WHAT PRAYER REALLY IS
I believe the Lord wants us to talk about PRAYER today - REAL PRAYER. First of all, I’m going to say what it is NOT. It is not trying to talk God into doing something. It is not just saying everything perfect or quoting Bible prayers correctly. It is not spending a specific amount of time speaking to God. Neither is prayer trying to tell God what He ought to do or should have done.
PRAYER IS COMMUNION WITH GOD!!!!! Now think about that for a minute. God is the Creator of the Universe. He is One God in three persons - Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. YET - HE DESIRES FOR EACH AND EVERY ONE OF US, HIS CHILDREN, TO SPEND TIME COMMUNING WITH HIM. He doesn’t desire that, so He can get to understand you, or know what you’re really like! He already knows!!!! He created you, knows everything about you, - even from before you were born (still in your mother’s womb). The Word says that He had a plan for each one of us.
The ‘communion’ with Him is so that you, every day of your life here on this earth, get to know Him better and better - what He’s really like, how He thinks, what He’s already done for you, how He sees you, how much He loves you, what His plans and purposes are for your life - and on and on. He loves each and every one so much that He desires for us all to grow and grow in our awareness of Him in every way. The more we grow in all that awareness, the more our lives will be productive for Him and for others. I see it this way - THE FATHER HAS THIS BIG FAMILY OF ALL OF US WHO ARE HIS KIDS STILL HERE ON THE EARTH AND HE DESIRES THINGS TO GO WELL FOR US AND FOR HIS KINGDOM. COMMUNING WITH HIM IS THE KEY TO THAT HAPPENING.
Communing isn’t only for you, though - it’s also because it delights Him to have fellowship with you. He desires to be close to you - and He also delights in you getting close to Him. If you only regard Him as “The Big Guy in Heaven” rather than your Most Precious and Loving Friend, while you are still here on the earth - that you’re going to get to go be with for eternity - you won’t please Him or yourself as He really desires.
As I’ve said before, as we get older and older, we have more time available to us than the younger Christians do - while they’re raising their children, working to pay the bills, etc. I have, therefore, seen through the last 30 years or so, that it’s often the older Christians who have the time to pray (or commune) with the Lord, and I have watched them grow in their faith, with many answered prayers in many realms like family members being saved and changes in relationships. I’ve seen the older Christians have wonderful answered prayers in church situations.
I believe that’s the reason the Lord wants us to think about this.
I want to read this verse to you. 1 Timothy 2:1 - “Therefore, I exhort first of all that supplications, prayers, intercessions and giving of thanks be made for all men.”
Supplications - petitions
Prayers - worship
Intercession - entreaty for others
Giving of thanks - thanking the Lord for all He
has done for me and His great LOVE for man
Now, this is not something that has to all be done in a special order - like 1, 2, 3, 4 - these are just some different ways of praying.
I’m going to share with you what I’ve learned about this. First - GIVING OF THANKS! Every time I begin to talk to my Heavenly Father, I begin by thanking Him. I don’t try to hurry - I don’t try to say it a certain way. I just start talking to Him like I just talk to anyone else. I just begin to thank Him for my life, my family, my home, etc. I thank Him for all the wonderful things He has done in my life. I don’t have a plan of what to say - I just say what comes into my mind at that moment. I thank Him for the weather, for good food to eat, for air conditioning, for people in my life who have blessed me in various ways. I thank Him for always providing for me. I don’t have a time period of how much time to spend thanking Him - I just COMMUNICATE WITH HIM LIKE I WOULD WITH A PERSON WHO WAS SITTING RIGHT THERE BESIDE ME. Much of the time, I close my eyes - and in my imagination, I see Him in His glory, surrounded by light, sitting right there with me. Sometimes, when I say something silly, I even giggle - and I feel like He’s giggling also. I thank Him for all the times He has answered my petitions that I have brought to Him.
In fact, I want to mention here that He has been answering prayers (or petitions) for me for 73 years. Tell about salvation at 13 - water baptism. Tell about few weeks later - school - had to speak in front of ‘Speech’ class - Terrified to be up in front of people - Found in library a speech by an old lady - Made my voice like old lady - all fear left when I began.
Those were answers to prayer in the first few weeks after I was born again. He has answered so many requests that I have brought before Him for 73 years - but it wouldn’t have happened if I hadn’t developed very quickly a deeply personal relationship with Him and communed with Him. Even as a young girl, I had a ‘knowing’ down in my ‘knower’ that I was to be thankful to Him for the good in my life.
Next - let’s talk about PRAYER - OR WORSHIP! For me, I easily flow into worship as I am thanking Him. Sometimes, in the middle of the thanksgiving, I start talking to Him about His goodness, His power, His amazing love, His grace, His mercy. Sometimes I sing to Him. I’ve probably sung to Him every song that praises Him. Just Him and me - with me quietly singing to Him. I’ve sang ‘Amazing Grace’ to Him so many times - and all the others ones I know - ‘Worthy is the Lamb,’ ‘Holy is the Lord,’ and on and on. To me, that is worshiping Him. It is unique for all of us. He loves each of us individually and knows us inside and out. He delights in us worshiping Him, when we’re just alone with Him. It brings pleasure to the CREATOR OF THE HEAVENS AND THE EARTH.
Now - SUPPLICATIONS - OR PETITIONS! I have personally learned that this area of prayer is the most misunderstood among Christians. Many consider it to be begging and pleading with God to do things for them. Many feel like they have to convince God that what they’re asking for is really important. I want to remind you of this verse in the Bible - 2 Corinthians 1:20 - “For all the promises of God, in Him, are Yes, and in Him, Amen, to the glory of God through us.” Man oh Man - what a powerful verse.
Brothers and sisters - God has many promises in the Word of God - and a huge percentage of those promises are connected to what He has already placed in our born-again spirits. Others of the promises are what He says He will do regarding specific situations. I’m going to use this verse to explain this - 1 Peter 2:24 - “who Himself bore our sins in His own body on the tree, that we, having died to sins, might live for righteousness - by whose stripes you were healed.” YOU WERE HEALED!!!!!!!!! You may think, “Well, I don’t feel healed, or look healed.” That’s because it’s in your new born-again spirit! You have to access it by believing and receiving it the same way you received salvation. This is probably one of the most difficult things for Christians to deal with. It certainly is a promise of God and all His promises are yes and amen!!!! So-o-o-o-o-o
I’m going to tell you what I have learned in this realm. I haven’t done it perfectly and there are things that I have struggled with, as I have gotten older, but I have had more success than I used to have.
First of all, I must SOAK in the promises! They’re all through the Bible. Jesus made many promises and they’re in the Gospels. Then, the epistles in the New Testament also have promises from the Lord in all kinds of areas. I have to know that I know that I know that I know that the promises of God really are there and are FOR ME. Then, when I am in that COMMUNION time with Him, I tell Him that I believe His promise is for me - and I thank Him for it. I quote it. When I use 1 Peter 2:24, often I say, after quoting it, “SO LORD - IF I WAS HEALED, THEN I AM HEALED.” Then I thank Him for healing me. - NOW - HERE’S THE NEXT THING I DO! I take authority over the sickness, pain, or whatever it is, and I talk, with authority, to the enemy and I tell him that he must leave my body, in the name of Jesus. I tell him to GET OUT OF MY BODY! Then, from that point on, I say, in my mind, and sometimes if I’m alone, outloud, “I am healed! I am healed. If I was healed, than I am healed.” I try to see, in my imagination (which is deeply connected to hope) myself without the problem.
Now, let me tell you a little story. About 2,000 -2,002 - in K. C. - little apartment - terrible pain in my lower back - Really bad - Having to be pushed around in a wheel chair - My son took me to doctors at Truman Medical Center - there for hours - told that I would probably be in a wheelchair for the rest of my life. Was put on heavy pain medication - didn’t do much. Was on staff at church where my friends were pastors - people were praying for me. Friends of mine gave me a 3 or 4 tape series of Andy Wommack’s called, “What To Do When It Looks Like You’re Not Healed.” I made a decision for Monday morning. I turned off my phone - I closed all the curtains and blinds so I couldn’t see outside. I wanted no distractions. I sat in a comfy chair close to the tape recorder, and I began to listen. The teaching had a lot in it of the things I am saying today. I don’t remember exactly but I listened for 3 hours or more. At the end of the last tape, there was the noise of people at the conference where this was preached, standing up praising the Lord. I stood up with my hands raised in the air, praising and praising and thanking Him (I had prayed through the teaching the way he had been instructing) AND ALL OF A SUDDEN, I REALIZED THE PAIN WAS ALL GONE FROM MY BODY!!!!! I looked at the clock and I should have taken pain medication about an hour and a half ago - instead - I grabbed the bottle and through it in the trash and went back and forth through my apartment praising and worshiping the Lord. I never had the pain again!
Now I want to tell you one more story about when I lived in that little apartment. It was after church on a Sunday and I was at my sister’s house. (She has since gone to heaven.) We had Sunday dinner and we could tell there were weather problems coming so we turned on the TV and found out that tornadoes were coming our way. I decided I would go to my apartment and get inside before all this came. So I did. For about an hour, I spent time COMMUNING WITH GOD - THANKING - PETITIONING - WORSHIPING! So about an hour or maybe a little more, I went to my patio door and looked up - north, south, east, and west - and I saw a tornado coming exactly toward where I lived. I went out on the patio, and pointed at the tornado and began to speak to it in Jesus name. I told it I had authority in Jesus name to tell it what it had to do and it had to obey!!! I told it that it could not come where I was and I commanded it to turn away. I stood there on that patio and watched that tornado actually turn and head away from where I was! By the way, there was nothing on the news about a tornado striking anywhere close to where I lived!
I have done that with storms, hurricanes, tornados, and all kinds of bad weather since then. While I was still living in the K. C. area, and my daughter, son-in-law, and grandson lived in Port St. Lucie, there was a horrible destructive storm going on where they were and we were on the phone praying together. It was coming close to them. We prayed and took authority. Many houses in their neighborhood had damaged roofs afterwards - BUT NOT THEIRS!
GOD KEEPS HIS PROMISES!!!!! BUT WE HAVE TO ACCESS WHAT HE HAS ALREADY DONE FOR US BY BELIEVING AND RECEIVING AND SPEAKING TRUTH OUT OF OUR MOUTHS. Let me say that if we allow words of fear, unbelief, worry, struggle, frustration, and on and on to come out of our mouths, we will not see the results we want to see.
So - let’s deal with the next one - INTERCESSION - OR ENTREATY FOR OTHERS. This is another greatly misunderstood realm. The first thing we have to realize is that WE CANNOT MAKE DECISIONS FOR OTHER PEOPLE - WE CANNOT CHOOSE FOR THEM. MANKIND HAS FREE WILL AND GOD WILL NOT VIOLATE THAT. You cannot make choices for others just because you love them.
Intercessory Prayer is lifting up others to the Lord and praying for the Lord to bring people across their paths who can get the truth to them - and sometimes He does that in the most amazing ways you never could have imagined. It’s also about praying for the people close to them because they often have bad influence in their lives. I have personally learned that the most effective way of interceding for others is through praying in tongues. I’ve quoted these two verses before, but it’s appropriate here also. It’s Romans 8:26-27 - “Likewise, the Holy Spirit also helps in our weaknesses: For we do not know what we should pray for, as we ought, but the Spirit Himself makes intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered. Now He, who searches the hearts, knows what the mind of the Spirit is, because He makes intercession for the saints according to the will of God.” So - all those loved ones of ours - mates, children, grandchildren, parents, grandparents, nieces, nephews, and on and on - God knows exactly what their problems are and what is needed to bring them close to the Lord. The same thing is true for those who are in authority in our world. We’re also told in the Word to pray for those in authority. We don’t have to agree with them - but we can pray for the ‘perfect will of God in their lives’ by praying in the Spirit. That kind of prayer is also important to keep our country from going further away from God than it already has. Often, that kind of praying brings about huge change. Every single person in the world is unique and God is the only one who knows what is needed to change things.
By the way, praying in the Spirit is also helpful in praying for yourself. Don’t forget Jude 20 - “But you, beloved, building up yourselves in your most holy faith, praying in the Holy Spirit.” That’s one of my favorite verses. The Lord has shown me so much through this wonderful way of prayer. Sometimes, I talk about a situation that I need enlightenment and wisdom in - because I just don’t know what to do or how to pray - and I ask Him to help me see what I need to see. Then I begin to pray in the Spirit. Sometimes, after a short while, all of a sudden, into my mind comes the understanding I needed. Other times, it’s a day or two later - but you know what? I have learned that I don’t give up, no matter how long it is before I ‘SEE THE LIGHT’!
I want to share 4 verses from the Amplified Bible regarding this area of praying to understand things. It’s Eph. 1:17 - 20 (Amplified)
17 - For I always pray to the God of our Lord Jesus
Christ, the Father of glory, that He may grant you a spirit of wisdom and revelation (of insight into
mysteries and secrets) in the deep and intimate knowledge of Him,
18 - By having the eyes of your heart flooded with light, so that you can know and understand the
hope to which He has called you, and how rich is
His glorious inheritance in the saints (His set-apart
19 - And (so that you can know and understand)
what is the immeasurable and unlimited and surpassing greatness of His power in and for us who believe, as demonstrated in the working of His
20 - Which He exerted in Christ when He raised Him from the dead and seated Him at His own right hand in the heavenly places.
Now the reason I wanted to share these 4 verses is that I have learned that, although Paul was praying that for the Ephesian believers, that, when I pray in the Spirit, I am actually opening myself up to Him for Him to reveal all those things to me. I cannot even begin to tell you how many times, through the years, that, as I have shared with the Lord that I needed understanding and wisdom, and then spent time praying in the Spirit, miraculously, the Lord has revealed to me what I needed. And - it’s been in all kinds of areas of life! It happens all the time with me. I don’t mean I hear any audible voice or anything like that - but understanding will come into my thinking, that wasn’t there before. Or, at other times, I will hear something from someone or I will read something that will bring wisdom and enlightenment that I didn’t have before. If I have asked Him for wisdom about how to handle something that is very delicate, something will come to me in one of many different ways that is exactly what I needed to know. If we will open the door for Him to bring His knowledge and wisdom into our lives, He will never let us down. Remember - He will not just whoosh into your life unless you invite Him in - or open the door - or yield the right of way to Him - There are so many different ways of saying that! Brothers and sisters - so often, we are needing to understand things - and He has provided the the gift of ‘praying in the Spirit’ to get the answers - and we don’t take advantage of it. It certainly has been a tool of enlightenment for me.
I just want to say that communing with the Lord, in all the ways I’ve been talking about is REALLY WHAT PRAYER IS ALL ABOUT. I want to share with you a couple of testimonies concerning this subject. One from many years ago and one from a few months ago!
First - First one - My husband, Me, our 2 children (5 &6 yrs. Old) in Three Hills, Alberta, Canada - Husband in Bible School. We were following what the Lord had told Jerry to do. We left K.C., had been there 2 or 3 months - financial situation began to get bad - money that we had counted on wasn’t available - ran out of money for food - ran out of everything to eat except POTATOES! We had been given a huge amount of potatoes - (that’s why my friends call this ‘My Potato Story’) - We prayed, and prayed, and prayed. Just didn’t know what to do - Ran out of salt, and everything else to add to the potatoes. It was awful. We didn’t tell anyone. It was so pitiful to cook the potatoes for my babies (5 & 6 yr olds) and my hubby and me. We were thinking that the only thing left to do would be to contact both his folks and mine and ask for money so we could leave school and come home. BUT WE PRAYED.
Then - one morning - he had left for class and the kids had left for school - and I was laying on my bed on my stomach with my Bible in front of my head. I was crying - and praying. I looked at the Bible and flipped it open and I was looking at Psalm 37:25. “I have been young and now am old, yet have I not seen the righteous forsaken, nor his seed begging bread.”I jumped up and sat on the bed with that Bible open to that. I read it over and over and over. Then, I prayed - something like - “That’s us Lord. We’re not real old yet but the Bible says, that because we are born again, we are righteous - we are Yours - You love us - and You will not forsake us. Thank you for providing food for us.” I got up, and a wonderful peace, that I will never be able to explain, filled my whole being. I went about doing what I had to do - It just seemed like time just zipped by - and before I knew it, my hubby and the kids were home. I spent some time with Jerry telling him about what God had shown me. After awhile, it was time for dinner - and I cooked the potatoes - We sat down - prayed as usual - and ate! A couple hours later, it was time for the kids to go to bed, so we saw to their needs. The house was quiet.
THEN - SOMEBODY KNOCKED ON OUR DOOR. Jerry went to the door and there were several men out there all holding big boxes of food. We didn’t know them, had never met any of them. They came in and began flooding the room with all this food. There was refrigerator food, frozen food, vegies, cookies, canned goods, milks, cereals, bread, sandwich food - everything. And - AS QUICK AS THEY CAME - THEY LEFT! We never knew who they were or who sent them. Jerry and I were AWED-D-D-D-D BEYOND KNOWLEDGE. We looked at one another in wonder and then we began to smile. We held hands and went to each of our kids’s beds, and said, “Wake up - we’re gonna have a party - cookies and milk! God has provided!!!!!!! They got up and were trying to figure out what was going on - AND THEN THEY SAW ALL THAT FOOD! We really did have a party that night!
We never discovered who they were or how they knew! It was truly a MIRACLE! That’s when that verse became alive to us - and we began to see that “All His promises are yes and amen!”
Now the other story I want to share with you is from just a few months ago - about our move to Leesburg - and finding Grace Tabernacle.
I have lived with my daughter and son-in-law since 2007, when I moved from Kansas City to Port St. Lucie. My daughter and I were part of a church there, Grace Family Church. It was home to me. I led a Monday morning women’s life group for 16 years - where we talked about the sermon from the day before and prayed together. We got too big many times and other groups were born out of ours. I led a pre-service prayer meeting each Sunday morning for many years, spoke at meetings of the Prime Timers (over 65 group of people), was on the team of Women of Grace (had monthly meetings, and I spoke many times), and many other things. I was very involved.
My daughter and son-in-law, last year, began to talk about the possibility of moving - all in the realm of planning toward retirement - and many other things. I really didn’t like that and didn’t really think it was going to happen. BUT IT DID! They found a community in Leesburg and, just shortly after putting their house up for sale, had a buyer. They immediately were able to find a perfect house with a perfect deal.
Everything just worked out amazingly well. At the same time, I had just published my 6th book and the church was having a big gathering for me to talk about it. Lots of people came and lots of books were sold. BUT WE WERE MOVING.
Now - I had to deal with the fact that this was really happening and I had to deal with it. I wasn’t mad, or anything like that - I just had no idea how this was all going to play out! But - this is one of the reasons that I wanted to share this with you. I came to a place where I just had to yield the right of way to the Lord. I prayed and prayed and prayed - a lot in the Spirit - and the more I prayed, the more I was filled with PEACE. Remember that verse from Philippians 4:7 - “And the peace of God, which passes all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.” I didn’t have a clue what the house looked like that we were going to, and knew nothing about the churches in the area. But somehow that overwhelming PEACE OF GOD ruled in my heart.
So - we moved - had to deal with some air-conditioning issues at first - and after we began to get everything settled a bit, we began to find out everything we could about the churches. We visited 3 different churches and we knew they weren’t for us. Then, one of my very precious friends did some research and found Grace Tabernacle. Debbie and I still don’t know how we missed it, as we researched. Anyway, we looked at everything available online - and I saw they had the Charis Classes - (Andrew Wommack’s classes) - I’ve known Andy for about 45 to 50 years - and - deep in my heart - I thought, “So I already know they have the same belief system that I do!” We came the first Sunday, walked in the door and felt AT HOME. The worship was wonderful and, when Pastor Gary was about half way through his message, Debbie and I looked at one another and shook our heads up and down - with a smile on our faces! We knew God had brought us where He wanted us. In a short time, we became members. And, as I met with Pastor Gary, as we were talking, I said, “You’ve got a lot of older people here in this church. I did a teaching at my other church at our Prime Timers meeting about, “Growing Older Gracefully.” Pastor Gary said, “Ok - I want you to start a small group in January - and that’s going to be it!”
Then, a few weeks, as we began to get settled, my daughter volunteered to work in the book store. She started and, within 1 week, everybody in there began to say, “Hey, you need to run this bookstore. You know what you’re doing. In an extremely short period of time, she was asked to direct the bookstore. She’s very gifted in that kind of thing.
Just a short time here - and both of us are involved - and WE KNOW THAT WE KNOW THAT WE KNOW THAT GOD LED US TO GRACE TABERNACLE. PRAYER AND PEACE IS THE WAY GOD OPERATES. PRAYER IS COMMUNION WITH THE KING OF KINGS AND LORD OF LORDS!
Brothers and sisters - we have to learn to completely trust Him - turn it all over to Him - and we learn that by spending time with Him - communing with Him, thanking Him, worshiping Him, petitioning Him, and praying for others - and ourselves! ALL HIS PROMISES ARE YES AND AMEN.
Scriptures used for this lesson
1 Timothy 2:1
2 Corinthians 1:20
1 Peter 2:24