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True Prayer

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I have always said we should only pray when prompted to do so by the Holy Spirit. This causes some to ask if non-prompted prayer is genuine, because unless it is genuine, God will not listen. And, what if we do not ‘feel’ prompted – will the prayer be like husks of wheat on the wind? The difference between true prayer and our human excuses for it, is vital. Let me explain…

If we live holy lives that please God and we commune with Him every day, then prompting by God to do this or that will be perpetual, just as Adam’s original pre-fall activity included a daily meeting with the Lord (Who I usually say must have been Christ) was perpetual. Adam was in direct communication with the Lord and the flow of directness was guaranteed. As we know, this direct relationship with God suddenly was lost when Eve and Adam sinned. And this is probably why modern believers do not quite understand what God’s immediate prompting means.

When we are in a direct relationship with God, He speaks to us through many means, from the very rare actual voice, to speaking to our mind, to a variety of prompts initiated by Him in our ordinary world. As we live our lives in this directness, so God gives us both the subject and the content of our prayers. There will be no need to invent them, as most do in those unbiblical scheduled prayer meetings. Really, the scheduled prayer meeting is, to me, an embarrassment because it is an acknowledgement of failure to listen to the Lord and to perpetuate a man-made tradition without substance.

So, if we live holy lives and commune with the Lord daily, the things we pray about will be the result of hearing what the Holy Spirit is prompting us to say and do. There will then be no such thing as desperately thinking up things to say to God! Nor will we pray about things given to us by fellow human beings as a ‘prayer list’, or in a roomful of pretend prayers. It will all be impromptu and given by the Lord.

There are also times when we will receive special prompts. These break in on us suddenly, with impact, and might surprise us. Again, this kind of special prompt will be given to those who live holy lives, and when we walk with God telling Him about our day, troubles and desires. Such special prompts will not be our usual kind of thought, but the subject matter may even be unknown to us at the time.

On occasions a Christian might ignore such a prompting for any number of reasons. None are legitimate, but we all know how easily we can ignore God’s call to us! If we try to ignore the prompt, He will push us more and more, so that the initial prompt becomes a burden on our soul. If the original prompt is about something vital, the burden, known as the massa’ in Hebrew, will fall upon us. It refers to a load on the mind and heart, pressing us until we acknowledge it and do something about it. You will find Moses and others received such burdens regularly. Psalm 55 speaks of casting our burden upon God… which shows why I say that true prayer is sent by God and returned to Him. We do not make it all up just to say we have prayed!

 Isaiah speaks of the “burden of Babylon”, the “burden of Moab” and so on. He mentions a large number of these burdens, which all drive him to seek God’s face. Nahum 1:1 spoke of the “burden of Ninevah”, Habakkuk 1:1 spoke of the “burden which Habakkuk did see”. Malachi had a similar call,  “The burden of the word of the Lord to Israel, by Malachi”. In each case a call made to His servants was often onerous, demanding something be done, and true prayer said. If such a burden is ignored (an example is Jonah’s ignoring of the burden to go to Ninevah) God will often make very sure it is not ignored any longer, whether by increasing the mental and spiritual ‘load’ until we comply, or by imposing a penalty.

By way of contrast Christ tells us His burden is light (Matthew 11:30), as He compares His own requirements of Christians to the heavy restrictions put on them by the Pharisees (or, in our day, human traditions). The same applies to us today – when we live as we ought, our burdens are light; when we ignore what God wishes of us, the burden weighs heavily on our souls and thoughts. When we feel this burden we should just give all to God and do what He says!

What we see, then, is that if we pray outside God’s promptings to pray, we do not pray at all, but invent things to say. As these things are not connected to anything God prompts us with, God will not listen. Such is not true prayer, and it puts our false prayers in the same category as prayers by the unsaved – God never hears them.

It is a sad fact that most prayers of saved men and women are false, because they are expected prayers according to tradition. They are especially false in prayer meetings, partly because the meetings themselves are false, and partly because the prayers are forced, vain repetitions, and invented for the sake of those who listen to us! Christ is very specific – prayer must be made privately, when we are on our own. The ONLY time we are prompted to pray together is when a matter is utterly vital, sudden, and shared by others… because He gives them the exact same prompt to pray – for the same matter, at the same time, and with one mind.

Christians must shed the fakery of prayer meetings and pray on their own in their own rooms. If they live holy lives and commune with Him daily, this will be understood… but, sadly, many thousands today attend their fake prayer meetings – and then wonder why their ‘prayers’ remain unanswered! Live as you ought and God will prompt you to pray. Live by tradition and He will not prompt you, and you will utter the same tired old phrases time and again, getting no answers.

© March 2019

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Bible Theology Ministries - PO Box 415, Swansea, SA5 8YH
United Kingdom