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Some Points On Prayer
By Malcolm B Heap, Midnight Ministries
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Q. In James 5:14 it says: Is anyone among you sick? Let him call for the elders of the church, and let them pray over him, anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord.
Why is it that many evangelists don’t obey this instruction to anoint with oil when praying for the sick, and yet the sick are often still healed?
A. That is not a hard and fast, fixed-in-concrete command, that you MUST call for an elder (or two) to pray for you – or anoint with oil – in order to receive healing. God listens to the earnest, believing, trusting prayer of a contrite and sincere person. His healing does not depend upon elders, nor upon oil. It depends upon us responding to Him.
When you have grown in faith to know that God heals, you can anoint others with oil and pray for their healing, if you feel so moved by the Spirit. Or you can pray for them without anointing them. The oil is merely a symbol, and a physical ‘crutch’ to help the one prayed for to believe and trust God more.
James 5:14 is a directive, not a command – it says "let him" – a suggestive encouragement to the person who has not received healing, to encourage him to receive.
Perhaps it is also to help him dig deeper as to why he has not been healed (see Jas 5:15 about sins). If a person calls for the elders of the Church to pray over him, he is asking them not for a ritual prayer (as it has become in too many circles), but to enquire of God. When we pray to God, we should expect reciprocation. God responds to us. He speaks.
Elders should be mature and know God’s voice. When they pray over the sick person, they are asking God what can they do to encourage and help that person spiritually. God can reveal to them weaknesses or blockages in that person’s spiritual life that are hindering the healing which God promises. All that is bound up underneath those words in Jas 5:14.
It is not a command to engage in a ritual that asserts ‘eldership superiority’ over brethren, as some Spirit-dead churches have made it. They turn the scripture on its head!
Q. On the tape WAKE UP – America! Stan Johnson of the Prophecy Club (USA) repeated the prophet Dumitru Duduman’s words. He said "When you pray for others, their problems come back to you and you are weighed down by them."
Is this biblical? Don’t they contradict the words of James 5:16 and the numerous instances the apostle Paul said "Pray for this and that person and pray also for me"?
A. Dumitru Duduman was repeating what God had told Dumitru for Stan’s wife – that she was being brought down (discouraged) by demons because she was praying for others without praying sufficiently for herself. Their problems were coming back on her and she was weighed down by them all – being oppressed.
In 1 Timothy 2:1, Paul describes several forms of prayer: "Supplications (asking help for specifics), prayers (more general, and up to the individual what is prayed), intercessions..." (NKJV).
Now, intercession is not a request. It is warfare.
Helena engages in intercession. I don’t, except in my writing. She has a specific spiritual gift whereby she feels a pressure or weight in her head (what the prophets referred to as a ‘burden’) to pray for someone and against some spiritual force that is restricting or dominating them. She is exerting a spiritual force against demons. She can actually feel in her head the strength of what she is up against, as the Holy Spirit engages her in the fight.
You must realise that this type of prayer cannot be engaged in humanly. It is the Spirit which engages us in it (if you are called to that type of service).
If you try to fight demons on your own, you can’t. And that’s what Stan’s wife was doing. She was not in tune with God sufficiently before she got hooked up into the spirit realm and started to try to pray for others, to release them from the problems demons caused.
So, the demons that were troubling those people came to torment her. The problems those people were weighed down with were coming back on her, and they were crushing her.
Perhaps she was shallow spiritually, and didn’t realise the depth of what she was getting into by engaging in intercession. Or perhaps God gave her a calling in that area, to enlighten her about just how futile her prayers were, to humble her and draw her to rely upon Him more. I suspect that is the case.
Anyway, in His love, God spoke to Dumitru for her benefit, so that she could be delivered.
Carefully and Prayerfully
Jesus said "watch and pray" (Matt 26:41)
– be alert spiritually. Are you?
Luke 21:36 is one that has been very misunderstood. The NIV misrepresents it thus:
Be always on the watch, and pray that you may be able to escape all that is about to happen.
It gives the impression that you should pray a selfish prayer, asking God to help you to escape the troubles about to come upon the whole earth. Being a physical being, you tend to think in terms of physical protection or physical escape. That’s what I used to think this meant many years ago.
The New King James Version gets closer to the true meaning of the Greek:
Watch, therefore, and pray always that you may be counted worthy [alternative meaning: have strength] to escape all these things that will come to pass, and to stand before the Son of Man.
The rendition of "have strength to" is closer to the meaning of the Greek.
The Concordant Literal Translation has this:
Now be vigilant, on every occasion beseeching that you may be prevailing to escape all these things which are about to occur, and to stand in front of the Son of Man.
"To prevail" means "to be victorious or gain the mastery over". In true prayer – not the useless ritual of unbelief spoken in many churches, where it is merely going through the motions – you have union with God through His Spirit. In this union with Him, His Spirit gives you a spiritual enabling. He enables you to prevail against anything that is against your spiritual success.
Remember that the promises of the Bible are SPIRITUAL promises, not physical ones. (This is where so many go wrong!) Jesus is giving you an assurance that, if you stay in union with God, He will enable you to succeed spiritually, even in dire situations. Jesus reiterated it in different words in John 15:7.
‘Watching’ is a metaphor for being spiritually vigilant.
However, prayer is not the only aspect which is vital to your spiritual success. There are other things you need to perceive (watch or see) and respond to in the correct way. And, to all of us – who are errant, sinful human beings – nothing is more fundamental than correction. You may not like it, but you need it!
The Medicine Nobody Wants
On 28th October 2005, Mila Thompson was given this highly significant dream:
Steve and I were doing something. [This symbolises spiritual activity, helping prepare the Bride.] Then I saw some words that were appearing in the air:
Then there appeared a set of new words:
Meaning: I understood the message as follows:
The instruction comes from Above. It is always flawless and perfect. However, the interpretation and the following action are done by us. One of them or both can contain mistakes, due to the limitations of our understanding, or because of the impurity of the motives of the human heart. Thus, the result may be a failure, or something very different from what God originally intended.
Yet, we are not to despair. We must seek God’s correction, accept it, and act accordingly. This way we grow in our faith and in the image of God. Mila Thompson
The above are the 7 stages in your development. The list summarises how God deals with us all.
1. He instructs. He does this through the Bible, through dreams, visions, prophets, teachers, and prophetic revelations.
2. We interpret what He says. What you are willing to accept depends upon you. Most people don’t accept all God says. They reinterpret what God means, so we have ended up with a church at large that has a whole variety of different persuasions than what God meant originally.
3. Action. God means you to live by His word, not just hear it. His Holy Spirit helps the contrite.
4. Result. If you live it, you are blessed (Ps 1).
5. Correction is not welcome, but you need it. Prophets bring it; it’s part of their remit, to help you see what God approves or disapproves. So, don’t ignore the dreams He gives us. They are for your good! Repent!
6. Accepting correction is hard, but necessary.
7. Growing spiritually is the beautiful outcome. & Malcolm B Heap
Praying for the Living
On 9th November 2005, in a dream, Helena saw a woman sitting on a mat. She was told by God to get on her knees and pray earnestly.
The woman in this dream depicts the Church – all believers in Jesus who are faithful to Him, whether or not they are part of any organised ‘churches’. God is urging her, to stir her to action in what is most needful. She is ‘asleep’ spiritually, not doing enough of what He wants.
God is calling His people to prayer. He wants us all to pray with humility and zeal. Prayer helps us to draw near to God so we can resist and fight the devil.
In the back of my study Bible appears the following very good article by Adrian Rogers. Although we have written similarly on prayer in various articles and in the booklet Why Pray?, I reproduce it here so that others can benefit from his inspired account:
PRINCIPLES OF PRAYER
As temples of the Holy Spirit, our bodies should be houses of prayer. Anything that distracts from vital prayer in our lives is a treacherous thief, stealing from us the blessings the Father longs to bestow and taking from the Father the glory that He so richly deserves. We need to learn the art of prevailing prayer which links us with the almighty God in a miraculous way.
If God does hear and answer prayer, then the one thing above all else that I should learn to do is to pray. Failure to pray is more than a tragedy. It is a sin. God’s Word says:
Moreover, as for me, far be it from me that I should sin against the Lord in ceasing to pray for you; but I will teach you the good and the right way (1 Sam 12:23).
What did Jesus teach about prevailing prayer? In Matthew 6:9-13, our Lord provided some wonderful insights to aid us in our prayer life.
The Person Of The Prayer
Notice that Christ’s model prayer begins with "Our Father." Right away we learn that vital prayer is a child talking with his Father. Therefore, we must be children of God in order to pray with effectiveness. Not everyone has the right to call God "Father". Only those who have been born into His family have that right, and God makes it clear in the Scriptures that some human beings are not His children. Jesus said of the unconverted Pharisees:
You are of your father the devil (Jn 8:44).
We become children of God and can call Him "Father" only when by faith we receive Christ as our Lord and Saviour and are born [begotten] into His family. John makes this clear in his words concerning Jesus:
He came to His own, and His own did not receive Him. But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, to those who believe in His name (Jn 1:11,12).
But if He is your Father, how simple and natural it ought to be for you to pray. The Holy Spirit has even taught us to pray, "Abba, Father" (Rom 8:15). Abba is an Aramaic word that is very close to our word "Daddy". It was one of the first words framed upon the lips of a little baby. How thrilling to know that as God’s dear child you can come with such intimate confidence as to call Him "Abba, Father".
The Purpose Of The Prayer
We are told to pray, "Your kingdom come, Your will be done." This tells us immediately that prayer has one major purpose, i.e. to seek and to secure the will of God. Prayer is answered only when it is in the will of God.
Now this is the confidence that we have in Him, that if we ask anything according to His will, He hears us (1 Jn 5:14).
Praying in the will of God does not mean fewer blessings, but rather greater blessings for you. We should never fear the will of God.
But remember that prayer is not some exercise whereby we try to bend God’s will to fit our will. Prayer is not talking God into doing something that He ordinarily would not want to do. Prayer is the thrilling experience of finding God’s will and then asking Him for it. How do we know God’s will? Obviously God’s will is made known in a general sense as we read the Bible, but there are so many specific things that the Scriptures do not touch upon.
The secret of knowing God’s will in prayer is not only to know the Bible and let its truth abide in us, but to be very, very sensitive to the leading of the Holy Spirit of God. Remember that because you are a temple of God and a house of prayer, God’s Holy Spirit abides within you, and He will help you pray (Rom 8:26,27). We call this "praying in the Spirit." When we pray, we are to pray to the Father, through the Son, in the Spirit. What a glorious partnership there is, between the Holy Spirit and the human spirit. The Holy Spirit teaches us the will of God and helps us to pray as we ought. The Holy Spirit, as our helper, wants to think through our minds, feel through our hearts, speak through our lips, weep through our eyes, and express Himself through our spirits. Prayer is the Holy Spirit’s finding a desire in the heart of the Father and then placing that desire into our hearts. The desire is then sent back to heaven in the power of the cross. This is why we must learn to wait before the Father in meditation and openness when we pray.
The Provision Of The Prayer
Surely we may ask for our needs ("Give us this day our daily bread.") While we should not pray selfish prayers, we certainly may pray personal prayers for personal needs. Our Father is concerned with every need we have. Remember that this model prayer is but a guide for praying. Jesus did not mean we should only ask for bread. What He did mean was that we should bring all of our needs to the Father and ask Him specifically for what we need. Paul reminds us:
And my God shall supply all your need according to His riches in glory by Christ Jesus (Phil 4:19).
Notice he did not say, "all your wants". Sometimes we want things we do not need, and sometimes we need things we do not want. Many Christians have needs that are unmet simply because they do not pray. James reminds us:
You do not have because you do not ask (James 4:2).
Let us learn to ask the Father for the things we need. Nothing that is big enough to concern us is too small to concern Him. Ask Him for your needs.
The Pardon Of The Prayer
Powerful prayer must come from a clean heart. Jesus taught us to pray for daily forgiveness ("forgive us our debts") just as we pray for daily bread. Many of our prayers are not answered because we are not including confession and repentance with our petitions. The prayer from a dirty heart is a prayer not answered.
If I regard iniquity in my heart, the Lord will not hear (Ps 66:18).
James warns all of us when he says:
Draw near to God and He will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, you sinners; and purify your hearts, you double-minded (James 4:8).
We cannot pray effectively with dirty hands, defiled hearts, and double minds. So many of us, it seems, would rather hold onto our sins than enjoy the freedom of a prayer life that knows no limits. Are there sins that have made your temple a den of thieves rather than a house of prayer? If so, pray, "Forgive me my debts."
The Protection Of The Prayer
The phrase, "deliver us from the evil one", is an acknowledgment of our need for God to provide us a way of escape from our great enemy the devil. Satan has already made plans to sabotage your life and to hurt your loved ones. He has already dug a pit for your feet to fall in this day.
Satan cannot get at God directly. He knows, as evil persons have always known, that if you cannot harm someone, then the next most effective thing is to harm someone that person loves. God loves you, and, therefore, Satan has aimed all of the artillery of hell at you. You need the protection provided through prayer. The prayer for deliverance from evil and temptation is preventive medicine.
The Praise Of The Prayer
Jesus’ model prayer both opens and closes on a note of praise ("Yours is the ... Glory forever.") How appropriate this is. Prayer must be done in faith, and praise is the best expression of faith.
When we ask God for things, that is petition. But petition without praise is unbelief. Praise without petition, however, is presumption. But when we link petition and praise together, that is power. When I ask God, then praise God, I am believing God. Petition says, "Please." Praise says, "Thank you." If your faith is strong, your prayers will be strong. Pray and believe and you will receive. Pray and doubt and you will do without. How important, therefore, it is that we learn to praise. If your prayer life seems useless and powerless, learn to praise God. The Bible says that God inhabits the praises of His people. He is very near when we praise Him.
The Lord’s Prayer begins with "Our Father" and ends with "Yours is the kingdom." Our Father is a King. Just think about that. I have a Father who will hear me and a King who can answer me. I have the sympathy of a Father and the sovereignty of a King attuned to my prayer. Yes, why shouldn’t I offer God praise? You will discover victory when you let your temple be a house of prayer. End of Adrian Rogers’ Article from the NKJV Believer’s Study Bible, pp 1871-3.
What Will You Bring?
A modern praise song contains these words:
What can I give, what can I bring
What can I sing as an offering...?
You have seen the answer already. God is calling His people to prayer.
A very unseen ministry is that of intercession.
Intercession is prayer on behalf of others. The Holy Spirit helps you pray (Rom 8:26 – do read it). It can be pleading for others. With Helena’s spiritual gift, it is bombarding demons, fighting for others. It urges and yearns for repentance. It is unselfish devotion to others who need spiritual help. It is selfless dedication to duty. It yearns for restoration, to see deliverance, to avoid judgement, to bestow blessings.
It is, in the physical, an expression of the heart of God.
Watch, therefore, and pray always that you may have strength to escape... (Lk 21:36).
Why Pray? (WP); Why Trials? (WT)
Revelations From God About The Judgement Of Britain (Jud)
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