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The purpose of this course is to challenge you to go deeper and further in your prayer experience. We do not simply desire to comfort you to remain where you have been. The Lord has done this to us, and is still continuing to do so.
Perhaps the most important insight that we have concerning prayer is the verse that tells us, "Likewise the Spirit helps us in our weakness; for we do not know how to pray as we ought, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with sighs too deep for words. And he who searches the hearts of men knows what is the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for the saints according to the will of God." Rom. 8:27.
All of us can sigh a big sigh of relief, knowing that all too often we do feel helpless as we make every effort to learn how to pray in a pleasing fashion unto God. The truth is that we really do not know how to pray. We are gaining some insight - that's true! But, the greater truth is that the Holy Spirit has been given to you to intercede on your behalf in covering up your inability. Thank Jesus for that! I know that Holly and I need all the help we can get.
Not only do we have the blessed assurance that the Holy Spirit is interceding on our behalf, but we have the added measure of assurance that an angel of God is mixing incense with our prayers as a fragrant offering unto God in the eighth chapter of Revelation. You might say from all of this that there is no such thing as a wrong prayer. Nothing evil can reach the ears of God. However, the Scripture does warn us that there are various reasons why our prayers may not be heard. More on that later.
There are, of course, various forms of prayer. In our study, we noted two main groups of prayer. Perhaps the one form of prayer generally used by most folks is that of making supplication unto the Lord, which is a kind of pleading or begging type of prayer. Even though this form of prayer is used extensively by many Christians, it is not the predominant form of prayer in the New Testament. The second form of prayer, is that of asking and/or demanding. This prayer very often occurs in the imperative command form of the verb, and very often it is one which emphasizes a continual or repeated effort involved with praying without ceasing. This second form of prayer - we have learned - strongly predominates all other forms of prayer.
The disciples of Jesus asked Him to teach them to pray. As Jesus does this, he lays out a course of study for us to follow.
Holly and I know that your desire is the same as ours. You want your prayer life to be very pleasing to the Lord. During my training to be a Pastor, our instructors took a dim view of those who used God's Word as a part of their prayers. One professor even told us that we did not need to quote God's Word to God because He already knew His Word. For a while in our prayer life, that sounded reasonable. We have since come to understand that was an uninformed piece of advice, for it is the Lord Himself who tells us that we are to meditate on his Word because his Word will not return void, but it will prosper in the very thing that it has been created to do. God's Word will perform what the Lord has given it to you to do. Therefore, we have come to understand that the more you use his Word as a part of your word, the more success you will have in prayer.
As we study these various aspects of how to pray, one of the main insights is seeing the vast number of passages which stress the importance of our Abba Father supplying our needs. We believe that this insight has come to us in the way of a Holy Spirit inspired revelation for us. In thirty years of ministry, Holly and I have never been so aware of this strong focus upon the Lord as our supplier.
The second aspect of new insights is to be seen in the heavy emphasis placed in the word upon our being more demanding in prayer. It is here that I must give thanks to the Lord for his insistence that I buckle down and do my homework in the study of Greek. I can now thank Him for all those years of study in college and seminary - years of study that I hated at the time, but for which I can now shout, "Hallelujah!"
The third aspect of new insights has been for us to become more aware of the emphasis that Jesus places on our being persistent. Early in our Charismatic experience during the 70's and the 80's there was a heavy emphasis on praying once and leaving it in the hands of God. To pray a second time was considered to be some lack of faith or even a form of doubt. However, Holly and I learned out of our experience that praying a number of times seemed to have profound effects, some of which we will be sharing with you in this study.
God's Word is loaded with precious moments for every occasion. What you need to do is to find those words that most pertain to you and to your situation. By praying his Word for your needs, you will know that you are praying according to his will and there will be no doubt of the outcome.
I praise Jesus that you will be challenged to step out in power and authority as mighty men and women of God, who stand ready to move mountains through prayer and prayer alone.