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Prayer: Our Responsiblity and Privilege.

Pray without ceasing !

What is the last experience of the Lord answering prayer that you have had?
I ask not …. what is the last general prayer, you conceived as being answered?
I ask not …. what is the last unspecific prayer you have seen answered.

Prayer is often general and unspecific, not directed and targeted.
George Muller of Bristol experienced many answers to specific prayer that was capable of being monitored and assessed, and the answers, as it were ticked off.
Now, I am in no way suggesting that we experiment with prayer to see if it is answered.
That is not what I am alluding to.

If our prayers are to be specific and targeted, we need to understand what is needed in any situation. How do I pray for my Christian friend? What is their most urgent need? What is the their besetting sins? What are their concerns and fears? I need to understand their needs to pray specifically, to target my prayers.
 
If we are to pray well and meaningfully we need to ask such question and many more.
Then, when have done this and prayed earnestly and importunately, we can, and I would say must, watch for the answers.
 
Why ? For several reasons*.
Firstly, that we may give thanks to God for answered prayer, that we may give God the praise and glory for answering openly our secret or joint prayers.
Secondly, that we may move our prayers on to others areas and so use our time wisely.
Thirdly, that we may encourage our own hearts with the faithfulness of God.
Fourthly, that our faith may the strengthened and confirmed and so more exercised.
Fifthly,  that where appropriate, we may share these things for the encouragement the people of God, the Church.
 
God does not answer all prayers quickly, sometimes we need much patience and much persistence in prayer. Take for example praying for a loved one who is unsaved. Christians have prayed for many, many years and not seen an answer to that specific prayer. Should they conclude that God is not going to answer? Should they stop praying? Should they change the nature of their prayer? No, not merely because God has not answered yet. However, prayer should always be in submission and according to the will of God, we should be sensitive to the leading of the Holy Spirit.

Prayer is a  privilege, we have a prayer hearing and answering God.
Prayer is a responsibility, Christians are enjoined to pray without ceasing.
Prayer is a spiritual exercise, it exercises faith.
Prayer is a necessity, we obtain God’s blessing by prayer.
Prayer is a solitary practice, we pray in secret, God answers openly.
Prayer is a joint activity, the people of God pray and agree in pray together.
Prayer is a blessing, to ourselves, to our loved ones, to the people of God.

May I encourage you to assess carefully how and what you should pray for.
May I encourage you to pray specifically and target your prayers.
May I encourage you to look expectantly for the answers.
May I encourage you to give thanks always for answered prayer.
May I encourage you to be persistent in prayer, do not give up.
May I encourage you to  be sensitive to the leading of the Holy Spirit.
May I encourage you to be Biblical in your prayers.

Brethren Pray for one another.
Pray without ceasing.
Pray in faith and faithfully.

Rejoice evermore.
Pray without ceasing.
In every thing give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you.
Quench not the Spirit.
Despise not prophesyings.
Prove all things; hold fast that which is good.
Abstain from all appearance of evil.

I Thessalonians 5:16-22

*This list is not complete or in any order of conceived importance, except the first.

©Jeff Maxwell 2012

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