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Prayer Is The Beginning

"For my love they are my adversaries: but I give myself unto prayer." Psalm 109:4

"America will come to the place where we will either learn to concentrate in prayer or we'll pray in concentration camps " Leonard Ravenhill

 John Knox was a Scottish Reformer who lived from 1514-1572. He learned that the secret to enduring trials was prayer. The secret to needed grace, strength, wisdom and power to perform the duties to which he was called was prayer. On the shoulders of men like this do we stand today and on their backs was Prostestantism built.

Before John Knox began his Preaching ministry, he was arrested in 1547 and spent 19 months as a slave in a French gallery ship. They would chain slaves in the lowest bowels of the ship to row. He was eventually released and taken to London in 1549 where he became a Chaplain. Because of the harsh circumstances that Knox lived for 19 months, he learned about prayer. As a slave in the lower parts of that ship where he was forgotten and chained, Knox was torn down and rebuilt by God as a man of prayer.

Knox lived and breathed prayer. He constantly had an attitude of prayer. He learned well in that ship what prayer does and can do. Mary the Queen of Scots is recorded as saying "I fear more the prayers of John Knox than all the assembled armies of Europe."

Robert Bruce came after John Knox and he's described as being the Gospel wielding William Wallace. Like Knox, Bruce was a habitual man of prayer. King James would, at times, go to hear Bruce preach. Anytime king James would become uncomfortable in the conviction of sin during Bruce's sermon, he would begin talking to those around him. In one instance, Bruce said to king James "It is said to have been an expression of the wisest of kings 'when the lion roars all the beasts of the field are quiet.' Well, the Lion of the tribe of Judah is now roaring in His Gospel and it becomes all kings of the earth to be silent!" This king could have taken off Bruce's head for that rebuke, but it doesn't seem that Bruce was concerned. He spent much time in the presence of an all powerful King therefore no earthly king frightened him.

All men, like Bruce, had was God. They didn't own expensive cars and several homes or take expensive vacations. They didn't plead for money from their hearers or preach about prosperity and loving yourself. They didn't offer DVDs and self help material. They preached the Gospel only and would do it after hours of prayer. They were only concerned about the work God called them to do and nothing else. Because they gave themselves over to prayer they preached with power.

Imagine where we'd be as a people if we spent as much time in prayer and in studying scripture that we give to TV, movies, computer and chasing after worldly things. In such evil times, in times when everything around you is falling apart and discourages you, it's prayer and spending time with God that makes you bold, full of faith and gives much needed strength. It comes no other way. You would have no fear when trials come, but would rest in God. Instead of worrying about trials and tribulations and desperately looking for ways out of them, you would be steadfast in your faith, in His sovereignty and ability. There wouldn't be room for fear and shrinking away.

Robert Bruce often had to hide and run from persecution. On those occasions he saw them as opportunities of more prayer. He didn't look for support groups or circle time with groups of other men. He got alone with God and was on his knees. The key to his life was prayer. The first time Bruce was thrown into prison for preaching he didn't pray, "Why are you doing this to me God! Where are You?! What did I do? Why do I have to suffer! God please get me out of this!" Bruce prayed this...

"God, if it be Your good pleasure to exercise me with a new trial and pull both the ministry and people from me, if it would please Thee, instead of the king's favor and the priests favor being toward me, please triple Thy Spirit upon me and let me see in my heart Thy face brighter and brighter."

God will often use pain, heartache, extreme trials and pressure to drive us to prayer. The preacher Thomas Boston buried six of his children. His wife was on a continuous spiral into insanity and she was confined to their home for years. These things drove Boston to prayer and made him a man of prayer. In every situation Boston learned to run to God. Boston let nothing interfere with his time alone with the Creator, but how often do we? Not even the death of six of his children or his wife's constant needs and spiral into madness kept Boston from prayer. Even things that seem necessary to deal often do they interfere with our prayers?

They did so much with so little and we do so little with so much. If we are use to being in the presence of a great God then we won't be afraid to be in the presence of little men and anything they can throw at us. The dependence on the Holy Spirit through prayer was the nucleus in the lives of these men just as it was for Christ, the Apostles and Prophets. Everything God did through ordinary men, He began it in the prayer closet.

When we look at some of the giants in the Bible, no ministry, no power came to anyone without a deep prayer life. Being a good speaker or some gift we think we've identified in ourselves is not a prerequisite for  any type of ministry. The prerequisite is prayer. John the Baptist spent his entire life in the desert to preach for six months. Jesus spent thirty years in preparation to preach for three years. All of it began in prayer, continued in prayer and ended in prayer.

God made many promises in the Bible to His people that He would put His words in their mouths and would teach them what to say in the moment they needed it. What all these men had in common was a habitual prayer life. This isn't something only they had access too. We are all commanded to be a people of prayer. God doesn't expect to hear our feet running to His throne, He expects them to be rooted before His throne.

Christians look at Muslims and are amazed that they pray five times a day. Five times a day they stop whatever they're doing and where ever they are for prayer and I did this too. This baffles Christians. Why? Have they never read 1 Thessalonians 5:17 "pray continually"?

God doesn't want to see us and hear our prayers five times a day. He demands Christians pray constantly. That we live and move and breathe in a state of constant prayer, in total dependence on Him. He expects us to be looking to Him for every moment, every need and every situation. He commands we live every moment of our lives in continuous communion with Him.

We wonder why we feel so stagnant. We wonder why nothing ever seems to work out. We wonder why God seems to constantly be blocking us and frustrating our efforts. We wonder why we are continuously facing the same battles with sin in our lives without any victory. We wonder why our lives are the way they are. We're constantly looking for some easy fix and looking to others who claim to have secrets to fix our circumstances, but nothing ever works because what we're missing is one crucial component....prayer. We don't pray. We don't wrestle.

"Listen to me, you who pursue righteousness and who seek the LORD: Look to the rock from which you were cut and to the quarry from which you were hewn;" Isaiah 51:1

Recommended Reading 50,000 Prayers Answered


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Disclaimer: I do not condone the teaching of men by women nor am I trying to exercise authority over men by using this blog as a method of teaching men. All posts are for the edification of women. For more on what I believe concerning this issue please see: Women - No Dominion Over Men
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