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Obtaining Answers to Prayer

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As believers, we must seek and apply biblical prayer principles in order to be strong and forceful in our faith. This book shows how to put those principles into action and the miraculous results that can be obtained. Learn how to establish a fruitful and effective prayer life.
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More About This Book

Overview

As believers, we must seek and apply biblical prayer principles in order to be strong and forceful in our faith. This book shows how to put those principles into action and the miraculous results that can be obtained. Learn how to establish a fruitful and effective prayer life.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780883681428
  • Publisher: Whitaker House
  • Publication date: 4/1/1984
  • Format: Mass Market Paperback
  • Pages: 144
  • Product dimensions: 4.20 (w) x 6.88 (h) x 0.42 (d)

First Chapter

Chapter 1 Faith in Prayer

The Holy Spirit will give the praying saint the brightness of an immortal hope, the music of a deathless song. In His baptism and communion with the heart, He will give sweeter and more enlarged visions of heaven until the taste for other things will fade, and other visions will grow dim and distant. He will put notes of other worlds in human hearts until all earth’s music is discord and songless. -- E. M. Bounds

he men and women of the Old Testament saw God as their Father and felt that prayerful communion with Him was a natural part of life. Israel’s leaders were noted for their habit of coming to their Father in prayer. Prayer and God’s loving and powerful answer to it are major themes of the Old Testament. The tenth chapter of Joshua describes God’s powerful intervention in a prolonged battle between the Israelites and their enemies as a result of prayer. Night was rapidly coming on, and the Israelites discovered that they needed a few more hours of daylight to ensure victory. Joshua, that sturdy man of God, stepped into the breach with prayer for the Lord’s army. The sun was setting too rapidly for God’s people to reap the full fruits of a great victory. Joshua, seeing how much depended on the occasion, cried out in the sight and hearing of Israel, "Sun, stand thou still upon Gideon; and thou, Moon, in the valley of Ajalon" (Josh. 10:12). The sun actually stood still, and the moon stopped in its course at the command of this praying man of God, until the Lord’s people had avenged themselves upon His enemies. Jacob’s life was not a strict pattern of righteousness, prior to his all night praying. Yet, he was a man of prayer, and he trusted in the God of prayer. He was swift to call upon God in prayer when he was in trouble because he knew God would answer him. For example, as Jacob fled from Esau, he prayed. As night came on, he found a special place where he could sleep peacefully. That night he had a wonderful dream in which he saw the angels of God ascending and descending on a ladder that stretched from earth to heaven. It was no wonder that he awoke exclaiming, "Surely the Lord is in this place; and I knew it not" (Gen. 28:16). As a result of this dream, he entered into a very definite covenant with almighty God. In prayer, Jacob made a vow to the Lord, saying,

If God will be with me, and will keep me in this way that I go, and will give me bread to eat, and raiment to put on, so that I come again to my father’s house in peace; then shall the Lord be my God: and this stone, which I have set for a pillar, shall be God’s house; and of all that thou shalt give me I will surely give the tenth unto thee.(Gen. 28:20-22)

With a deep sense of his utter dependence on God, Jacob conditioned his prayer for protection, blessing, and guidance with a solemn vow. Thus Jacob supported his prayer to God with a vow. Twenty years passed while Jacob stayed at Laban’s house. He married two of Laban’s daughters, and God gave him children. God had generously answered Jacob’s prayer. Becoming very wealthy, Jacob decided to leave Laban’s house and return home. When he was nearing home, it occurred to him that he must meet his brother Esau, whose anger had not abated despite the passage of time. God, however, had said to him, "Return unto the land of thy fathers, and to thy kindred; and I will be with thee" (Gen. 31:3). In this dire emergency, no doubt God’s promise and the vow he had made long ago came to mind. As a result, he prayed all night. We notice that this is the night of that strange, inexplicable incident of the angel struggling with Jacob all night long, until Jacob at last obtained the victory. "I will not let thee go, except thou bless me" (Gen. 32:26). Immediately in answer to his fervent prayer, God responded by blessing Jacob richly and changing his name. God, knowing the desire of Jacob’s heart, blessed Jacob further by removing Esau’s angry nature. When Jacob and Esau met the next day, Esau greeted the brother who had wronged him with kindness and generosity. The remarkable change in the heart of Esau could only have come through prayer. Samuel, a mighty intercessor for Israel and a man of God, was the product of his mother’s prayer. Hannah is a memorable example of the nature and benefits of persistent praying. She had no children, and she especially yearned for a son. Her whole soul was in her desire. So she went to the house of worship and saw Eli, God’s priest. Staggering under the weight of her longing, she could not articulate her desires. Nonetheless, she poured out her soul in prayer before the Lord. (See 1 Samuel 1:10-17.) Her silent prayer was so fervent that Eli thought she was drunk. When Eli learned the truth about Hannah’s prayer, he said, "And the God of Israel grant thee thy petition" (v. 17). Soon Samuel was hers by a conscious faith, and a nation was restored by faith. Samuel was born in answer to the faithful Hannah’s prayer. The solemn covenant that she made with God if He would grant her request must not be left out of this investigation of a praying woman and the answer she received. Prayer in its highest form of faith is prayer that carries the whole man as a sacrificial offering. Thus, devoting the whole man to God -- with a quenchless and impassioned desire for heaven -- mightily helps praying. Samson is somewhat of a paradox when we examine his religious character. Despite all of his extreme faults, he knew the God who hears prayer, and he knew how to talk to God. Israel could never slip so far away, fall into sin so deeply, or be bound so strongly that God could not easily span the distance, fathom the depths, and break the chains at their cry. The lesson they were always learning and always forgetting was that prayer continually brought God to their deliverance and that there was nothing too hard for God to do for His people. We find all of God’s saints in distress at different times in some way or another. Their troubles are, however, often the heralds of their great triumphs. But no matter what the reason, the kind, the degree, or the source, no difficult circumstances could keep God from answering prayer. Not even the great strength of Samson could relieve him of his distress. The Scriptures say:

And when he came unto Lehi, the Philistines shouted against him: and the spirit of the Lord came mightily upon him, and the cords that were upon his arms became as flax that was burnt with fire, and his bands loosed from off his hands. And he found a new jawbone of an ass, and put forth his hand, and took it, and slew a thousand men therewith. And Samson said, With the jawbone of an ass, heaps upon heaps, with the jawbone of an ass have I slain a thousand men. And it came to pass, when he had made an end of speaking, that he cast away the jawbone out of his hand, and called that place Ramathlehi. And he was sore athirst, and called on the Lord, and said, Thou hast given this great deliverance into the hand of thy servant: and now shall I die for thirst, and fall into the hand of the uncircumcised? But God clave a hollow place that was in the jaw, and there came water thereout; and when he had drunk, his spirit came again, and he revived. (Judg. 15:14-19)

Another incident in Samson’s life shows how, during a great trial, a saint’s mind involuntarily turns to God in prayer. However checkered their spiritual lives, however far from God they depart, however sinful they might be, when trouble came upon these men they invariably called upon God for deliverance, knowing He would answer them. As a rule, when they repent God hears their cries and grants their requests. The incident in question comes at the close of Samson’s life. Read the record in the sixteenth chapter of Judges. Samson had formed an alliance with Delilah, a heathen woman. In connivance with the Philistines, she sought to discover the source of his immense strength. Three successive times she failed. At last, by her persistence, she persuaded Samson to divulge the wonderful secret. In an unsuspecting hour he told her that the source of his strength was in his hair that had never been cut. That night she robbed him of his great physical power by cutting off his hair. She then called for the Philistines who came, tortured him, and put out his eyes. Later, when the Philistines were gathered together to offer a great sacrifice to Dagon, their idol god, they called for Samson to entertain them. The following is the account as he stood there presumably the laughingstock of his enemies and God’s enemies.

And Samson said unto the lad that held him by the hand, Suffer me that I may feel the pillars whereupon the house standeth, that I may lean upon them. Now the house was full of men and women; and all the lords of the Philistines were there; and there were upon the roof about three thousand men and women, that beheld while Samson made sport. And Samson called unto the Lord, and said, O Lord God, remember me, I pray thee, and strengthen me, I pray thee, only this once, O God, that I may be at once avenged of the Philistines for my two eyes. And Samson took hold of the two middle pillars upon which the house stood, and on which it was borne up, of the one with his right hand, and of the other with his left. And Samson said, Let me die with the Philistines. And he bowed himself with all his might; and the house fell upon the lords, and upon all the people that were therein. So the dead which he slew at his death were more than they which he slew in his life.(Judges 16:26-30)

God’s praying saints of the Old Testament found their comfort and their strength in their believing petitions to the Father. Prayer and God’s answers compose a vital part of the Old Testament.

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