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Bible Verse of the Day

31.10.11

Hindrances to Prayer - UNFORGIVENESS

The fifth hindrance to prayer is found in Mark 11:25,
“And when you stand praying, FORGIVE, if you have anything against anyone; that your Father also which is in heaven may forgive you your trespasses.”

An unforgiving spirit is one of the commonest hindrances to prayer. Prayer is answered on the basis that our sins are forgiven; and God cannot deal with us on the basis of forgiveness while we are harboring ill-will against those who have wronged us. Any one who is nursing a grudge against another has fast closed the ear of God against his own petition.

How many are crying to God for the conversion of husband, children, friends, and wondering why it is that their prayer is not answered, when the whole secret is some grudge that they have in their hearts against someone who has injured them, or who they fancy has injured them. Many and many a mother and father are allowing their children to go down to eternity unsaved, for the miserable gratification of hating somebody.

Lord, I know how awful it is to have ill feelings toward another and how unacceptable that is to you. You are the perfect example of how we should be forgiving of others as You have forgiven us of our sins. Lord, I'm thankful that you have taught me to forgive. Please help me to continually be humble and compassionate to forgive others as you have forgiven me. I love you, Lord, in the name of Jesus. Amen.

24.10.11

Hindrance to Prayer - STINGINESS

The fourth hindrance to prayer is found in Prov. 21:13,
“WHOSO STOPPETH HIS EARS AT THE CRY OF THE POOR, HE ALSO SHALL CRY HIMSELF, BUT SHALL NOT BE HEARD.”

There is perhaps no greater hindrance to prayer than stinginess, the lack of liberality toward the poor and toward God’s work. It is the one who gives generously to others who receives generously from God.
“Give, and it shall be given to you; good measure, pressed down, shaken together, running over, shall they give into your bosom. For with what measure you use it shall be measured to you again.” (Luke 6:38) 
The generous man is the mighty man of prayer. The stingy man is the powerless man of prayer.

One of the most wonderful statements about prevailing prayer (already referred to) 1 John 3:22, “Whatsoever we ask we receive of Him, because we keep His commandments, and do those things that are pleasing in His sight,” is made in direct connection with generosity toward the needy. In the context we are told that it is when we love, not in word or in tongue, but in deed and in truth, when we open our hearts toward the brother in need, it is then and only then we have confidence toward God in prayer.

Many a man and woman who is seeking to find the secret of their powerlessness in prayer need not seek far; it is nothing more nor less than downright stinginess. George Muller, to whom reference has already been made, was a mighty man of prayer because he was a mighty giver. What he received from God never stuck to his fingers; he immediately passed it on to others. He was constantly receiving because he was constantly giving. When one thinks of the selfishness of the professing church today, how the orthodox churches of this land do not average $1.00 per year per member for foreign missions, it is no wonder that the church has so little power in prayer. If we would get from God, we must give to others. Perhaps the most wonderful promise in the Bible in regard to God’s supplying our need is Phil. 4:19, “And my God shall fulfill every need of yours according to His riches in glory in Christ Jesus.” This glorious promise was made to the Philippian church, and made in immediate connection with their generosity.

I agree, Lord, that a man of prayer must not be stingy. As the Word also says, God loves a cheerful giver. I would like to think also that God loves to answer the prayer of a cheerful giver. I pray Lord that you bless all the people who have been truly givers to Your work and to other people's needs. I especially pray for blessings also to those who've been blessing us through their giving. Teach me and my children to learn this virtue of giving more and more. Praise your Name, Jesus. Amen.

20.10.11

Hindrance to Prayer - IDOLS

The third hindrance to prayer is found in Ez. 14:3,
“Son of man, these men have taken their idols into their heart, and put the stumbling block of their iniquity before their face: should I be inquired of at all by them?” 

IDOLS IN THE HEART CAUSE GOD TO REFUSE TO LISTEN TO OUR PRAYERS.

What is an idol? An idol is anything that takes the place of God, anything that is the supreme object of our affection. God alone has the right to the supreme place in our hearts. Everything and everyone else must be subordinate to Him.

Many a man makes an idol of his wife. Not that a man can love his wife any too much, but he can put her in the wrong place, he can put her before God; and when a man regards his wife’s pleasure before God’s pleasure, when he gives her the first place and God the second place, his wife is an idol, and God cannot hear his prayers.

Many a woman makes an idol of her children. Not that we can love our children too much. The more dearly we love Christ, the more dearly we love our children; but we can put our children in the wrong place, we can put them before God, and their interests before God’s interests. When we do this our children are our idols.

Many a man makes an idol of his reputation or his business. Reputation or business is put before God. God cannot hear the prayers of such a man.

One great question for us to decide, if we would have power in prayer is, Is God absolutely first? Is He before wife, before children, before reputation, before business, before our own lives? If not, prevailing prayer is impossible.

God often calls our attention to the fact that we have an idol, by not answering our prayers, and thus leading us to inquire as to why our prayers are not answered, and so we discover the idol, put it away, and God hears our prayers.

Lord, I have to contend with my answer to the question "Is God absolutely first?" I want to honor you Lord above all, above my husband, above my children, above myself and everything else. They can never take Your place because You are above all. But sometimes, Lord, I fail to do this and I'm sorry. Teach me and help me Lord, to really take the time and strength to honor and love You as much as is due You first of all. This I will do by Your grace. Amen.


17.10.11

HIndrance to Prayer - SIN

The second hindrance to prayer that RA Torrey talks about in his book can be found in Isaiah 59:1,2:
“Behold, the Lord’s hand is not shortened, that it cannot save; neither His ear heavy, that it cannot hear. But YOUR INIQUITIES HAVE SEPARATED BETWEEN YOU AND YOUR GOD, and YOUR SINS HAVE HID HIS FACE FROM YOU, THAT HE WILL NOT HEAR.”

Sin hinders prayer. Many a man prays and prays and prays, and gets absolutely no answer to his prayer. Perhaps he is tempted to think that it is not the will of God to answer, or he may think that the days when God answered prayer, if He ever did, are over. So the Israelites seem to have thought. They thought that the Lord’s hand was shortened, that it could not save, and that His ear had become heavy that it could no longer hear.

“Not so,” said Isaiah, “God’s ear is just as open to hear as ever, His hand just as mighty to save; but there is a hindrance. That hindrance is your own sins. Your iniquities have separated between you and your God, and your sins have hid His face from you that He will not hear.”

It is so today. Many are crying to God in vain, simply because of sin in their life. It may be some sin in the past that has been unconfessed and unjudged, it may be some sin in the present that is cherished, very likely is not even looked upon as sin, but there the sin is, hidden away somewhere in the heart or in the life, and God “will not hear.”

Any one who finds his prayers ineffective should not conclude that the thing which he asks of God is not according to His will, but should go alone with God with the Psalmist’s prayer, “Search me, O God, and know my heart: try me, and know my thoughts: and see if there be any wicked way in me” (Ps. 139:23,24), and wait before Him until He puts His finger upon the thing that is displeasing in His sight. Then this sin should be confessed and put away.

I well remember a time in my life when I was praying for two definite things that it seemed that I must have, or God would be dishonored; but the answer did not come. I awoke in the middle of the night in great physical suffering and great distress of soul. I cried to God for these things, reasoned with Him as to how necessary it was that I get them, and get them at once; but no answer came. I asked God to show me if there was anything wrong in my own life. Something came to my mind that had often come to it before, something definite but which I was unwilling to confess as sin. I said to God,

“If this is wrong I will give it up”; but still no answer came. In my innermost heart, though I had never admitted it, I knew it was wrong.

At last I said:

“This is wrong. I have sinned. I will give it up.”

I found peace. In a few moments I was sleeping like a child. In the morning I woke well in body, and the money that was so much needed for the honor of God’s name came.

Sin is an awful thing, and one of the most awful things about it is the way it hinders prayer, the way it severs the connection between us and the source of all grace and power and blessing. Any one who would have power in prayer must be merciless in dealing with his own sins. “If I regard iniquity in my heart, the Lord will not hear me.”(Ps. 66:18) So long as we hold on to sin or have any controversy with God, we cannot expect Him to heed our prayers. If there is anything that is constantly coming up in your moments of close communion with God, that is the thing that hinders prayer: put it away.

Lord, search me and know my heart; try me and know my thoughts and see if there be any wicked way in me. I sincerely ask forgiveness for the sins that I have harbored in my heart and mind; for the sins that I have done. I do not wish to have sin hinder my prayers, Lord. Please help me to live in righteousness; to know your Word and obey, that no sin can ever hinder my prayers.  This I ask in the Name of Jesus, Amen.

14.10.11

Hindrances to Prayer - WRONG MOTIVE


We have gone very carefully into the positive conditions of prevailing prayer; but there are some things which hinder prayer. These God has made very plain in His Word.

1. The first hindrance to prayer we will find in James 4:3,

“You ask and do not receive BECAUSE YOU ASK AMISS, THAT YOU MAY SPEND IT IN YOUR PLEASURES.”

A selfish purpose in prayer robs prayer of power. Very many prayers are selfish. These may be prayers for things for which it is perfectly proper to ask, for things which it is the will of God to give, but the motive of the prayer is entirely wrong, and so the prayer falls powerless to the ground. The true purpose in prayer is that God may be glorified in the answer. If we ask any petition merely that we may receive something to use in our pleasures or in our own gratification in one way or another, we “ask amiss” and need not expect to receive what we ask. This explains why many prayers remain unanswered.

For example, many a woman is praying for the conversion of her husband. That certainly is a most proper thing to ask; but many a woman’s motive in asking for the conversion of her husband is entirely improper, it is selfish. She desires that her husband may be converted because it would be so much more pleasant for her to have a husband who sympathized with her; or it is so painful to think that her husband might die and be lost forever. For some such selfish reason as this she desires to have her husband converted. The prayer is purely selfish. Why should a woman desire the conversion of her husband? First of all and above all, that God may be glorified; because she cannot bear the thought that God the Father should be dishonored by her husband trampling underfoot the Son of God.

Many pray for a revival. That certainly is a prayer that is pleasing to God, it is along the line of His will; but many prayers for revivals are purely selfish. The churches desire revivals in order that the membership may be increased, in order that the church may have a position of more power and influence in the community, in order that the church treasury may be filled, in order that a good report may be made at the presbytery or conference or association. For such low purposes as these, churches and ministers oftentimes are praying for a revival, and oftentimes too God does not answer the prayer. Why should we pray for a revival? For the glory of God, because we cannot endure it that God should continue to be dishonored by the worldliness of the church, by the sins of unbelievers, by the proud unbelief of the day; because God’s Word is being made void; in order that God may be glorified by the outpouring of His Spirit on the Church of Christ. For these reasons first of all and above all, we should pray for a revival.

Many a prayer for the Holy Spirit is a purely selfish prayer.

It certainly is God’s will to give the Holy Spirit to them that ask Him—He has told us so plainly in His Word (Luke 11:13), but many a prayer for the Holy Spirit is hindered by the selfishness of the motive that lies back of the prayer. Men and women pray for the Holy Spirit in order that they may be happy, or in order that they may be saved from the wretchedness of defeat in their lives, or in order that they may have power as Christian workers, or for some other purely selfish motive. Why should we pray for the Spirit? In order that God may no longer be dishonored by the low level of our Christian lives and by our ineffectiveness in service, in order that God may be glorified in the new beauty that comes into our lives and the new power that comes into our service.

Lord, purify my motives so that whenever I pray and ask for something, I foremost seek to glorify You. I'm sorry, dear God, because there are times that my motives in asking is from a self-centered point of view. I learned today that when I pray, it's not just about me, but it's about You. It's about You. I pray Lord, that I may learn to always glorify You in everything I do especially in prayer. Amen. 






5.10.11

With Thanksgiving

There are two words often overlooked in the lesson about prayer which Paul gives us in Phil. 4:6,7,
“In nothing be anxious; but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God. And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall guard your hearts and your thoughts in Christ Jesus.” 
 The two important words often overlooked are, “WITH THANKSGIVING.”

In approaching God to ask for new blessings, we should never forget to return thanks for blessings already granted. If any one of us would stop and think how many of the prayers which we have offered to God have been answered, and how seldom we have gone back to God to return thanks for the answers thus given, I am sure we would be overwhelmed with confusion. We should be just as definite in returning thanks as we are in prayer. We come to God with most specific petitions, but when we return thanks to Him, our thanksgiving is indefinite and general.

Doubtless one reason why so many of our prayers lack power is because we have neglected to return thanks for blessings already received. If any one were to constantly come to us asking help from us, and should never say “Thank you” for the help thus given, we would soon tire of helping one so ungrateful. Indeed, regard for the one we were helping would hold us back from encouraging such rank ingratitude. Doubtless our heavenly Father out of a wise regard for our highest welfare oftentimes refuses to answer petitions that we send up to Him in order that we may be brought to a sense of our ingratitude and taught to be thankful.

God is deeply grieved by the thanklessness and ingratitude of which so many of us are guilty. When Jesus healed the ten lepers and only one came back to give Him thanks, in wonderment and pain He exclaimed,

“Were not the ten cleansed? but where are the nine?” (Luke 17:17)

How often must He look down upon us in sadness at our forgetfulness of His repeated blessings, and His frequent answer to our prayers.

Returning thanks for blessings already received increases our faith and enables us to approach God with new boldness and new assurance. Doubtless the reason so many have so little faith when they pray, is because they take so little time to meditate upon and thank God for blessings already received. As one meditates upon the answers to prayers already granted, faith waxes bolder and bolder, and we come to feel in the very depths of our souls that there is nothing too hard for the Lord. As we reflect upon the wondrous goodness of God toward us on the one hand, and upon the other hand upon the little thought and strength and time that we ever put into thanksgiving, we may well humble ourselves before God and confess our sin.

The mighty men of prayer in the Bible, and the mighty men of prayer throughout the ages of the church’s history have been men who were much given to thanksgiving and praise. David was a mighty man of prayer, and how his Psalms abound with thanksgiving and praise. The apostles were mighty men of prayer; of them we read that “they were continually in the temple, praising and blessing God.” Paul was a mighty man of prayer, and how often in his epistles he bursts out in definite thanksgiving to God for definite blessings and definite answers to prayers. Jesus is our model in prayer as in everything else. We find in the study of His life that His manner of returning thanks at the simplest meal was so noticeable that two of His disciples recognized Him by this after His resurrection.

Thanksgiving is one of the inevitable results of being filled with the Holy Spirit and one who does not learn “in everything to give thanks” cannot continue to pray in the Spirit. If we would learn to pray with power we would do well to let these two words sink deep into our hearts: “WITH THANKSGIVING.”

Lord, thank You so much for all the blessings that You have given, that You are giving us and that You will continue to give us. I'm sorry Lord, if at times, the negative circumstances in our lives cloud my sight in seeing all the blessings that you already bestowed upon us. The most special of which is the salvation and forgiveness that comes from what Jesus did on the cross of Calvary for us. Teach me, Lord, to be always thankful not only during the good times but even in the bad times knowing that You are always there for us. Truly, words are not enough to express all our thanks and gratitude to our ever-Loving and ever-Giving God.  Oh, how I love You and thank You. In the Name of Jesus, I give You praise. Amen.