Praying in the Spirit

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Prayer Is Difficult

We must remember that we live in a sin cursed, demon infested culture, in which the Prince of the Power of the Air rules. Prayer is the violent collision of two cultures, the Kingdom of Light advancing against the Kingdom of Darkness. Every prayer involves struggle because every prayer is prayed in the context of opposition.

God Calls His People to Pray

Prayer is made to God that His will and purposes be accomplished in our lives and on Earth. For that to happen, there must be a defeat on one side and a victory on the other. Every answer to prayer is God overcoming evil on our behalf. It is not difficult to say prayers, but it is difficult to pray effectively, i.e., to pray until we get the answer. We need to understand that the Lord tells us to pray because He is going to hear, and answer, our prayers!

Examples of Answered Prayer

Moses Prays for Victory

Exodus 17:8-14 (KJV)
8 Then came Amalek, and fought with Israel in Rephidim. 9 And Moses said unto Joshua, Choose us out men, and go out, fight with Amalek: to morrow I will stand on the top of the hill with the rod of God in mine hand. 10 So Joshua did as Moses had said to him, and fought with Amalek: and Moses, Aaron, and Hur went up to the top of the hill. 11 And it came to pass, when Moses held up his hand, that Israel prevailed: and when he let down his hand, Amalek prevailed. 12 But Moses hands were heavy; and they took a stone, and put it under him, and he sat thereon; and Aaron and Hur stayed up his hands, the one on the one side, and the other on the other side; and his hands were steady until the going down of the sun. 13 And Joshua discomfited Amalek and his people with the edge of the sword. 14 And the LORD said untoMoses, Write this for a memorial in a book, and rehearse it in the ears of Joshua: for I will utterly put out the remembrance of Amalek from under heaven.

Hezekiah Prays for Protection

2 Kings 19:10-20 (KJV)
10 Thus shall ye speak to Hezekiah king of Judah, saying, Let not thy God in whom thou trustest deceive thee, saying, Jerusalem shall not be delivered into the hand of the king of Assyria. 11 Behold, thou hast heard what the kings of Assyria have done to all lands, by destroying them utterly: and shalt thou be delivered? 12 Have the gods of the nations delivered them which my fathers have destroyed; as Gozan, and Haran, and Rezeph, and the children of Eden which were in Thelasar?13 Where is> the king of Hamath, and the king of Arpad, and the king of the city of Sepharvaim, of Hena, and Ivah? 14 And Hezekiah received the letter of the hand of the messengers, and read it: and Hezekiah went up into the house of the LORD, and spread it before the LORD. 15 And Hezekiah prayed before the LORD, and said, O LORD God of Israel, which dwellest between the cherubims, thou art the God, even thou alone, of all the kingdoms of the earth; thou hast made heaven and earth. 16 LORD, bow down thine ear, and hear: open, LORD, thine eyes, and see: and hear the words of Sennacherib, which hath sent him to reproach the living God. 17 Of a truth, LORD, the kings of Assyria have destroyed the nations and their lands, 18 And have cast their gods into the fire: for they were no gods, but the work of men?s hands, wood and stone: therefore they have destroyed them. 19 Now therefore, O LORD our God, I beseech thee, save thou us out of his hand, that all the kingdoms of the earth may know that thou art the LORD God, even thou only. 20 Then Isaiah the son of Amoz sent to Hezekiah, saying, Thus saith the LORD God of Israel, hat which thou hast prayed to me against Sennacherib king of Assyria I have heard.

Hezekiah Prays for Healing

2 Kings 20:1-5 (KJV)
1 In those days was Hezekiah sick unto death. And the prophet Isaiah the son of Amoz came to him, and said unto him, Thus saith the LORD, Set thine house in order; for thou shalt die, and not live. 2 Then he turned his face to the wall, and prayed unto the LORD, saying, 3 I beseech thee, O LORD, remember now how I have walked before thee in truth and with a perfect heart, and have done that which is good in thy sight. And Hezekiah wept sore. 4 And it came to pass, afore Isaiah was gone out into the middle court, that the word of the LORD came to him, saying, 5 Turn again, and tell Hezekiah the captain of my people, Thus saith the LORD, the God of David thy father, I have heard thy prayer, I have seen thy tears: behold, I will heal thee: on the third day thou shalt go up unto the house of the LORD.

Hannah Prays For A Child

1 Samuel 1:1-20 (NIV)
1 There was a certain man from Ramathaim, a Zuphite from the hill country of Ephraim, whose name was Elkanah son of Jeroham, the son of Elihu, the son of Tohu, the son of Zuph, an Ephraimite. 2 He had two wives; one was called Hannah and the other Peninnah. Peninnah had children, but Hannah had none. 3 Year after year this man went up from his town to worship and sacrifice to the Lord Almighty at Shiloh, where Hophni and Phinehas, the two sons of Eli, were priests of the Lord. 4 Whenever the day came for Elkanah to sacrifice, he would give portions of the meat to his wife Peninnah and to all her sons and daughters. 5 But to Hannah he gave a double portion because he loved her, and the Lord had closed her womb. 6 And because the Lord had closed her womb, her rival kept provoking her in order to irritate her. 7 This went on year after year. Whenever Hannah went up to the house of the Lord, her rival provoked her till she wept and would not eat. 8 Elkanah her husband would say to her, Hannah, why are you weeping? Why don't you eat? Why are you downhearted? Don't I mean more to you than ten sons? 9 Once when they had finished eating and drinking in Shiloh, Hannah stood up. Now Eli the priest was sitting on a chair by the doorpost of the Lord's temple. 10 In bitterness of soul Hannah wept much and prayed to the Lord. 11 And she made a vow, saying, O Lord Almighty, if you will only look upon your servant?s misery and remember me, and not forget your servant but give her a son, then I will give him to the Lord for all the days of his life, and no razor will ever be used on his head.? 12 As she kept on praying to the Lord, Eli observed her mouth. 13 Hannah was praying in her heart, and her lips were moving but her voice was not heard. Eli thought she was drunk 14 and said to her, How long will you keep on getting drunk? Get rid of your wine. 15 Not so, my lord, Hannah replied, I am a woman who is deeply troubled. I have not been drinking wine or beer; I was pouring out my soul to the Lord. 16 Do not take your servant for a wicked woman; I have been praying here out of my great anguish and grief. 17 Eli answered, Go in peace, and may the God of Israel grant you what you have asked of him.? 18 She said, ?May your servant find favor in your eyes.? Then she went her way and ate something, and her face was no longer downcast. 19 Early the next morning they arose and worshiped before the Lord and then went back to their home at Ramah. Elkanah lay with Hannah his wife, and the Lord remembered her. 20 So in the course of time Hannah conceived and gave birth to a son. She named him Samuel, saying, Because I asked the Lord for him.

Solomon's Temple Dedication

In 2 Chronicles 6 we read of the dedication ceremony of Solomon's Temple. David had desired to build a house for the Lord but the Lord denied David's request, but allowed Solomon his son to build a House for the Name of the Lord. The temple was built at Jerusalem and within the temple was the Ark of the Covenant which contained the covenant or ten commandments. This Temple and the Ark represented the dwelling place of God. The Lord had placed His Name there and the people of Israel could relate to God only through where He had placed His Name as they were to pray toward this Temple. God defined how He would relate to them and the Temple was at the center of their relationship to God and apart from this Temple there was no relationship with God.

The Dedication Ceremony Defined Their Relationship To God

The people were to relate to God through this Temple. All Israel was gathered together, Solomon knelt on a brass platform within the Temple Court and spread his hands toward heaven. This is what He prayed:

2 Chronicles 6:19-21 (KJV)
19 Have respect therefore to the prayer of thy servant, and to his supplication, O LORD my God, to hearken unto the cry and the prayer which thy servant prayeth before thee: 20 That thine eyes may be open upon this house day and night, upon the place whereof thou hast said that thou wouldest put thy name there; to hearken unto the prayer which thy servant prayeth toward this place. 21 Hearken therefore unto the supplications of thy servant, and of thy people Israel, which they shall make toward this place: hear thou from thy dwelling place, even from heaven; and when thou hearest, forgive.

In these three verses Solomon defines the essence of their relationship to God:

Solomon understood that prayer to God, toward the place He had chosen, was the way Israel would receive strength, help and forgiveness from the Lord.  Answered prayer is the evidence of a real relationship with God. Their part was to pray toward the Place where God had placed His Name, God's part was to hear and answer their prayers. It was an agreement sealed by blood and God agreed!

Solomon continues to pray:

2 Chronicles 6:22-42
If someone wrongs another person and is required to take an oath of innocence in front of the altar at this Temple, 23 then hear from heaven and judge between your servants the accuser and the accused. Punish the guilty party, and acquit the one who is innocent. 24 If your people Israel are defeated before the enemy because they have sinned against you, and they turn again and acknowledge your name and pray and plead with you in this house, 25 then hear from heaven and forgive the sin of your people Israel and bring them again to the land that you gave to them and to their fathers. 26 If the skies are shut up and there is no rain because your people have sinned against you, and then they pray toward this Temple and confess your name and turn from their sins because you have punished them, 27 then hear from heaven and forgive the sins of your servants, your people Israel. Teach them to do what is right, and send rain on your land that you have given to your people as their special possession. 28 If there is a famine in the land, or plagues, or crop disease, or attacks of locusts or caterpillars, or if your people's enemies are in the land besieging their towns, whatever the trouble is 29 and if your people offer a prayer concerning their troubles or sorrow, raising their hands toward this Temple, 30 then hear from heaven where you live, and forgive. Give your people whatever they deserve, for you alone know the human heart. 31 Then they will fear you and walk in your ways as long as they live in the land you gave to our ancestors. 32 And when foreigners hear of you and your mighty miracles, and they come from distant lands to worship your great name and to pray toward this Temple, 33 then hear from heaven where you live, and grant what they ask of you. Then all the people of the earth will come to know and fear you, just as your own people Israel do. They, too, will know that this Temple I have built bears your name. 34 If your people go out at your command to fight their enemies, and if they pray to you toward this city that you have chosen and toward this Temple that I have built for your name, 35 then hear their prayers from heaven and uphold their cause. 36 If they sin against you, and who has never sinned, you may become angry with them and let their enemies conquer them and take them captive to a foreign land far or near. 37 But in that land of exile, they may turn to you again in repentance and pray, We have sinned, done evil, and acted wickedly. 38 Then if they turn to you with their whole heart and soul and pray toward the land you gave to their ancestors, toward this city you have chosen, and toward this Temple I have built to honor your name, 39 then hear their prayers from heaven where you live. Uphold their cause and forgive your people who have sinned against you. 40 Now, my God, may your eyes be open and your ears attentive to the prayers offered in this place. 41 Now arise, O Lord God, and come to your resting place, you and the ark of your might. May your priests, O Lord God, be clothed with salvation, may your saints rejoice in your goodness. 42 O Lord God, do not reject your anointed one. Remember the great love promised to David your servant.

The Lord Agrees To Hear and Answer Prayer

1 When Solomon finished praying, fire flashed down from heaven and burned up the burnt offerings and sacrifices, and the glorious presence of the Lord filled the Temple. 2 The priests could not even enter the Temple of the Lord because the glorious presence of the Lord filled it. 2Chr. 7:1-2

Fire falling from heaven was God's answer to Solomon's prayer-God agreed to Solomon's prayer.

God accepted the sacrifices and He heard and accepted the prayers of Solomon.

In the same manner, God accepts the sacrifice of Jesus Christ on our behalf, and then agrees to hear and answer our prayers when we look to the place where God has placed His name, in the Lord Jesus Christ, meaning Jesus is the Lord God.

And Solomon continues the dedication prayer. Listen to how Scripture describes prayer:

What is Praying in the Spirit

We can see that prayer is more than simply the saying of prayers, but is a lifestyle characterized by real and effective communication with God. Notice the language used to describe what our attitude toward prayer ought to be: submission, humility, holiness, truth, earnestness, importunity, the whole heart, with forgiveness, etc.. We see from these terms that effective prayer involves the heart, obedience, humility, forgiveness, earnestness, importunity (persistence), understanding, faith, and the Holy Spirit. Is prayer easy? No, prayer is not easy, but prayer is effective and is God's way of interacting with His people.

Prayer is the way God has chosen to communicate with us. We talk to God and He answers. Prayer seems simple enough, but praying is more than talking. Prayer is praying, it is pouring out the heart; it is saying yes to God. It is praying until the answer comes.

Why is prayer important-because God answers prayer!