Wednesday, 10 September 2014

Quilt Chats: Prayer

Here is another of Robyn's Quilt Chats.  You can find out about these by clicking on Quilt Chat page tab up on the toolbar. 

God wants us to talk to Him, to involve Him in all that is going on in our lives.  

And that really is the basis of prayer.  To know that when we pray we are talking to someone who loves us and is interested in us, and our concerns, and who delights to bless, who has a heart attitude towards us of kindness and grace.  

The short answer is that God listens!  He enjoys our company.  He likes us to talk with Him.  He says, ‘Call to me and I will answer you.  I will tell you great and unsearchable things that you do not know.’  Jeremiah 33:3

You get the picture that if you don’t call to Him in prayer, you won’t see the great and mighty things.  Prayer is important.  We can come boldly because of Jesus, enter right into His throne room and seek His wisdom. 

It seems built into us to pray.  Even people who don’t know God, when they get into a tight spot, they seem to pray. 
Prayer is about a heart to heart relationship.  It is knowing that God loves us and has a plan for our lives that is good, but we discover that plan, and gain wisdom for that plan, when we spend time talking to Him, and learning to hear what He has to say.

Hebrews 4:16 tells us to approach the throne of grace with confidence, knowing that there we will find love and mercy and grace to help us in our time of need.

Matthew 7:11.  “If you then, being evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will the Father give good things to those who ask Him”.

It is a fact – prayer works!  I was interested to read a study a few years ago in Time magazine about a survey undertaken in American hospitals by doctors who conducted tests on the results of prayer.  They had patients with similar problems divided into two groups, without either group knowing which was which, and one group was prayed for and one group was not.  And the doctors were amazed to discover that the ones prayed for recovered much more quickly and with less negative after effects of the surgery, than those who were not prayed for.

Isn’t it interesting that in the world of science the amazing power of prayer is being investigated?  And why not?  It is powerful stuff.

We need to really believe that.  I remember one time I was leading a Bible study on the subject of prayer, and I had carefully prepared all my notes, but as I was about to leave for the meeting, I couldn’t find them.  So I frantically turned the house upside down, searching everywhere for those notes.  And then I remembered what it was I was looking for.  So I stopped searching and prayed for God to reveal where those notes where and within a few minutes I had them in my hand.  Prayer does work.

That is the truth.  But sometimes the reality is not so simple.  Even though prayer is a natural response that God has built into us, sometimes prayer has been a real puzzle to me, and there are lots of facets to it that can make us want to avoid it more than we feel we should.

So why should we pray? If God is God and in charge of everything, why should we bother to ask Him to change His plans for us?  Again it comes back to developing that relationship with God.  Prayer is our way of communicating with Him.  And He wants us to do it. 

1 Timothy 2:1.  I urge you then, first of all, that requests, prayers, intercessions and thanksgiving be made for everyone.
What if we don’t know how to pray?  God knows that we sometimes feel like that, and He has the answer.

The Holy Spirit prays through us.  Romans 8:26-28.  He is our Helper, our Teacher, our Guide, our Comforter, our Counsellor.

Sometimes when we pray in church we can be a bit self conscious of needing to sound right and cover all the bases, but prayer is really the Holy Spirit praying through us.  We can just ask the Holy Spirit to help us. 

When we pray we need to expect supernatural intervention.  God is not limited to logic.  Matthew 17:27

This angel is to remind me of the time when four of us went to India.  This was our fourth trip and every trip had been effective and fruitful and we knew that we were to return, but the money for this trip just didn’t come in.  So on the day when we were to leave, once we had paid for our tickets all we had left was $80 between us.  So off we went in great fear and trepidation but believing God had said to trust Him.  When we go to India, we don’t just pay for ourselves, we pay for the hire of the vehicles, usually two, one for us and one for all the guys that come with us, we pay for all the food and give blessings to the churches we go to.  We are considered the rich westerners and we wanted to bless.  Every couple of days we were down at the internet café and ATM looking to see if any of us had any money coming in, and it would and be enough for the next few days. 

Then the day came when there just wasn’t any more left and we didn’t know where it was going to come from. None of us could figure out any avenue for money.  We were staying at a hostel where people who worked in the local steel factory lived.  It was very basic accommodation and every 3 days the man at the reception desk would ring us and say, “You must come and pay for the next three days,” and we would respond, “Oh yes, we’ll come in the morning.” Then we would start praying for money.

On this particular day we were quite desperate crying out to God.  That night I had a dream that was so real.  An angel came and stood beside the bed and he had a clipboard in his hand.  He was very official, marking off his to do list. He said, “the Father knows you have need of these things.”  This great peace came.  The next morning we went to the internet café and there was a message from our church saying that the old generator we had in the shed on sale for years had finally sold and they had deposited $1,000 into our account.  That took care of the rest of the journey. 

Answers to prayer can take a long time or they can be instant.   In my first year of high school I really wanted to go to the social, and Mum said, “I would love you to go, Robyn, but I just don’t have money for the dress.”  And I knew that but I still wanted to go to the dance.  Mum told me to get the Bible and we would see what God said.  I went out and got the big family Bible and I put it down on the ironing board and it fell open and the first thing I looked at was Matthew  6:25-34. “Why do you worry, saying what shall we wear?  Consider the lilies of the valley, they toil not, nor do they spin, yet not even Solomon in all his glory was arrayed like one of these, so why do you worry about your clothes?”

Mum and I were amazed.  That very day the postman put a card in the letterbox to say we had a parcel at the post office and I jumped on my bike and treddled down to the post office.  There was a big parcel waiting there for me and I brought it home to Mum who opened it up.  There was this beautiful blue dress, straps over the shoulders, lace underskirt, fitted me perfectly.   

The note that came with the dress said that this lady in England had the dress made for her daughter to wear on the ship as they travelled to Australia, but on the ship the daughter ate too much and got fat and couldn’t fit into the dress.  So when they arrived in Australia this lady enquired if there was anybody who would like this dress, and a friend of Mum’s knew that she had four daughters and sent it to us, and it arrived the very day we prayed, and I went to the social feeling very beautiful. 

That was an instant answer and we all love those, but I have found the majority of answers aren’t instant.

This here represents Revelation 5:8 where it talks about in heaven there are golden bowls, full of incense and the incense is the prayers of the saints.   At the end of the age, the angels are going to tip those bowls out.  Now I don’t really understand what this means but I’ve been pondering on it and maybe those prayers are the ones that store up when we’re not getting an answer but we worship and praise and thank and trust God.  It all comes back to our heart to heart relationship, do we trust Him?

Psalm 50:14.  Sacrifice thank offerings to God, fulfill your vows to the Most High and call upon Me in the day of trouble and I will deliver you, and you will honour Me.

Psalm 50:23.  He who sacrifices thank offerings honours Me, and he prepares the way so that I may show him the salvation of God.

1 Thessalonians 5:7-8.  Pray continually.  Give thanks in all circumstances, for this is Gods will for you in Christ Jesus.

Sometimes our prayers take a long, long time to get answered. This is a picture of Elizabeth and Zechariah. When they got married, Elizabeth would have probably been in her mid to late teens and they would have expected that the next stage of the journey was children.  After a little while I imagine, they would have been asking God to send them children.  More years would go by and that prayer would get quite desperate, and perhaps it became a trial.  More and more years went by and Elizabeth would have got to the place of menopause and I guess about then they started to think there was no point praying anymore.  Then she got through menopause and would have been considered an old lady, and they would have given up.  It was then, when they were old, the angel came to Zechariah and said, “Your prayer has been heard, you will have a son.”

I like the tense, your prayer has been heard. No wonder, Zechariah said, “What? I’m old.”  He didn’t respond with faith, and the angel said “Right, you’ll be dumb until this baby is born, because you didn’t believe.”   After all their prayers, their son came, John the Baptist, sometimes we do have to wait a long time.   

This is a question mark because I’ve had prayers that I’ve prayed and believed for in faith and really expected miracles, and they haven’t happened. Again, it comes back to this relationship.  Sometimes we have to be part of the answer.  Paul said he pleaded with God to remove the thorn in his flesh but God said His grace was sufficient for him.

I know I’ve had times when I’ve been angry at God because He hasn’t.  I’ve gotten impatient and disappointed, but it comes back to our relationship. 

Prayer really does need persistence.  When Jesus talked about prayer in Matthew 7:7 He said, “Ask and keep asking, knock and keep knocking, seek and keep seeking.”

The instant answers are wonderful but God wants us to persist because prayer is often warfare.

I was reading Daniel in chapter 9, where he fasted, pleaded and repented and three weeks went by and nothing seemed to be happening but then the angel came and said, “The first day you prayed, your prayer was heard, but I have been battling in the heavenlies with the prince of Persia, and in the end Gabriel had to get the angel Michael to come, and with that reinforcement they were able to get through with the answer.

When we are persisting in prayer, there is warfare happening.  Sometimes our prayers can be declaring the promises, thanksgiving for what God is doing behind the scenes.

Sometimes I believe God is more interested in working in us, than He is in answering our prayer immediately.  The process of waiting and not giving up is an important part of our growth in our relationship with God.  

Luke 18:1 ‘Pray and don’t lose heart.” V.7.  ‘Call to Him night and day’.

Romans 4:18.  Abraham did not waver through unbelief but grew strong in his faith, believing that God had the power to do what He had promised.

Epaphras wrestled in prayer for the church….  Colossians 4:12.

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

Love is a vital ingredient in empowering our prayers, enabling us to persist, when common sense says we should give up.  Eg David.  “Power in the prayers of a mother”

Jeremiah 24:6 claimed on 4.3.90.  My eyes will watch over them for their good and I will bring them back…..

We have to pray for our children and grandchildren that they will find God’s answers.  I love and frequently use the words that Jesus taught us to pray, ‘Deliver them from evil.  Lead them not into temptation.”  Luke 21:36, 22:40 & 46.  And I was able to tell her that she and her sister would not escape God’s purpose for their lives because I was praying for them both.

We hear so many testimonies of people who came to faith, and always in the background there is someone who prayed for them.  Our praying for people is vital.


We need to pray out of  faith, not fear. Matthew 6:6.  “But when you pray, go into your room and when you have shut the door, pray to your Father who is in the secret place, and your Father, who sees in secret will reward you openly.”

I know when David and Lee were first getting their driver’s licences, sometimes it would be late at night and he wasn’t home.  I would be begging God to keep him safe but I’ve learnt to ask myself whether I am praying out of fear or faith. 

A great way to pray is with Scriptures and declare them over situations.

I had an arthritic toe and it was very painful to walk around particularly doing the grocery shopping and I would declare over my toe:  ‘The Sovereign Lord has made my feet like the feet of a deer, He enables me to go on the heights.’  2 Sam 22:34

Now it doesn’t trouble me anymore. 

Another way we can pray is with the power of blessing.  To bless someone is to speak God’s purpose and intention into their lives.  Jesus told us to even bless our enemies.   Instead of complaining about a situation we can bless the person causing the trouble to become peaceful if they are angry, joyful if they are sad, etc.

This one is about prayer eggs.  I heard a lady talk about how when a hen is broody, it’s sits on eggs that are fertilised, and it just sits there not moving.  It doesn’t take them out and shake them and try and see what is happening because it would kill that chicken.   Sometimes our prayers  need to be like that and we hand them over to God and trust Him with them.

That is a different facet to the Scripture about knock and keep knocking but there are times for both. 

 “Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything with prayer and petition with thanksgiving present your requests to God and the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your heats and your minds in Christ Jesus.“  Phil 4:6

Psalm 91:4.  “He will cover you with His feathers and under His wings you will find refuge.”

Psalm 37:7.  Be still in the presence of the Lord and wait for Him to act.


Prayers of agreement are powerful.  ‘When two or three are gathered together in my name…..’ Matthew 18:19-20.  

Even when there are only two or three people agreeing together, it can change the world, like when two elderly ladies gathered together to pray diligently for a change in their nation of Wales, and the Welsh revival began.  

In Australia we pray at 12noon the Lord’s Prayer for God’s kingdom to come in our land.  We set our alarms for midday and then wherever we are we pray the Lord’s prayer.  I was thrilled to talk with Lyle Shelton from the Australian Christian Lobby recently who said that there are suddenly many Christian politicians rising up in Australia.   When we all raise up together and start praying it has got to have an effect, and in America sometimes the noon prayer will take over a whole shopping mall as everyone’s alarms go off and people stop to pray. 

Did you know that it is as natural to pray as it is to eat and drink.  We are created to talk with God.  And at times we go through seasons when talking with God is so natural, and just a delight and joy, and we see answers and feel empowered and effective.  

But at other times prayer can seem like an intrusion and a nuisance and we feel guilty that we haven’t spent the time in prayer that we think we should, and at those times prayer can seem like just a burden, and yet the longing for it is still built into us.  

Prayer is not meant to be a burdensome duty.  It is meant to be an ongoing constant talking with a Father who loves us.  Prayer without ceasing.

Tennyson wrote, “More things are wrought by prayer than this world dreams of, therefore let thy prayers rise like a fountain night and day.”

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