Principles of Prayer – A call to Developing an effective prayer life. What is Prayer? Prayer IS a loving talking and hearing what the Spirit of the Lord is saying and confirming His thoughts, instructions, and His attitude towards us through His Word. When a passage of scripture comes to my mind during prayer that is the Holy Spirit intervening in the conversation of prayer! "Do not make prayer a monologue-make it a conversation." Prayer IS the introduction of spiritual elements and forces of change drawn from God. Even medical practitioners have researched and confirmed that prayer releases power that enhances the recovery process of the sick. Prayer IS the allowing yourself to be changed by God. You cannot obey God or man by your own strength. You need prayer to live by the student handbook and staff conditions of service, because some of the content does not agree with your way of life. Prayer IS not meant to change God but us. Prayer IS the channel provided and approved by God, for humanity to connect to divinity; natural to connect to the supernatural. And it is a known fact that the supernatural controls the natural. Prayer IS the approved connecting process. If do not connect you will not collect what is available for you. If you do not connect your internet port, electric power socket, etc you cannot enjoy the benefits they carry. Prayer IS drawing the atmosphere, environment, peace, joy and indeed the essence of heaven to this earth. Matt.6:10 Prayer IS setting the conditions for supernatural divine intervention into the circumstances of my life, my families' lives, and in the “church” here on earth, just as it is supposes to be in heaven! Prayer IS communicating my heart's ideas and concerns with The Spiritual Authority that created this wonderful universe for all of mankind! Prayer IS my FAITH in action, which means that prayer is the substance of things I believe are true and the evidence of things that I KNOW are for my benefit! Smith Wigglesworth said, “there is something about faith that will cause God to pass over a million people just to get to one person who is in faith”. "The greatest tragedy of life is not unanswered prayer, buy unoffered prayer." Prayer IS what I declare with my mouth, that I believe in my heart, knowing that God can do all things through my obedience to His Word. Prayer IS my FIRST response and not my last option on any matter! Though prayer is not your ONLY response, but it should be your first response not your last resort. Do not say “we‟ve done all we can, the only thing we can do now is just to try prayer. No! "You can do more than pray after you have prayed; but you can never do more than pray until you have prayed." James 5: 13-18. Are you: Suffering? Pray Pain? Pray Confused? Pray Cheerful? Pray Sick? Pray Sin? Pray Change in your life? Pray Better academic result? Pray Better wisdom to do your job to get promotion? Pray Money? Pray "One should never initiate anything that he cannot saturate with prayer." Even devilish persons practice this. Prayer IS either you are praying or playing. Prayer IS either you pray or you become a prey and victim. 1 Peter 5:8. Devil is roaring about looking for whom to devour. He does not devour everybody, only the ones who he can. One of which are the prayer less ones. Prayer IS based on principles. A principle is a tested, proven and universally acceptable/applicable law. It does not change base on personality and places. Eg. The law of gravity (Whatever goes up must come down); Law of demand (When price rises, quantity demanded falls, citrus paribus,); etc. "Prayer is not getting man's will done in heaven, but getting God's will done on earth. It is not overcoming God's reluctance but laying hold of God's willingness." "Prayer requires more of the heart than the tongue." "More things are wrought by prayer than this world dreams of." Principles to cover: I) Why pray? – Understanding and purpose II) How to Pray? – Wisdom, process and practice III) What to pray? – Knowledge of content. IV) When to pray? – Timing and frequency V) Where to pray? – Place VI) Why people do not pray? – Barriers Why pray? – Understanding and purpose 1. Prayer is important. Don‟t use God as a spare tyre needed only in emergency and when in trouble. It is not wasteful use of time. It is as productive as work, if not more. Late Kenneth E. Haggin said “developing an effective prayer habit, is more important than a University degree”. "Pray as if everything depended on God, and work as if everything depended upon man." Francis J. Spellman "The little estimate we put on prayer is evidence from the little time we give to it." E.M. Bounds When men get concerned about the things that God says are important, then miracles will happen! No one is ever too busy, too successful, too anointed, too blessed to pray. (Daniel 6:1-10). Daniel even in his busy schedule still prayed thrice. “If you are too busy to pray, you are dangerously busy”. You are sincerely in grave danger. Some pastors do not pray except when they want to preach or call to pray in the public. Research: American Pastors & Christians pray average of 5-8 minutes a day Nigerian Pastors & Christians pray average of 30-40 minutes a day Korean Pastors & Christians pray average of 2-3 hours a day (No wonder Korea is experiencing revival” "If I fail to spend two hours in prayer each morning, the devil gets the victory through the day. I have so much business I cannot get on without spending three hours daily in prayer. Martin Luther. No wonder he stood out in his generation. "Satan does not care how many people read about prayer if only he can keep them from praying. Paul E. Billheimer "0h brother, pray; in spite of Satan, pray; spend hours in prayer; rather neglect friends than not pray; rather fast, and lose breakfast, dinner, tea, and supper - and sleep too - than not pray. And we must not talk about prayer, we must pray in right earnest. The Lord is near. He comes softly while the virgins slumber." Andrew A. Bonar "Don‟t pray when you feel like it. Have an appointment with the Lord and keep it. A man is powerful on his knees." Corrie ten Boom. “When I knee before God, I will not need to knee before any man. When I knee before God, I can stand before any man” “It is easier to act into feeling than feeling into acting”. “The great people of the earth today are the people who pray! I do not mean those who talk about prayer; nor those who say they believe in prayer; nor those who explain prayer; but I mean those who actually take the time to pray. They have not time. It must be taken from something else. That something else is important, very important and pressing, but still, less important and pressing than prayer. There are people who put prayer first, and group the other items in life's schedule around and after prayer. These are the people today who are doing the most for God in winning souls, in solving problems, in awakening churches, in supplying both men and money for mission posts, in keeping fresh and strong their lives far off in sacrificial service on the foreign field, where the thickest fighting is going on, and in keeping the old earth sweet a little while longer.” S.D. Gordon (Emphasis added) No nation is too blessed/Prosperous/great/ to pray. A statistics revealed that an average American minister/Christian prayers for only 7 minutes. No wonder the stronghold of evil is growing in their society. Bibles are no longer allowed in some state in the US federation. The Ten Commandments upon which the founding fathers built the tenants of the US governance, is now outlawed from been placed in the public places, including the court of law. When was prayer in the public schools outlawed? The U. S. Supreme Court issued two bans on prayer in public schools. The first ban came in 1962 and the second was issued in 1963. The bans were the result of a court case sponsored in part by Madalyn Murray O'Hair. She was but one of the litigants in the lawsuit, but her name became synonymous with the case and the promotion of atheism. The ban not only outlawed prayer in public schools but it also banned Bible reading in public schools. Madalyn Murray O'Hair was the founder of American Atheists, Inc. which not only sought to ban prayer in public schools but also actively promoted atheism and the continued separation of church and school. Madalyn Murray O'Hair was born in 1919 and mysteriously disappeared in 1995. It is assumed that she was murdered and her body was discovered in 2001. In addition to be credited with the banning of prayer in public schools, Madalyn Murray O'Hair is also credited with trying to petition the U.S. government and the FCC to ban the use of the word "God" on the airways. However, unlike the ban on prayer in public schools this proposed ban is an Internet hoax, and her organization denies the rumors that this petition to ban the use of the word "God" on the airways was her doing. Madalyn Murray O'Hair is survived by her son William J. Murray, the president of the Religious Freedom Coalition in Washington D.C. Unlike his mother who fought to ban prayer in public schools, William J. Murray is a strong Christian who fights for the rights of Christians around the world. Prayer in Public School - Overview of Governing Constitutional Principles The history of prayer in public school is a story of legal interpretation. The relationship between religion and government in the United States is governed by the First Amendment to the Constitution, which both prevents the government from establishing religion and protects privately initiated religious expression and activities from government interference and discrimination. The First Amendment thus establishes certain limits on the conduct of public school officials as it relates to religious activity, including prayer. The Supreme Court has repeatedly held that the First Amendment requires public school officials to be neutral in their treatment of religion, showing neither favoritism toward nor hostility against religious expression such as prayer. Good News Club v. Milford Cent. Sch., 533 U.S. 98 (2001); Everson v. Board of Educ., 330 U.S. 1 (1947). Accordingly, the First Amendment forbids religious activity that is sponsored by the government but protects religious activity that is initiated by private individuals, and the line between government-sponsored and privately initiated religious expression is vital to a proper understanding of the First Amendment's scope. As the Court has explained in several cases, "there is a crucial difference between government speech endorsing religion, which the Establishment Clause forbids, and private speech endorsing religion, which the Free Speech and Free Exercise Clauses protect." Santa Fe Indep. Sch. Dist. v. Doe, 530 U.S. 290, 302 (2000). We must make Christianity public. Prayer in Public School - Drawing the Line of Permissible Expression The Supreme Court's decisions over the past forty years set forth principles that distinguish impermissible governmental religious speech from the constitutionally protected private religious speech of students. For example, teachers and other public school officials may not lead their classes in prayer, devotional readings from the Bible, or other religious activities. Engel v. Vitale, 370 U.S. 421 (1962); School Dist. of Abington Twp. v. Schempp, 374 U.S. 203 (1963). Nor may school officials attempt to persuade or compel students to participate in prayer or other religious activities. Lee v. Weisman, 505 U.S. 577, 599 (1992). Such conduct is "attributable to the State" and thus violates the Establishment Clause. Weisman, 505 U.S. at 587. Although the Constitution forbids public school officials from directing or favoring prayer, students do not "shed their constitutional rights to freedom of speech or expression at the schoolhouse gate." Tinker v. Des Moines Indep. Community Sch. Dist., 393 U.S. 503, 506 (1969). In addition, the Supreme Court has made clear that "private religious speech, far from being a First Amendment orphan, is as fully protected under the Free Speech Clause as secular private expression." Capitol Square Review & Advisory Bd. v. Pinette, 515 U.S. 753, 760 (1995). Moreover, not all religious speech that takes place in the public schools or at school-sponsored events is governmental speech. Santa Fe, 530 U.S. at 302. For example, "nothing in the Constitution ... prohibits any public school student from voluntarily praying at any time before, during, or after the school day," and students may pray with fellow students during the school day on the same terms and conditions that they may engage in other conversation or speech. Santa Fe, 530 U.S. at 313. Prayer in Public School - Our Country's Legacy It wasn't until the early 1960's that prayer in public school was "outlawed" by a new interpretation of the U.S. Constitution. In fact, the history of the U.S. includes prayer and Bible readings in all sorts of public places, including schools. In 1782, the United States Congress passed the following resolution: "The Congress of the United States recommends and approves the Holy Bible for use in all schools." William Holmes McGuffey is the author of the McGuffey Reader, which was used for over 100 years in U.S. public schools with over 125 million copies sold until it was stopped in 1963. President Lincoln called him the "Schoolmaster of the Nation." McGuffey declared: "The Christian religion is the religion of our country. From it are derived our notions on the character of God, on the great moral Governor of the universe. On its doctrines are founded the peculiarities of our free institutions. From no source has the author drawn more conspicuously than from the sacred Scriptures. From all these extracts from the Bible I make no apology." Why are we concerned at Salem University. Of the first 108 universities founded in America, 106 were distinctly Christian, including the first, Harvard University, chartered in 1636. In the original Harvard Student Handbook, rule number 1 was that students seeking entrance must know Latin and Greek so that they could study the Scriptures: "Let every student be plainly instructed and earnestly pressed to consider well, the main end of his life and studies is, to know God and Jesus Christ, which is eternal life, (John 17:3); and therefore to lay Jesus Christ as the only foundation of all sound knowledge and learning. And seeing the Lord only giveth wisdom let every one seriously set himself by prayer in secret to seek it of him (Proverbs 2:3). Regrettably on very few Christian Universities in the US still maintain the bible and the teachings of Christ as source/ foundation of its operations, including Yale University. Prosperity is no replacement for prayer. Achievement is not a sign to stop praying. 2. Prayer is putting God in remembrance of our purpose in him and that His “Will” will stand. 1saiah 46:10. Matt.6: “thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven”. John Wesley made a remarkable statement “it seems God is limited by our prayer life – that He can do nothing for humanity until someone ask Him” 3. Warfare: the source of power to win the life long war over our lives, spouse, health, academics, jobs, business, etc. “If you do not give up, the devil will give up on you”. Matt.4:11. 2 Corinth. 10:3-5, James 5:14 (Amplified, makes tremendous power available, dynamic in its working) "We must begin to believe that God, in the mystery of prayer, has entrusted us with a force that can move the Heavenly world, and can bring its power down to earth." Andrew Murray 4. Live free from bondage of sin, Satan, sickness, etc. Rom 6:12. "Prayer will make a man cease from sin, or sin will entice a man to cease from prayer." John Bunyon "If the Christian does not allow prayer to drive sin out of his life, sin will drive prayer out of his life. Like light and darkness, the two cannot dwell together." M.E. Andross "He who has learned to pray has learned the greatest secret of a holy and happy life." William Law "Satan trembles when he sees the weakest Christian on his knees." William Cowper 5. Take delivery of all our dispatched but trapped/ withheld blessings- Dan.10:12-13 6. Divine guidance into the future – Dan.10:14; Jere.33:3. "The prayer power has never been tried to its full capacity. If we want to see mighty wonders of divine power and grace wrought in the place of weakness, failure and disappointment, let us answer God's standing challenge, "Call unto me, and I will answer thee, and show thee great and mighty things which thou knowest not!'" (J. Hudson Taylor) "No learning can make up for the failure to pray. No earnestness, no diligence, no study, no gifts will supply its lack." E.M. Bounds 7. To get our deliverance. Obadiah 1:17 "No one is a firmer believer in the power of prayer than the devil; not that he practices it, but he suffers from it." 8. So that we will not faint in the race of life. Lk.18:1-. “Seven (7) days without prayers, make one weak” 9. A watchman over the people. Eze.22:30. “One day George Mueller began praying for five of his friends. After many months, one of them came to the Lord. Ten years later, two others were converted. It took 25 years before the fourth man was saved. Mueller persevered in prayer until his death for the fifth friend, and throughout those 52 years he never gave up hoping that he would accept Christ! His faith was rewarded, for soon after Mueller‟s funeral the last one was saved.” "Eighteen-year-old Hudson Taylor wandered into his father's library and read a gospel tract. He couldn't shake off its message. Finally, falling to his knees, he accepted Christ as his Savior. Later, his mother, who had been away, returned home. When Hudson told her the good news, she said, "I already know. Ten days ago, the very date on which you tell me you read that tract, I spent the entire afternoon in prayer for you until the Lord assured me that my wayward son had been brought into the fold." Our Daily Bread, July 19, 1989. [Hudson Taylor (1832-1905) was a famous missionary in China. He was founder of the China Inland Mission which, at his death, included 205 mission stations with over 800 missionaries, and 125,000 Chinese Christians. He spent 51 years in China]. "Every great movement of God can be traced to a kneeling figure." D. L. Moody 10. Heal our land. Every nation needs prayers. Every nation needs people who prayer.2 Chron.7:12-14; 1Tim.2:1-2 (People in authority). "If the church/nation/University wants a better pastor, President/Vice Chancellor it only needs to pray for the one it has." 11. All round strength to perform and deliver. Ps.84:7. Jesus was strengthened to perform divine assignment. Lk.22:44 12. God’s favour in our future. Ps.84:10. Prayer can programme and reprogamme our future. Rom.17:21 13. To receive wisdom. And seeing the Lord only giveth wisdom let every one seriously set himself by prayer in secret to seek it of him (Proverbs 2:3). James 1:5 – ask for wisdom. Knowing how to achieve what you are aiming at. Eccl. 10:15. Prayer is like downloading the wisdom of God from above. Jesus told Peter flesh and blood have revealed this to you, but my heavenly father. Matt.18: 14. Accessing the multi – purpose all-round help of God. Ps.121 II) How to pray? – Wisdom, process and practices 1. Prayer must be regular and habitual. It must continue no matter what is happening in your life. Make it part of those things that are programmed as fixed activities – Bathing (Well, sick, to be executed, dead in the mortuary, writing exams, 2. Pray for a long period of time to generate enough high level, loaded spiritual power for continuous victorious living. Just as you recharge your mobile phone battery, credit level, PHCN electric credit cards, etc. you need to recharge your spiritual power reserve. "If the spiritual life be healthy, under the full power of the Holy Spirit, praying without ceasing will be natural." Andrew Murray 3. Make God your father not just your creator. Matt.6:9 4. Thanksgiving-praise-worship Ps. “…I will enter His gates with thanks giving in my heart, I will enter His court with praise” 5. Sincere heart felt prayer. Isaiah ; Matt.6:5-6; Jam 5:16 6. Pray in faith believing you received when you now not until manifestation. Mark 11:24. Rom 10:17 “ faith comes by hearing…” 7. Pray the Solution prophetically in the word of God not religious vain/empty repetition. Matt.6.7, Ezek.37. Your neighbors may hear but is God hearing. 8. Come boldly in faith. Heb.4:16; 11:6 9. In the name of Jesus. Jh 14:13-14 10. Listening to God. “The trouble with nearly everybody who prays is that he says „Amen‟ and runs away before God has a chance to reply. Listening to God is far more important than giving Him our ideas.” III) What to pray? – Knowledge of content. 1 John 5:14-15 Ps “Angles harken with the word of God”. This is starting with the answer instead of the problem Numbers 23:19 – God is not a man. "The word of God is the food by which prayer is nourished and made strong." E. M. Bounds "If the spiritual life be healthy, under the full power of the Holy Spirit, praying without ceasing will be natural." Andrew Murray IV) When to pray? – Timing and frequency 1. Always. Eph. 6:18. “When asked how much time he spent in prayer, George Muller's reply was, "Hours every day. But I live in the spirit of prayer. I pray as I walk and when I lie down and when I arise. And the answers are always coming “The one concern of the devil is to keep Christians from praying. He fears nothing from prayerless studies, prayerless work and prayerless religion. He laughs at our toil, mocks at our wisdom, but he trembles when we pray.” Samuel Chadwick “Therefore, whether the desire for prayer is on you or not, get to your closet at the set time; shut yourself in with God; wait upon Him; seek His face; realize Him; pray.” R. F. Horton “Time spent alone with God is not wasted. It changes us; it changes our surroundings; and every Christian who would live the life that counts, and who would have power for service must take time to pray.” M.E. Andross Make time to pray. “The great freight and passenger trains are never too busy to stop for fuel. No matter how congested the yards may be, no matter how crowded the schedules are, no matter how many things demand the attention of the trainmen, those trains always stop for fuel.” M.E. Andross "It is not enough to begin to pray, nor to pray aright; nor is it enough to continue for a time to pray; but we must patiently, believingly, continue in prayer until we obtain an answer; George Müller “I would rather teach one man to pray than ten men to preach.” Charles Spurgeon 2. Early Morning (Mk.1:35) "I ought to pray before seeing any one…Christ arose before day and went into a solitary place. David says: „Early will I seek thee‟…I feel it is far better to begin with God-to see His face first, to get my soul near Him before it is near another." - Robert Murray M'Cheyne; “He who runs from God in the morning will scarcely find Him the rest of the day”. John Bunyan 3. Evening/Night (Mk. 6:46) 4. All the time (1 Thess.5:17) 5. We do not only pray when we are in trouble. 6. Prayer should not be regarded "as a duty which must be performed, but rather as a privilege to be enjoyed, a rare delight that is always revealing some new beauty." E.M. Bounds 7. "...True prayer is measured by weight, not by length. A single groan before God may have more fullness of prayer in it than a fine oration of great length." C. H. Spurgeon 8. You can never have prayer overdose. “Prayer can never be in excess.” C. H. Spurgeon V) Where to pray? – Place 1. All places - Anywhere. Pray well so demons cast out from others and jump into you. Lk.11 :24-26 Main Text - "But He gives more grace. Therefore He says: 'God resists the proud, but gives grace to the humble.' " ~James 4:6 According to the Bible, the key to effective prayer is humility. Now, a look at what the Bible says about humility in prayer. I. God Resists the Proud A. The first sin is Pride. It's what started it all. It was pride that brought Lucifer down and started the vicious cycle of rebellion and sin. (See Isaiah and Ezekiel). B. God hates Pride (Proverbs 16:5, 18:12) C. A person cannot even approach God in pride...God will not receive such a person. II. Humility is the Prerequisite to Grace A. Salvation requires humility (Ephesians 2:8-9 and Romans 10:13) B. To obey God is to humble oneself before God C. People should rely on God's grace and not on their own merit or wisdom III. Humility and God's Grace are the Fundamental Ingredients of Prayer A. Prayer is an act of humility B. Answering prayer is an expression of God's grace Conclusion: In the passage Luke 18:9-14, Jesus introduces his audience to a Pharisee boasting of all he's done for God and the needy and a publican who would not even look to heaven, but simply beat on his breast, saying: "God, be merciful to me a sinner." Which best describes you? Are you the one who believes you're entitled to certain things because of how "good" you are or all that you've done or are you simply humbling yourself before God?
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