17-7-2 PM, The Art of Prayer
Moving people through prayer:
Hudson Taylor, “It is possible to move men, through God, by prayer alone.”
People are difficult to move; people have their own wills and persuasion can only get you so far.
When it comes to spiritual movement in the lives of people (e.g. salvation or repentance), only prayer will work.
it is much easier to pray for things or provisions than to deal with the stubbornness of the human heart. This is the kind of prayer which can seem like a waste of time. We can become easily discouraged. Yet, when the Lord answers our prayers, it looks so easy.
Key to understanding how prayer changes human hearts, we must realize that we must use God’s power to move human hearts in the direction we believe is the will of God.
It’s not like we get a hold of God’s power without Him knowing we have it. It’s not like borrowing the car without his knowledge.
When we pray for people to change for God, and we use His power, we do so with His full knowledge and His blessing. After all, He invites us to partner with Him in prayer in this particular way!
19 Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.”
18 And Jesus came and said to them, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me.
8 But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you, and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.”
13 Whatever you ask in my name, this I will do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son. 14 If you ask me anything in my name, I will do it.
7 “Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. 8 For everyone who asks receives, and the one who seeks finds, and to the one who knocks it will be opened.
Wait a second...
It is the supreme dignity of the human creature to be able to say yes or no to God. Humans have been given free will. Bit this poses a problem. If by prayer we can influence the conduct of others, does such power encroach on free will?
If prayers cannot influence the course of events, why pray?
The first point to make is that God is consistent with Himself always. When God promises to answer prayer, the answer will come- always in a manner consistent with divine nature, for “he cannot disown himself”
13 if we are faithless, he remains faithful— for he cannot deny himself.
The second point in resolving these questions is that intercessory prayer is a divine ordinance. God has ordained prayer, and we can be confident that as we meet revealed conditions for prayer, answers will be granted. God sees no contradiction between human free will and diving response to prayer. Our obligation to pray stands above any dilemma concerning the effects of prayer.
Third, we can know the will of God concerning the prayer we raise. Our capacity to know God’s will is the basis for all prayers of faith. God can speak to us clearly through our mind and heart. The Bible instructs us directly concerning the will of God on all matters of principle. In our hearts the Holy Spirit ministers to instruct us in the will of God.
26 Likewise the Spirit helps us in our weakness. For we do not know what to pray for as we ought, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words. 27 And he who searches hearts knows what is the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for the saints according to the will of God.
As we patiently seek the will of God concerning our petition, the Spirit will impress our minds and convince our hearts.
When God lays a burden on our hearts and thus keeps us praying, He obviously intends to grant the answer.
George Mueller was asked if he really believed that two men would be converted, men for whom Mueller had prayed for over fifty years. Mueller replied: “Do you think God would have kept me praying all these years if He did not intend to save them?” In fact, both men were converted, one shortly after Mueller’s death.
Who have you been burdened for?
In prayer we deal directly with God and only in a secondary sense other people. The goal of prayer is the ear of God. Prayer moves others through God’s influence on them,. It is not the prayer that moves people, but the God to whom we pray.
Prayer moves the arm
That moves the world
To bring deliverance down.
To move people, the leader must be able to move God, for God has made it clear that He moves people in response to prayer. If a scheming Jacob was given “power with God and with men, “ then surely any leader who follows God’s prayer principles can enjoy the same power
28 Then he said, “Your name shall no longer be called Jacob, but Israel, for you have striven with God and with men, and have prevailed.”