Prayer

I believe that our God is a very playful God; we will discover that He is a fun God when we get to know Him well.  You know, He designed things here on earth in such a manner, that He wants us to do everything for Him, yes, manage everything for Him.  But we are not so very capable, and He knows that.  But do we know that?  Adam knew it, and as he was doing those things which his Father liked Him to do, he only had to ask His Father to help Him, and Father God then loved to do it for Adam.  A beautiful example is in Genesis 2:19: "God brought animals to Adam to see what names he would gives them, and whatever Adam called each living creature that it became."

Our God has created us for His pleasure; He is just as eager as we are to have offspring.  Just like we, He loves friends, fellowship and acceptance.  We are afraid of rejection?  So is He deeply saddened by it.  We reject Him?  Then He lets us be on our own; He will not force us to love Him, and we miss His love and acceptance that we so yearn for deeply within.  In Psalms 100 we find what gladdens Him, and so it satisfies our soul and spirit: “Make a joyful shout to the Lord, all you lands!  Serve the Lord with gladness; come before His presence with singing.  Know that the Lord, He is God; it is He who has made us, and not we ourselves; we are His people and the sheep of His pasture.  Enter into His gates with thanksgiving, and into His courts with praise.  Be thankful to Him, and bless His name.  Because the Lord is good; His mercy is everlasting, and His truth endures to all generations.” (Psalms 100)

Our Father deserves our praise, because He is the one who has made us, and it will always make us glad when we worship Him, and sing joyfully to Him.  This is what He made us for; to have a love relationship.  We need to receive love to be happy, and we need to give it.  And as we give love, we receive more from Him and from friends.  This is what He created us for; to have a love affair with us, and we with Him.  Then sin came in the world through Adam and today we are so hopeless and helpless to not want that help.  Adam knew that he could not do anything without Father working through Him; but we have lost a clear understanding of that; when we become prideful it becomes even very difficult to see that we do things well because spirits are doing them through us.  And when that happens without noticing it, we begin believing that we did it on our own and do not need Gods’ help, and will never ask for assistance from our God and Father.  Whenever I wanted to help my oldest son when he was a little boy, he at times would say: “Ikke seffe doen!”, “I want to do it myself!”  Isn’t that typical of you and me?  And so the beautiful relationship between father and son is lost.  With God we do the same, very sad.

QUESTIONS TO DISCUSS (listen to one question at a time):

  • Why do we want to do things ourselves, instead of letting a very capable friend help us?
  • Why do we want to be so independent?
  • We want to be accepted and loved; but why then do we start working on our own and be alone?

Now that Jesus has come to set us free, and now that we have a new relationship with Him and His Father, now we can restore the old fun way of letting Him help us, and doing things that in reality He is doing through us.  It is exactly as Paul wrote: “So then I find that when I realize that I am weak, then I am strong (because God is doing the things through me).”  Do you now understand how God works with us if we ask Him and let Him do it?  But we are still in a learning process; in this life we will never become perfect as Adam and Eve once were; we are not yet mature enough grown up sons of God and our Father needs to correct us yet so very often, just like an earthly father corrects his children, chastises them; and that can be quite painful.  But you and I are learning, aren’t we?  And now I come to the heart of our subject of today: prayer.  As we learn that we are not very capable of ourselves, we will again start asking our Daddy for help, and, you know, He loves that.  And when we ask Him, knowing in our heart that He is there for us, believing, He is even eager to help us.  It just now makes me think of my church where I grew up as a young boy and man; the pastor used to begin every church worship service with the words from Psalm 124: “Our help is in the name of the Lord who has made the heavens and the earth.”  It is because of that why we can say at the end of a request of God, a prayer: “Amen”; confirming that we know that He will do it.  But this will require that we are close to His heart or we will never experience this.

In another lesson I talked with you about the power of the spoken word, and that God even created everything through the spoken Word, through Jesus.  Do you remember that the Apostle John calls Jesus “the Word”? And so we were also intended by God to be His speaking word; any positive declaration we make, believing that we will receive it, creates.  I like to show you from the prophet Elijah that even when he knew that God was going to do something, he yet began then praying for it.  And that counts also for us; when we know in our spirit that Father God is going to do something for us, we then will yet need to start praying for it until our prayer is answered; and that may take a long time: we must learn to wait upon the Lord, just as the prophet Isaiah sang: “Have you not known?  Have you not heard?  The everlasting God, the Lord, the Creator of the ends of the earth, neither faints nor is weary.  His understanding is unsearchable.  He gives power to the weak, and to those who have no might He increases strength.  Even the youths shall faint and be weary, and the young men shall utterly fail, but those who wait on the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles, they shall run and not be weary, they shall walk and not faint.” (Isaiah 40:28-31)

QUESTIONS FOR DISCUSSION:

  • Do you understand that we are not very capable in ourselves?
  • Is it easy to see our weakness when we are prideful and arrogant?
  • Does pride often prevent us from asking for help?
  • Is it not reasonable to ask Father God for help when we need it?
  • Should we stop praying when we don’t get soon what we asked for?
  • Can we stop praying when we believe in our heart that we are going to receive what we requested from God, even if we do not have it yet?

I now want to read to you a most amazing story of how the prophet Elijah knew so well that prayer was necessary for God to act, even though Elijah knew that what he asked for was what God had promised him already.  There had been three years of drought because Israel had stop worshiping their God, and God wanted them to come back to Him.  Is it not typical that He then makes things difficult for us so that we will begin to cry out to Him?   “Ahab sent for all the children of Israel, and gathered the Baal and Asherah prophets together on Mount Carmel.  And Elijah came to all the people, and said: ‘How long will you falter between two opinions?  If the Lord is God, follow Him; but if Baal, follow him.’  But the people answered him not a word.  Then Elijah said to the people: ‘I alone am left a prophet of the Lord; but Baal's prophets are four hundred and fifty men.  Therefore let them give us two bulls; and let them choose one bull for themselves, cut it in pieces, and lay it on the wood, but put no fire under it; and I will prepare the other bull, and lay it on the wood, but put no fire under it.   Then you call on the name of your gods, and I will call on the name of the Lord; and the God who answers by fire, He is God.”  So all the people answered and said: ‘That is well spoken.’  Now Elijah said to the prophets of Baal: ‘Choose one bull for yourselves and prepare it first, for you are many; and call on the name of your god, but put no fire under it.’  So they took the bull which was given them, and they prepared it, and called on the name of Baal from morning even till noon, saying: ‘O Baal, hear us!’  But there was no voice; no one answered.  Then they leaped about the altar which they had made.  And so it was, at noon, that Elijah mocked them and said: ‘Cry out loud, because he is a god; either he is meditating, or he is busy, or he is on a journey, or perhaps he is sleeping and must be awakened.’  So they cried aloud, and cut themselves with knives and lances as was their custom, until the blood gushed out on them.  And when midday was past, they prophesied until the time of the offering of the evening sacrifice.  But there was no voice; no one answered, no one paid attention.  Then Elijah said to all the people: ‘Come closer to me.’  Then all the people came near to him.  And he repaired the altar of the Lord that was broken down.  And Elijah took twelve stones, according to the number of the tribes of the sons of Jacob, to whom the word of the Lord had come, saying: ‘Israel shall be your name.’  Then with the stones he built an altar in the name of the Lord; and he made a trench around the altar large enough to hold two seahs of seed.  And he put the wood in order, cut the bull in pieces, and laid it on the wood, and said: ‘Fill four water-pots with water, and pour it on the burnt sacrifice and on the wood.’  Then he said: ‘Do it a second time,’ and they did it a second time; and he said: ‘Do it a third time’; and they did it a third time.  The water ran all around the altar; and he also filled the trench with water.  Then, at the time of 140328 Proph Elijah on Mt. Carmelthe offering of the evening sacrifice, Elijah the prophet came near and spoke: ‘Lord God of Abraham, Isaac, and Israel, let it be known this day that You are God in Israel and I am Your servant, and that I have done all these things on Your word.  Hear me, O Lord, hear me, that this people may know that You are the Lord God, and that You have turned their hearts back to You again.’  Then the fire of the Lord fell and consumed the burnt sacrifice, and the wood and the stones and the dust, and it licked up the water that was in the trench.  When all the people saw it, they fell on their faces and said: ‘The Lord, He is God! The Lord, He is God!’  Then Elijah said to them: ‘Seize the prophets of Baal!  Don’t let any of them escape!’  So the people seized them, and Elijah brought them down to the Brook Kishon and executed them there.  Then Elijah said to Ahab: ‘Go up, eat and drink; for there is the sound of abundance of rain.’  And Ahab went up to eat and drink, but Elijah went up to the top of Carmel and there he bowed down on the ground, and put his face between his knees and said to his servant: ‘Go up now, look toward the sea.’  So he went up and looked, and said: ‘There is nothing.’  Seven times he said: ‘Go again.’  And after the seventh time he said: ‘There is a cloud, as small as a man's hand, rising out of the sea!’  And Elijah said to him: ‘Go up, say to Ahab: ‘Prepare your chariot, and go down before the rain stops you.’”  In the meantime the sky became black with clouds and wind, and there was a heavy rain.  Then Ahab rode away to Jezreel.  Then the hand of the Lord came upon Elijah; he girded up his loins and ran ahead of Ahab to the entrance of Jezreel.” (1Kings 18:20-46)

QUESTIONS TO DISCUSS:

  • Why would Elijah pray for rain if he already knew that God was sending it?
  • Is God always waiting for us to ask before He will do something?
  • Is He maybe training us to always do things together with Him?

In closing this lesson I like to mention one kind of prayer that many Christians have trouble with.  You see, we must ask believing.  But so often we cannot hear God’s will well enough to know how we should pray for something, because we must pray according to His will.  We must create this for Him the way He wants it; and prayer is just a manner through which we create for our God, that is: through which our God creates, using us.  But if I want to pray for a good solution, God’s solution for a problem in my life, or in someone else’s life, but I do not know Father’s will in that matter, what will I do.  God gives us for that a wonderful means of praying; we can then pray in angelic language as the Spirit gives us to speak.  We may not understand anything of what we say, but God’s Spirit is giving the words in God’s language and His will can be done because we prayed for it.  Here are some things the Apostle Paul wrote about this in 1 Corinthians 12:7-11: “But the manifestation of the Spirit is given to each one for the profit of all: for to one is given the word of wisdom through the Spirit, to another the word of knowledge through the same Spirit, to another faith by the same Spirit, to another gifts of healings by the same Spirit, to another the working of miracles, to another prophecy, to another discerning of spirits, to another different kinds of tongues, to another the interpretation of tongues.”

But Paul is not eager that we use this gift in our meetings without interpretation; he writes in 1 Corinthians 14:18-19: “I thank my God I speak with tongues more than you all; yet in the church I would rather speak five words with my understanding than ten thousand words in a tongue, so that I may teach others also.”

QUESTIONS TO DISCUSS:

  • Can you talk about this gift of speaking in heavenly language?
  • Have some of you experienced this in your prayer and worship life?