If you would, open your Bible and study Three of the last Ten Prayer Directives, and follow along with me:
Faith and Prayer go hand and hand- Pastor Erwin Lutzer from Moody Bible Church in Chicago says this about prayer. “The work that God does in us while we pray may be more important than for the thing we pray.” Don’t you agree? I sure do. He looks at the great faith chapter in the Bible, Hebrews 11, and shares some wonderful pearls. (By the way, my two favorite Hebrews 11 verses are vs. 3– “By faith we understand that the universe was formed at God’s command”, and vs. 6a– “And without faith it is impossible to please God”) Great sharing verses.
Notice that the word “prayer” is not even used in the chapter, however the topic of faith is paramount. And faith and prayer go hand in hand. My guess is that all of these Chapter 11 heroes of faith were prayer warriors. Here is what Lutzer concludes when we pray: 1) Prayer sometime changes our circumstances, and miracles happen. Hebrews 11:29-30 says it plainly. We can get delivered, like when the Israelites were at the Red Sea. 2) However, sometimes prayer sometimes doesn’t change our circumstances. Hebrews 11:35-36 testifies to that fact. Sometimes there is just no deliverance from difficult times. Christians have been brutally tortured for centuries. 3) Prayer never judges God by circumstances. Nothing separates us from the love of Christ, no matter what it might look like to you. The Christian continues to believe in spite of hard times. Faith is the ability to receive whatever we get from God, even though it may not be what we want. 4) Praying with faith always leads to ultimate victory. Hebrews 11:39 – God has plans for us for eternity that are simply inconceivably incredible.
A.C.T.S.– this is an acronym for prayer, developed by Bill Bright of Campus Crusade for Christ decades ago. I was involved with Crusade in undergrad days at NU and learned it then. Now, two of my sons are involved at UW-Madison. I am sure many of you have heard of this acronym, and utilized it. Adoration- first focus on God in your prayer, the mountain-mover, not the mountain. Look at His attributes, and praise them! Lamentations 3:22-24 says “Because of the Lord’s great love we are not consumed, for His compassions never fail. They are new every morning; great is Your faithfulness.” Confession- 1 John 1:9 says, “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.” This is where repentance starts. Thanksgiving- 1 Thessalonians 5:18 ( and Colossians 3:15b) – “give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus”. Thankfulness is the defeater of pride and and antithesis of anxiety in our lives. Period. Supplication- pray for the need of others. While growing up, my Great Aunt Jessie had a list of over 100 people that she prayed for regularly. Praying for others is the most honorable thing we can do for people. (Colossians 1:3-11) Pray for believers, family, friends, church, state, nation, and world, and especially for hurting people who need the Lord.
Jesus’ lifestyle of prayer- Look at Jesus’ blueprint on prayer. Copy Him! Luke 3:21– He prayed at special events- many people were getting baptized at this particular event in Luke. Luke 5:16– He prayed when it was hectic. Now your life never gets hectic does it? Remember Jesus when you are hectic. Luke 6:12– He persisted in prayer when big decisions had to be made. Jesus spent the night praying. How is that for a role model? Luke 9:18– He prayed in private. God loves the intimacy. Luke 9:28– He focused on life’s values and purpose Luke 22:31-32– He prayed as an intercessor for Peter. Satan was trying to “sift Peter as wheat”. Luke 22:44– He prayed earnestly. Jesus seemed to “kick it up a notch”. We can too. All of these are great examples for us in our daily living.
We will finish up on Prayer in our next blog, for now.