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Prayer

Please read l Thess. 1:1-3; 5:16-18

Prayer is that wondrous link between heaven and earth. It is the chain of communication, for God delights to hear and answer prayer. The promise of God given to us through Isaiah assures us that "before they call, I will answer; and while they are speaking, I will hear" (65:24). Prayer acknowledges God's all-sufficiency, and our dependence on Him. It includes thanksgiving and praise. In prayer we are conscious of our own sinner needs; we confess our sins and seek the mercy and forgiveness of God in all reverence and awe.

John says in his first epistle, "If we confess our sins, He is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness" (1:9). "The Spirit also helpeth our infirmity: for we know not how to pray as we ought; but the Spirit Himself maketh intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered; 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" (Rom. 8:26, 27).

We must pray in faith through our Mediator, the Lord Jesus Christ; James says that we must pray in faith, nothing doubting (James 1:6). There are two sayings of the Lord which deeply concern us. He says in John 14:13: "and whatsoever ye shall ask in My Name, that will I do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son," and in John 15:7, "If ye abide in Me, and My words abide in you, ask whatsoever ye will, and it shall be done unto you." These verses do not give us licence to ask for things for self-gratification. The first is in connection with works which are to the glory of God, and the second concerns fruit-bearing consequent upon our abiding in Christ. The apostle John in his first letter says, "And this is the boldness which we have toward Him, that, if we ask anything according to His will, He heareth us: and if we know that He heareth us whatsoever we ask, we know that we have the petitions which we have asked of Him" (5:14, 15). It is clear that a request would not be granted if it was not according to His will.

Again John says, "Beloved, if our heart condemn us not, we have boldness toward God; and whatsoever we ask, we receive of Him, because we keep His commandments, and do the things that are pleasing in His sight" (1 John 3:21, 22). Finally, the apostle Paul writing to the Phillippians says, "In nothing be anxious; but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God. And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall guard your hearts and your thoughts in Christ Jesus" (Phil. 4:6, 7).