Experiencing God Through Prayer
I’m using the title of a book written by Madame Guyon as the title of this teaching. Madame Guyon lived in the 1700s and for twenty-five years she was imprisoned in the famous Bastille for her relationship with Jesus Christ. She believed in a personal friendship with Him, and her writings about her special bond with Jesus are most inspiring. American charismatics are well acquainted with her works, but I’m afraid French charismatics have been denied that privilege because her works were buried as being heresy. We know today that all of us want that deep connection with our Lord and that position is obtained by our prayer life.
To start this teaching, let me quote from this little book.
Prayer is nothing more than turning our heart toward God and receiving in turn His love. Meditating on God’s Word in prayer is desirable, but known by very few,” (page 11).
John Wesley, the great British Evangelist, once said, “It seems God is limited by our prayer life – that He can do nothing for humanity unless someone asks Him.” God is not running this world. We like to blame Him for everything that goes wrong. Even if we don’t directly accuse Him by saying He planned the bad things that happened, our accusation is still strong when we say, “God allowed it.” Meaning He allows, or sanctioned, or agrees with all the evil we have on the earth today.
Nothing could be farther from the truth. God does not “allow” anything. We do.
Then God said, “Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness; let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, over the birds of the air, and over the cattle, over all[a] the earth and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth.” (Genesis 1:26).
4 What is man that You are mindful of him, and the son of man that You visit him?
5 For You have made him a little lower than the angels, and You have crowned him with glory and honor.
6 You have made him to have dominion over the works of Your hands; You have put all things under his feet,
7 All sheep and oxen—even the beasts of the field, (Psalm 8:4–7).
God gave dominion to Adam for all of mankind to have, but Adam treated this gift so lightly that he gave it away to Satan. However, God is true to His Word. Even though this was disastrous for mankind, God never took back the dominion of the earth. Humans still had the right to take back their dominion from Satan, but to do that, someone had to defeat the devil, and who could do that? Only Jesus. He came to defeat the devil. Born again Christians now have the dominion on the earth. How do we take that dominion? Through our prayer life.
When we pray, we should keep a journal of what we pray and what we hear God say. If we can back what God says to us with two written Scriptures, then we can believe what we heard, as much as we believe written Scripture. Ask the Lord to give you the confirming Scriptures. His Word first comes from His mouth, then it is written, and then it is spoken again by us. That must be an important aspect of our Prayer Life: praying the Word of God, pouring it out of our mouths according to the promises we want to be downloaded into our lives. There are many prayers in the Bible, and they are there to show us the kinds of prayer to use, when to use them, and what the rules are of each one.
Praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, being watchful to this end with all perseverance and supplication for all the saints— (Ephesians 6:18).
The French says it better than the English: all kinds of prayers. We can’t always sit down and use the same kind of prayer over and over. We humans don’t like that kind of conversation; why would we think God likes it? For instance, many people feel they must end a prayer by saying, “If it be Your will.” The Bible is full of the Will of God. Why wouldn’t we know what His Will is? We have the Holy Spirit living inside of us in order to constantly instruct us in the will of God. So why use that phrase? Jesus only used it once, and that was in the Garden of Eden before his arrest. He was praying a Consecration Prayer. He was consecrating Himself to the task ahead of Him, and also looking for a way out. That’s why He used the word if.
That word if should never be used in any other prayer. To use it in a prayer of faith, for example, would be to deny the very petition you have asked of Him. And since we’re on the subject, let me start a list of different prayers with the prayer of faith. This is a prayer to change things, and it is always based on the Will of God, which has already been revealed in His Word. You find what you want in the Word of God, then you pray that very Scripture, claiming your right to also have what is promised in the Bible, and then you stay firm that you will receive what you asked for.
“And whatever things you ask in prayer, believing, you will receive” (Matthew 21:22).
“Therefore I say to you, whatever things you ask when you pray, believe that you receive them, and you will have them” (Mark 11:24).
The Prayer of Consecration is when we dedicate our lives to God and His Will and His Work. We can do this on a daily basis. It’s not a one-time-fits-all.
Saying, “Father, if it is Your will, take this cup away from Me; nevertheless not My will, but Yours, be done,” (Luke 22:42).
The Prayer of Commitment is different from Consecration as it is committing our lives to do His Will and to do His Work with no hesitation and no concern.
6 Therefore humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God, that He may exalt you in due time, 7 casting all your care upon Him, for He cares for you(1 Peter 5:6, 7).
The Prayer of Worship is obviously about worshipping God. This is very intimate whisperings between you and your heavenly Father. After or before worship comes praise. Praise is talking about God while Worship is talking to God.
And they worshiped Him, and returned to Jerusalem with great joy, (Luke 24:52).
The Prayer of Agreement. This prayer is when you want reinforcements to take a spiritual stand with you. Choose somebody who will mean what they say and will not back out of the agreement.
18 “Assuredly, I say to you, whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven.
19 “Again I say to you that if two of you agree on earth concerning anything that they ask, it will be done for them by My Father in heaven. 20 For where two or three are gathered together in My name, I am there in the midst of them,”(Matthew 18:18–20).
Prayer in the Spirit: There’s no getting around it; this means praying in tongues. All believers should have their own prayer language with which they can speak directly to the ear of God, and no one else will understand the exchange.
14 For if I pray in a tongue, my spirit prays, but my understanding is unfruitful.15 What is the conclusion then? I will pray with the spirit, and I will also pray with the understanding. I will sing with the spirit, and I will also sing with the understanding (1 Corinthians 14:14, 15).
Now just because there are all kinds of prayers in the Bible, doesn’t mean we have to get rigid about using the right one in the right place. We’ll switch from one type of prayer to another by the leading of the Holy Spirit. Let me quote once more from Madame Guyon:
“What I want to impress upon you is not to become burdened by any one form of prayer. Don’t allow yourself to be tied down to the repetition of set forms. It is far better to be wholly led by the Holy Spirit in prayer, for then all aspects of the prayer will be complete,” (page 57).