Wednesday, February 18, 2015

WHY PRAY? Part 5 = BECAUSE YOU CAN!

BECOME A PERSISTENT PRAYER WARRIOR!
The effective prayer of a righteous man can accomplish much....James 5:16b

A prayer warrior is a friend or a fellow believer whose walk with the Lord and 
calling are both so supremely evident that you and I swear that when he or she prays, the portals of Heaven open up.  This is basically the essence of what
James,  the brother of our Lord , is saying in the second part of verse 16. The dictionary definition of the following English words convey a  lot of the meaning of the original Greek Text of the New Testament. Let’s take a look at each key word:
Effective: Producing the desired or intended result
Fervent:   Intense, impassioned, fired-up, zealous
Righteous: Acting in accord with divine or moral law:  free from guilt or sin.  
Avail:  to produce or result in as a benefit or advantage
(All from Webster’s’ Dictionary)

In pure English, this portion of verse 16 simply means that a righteous person – one who has stayed up, prayed up and is completed made up – in purity of heart and motives before God –(by definition a passionate daughter or son of God) is so zealous in persistent prayer and intercession that when she or he calls on the Lord, well – He listens! The Lord listens and responds because this fervent intercession produces the result for the beneficiary, towards whom the intercession was intended.

So how does one become a person on whom the Favor of Abba Father rests? There is a way to become this kind of particular saint’s pleadings and prayers rise up as a pleasing aroma to the Lord, Who sits on the Throne. Prayer warriors are not born this way, because we are all given the gifts of Faith and Repentance through the Grace which saveth us. It is a Godly discipline which really can be learned!

So, how does one become a Persistent Prayer Warrior who walks in the Paths of Victory? Here are a five of many steps to becoming such a wonderful servant of the Lord:
1       --      A Persistent Prayer Warrior develops a repentant lifestyle. While a committed Christian sins less and less, we are still a people of the flesh, under the curse of Adam from the Fall of Man in the Garden. The best way to stay in this zone is daily confession and seeking forgiveness. What works for me is my own adaptation of Psalm 139: “Search me, O God, and know my heart; try me and know my anxious thoughts; and see if there be any [n]hurtful way in me, and lead me in the everlasting way (verses 23-24)

2   -  Persistent Prayer Warrior determines to be intentional about praying the Scriptures out loud. This takes many forms – from Praying a Promise of God with your name inserted in the passage and requesting His attention, to just loving reading out a Psalm of Praise to Him – joyfully and with passion! What the Holy Spirit has taught me for over two decades is my need to learn Psalm 118 and say it daily – Give thanks to the Lord for He is Good, and His Mercies endureth forever. If  you did not cut your teeth in the poetic of the King James translation – any translation works, as long as it is Bible, and you are 100% engage with Abba Father, through the Lord Jesus. I picture King David going into battle....or even running from Saul in the wilderness, and he is quietly repeating the Psalms he ended up writing, to himself....like Psalm 54, fr instance "Save me O God by Thy Name and vindicate me by Thy Power (NASB, verse 1).


3  -   Persistent Prayer Warrior devours the Word of God. Psalm 1:1-2 says "How blessed is the man who does not walk in the counsel of the wicked, Nor stand in the path of sinners, Nor sit in the seat of scoffers! But his delight is in the law of the LORD, And in His law he meditates day and night". The actual word in the original Hebrew for "meditates" is "HAGAH". This is not some passive word picture of some ascetic on top of a grassy knoll sitting cross-legged chanting some ungodly mantra. This is the man or woman of God actively seeking, finding and sitting with the Word of God - the Bible, and then LITERALLY DEVOURING THE SCRIPTURES until they are so embedded in you and I that the gates of hell shall not prevail against it. This is what YHWH - Yahweh - Jesus taught us when He slapped the devil down after the latter tried to tempt the Lord three times. Each time, the Word responded to a temptation by "IT IS WRITTEN".  What is written? The Word of God was written for us and is the Prayer Warrior's primary tool for intercession, praise, worship and wonder. Dig into and find the treasures which are therein, in the Bible, because the more you find, the MORE HE REVEALS!

- -  A Persistent Prayer Warrior disdains distractions and therefore, will not be defeated. We have so many things to occupy our attention - fancy electronics (ipads, streaming movies etc), music, activities etc.- but we cannot, should not and must not let our first love be overshadowed by the things of this modern world.  We must have our priorities firmly planted. The devil can only beat us if he can distract us long enough to be busy DOING and not daily pressing in. We are the only ones who can stop him cold in his tracks- and we do so by coming back to the Word, to prayer, to the Lord. We have all been there and been caught up in busy rather than the beauty that comes from sitting at the Feet of the Rabbi, the Teacher, the Master, Who gives daily wisdom as we renew our minds in Him. 

- A Persistent Prayer Warrior decides that not matter what, even if we walk through an occasional desert when nothing works....even if we walk through an occasional dark and troublesome personal time when we are hard-pressed....even if we walk through with someone else or in our own lives, the valley of the shadow of doubt and despair...even if all of this happens at once, and someone calls on us to pray for a medical emergency, a situation with a child or a spouse, a financial calamity, an accident or something untoward, even if all of this is true at once or in double/triple portions, this kind of dynamic prayer warrior will NOT give up, give in or give short change to the person asking for your prayers but would stand firmly - on the Word of God and its Promises. Jeremiah 20:9 says: "But if I say, "I will not mention his word or speak anymore in his name," his word is in my heart like a fire, a fire shut up in my bones. I am weary of holding it in; indeed, I cannot"  

This kind of prayer warrior is the real deal. You and I will not quit and strive to become more like the man who wrote the Book of James. He prayed so much, and on his knees, that he who once doubted Jesus was the Messiah, came to be known as "OLD CAMEL KNEES". There are obviously more aspects, attributes and practical disciplines to becoming this man or woman whose fervent and effective prayer availeth much. In fact, an entire volume can be written on this matter....and am sure, many have been. But the only way it works, is not for a book to tell us, but for us to discover this gift and work on it, develop it and let it bless someone else. 

This can only be done, by dedication to the Word and Wonder of God, through the Grace of Christ. 
This can only be done because you and I love God and love people. 
This can only be done, if Jesus Christ is LORD first, second and always.  
This can only be done, if we devote our lives to serving Him, Who saved us by His Mercy, Grace, Compassion and Long-suffering and brought us into the Kingdom of His dear Son, the Lord Jesus Christ. Amen

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