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PRAYERThe Source of Strength for Life
By Grace Dola Balogun
Balboa PressCopyright © 2011 Grace Dola Balogun
All right reserved.
Chapter OneLord, Teach Us How to Pray
In Luke 11:1–13 and in the book of Matthew 6:5–14 during the time of our Lord's earthly ministry, He was praying in a certain place. When He finished, His prayer was so inspired that one of His disciples said to Him, "Lord, teach us to pray, just as John taught his disciples." Jesus said to them:
When you pray, say: "Our Father who at in heaven, hallowed be your name, your kingdom come your will be done, on earth as it is written in heaven. Give us today our daily bread. Forgive us our debts as we forgive our debtors. Lead us not into temptation and deliver us from evil. For thy is the kingdom, the power, and the glory forever."
Our Lord indicated an area of concern the whole body of Christ must concentrate on in prayer. Our Lord said believers' greatest concern in prayer and in our lives should be the hallowing of the name of God. It is of the utmost important that God be reverenced, glorified, and exalted in our lives. In our prayer and in our daily walk, we must be intensely concerned with the reputation of God. We must have an awareness of who God is in our lives and in church and an awareness of His gospel and His kingdom. We must pray for the kingdom of God on earth now and for its ultimate fulfillment in the future. We must pray for God's will to be done in our lives, which means that we must sincerely desire God's will and purpose to be fulfilled in our lives and the lives of our families, relatives, and friends according to His eternal plan. Believers must determine the will of God primarily in His revealed, infinite Word, the Bible, and through the Holy Spirit's leading in our hearts and minds. We should pray for our daily bread and needs. Our prayers must concern sins and willingness to forgive those of who trespass or have done any form of evil against us. Believers must pray for deliverance from their enemies, Satan's enmity, and Satan's evil purpose. We must pray for deliverance from his power and schemes and all his tricky games in believers' minds and souls.
Our Lord Jesus Christ emphasizes that all Christians must be determined, ready, and willing to forgive the evils of other Christians and unbelievers around them. God is saying to us if we do not forgive those who offended and willfully do wrong to us, He will not forgive us our offenses, and our prayers will not be able to ascend to Him. All believers in God must take this warning of our Lord to heart by forgiving those who hurt them. We have more than six or eight forms of prayer requests to the Lord. Three of these prayers are concerned with our holiness and the will of God for us. The other three pertain to our personal needs. "Our Father in heaven" means that our prayer should connect us with our heavenly Father. As our Father, Almighty God loves us, cares for us. He always welcomes our fellowship and intimacy.
Through Jesus Christ our Lord we have access to God our Father at any time to worship Him or communicate all our needs to Him. God is a Father of holiness who opposes sin and all unrighteousness. He does not tolerate evil. As our heavenly Father, He disciplines and blesses us. He will withhold as well as give us what we need, even if we do not know what we need. God's justice and mercy are incomparable. He responds to all His children according to our faith in Him as well as our obedience to Him. The most important concern in our prayers and in our lives should the hallowing of the name of God. In our walk with God and our prayer to Him, we must be focused on and concerned with the reputation of God, His church, the gospel, and His kingdom. Our prayer must be based on and concerned with the kingdom of God on earth now and with its ultimate fulfillment in the years to come. Our prayer must be based on Christ's return on earth and the establishment of God's eternal kingdom in the new heaven and the new earth. We must pray for the Holy Spirit's presence and manifestation of the kingdom of God now and forever.
Our Lord Jesus Christ demonstrated God's power and authority over Satan and demons and plundered his possessions with the power of prayer and His communion with God the Father when He was conducting His ministry on earth. It is impossible to remain neutral in the spiritual realm and conflict between Christ's kingdom and the power of evil. Many people who decided not to follow Christ set themselves up against Jesus Christ and His righteousness, or they are on the side of Satan and the ungodly.
Jesus's words indict any attempted spirited neutrality or compromise with unrighteousness and disobedience. All believers in the body of Christ and the household of faith must be delivered from sin; they must renounce sin totally in their lives. They must be committed to a life of obedience, prayer, and righteousness. They must be filled with the Word of God every day, and by so doing, they will be filled with the power of the indwelling of the Holy Spirit. Believers must know that after their conversion, Satan's power does not end but continues. It is never-ceasing. We are safe from sin and Satan if we are fully committed to Jesus Christ using all the necessary means of grace that are available through the word of Christ. Where sin abounds, grace abounded more and more, and by His grace we are saved. If believers of Jesus Christ who have been delivered from demonic influences and were clean by renouncing all sin in their lives should leave the door open for more evil spirits to increase evil influence on them, they will fall back into serious sin. It's like someone was washed clean and put on white robe who later decided to go into the coal mine. To get the white robe completely clean as before will be very difficult or impossible. I urge all believers to learn how to pray. Be ready to learn how to pray at home and in our churches.
Chapter TwoWhat We Need in Prayer
What we need in prayer is confidence to approach the throne of grace. When we pray, we are calling upon the name of the Lord Jesus Christ. We are placing our dependence and trust in God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit. We are pouring out our hearts and souls to Him and letting Him know He is the only one. He is our deliverer in times of affliction, distress, and all forms of disappointments and in time of troubles and tribulations. We need to pray to seek His strength and power over all our trouble. We must call upon God in prayer and remind Him we are sinners who are undeserving of mercy, but He saved us and blessed us with His mercy and love. We must remind Him about His great love for us, and His goodness and mercy that follow us through all our lives. We must remember His of His unseasoned protection in the past, throughout our lives, and throughout our world.
As children of God, we must ask that He listen to and answer our prayers according to His will and infinite mercy. When we pray, we are strengthening our trust in the Lord, and we are exercising our unshakeable faith in Him. We are also obeying His commandments because God commanded us to pray. Therefore, we pray in response to God's loving invitation. Our Lord said, "Ask, and it shall be given you." Luke 11:9. Through prayer our worries will be reduced or erased to the point that they will not bother us anymore. The most essential cure for worry is our prayer. Through prayer we renew our trust in the Lord Jesus Christ's faithfulness; we cast all our problems upon Him who cares for us. God's peace comes to keep, guide, and lead our hearts, minds, souls, and spirits as we commune with our Lord. God will continue to strengthen us in order to do all the things for us according to His will. Prayer helps us to connect and receive the peace of God that surpasses all understanding Phil. 4:6–7. Believers must rejoice in the Lord Jesus and gain strength by recalling His grace and promises. The Bible says we can challenge spiritual warfare with the help of the Holy Spirit's power. We are Christian solders. We must fight against all the power of evil, not in our own power but with the power of the indwelling of the Holy Spirit Eph. 6:18.
Prayer shows our dependence upon God's power and His infinite wisdom. What we need in prayer is a powerful tool so important that we will be completely surrender to the lordship of Jesus Christ and let Him know that we cannot do anything for ourselves. We have no strength or power to solve this problem on our own. He is the only one who can help us. What we need in prayer is to show that we are complete in Christ, and we are acting as we are supposed to act as children of God. We must ask the Father for everything, even up to drinking water. We must pray that the water goes safely down our throats to our stomachs.
All believers need to communicate with the Father and tell Him what is on our minds. Even though God has the power to read our minds, He still wants us to come to Him as His children and humble ourselves and let Him know what we are going through, what we need, even though He understands our situations more than we think or ask. He wants us to maintain intimate relationship with Him as His children with complete trust. What we need in prayer is a heart full of praises to God the Father through our Lord Jesus Christ who gave us His Spirit, the spirit of holiness, and the spirit of prayer. The more we praise Him and acknowledge what He has done in our lives, what He is doing right this moment in our lives, and what He will continue to do in our lives, the more the heart of God rejoices with us, and the more He is ready to do more and more great things in our lives.
We praise Almighty God when we acknowledge His greatness, mercy, and love in our lives, His provisions, His power of healing all our diseases, and His power of protection from all evil from the first day we arrive on this earth. He sends His innumerable company of angels every day to protect us when we sleep or when we are in danger. Believers need to praise Him for His mercy, goodness, and love that follow us everywhere we go every day of our lives. The Bible said, "It is of the Lord's mercies that we are not consumed, because his compassions fail not. They are new every morning: great is thy faithfulness" Lamentations 3:22-23.
What we need in prayer are praises and adoration and proclamations of His holy name in our prayers. Praise Him for who He is and for what He continues to be in your life by calling His holy names in your prayers: our mighty fortress, the Almighty God, compassionate, gracious, loving God, full of truth and righteousness, Lord God Almighty, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, ever one God, the very God, the true God, the Creator of everything that exist in heaven and on earth, the only blessed ruler of human souls, the one who has immortality in the light, the immortal, the invisible, the only wise God. The Lord Jesus Christ is full grace and truth, the Lords of lords and the Kings of kings, the Holy One of Israel, the seed of David, and the bright morning star. He is the ascended God, the God of resurrection and eternal life, the one and only who ascended into heaven and is seated at the right hand of God the father Almighty. He is the Lamb of God who took away the sin of the whole world, the incarnate begotten Son of the Father, the Holy child of Bethlehem, our crucified Lord, our risen Lord, the Great Captain of the ship, the Good Shepherd, the Chief Shepherd, the one and only, our hope of glory who is coming back to judge the quick and the dead, and all eyes shall see Him.
Jesus is the one and only, the way the truth and the life, and the giver of life. He is the Messiah who came to this world and redeemed us from our past, present, and future sins, our gracious master and our great redeemer, the light of this world, the true light that shines forever, and no darkness can comprehended it. He is the mediator of a new covenant, our prophet, priest, and high priest of a new covenant. He is the mediator of a new covenant and the mediator between God and man. He is our advocate of a new covenant, the one and only Jesus Christ our Lord. He is the same yesterday, today, and forever. When we call on His names, our hearts rejoice and show how glorious and great is our God, the God of love, infinite mercy, and infinite compassion. He is a compassionate, gracious, and loving God. The book of Psalms full of prayers of praises to the Lord who is the great I am. If we believers pray the prayer of praise, we will be full of happiness and joy. Our hearts, minds, and souls will magnify the Lord. Our hearts will rejoice in God our Savior who has done and continues to do great things in our lives. Holy is His name forever. Our hearts will be full of the peace of God that surpasses all understanding, and we will be stronger in the Lord and in His almighty power.
What we need in prayer is hearts and minds of thankfulness at all times. God will be able to do more great things in our lives. The fruit of our lips gives thankfulness to His holy name. We need to call on God before we sleep and thank Him when we wake up in the morning because He is the one who make us sleep and wake up. We must give thanks to God for the food we eat and for the good health He gave us. We must thank God for our physical health and spiritual standards because in Him we move and have our being. He clothes us with His goodness, righteousness, and love. The holy Bible says, "For God so love the world that he gave his one and only begotten son that those who believed on him will not perish but have everlasting life" John 3:16.
God provides for our clothing and shelter, and He also surrounds us with good people in our lives who help us when we are down and in distress. We must continue to give God thanks every day of our lives. He blesses us with His peace that surpasses all understanding. He saves us from danger, disasters, accidents, and violent behavior from some people around us. He fills our hearts and minds with joy everlasting. We must continue to give Him unseasoned thanks. What we need in our prayers is to confess our sins. If we know we have violated His orders or commandments, we must tell Him we are sorry for what we did, especially when we intentionally hurt someone physically or emotionally, knowing that no matter what he or she is, God created him or her in His own image. By telling God about our sins, we put our trust in Him that He will restore us back into the fold, as our Lord's talked about in the parable of prodigal son in Luke 15:11–21. Verses 17–19 say, "When he came to his senses, he said, How many of my father's hired men have food to spare and here I am starving to death; I will set out and go back to my father and say to him, Father, I have sinned against heaven and against you I no longer worthy to be called your son; make me like one of your hired men." Our Lord said God and the angels rejoice in heaven with great love, compassion, and grief for those who have fallen into sin and spiritual death, but when one sinner repents, they rejoice.
Isaiah 62:5 says, "As a young man marries a maiden, so will your sons marry you; as a bridegroom rejoices over his bride, so will your God rejoice over you." God is never silent. He has appointed watchmen on the walls of Zion, prophets and faithful intercessors who never stop praying for the establishment of God's kingdom on earth and for the glory of Jerusalem. We, the body of Christ, need to diligently pray without season for the establishment and the return of our Lord Jesus Christ on earth in order to set up His kingdom that He will rule with righteousness over all the earth. What we need in our prayer is the power of prayer for the Great Commission to be fulfilled through the help of the Holy Spirit through all the believers of Jesus Christ to work hard for the Great Commission sincerely so all the elect of God will be safe and Christ will return without delay. We must also pray for our neighbors, our friends, and those who are in government. We need to pray for judges who are making tough decisions in the lives of individuals who do wrong. We must pray for our enemies so God will turn them from our enemies to our friends. We must pray for those who are violent among us, for the Lord to turn them to peace, and we must pray for the peace of God to rule and continue to rule in their hearts and minds always so they can live a peaceful life. We must pray for those who hate us for our Lord to turn them from hatred in to love and for the light of God penetrate into and through their hearts and fill them up with joy in their heart.
God told Jeremiah in 32:41, "I will rejoice in doing them good and will assuredly plant them in this land with all my heart and soul." God will surely gather all the children of Israel from all the lands they have been scattered to. God told Jeremiah that the people would be restored to the land and to a right relationship with Him, and He will make an everlasting covenant with them. God did exactly what He said in 1948 the Israelite were returned to their land, the nation of Israel was established by the United Nations. Is anything too hard for the Lord? The answer is no. The Father Almighty, Father of our Lord and Savior, the Father of all glory and sustainer of all things, assured Jeremiah that through His power the people would be restored to their land. Up till today, God's power of love never stops or diminishes for His people, from individual people to the people in the community, for the nations, and for the entire universe.
Excerpted from PRAYER by Grace Dola Balogun Copyright © 2011 by Grace Dola Balogun. Excerpted by permission of Balboa Press. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
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Table of Contents
Contents1. Lord, Teach Us How to Pray....................1
2. What We Need in Prayer....................5
3. Pray through the Word of God....................15
4. The Word of God Cleanses Us....................21
5. Pray without Season....................27
6. Prayer Is God's Power Source....................29
7. Come to Him in Prayer with Confidence....................33
8. Boldly Approach the Throne of Grace....................39
9. Pray in the Spirit....................41
10. Pray with the Spirit....................47
11. Prayer of Thankfulness....................51
12. Pray for Your Neighbor....................53
13. Pray for Your Enemy with Faith....................55
14. Prayer for the Body of Christ on Earth....................61
15. Pray for the Peace of Nations....................65
16. Pray for the Sinners and the Lost....................69
17. The Power of Prayer....................71
18. The Soul and Mind of Prayer....................77
19. The Result of Prayer....................83
20. The Answer to Prayers....................87