Matthew 6 offers a primer about prayer from Jesus.  He does not instruct the disciples to pray;  rather, he assumes that they will pray and proceeds to teach regarding their prayer life.   We must adopt that same attitude:  men and women ought to pray and do so God’s way!

Prayer is an experience involving a Divine Being and a human being.  It is not intended to be  showmanship nor  ‘one-up manship.’  It must be communication between the soul of a human and the Spirit that is God.  A hypocrite makes flowery prayers to be heard and commended of man;  a Christian earnestly speaks the desire of his heart to God from his soul.

No request is ever a surprise to God!  He knows the need prior to our request but He waits for us to demonstrate our faith by our prayer.  The simple act of opening one’s mouth to ask God to meet our need is what he desires – and our loving Father God will provide the need!

However, many saints have experienced the moment when a sincere prayer seemingly won’t leave the room.  Trouble has appeared to terrorize our congregations.  In such moments ‘closet praying’ may need to be replaced with ‘Warfare Praying!’  When the enemy restricts our access to God we must exert a greater effort to insure victory!

Save my Family! Lot and his family were apparently pulled into the affairs of Sodom.  Going to war for their souls, Abraham bargained with God for the sake of his nephew Lot and his family.  Abraham went beyond mere conversation;  he took liberty with God in an attempt to save the lives of his relatives.  Because he had prayed before, he knew how to approach God.   Abraham stayed in the fight until he was convinced he had won.  Although the conditions set by Abraham were not met, God still gave Abraham his heart’s desire by bringing Lot and his daughters to safety.  If we will desperately petition God for the salvation of our loved ones, it may be that he will deliver them and give us an unanticipated blessing by providing what we wanted rather than the thing for which we asked.  Lord, save my family!

We need a miracle! Isaac’s beloved Rebekah was barren.  God had promised that a Savior would be born of Abraham’s lineage but there was no heir.  Satan was again attempting to thwart the plan of God, however Isaac recognized the danger and knew the solution:   “And Isaac intreated the LORD for his wife, because she was barren: and the LORD was intreated of him, and Rebekah his wife conceived.” (Gen 25:21).  Isaac went to war on his knees and defeated the efforts of the enemy to mock God.  Unexpected setbacks that hinder the work of God should be faced with warfare prayer – intercede for the need and defeat the devil’s efforts!

Direction, Lord, please! Jacob was on his way home after twenty years absence when he learned that a large army was approaching his caravan.  Ever the schemer, he made all of the arrangements that he could imagine and then went to prayer:  “Jacob was left alone; and there wrestled a man with him until the breaking of the day” (Gen 32:24).  Jacob had come to do battle.  At the dawn of the next morning it was said, “…thou hast power with God and with men, and hath prevailed” (Gen 32:28).  Jacob struggled with his circumstances but he overcame them!  He won his battle in the invisible war.

Wrestle! Men and women daily face struggles.  Follow Jacob’s example; complete everything that is in your power;  then, wrestle throughout the darkness!  You will see the sun arise with victory in your heart!  “… having done all to stand, stand therefore …” (Eph 4:24)  It is not a time to yield :  we cannot ‘throw in the towel.  When the denizens of darkness attempt to deny you access to the throne room, refuse to keep them around.  This is war.  It will be them or you!

Delay! Perhaps the greatest of God’s prophets was Daniel .  He survived the lion’s den, an enforced famine, and three regime changes in Babylon. On one occasion he prayed for three weeks about a particular need.  He was then approached by an angel who informed him that he had been sent to him twenty-one  days earlier but had to deal with the prince of Media-Persia.  Evidently the first angel had struggled against the evil prince until Michal and his angels arrived as reinforcement.  Because Daniel was willing to dedicate himself  to the pursuit of Godly habits he too won the war!

If we will pray, God will hear and Acts will again be seen among us.  Defeat the adversary. Pray!

This Article first appeared in the print edition of the Focus Magazine in August 2011