Archive for the ‘Murray School of Prayer’ Category

Muller on Bible Study

Saturday, September 8th, 2007

The following comes from the final chapter of Andrew Murray’s book With Christ in the School of Prayer, regards studying the Bible, and is George Muller’s testimony on the subject (he was the founder of a great orphanage work for God in Bristol England).

“Now the scriptural way of reasoning would have been: God Himself has condescended to become an author, and I am ignorant about that precious book which His Holy Spirit has caused to be written through the instrumentality of His servants, and it contains that which I ought to know, and the knowledge of which will lead me to true happiness; therefore I ought to read again and again this most precious book, this book of books, most earnestly, most prayerfully, and with much meditation; and in this practice I ought to continue all the days of my life. For I was aware, though I read it but little, that I knew scarcely anything of it. But instead of acting thus and being led by my ignorance of the word of God to study it more, my difficulty in understanding it, and the little enjoyment I had in it, made me careless of reading it (for much prayerful reading of the word gives not merely more knowledge, but increases the delight we have in reading it); and thus, like many believers, I practically preferred, for the first four years of my divine life, the works of uninspired men to the oracles of the living God. The consequence was that I remained a babe, both in knowledge and grace. In knowledge, I say; for all true knowledge must be derived, by the Spirit, from the word. And as I neglected the word, I was for nearly four years so ignorant, that I did not clearly know even the fundamental points of our holy faith. And this lack of knowledge most sadly kept me back from walking steadily in the ways of God. For when it pleased the Lord in August 1829 to bring me really to the Scriptures, my life and walk became very different. And though ever since that I have very much fallen short of what I might and ought to be, yet by the grace of God I have been enabled to live much nearer to Him than before. If any believers read this who practically prefer other books to the Holy Scriptures, and who enjoy the writings of men much more than the word of God, may they be warned by my loss. I shall consider this book to have been the means of doing much good, should it please the Lord, through its instrumentality, to lead some of His people no longer to neglect the Holy Scriptures, but to give them that preference which they have hitherto bestowed on the writings of men.

‘Before I leave this subject, I would only add: If the reader understands very little of the word of God, he ought to read it very much; for the Spirit explains the word by the word. And if he enjoys the reading of the word little, that is just the reason why he should read it much; for the frequent reading of the Scriptures creates a delight in them, so that the more we read them, the more we desire to do so.

‘Above all, he should seek to have it settled in his own mind that God alone by His Spirit can teach him, and that therefore, as God will be inquired of for blessings, it becomes him to seek God’s blessing previous to reading, and also whilst reading.

‘He should have it, moreover, settled in his mind that although the Holy Spirit is the best and sufficient Teacher, yet that this Teacher does not always teach immediately when we desire it, and that therefore we may have to entreat Him again and again for the explanation of certain passages; but that He will surely teach us at last, if indeed we are seeking for light prayerfully, patiently, and with a view to the glory of God.”

George Muller knew what he was talking about and certainly brought blessings to the people of his time in unprecedented ways. This was in spite of his very rough and decidedly unchristian beginning.

It is interesting that Muller’s father attempted to bring about his son’s reformation by sending him to a school where he would become a pastor–it is interesting that Muller’s father had no particular personal interest in becoming a Christian but saw the need for his son, only becoming a Christian in later life. Muller was changed, the change being initiated in seeing another believer pray on his knees, and proceeded to pursue a relationship with Christ as others of his time–much reading of books…and back then the books were of limited value.

He obviously came to appreciate the Bible and spent much of his time reading the Bible, on his knees. But books were also important, for he clearly stated later in life that three books played a major role in his life: the biography of John Newton where he learned God could save a wretch like him, the biography of George Whitefield where he learned how to have a relationship with Jesus and how to study on his knees, and the biography of August Francke where he gained the vision for his life work.

For you and I, the important point is being thoroughly immersed in the Word of God! Muller’s system worked and I recommend it most heartily.

Read more about Muller and his way of walking with Jesus at this link at path2prayer.com.

Prayer and God’s Will

Monday, August 27th, 2007

‘And this is the boldness which we have toward Him, that, if we ask anything according to His will, He heareth us. And if we know that He hear us, whatsoever we ask, we know that we have the petitions which we have asked of Him.’—I John v. 14, 15

These words of Jesus indicate one of the most important factors in suceeding in prayer: Praying according to God’s will. It has been my experience that prayer is ALWAYS answered along the pathway of God’s will. And those who have most succeeded with God are those who have most sought to know and do God’s will. This was Daniel’s secret, and it has been true ever since.

George Muller, the greatly used founder of orphanages in Bristol England, said the reason his prayers were answered didn’t have to do with his being more spiritually-minded, or having a more favored relationship with God, rather it had to do with his seeking to know and do God’s will.

Are your prayers being answered? When did you last undertake an inventory of your life to determine to what degree God is having the first and last word on what is going on.

A good way to do this is to liken your life to a home–kitchen, bedrooms, formal living room, recreation room, etc.–and go through each room to see how many of the rooms have been truly surrendered to Jesus, and whether the contents of those rooms have also been surrendered.

Then think about your prayers and consider the modifications needed to bring answers.

Read more on the subject from Andrew Murray in his book With Christ in the School of Prayer.

Learn more about the More Abundant Life and prayer at path2prayer.com

The Gift of HIS Name

Saturday, August 25th, 2007

Note the following words of Andrew Murray:

“Jesus solemnly gives to all His disciples a general and unlimited power of the free use of His Name at all times for all they desire. He could not do this if He did not know that He could trust us with His interests, that His honour would be safe in our hands.”

These words, taken from the 24th Chapter of Murray’s book With Christ in the School of Prayer, remind us that God has given in prayer a power and ability that exceeds what we could ask or imagine (Eph. 3:20).

I wonder, do we really believe this, and secondly, are we exercising this gift?

Jesus said, “And whatever you ask in My name, that will I do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son. If you ask anything in my name, I WILL do it.” (John 14: 13,14, emphasis added)

In speaking on this subject, I am often challenged as to how much God is willing to do on our behalf. This is a good question, and the answer needs to include both the shorter “whatever” clause, and the longer “whatever…is consistent with His will” clause.

There are dangers here. On the one hand, we may not believe this promise and therefore not receive blessings God would grant if we asked. Secondly, we may take the verse to heart, but claim the promise for things that are inconsistent with His person or will, and therefore not obtain answers and wonder if Jesus really meant what He said.

I find both dangers present. Many don’t really believe in the power of prayer and minimally exercise it. Others do, but try to use it for their own selfish-and sometimes personally dangerous purposes, and therefore don’t obtain answers either.

Many are praying, and having discovered that God’s will is the sweetest and best will–in this I think if Francis Ridley Havergal, the sweet minstrel who wrote so many of our wonderful hymns, who said, “God’s will is delicious” as she was nearing death–are seeking to know God’s will, and to pray for God’s will, and are experiencing answer after answer to prayer.

Recall, “It is God’s plan, to grant in answer to the prayer of faith, that which He would not otherwise grant, if we did not ask.” (Great Controversy p. 525)

Seems like learning more about this matter of praying in Christ’s name would be good. Read the rest of the chapter at path2prayer.com.

You can learn more about knowing God’s will at path2prayer.com as well.

Prayer and Obedience and Fruit-bearing

Saturday, July 28th, 2007

“‘Ye did not choose me, but I chose you, and appointed you, that ye should go and bear fruit, and that your fruit should abide: that whatsoever ye shall ask the Father in my name, He may give it you.”—John xv. 16.

Some people approach prayer in the same way gamblers approach slot machines in the casinos: If you just pull the lever enough times, eventually you will get something. And, apparently, it must work some of the time or the patrons wouldn’t return. Does God work the same way? If we ask God for something enough times, is He bound to respond? I don’t think so and I suspect you know that too. Sometimes it wouldn’t be for our good and in mercy God doesn’t respond! Notice the following from the book Steps to Christ

“We are so erring and short-sighted that we sometimes ask for things that would not be a blessing to us, and our heavenly Father in love answers our prayers by giving us that which will be for our highest good-that which we ourselves would desire if with vision divinely enlightened we could see all things as they really are. When our prayers seem not to be answered, we are to cling to the promise: for the time of answering will surely come, and we shall receive the blessing we need most. But to claim that prayer will always be answered in the very way and for the particular thing that we desire, is presumption. God is too wise to err, and too good to withhold any good thing from them that walk uprightly. Then do not fear to trust Him, even though you do not see the immediate answer to your prayers. Rely upon His sure promise, ‘Ask, and it shall be given you.’” Steps to Christ 96

In fact, I have often read that in heaven we will discover some of our GREATEST blessings were the UNANSWERED prayers.

But perhaps you have noticed that some people seem to get more prayers than others. Why is that? Notice this excerpt from Andrew Murray and then read the rest of the chapter from With Christ in the School of Prayer at path2prayer.com:

“How often we have sought to be able to pray the effectual prayer for much grace to bear fruit, and have wondered that the answer came not. It was because we were reversing the Master’s order. We wanted to have the comfort and the joy and the strength first, that we might do the work easily and without any feeling of difficulty or self-sacrifice. And He wanted us in faith, without asking whether we felt weak or strong, whether the work was hard or easy, in the obedience of faith to do what He said: the path of fruit-bearing would have led us to the place and the power of prevailing prayer. Obedience is the only path that leads to the glory of God. Not obedience instead of faith, nor obedience to supply the shortcomings of faith; no, but faith’s obedience gives access to all the blessings our God has for us.”

Murray has much more to say on the subject. find the rest of the article at path2prayer.com.

School of Prayer – 18: Commanding God?

Thursday, June 21st, 2007

Andrew Murray makes the following intriguing statement:  “As God’s viceroy he (man) was to fill God’s place: himself subject to God, he was to keep all else in subjection to Him. It was the will of God that all that was to be done on earth should be done through him: the history of the earth was to be entirely in his hands.” 

Murray goes on to suggest that God still looks to us to fill the same “representative” role, and holds up prayer as the venue where this is especially true. In this connection, we think of Isaiah 45:11 where it says, “Concerning the work of my hands, you command Me!”  Do you agree with Murray’s conclusions? Read the rest of this chapter at path2prayer.com

School of Prayer – 17: Understanding God’s Power

Thursday, June 21st, 2007

Andrew Murray considers a vexing challenge in prayer in the following words: “While prayer and faith are so simple that the new-born convert can pray with power, true Christian science finds in the doctrine of prayer some of its deepest problems. In how far is the power of prayer a reality? If so, how God can grant to prayer such mighty power? How can the action of prayer be harmonized with the will and the decrees of God? How can God’s sovereignty and our will, God’s liberty and ours, be reconciled?–these and other like questions are fit subjects for Christian meditation and inquiry.” 

Have you tried to reconcile God’s sovereignty and your will? How about God’s sovereignty and the will of many believers who are all praying at the same time? More than one person has stumbled over this matter of sovereignty and the power given through prayer. Speaking for myself, I can’t understand it, nor do I need to understand it! I only know that God is somehow able to specifically answer my requests and has done so countless times.  Not everyone is convinced however, and Andrew Murray’s conclusions are accordingly most helpful. Read them here: path2prayer.com

School of Prayer – 16: Prayer and Knowledge

Tuesday, June 12th, 2007

What does it mean to pray with child-like faith? Is child-like faith, divorced of deeper knowledge, the preferred way to pray? Andrew Murray addresses this in our next reading on prayer. Note…

“In a child or a simple-minded Christian there may be much faith with little knowledge. Childlike simplicity accepts the truth without difficulty, and often cares little to give itself or others any reason for its faith but this: God has said. But it is the will of God that we should love and serve Him, not only with all the heart but also with all the mind; that we should grow up into an insight into the Divine wisdom and beauty of all His ways and words and works. It is only thus that the believer will be able fully to approach and rightly to adore the glory of God’s grace; and only thus that our heart can intelligently apprehend the treasures of wisdom and knowledge there are in redemption, and be prepared to enter fully into the highest note of the song that rises before the throne: ‘O the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God!’”

I suspect many of us don’t take sufficient time to truly experience God as He describes and therefore miss many blessings. I don’t think God wants it that way. I believe God wants us to so linger in His presence, and so learn about Him and His ways, that we will come to see His hand in all the circumstances of our lives, and will pray with an intelligent faith that understands His ways.

As Murray puts it, “In our prayer life this truth has its full application. While prayer and faith are so simple that the new-born convert can pray with power, true Christian science finds in the doctrine of prayer some of its deepest problems. In how far is the power of prayer a reality? If so, how God can grant to prayer such mighty power? How can the action of prayer be harmonized with the will and the decrees of God? How can God’s sovereignty and our will, God’s liberty and ours, be reconciled?—these and other like questions are fit subjects for Christian meditation and inquiry. The more earnestly and reverently we approach such mysteries, the more shall we in adoring wonder fall down to praise Him who hath in prayer given such power to man.”

I am praying that God will lead me into the kind of experience described. I hope you are praying for the same.

Read more, learn more, at path2prayer.com

School of Prayer – 15: Persevering in Prayer

Monday, June 11th, 2007

Andrew Murray puts his finger on the one of the most difficult aspects of prayer in the following words:

“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. When, after persevering supplication, our prayer remains unanswered, it is often easiest for our slothful flesh, and it has all the appearance of pious submission, to think that we must now cease praying, because God may have His secret reason for withholding His answer to our request.” Andrew Murray, With Christ in the School of Prayer

I hope you are intrigued by what you have just read, for he goes on to say that lack of prayer and the willingness to go without an answer is an indicator of the diseased state of the church. What do you think? I hope as a result you will join many of us who PUSH (Pray Until Something Happens)!

Read the rest of his thoughts on this topic at path2prayer.com

School of Prayer – 13: Why Fast?

Thursday, May 31st, 2007

‘Then came the disciples to Jesus apart, and said, Why could not we cast him out? And Jesus said unto them, Because of your unbelief: for verily I say unto you, If ye have faith as a grain of mustard seed, nothing shall be impossible to you. Howbeit this kind goeth not out but by prayer and fasting’—MATT. xvii. 19-21.

I don’t know about you, but these words of Jesus often come to mind when thinking about some of the great challenges we seek to overcome through prayer. Just last night I was having tea with some friends in Auckland, NZ (we have “tea” in NZ). During the course of the evening, the hostess mentioned how fasting had brought about signficant changes for one of their children, and that perhaps they should be fasting again for other members of the family.

Those were sage words and certainly sanctioned by the One who continually intercedes in heaven.

Many are confused about prayer and fasting. Is it about gaining greater merit and “forcing” God’s hand, or is it about focusing in a greater way on prayer. I strong believe it is the latter, as affirmed by Andrew Murray. Note:

“Prayer is the reaching out after God and the unseen; fasting, the letting go of all that is of the seen and temporal. While ordinary Christians imagine that all that is not positively forbidden and sinful is lawful to them, and seek to retain as much as possible of this world, with its property, its literature, its enjoyments, the truly consecrated soul is as the soldier who carries only what he needs for the warfare. Laying aside every weight, as well as the easily besetting sin, afraid of entangling himself with the affairs of this life, he seeks to lead a Nazarite life, as one specially set apart for the Lord and His service. Without such voluntary separation, even from what is lawful, no one will attain power in prayer: this kind goeth not out but by fasting and prayer.” Andrew Murray

It is important to note that fasting DOESN’T somehow convince God to overlook the hindering factors in our lives and give the answer anyway. No, if we are harboring things in our lives that God cannot condone and He has convicted us in their regard, we need to make sure we address those things first, then fast, for all the fasting of the world will not make for our not obeying God.

In this regard note the following: “When Lord Palmerston, premier of England, was petitioned by the Scottish clergy to appoint a day of fasting and prayer to avert the cholera, he replied, “Cleanse and disinfect your streets and houses, promote cleanliness and health among the poor, and see that they are plentifully supplied with good food and raiment, and employ right sanitary measures generally, and you will have no occasion to fast and pray.” (CTBH 106) I think the same thing could be said of many things in our day.

I hope you will read the rest of Murray’s chapter and take the lesson to heart. I hope I will do the same. I believe there are many things that still only go out by way of prayer and fasting.

Find the rest of the article at path2prayer.com

Prevailing Prayer Brings House Sale

Wednesday, May 30th, 2007

The following testimony regarding the sale of a home was recently sent to me. Needless to say, the story is exciting and wonderfully affirming of the way the Lord works. However, I was additionally pleased that the pastor sharing the story related how his life had been so blessed in reading the book “With Christ in the School of Prayer.” He felt Murray’s book was the best he had ever read on prayer, and I wholeheartedly concur!

His Testimony:

Our house was becoming way too small. What had served us well as a newly married couple, now had to accommodate our two boys (4 and 1) as well. On top of this, our love for having church family over for meals and gatherings was tempered by the practical limitations of such a small home (72square metres, 3 bedrooms!).

We began to pray about this. If God could use a larger house for his glory, we would love for him to lead the way.

We shared our thoughts with Christia’s parents, who agreed to pray about it. In time they shared with us that they would be able to contribute a certain amount. We estimated what we might be able to get for our current house, and the search for our ministry home began. After some weeks, I remember Christia coming home ready to despair. “I just cant find what we’re looking for in our price range!” A friend at church introduced us to Jack, their local real estate agent, who in the coming days showed Christia through a lovely place that fitted our needs perfectly. Christia came home and told me “I think I’ve found our house!!”. At it’s first open home we put our offer in. We hadn’t even listed our current house, but felt so strongly that this new house was the one, that we put in an offer, believing that there was little or no chance of us winning it. A few phone calls later and a small alteration to our original offer and the vendor accepted our offer. Our real estate agent later told us that we bought at a VERY good price.

Speaking with our vendor after the sale, she said to me, “Jack told us that you are a church pastor – can I ask which church?” I told her I pastored an Adventist church. “You mean a Seventh-day Adventist church?” “Yes, that’s right.” I said. “You wont believe this,” she went on, “I have been praying with my best friend for the right people to buy our family home, and she is also a Seventh-day Adventist!” How wonderfully he leads!

Our prayers were now in earnest for the sale of our little home! We knew what we had bought for, we knew what we could expect from our parents, which left us with an exact dollar figure that we would rely on for the sale of our home. We asked our prayer leader at the church to join us in asking God if He would sell our house for this amount. We needed no more, and we needed no less.

We put our house on trademe (the NZ equivalent to e-bay) and waited. Our first few open homes passed without much interest. We were becoming weary and anxious, and found ourselves needing to confront our own faith in God. We finally surrendered our house to God and asked that He take over. We agreed not to worry, only to trust. The very next open home was literally crawling with interested people. At one point there were eight couples inside our house at the same time and others even told us they would come back when it wasn’t so busy!

Within days we had a young couple make an offer. As we talked with them, we agreed on a price that we were all happy with – it was the exact amount we had prayed for! They told us they were Christians too, and after signing the paperwork, we paused to pray together and asked God to bless ‘their’ new home.

As if that wasn’t enough, another offer came in just a few days later for the same amount! I should add that Jack was extremely pleased for us, and the amount we got for the house. We shared with him a little of our story with God. I pray that he was encouraged to believe.

Our new home is now a ministry home – it is put to good use every week with small groups, lunches, meetings, and prayer gatherings. We praise God for His abundant provision and pray that He will continue to involve us in what HE is doing. Not for us, but for Him.

Learn more about prayer at path2prayer.com