Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Prayer The Right Way

And whatsoever ye do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, 
giving thanks to God and the Father by him. 
(Colossians 3:17)

During Jesus' conversation with the 11 remaining disciples, He let them know that all that they did in the way of ministry was to be done in His name:

And these signs shall follow them that believe; In my name shall they cast out devils; they shall speak with new tongues; Mark 16:17

What a powerful promise! Whatever we ask In His Name, we will receive!

Peter, after his conversion, understood the magnitude of the birth, life, death and resurrection of Jesus.

Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved.  (Acts 4:12)
Before Jesus' crucifixion, He taught the disciples the importance of praying in the proper way:

Hitherto have ye asked nothing IN MY NAME; ask, and ye shall receive, that your joy may be full.
(John 16:24)

"Hitherto" means "up until now." Up until the time Jesus spoke these words, His followers had asked nothing in His name. At this point He established a new relationship with them. He told them to ask God for their needs in His name:
And in that day ye shall ask me nothing. Verily, verily, I say unto you, Whatsoever ye shall ask the Father in my name, he will give it you.   (John 16:23)

v  Conditions for answered prayers:  

Don’t get this great promise confused. This promise has to be taken along with the other principles of prayer taught in the Bible. We can never isolate one verse on a subject without considering all that is taught on that subject in the Word of God. For example, the Bible teaches you cannot ask selfishly:

Ye ask, and receive not, because ye ask amiss, that ye may consume it upon your lusts. (James 4:3)

There are conditions:

1.         We must also be living righteously before God. If we sin, we are to repent, confess, forsake and pray for forgiveness:

Confess your faults one to another, and pray one for another, that ye may be healed.  

The effectual fervent prayer of a RIGHTEOUS man avails much. (James 5:16)

We cannot continue to live in sin and think just because we ask in the name of Jesus we will be granted our requests. It is the prayers of righteous men and women that avail with God. 

If ye abide in Me, and My words abide in you, ye shall ask what ye will, and it shall be done unto you. (John 15:7)  

This means IF we are abiding in Christ we can ask and it shall be done. IF we are walking in obedience to God's Word, then we can ask in the name of Jesus.

2.         Praying in the name of Jesus is also subject to God’s will.

Jesus prayed:

Father, if thou be willing, remove this cup from me: nevertheless not my will, but thine be done. (Luke 22:42)

In the weakness of human flesh, Jesus did not want to suffer. He wanted the cup of suffering removed, but He submitted His will to God's will.  In some matters clearly defined in Scripture, we know the will of God and exactly how to pray. In other matters we can express our will, as did Jesus, then submit our will to His will; still, all in the name of Jesus.

Requests made in the name of Jesus are subject to the sovereign will of God. We ask according to human reasoning and do not always discern God's higher purposes.

For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, saith the Lord.   For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts. (Isaiah 55:8-9)

You will not always know the will of God and exactly how to pray. When you are not sure of the will of God, it is a good time to pray in the language of the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit intercedes on our behalf according to the will of God:  

Likewise the Spirit also helps our infirmities: FOR WE KNOW NOT WHAT WE SHOULD PRAY FOR AS WE OUGHT; but the Spirit itself makes intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered.  And He that searches the hearts knows what is the mind of the Spirit, because He makes intercession for the saints according to the will of God. (Romans 8:26-27)

Some disagree with this Biblical teaching; oftentimes confusing the gift of tongues found in I Corinthians 12:10 with the receipt of the holy spirit as evidenced with speaking in tongues (Acts 10:46-48; just one excellent reference).  They will say you can ask ANYTHING in the name of Jesus and it will be done. 

When you arrogantly pray without submitting your requests to God’s will, 
He may answer your requests, but it may not be in your best interests. 

He did this for the nation of Israel.  

And He gave them their request; but sent leanness into their soul.      (Psalms 106:15)

We must also realize that when we ask for something on behalf of another person that their will enters into the situation. Nobody, through prayer in the name of Jesus, can push something on someone else which that person does not want. Another person's will and unbelief can affect your prayer for them.

God does not take away the free will of man

3.         There can be no disbelief.

In John 17, Jesus prays a great prayer concerning the men God gave Him as disciples. All these men received the same training. They saw the same miracles. They received the same Word of God. But yet one of them was lost. Judas still had a will of his own, and despite all he had heard and seen, rejected God's Word in unbelief.

Jesus spoke of the power of agreeing with others in prayer in His name. 

Again I say unto you, That if two of you shall agree on earth as touching anything that they shall ask, it shall be done of them of my Father which is in Heaven.  For where two or three are gathered IN MY NAME, there am I in the midst of them. (Matthew 18:19-20)

4.         As part of prayer, thanks should be given in the name of Jesus:

Giving thanks always for all things unto God and the Father IN THE NAME of our Lord Jesus Christ. (Ephesians 5:20)

We should also give thanks to the name of Jesus.  

By Him therefore let us offer the sacrifice of praise to God continually, that is, the fruit of our lips giving thanks TO HIS NAME.  (Hebrews 13:15)

(Biblical Studies)


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