What Kind of Prayer – Part 2

In my recent post, I made a point of the need for the power of the Holy Spirit in our prayer life. If we are to see results in the prayer closet, it will come as we learn by trial and error to be dependent upon the Spirit. I know when we talk about the Spirit, many get a little concerned due to all of the excesses we see in some corners of Evangelicalism.

However, when we read the book of Acts we see a powerful relationship between the believers and the Holy Spirit. We see Him giving direction and power to the early church. In fact, the first missionary journey of the Apostle Paul started as a result of a Spirit-directed prayer meeting. He is more willing to lead than we are to be quiet, waiting, and listening to His direction in our prayer.

James gives us an example of a righteous man who prayed. He cites the account of Elijah praying for rain on Mt. Carmel. We want to object to the use of Elijah as an example because he was a prophet. James puts this to rest by pointing out Elijah was a person just like us. James says he was a man of like passions. He was dust like us.

His humanness did not prevent him from praying and getting results, though. I pointed out last time that Elijah “prayed in his praying”–a Hebrew expression used by James to express the energy in his praying. We find another major reason for the power in Elijah’s prayer in 1 Kings 18:1, “After a long time, in the third year, the word of the LORD came to Elijah: ‘Go show yourself to Ahab, and I will send rain on the land.’”

We tend to read this passage too quickly and miss the point. Elijah had a good reason to pray with power and confidence. He had a word from the LORD Himself. The LORD told Elijah He was going to send rain. Elijah was not just praying into the air, hoping something would happen. He had a basis for believing the answer to his prayer was coming—A WORD FROM THE LORD.

It is noteworthy when Elijah did pray, the answer did not immediately come. We read, “And Elijah said to Ahab, ‘Go, eat and drink, for there is the sound of a heavy rain.’ So Ahab went off to eat and drink, but Elijah climbed to the top of Carmel, bent down to the ground and put his face between his knees. ‘Go and look toward the sea,’ he told his servant. And he went up and looked. ‘There is nothing there,’ he said. Seven times Elijah said, ‘Go back.’ The seventh time the servant reported, ‘A cloud as small as a man’s hand is rising from the sea.’ So Elijah said, ‘Go and tell Ahab, ‘Hitch up your chariot and go down before the rain stops you.’ Meanwhile, the sky grew black with clouds, the wind rose, a heavy rain started falling and Ahab rode off to Jezreel. The power of the LORD came on Elijah and, tucking his cloak into his belt, he ran ahead of Ahab all the way to Jezreel,.” (1 Kings 18:41-46).

I learn three important lessons from this passage: (1) I am to pray in the power of the Spirit; (2) I am to pray based on the Word of God; and (3) Elijah was just like me, so I have no excuse! And by the way, neither do you!

Thanks for Reading,
Brother Walt

Third Time the Charm?

I was sitting out back at our son’s home enjoying the evening while he was showing us how to use a Green Egg. The Green Egg is the ultimate in grilling, according to those who have one. The entire backyard was filled with smoke. I was minding my own business, just breathing, when all of a sudden it happened.

I felt something hit me in the throat. I knew immediately what it was. I had this happen to me before. Something in the air attacked me. I was allergic to something in the air. I knew it would last about two weeks, so I was prepared for what was to come.

I WAS WRONG!!!!

The coughing grew worse during the two weeks. This stuff was supposed to be over by now, but it was still hanging on. Finally, I gave into Donna and went to see a doctor. He took a total of maybe ten minutes to diagnose my illness, then prescribed the same medicine he had been prescribing all day. I went home, took the medicine. Surely this would be the end of my coughing etc. etc.

I WAS WRONG!!!!

I woke up at 12:05 AM choking, not able to catch my breath. I panicked. I thought I was going to choke to death. I thought of a distant cousin of mine who choked to death on a piece of ham (true story). I headed for the bathroom, wheezing and reaching into the air, hoping I would get some air. Obviously I was successful or you would not be reading this now!

This coughing produced a tightening in my bronchial tubes which prevented me from breathing. It was terrifying. I now have an empathy for those who suffer from asthma and COPD like never before. I was no better so…………
I went to see Doctor Number Two. This visit was so much better. The doctor was a young lady who showed great compassion for me. She listened to my story, took a good amount of time with me, and gave me another prescription. I will be going back to see her. Her name is appropriately Angelica. Now with new drugs I was sure this stuff would soon be history.

I WAS WRONG, AGAIN!!!!

I was certainly getting better, I told myself. My cough was not as bad, and I was able to catch my breath more quickly, but then I had a few more episodes of choking which scared the stuffing out of me. So three weeks plus into this thing, I did the unthinkable: I went to see DOCTOR NUMBER THREE. This guy came in and immediately we connected. He was from Mississippi. He served in Iraq. He too listened to my story. He had a different view as to what was happening. He relieved some of the fears I had, for which I was grateful. I was given more drugs, and off I went to take them and get well.

I am certainly a whole lot better but not totally out of the woods, but I believe I have turned the corner with this stuff, whatever it is!

I have been thinking of one passage of Scripture during this ordeal. What do you think about this? “And he went with him. And a great crowd followed him and thronged about him. And there was a woman who had had a discharge of blood for twelve years, and who had suffered much under many physicians, and had spent all that she had, and was no better but rather grew worse. She had heard the reports about Jesus and came up behind him in the crowd and touched his garment. For she said, ‘If I touch even his garments, I will be made well.’ And immediately the flow of blood dried up, and she felt in her body that she was healed of her disease,” (Mk. 5:24-29).

I would appreciate your prayers that Brother Walt gets better—and soon!

Thanks for Reading,
Brother Walt

What Kind of Prayer?

“The effective, fervent prayer of a righteous man avails much.” James 5:16

On one occasion the Lord Jesus told the disciples one should always pray. It amazes me–usually praying is our last resort. This we do after we have told our problems to everyone including the kitchen sink. I am not sure why that seems to be the modus operandi, but it is.

I offer a possibility as to why we pray last. Here it is in the words of the Lord Jesus, “Watch and pray, lest you enter into temptation. The spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak,” (Matt. 26:41). Jesus knows the major cause of our lack of praying: it is our flesh. It is the weakness of our humanness. I find myself really wanting to take the time to pray as I ought and often fail to do so——just like you.

It is of this weakness the Apostle Paul speaks, “Likewise the Spirit also helps in our weaknesses. For we do not know what we should pray for as we ought, but the Spirit Himself makes intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered,” (Rom. 8:26). It is clear from this that we do not know what we should pray for or how we are to do it in many situations.

James tells us the effective fervent prayer of a just man is the kind of praying which gets something done. He uses only one word in the text which is translated by two in our English Bible. He says the energetic prayer is effective. This word in ancient times could be used to refer to one who was energized by the spirits. He seems to be telling us the effective prayer is spiritually energized.

This would agree with what Paul is teaching us about the need for the help of the Holy Spirit. Later in this passage James refers to Elijah as one who prayed in his praying (literally). This is his way of speaking of the energy set forth in Elijah’s prayer. In the historical account Elijah prays energetically SEVEN TIMES before the answer shows up in a major rain storm.

Jesus tells us we are to pray and faint not. He is saying we are to stay with it. We are to be persistent in our praying. The only way we are able to keep on keeping on in our praying is through the power of the Holy Spirit. Do you want an effective prayer life? Then align yourself with the Holy Spirit in your praying. It will require dependence and trust on your part. It will require you learning how to walk in the Spirit.

At this point someone will ask me for the four steps in learning how to walk in the Spirit. I have no steps to give you. Modern believers seem to always be looking for the easy way. I can only say from my own experience that TIME ALONE WITH GOD is the ONLY MEANS TO GROWING IN THIS WALK OF THE SPIRIT.

The effective prayer of a righteous man is a prayer which is energized by the Spirit. However, we learn something more when we read the account of Elijah’s praying.

Stay tuned.

But for now seek to pray in the power of the SPIRIT.

Thanks for Reading,
Brother Walt

“Sharing”

I became a believer when I was almost 24. I had been to church a few times. I was taken along with my brother, cousin, and a neighbor Leroy to church by the fire chief of our small town, Red Coleman. In those days I went to church and VBS for three very good reasons, Bonnie, Beverly, and Brenda. His three daughters were a lot more attractive than he was.

One Sunday night on the way to church (I was sitting in the back seat between Bonnie and Beverly) I was telling everyone I was going to the Naval Academy. Red interrupted me and said, “Walter why don’t you become a preacher?” He continued, “I am going to pray for you.”

I was uncomfortable at the thought of being a preacher; after all preachers are no fun and seem to be miserable and mad all the time. It wasn’t long after this my cousin’s little dog died and I preached the funeral. I was a good story teller in those days so I got elected to say a few words over the little dog.

Sometime later my mother started going to church. She became a believer and ask me to be baptized with her which I did. I just got wet and my legs nibbled on by the little fishes. However, later I had a part in a VBS program in which I had to speak to the entire church on Sunday evening. I was always terrified to stand up in front of people and speak. I found it very unusual on this particular night I was totally unafraid. I even found myself enjoying what I was doing. I can still remember some of what I said.

I got busy and fell out of the habit of church. I discouraged my mom from going as well. My family was no help at all. Everyone thought church was a waste of time. In those days we all thought the church just wanted your money and it was filled with hypocrites.

I bet you have never heard that one before, huh?????

Meanwhile God was not deaf to the prayers of one Red Coleman. His prayers were answered. I became a believer while serving in the U. S. Air Force on the island of Okinawa. I hit the ground running. It was amazing all the scripture I had memorized came back to me. I became a flaming evangelist. I witnessed to anyone anytime anywhere; if it didn’t move I preached to it.

I would hand out gospel tracts. I would go to the library placing a tract in books on page 33 for the age of the Lord Jesus. I would go to the BX (Base Exchange) stuffing pots, bowls, and pockets of clothing with gospel tracts.

I didn’t know how to witness or share the gospel. I knew I was saved and I wanted the entire world to know it. I witnessed to anyone who sat down at my table in the chow hall. It didn’t take long for me to be eating by myself. I was ready to share the gospel. It was the best thing which had ever happened to me so I wanted others to have the same experience. In those early days I saw a lot of my buddies come to faith in the Lord Jesus.

I DIDN’T KNOW WHAT TO DO I JUST TOLD PEOPLE WHAT HAPPEN TO ME.

It was strange the more I shared my faith the more I seem to have of the Lord Jesus in my life. It was during these days God brought the Navigators into my life. These folks taught me how to present the gospel more effectively. They taught me how to memorize scripture. The taught me to study the bible. I was growing in my faith and sharing it everywhere I went to everyone I could.

I WAS JUST DOING WHAT I THOUGH ALL CHRISTIANS SHOULD DO.

After all these years I have found a passage of scripture which makes it clear I was on the right track. We read, “I pray that you may be active in sharing your faith, so that you will have a full understanding of every good thing we have in Christ.” (Philemon 6)

How does one share his faith? The answer is simple. He tells what he knows and that is it. The definition of a witness is stated clearly in Acts 4:20, “For we cannot help speaking about what we have seen and heard.”

That’s it folks lets go out and SHARE WHAT WE HAVE EXPERIENCE AND SEE WHAT HAPPENS.

Thanks for Reading,
Brother Walt