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Why Pray?

Why Pray?

John Wesley said, “It seems God is limited by our prayer life — that He can do nothing for humanity unless someone asks Him.” “Why this is, I do not know.” Yet if Wesley’s statement is correct — and it seems to be as you read through the Bible — then we who are to pray should know more about it.

 

I began to examine the Bible to find out why, if God wants to do something for humanity, He cannot unless somebody asks Him. I found the answer through study of God’s Word. You see, though some people have built up “spiritual air castles” that God is running everything in this world, He is not. During the Vietnam War a nationally syndicated newspaper columnist began one column by stating that he was not a Christian. He said that he was not an atheist because the atheist says there is no God. “I suppose you would classify me an agnostic,” he wrote. “The agnostic says there may be a God, but if there is, I don’t know it. Actually, I am prone to believe there is a Supreme Being. I do not believe that everything here just happened. I believe there is a Creator somewhere. “But I have never read the Bible. I do not attend church. One reason I don’t is that what the Christians say about God doesn’t agree with what I think a Creator should be, nor with what I can see of Him in nature. “Even ministers say, ‘God has everything under control. He’s running everything.’ “Well, if He is, He sure has things in a mess. People are killing each other. Little children are dying. Little children are hungry. Women are suffering. There are wars everywhere. “If God has everything under control, do you mean God is running those wars?” Even an unregenerate columnist knew that wasn’t right. God is not ruling in this world. He is not ruling on the earth. Thank God, He will one day! But right now His will is not being carried out on the earth, except in the lives of those who surrender to Him. That is easy to see if you will accept what the Bible says. The Bible says that God is not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance (2 Peter 3:9). It is obvious that His will concerning the salvation of all men is not being carried out. When individuals accept the Lord Jesus Christ as their Savior, it is carried out in their lives. But if God were running things and pushing His will off on people, since He is not willing that any should perish, He would make everybody get saved today and we would go into the Millennium tomorrow.

 

As I examined God’s Word for the “why” behind John Wesley’s statement, I saw a truth I had never seen before, though I had been in the ministry many years. As I asked the Lord about it, He said to me, “Go back to the Book of Beginnings.” I knew He meant the Book of Genesis. I reread it. I had read it many times. I had heard it taught as a Sunday School boy. But I saw it in a different light this time. I saw that God made the world and the fullness thereof. He made His man, Adam. Then He said, “Adam, I give you dominion over all the work of my hands” (Gen. 1:26,27; Ps. 8:6).

 

God did not say, “I am going to dominate through you.” He said, “I give you dominion over all the work of my hands.” Therefore Adam had dominion upon this earth and in this world. He was originally, in a sense, god of this world. But Satan came and lied to Adam. Adam committed high treason and sold out to Satan. Then Satan became the god of this world. Second Corinthians 4:4 calls Satan “the god of this world.” As such, he has dominion. Where? In this world. He will have that dominion, he will be god of this world, until Adam’s lease runs out. God cannot legally and justly move in and take away that dominion from the devil. The devil has dominion here. He has a legal right because he has Adam’s lease. And God cannot do anything unless somebody down here asks Him.

 

Various Kinds of Prayer

Praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit and watching thereunto with all perseverance and supplication for all saints. — Ephesians 6:18

Notice that says, “Praying . . . with ALL prayer. . . . ”

 

The Amplified translation reads, “Pray . . . with ALL [MANNER of] prayer. . . .” Another translation reads, “Praying with ALL KINDS of prayer. . . .” But the translation that really strikes a note in my own spirit is Goodspeed’s. It reads, “Use EVERY KIND of prayer and entreaty, and at every opportunity pray in the Spirit. . . .” The Bible teaches several kinds of prayer — and the different rules governing them. The church world makes a mistake in not differentiating between those different kinds of praying. We simply put all prayer in the same sack and shake it all out together. Many prayers are not working because people are using the wrong rules and laws. In the field of sports, for instance, we have baseball, basketball, football, golf, tennis, etc. These are all kinds of sports — but they are not all played by the same rules. Wouldn’t it be confusing to play a baseball game with football rules, or vice versa? The reason people are confused and have a prayer

 

*The Prayer of Commitment: casting your cares upon the Lord in prayer (1 Peter 5:7).

*The Prayer of Worship (Luke 24:52,53; Acts 13:1-4).

*The Prayer of Agreement (Matt. 18:18-20).

*Prayer in the Spirit: Praying in tongues (1 Cor. 14:14,15).

*United Prayer (Acts 4:23-31).

*The Prayer of Supplication.

*Intercessory Prayer.

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