Tag Archives: ASK

The A.S.K. Principle

Matthew 7:7-8

7 Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you:
8 For every one that asketh receiveth; and he that seeketh findeth; and to him that knocketh it shall be opened.

Warning: This post is bound to be a commercial for the book by the same name. Since I wrote that book, I guess it’s all right if I pull a few things from it to write this post. After all, the principle is derived from these very verses.

There are some verses that we have all heard and have all thought we understood them all our lives. These verses are probably on that list. I looked in 25 different translations of the Bible, and they all use the same three verbs – ask, seek, knock. 30 years ago I was studying in Matthew and took notice of the fact that the acronym formed by these three words is ASK. I studied out each word carefully and came up with the original notes of a Bible study I called “The A.S.K. Principle.” Jesus was a master at using as few words as possible to get His pint across, and He always chose His words very carefully. It is no fluke that He chose these three words in this order. Asking is the key to answered prayer. Plain and simple.

Most likely you are saying to yourself “Well Duh.” Everyone knows that! I would say that is true, but does everyone know exactly what it means to ask, seek and knock? Do each of you follow out what scripture says about each one of these words? The essence of answered prayer is found by looking at each of these words carefully and seeing what the scripture reveals. That is what my book does. But I am not going to go through all 200 pages in this post. This will be the Cliff’s Notes version.

The first step is to ask. The word ask in the Greek is actually continue asking. It is not asking once and receiving an answer although this does happen occasionally. I hear way to many preachers preaching that if we have faith, we will only have to ask once and I vehemently disagree. They use scriptures like John 14:14 (If you ask anything in my name I will do it), Matthew 18:19 (If any two agree it shall be done), Mark 11:23 (if you tell this mountain to move and have faith it will be done) and Luke 17:6 (If you have faith like a mustard seed you can move a mountain). Yes, Jesus said all of these things, and He always spoke the truth. Many take this to mean when we ask, God should do it right away.

But Jesus also said If you abide in me and my words abide in you, you shall ask what you will and it shall be done (John 15:7). In John 14:14, which we shared in the previous paragraph,. Jesus says we must ask in His name. Asking in His name means according to His word. In John 15:16 Jesus says that when our fruit remains the Father will answer our prayers. James said we often ask to heap things on our own lusts and this causes our prayers not to be answered. John said If we ask anything according to His will it shall be done (1 John 5:14).

The body of scripture needs to be taken together if we want to see our asking be more effective. Will God instantly bless prayer? Of course He will, if it is His will to do so. We often get to the point that we think God should fit into our timetable and do what we want. It does not work that way. He is in control, and He can do anything He wants. We can come to Him with our request and He will decide which ones to answer now and which ones to answer later. He will decide exactly how He will answer and it may not be what we expect. No matter what, we should honor Him and glorify His name.

Seeking is next. Once again, we do not seek once but continually. There are many ways we can seek the Lord. It is a necessary step to bring about answered prayer. We seek God by searching through His word. Many times the answer to our prayer is in His word already. If we are not familiar with scripture, we will not know that our answer has already been given. Seeking can also be done when we are praying or praising. Both of these are crying out to God and looking for His mercy and grace. We can seek God through meditation. This type of meditation is not thinking about His word or some song. It is just putting Him in His rightful place in our lives and trying to find His presence within us.

There are many verses that tells us to seek the Lord. They all say He shall be found if we seek Him. Do you find that true? When you take time to seek Him, is He always right there with you? The key to finding God when you are seeking Him is humility. If we come to Him boldly, we may not find Him. Now you will probably quote Hebrews 4:12 to me now. It says Come boldly before the throne. I have heard this verse used many times to justify demanding things of God. But the rest of the verse says we can come boldly if we seek mercy. When we do, we will find grace so that we might help others in there time of need. In other words, we don’t come boldly to Him to fulfil our lusts.

Hosea 10:12 says we must break up our fallow ground before we seek the Lord. Our hearts have many hard areas and they need to be broken in order to effectively seek the Lord. Once again, we see brokenness as a key to seeking the Lord. Zephaniah tells us to seek righteousness and meekness. Seek to do right and seek to be meek. Meek is a form of gentle nature which sees God in control, not me. In Matthew 6:33 we are told to seek the kingdom first. How many times do we come to God seeking things for ourselves instead of the kingdom? How any times have we gone about seeking Him in all the wrong ways/ If we want to find Him, let’s start seeking as the word tells us to.

The las step is knocking. The knocking is the waiting. Continue knocking, continue waiting. This is one of the largest keys too answered prayer. It is being patient and waiting on the Lord. It is allowing God to answer in His time, not ours. He promises to answer over and over in His word, yet we fold when we do not have the answer in five minutes. I can guarantee God will answer your prayer every time if you will just wait on Him, continue to ask and seek carefully.

In Matthew 26:38-44 Jesus tells the disciples to watch and pray. This watching is the same as waiting. He told them to do this for themselves, not for Him. He said they should watch so they would not fall into temptation. They did not do so well, and all of them left Him when the guards came. John is the only one mentioned to be near the cross. In James 1:2-4 we are told to count it joy when trials come. Why? Because when our faith is tried our patience is built. That patience perfects us. Therefore, in the midst of our trials, we use our faith to build patience – waiting!

Then of course there is Isaiah 40:31. They that wait upon the Lord – you can probably finish it on your own. Waiting will actually make us stronger. It will give us more stamina. It will help us soar above our problems like an eagle soars high in the sky. This will enable us to wait longer. We don’t like to wait. We are in a microwave generation that wants everything now. But if you are really serious about having a more effective prayer life, waiting is essential.

Asking, seeking and knocking. Sounds so easy doesn’t it? In reality, it is. Mastering prayer takes a lifetime of practice. The Lord’s direction in putting together “The A.S.K. Principle” has helped me see all the shortcomings of my prayer life. I am sure it will be a great addition to your library as well. If you would like your own copy, it is available on Amazon and Barnes and Noble in both paperback and E-book format. Or you can get a signed copy from me by emailing me at pete@theaskprinciple.com. Read it and pass the word if you find it helpful!

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New Blog Coming

Hello to all my fellow bloggers. Many of you know that I have been working on a book that is entitled The A.S.K. Principle. I blogged about this topic extensively a few months ago and I’m going to bring it back on a separate blog. I’m doing this because the book is now in full swing and is at the editors at this time. The publisher that I’m working through also suggest that I blog about the book to enable everyone to be more informed.

I will be sharing with you thoughts behind the book, how the publishing is progressing and excerpts from the book. There will also be posts about prayer and answered prayers. I pray this will be a blessing to you and will build your faith as we go along.

I have no plan as to what days or how often I will be posting on this site. Most of the posts will probably be simple and not very long so I might update it more often. In any case I hope you will follow along as we take a closer look at prayer and how it works in our lives.

I thank you for following this site and I will continue to post here until we finish our study in Galatians. Then I’m not sure which direction I will take with this blog but you can bet that God will direct me somehow. I wait for him to decide what he wants to do with the maintenance man.

Be blessed my friends

A.S.K. – The Key to Prayer Chapter 8 Conclusion

I want to start by thanking you for coming on this journey with me. It has been remarkable to go back through notes I made 30 years ago and redo this study. I have learned once again about the power of our prayers, and what God asks us to do in order for our prayers to be more successful. There is much more involved than just talking to God, although that is the essence of our prayers.

I am going to start doing two things as result of going through this study. The first is to keep a list of things that I am praying for. I daily pray for dozens of various things, if not close to a hundred. I am not sure if I will get them all on this list, as some things crop up mid-day and I’m not near my journal. But I will do my best. The first thing is to find the time to make the initial list.

Once the list is made, I will go back to it and check of the ones that get answered. I may even use dates when I started praying for it, and when it was answered. I have one person I was praying for to get a new job, and he got it within a week. Another job-related prayer is still in the works.

Do you keep such a list? I believe it will be beneficial for my faith. I have no plans to share it with anyone, except my wife, unless God directs me to. Answered prayer is never something we should boast about. I keep such a list of all my poetry and another list with all the songs I have written (which needs to be updated). Why not a list of prayers?

In a quick review, we talked about what I call the A.S.K. Principal. Keep asking, keep seeking, keep knocking. Asking involves being in the right spirit when we pray, understanding what God asks of us when we pray, and making sure we are asking according to scripture. We can be silent or loud, standing or bowing, on a mountain or in a boat. We can use our own language or our heavenly language. We can pray for anything the human soul and body requires as long as we have the right attitude and lifestyle to receive from the Lord.

Seeking involves being in His word, praying the way the Bible teaches us to pray, finding the time on a regular basis to be before God and regularly going to Him with our requests. It means looking at all the scriptures that address the need we have so that our faith can be built up. It means not giving up until we arrive at the answer.

Knocking means waiting patiently. It means submitting to His timetable, not our own. It means not grumbling or complaining when the answer doesn’t come right way. To means asking for wisdom to know what we may need to do to get to the answer. It means listening intently for God to speak and show us the answer.

We’ve learned that prayer is a simple conversation with God. The most important part of that conversation is listening. So often we miss the answer because we are too busy praying and don’t listen to what he has to say. Prayer should be a two-way conversation!
We’ve learned that prayer can be made anytime, anywhere for anything? God loves to hear our requests. What prevents us from coming to Him with our needs? Pride mostly. We feel we can handle things ourselves. So, we don’t pray about this thing or that and then find ourselves praying to get out of the jam we got into because we didn’t pray. Better to pray first, I say.

I pray that you have received as much as I have through this series of posts. Thank you
for every comment made and for all who took the time to go through the study with me.
I have started to work on the book, and have proofreading going on now. Do you think
this can sell as a book? I have never written a book before, so I have a lot to learn
about that process. It will be fun to learn what is involved. If you have any tips for me,
I am wide open to listen!

That’s a wrap!

A.S.K. – The Key to Prayer Chapter 7 What Should We Pray For

I know. I know. We should pray for everything! Not a day goes by that each of us doesn’t have a list of things that need our attention in prayer. We have talked about every aspect of prayer, and have learned that God always answers our prayers.

In this chapter, I want to help build your faith a little more by showing you many scriptures that let us know God wants to hear our prayers, and answer our prayers, in various areas of our lives.

HEALING – James 5:14-15
14 Is any sick among you? 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:
15 And the prayer of faith shall save the sick, and the Lord shall raise him up; and if he have committed sins, they shall be forgiven him.
We can call for the elders, or we can pray for someone ourselves. In any case, it’s the prayer of faith that saves the sick – that delivers them from their illness. Faith that does not waver, faith that is determined and persistent, faith that can move mountains, faith that has been tested and tried. This is the kind of faith we need for any prayer!

FINANCES – Joshua 1:8
8 This book of the law shall not depart out of thy mouth; but thou shalt meditate therein day and night, that thou mayest observe to do according to all that is written therein: for then thou shalt make thy way prosperous, and then thou shalt have good success.

God tells us how to be prosperous and have success. Three times in Joshua 1, God tells us this. We can pray for financial needs anytime we want, but if we are not doing what God says in Joshua 1:8, then He has no obligation to answer. If we are doers of this verse, and do it with all our heart, God will honor His word. After all, He magnifies His word even above His name (Psalm 138:2). It’s all dandy and good that you pray in faith, but make sure you are living in faith as well!

SAFETY – Psalm 91:11-12
11 For he shall give his angels charge over thee, to keep thee in all thy ways.
12 They shall bear thee up in their hands, lest thou dash thy foot against a stone

The key to understanding this promise are the words “in all thy ways”. If you meander off to the left or the right, or if you are tempted to jump off a mountain as Jesus was (Matt 4:6), that is not your normal way. If you are staying on that straight and narrow path that leads to God, He will keep you safe. He will watch over you every second and even send angels to guard you and hold you up. If you are going to pray that God will keep you safe and protect you in a certain situation, make sure you are on the right path. That is where the protection is.

DELIVERANCE – 1 Corinthians 10:13
13 There hath no temptation taken you but such as is common to man: but God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear it.
The prayer of deliverance from any situation is always welcomed by God. We have to remember that God will answer that prayer in His time, because He may want you to go through this trail – it may be one that has been deemed a growth opportunity. Remember what James says – trials make our faith work so we can patiently be perfected (James 1:2-4). An answer does not always come right way, but it does come. In the meantime, we can know that God has equipped us to handle whatever He allows into our lives, so rest on that with faith!

GUIDANCE – Proverbs 3:5-6
5 Trust in the LORD with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding.
6 In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths.
We all need guidance from time to time. It is essential, especially if we want to stay on that straight and narrow path. We pray regularly for God to guide us through situations that we are going through now, or that we know are coming up later. God says He will direct our paths – with a few things we should do first: Trust Him, don’t listen to your own thinking, and acknowledge He is in everything. When we do those three things, His guidance will be at our disposal!

OTHER PEOPLE – Eph 6:18
18 Praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, and watching thereunto with all perseverance and supplication for all saints;

Just before this verse is the description of the armor of God we must put on. That is all for our protection against the principalities and powers of our spiritual enemy. That this verse is right after that tells me that prayers for all the saints are a crowing part of that armor. This is something we must do to be protected from the enemy.

GOVERNMENT – 1 Timothy 2:2-3
2 For kings, and for all that are in authority; that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and honesty.
3 For this is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Saviour;
It is so tempting to criticize and put down the leaders of our country for the way our government is running right now. We all know the problems we have. But God tells us to pray for them. Maybe things would be different if we would all do this one simple thing and stop the other!

WISDOM – James 1:5-6
5 If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him.
6 But let him ask in faith, nothing wavering. For he that wavereth is like a wave of the sea driven with the wind and tossed.
7 For let not that man think that he shall receive any thing of the Lord.
We can have wisdom to understand why we are going through the trials of life, or wisdom for our next decision. It can be ours if we ask in the type of faith that can move mountains. God says that here. Solomon gained wisdom that way. But if we waver in our faith, we will receive nothing from the Lord. Let us build up a powerful faith!

SPIRITUAL GROWTH – Ephesians 4:14-15
14 That we henceforth be no more children, tossed to and fro, and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the sleight of men, and cunning craftiness, whereby they lie in wait to deceive;
15 But speaking the truth in love, may grow up into him in all things, which is the head, even Christ:
I would guess most of us want to grow in our walk with the Lord. We don’t want to be children in Christ – we want to grow up and be mature in Him. That will enable us to avoid the traps of the enemy. We will have more understanding in His ways. We are told here that when we speak the truth in love, we will grow in Him. Speak the truth in love – always.

KNOW GOD’S WILL – Rom 12:1-2
I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service.
2 And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.
When we give ourselves wholly to Him and allow the word to transform our mind, we will walk in that perfect will of God. We will go through trials with confidence in Him. The world will see how we handle the bad times and they will know by our testimony that we walk with God. We can be in His perfect will when we continue to allow His word to work within us.

These are just a few of the verses that tell us how to pray, what is required for our prayers to be answered, and the promises that will come our way if we simply walk in His commandments. As you can see, there are other things attached to each one of these that must be fulfilled before we can claim the promise of the verse.

I believe many in the church think they can pray whatever they think they have need of, and God will supply it, no matter how they are living. These powerful promises tell us different. We have an obligation to God before He has one to us.

I could list hundreds more verses to show you what to pray for and His promises to answer. This is just my favorite selection. Perhaps you have yours and could list them in the comments. I would love to read them.

Be one that has their prayers answered! Follow God in all you do. Our next, and last lesson will sum things up. Hope you’ll stay tuned for the grand finale!

A.S.K. – The Key to Prayer Chapter 6 Where Should We Pray

 This chapter may sound dull to you, because you know as well as I do that we can pray anywhere we want to.  Most likely we do.  We pray when we have something come into our minds that needs prayer.  The Holy Spirit prompts us and we don’t wait until we get to church the next time, or until we are kneeling by our bed at night, or when we get back to our easy chair.  We pray right there, no matter where we are.

John 4:19-24 King James Version (KJV)

19 The woman saith unto him, Sir, I perceive that thou art a prophet. 20 Our fathers worshipped in this mountain; and ye say, that in Jerusalem is the place where men ought to worship.  21 Jesus saith unto her, Woman, believe me, the hour cometh, when ye shall neither in this mountain, nor yet at Jerusalem, worship the Father.  22 Ye worship ye know not what: we know what we worship: for salvation is of the Jews.  23 But the hour cometh, and now is, when the true worshippers shall worship the Father in spirit and in truth: for the Father seeketh such to worship him.  24 God is a Spirit: and they that worship him must worship him in spirit and in truth.

Jesus and the disciples had travelled into Samaria while on their journeys. Many would go around Samaria because of the tensions between the Jews and Samaritans, but it was on the direct route between Judea and Galilee.  Jesus was not one to waste any time!

It was around noon and they were tired, so they stopped at a well and the disciples went into town to get some lunch and bring it back.  While they were gone, a woman came to the well by herself.  Usually the women would all come together, so Jesus probably knew this woman must be an outcast for some reason because she was by herself.

Jesus asked the woman fora drink, and she was shocked.  Jews just did not talk to Samaritans, especially men to Samaritan women!  She asked Jesus why He was talking to her, and Jesus told her if she knew who He was she would be asking Him for water – the Living Water that only He can supply.  He went on to explain Himself, which I am not going to dwell on today, and then came the portion of scripture above.  The main point I want to draw out of this scripture is the fact that Jesus says there is no particular place we will worship, but as long as the Spirit is there, we are in a place of worship.

We have talked extensively on being prepared for prayer and how we should pray.  As long as we follow the truth of scripture, our prayers are effective no matter where we are.  Let’s take a look at the various places Jesus prayed.  I am not going to display all of the entire scriptures, just the addresses.

On the Mountain.  Matt 6:9-13 – Jesus teaches the disciples to pray.

In The Field – Matt 8:1-2 – Jesus comes down from the mountain and prays for a leper

On the Street – Matt 8:6-9 – Jesus prays for the centurions son in the street

In a boat on the sea – Matt 8:26 – Jesus rebukes the wind and the waves

With a swine herd – Mat 8:29-31 – Jesus casts the legion into a swine herd

In someone’s house – Matt 9:1-9 – Jesus heals the paralytic man

In a crowd – Matt 9:20-22 – woman cured from an issue of blood

By the way-side – Matt 20:28-34 – two blind men healed

During a meal – Matt 26:26-27 – Jesus prays over the bread and wine

In a garden – Matt 26:39-44 – In the Garden of Gethsemane

On the cross – Matt 27:46 – Jesus cried out to God

These are just a few examples of various places Jesus prayed, and only from the book of Matthew.   If I listed them all, it would take too many pages.  The point I am making is that no matter where we are, we should pray when we see a need.  One of the astonishing things we read is that when people came to Jesus, or when He met them on His travels, He always took time to pray with them – no matter who was around or where He was.  The Bible tells us He healed them all!  Every leper, every blind man, every person possessed, every deaf and or dumb, every cripple, everyone sick –  He healed them all.

What about you?  I will confess that I am often intimidated by the world around me and don’t pray when I should.  When I see the lame man in Walmart, I usually don’t pray for them right there.  When I see someone sick at the doctor’s office, I usually don’t pray there.  If I see an accident on the side of the road, I usually don’t pray for them right there.  If someone comes up to me and asks me to prayer, I don’t always pray for them right there.  I most often wait until I am in the comfort of my car or home, then I go to the Lord in prayer.

Jesus was not intimidated by the world.  He would pray no matter who was around.  He had the faith and trust in the Father that He knew the healing would take place.  There was no doubt, no double-mindedness.  He knew blind eyes would open, deaf would hear, lame would walk, dumb would talk, demons would leave, lepers would be healed and dead would be raised.  Even in front of those who wanted Him dead, He did not back down.  He healed them all!

Is that why we don’t pray?  We are worried the prayer will not be answered?  If we think it won’t be answered, it won’t be.  James tells us that a double-minded man, one who’s faith wavers, will receive nothing from the Lord (James 1:6-8).  I know that this is my problem.  I don’t fully believe that they will be healed by my prayer – guilty as charged!  I need my faith built, my trust in God needs to be magnified a thousand times.  Then I need to step out boldly and pray for people no matter where I am or who is around me.

This world needs prayer warriors and those who will step out in faith and start praying for all the hurting people around us.  Not in the quiet of our homes, but out in the streets, in the malls, in the highways and byways of life.  Prayer warriors who don’t worry about who sees or who might mock us.  Will you be one of these?  Will I?

 

Be blessed

A.S.K. – The Key to Prayer Chapter 5C How Should We Pray Our Posture in Prayer

Throughout the Bible, we see various forms of posture used in prayer. This chapter will look at some examples of four positions we can take before God with our prayers. All are acceptable, and I am hoping you will be able to see how each is used for specific types of prayer. This chapter enriched my prayer life because I can now understand that value of bowing, kneeling, falling on my face, or standing before the Lord with my requests. At times, I use all of these methods to communicate with God. Let’s get started!

I want to take a moment here to explain that I believe worship and praise is also a form of prayer, because it is communicating with God just as making requests is. Worship and praise are the ways we thank God and show Him our devotion. After all, in these moments we are talking to God, lifting up our voices to let Him know our thoughts and feelings. That is His favorite type of communication from us! He loves to hear our requests as well, but more than anything, He loves to hear us praise Him. These various positions in prayer also include an attitude and posture of worship and praise.

Perhaps you never looked at praise and worship that way. I know I didn’t for a long time. I hope you will now see it as a sensitive and joyous time of prayer, very different from what we normally think prayer is. Having this mindset can really invigorate our prayer life – our communication with God.

BOWING

Bowing before God puts us in an attitude of reverence before the Lord. We should always approach Him with awe and wonder. Sometimes I feel we have brought God down too low, not understanding or acknowledging just how mighty and powerful He is. We’ve lost the awe and fear that was so apparent in Old Testament times, especially during the time of Moses. God was so real then, leading them with fire by night and a cloud by day. Can you imagine that?

Putting God back in His rightful position in our lives should be a priority with all of us. Bowing before Him as our King and Lord is a good start.

Abraham wanted to find a suitable wife for his son Isaac so he sent a servant back to his homeland to find that wife. The servant prayed that God would send the woman to him with specific words that she would say. When the servant came to a well, Rebekkah fulfilled the words that the servant had prayed to hear. After she did, Gen 24:26 says “2Then the man bowed down and worshiped the LORD” He was humbled and in awe that God would hear and answer His prayer, so he bowed down in thanksgiving to God.

Exodus 4:31 King James Version (KJV)
31 And the people believed: and when they heard that the LORD had visited the children of Israel, and that he had looked upon their affliction, then they bowed their heads and worshipped.
Moses had been gone for 40 years, and he returns to tell the people that God had heard their cries and was going to deliver them. Can you imagine their excitement and their awe for God? Their immediate reaction was to bow before the Lord to worship Him in thanksgiving for His mercy. Wouldn’t you be amazed if God delivered you after 400 years of bondage through someone you thought was dead and gone? How amazing is our God?

In Exodus 12:27 the people bowed and worshipped when the Passover was announced. In Exodus 34:8, Moses bowed his head and worshipped when God met him on Mt Sanai to give the Ten Commandments.

We are told in Phil 2:10-11 that one day,
“at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of things in heaven, and things in earth, and things under the earth; 11 And that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.”
I would prefer to bow now and acknowledge Him in reverence and awe. He is an amazing God! And in that day, I will bow before Him once again, rejoicing that He has saved me and had mercy on me.

KNEELING

Kneeling before the Lord is a posture of humility. We humble ourselves before Him because He has given us such undeserved mercy. His grace has washed over us like a soothing river, bringing with it His peace, His joy, His hope and all the blessings He bestows on us. When we kneel before Him in prayer, it is an acknowledgement that He alone can supply our needs.

1 Kings 8:54 King James Version (KJV)
54 And it was so, that when Solomon had made an end of praying all this prayer and supplication unto the LORD, he arose from before the altar of the LORD, from kneeling on his knees with his hands spread up to heaven.
Solomon had just completed building the temple, and was at the altar bringing his prayers and supplications to the Lord for not only the temple, but for the whole nation. He was kneeling at the altar, knowing only God could bring an answer to this prayer. I can just picture Solomon in my mind, knelt before he altar with his hands raised to heaven! Can you see him? What a glorious posture to take before God. We see this again in 2 Chr 6:13.

Ezra 9:5 King James Version (KJV)
5 And at the evening sacrifice I arose up from my heaviness; and having rent my garment and my mantle, I fell upon my knees, and spread out my hands unto the LORD my God,
The people had committed sin by intermarrying with the people around them instead of marrying Israelite spouses. Ezra had rent his clothes and was distraught, but he came out of that and came before the Lord, kneeling and lifting his hands to God. He prayed a prayer of supplication to God for the nation and the people. A heartfelt prayer of repentance is fitting when we kneel before our creator.

Luke 22:41 King James Version (KJV)
41 And he was withdrawn from them about a stone’s cast, and kneeled down, and prayed,
Jesus kneels and prayer sin the Garden, a prayer of supplication to God that the cup might pass from Him. Also a prayer of humility, that God’s will must be done, not His.

We also see kneeling in prayer in Daniel 6:10 when Daniel prayed despite the Kings’ edict. In Acts 7:60, Stephen kneels down and asks God to forgive those who stoned him. Kneeling in prayer is taking a posture of humility when we come before him with our supplications. He has a ready ear to hear our cry.

FALLING ON OUR FACE BEFORE GOD

Falling down before the Lord is a sign of surrender, as you probably guess. It is a position of giving your all to Him and letting Him have His way. When we fall before Him, it is a combination of kneeling and bowing, which signifies humility and reverence. This goes one step further, though. We are as low as we can go, and acknowledge that He is the only one who can lift us up. It is total dependence on God.

Deuteronomy 9:18 King James Version (KJV)
18 And I fell down before the LORD, as at the first, forty days and forty nights: I did neither eat bread, nor drink water, because of all your sins which ye sinned, in doing wickedly in the sight of the LORD, to provoke him to anger.
You certainly can see the desperation Moses felt during this time before the Lord. This is the only record in the Bible, outside of Jesus in the wilderness, where someone went this length of time without water or bread. He was giving all he had to God to ask for His mercy because of the sins of he people. Have you ever fallen down before God for a long period of time? I can remember times when I lay before the Lord for an hour or two, but 40 days?

When Korah rose up against Moses, we see that Moses fell down before the Lord twice during that ordeal (Num 16:4 & 22). This was a difficult time for Moses, and he had to depend totally on God to bring him through it.

Joshua 5:14 King James Version (KJV)
14 And he said, Nay; but as captain of the host of the LORD am I now come. And Joshua fell on his face to the earth, and did worship, and said unto him, What saith my Lord unto his servant?

Joshua and all of Israel were getting ready to attack Jericho. Joshua was alone looking over Jericho and when he looked up, he saw a man with his sword drawn. Joshua asked if he man was for him or against him. You can see the response above. What would be your reaction if an angel of the Lord appeared before you? I would fall on my face in total surrender. What else would there be to do?

In the Revelation, Jesus appears before John and John falls flat on his face, as if he was dead (Rev 1:17). The magnificence of Christ was too much for him to bear. The glory of he Lord is a powerful thing. I think we forget that.

Numbers 20:6, Lev 9:24 and 1 Kings 18:39 all show us instances where a large group of people fell before the Lord because they were confronted by His glory. There are many times I have been in services where we ask God to send down His glory, and I just wonder to myself if we really understand what would happen if He did. We would not be able to stand in such an atmosphere. Don’t get me wrong, I love it when the atmosphere in a service is overpowering. The Holy Spirit can move in such a place, and feeling His presence is awesome, to say the least. But to feel the full weight of His glory coming into a service would have us all on our faces before him.

STANDING

There are very few instances of people actually standing and praying to God, but what we see tells us that this position has some redeeming qualities. It is a position of boldness, unlike the other three that show reverence, submission and humility. We will look at two examples before we close this chapter.

Mark 11:25 King James Version (KJV)
25 And when ye stand praying, forgive, if ye have ought against any: that your Father also which is in heaven may forgive you your trespasses.
Forgiveness takes boldness, mixed with humility. Have you ever had to forgive someone who doesn’t know you have something against them? First you have to summon the boldness to approach them and tell them you have been holding something against them. Then in humility. you have to ask their forgiveness for your feelings. We must forgive from deep down inside, in an attitude or prayer. God doesn’t forgive us and remember – He removes our sin as far as the east is from the west. When we forgive, we should do the same.

Luke 18:11 King James Version (KJV)
11 The Pharisee stood and prayed thus with himself, God, I thank thee, that I am not as other men are, extortioners, unjust, adulterers, or even as this publican.
The boldness of the Pharisee is apparent. This is not a good position prayer. This is a proud position, and we should never take such a position with God. Of course it is OK to pray standing up – we can take any position in prayer. Just make sure you do it with all the reverence, humility and surrender you can muster up. You are not petitioning your boss at work, or a police officer or someone with earthly authority. You are petitioning the Creator of all things, the King of Kings and Lord of Lords. This honor should never be taken lightly.

One more note. I love to lift my hands to God in times of worship. I would guess some of you do, and some don’t. The bible mentions raising the hands in worship many times. David, Moses, Solomon, Jeremiah, Paul and others all mention lifting hands to the Lord. To many it is a sign of surrender to God, to others it is a sign of giving oneself to Him. I often have these feelings when I lift my hands.

Most of the time, I get a picture of a young child lifting up his hands to his father, looking up at his face with adoration, wanting to be picked up and held. This is what I envision when I lift my hands to God – Heavenly Father, pick me up and hold me! I love you!

We are about done with this section on how to pray. Next, we will be looking at the most well-known prayer to all of us – the Lord’s Prayer. Join us!

A.S.K. – The Key to Prayer Chapter 5B How Should We Pray – Spirit or Flesh, Humbly or Boldly

1 Corinthians 14:14-15
14 For if I pray in an unknown tongue, my spirit prayeth but my understanding is unfruitful. 15 What is it then? I will pray with the spirit, and I will pray with the understanding also: I will sing with the spirit, and I will sing with the understanding also.

NOTE: I understand that many who read this blog may not believe in the gift of tongues as I do, but I am going to cover this from my perspective and hopefully you will see why we of Pentecostal circles put so much stock in this gift of the Spirit (1 Cor 12:8-11).  I pray you’ll bear with me with an open mind.

Paul states that he will use both of these methods to pray – with the understanding and with the spirit.  Praying with the understanding means I am praying with my own words about a situation that I am knowledgeable about.  Praying with the spirit means that I am praying about something that I don’t have the details about.  Let me explain further.

Johnny comes up to me and asks me to pray with him about a medical test he is going to have done tomorrow.  He tells me he is a little worried because if the test comes back a certain way, he may have to have further tests to determine what’s next.  He does not want to give me any further details at this time.

In this case, I can pray with my understanding because there is a specific purpose for the prayer.  I know he is going for a test, and that he wants the right result so he will not have to face future tests.  I pray words that go along with that request.  I take his hand and lead him in prayer, and he is grateful for my prayers.

The next day, as he is going in for the test, I will pray at my home for him, but this time, I will add a different element and pray with my understanding on those things I know about, but allow the spirit to lead me in prayer about the specifics, since I do not know the specifics of the test or what they are looking for.  Here is the way Romans 8:26-27 puts it:

26 Likewise the Spirit also helpeth our infirmities: for we know not what we should pray for as we ought: but the Spirit itself maketh intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered. 27 And he that searcheth the hearts knoweth what is the mind of the Spirit, because he maketh intercession for the saints according to the will of God.

I am not sure what I should exactly pray for. Now, don’t get me wrong, the spirit leads when I pray with my understanding also, but that prayer can only go as far as my knowledge will take it.  The Spirit knows every detail of what Johnny is going through, what they are looking for, what the symptoms are, and how to bring about a good solution.  When I allow the Spirit to speak through me with “groanings that cannot be uttered”, I am praying God’s perfect will for that person, because it is the Spirit that is speaking.  The groanings, in our belief, are called tongues – our prayer language so to say.  They come out when we open our mouth, and we lose our tongue to speak a heavenly language in prayer.

The big difference between the two is that praying with out understanding is reactionary.  We react to the situation we have been made aware of and pray accordingly.  Praying with tongues is taking action.  We are looking ahead and taking action on something we have not been made aware of.  Utilizing both of these methods gives Johnny all I have in prayer, and that will bring about an answer every time.  Ephesians 6:18 says this:

18 praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, and watching thereunto with all perseverance and supplication for all saints;

 Always bringing prayer before God.  We discussed this in Chapter 4 on when we should pray.  Prayer is the last item listed as part of our spiritual armor.  It protects us from principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places. (Eph 6:12).  This is spiritual warfare, and our prayer language is the most powerful weapon we have in this battle.  I rely on it!

Prayer and supplication.  The prayer is public, private, in church, or for family.  Supplication is seeking in earnest prayer, beseeching God, pleading with Him.  These need to be brought before God with persistence, not just one time.  We have an obligation to pray with all we have once we have been asked.  It is what holds our brothers and sisters up in their time of need.  Let us pray with both the Spirit and with our understanding to get the best results.

Pray Humbly or Boldly.

 Both of these are very acceptable and necessary.  We should always come to God with humility, recognizing Him as far superior than us.  But there are times that we need to come boldly before the throne of God.  It is knowing when that is the key here.

First, let’s look at the humility side.  Micah 6:8 is one of the verses in the Bible that none of us should ever ignore:

He hath shewed thee, O man, what is good; and what doth the Lord require of thee, but to do justly, and to love mercy, and to walk humbly with thy God?

 The word “requires” here means that God asks for it, or demands it.  It is a word that makes this as close to a commandment as could be.  Seek Justice, love mercy and walk humbly before your God.  There is no room for pride before God, no room for unmerciful acts, no room for injustice.  To effectively come to God, we need to do all we can to comply with this wonderful verse.  It should be a driving force behind our lives.

I have tried walking proudly with God, and He allowed me to do so, but in the end, he had to bring me down to my knees and realize that was not the way to please Him.  To please God, humility needs to reign in my life, and especially in my prayer life.  I am in no position to demand anything from God!  He has provided so much for me already that I cannot begin to make a list.  He is so merciful and yet He still tells me “I will have mercy on whom I will have mercy” (Exodus 33:19).  He has no obligation to grant my requests, and yet He does so often.  We must walk in that same mercy.  H desires for us to show that mercy to those around us

You might say to me, “It says in His word that if we ask, He will do it, and God always keeps His promises!”.  I would ask you – are you walking fully in every commandment and instruction in righteousness?  Are you perfect as He asks you to be (Matt 5:48)? Are you holy as He is holy? (1 Peter 1:16).  If not, and I doubt any of us are, He could strike us dead now if He wanted to and be fully justified!  But He is merciful.  If He decides to tell me to wait on that prayer request, I, in all humility, should accept that response without question or hesitation.

Matt 6:3 tells us this:
 But when thou doest alms, let not thy left hand know what thy right hand doeth:

We should never boast about our giving.  We should just do it and forget about it.  Then he goes on to say we should pray in the closet, not where everyone can see us. This takes us out of the place where we boast about the prayers we have had answered – that just stirs up pride.  When we pray in secret, the Father will reward us for our obedience, and reward us openly – I believe that means He will grant our requests.

Romans 12:3:
For I say, through the grace given unto me, to every man that is among you, not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think; but to think soberly, according as God hath dealt to every man the measure of faith.

Humility – always!  We all have the measure of faith.  Some of us just place it in different places.  We discussed this earlier in our study.  Our faith is built up by reading the word and by going through trials ourselves.  Humility makes us realize we need more faith to be more effective, so we continue to seek growth in the kingdom.

Strive for humility in your prayer life.  This is the preferred attitude of prayer.  We are closer to God when we are humble before Him.  Practice humility with all you have.

But then there is boldness needed at times.  Hebrews 4:16 tells us this:

16 Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need.

This verse is often used to justify demanding things of God.  But notice the wording here very carefully. We can come boldly, but it is a throne of grace, not a treasure house of riches for us.  Grace that was provide on the cross.  Grace that was given freely to us all already.  What are we looking for?  Mercy!  What does God say about Mercy – He will have mercy on whom he will have mercy.  It is His choice!  Not ours.

And the last part really brings it home.  Yes, we can come boldly to God with our request, but the request should not be for anything but grace in a time of need.  It is not to make us rich, or build up our business.  We come boldly, with all humility, looking for mercy and hoping for grace to be bestowed on us in our current situation.  It is not about demanding anything.

Eph 3:12 says this:
12 In whom we have boldness and access with confidence by the faith of him.

We are only allowed this boldness and this access by our faith in Christ.  Because of Him, we can approach God with confidence because He has secured our access to the throne.  But when should we use this boldness we have been granted?

John 14:13-14
13 And whatsoever ye shall ask in my name, that will I do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son.  14 If ye shall ask any thing in my name, I will do it.

In effect, Jesus grants us power of attorney here.  If we ask in His name, He will do it.  That is why we can be bold.  Because He has granted us that permission.  He is our mediator (1 Tim 2:5)

2 Peter 3:9
The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance.

 When we pray for the lost, we can pray with boldness, because we know that God is not willing that any should perish.

Matt 9:38
38 Pray ye therefore the Lord of the harvest, that he will send forth labourers into his harvest.

 When we pray for God to send laborers for the harvest, we can pray boldly, because God has prepared the harvest for us, and wants the harvest to come in.  Take special note that we do not pray for the laborers  We pray that God will send the laborers to do the work.

Acts 2:17
17 And it shall come to pass in the last days, saith God, I will pour out of my Spirit upon all flesh: and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, and your young men shall see visions, and your old men shall dream dreams:

God has promised an outpouring of His Spirt, that we will have dreamers and visionaries.  We can pray boldly for these days to come, and that a great revival will sweep the land.

Rom 12:2
And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.

We can pray boldly that God will transform our minds, but we must truly desire it with all our hearts, and we must enable the process by being in the word on a regular basis.  He desires for us to prove what the good, acceptable and perfect will of God is.

In all this boldness, we must remember that our boldness must be flanked with humility.  God honors humility in us, so when we come before Him with the access and confidence Christ has given us, and we approach Him with our bold requests, we also understand that His mercy and grace are what grants those requests.  If we forget that humility, we can easily start to think it is our prayers and our demands that are accomplishing these prayers being answered.  That is very dangerous ground, my friend!

Here I thought this post would be shorter.  I guess I got going a little long winded.  Thanks for staying with me!  In our next chapter, we will look at how we pray as far as posture goes – what should our position be before God when we pray?  Join us as we continue our prayer journey.