PRAYER JEWELS!--Part 2--Pointers on Prayer by Maria! Maria #120 DO 2624 3/90
GOING SLOW & TAKING TIME TO HEAR FROM THE LORD!
1. I've found that when I try to take it easy & go slowly, I don't seem to need as long periods of rest because I'm taking it a little easier as I go. That's a lot easier on you than if you just push push push push & then finally wear out & break down & have to take a long rest or vacation! I think it's much better if you can go a little slower all the time. If we go slower, we're bound to be more prayerful, & then we're bound to get more from the Lord, & we're bound to not have as many troubles or difficulties.
2. So often when I stop & I just think & pray & reflect on things, the Lord brings very important things to my mind.--Or He reminds me of important things that I had forgotten or would have forgotten, or He gives me good ideas during those times. And when He does, I realise that if I hadn't stopped & hadn't had that time I would have missed all that!
3. Whenever I'm reminded like that, I see the seriousness & the importance of taking time just to stop & pray & think about things, to just sort of tune in to the Lord, meditating & putting everything else out of my mind except just what He wants there, & asking Him to bring whatever He wants to my remembrance. Often He brings very important things to my remembrance that I wouldn't have gotten if I hadn't stopped.
4. So I'm seeing more & more that we just can't afford to be so busy that we don't have time to take those little times during the day with the Lord.--Not even just reading the Word, although that's important too. But we need time for just talking to the Lord & sort of freeing our minds of anything else, & just asking Him, "Okay, Lord, we're open to whatever You want.--Is there anything You want to remind us of or any ideas, or anybody we should speak to or write to etc.?" As followers of the Lord who have to get their instructions & orders from the Lord, it's especially very very important to take those little times during the day.--Amen?
5. You certainly can't expect to get very many answers from the Lord unless you actually take time to stop & listen.--As Dad has brought out so clearly in "Stop, Look, Listen," which is tremendous instruction along this line. (ML #74.)
6. With the multitude of decisions that we as leaders have to make, we must have time to seek the Lord about things. There is just no way we can make wise Spirit-led decisions without taking time with the Lord. And the more major the decisions are, the more time we usually have to spend with Him.
7. It takes time to think & pray about problems, to think about a situation in the stillness & quiet while we are alone, letting the Lord speak to us about it & guide our thoughts so we can then later come together with others on our teamwork to further pray & discuss matters together. There's just no substitute for taking time.
8. The Lord could have made things so we could just come before Him with a list of our questions that need answering & just rattle them off one-by-one & receive answers one-by-one in a flash of revelation. But He has not made it that way since He wants us to think things out as He guides us. He says, "Come, let us reason together!"--Isa.1:18. He likes to guide our thoughts as we meditate & pray, as well as in our deliberations & our counselling with others.
9. By causing us to operate this way, He knows that when we do get the answer, we will know why it's the right answer. And we will be able to explain to others & teach them the principles that He is teaching us.
10. There are often so many things to pray about that we don't have time for them all. So frequently I assign others to pray about things, & to present to me the answers they get. After they take time with the Lord & prayerfully & slowly think about these situations, they usually come up with some very good counsel. They have done much of the work & the reasoning & spent much of the necessary time in praying about different aspects of the problem. When they present these to me, then I can prayerfully judge their answers & decide which is the right one. Because they have presented me with the reasoning behind the answer that they think the Lord has given them, I don't have to spend so much of my time doing this.
11. The time I have to spend in prayer with the Lord on that subject is therefore considerably shortened. I can say, "Is this the right answer, Lord? If it's not, please check me & help me to see why not. If it's the right one, please help me to know that, too." If we as leaders don't have time to pray extensively about every decision that we must make, we are forced to share the load & thereby teach others to pray & make wise Spirit-led decisions.--While we still take the final responsibility for the decision by checking with the Lord that the answer they give us is indeed the right one.
12. So again, I repeat, if you are going to be a leader, you are going to have to be responsible for many important decisions. And if you are responsible for many important decisions, then you are going to have to take considerable time alone with the Lord in prayer, seeking Him for answers. And if you are going to have this time, you will have to shift some of your other responsibilities to undershepherds, teaching them to take over more of your "deacon" responsibilities so you can "give yourself more to the Word & prayer."--Acts 6:4. Nevertheless, you are still responsible for them & the kind of job they do in your place. So you must continue to pray for them & supervise them to make sure they do a good job.
"ENTER INTO THY CLOSET & SHUT THY DOOR!"--MAT.6:6
13. I was very happy to hear that one of our top leaders who had recently been transferred to another post wrote us to say that even in the midst of her very very busy schedule, she was taking part of each afternoon for quiet time. She said she goes into her room & shuts the door, puts the "Do Not Disturb" sign up & takes time for Word & prayer & thought or reflection & just seeking the Lord for answers to the myriad of problems that she faces every day.
14. It's good to do nothing but just meditate & think & pray sometimes, which of course isn't really doing nothing. I know we sometimes get itchy feet to be accomplishing something that people will see right away, & maybe we feel a little guilty that we're in our rooms with the "Do Not Disturb" sign on the door, concerned that others may be thinking, "Oh, they're in bed again, they're napping again!"
15. If you feel that way, just explain to people that you aren't always sleeping but that you believe that you need to take some time out to just rest and pray and think and hear from the Lord.
WE NEED TO BE PRAYERFUL & CAREFUL!
16. A little lesson I learned--or re-learned--the other night was that it doesn't matter too much if we're prayerful if we're not careful as well. We can pray all we want & expect God to do His part, but if we don't do our part, then He can't fulfil His.
17. During the night, Dad woke up very hot & sweaty, & asked if I could give him an alcohol rub. As I got down to his buttocks, I prayed the Lord would help me not to hurt or burn him by spilling the alcohol any place where it would sting or be too sensitive. I then proceeded to pour the alcohol into my cupped hand, applying it to his bottom.
18. But I was being a little quick & jerky, & not slow & careful enough, & sure enough, some of the alcohol spilled & ran down on to some very sensitive places which caused Dad a few minutes of discomfort.--Thank the Lord it wasn't too serious, but it could have been.
19. As soon as I saw what happened I said to the Lord, "But Lord, I prayed! How could You let this happen?" And immediately I got the answer: "Prayerfulness without carefulness won't work!" You can't expect the Lord to do everything for you if you don't do your part & cooperate, doing everything you can do.
20. Of course, this is a lesson that I already knew, but it was good to be reminded of it again, probably so I could remind others as well. And, on the other side, we can be very careful & try to do our best, but without prayer, the same thing may happen. We may be totally unsuccessful in our efforts because the Lord wants to teach us that without Him we can do nothing! We need to be both prayerful & careful!
TAKING RESPONSIBILITY IN PRAYER FOR THE SPIRITUALLY WEAK!
21. While praying about someone today, that the Lord will help them to shtick with the important work they need to do, I was thinking how if we really pray for them, the Lord is bound to help them. We've discussed before how if you use & rely on people who are shallow & unspiritual & unprayerful, who operate in the arm of the flesh, then you are operating in the arm of the flesh yourself by relying on them.
22. But if you do their praying for them, then that's another story. In such a case, if we don't have anyone else who can do the job, the Lord will sometimes have mercy & overlook their unspirituality if we carry the ball for them in prayer, & bear the spiritual responsibility for them.
23. This doesn't mean that we don't have to pray for others whom we work with who are doing well, whether they're going out & doing business for us or doing secretarial work or whatever work they may happen to do. But we don't have to carry as much of the responsibility if we know that they themselves are prayerful & careful & dependent on the Lord. We don't have to worry so much about them then.
24. But when it comes to those who we know are not very dependent on the Lord, who don't have that close link with Him, & who do not make prayer a habit, then we must be very concerned about them & take on that spiritual responsibility ourselves, doing their desperate praying for them.--Not only that the Lord will protect them & keep them, but that He will also help them in their business & their work & make it successful & help it to go well. It's like we have to be constantly conscious of it & desperate about it almost as though we ourselves were doing the work that they are doing.
25. If we will carry the spiritual responsibility for such spiritually weaker people, we might be able to keep them going in the right direction, & useful in the important ministries they may have. In some cases, we virtually have to get ahold of the Lord for them, to keep them going & doing the right thing in the Spirit. Of course, if they're very weak spiritually & tend to get tossed about & easily influenced by negative spiritual forces, we should be very concerned about the quality of work they will produce, which should, of course, cause us to really pray for them all the more!
26. I'm usually very reluctant to have people who are very weak spiritually working on important projects, but I think that in some extreme cases, the Lord, because of our prayers, will have mercy & will give them the inspiration & anointing that they need.--Not because of their own prayers or desperation with the Lord or spiritual strengths, but because of our prayers, & for the sake of His Work.--Especially when there is no one else who can do the job.
LET THE LORD WORK FIRST!
27. When I'm faced with a problem or problems--as most of us very often are--I've been too prone to have as a first reaction, "Well, Lord, what can we do about this situation? What's the answer? What can we do to alleviate the situation or help to solve it?" But there's something else we should do first, & what do you think that is? (Fam: Ask the Lord to work & do something, perhaps beyond what we could do?)
28. Yes, our first reaction should be, "Well, Lord, You start working! You do what only You can do." Of course, often the Lord does want us to do something, so we have to bear that aspect of it in mind as well. But at the same time, we should be very conscious of our need for the Lord's help, & we should be continually saying, "Well, Lord, You can work out this situation. Please do as much as You can do by Yourself.--And then You can use us to do the rest."
29. Too often I've been prone to sort of under-emphasise that part of it, & instead right away pray & ask the Lord what we can do, what solution should we put into effect. Whereas there's a lot the Lord can do by His Spirit first, or at least to pave the way simultaneously with what we try to work out & what He shows us to do about it. There's a lot He can do just by His Spirit.
30. People who can't do anything but pray, they usually really pray. But when you have the authority or power to do something about a situation, then it's very easy to be tempted to get in there & try to sort it out yourself. Of course you pray, & you may even be putting the Lord's solution into effect, but that's not enough unless the Lord, by His Spirit, is working & changing things as well.
31. By running immediately into a problem situation & doing what we can to manipulate things & to solve things & "right the wrongs" & fit all the pieces together, we may be abusing our authority & power, & usurping the Lord's power & interfering with what He wants to do. As leaders who have the power to do such things, we often feel that we should step in, & our first reaction is to do something about the situation! We pray, yes!--That the Lord will help us to do something about the problem.
32. This is the attitude that I was unconsciously having, & the Lord checked me about it & showed me that while I may have the authority to do something about a situation, that wasn't always His highest Will. The first & foremost thing we should do is ask Him to supernaturally work in the situation & change the situation according to His Will. And then after He has done what He wants to do, He can use us in the way that He wishes in the situation.
33. Usually my first response was to say, "What can we do about the situation, Lord? What do You want us to do about the situation?" Oh, I would pray, & I prayed desperately, but the Lord checked me, "Wouldn't it be better if you would pray for Me to work in the situation? For Me to change the situation, to change hearts, to change attitudes, to supernaturally do something about it before you go in there trying to manipulate things?--Before you go in there moving things around & doing things in the arm of the flesh?"
34. Certainly we do need to do things sometimes, & it often is the Lord's Will that we do things. That's what we're for as Shepherds over the flock, to help lead them & guide them & show them solutions that the Lord gives us for them. But too often we run ahead of the Lord, not giving Him time to work. We usurp His place & interfere with what He would like to do, miracles that He would like to be given all the glory & the credit for. We get in there & try to do things in the arm of the flesh without even desperately asking Him, by His Holy Spirit, to do the work, & without realising that our solutions aren't going to do much good anyway if the Lord, by His Spirit, doesn't work in people's hearts!
35. It's a real symptom of operating in the arm of the flesh. It often seems easier for us to be busy & trying to decide what we should do about a situation--even busy praying for an answer to give people--than it is for us to be desperately praying & asking the Lord to work. And it gives us a feeling of authority & usefulness & we feel like we're really doing the job because we're coming up with answers & solutions.--When the Lord doesn't want us to do the job, but rather wants us to let Him do it.
36. Instead of praying, "Lord, what counsel should I give so-&-so about those problem Homes in their area?"--I've learned to spend more time praying, "Lord, You do it! You change'm! You do something to work in their hearts, so they'll want to change. You prepare their hearts, Lord. You show them that they need a change & that they need training & that they need help. Give them the desire for it, Lord! Put them in the situation where they're going to want it. You make the conditions that will help them to be desperate for help & want to change!"
37. As leaders, this should be our first & primary prayer, for the Lord to supernaturally work in people's hearts & lives. After we've really "committed our ways to the Lord," & "cast our burdens on Him" (Psa.37:5; 55:22) then we can pray, "And, Lord, if there's anything You want me to do, or us to do about the situation, please show us. And then, Lord, if You do want us to do something, show us when. If You need time to work first, help us to be sensitive to that & not run in there ahead of You, preventing Your doing what You want to do."
38. Even in long-term witnessing to someone, or helping our children or others overcome their NWOs, we need to remember to give Him time to work. Often we've gotten reports from our leaders telling of very serious problems about which we've been tempted to shoot them an immediate answer advising them what to do about the situation. But when we've just waited & prayed about it, often in their next report we hear the good news that the Lord has worked & given the needed victories. Hallelujah!
39. There is a time to wait & there is a time for quick action, & we must ask the Lord for wisdom to discern what is needed. But more often than not, when we pray for the Lord to change things & we give Him time to work, He does, & then He does miracles & gets the credit for them. As Dad has said, "It's wise to wait!"
RESPONSIBLE LEADERS MUST PRAY!
40. I've certainly learned that whoever is in charge is the one who is always ultimately responsible. No matter how highly you may regard an underleader or teamworker, or how much confidence you have in him that he can do the job, or how much knowledge he has about a situation, even if you feel like you're personally so ignorant of it that you shouldn't interfere, you, as the senior leader, can't leave all the decisions with him! You're the one responsible. So you've got to pray & ask the Lord to give you checks.--Even if you don't understand exactly everything that's going on, or you can't get involved with all the details & have to trust others to take care of them.
41. But the one in charge is responsible to the Lord even if they don't understand all the technicalities of what somebody else is doing. It's like something I wrote & shared with Jo about the Video ministry; even though he may not understand all the technicalities, he still needs to be very prayerful. He needs to pray for all those working on it & ask the Lord to check him about things. Even if he doesn't understand everything, the Lord can still check him about anything that needs to be done differently.
COUNSELLING IS GOOD, BUT PRAYER IS ESSENTIAL!
42. When some of your co-workers make comments or express their opinion about things, if you're not really prayerful about it you can just say, "Oh yes, that sounds good," when it might not be right. We need to be prayerful when we counsel with others, read reports & hear different things. Even if something sounds perfectly logical at first, we need to make sure it really is the Lord, & that others don't overly influence our thinking.
43. Just because we respect their opinions & we know that they have a lot of wisdom, even when they normally give the right counsel & say the right things, we'd better be careful that the Enemy doesn't try to slip in some wrong idea or wrong way of thinking. If we aren't prayerful & we're not really praying & thinking about what's going on & what others are saying, that's what can happen.
44. As the main leader of a Home or area, you really need to ask the Lord about things! It's nice to get other people's opinions & counsel, & I know I certainly need it, & I do that a lot. But you need to be very sure that you also ask the Lord, or you're more than likely going to get off the track & get led by somebody else's opinions when maybe the Lord doesn't see things quite the same way that your counsellors do! You really have to balance what people say & ask the Lord to show you.
45. I'm not in any way implying that we shouldn't counsel together; like I say, I do lots of it, & I really appreciate the wisdom that the Lord's given other people. But if you're the leader & you have to make the final decision, you'd better make sure you really ask the Lord & not just ask everybody else, no matter how great their suggestions or comments or ideas may sound!
46. An example of this took place the other day when Peter told me, "We've discussed this situation & we think so-&-so about it, so wanted to pass it on to you." And it sounded quite good to me, it was logical & was something they'd discussed & come up with. So my immediate response was, "Okay, go ahead with it."
47. But then as we continued our conversation I had to say, "On second thought, I don't think we should do that because the Lord just reminded me of something He showed me earlier that would conflict with this plan." In other words, even though their counsel seemed very good & was logical & sounded great to me, as we discussed it & I prayerfully listened & tried to think, "Is this the right thing to do after all?", the Lord reminded me of something else He'd already shown me.
48. But if I hadn't gone slow & been prayerful & been asking the Lord what we should do, I probably would have just continued to agree & gone along with it because it sounded very good. It was basically a good idea. It was just a question of whether or not it was really the wisest thing to go ahead with something at that time. When the Lord reminded me of what He'd previously shown me, I had to say, "You have a good idea, but I think there may be an even better way. The Lord just reminded me of something which seems to indicate that we should go in another direction."
49. So you have to really pray & ask the Lord about things when you're counselling together. It's great to counsel together, I'm completely sold on it, but if you don't remember that the Lord has the final say, & you don't get your answers from Him, then you, as a leader, can easily get led astray, even by wise counsellors whom you love & respect.
50. If you have to make the ultimate decision, you definitely should get other people's counsel & not try to do it on your own. The Lord makes us operate that way so we can teach other people things. You counsel together not only so you can be helped & get information that you need, but also so you can teach other people to make decisions as you take them in on things. But you've got to make sure that you're really prayerful & you're asking the Lord what He wants, & don't just go by what sounds right & logical!
PRAYING BEFORE COUNSELLING!
51. Whenever I'm going to counsel with somebody I usually feel like, "I don't know what I'm going to say, what am I going to do?" So I pray because I'm not so confident about my speaking. That's a case where my weaknesses are actually my strengths in a way. I'm just not very self-confident, I usually don't know what I'm going to say. I often feel like I can't really express myself clearly.
52. So I really have to pray beforehand. We usually know a few alternative approaches that we could take to get to the subject at hand, but how do you know which one will be best? You just have to really pray!--And then open your mouth & trust the Lord that it will come out the way the Lord wants it to. Because there are lots of different ways to approach a subject, you've got to really pray & seek the Lord's guidance & help!
PRAYING UP BEFORE MEETINGS!
53. In everything you do, all the different kinds of meetings & classes you hold, etc., you need to really try to prepare as much as possible for them by prayer & the Word. You need to pray & read the Word & do as much as you can in preparation for each meeting.
54. Even in the little meetings we have here, I really really pray, & we pray together about them & even discuss them in advance when we have the time. Like last night, Peter & I got together & discussed & prayed about it before the little meeting we had with other Home Members. So even as full as our schedule is, we really do try to pray.--That the Lord will prepare hearts by His Holy Spirit & fill our mouths with His wisdom as we open them.
FLEECES: EVERYTHING WE DO MUST BE BATHED IN PRAYER!
55. (Although we've never advocated fleeces as a primary means of finding the Will of God, they can sometimes be used as a helpful confirmation, as Dad brings out in "The Seven Ways to Know God's Will" [EDITED: "ML #829"]. Dad has also taught us that a fleece is a contract between you & the Lord, & something that you should have the faith for, & something that you need to stick to, once you enter into such a "contract." [See "Fleeces," ML #1394, & "Bargaining for a House," ML #1850.
56. (The following jewel is not to promote or place a renewed emphasis on using fleeces, but is a good reminder that if you do "put out a fleece," it should be done very prayerfully, & not flippantly or lightly.)
57. I've heard people use the term, "throwing out a fleece," which sounds rather haphazard & hasty to me. Why not call it "putting out a fleece" or "making a fleece," to remind us that it should be done prayerfully & carefully?
58. It seems that some of our people frequently use fleeces in a very light or flippant way. They'll pray & say, "Lord, if You'll do such-&-such, I'll do such-&-such," & then when the Lord meets His end of the bargain, they don't follow through and do what they said they would.--They don't honour their part of the contract.
59. Another problem that some people have with fleeces is that they tend to use them as sort of a lazy way to try to find God's Will. Instead of really seeking the Lord & getting desperate in prayer & diligently searching through the written Word for the answers & solutions, they find it easier to just "put out a fleece."
60. Except perhaps in the case of spiritual babes, for whom the Lord might miraculously show them His Will just through fleeces, He usually expects us to find His Will through the Word & prayer & Godly counsel, etc.--And very rarely, if ever, do we try to seek or find His Will through fleeces alone. If & when we do use them, they are usually used as a confirmation of God's Will, confirming something that we already believe or have leanings toward because of what God has shown us through His Word, through prayer, through revelations, through Godly counsel, etc.
61. As Dad has said, a fleece is a contract between an individual & the Lord. The individual sets specific conditions to the contract: "Lord, if You do this, I'll do this." Whereas with "open doors," you're not setting down any specific conditions, you're simply praying & then looking around to see if a door is opened or closed. Of course, even "open & closed doors" are not the most accurate or reliable means of finding God's Will, but because you're allowing the Lord to set the conditions with open or closed doors, they can be a more reliable indication of His Will than fleeces are.
62. Anyway, the main point I wanted to bring up here was that when you decide you're going to put out a fleece before the Lord, don't forget that it must be bathed in prayer to be effective! Getting the right results is usually conditional on how much prayer you put into it. You can put out all kinds of fleeces for all kinds of things, but if you don't accompany it with desperate prayer, then you can't blame the Lord if you don't get the kind of results you're looking for. Because without prayer, it can end up being nothing but self-effort!
63. If you're not going to be desperate with the Lord about it, then the fleece might not mean much. If you don't really pray, you can't depend on the fleece. Because the only thing you can really depend on is the Lord & the way He & His Holy Spirit are working. You can only depend on prayer & what the Lord does, not what we do!
64. You can't make an unprayerful off-the-top-of-your-head statement like, "Lord, if You have a red car pass by our house at 20 minutes after 10, then we'll take it as a sign that You want us to go witnessing in the next town!"--& call it a fleece. A fleece is part of a prayer agreement. You have to put prayer into making a fleece. Moreover, as a result of our prayers, the Lord usually leads us to be realistic about things, so our fleeces normally relate somehow to whatever it is we're trying to get an answer on. So you should not only pray about whether or not you should make a fleece at all, but you should then pray about what kind of fleece to put out, or what kind of agreement to make with the Lord.
65. Sometimes when we say we're going to make a fleece, I think it's sort of like, "If this is so-&-so we'll do this, & if it's not like that, then we'll do something else." But unless you really pray about it, just setting down some conditions for yourself isn't going to be very effective or helpful! A fleece has to do with prayer! When Gideon made his fleece he was making a real commitment, a contract with the Lord, seeking His confirmation before launching out on a major new undertaking.
TAKING TIME TO PRAY ABOUT WHY THINGS HAPPEN!
66. I'm always glad when I find that people take the time to pray about why things happen.--Even when they pray about little things that happen that aren't very dramatic, events or circumstances that you might not even consider to be bad or negative. I'm talking about little things that come along, even in nature, things that don't really change things too much & aren't any major catastrophe.
67. For example, say it rains just when you think you might want to go out for a walk or something. Small things like that really wouldn't seem to matter much, but even with that kind of thing it's good to use it as sort of an exercise in prayer, to pray & ask the Lord about it, or at least prayerfully think about why such things happen.
68. It's like an exercise in learning to do that in every single instance in life. It's good to get into the habit of doing that so you don't miss it when the Lord is definitely trying to show you something important by something that's happened or by some closed door or something He may put in your way or take out of your way or whatever.
69. It's good to always keep the Lord in mind, asking Him about everything. Dad's been such a proponent of that & a believer in that, a practicer of that in every little thing. "Why did that happen?" When he gets a little tummy ache or he doesn't feel well or something, he always prays & asks the Lord about it. "Lord, what caused this?--Was it something I ate?--Was it because I got too much sun? Lord, why did it happen?--Are You chastening me for something or trying to get me to stop doing something?"
70. Even if we don't always get the right answer, it would do us all a lot of good to develop that habit of constantly asking the Lord about things & trying to figure out why they happen. By doing that, you leave yourself open constantly for the Lord to tell you anything that He may be trying to show you.
HAVING PRAYER DOESN'T AUTOMATICALLY REMEDY EVERYTHING!
71. Having a prayer of deliverance for a problem or problems doesn't mean you're automatically ready to jump right back into your previous situation or job again, & that you will now do all the right things.--Especially if you've had some kind of a wrong attitude or spirit, like pride or self-righteousness, that has affected a great deal of your thinking on different things. Even if you have prayer against it & get delivered of it, you may still need to be retrained & retaught how to do things again, or even how to think, because your previous problem may have so coloured your thinking for so long, making you act in certain wrong ways.
72. When you realise that you are wrong & you repent & the Lord delivers you, you start out with a clean slate. But because your thought patterns have gone in a certain direction so long & have become habits & you hardly know how to think any other way, you have to be retrained to do things differently, & even to think differently in many areas. Having prayer doesn't always mean that everything is automatically all better & that you're going to do everything the right way immediately afterwards.
73. It may take many times of falling & getting up again before you can walk very far without stumbling. In this sense, you may have to pay for your sins by continuing to fight them for a while. But if you keep persevering, the Lord will reward your determination--sometimes so quickly, it's truly miraculous--& you'll find you're hindered less & less by those old habits cropping up. (See Rom.12:2)
PICKING VERSES FROM A BOWL!
74. A good example of acknowledging the Lord in all our ways is what we did in our prayer meeting the other night. We had all these promises that I'd asked someone to collect from the Faith & Prayer sections of the MOP & the Word Basics. They pulled out all kinds of beautiful promises, a real variety of encouraging verses that we could use to claim when praying for any kind of difficult situation. We then had all these individual verses cut into little strips & little slips of paper, & scrambled them all together in a small box or bowl.
75. Then when we got together to pray about different situations that have come up that we felt burdened to pray for, each of us one by one picked out a slip of paper & claimed the verse on it, praying over the situation that was being prayed for in whichever way the verse related to it. Sometimes a verse would relate to one aspect of the problem, & another verse to another aspect of it. We each would take a verse & claim it & pray a short prayer over it, relating it to the problem at hand.
76. After each person prays, they pass the bowl of promises to the next person. That way, people won't be looking at their verse while someone else is praying. For example, when I finished praying, I would pass it to the next person, & they would read the verse they picked & pray. Then when they're done, they pass it to the next person & he picks his verse out & reads it & claims it as he prays. Then the next one does the same thing, & you keep going round & round for as long as you want to or need to! You can claim a lot of encouraging & faith-building verses that way if you don't pray real long prayers. PTL! (For more ideas & variations on how to "pass the promise bowl," see FSM 173.)
CLAIMING THE WORD IN PRAYER--IT'S OKAY TO READ IT!
77. Most of us, when we pray, have learned to claim promises that we have memorised from the Word. But we've also found that it's a real blessing to have all these other good verses right here in the "promise bowl" to help us.
78. If you're praying for a specific need or problem, you can also look up the verses that are compiled in the MOP or Word Basics on that subject, & read them one at a time. And as you read them, claim each one & really pray over it, or if you're together in a meeting, have each person read & claim a verse.
79. There's nothing wrong with reading verses when you're praying! You don't have to try to pull all these verses out of your head every time you pray. The Lord can remind you of them if you've memorised them, but what if you haven't memorised them? A lot of our people--children, babes, even a lot of the old-timers--haven't memorised as many verses as they would like to claim in prayer. So there's nothing wrong with reading your Bible in order to pray & claim those verses!--Or photocopying & cutting them out & putting them in a bowl or box or getting out your MOP or Word Basics & reading them. If you haven't memorised them, how are you going to claim them in prayer unless you read them as you pray?
80. That's what we've done a few times lately, we've read them & made them part of our prayer. The other day just Peter & I tried it together, & it was very effective. Peter read me verse by verse out of the Word Basics. He would read the verse aloud & I would pray & claim that verse in whatever way it affected or related to the problems we were concerned about. Of course, most times it's nice when everybody joins in & prays.
THE ANSWER'S ALREADY THERE IN THE WORD!
81. An important part of prayer is listening to the Lord, not just talking to Him.--And that's why the Word is such an integral important part of prayer, & why we read it & claim it when we're praying together. We don't want it to just be us doing all the talking, because hearing yourself talk can get pretty boring & be pretty ineffective! Part of prayer is to let the Lord talk to you, as well as you talking to the Lord.--After all, a conversation should be two-way, right?
82. That's why it's so good to have the Word right there with you, so you can read it & let the Lord talk to you through it & give you answers from His Word right while you're praying. That's one of the most wonderful things about prayer, you don't have to always wait & wait for the answers. That's what makes prayer exciting, when you get answers. And if you have the Word right there, the Lord will use it to answer you as you read & claim it.
83. The Lord's already answering!--Before we call or while we call. He's giving the answer right now! He's already given us the answers if we claim them by faith. If we want His answer, we can find it right there in the Word!
84. Prayer is not like a letter you're writing to someone beseeching them to do something, & then you don't get a reply or answer back for 2, 3 or 4 weeks. You can have the answer immediately when you're asking the Lord! The answer's already there in His Word! That's what makes prayer so exciting, when you have the answer right there! You just need to claim it by faith!
85. It's fun for the kids--as well as the adults--when you put all the verses & promises together into a bowl or a box & you acknowledge the Lord & then see what kind of answer you're going to pull out. Of course, you can't always expect to get something real specific, but the Lord can give you general answers which you can apply & claim.--And sometimes, you do get specific answers.
86. But every verse in the Bible doesn't cover each specific problem you're praying about, so of course, you have to use a little discretion & a little wisdom. For example, you don't put all the promises related to persecution together & then draw from them when you're praying for the Lord to supply housing or something! Not every verse in the Bible is going to apply to your particular need or situation.
87. You could have one little bowl with the promises related to persecution & protection & other tough situations, & you could have another separate bowl on God's supply & another one for healing. Of course, verses on some subjects like faith & God's faithfulness to answer can apply in every situation. Verses like, "Ask & ye shall receive" & "Whatsoever ye shall ask in My Name, I will do it" are good general ones that you can apply to all kinds of situations.
TURNING EVERY THOUGHT INTO A PRAYER!
88. We think thousands of thoughts every day, & each one can be turned into a prayer--as Dad brings out in "The Operator." (ML #700) Again, this is a habit that has to be formed, but when you try it, you'll see how very wonderfully effective it can be in teaching you to truly "pray without ceasing." You don't have to think up things to pray for all day long, you just turn each of your thoughts into a prayer to the Lord.
89. For example, if you wake up in the morning & think, "Oh, I'm so tired, I don't know how I can get out of this bed," you can immediately change that into a prayer: "Lord, You know how tired I am & how I need Your strength for this day!" Or when you think, "Oh, I wonder how my kids are doing," you can immediately change that into a prayer, "Lord, do bless & keep the children whatever they're doing right now. Protect them & teach them good lessons & give them lots of love & kindness & wisdom." Or at some time in the day you may think, "Look at this pile of dirty laundry!"--You can immediately change it into, "Lord, all this laundry is really dirty, but thank You for the water & the soap & the washing machine & everything we need to get the clothes nice & clean so we can all have clean clothes!"
90. This can be a very fun exercise, to see how many of your thoughts you can remember to turn into prayers. You just have to ask the Lord to help you make it a habit, & then give Him your cooperation by doing your best to bring your thoughts to Him in prayer.
91. Even if you have a critical thought about somebody, something like, "That was unfair of John to scold me when it wasn't even my fault." You can turn such negative thoughts or murmurs into positive praise & prayers, "Thank You Lord for that correction from John.--Even if he didn't have all the `facts' straight, You know it's good for me to be humbled & to learn to be more yielded & less sensitive.--So bless John & help us stay united & close in Your Love." Or you may critically think about someone, "Why is he always late?"--Or "Why does he eat so much?" Instead of just being critical, turn those thoughts into a prayer for the person--if they actually have a problem along those lines. And if the problem is you, rebuke the critical thoughts & ask the Lord to help you be more loving & merciful.
92. Even with your positive thoughts, like, "Oh, what a gorgeous day!", turn it into praise to the Lord, giving Him the glory!--"Thank You Jesus for giving us such a beautiful day!" PTL!
FINDING A QUIET PLACE TO PRAY!
93. You need to get alone sometimes to try to think or pray or memorise, or just to have a little quiet time. In our large & busy Combos I know it's hard to find a little nook sometimes, but people do need that time alone.
94. I think most of our folks have a quiet hour or two every day where they can either nap or read or listen to a tape.--A little bit of quiet time where they can think on their own & pray. Most of them don't get very much time, but if they need more, I'm sure the Lord can supply it in some way if they ask Him for it, & try to work it out with their Shepherds & co-workers.
95. You have to have a little bit of time alone to even be able to hear from the Lord or talk to the Lord. There's nothing wrong with spending some time alone. You need a little bit of time alone & a little privacy for your thoughts & your prayers & your meditation. You can't do that in the middle of confusion.
96. We all need some privacy & some time to ourselves. Like Dad said, sometimes the only way you can find it is in the bathroom! The Lord made most people have to have a BM that would take a little while, so at least that's one place where they can sit & hopefully get a little time alone.
97. So don't despair, if you can't get any other time alone, get it on the toilet! Of course, for some of our crowded Combos, the bathroom may have a whole line of people all waiting to use it at the same time! Or maybe you can go to bed early at night & have your prayer time in bed, or decide with your partner to have a quiet time Get Out, where you both pray & meditate silently as you walk. I'm sure the Lord will supply some way or other if you need a little time alone, which you do. Pray & the Lord will supply it some way!
PRAYER FOR THE LEADERSHIP!
98. Lord, do bless our dear leadership who have such a tremendous responsibility & such overwhelming burdens if it weren't for You, Lord, Who has promised to carry those burdens for us. But, Lord, sometimes the job can get pretty draining & pretty stressful & the mountains look unconquerable & the obstacles look immoveable.
99. So Lord help them to look to You, Jesus, to trust You to melt those mountains away & melt those problems away as they commune with You, & as You show them the answers & the solutions. And help them to realise that You're doing this Work, Lord, & that they don't have to worry because they can't do it anyway. They have to let You do it, that's the only way it's going to get done. Help them, Jesus, not to get fretful & worried & overly concerned, but to just rest in You & follow Your leading, be guided by Your eyes.
100. Lord, do help us to help them carry their burden by our prayers & by our intercession for them, Jesus. That they won't feel that they're out there alone doing the whole thing but that we're all working together. We're workers together with You, Lord. Help them know that we won't sin in ceasing to pray for them. (1Sam.12:23.) Help us, Jesus, to make that one of our main ministries, one of our responsibilities. PYL! TYJ!
CONFIRMATORY KEY SCRIPTURES ON PRAYER!
--On Making Prayer a Habit, Taking Time to Seek the Lord, Praying about Everything, etc.!
The Prayer "Habit"
Lk.18:1. Men ought always to pray, and not to faint.
1Chr.16:11. Seek the Lord & His strength, seek His face continually.
1Th.5:17. Pray without ceasing.
Eph.6:18. Praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, and watching thereunto with all perseverance and supplication for all saints.
Phil.4:6,7. Be careful (full of care or worry) for nothing; but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God. And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.
Pro.3:5,6. Trust in the Lord with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge Him, and He shall direct thy paths.
Pro.16:3. Commit thy works unto the Lord, and thy thoughts shall be established.
Psa.32:8. I will instruct thee and teach thee in the way which thou shalt go: I will guide thee with Mine eye.
Isa.30:21. And thine ears shall hear a word behind thee, saying, "This is the way, walk ye in it," when ye turn to the right hand, and when ye turn to the left.
Mat.11:28-30. Come unto Me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you, and learn of Me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls. For My yoke is easy, and My burden is light.
Isa.30:15. For thus saith the Lord God, the Holy One of Israel; In returning and rest shall ye be saved; in quietness and in confidence shall be your strength.
Isa.40:31. They that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint.
Heb.4:9,10. There remaineth therefore a rest to the people of God. For he that is entered into His rest, he also hath ceased from his own works, as God did from His.
Pray!--And God Will Bless & Answer!
2Ch.14:7b. Because we have sought the Lord our God, we have sought Him, and He hath given us rest on every side.
2Ch.26:5. And he sought God...And as long as he sought the Lord, God made him to prosper.
Psa.62:8. Trust in Him at all times; ye people, pour out your heart before Him: God is a refuge for us. Selah.
Isa.30:19b. He will be very gracious unto thee at the voice of thy cry; when He shall hear it, He will answer thee.
Jer.29:13. And ye shall seek Me, and find Me, when ye shall search for Me with all your heart.
Jer 33:3. Call unto Me, and I will answer thee, and show thee great and mighty things, which thou knowest not.
Mat.7:7,8. Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you: For every one that asketh receiveth; and he that seeketh findeth; and to him that knocketh it shall be opened.
Pray for Others
1Sam.12:23a. Moreover as for me, God forbid that I should sin against the Lord in ceasing to pray for you.
Rom.15:30. Now I beseech you, brethren, for the Lord Jesus Christ's sake, and for the love of the Spirit, that ye strive together with me in your prayers to God for me.
1Th.1:2. We give thanks to God always for you all, making mention of you in our prayers.
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Isa.55:6. Seek ye the Lord while He may be found, call ye upon Him while He is near.
Copyright (c) 1998 by The Family