our asking must be according to God’s will; we must ask for the things that He has promised, and whatever we receive must be used in doing His will. The conditions met, the promise is unequivocal.” Education, p. 257,258

“Daniel’s loyalty to the will of God in everything explains more than anything else the secret of his prevailing power in prayer.” Thomas Payne, Power of Intensified

“Do understand that there is no surer way, rather, that there is no other possible way, of getting into God’s love and blessing in prayer, than by getting into His will. In prayer, give up yourself most absolutely to the blessed will of God; this will avail more than much asking.” Andrew Murray, School of Obedience.

“In reading about all these answers to prayer, the believing reader may be led to think that I am spiritually minded above most of the children of God, and that therefore the Lord favors (me) thus. The true reason is this. Just in as many points as (I am) acting according to the mind of God, in so many (am I) blessed and made a blessing.”  George Müller, Narratives


The Fundamentals of Prayer
1. Believe in the power of prayer!
2. Hold out for answers.
3. Ask specifically.
4. Partner with Jesus.
5. Expect an answer.
6. Ask that God’s will be done.
7. Deal with hindering factors: Sin

“Behold the Lord’s hand is not shortened, that it cannot save; nor His ear heavy that it cannot hear.  But your iniquities have separated you from your God; and your sins have hidden His face from you, so that He will not hear.” Isaiah 59:1,2

“There are certain conditions upon which we may expect that God will hear and answer our prayers.... If we regard iniquity in our hearts, if we cling to any known sin, the Lord will not hear us; but the prayer of the penitent, contrite soul is always accepted. When all known wrongs are righted, we may believe that God will answer our petitions.” Steps to Christ, 95

“If we are regarding iniquity in our hearts, or living on a mere empty profession, we have no claim to expect that our prayers will be answered. There is not one solitary promise for us. I sometimes tremble when I hear people quote promises, and say that God is bound to fulfill those promises to them, when all the time there is something in their own lives which they are not willing to give up.  It is well for us to search our hearts, and find out why it is that our prayers are not answered.” D L Moody, Prevailing Prayer

“If I am holding something in my life that the Master does not like, if I am failing to obey when His voice has spoken, that to me is sin. It may be wrong in itself. It may not be wrong in itself. It may not be wrong for another. If that faithful quiet inner voice has spoken and I know what the Master would prefer and I fail to keep in line, that to me is sin. Then prayer is useless; sheer waste of breath.” S D Gordon


The Fundamentals of Prayer
1. Believe in the power of prayer!
2. Hold out for answers.
3. Ask specifically.
4. Partner with Jesus.
5. Expect an answer.
6. Ask that God’s will be done.
7. Deal with hindering factors: Fractured Relationships


“Therefore if you bring your gift to the altar, and there remember that your brother has something against you, leave your gift there before the altar, and go your way. First be reconciled to your brother, and then come and offer your gift.” Matthew 5:23,24

“(Lack of forgiveness)…is keeping more people from having power with God than any other thing —they are not willing to cultivate the spirit of forgiveness. If we allow the root of bitterness to spring up in our hearts against someone, our prayer will not be answered.” D L Moody, Prevailing Prayer

“It would be an immense gain to our spiritual life if we would resolve not to attempt to pray until we had done all in our power to make peace and harmony between ourselves and any with whom we have quarreled.  Until we do this as far as lies in our power, our prayers are just wasted breath.” Unknown Christian, Kneeling Christian

“It is not the opposition of the world that most endangers the church of Christ.  It is the evils cherished in the hearts of believers that works their most grievous disaster and most surely retards the progress of God’s cause.  There is no surer way of weakening spirituality than by cherishing envy, suspicion, faultfinding, and evil surmising. On the other hand, the strongest witness that God has sent His Son into the world is the existence of harmony and union among men of varied dispositions.” Acts of the Apostles, p. 549

“One great reason why our brethren and sisters have no more confidence toward God in prayer, is, that nearly all neglect to follow the words of Jesus in preserving harmony between brethren. They allow various wrongs to exist with members of the church, which create bitter envy and strife; and while these differences exist, God neither hears nor answers their prayers, and darkness comes….” Review & Herald, April 15, 1880

“Prayer and fasting, that laborers may be sent into the harvest-field, will avail nothing, while the spirit of evil surmising and criticism exists in the hearts of those to whom laborers are to be sent.” Review & Herald, October 31, 1893

“As far as lies in our power, we are to remove every hindrance to His working. The Spirit can never be poured out while variance and bitterness toward one another are cherished by the members of the church. Envy, jealousy, evil surmising, and evil speaking are of Satan, and they effectually bar the way against the Holy Spirit's working. Test. 6T, 42

“We are to pray for union, and then live in such a way that God can answer our prayers. Perfect oneness,--a union as close as the union existing between the Father and the Son,--this is what will give success to the efforts of God's workers.” Review & Herald, January 27, 1903


The Fundamentals of Prayer
1. Believe in the power of prayer!
2. Hold out for answers.
3. Ask specifically.
4. Partner with Jesus.
5. Expect an answer.
6. Ask that God’s will be done.
7. Deal with hindering factors.
8. Continue Praying…with Thanksgiving!

“Of all the mysteries of the prayer world, the need of persevering prayer is one of the greatest.  That the Lord, who is so loving and longing to bless, should have to be supplicated time after time sometimes year after year, before the answer comes, we cannot easily understand.  It is also one of the greatest practical difficulties in the exercise of believing prayer.” Andrew Murray

“Pray without ceasing.” 1 Thess. 5:17

Hannah        God needed prophet.
Elijah           Needed heart work.
Joseph         Needed to die to self.
Israel           Needed deliverance.
Daniel         Battle was waging.
Paul            Wasn’t for his good.

“Christ desires nothing so much as to redeem His heritage from the dominion of Satan. But before we are delivered from Satan’s power without, we must be delivered from his power within. The Lord permits trials in order that we may be cleansed from earthliness, from selfishness, from harsh, unchristlike traits of character.  He suffers the deep waters of affliction to go over our souls in order that we may know Him and Jesus Christ whom He has sent, in order that we may have deep heart longings to be cleansed from defilement, and may come forth from the trial purer, holier, happier. There is no danger that the Lord will neglect the prayers of His people. The danger is that in temptation and trial they will become discouraged, and fail to persevere in prayer.” Christ Object Lessons, p. 175

“The great point is never to give up until the answer comes. I have been praying for fifty-two years, every day, for two … sons of a friend of my youth. They are not converted yet, but they will be! The great fault of the children of God is … they do not go on praying…. If they desire anything for God’s glory, they should pray until they get it.” George Müller

“Between the ‘have received’ in heaven, and the ‘shall have’ of earth, believe—believing praise and prayer is the link.” Andrew Murray, With Christ in the School of Prayer, p. 64

What About Praise?

 “Between the ‘have received’ in heaven, and the ‘shall have’ of earth, believe—believing praise and prayer is the link.” Andrew Murray, With Christ in the School of Prayer, p. 64

“I exhort first of all that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks be made for all men, for kings and all who are in authority….” 1 Timothy 2:1

“Rejoice in the Lord always; and again I say, Rejoice.” Philippians 4:4

“Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God.” Philippians 4:6,7

“Our sufficiency in every time of need is found in the promise of God. We are to rejoice, to educate our hearts and lips to praise God. We are to speak cheerful words, to travel the path heavenward in such a manner as to make manifest to others that we consider it the greatest privilege that we could possibly have. Rejoice, press closer to Jesus, talk of his love, and tell of his power.” Signs of the Times, August 20, 1896

 “Let us educate our tongues to speak forth his praise, not only when we feel gladness and joy, but at all times.” Youth Instructor, January 10, 1901

“All that has perplexed us in the providence’s of God will in the world to come be made plain.  The things hard to be understood will then find explanation.  The mysteries of grace will unfold before us. Where our finite minds discovered only confusion and broken promises, we shall see the most perfect and beautiful harmony.  We shall know that infinite love ordered the experiences. The Fundamentals of Prayer that seemed most trying.  As we realize the tender care of Him who makes all things work together for good, we shall rejoice with joy unspeakable and full of glory.” Testimonies Vol. 9, p. 298

“We do not pray any too much, but we are too sparing of giving thanks. If the loving kindness of God called forth more thanksgiving and praise, we would have far more power in prayer. with your petitions. When you consider His goodness and mercies, you will find that He will consider your wants.” Testimonies Vol. 5, p. 279

Prepared for the Toronto Fundamentals Seminar 3/21/2007

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