“And when you are praying, do not use meaningless repetition as the Gentiles do, for they suppose that they will be heard for their many words. So do not be like them; for your Father knows what you need before you ask Him.” Matthew 6:7-8.
The Pharisee stood and was praying this to himself: “God, I thank You that I am not like other people: swindlers, unjust, adulterers, or even like this tax collector.” Luke 18:11.
Today your LORD (יהוה) God says:
In hearing My voice and receiving My direction in your life, prayer is key, but what many people call prayer is not what I mean by prayer at all and no matter how many hours you spend at it you will not discern My voice. Not because I am not willing to talk with you but because you do not give Me any room to talk with you. In reciting long prayers, endless novenas, chanting, etc. you are not going to grow up in your walk with Me but stay at that same level of communication for years and years.
Today we conclude our series on how to hear My voice with Life Lesson No. 9: “Prayer with God’s Word is Key.” To meaningfully converse with another three things must be present. First, you must be speaking in the same language. If the person with whom you are trying to converse does not speak your language both of you can talk in turn but no fruit of understanding is going to be produced. Second, you must have dialogue and not only one side doing all the talking. Third, you each must actually be aware of and mindful of the other, each addressing and listening to the other in a respectful and honorable way. And all three of these are true in prayer, that is, conversation with Me.
Many of you pray for Me to give or grant you peace. Many of you beg Me to have mercy on you. Also consider the way you pray about being healed. Then I want you to look at My Word and how the apostles and believers prayed after Jesus had been crucified, buried, raised from the dead, and ascended back to Heaven, seated at My right hand, and poured down the Holy Spirit.
What did Peter and John say to the man lame from birth at the Beautiful Gate of the Temple? Did they beg Me to heal him if it was My Will? No, they knew My Will as told them by Jesus. And they knew how to pray as told them by Jesus. And Peter is the one who later wrote in his letter, “He Himself bore our sins in His body on the cross, so that we might die to sin and live to righteousness; for by His wounds you were healed.” 1 Peter 2:24. “Were healed,” not might be healed. So what did they say? “What I do have I give to you: In the name of Jesus Christ the Nazarene—walk!” And seizing him by the right hand, he raised him up; and immediately his feet and his ankles were strengthened. Acts 3:6-7. He had faith in the Name of the One who took all your infirmities and sins. And Jesus told them they would do the works He did and greater because whatever they prayed in His Name, He would do. Power of Attorney to carry out the Will of the principal by the authority given the agent. And Jesus never prayed by begging Me to heal someone. He merely spoke the healing. “Receive your sight.” “Be cleansed.” As He is so are you in this world.
And continue on, as Peter was traveling preaching the good news, he came down also to the believers who lived at Lydda. There he found a man named Aeneas, who had been bedridden eight years, for he was paralyzed. How did Peter pray? Peter said to him, “Aeneas, Jesus Christ heals you; get up and make your bed.” Immediately he got up. Acts 9:32-34. And how had Peter been spending his time with the early community of believers in Jerusalem before that trip? “But we will devote ourselves to prayer and to the ministry of the word.” Acts 6:4.
And it keeps on. Now in Joppa there was a disciple named Tabitha (known as “Dorcas”) whose life was filled with deeds of kindness and charity. And it happened at that time that she fell sick and died; and when they had washed her body, they laid it in an upper room. Since Lydda was near Joppa, the disciples, having heard that Peter was there, sent two men to him, imploring him, “Do not delay in coming to us.” So Peter arose and went with them. When he arrived, they brought him into the upper room; and all the widows stood beside him, weeping and showing all the garments that Dorcas used to make while she was with them. But Peter sent them all out and knelt down and prayed, and turning to the body, he said, “Tabitha, arise.” And she opened her eyes, and when she saw Peter, she sat up. And he gave her his hand and raised her up; and calling the believers and widows, he presented her alive. Acts 9:36-41. Why was Peter so confident to pray a two word prayer over her? He had My Word when Jesus sent out the twelve apostles: “Heal the sick, raise the dead, cleanse the lepers, cast out demons. Freely you received, freely give.” Matthew 10:8. And that same Word is for all who would believe in Jesus’ Name by the words of the apostles. “I do not ask on behalf of these alone, but for those also who believe in Me through their word; that they may all be one; even as You, Father, are in Me and I in You, that they also may be in Us, so that the world may believe that You sent Me.” John 17:20-21. And Jesus told you after I raised Him from the dead, that as I had sent Him so He sends you. I anointed Him with the Holy Spirit and power to go about doing good and healing all those oppressed by the devil. You are to do the works He did and greater by His Name, and He raised the dead. Did He beg Me to do it? No, He knew My Will. He told Lazarus to come out and He told Jairus daughter to arise! Short and to the point.
And you see Paul and Philip and others doing the same as Peter. “Jesus Christ heals you!” “Get up.” “I command you in the name of Jesus Christ to come out of her!” And wondrous miracles were taking place.
What did the early community pray? Prayers filled with My Word. “They lifted their voices to God with one accord and said, “O Lord, it is You who made the heaven and the earth and the sea, and all that is in them, who by the Holy Spirit, through the mouth of our father David Your servant, said, ‘Why did the nations rage, and the peoples devise futile things? The kings of the earth took their stand, and the rulers were gathered together against the Lord and against His Messiah.’ For truly in this city there were gathered together against Your holy child Jesus, whom You anointed, both Herod and Pontius Pilate, along with the Gentiles and the peoples of Israel, to do whatever Your hand and Your purpose predestined to occur. And now, Lord, take note of their threats, and grant that Your bond-servants may speak Your word with all confidence, while You extend Your hand to heal, and signs and wonders take place through the name of Your holy child Jesus.” And when they had prayed, the place where they had gathered together was shaken, and they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak the word of God with boldness. Acts 4:23-31.
And you who keep begging Me for peace and pray collectively for Me to “grant us peace.” Are you not aware that I have GIVEN you My peace already? The night of the Last Supper Jesus said, “Peace I leave with you; My peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you. Do not let your heart be troubled, nor let it be fearful.” John 14:27. Thank Me for it and take it instead of asking Me to give it to you again. I cannot. I gave it all to you already. My grace is sufficient for you. You have a part though. Do not let your heart be troubled, nor let it be fearful. Why? You have My peace. Believe that and take it by faith. Speak it to your heart.
And stop pleading for mercy. Have you never read: “But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for God’s own possession, so that you may proclaim the excellencies of Him who has called you out of darkness into His marvelous light; for you once were not a people, but now you are the people of God; you had not received mercy, but now you have received mercy.” 1 Peter 2:9-10. YOU HAVE RECEIVED MERCY. Come with confidence to My throne of grace and RECEIVE mercy and FIND grace just when you need it. Hebrews 4:16. Why don’t you get grateful and thank Me for My mercy as you declare the excellencies of Him who called you out of darkness into His own marvelous light! In Jesus you see My mercy for you. He took all your sins on Himself and justified you as if you had never sinned. If you confess your sins I am faithful and just to forgive them and cleanse you of ALL unrighteousness. 1 John 1:9. Why? Because the punishment due them was already paid by Jesus and satisfied in full. When you fall into sin through weakness, confess it, and do not beg for mercy all day, instead RECEIVE My mercy with grateful thanksgiving and praise for so great a Salvation! Any other behavior is most ungrateful and treating Jesus’ death as doing nothing for you. He does not have to be crucified again or you either. It is finished. He finished the work I gave Him to do and it is an eternal redemption. And He ever lives to remind Me of that.
If you recall the show down that Elijah had on Mt. Carmel with the prophets of Baal, you will see the difference between his prayer and their prayer. To get their god’s attention, the prophets of Baal cried with a loud voice and cut themselves according to their custom with swords and lances until the blood gushed out on them. When midday was past, they raved until the time of the offering of the evening sacrifice; but there was no voice, no one answered, and no one paid attention. 1 Kings 18:26-30. And then Elijah, who knew My Word, prayed to Me at the time of the offering of the evening sacrifice, “O LORD, the God of Abraham, Isaac and Israel, today let it be known that You are God in Israel and that I am Your servant and I have done all these things at Your word. Answer me, O LORD, answer me, that this people may know that You, O LORD, are God, and that You have turned their heart back again.” My fire fell and consumed the burnt offering which Elijah had set up on the altar he built and the wood and the stones and the dust, and licked up the water that was in the trench. When all the people saw it, they fell on their faces; and they said, “The LORD, He is God; the LORD, He is God.” 1 Kings 18:36-39.
The prophets of Baal kept making loud chants and mutilating their bodies but there was no response. My Son told you not to behave with Me like that. Prayer should not be a time to appease an angry god and to abuse yourself to please him. This does not please Me. What would you think of your child if they thought that is the way you wanted them to communicate with you? David sang to Me from his bed (“The LORD hears when I call to Him. Tremble, and do not sin; meditate in your heart upon your bed and be still. Selah.” Psalm 4:3-4) (“When I remember You on my bed, I meditate on You in the night watches, for You have been my help, and in the shadow of Your wings I sing for joy.” Psalm 63:6-7). He also danced before Me. It is also appropriate to kneel, to bow, and even to prostrate yourself before Me when you do it in awe, thanksgiving, and praise. “Come, let us worship and bow down, let us kneel before the LORD our Maker.” Psalm 95:6. Even in Heaven, overcome with My glory and gratitude for My gift of the eternal Kingdom, they cast themselves down before Me in worship. “And when the living creatures give glory and honor and thanks to Him who sits on the throne, to Him who lives forever and ever, the twenty-four elders will fall down before Him who sits on the throne, and will worship Him who lives forever and ever, and will cast their crowns before the throne, saying, “Worthy are You, our Lord and our God, to receive glory and honor and power; for You created all things, and because of Your will they existed, and were created.” Revelation 4:9-11. Jesus describes prayer as His knocking at your door and coming in for a personal visit to dine with you and you with Him. Revelation 3:20.
But you must understand prayer is not to appease an angry god, it is to be caught up in the glory of pure love and goodness. It is to be taken into My confidence and I into your confidence in our secret place, our garden enclosed of the Song of Songs, My house of prayer. Jesus took all My just wrath and you come to Me clothed in Him. “For this is like the days of Noah to Me, when I swore that the waters of Noah would not flood the earth again; so I have sworn that I will not be angry with you nor will I rebuke you. For the mountains may be removed and the hills may shake, but My lovingkindness will not be removed from you, and My covenant of peace will not be shaken,” says the LORD who has compassion on you.” Isaiah 54:9-10.
My prophet Elijah’s prayer was different than the prayers of the prophets of Baal. Elijah knew My Name, LORD (יהוה), and who I was, he knew the time I had set for the evening sacrifice and he prepared first the sacrifice of the burnt offering, which had not been offered in the northern kingdom since it broke off from the temple in Jerusalem. He was talking not with an idol but with a loving Person, his LORD God, with whom he was in covenant and with whom he had a relationship. He knew I wanted My people to return to Me. He knew My heart. He knew he did not have to work punishment on his body, he knew the sacrifices of the temple, and he had first prepared the sacrificial ox for the atonement. His prayer was short and to the point and I answered. His prayer was the kind that gets results. He followed My ways and My language. He talked to me intelligently.
And coming to Him as to a living stone which has been rejected by men, but is choice and precious in My sight, you also, as living stones, are being built up as a spiritual house for a holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices acceptable to Me through Jesus Christ. 1 Peter 2:4-5. Now you offer up the Blood spiritually, not as Elijah did before Christ had come as your burnt offering. For Jesus has loved you and released you from your sins by His Blood and made you a kingdom of priests unto Me. Revelation 1:5-6. Let your prayer come as incense before Me, the lifting of your hands as the evening sacrifice.
Now look at an incident My Son talked about regarding prayer. “Two men went up into the temple to pray, one a Pharisee and the other a tax collector. The Pharisee stood and was praying this to himself: ‘God, I thank You that I am not like other people: swindlers, unjust, adulterers, or even like this tax collector. I fast twice a week; I pay tithes of all that I get.’ But the tax collector, standing some distance away, was even unwilling to lift up his eyes to heaven, but was beating his breast, saying, ‘God, make propitiation for me, the sinner!’ I tell you, this man went to his house justified rather than the other; for everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, but he who humbles himself will be exalted.” Luke 18:10-14. The Pharisee did not carry on a dialogue with Me but with himself. He was only aware of himself and sought no input from Me. He has not going to hear My voice that way. He honored himself. On the other hand, the tax collector prayed according to My Word. As a tax collector for Rome, he was considered by the Jewish people as an intentional sinner and not an unintentional one so the burnt offering, the sin offering and all the other sacrificial offering were not applicable to him. Leviticus 4:2; Leviticus 5:18 (“He is then to bring to the priest a ram without defect from the flock, according to your valuation, for a guilt offering. So the priest shall make atonement for him concerning his error in which he sinned unintentionally and did not know it, and it will be forgiven him.”). So he had a request for Me. He asked Me to offer propitiation for him (the word used there that is often translated “mercy” is not the Greek word for mercy, which is “eleeó,” which means to have pity or mercy on, to show mercy, but the word “hilaskomai,” which means to be propitious, make propitiation, which is the name of the propitiatory that covered the Ark whereupon the High Priest sprinkled the blood seven times). And I did in Jesus and Jesus qualified you all for the sin offering for as He died upon the cross He said, “Father, forgive them, THEY KNOW NOT WHAT THEY DO.” He made your sins unintentional. And present were Jews, believers, and unbelievers, thus qualifying you all for His propitiation of your sins for all time. He paid the ransom for all. The tax collector prayed according to My Word. The Pharisee did not. He judged and condemned. And I tell you not to do that. I give grace to the humble but resist the proud.
I told you to remind Me of My Word when you pray. To make Petition, this is a legal term meaning you are quoting the law and getting the result stated therein before the Judge. Pray prayers filled with My Word, for if you ask anything according to My Will, I hear you, and when I hear you then you know that what you have asked is yours. If you abide in Jesus and His Word abides in you (fills you), then ask what you will and it will be done for you. John 15:7.
Start praying with My Word. Which is praying with Jesus, your great High Priest, who is My Word, and is the High Priest of your confession (homologia: the prayer of agreement with My Word). Will you just agree instead of begging for what I gave you already? Learn the protocol of prayer and you will hear My voice and you will see signs, wonders, and miracles come to pass.
Do you believe that? All things are possible for those who believe in My Word.
I love you. Pray without ceasing but pray in agreement with Me, which is with My Word. For I am My Word. Let us be the two witnesses. Jesus is the faithful witness, you agree with Him and be the other that establishes the fact. And My Word does not return to Me void but achieves the purpose for which I sent it. Return it to Me in prayer.