Praying with God
by Paul Primus
Paul is from Victoria, BC. He is the Pastor of Keystone Victoria Church and a member of the Board of Directors at National House of Prayer.
In my own journey with Christ in prayer, I have two particular prayers that really keep me grounded. The first, in Luke 11, the disciples asked Jesus, “Lord, teach us to pray.” The other, in Mark 9, a desperate father brings his ailing son to Jesus and cries out, “Lord I believe! Help my unbelief!” I come back to these two prayers often. I never want to feel that I’ve arrived in my knowledge of prayer, nor in my containment of the Father’s will. I believe this is a process we must walk out daily. The more I spend time with Him, the more I realize I need Him, and His guidance if I am to be of any help on the earth in the place of prayer. Prayer is not a formula. Prayer is what I become as I surrender “me” to “Christ”. I become intercession.
We must be a people who are willing students of prayer, allowing Christ to teach us (See Andrew Murrays work: “With Christ, in the School of Prayer”). Romans 8 says, “We do not now how to pray as is needed.” To me, that means, in part, that there are things that need to come out of our mouths that we do not know of. With that in mind, let us be a people who are constantly seeking His will, so that when we are praying it is the Father’s heart that we’re releasing from our mouths and not merely our own desires.
In Revelation 4:1, we see John being invited up to “see things which must take place,” from a different perspective than he was already seeing. Beloved, I believe this is so critical for the intercessory lifestyle. When we are invited up, we have a divine opportunity to see things the way He sees them. That doesn’t mean we are sitting on clouds with harps in our hands, but it does mean that He begins to show us the issues in our world the way He sees them - so that we can speak what He is speaking about them! In The Lord’s Prayer, Jesus instructs his disciples to pray, “Your kingdom come, Your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.” This is obviously much deeper than I will convey right here, but in part, is the invitation to find out what Heaven’s will is, and then be the mouthpieces for it on earth. Jesus himself said, “I do not speak on my own accord,” and, “I only say what I hear My Father saying.” What a prayer life! Spending the right time in the presence of the Father to know what He is saying, and then simply repeating those words: “On earth, as it is in heaven!” The creative force of heaven is not something we are meant to use for our own purposes (James talks about praying wrongly, because we pray for our own gain). Rather, it is meant to bring the reality of heaven to earth. Genesis begins with God speaking, “Let there be light!” Then there was light. Perfect unity with the will of heaven was expressed in creation.
Of course, there are many examples of people using their words idly. Consider Job and his friends. Most of the Book of Job consists of Job’s friends giving him a lot of “wise” advice, but not heaven’s advice. It was only after 30+ chapters of this that the Lord’s wisdom is revealed to Job. I think God did this on purpose: to show us how much time we tend to waste just talking rather than listening. Of course... Job isn’t directly a “book about prayer”, but since prayer is words that escape from our lips, it reveals the value of our words.
In Isaiah 6 we see a startling account of Isaiah’s commissioning. Isaiah saw the Lord, and his response was, “Woe is me, for I am a man of unclean lips, and I dwell among a people of unclean lips.” Notice that when he saw the Lord, he was aware of the words coming out of his mouth! Isaiah the prophet of Israel, repenting, because he saw how his words were too much like the culture he lived in. Ouch. How much of our own words are a product of our national culture, rather than the culture of Heaven, of which we are eternal citizens?
Beloved, I want to encourage you, invite you, challenge you… invest your best time before the Father, simply to commune with Him. So that you will know Him. Allow His perspective to become your perspective. Then your prayers will “hit the mark”.
Ecclesiastes 5:2 says, “Do not be quick with your mouth, do not be hasty in your heart to utter anything before God. God is in heaven and you are on earth, so let your words be few.” This verse is often quoted simply to mean, “we should be quiet”. There is much merit in that, but I also believe there is something else being expressed. Let MY words be few (let the words of ME be few). However, let us allow HIS words to be shouted from the rooftops and proclaimed in the streets! It is not the quantity of our words that needs to change as much as it is the QUALITY of them. Let us become a people who hear from heaven, and repeat those words of life on earth.
Lord, teach us to pray. Lord, we believe: help our unbelief!