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Lord Teach Us To Pray
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Copyright © 2012 Jonathan Mukwiri 
 
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nd it came to pass, that, as he was praying in a certain place, when he ceased, one of his disciples said unto him, Lord, teach us to pray, as John also taught his disciples” (Luke 11:1).

God desires that we pray.  “If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land” (2 Chronicles 7:14).  But what is prayer?  “Prayer is the opening of the heart to God as to a friend.  Not that it is necessary in order to make known to God what we are, but in order to enable us to receive Him.  Prayer does not bring God down to us, but brings us up to Him” (Steps to Christ, p. 93).

A deep sense of our need and a great desire for the things for which we ask must characterise our prayers, else they will not be heard.  We are not to become weary and cease our petitions because the answer is not immediately received.  “The kingdom of heaven suffereth violence, and the violent take it by force” (Matthew 11:12).  This violence refer to a holy earnestness, such as Jacob manifested when “he had power over the angel, and prevailed: he wept, and made supplication unto him” (Hosea 12:4). Like Jacob, we must earnestly pray.

We are living in perilous times. Yet, Christians, even “the remnant of her seed” (Revelation 12:17; 19:10) who are professedly the commandment-keeping people of God, are rapidly and sadly losing their devotional spirit. In places of worship, we no

longer have reverence for God and know not how to approach our Maker in prayer.  We must always approach our Maker with sacredness and awe through faith, not in ourselves, but in a Mediator.  Thus we are to be kept fast, under whatever circumstances we are placed.  May the Holy Spirit lead us say: “Lord, teach us to pray” (Luke 11:1).

 

Asking to give to others

One of the principles of prayer that Christ taught His disciples is asking in order to give to others.  The lesson in Luke 11 is that Christ teaches us to ask so that we may minister to others.  Christ our example was continually receiving from the Father that He might communicate to us.  “The word which ye hear,” He said, “is not Mine, but the Father's which sent Me” (John 14:24).  “The Son of man came not to be ministered unto, but to minister” (Matthew 20:28). Not for Himself, but for others, Christ lived and thought and prayed.

From hours spent with God, Christ came forth morning by morning, to bring the light of heaven to men.  Daily He received a fresh baptism of the Holy Spirit.  In the early hours of the new day the Lord awakened Him from His slumbers, and His soul and His lips were anointed with grace, that He might impart to others.  His words were given Him fresh from the heavenly courts, words that He might speak in season to the weary and oppressed.  “The Lord God hath given Me,” He said, “the tongue of the learned, that I should know how to speak a word in season to him that is weary: He wakeneth morning by morning, He wakeneth Mine ear to hear as the learned” (Isaiah 50:4).

Christ's disciples were much impressed by His prayers and by His habit of communion with God.  One day after a short absence from their Lord, they found Him absorbed in supplication.  Seeming unconscious of their presence, He continued praying aloud. The hearts of the disciples were deeply moved. As He ceased praying, they exclaimed, “Lord, teach us to pray” (Luke 11:1).  In answer, Christ repeated the Lord's prayer, as He had given it in the sermon on the mount. Then in a parable He illustrated the lesson He desired to teach them.

“Which of you,” He said, “shall have a friend, and shall go unto him at midnight, and say unto him, Friend, lend me three loaves; for a friend of mine in his journey is come to me, and I have nothing to set before him? And he from within shall answer and say, Trouble me not; the door is now shut, and my children are with me in bed: I cannot rise and give thee. I say unto you, Though he will not rise and give him because he is his friend, yet because of his importunity he will rise and give him as many as he needeth” (Luke 11:5-8).

Here Christ represents the petitioner as asking that he may give again.  He must obtain the bread, else he cannot supply the necessities of a weary, belated wayfarer.  Though his neighbour is unwilling to be troubled, he will not desist his pleading; his friend must be relieved; and at last his importunity is rewarded, his wants are supplied.

But the selfish neighbour in the parable does not represent the character of God.  The lesson is drawn, not by comparison, but by contrast.  A selfish man will grant an urgent request, in order to rid himself of one who disturbs his rest.  But God delights to give.  He is full of compassion, and He longs to grant the requests of those who come unto Him in faith.  He gives to us that we may minister to others and thus become like Himself.

Our prayers are not to be a selfish asking, merely for our own benefit.  We are to ask that we may give.  The principle of Christ's life must be the principle of our lives.  “For their sakes,” He said, speaking of His disciples, “I sanctify Myself, that they also might be sanctified” (John 17:19).  The same devotion, the same self-sacrifice, the same subjection to the claims of the word of God, that were manifest in Christ, must be seen in His servants.

 

Pray with obedience

There are conditions to the fulfilment of God's promises, and prayer can never take the place of duty.  “If ye love Me,” Christ says, “Keep My commandments.” “He that hath My commandments, and keepeth them, he it is that loveth Me; and he that loveth Me shall be loved of My Father, and I will love him, and will manifest Myself to him” (John 14:15, 21).

Our God hears prayer.  Christ has said, “If ye shall ask anything in My name, I will do it." Again He says, "If any man serve Me, him will My Father honor” John 14:14; 12: 26).  If we live according to His word, every precious promise He has given will be fulfilled to us.  We are undeserving of His mercy, but as we give ourselves to Him, He receives us. He will work for and through those who follow Him.

But only as we live in obedience to His word can we claim the fulfilment of His promises.  The psalmist says, “If I regard iniquity in my heart, the Lord will not hear me” (Psalm 66:18).  If we render to Him only a partial, halfhearted obedience, His promises will not be fulfilled to us.

As regarding iniquity/sin in our hearts is breaking of the eternal law of God, for “sin is the transgression of the law” (1 John 3:4), obedience to the law is a prerequisite to answered prayers, for “he that turneth away his ear from hearing the law, even his prayer shall be abomination” (Proverbs 28:9).

To those who desire prayer for their restoration to health, it should be made plain that the violation of God's law, either natural or spiritual, is sin, and that in order for them to receive His blessing, sin must be confessed and forsaken.  The Scripture bids us: “Confess your faults one to another, and pray one for another, that ye may be healed” (James 5:16).  Sin of a private character is to be confessed to Christ, the only mediator between God and man. For “if any man sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous” (1 John 2:1).

Every open sin should be as openly confessed.  Wrong done to a fellow being should be made right with the one who has been offended.  If any who seek healing from God and have been guilty of evil-speaking, if they have sowed discord in the home, the neighbourhood, or the church, and have stirred up alienation and dissension, if by any wrong practice they have led others into sin, these things should be confessed before God and before those who have been offended.  “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness” (1 John 1:9).

When praying for the sick, we must always remember that only God knows the end from the beginning.  He knows whether those for whom prayer is offered would or would not be able to endure the trials that would come upon them should they live.  He knows whether their lives would be a blessing or a curse to themselves and to the world.  This is one reason why, while presenting our petitions with earnestness, we should say, “Nevertheless not my will, but Thine, be done” (Luke 22:42).  Jesus added these words of submission to the wisdom and will of God when in the Garden of Gethsemane He pleaded, “O My Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from Me” (Matthew 26:39).  And if they were appropriate for Him, the Son of God, how much more are they becoming on the lips of finite, erring mortals!

But many are forfeiting the condition of acceptance with the Father.  We need to examine closely the deed of trust wherewith we approach God.  If we are disobedient, we bring to the Lord a cheque to be cashed when we have not fulfilled the conditions that would make it payable to us.  We present to God His promises, and ask Him to fulfil them, when by so doing He would dishonour His own name.

The promise is “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).  And John declares: “Hereby we do know that we know Him, if we keep His commandments. He that saith, I know Him, and keepeth not His commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him. But whoso keepeth His word, in him verily is the love of God perfected” (1 John 2:3-5).

One of Christ's last commands to His disciples was “Love one another as I have loved you” (John 13:34).  Do we obey this command, or are we indulging sharp, unchristlike traits of character?  If we have in any way grieved or wounded others, it is our duty to confess our fault and seek for reconciliation.  This is an essential preparation that we may come before God in faith, to pray for His blessing.

 

Pray with faith in God

Our part is to pray and believe.  Watch unto prayer.  Watch, and co-operate with the prayer-hearing God.  Bear in mind that “we are labourers together with God” (1 Corinthians 3:9).  Speak and act in harmony with your prayers.  It will make an infinite difference with you whether trial shall prove your faith to be genuine, or show that your prayers are only a form.

When perplexities arise, and difficulties confront you, look not for help to humanity.  Trust all with God.  The practice of telling our difficulties to others only makes us weak, and brings no strength to them.  It lays upon them the burden of our spiritual infirmities, which they cannot relieve.  We seek the strength of erring, finite man, when we might have the strength of the unerring, infinite God.

Take the word of Christ as your assurance. Has He not invited you to come unto Him?  Never allow yourself to talk in a hopeless, discouraged way.  If you do you will lose much.  By looking at appearances and complaining when difficulties and pressure come, you give evidence of a sickly, enfeebled faith.  Talk and act as if your faith was invincible.  The Lord is rich in resources; the world and the fullness thereof are His (Psalm 50:12). Look up to Him who has light and power and efficiency.

Of truth there is in genuine faith a buoyancy, a steadfastness of principle, and a fixedness of purpose that neither time nor toil can weaken.  “Even the youths shall faint and be weary, and the young men shall utterly fall: but they that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint” (Isaiah 40:30, 31).

We must not only pray in Christ's name, but by the inspiration of the Holy Spirit.  This explains what is meant when it is said that the Spirit “maketh intercession for us, with groanings which cannot be uttered” (Romans 8:26).  Such prayer God delights to answer.  When with earnestness and intensity we breathe a prayer in the name of Christ, there is in that very intensity a pledge from God that He is about to answer our prayer “exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think” (Ephesians 3:20).

Christ has said, “What things soever ye desire, when ye pray, believe that ye receive them, and ye shall have them” (Mark 11:24).  “Whatsoever ye shall ask in My name, that will I do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son” (John 14:13).  And the beloved John, under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, speaks with great plainness and assurance: “If we ask anything according to His will, He heareth us: and if we know that He hear us, whatsoever we ask, we know that we have the petitions that we desired of Him” (1 John 5:14, 15).  Then, in faith, let us press our petition to the Father in the name of Jesus.  God will honour that name.

 

The privilege of prayer

It is our privilege to pour out our hearts to God in prayer.  “Prayer is the opening of the heart to God as to a friend. Not that it is necessary in order to make known to God what we are, but in order to enable us to receive Him. Prayer does not bring God down to us, but brings us up to Him” (Steps to Christ, p. 93).

Our Saviour gave us an example.  Christ, while He dwelt among men, was often in prayer. Our Saviour identified Himself with our needs and weakness, in that He became a suppliant, a petitioner, seeking from His Father fresh supplies of strength, that He might come forth braced for duty and trial. He is our example in all things. He is a brother in our infirmities, "in all points tempted like as we are" (Hebrews 4:15); but as the sinless one His nature recoiled from evil; He endured struggles and torture of soul in a world of sin. His humanity made prayer a necessity and a privilege. He found comfort and joy in communion with His Father. And if the Saviour of men, the Son of God, felt the need of prayer, how much more should feeble, sinful mortals feel the necessity of fervent, constant prayer.

There are certain conditions upon which we may expect that God will hear and answer our prayers.  One of the first of these is that we feel our need of help from Him.  He has promised, “I will pour water upon him that is thirsty, and floods upon the dry ground” (Isaiah 44:3).  Whosoever hungers and thirsts after righteousness, who long after God, may be sure that they will be filled. The heart must be open to the Spirit's influence, or God's blessing cannot be received.

Our great need is itself an argument and pleads most eloquently in our behalf. But the Lord is to be sought unto to do these things for us. He says, "Ask, and it shall be given you” (Matthew 7:7).  And “He that spared not His own Son, but delivered Him up for us all, how shall He not with Him also freely give us all things? (Romans 8:32).

But if we regard iniquity in our hearts, if we cling to any known sin, the Lord will not hear us (Psalm 66:18); but the prayer of the penitent, contrite soul is always accepted (Psalm 51:17). When all known wrongs are righted, we may believe that God will answer our petitions. Our own merit will never commend us to the favour of God; it is the worthiness of Jesus that will save us, His blood that will cleanse us; yet we have a work to do in complying with the conditions of acceptance.

Another element of prevailing prayer is faith. "He that cometh to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of them that diligently seek Him (Hebrews 11:6). Jesus said to His disciples, "What things soever ye desire, when ye pray, believe that ye receive them, and ye shall have them" (Mark 11:24). Do we take Him at His word?

But when we come to ask mercy and blessing from God we should have a spirit of love and forgiveness in our own hearts.  How can we pray, "Forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors" (Matthew 6:12), and yet indulge an unforgiving spirit?  If we expect our own prayers to be heard we must forgive others in the same manner and to the same extent as we hope to be forgiven.

Also, we ought to know that perseverance in prayer has been made a condition of receiving.  We must pray always if we would grow in faith and experience.  We are to be "instant in prayer" (Romans 12:12), to "continue in prayer, and watch in the same with thanksgiving" (Colossians 4:2).  Peter exhorts believers to be "sober, and watch unto prayer" (1 Peter 4:7).  Paul directs, "In everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God" (Philippians 4:6).  "But ye, beloved," says Jude, "praying in the Holy Ghost, keep yourselves in the love of God" (Jude 20, 21). It is our privilege to “pray without ceasing” (1 Thessalonians 5:17); for unceasing prayer is the unbroken union of the soul with God, so that life from God flows into our life; and from our life, purity and holiness flow back to God.

 

Proper attitude in prayer

This whole part is quoted directly from the book: Selected Messages, Vol. 2, chapter 32, as follows:  “I have received letters questioning me in regard to the proper attitude to be taken by a person offering prayer to the Sovereign of the universe. Where have our brethren obtained the idea that they should stand upon their feet when praying to God?

“One who has been educated for about five years in Battle Creek was asked to lead in prayer before Sister White should speak to the people. But as I beheld him standing upright upon his feet while his lips were about to open in prayer to God, my soul was stirred within me to give him an open rebuke. Calling him by name, I said, ‘Get down upon your knees.’ This is the proper position always.

“And he was withdrawn from them about a stone's cast, and kneeled down, and prayed” (Luke 22:41).

“Peter put them all forth, and kneeled down, and prayed; and turning him to the body said, Tabitha, arise. And she opened her eyes: and when she saw Peter, she sat up” (Acts 9:40).

“They stoned Stephen, calling upon God, and saying, Lord Jesus, receive my spirit. And he kneeled down, and cried with a loud voice, Lord, lay not this sin to their charge. And when he had said this, he fell asleep” (Acts 7:59, 60).

“When he had thus spoken, he kneeled down, and prayed with them all” (Acts 20:36).

“When we had accomplished those days, we departed and went our way; and they all brought us on our way, with wives and children, till we were out of the city: and we kneeled down on the shore, and prayed” (Acts 21:5).

“At the evening sacrifice I arose up from my heaviness; and having rent my garment and my mantle, I fell upon my knees, and spread out my hands unto the Lord my God, and said, O my God, I am ashamed and blush to lift up my face to thee, my God: for our iniquities are increased over our head, and our trespass is grown up unto the heavens” (Ezra 9:5, 6).

“O come, let us worship and bow down: let us kneel before the Lord our maker” (Psalm 95:6).

“For this cause I bow my knees unto the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ” (Ephesians 3:14). And this whole chapter will, if the heart is receptive, be as precious a lesson as we can learn.

“To bow down when in prayer to God is the proper attitude to occupy. This act of worship was required of the three Hebrew captives in Babylon … But such an act was homage to be rendered to God alone – the Sovereign of the world, the Ruler of the universe; and these three Hebrews refused to give such honor to any idol even though composed of pure gold. In doing so, they would, to all intents and purposes, be bowing to the king of Babylon. Refusing to do as the king had commanded, they suffered the penalty, and were cast into the burning fiery furnace. But Christ came in person and walked with them through the fire, and they received no harm.

“Both in public and private worship it is our duty to bow down upon our knees before God when we offer our petitions to Him. This act shows our dependence upon God.

“At the dedication of the Temple, Solomon stood facing the altar. In the court of the Temple was a brazen scaffold or platform, and after ascending this, he stood and lifted up his hands to heaven, and blessed the immense congregation of Israel, and all the congregation of Israel stood.

“For Solomon had made a brasen scaffold, of five cubits long, and five cubits broad, and three cubits high, and had set it in the midst of the court: and upon it he stood, and kneeled down upon his knees before all the congregation of Israel, and spread forth his hands toward heaven” (2 Chronicles 6:13).

“The lengthy prayer which he then offered was appropriate for the occasion. It was inspired of God, breathing the sentiments of the loftiest piety blended with the deepest humility” (Selected Messages, Vol. 2, pp. 311-313).

 

A growing laxness

This whole part continues quoting from the book: Selected Messages, Vol. 2, chapter 32, as follows: “I present these proof texts with the inquiry, "Where did Brother H obtain his education?" – At Battle Creek. Is it possible that with all the light that God has given to His people on the subject of reverence, that ministers, principals, and teachers in our schools, by precept and example, teach young men to stand erect in devotion as did the Pharisees? Shall we look upon this as significant of their self-sufficiency and self-importance? Are these traits to become conspicuous?

“And he spake this parable unto certain which trusted in themselves that they were righteous, and despised others: Two men went up into the temple to pray; the one a Pharisee, and the other a publican. The Pharisee stood and prayed thus with himself, God, I thank thee, that I am not as other men are, extortioners, unjust, adulterers, or even as this publican. I fast twice in the week, I give tithes of all that I possess" (Luke 18:9-12). Mark you, it was the self-righteous Pharisee who was not in a position of humility and reverence before God; but standing in his haughty self-sufficiency, he told the Lord all his good deeds. "The Pharisee stood and prayed thus with himself" (Luke 18: 11); and his prayer reached no higher than himself.

“And the publican, standing afar off, would not lift up so much as his eyes unto heaven, but smote upon his breast, saying, God be merciful to me a sinner. I tell you, this man went down to his house justified rather than the other: for every one that exalteth himself shall be abased; and he that humbleth himself shall be exalted” (Luke 18:13, 14).

“We hope that our brethren will not manifest less reverence and awe as they approach the only true and living God than the heathen manifest for their idol deities, or these people will be our judges in the day of final decision. I would speak to all who occupy the place of teachers in our schools. Men and women, do not dishonor God by your irreverence and pomposity. Do not stand up in your Pharisaism and offer your prayers to God. Mistrust your own strength. Depend not in it; but often bow down on your knees before God, and worship Him” (Selected Messages, Vol. 2, pp. 313-314).

 

On bended knee

This whole part continues to quote from the book: Selected Messages, Vol. 2, chapter 32, as follows: “And when you assemble to worship God, be sure and bow your knees before Him. Let this act testify that the whole soul, body, and spirit are in subjection to the Spirit of truth. Who have searched the Word closely for examples and direction in this respect? Whom can we trust as teachers in our schools in America and foreign countries? After years of study shall students return to their own country with perverted ideas of the respect and honor and reverence that should be given to God, and feel under no obligation to honor the men of gray hairs, the men of experience, the chosen servants of God who have been connected with the work of God through almost all the years of their life?

“I advise all who attend the schools in America or in any other place, do not catch the spirit of irreverence. Be sure you understand for yourself what kind of education you need, that you may educate others to obtain a fitness of character that will stand the test that is soon to be brought upon all who live upon the earth. Keep company with the soundest Christians. Choose not the pretentious instructors or pupils, but those who show the deepest piety, those who have a spirit of intelligence in the things of God.

“We are living in perilous times. Seventh-day Adventists are professedly the commandment-keeping people of God; but they are losing their devotional spirit. This spirit of reverence for God teaches men how to approach their Maker – with sacredness and awe through faith, not in themselves, but in a Mediator. Thus man is kept fast, under whatever circumstances he is placed.

“Man must come on bended knee, as a subject of grace, a suppliant at the footstool of mercy. And as he receives daily mercies at the hand of God, he is ever to cherish gratitude in his heart, and give expression to it in the words of thanksgiving and praise for these unmerited favors. Angels have been guarding his pathway through all his life, and many of the snares he has been delivered from he has not seen. And for this guardianship and watchcare by eyes that never slumber and never sleep, he is to recognize in every prayer the service of God for him.

“All should lean upon God in their helplessness and daily necessity. They should keep humble, watchful, and prayerful. Praise and thanksgiving should flow forth in gratitude and sincere love for God.

“In the assembly of the upright and in the congregation should they praise the Most High God. All who have a sense of their vital connection with God should stand before the Lord as witnesses for Him, giving expression of the love, the mercies, and the goodness of God. Let the words be sincere, simple, earnest, intelligent, the heart burning with the love of God, the lips sanctified to His glory not only to make known the mercies of God in the assembly of the saints but to be His witnesses in every place. The inhabitants of the earth are to know that He is God, the only true and living God.

“There should be an intelligent knowledge of how to come to God in reverence and Godly fear with devotional love. There is a growing lack of reverence for our Maker, a growing disregard of His greatness and His majesty. But God is speaking to us in these last days. We hear His voice in the storm, in the rolling thunder. We hear of the calamities He permits in the earthquakes, the breaking forth of waters, and the destructive elements sweeping all before them.

“We hear of ships going down in the tempestuous ocean. God speaks to families who have refused to recognize Him, sometimes in the whirlwind and storm, sometimes face to face as He talked with Moses. Again He whispers His love to the little trusting child and to the gray-haired sire in his dotage. And earthly wisdom has a wisdom as it beholds the unseen.

“When the still small voice which succeeds the whirlwind and the tempest that moves the rocks out of position, is heard, let all cover their face, for God is very near. Let them hide themselves in Jesus Christ; for He is their hiding place. The cleft in the rock is hidden with His own pierced hand while the humble seeker waits in bowed attitude to hear what saith the Lord unto His servant” (Selected Messages, Vol. 2, pp. 314-316).

 

No place inappropriate for prayer

We are told: “There is no time or place in which it is inappropriate to offer up a petition to God ... In the crowds of the street, in the midst of a business engagement, we may send up a petition to God, and plead for divine guidance, as did Nehemiah when he made his request before King Artaxerxes.

“We may speak with Jesus as we walk by the way, and He says, I am at thy right hand. We may commune with God in our hearts; we may walk in companionship with Christ. When engaged in our daily labor, we may breathe out our heart's desire, inaudible to any human ear; but that word cannot die away into silence, nor can it be lost. Nothing can drown the soul's desire. It rises above the din of the street, above the noise of machinery. It is God to whom we are speaking, and our prayer is heard” (Selected Messages, Vol. 2, p. 316).

It could not be clearer.  When you assemble to worship God, be sure to bow your knees before Him in payer.  When travelling on roads, shopping in the supermarkets, walking in the streets, when busy with your daily labour, you need not wait until you can kneel to pray, but unceasingly be prayerful to God.

 

Come with reverence

This whole part quotes from the devotional: God’s Amazing Grace, chapter 83, as follows:  “Let us have grace, whereby we may serve God acceptably with reverence and godly fear” (Hebrews 12:28).

“There should be an intelligent knowledge of how to come to God in reverence and godly fear with devotional love. There is a growing lack of reverence for our Maker, a growing disregard of His greatness and His majesty. But God is speaking to us in these last days. We hear His voice in the storm, in the rolling thunder. We hear of calamities He permits in the earthquakes, the breaking forth of waters, and the destructive elements sweeping all before them.

“In these perilous times, those who profess to be God's commandment-keeping people should guard against the tendency to lose the spirit of reverence and godly fear. The Scriptures teach men how to approach their Maker--with humility and awe, through faith in a divine Mediator. Let man come on bended knee, as a subject of grace, a suppliant at the footstool of mercy. Thus he is to testify that the whole soul, body, and spirit are in subjection to his Creator.

“Both in public and in private worship, it is our duty to bow upon our knees before God when we offer our petitions to Him. Jesus, our example, "kneeled down, and prayed." And of His disciples it is recorded that they, too, "kneeled down, and prayed." Stephen "kneeled." Paul declared: "I bow my knees unto the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ" (Ephesians 3:14). In confessing before God the sins of Israel, Ezra knelt. Daniel "kneeled upon his knees three times a day, and prayed, and gave thanks before his God" (Daniel 6:10). And the invitation of the psalmist is: "O come, let us worship and bow down: let us kneel before the Lord our Maker" (Psalm 95:6).

“What doth the Lord thy God require of thee, but to fear the Lord thy God, to walk in all his ways, and to love him, and to serve the Lord thy God with all thy heart and with all thy soul?" (Deuteronomy 10:12). . . . "The eye of the Lord is upon them that fear him, upon them that hope in his mercy" (Psalm 33:18). "By humility and the fear of the Lord are riches, and honour, and life" (Proverbs 22:4)” (Amazing Grace, chapter 83).

 

Come in humility and holy fear

This whole part is quoted from the devotional: God’s Amazing Grace, chapter 84, as follows: “God is greatly to be feared in the assembly of the saints, and to be had in reverence of all them that are about him” (Psalm 89:7).

“Humility and reverence should characterize the deportment of all who come into the presence of God. In the name of Jesus we may come before Him with confidence, but we must not approach Him with the boldness of presumption, as though He were on a level with ourselves. There are those who address the great and all-powerful and holy God, who dwelleth in light unapproachable, as they would address an equal, or even an inferior.

“There are those who conduct themselves in His house as they would not presume to do in the audience-chamber of an earthly ruler. These should remember that they are in His sight whom seraphim adore, before whom angels veil their faces. God is greatly to be reverenced; all who truly realize His presence will bow in humility before Him.

“Some think it a mark of humility to pray to God in a common manner, as if talking with a human being. They profane His name by needlessly and irreverently mingling with their prayers the words, "God Almighty" – awful, sacred words, which should never pass the lips except in subdued tones and with a feeling of awe.

“It is the heartfelt prayer of faith that is heard in heaven and answered on earth. God understands the needs of humanity. He knows what we desire before we ask Him. He sees the soul's conflict with doubt and temptation. He marks the sincerity of the suppliant. He will accept the humiliation and affliction of the soul. "To this man will I look,” He declares, "even to him that is poor and of a contrite spirit, and trembleth at my word" [Isaiah 66:2].

“It is our privilege to pray with confidence, the Spirit inditing our petitions. With simplicity we should state our needs to the Lord, and claim His promise.

“Our prayers should be full of tenderness and love. When we yearn for a deeper, broader realization of the Saviour's love, we shall cry to God for more wisdom. If ever there was a need of soul-stirring prayers and sermons, it is now. The end of all things is at hand. O that we could see as we should the necessity of seeking the Lord with all the heart! Then we should find Him. May God teach His people how to pray” (Amazing Grace, chapter 84).

 

Conclusion

“The LORD lift up his countenance upon thee, and give thee peace” (Numbers 6:26).  To them that are “the remnant of her seed” (Revelation 12:17; 19:10), “Despise not prophesying” (1 Thessalonians 5:20).  Whilst the majority in our churches will despise this counsel, you must “not follow a multitude to do evil” (Exodus 23:2).  Answer the call: “O come, let us worship and bow down: let us kneel before the LORD our maker” (Psalm 95:6).  But “if it seem evil unto you to serve the LORD, choose you this day whom ye will serve” (Joshua 24:15).

Finally, “Let us hear the conclusion of the whole matter: Fear God, and keep His commandments: for this is the whole duty of man” (Ecclesiastes 12:13).

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