Prayerlessness is Sin and also Very Risky Business

 

Jesus wants us to be HOT Christians, not lukewarm Laodicians. It takes fervent, sincere prayer to build up your most holy faith. I heard an over the wall Calvinist type mystery meat “teacher” telling his groupies on PalTalk that you shouldn’t listen to anyone who tells you that you should pray more or read your bible more. Well, let me tell you that man  is a liar and a deceiver. See our post…https://spiritualabusesanctuary.wordpress.com/2012/06/02/480/

Considering how the flesh wars against the Spirit and the Spirit wars against the flesh, we need all the help from God we can get in these evil, perilous days, with temptations and trials assailing us from every direction.Prayer and obedience is key!

But if we truly love the LORD JESUS, we will discipline ourselves to prayer. Prayer is not just a necessity to the Christian, we need to remember it’s a privilege to be granted the right to come before the LORD in prayer. Of course, the kind of false message this mystery meat online self appointed “teacher” was spoon-feeding his deceived “flock”, appeals to the flesh, and the flesh would no doubt respond, saying, “Hey, that sounds good to me, I’m tired so I can go watch a movie or some football on TV, and have a cold brew instead of spending time in prayer”. That’s because prayer is not a “natural” act to the flesh, it’s a spiritual action.

Quite simply, that’s why the flesh wars so hard against prayer. Spirit led prayer is spiritual, not earthly and carnal. Jesus wants to fellowship with us. Do we expect to hear from Him, or be granted petitions when we’ve pushed Him away, or neglected Him? No, just as with any true relationship, love and friendship with Jesus, our relationship with Him must be nourished, and cherished.

Jesus prayed….and He encourages us to pray as well. If we love Him, we will take heed to that, and not neglect our prayer life.

 

Next…a good message about obedience being crucial to God answering our prayers!

 

 

http://authenticchristianity.net/

 

The Conditions for Power in Prayer

 

The following lesson was developed from the writings of Steve Bray- “The Faith that Prays.”)

 

And whatever we ask we receive from Him, because we keep His commandments and do those things that are pleasing in His sight. (1 John 3:22)

 

The advance of a spiritual kingdom cannot be worked out through the strength of the flesh. It is not unusual to assume that progress is being made when we are developing programs and religious activities through our human plans and efforts. But the things that take place on the natural plane of life do not advance the true kingdom of God. While these activities may draw people to the church, the real fight of faith entails becoming partakers with Christ in His eternal Kingdom-life. “Fight the good fight of faith, lay hold on eternal life, to which you were also called…” (1 Tim. 6:12) In God’s kingdom everything is worked out through faith because He insists on being the source of everything.

Christ is now in a place of power and authority where He can begin doing these “greater works” through the members of His body here on earth. It is not a work that can be accomplished through fleshly efforts. To be effective, it will be necessary to begin fighting the real battle that takes place in the spiritual realm. “For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places.” (Eph. 6:12)

The kingdom of God is a spiritual kingdom of righteousness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit. The kingdom advances as individuals become filled with the Spirit and walk by the Spirit. Human programs do not have the needed power to advance this heavenly kingdom.

The people of God must begin to see that the advancement of this spiritual kingdom is dependent on prayer. If church leaders were to concentrate on one plea and exhortation, it should be this: “Brethren, pray for us.” (2 Thess. 3:1)

But this confronts us with another critical question: What if there is something in the church that prevents our prayers from being heard? Every congregation needs to consider this matter with the utmost priority. We cannot expect to have spiritual progress if God refuses to listen to us because there is sin in the camp. Listen to the words of the Lord as He speaks to Joshua after Israel’s defeat at Ai:

So the Lord said to Joshua: “Get up! Why do you lie thus on your face {in prayer}? Israel has sinned, and they have also transgressed My covenant which I commanded them… Get up, sanctify the people… O Israel; you cannot stand before your enemies until you take away the accursed thing from among you.” (Josh. 7:10-13)

A careful study of the Scriptures will reveal how the prayers of an unholy people become an abomination in the sight of God. The Lord said to His called-out people of old, “When you spread out your hands, I will hide My eyes from you; Even though you make many prayers, I will not hear.” (Isa. 1:15) Why did He refuse to listen to them? It was because they were not walking according to His ways.

When God’s people begin to live for themselves, and hoard for their own pleasures the things that should be fully devoted to His work, they will be resisted. Dear children of God, you have been granted a glorious privilege. There are some exceedingly great and precious promises available to you. But you separate yourself and the church from God’s glory and power when you live for yourself and the temporal pleasures of this world.

Do not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. (1 John 2:15)

“Has a nation changed its gods, which are not gods? But My people have changed their Glory for what does not profit. Be astonished, O heavens, at this, and be horribly afraid; Be very desolate,” says the Lord. “For My people have committed two evils: They have forsaken Me, the fountain of living waters, and hewn themselves cisterns—broken cisterns that can hold no water. (Jer. 2:11-13)

And what agreement has the temple of God with idols? For you are the temple of the living God. As God has said: “I will dwell in them…” Therefore “Come out from among them and be separate, says the Lord. Do not touch what is unclean {anything that is not fully devoted to the Lord}, and I will receive you… Therefore, having these promises, beloved, let us cleanse ourselves from all filthiness of the flesh and spirit, perfecting holiness in the fear of God. (2 Cor 6:16-7:1)

God cannot hear the prayers of His people until they have devoted themselves and everything they have to Him. “Get up, sanctify the people… O Israel; you cannot stand before your enemies until you take away the accursed thing from among you.” We sanctify ourselves by presenting our bodies to the Lord as living sacrifices. (Rom. 12:1) We were redeemed for the purpose of living for His kingdom and glory.

In reality, those who are following the devil’s self-exalting and self-seeking way of life are still living in darkness under his dominion. “This wisdom does not descend from above, but is earthly, sensual, demonic. For where envy {with its source in self-exaltation} and self-seeking exist, confusion and every evil thing are there.” (Jam. 3:15-16) The devil is the one who introduced the self-exalting and self-seeking way of life to the world. “And the whole world lies under the sway of the wicked one.” (1 John 5:19) And the Lord will not hear us until we come out from this worldly way of life.

Many of the members of Christ’s church have been living for their own little kingdoms. They have taken of the things that should have been devoted to the Lord and used these resources to live for their own pleasures. Like Nebuchadnezzar, they are attempting to build an image of their own. They want others to pay homage and give them honor for what they have accomplished. This means of finding life by responding to the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eye and the pride of life has led the church into perilous times in these last days. No wonder we have remained so powerless!

But know this, that in the last days perilous times will come: For men will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boasters, proud… headstrong, haughty, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, having a form of godliness but denying its power. And from such people turn away! (2 Tim. 3:1-5)

The apostle Paul does not intend for us to turn away from the people of this world. They still need someone to show them how to escape from this carnal darkness. When the apostle tells us to separate from people who remain caught up in this way of life he is referring to people in the church. Their unsanctified state is actually separating the church from the power of God. In the same sense that God refused to answer the payers of Joshua when there was sin in the camp, we too can expect to remain separated from the power of God while we continue to refer to people as Christians when they insist on living in an unsanctified state.

The individual members of the church will need to turn away from the self-exalting and self-seeking ways of the devil before the body of Christ can become powerful in prayer. This truth must be emphasized even if it ends up driving many away from the congregation. Only then will the church be in a place to carry out the supernatural work of God in the spiritual realm. It is better to have a few souls who can reach the Lord in prayer than to have a large congregation of people who are separating the whole church from the power of God.

There is nothing wrong with people coming to church in their carnal state to hear the word of God. But they should never be permitted to think they are members of Christ’s body while they are still following the devil’s self-exalting and self-seeking way of life.

For the love of Christ compels us, because we judge thus: that if one died for all, then all died; and He died for all, that those who live should live no longer for themselves, but for Him who died for them and rose again. (2 Cor. 5:14-15)

According to our original text, there are certain things that must be done before our prayers can become effective. It says, “Whatever we ask we receive from Him, because we keep His commandments and do those things that are pleasing in His sight.” Are the members of the church truly surrendered to doing what is pleasing in God’s sight? Do they have the mind of Christ? Have they chosen to have “no reputation” of their own, or are they still expending their time and resources in an attempt to build up their own little kingdoms in order to impress their neighbors? It is sad, but even many of our leaders are now following the self-exalting and self-seeking ways of the devil. No wonder the church has remained so powerless!

We need to make this distinction. There is a great difference between the prayer of a sinner seeking God’s mercy and the prayer of someone who is resisting revealed light. We say to the reader—no matter how spiritually depraved you may now be—if you sincerely seek the mercy of God and yield your whole being to become a vessel of Christ’s “light of life,” you can depend on Him to save you from all sin. His eyes are always searching for individuals who are fully surrendered to His ways. “For the eyes of the Lord range throughout the earth to strengthen those whose hearts are fully committed to him.” (2 Chron. 16:9 NIV) Anyone who is willing to live through the Son can expect God to lead them into this life of promise. Even though there will be much light that needs to be opened to the heart as these believers move forward in their yielded walk of faith, God will recognize their repentance, and the Spirit will begin His work of leading them into all truth.

However, those who have already been called out by God will need to sanctify themselves to the Lord before He will hear them. It implies making a full surrender to the revealed light of truth no matter how painful it may be to the flesh-life. “Get up, sanctify the people…” He will not hear from anyone who has not turned from their old self-directed way of life and have submitted to being led by Christ’s Spirit alone. “For if you live according to the flesh {according to your own will and desires} you will die; but if by the Spirit you put to death the deeds of the body, you will live. For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, these are sons of God.” (Rom. 8:13-14)

And whoever does not bear his cross and come after Me cannot be My disciple… So likewise, whoever of you does not forsake all that he has {from his old worldly way of life} cannot be My disciple. (Luke 14:27, 33)

No one, having put his hand to the plow, and looking back {to the ways of this world}, is fit for the kingdom of God. (Luke 9:62)

The right to receive answers to prayer is given to the obedient. We are now referring to the honors and special favors of God’s house that are given or withheld according to our responsiveness to His Spirit. He answers our prayers “because we keep His commandments and do those things that are pleasing in His sight.” It may be helpful to hear what R.A. Torrey said about this verse in How to Pray.

One of the most significant verses in the Bible on prayer is 1 John 3:22. John says, “And whatsoever we ask, we receive of Him, because we keep His commandments, and do those things that are pleasing in His sight.”… In other words, the one who expects God to do as he asks Him must on his part do what God bids him. If we give a listening ear to all God’s commands to us, He will give a listening ear to all our petitions to Him… Here we find the secret of much unanswered prayer. We are not listening to God’s Word, and therefore He is not listening to our petition…

If we would have power in prayer, we must be earnest students of His Word to find out what His will regarding us is, and then having found it, do it… But this verse goes beyond the mere keeping of God’s commandments. John tells us that we must do those things that are pleasing in His sight.

There are many things which it would be pleasing to God for us to do which he has not specifically commanded us. A true child is not content with merely doing those things which he specifically commands him to do. He studies to know his father’s will, and if he thinks that there is anything that he can do that would please his father, he does it gladly…

There are many Christians today who are doing things that are not pleasing to God, and leaving undone things which would be pleasing to God. When you speak to them about these things they will confront you at once with the question, “Is there any command in the Bible not to do this thing?” And if you cannot show them some verse in which the matter in question is plainly forbidden, they think they are under no obligation whatever to give it up… Here again we find the explanation of much unanswered prayer: We are not making it the study of our lives to know what would please our Father, and so our prayers are not answered.

Those who neglect the conditions which are connected to the promises will find themselves being shut out from these glorious privileges. The Lord always deals with His people according to how they have responded to His ways: “Oh, that My people would listen to Me, that Israel would walk in My ways! I would soon subdue their enemies, and turn My hand against their adversaries… And with honey from the rock I would have satisfied you.” (Ps. 81:13-14, 16) Have you entered into this victorious life where God has begun to feed your soul with honey from the rock?

It is time to begin examining our lives to determine who is truly being served! Those who are still serving themselves by seeking to accumulate the temporal things of this world for their spiritual fulfillment and security should expect God to speak to them in the same way He spoke to His called-out people in the Old Testament: “You have forsaken Me and served other gods. Therefore I will deliver you no more. Go and cry out to the gods which you have chosen; let them deliver you in your time of distress.” (Jud. 10:13-14) Again, let us listen to R.A. Torrey on this matter:

[A] hindrance to prayer is found in Ezek. 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?” (RV) Idols in the heart cause God to refuse to listen to our prayers.

God will not listen to those who go on willfully in their own way. He says, “if you walk contrary to Me, and are not willing to obey Me…then I also will walk contrary to you, and I will punish you…” (Lev. 16:21, 24) You may even think He is treating you with favor as your self-exalting and self-seeking spirit continues to accumulate things for your spiritual support. But in the end these things only lead to spiritual sickness, and eventually to spiritual death. We need to remember how God chose to answer the prayers of Israel as they willfully sought fleshly sustenance. While the meat was still in their mouth it became a curse to their lives.

But while the meat was still between their teeth, before it was chewed, the wrath of the Lord was aroused against the people, and the Lord struck the people with a very great plague…there they buried the people {in the wilderness} who had yielded to craving. (Num. 11:33-34)

Now these things became our examples, to the intent that we should not lust after evil things {anything that has its source in the flesh-life of self and not in the Father}as they also lusted. And do not become idolaters {all heart idols must go}as were some of them. As it is written, “The people sat down to eat and drink, and rose up to play.” (1 Cor 10:6-8)

If a person truly dwells in God, and the fullness of the Son’s life of divine love dwells in him, he will desire what the Son desires. This believer, as he lives in harmony with the Lord’s life of holy love, will naturally sacrifice himself to live for the good of others, just as the Son does. He desires the Father’s glory, and so does the Son. He desires his life to be an example of holiness, and so does the Son. He abides in the life of the Son, and the Son abides in him. He is therefore in a position to have his prayers answered. “If you abide in Me, and My words abide in you, you will ask what you desire, and it shall be done for you.” (John 15:7)

We know there is a need in this day for God to send a great blessing of revival on the church at large. But have we met the requisite conditions for successfully calling down this revival fire? In faith, have we truly given ourselves to live as vessels of the Son’s life and will? Do we know what it means to have the mind of Christ?

The spiritual life of the individual members of the church will need to be revived before the church can become powerful in the spiritual realm and begin furthering the kingdom of light in this world. Christians must give up their heart idols and look to Christ to be the source of their spiritual life before they can be revived. But the question arises as to whether the people really want to enter into this great salvation. There are people who are praying for revival but they are holding onto a lifestyle that reveals how they really do not want what it would bring. They have not fully responded in sincerity to what the Spirit would have worked out in their own life if He had full reign. Once again we will turn to R.A. Torrey for his comments:

Psalm 145:18 throws a great deal of light on the question of how to pray: “The Lord is nigh unto all them that call upon Him, to all that call upon Him in truth.” That little expression “in truth” is worthy of study. If you will take your concordance and go through the Bible, you will find that this expression means “in reality” or “in sincerity.” The prayer that God answers is the prayer that is real, the prayer that asks for something that is sincerely desired…

Many a church is praying for a revival that does not really desire a revival. They think they do, for to their minds a revival means an increase of membership, an increase of income, an increase of reputation among the churches; but if they knew what a real revival meant, what a searching of hearts on the part of professed Christians would be involved, what a radical transformation of individual, domestic and social life would be brought about, and many other things that would come to pass if the Spirit of God was poured out in reality and power; if all this were known, the real cry of the church would be “O God, keep us from having a revival.”

Many a minister is praying for the baptism with the Holy Spirit who does not really desire it. He thinks he does, for the baptism with the Spirit means to him new joy, new power in preaching the Word, a wider reputation among men, a larger prominence in the church of Christ. But if he understood what a baptism with the Holy Spirit really involved, how for example it would necessarily bring him into antagonism with the world, and with unspiritual Christians, how it would cause his name to be “cast out as evil,” how it might necessitate his leaving a good comfortable living…if he understood all this, his prayer quite likely would be—if he were to express the real wish of his heart,—“O God, save me from being baptized with the Holy Ghost.”

But when we do come to the place where we really desire the conversion of friends at any cost, really desire the outpouring of the Holy Spirit whatever it may involve, really desire the baptism with the Holy Ghost come what come may, where we desire anything “in truth” and then call upon God for it “in truth,” God is going to hear.

If each of the members of Christ’s body would have this mind, the church would begin to change things by the power that is now available through prayer. The true kingdom of God would begin to spread today in the same way it did in the first century. Then the people of the world would begin to say of us as they did of the early church: “These who have turned the world upside down have come here too.” (Acts 17:6)

 

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