PRAYER JEWELS!--Part 1--Pointers on Prayer by Maria! Maria #119 DO 2623 Comp.3/90
1. (Mama's intro:) I'd like to add a wee word here at the beginning of these little lessons on prayer & say that this message about our need for prayer is not a new one.--It's something that Dad has been trying to teach us since the very beginning of the Family! You can look back at some of the earliest Letters such as "For God's Sake, Follow God" (ML #4), "Faith" (ML #73), "Stop, Look, Listen" (ML #74) etc., which were all written over 19-20 years ago, & you'll see that Dad has always placed a very high emphasis on prayer, teaching us the importance of faithfully communing & communicating with the Lord. So in these compiled jewels & lessons on prayer, I am repeating principles, all of which I have been taught by Dad, which he has already covered in his Letters.
2. Of course, I've also had the wonderful blessing of personally being by Dad's side for all these years, so I've not only heard the sermon, but have partaken of a genuine sample of prayerfulness as well. Dad is the most tremendous sample of prayer that I've ever heard of or seen. He has such a wonderful habit of continually looking to & communing with the Lord, he even prays in his sleep at night, unaware he is doing so, & sometimes even wakes up praying!
3. So I hope--and pray--that these lessons which I have learned from Dad will reinforce what you have already been taught about prayer, & will inspire & encourage you in your prayer life & walk with the Lord! GBY! ILY!
MAKING PRAYER A HABIT!
4. It seems that some of our leaders have a problem in their meetings with too much discussion & not enough prayer. Actually, that's a temptation or tendency with most of us--to get so busy discussing a problem that we fail to take it to the Lord! We might remember to pray after our discussion, but such prayers may turn out to be nothing more than a "Please-rubber-stamp-my-program" prayer. I think this problem is usually more unintentional than deliberate; we simply forget to pray because we haven't made a real good habit of prayer.
5. I think that one of the most important phrases we could introduce to our vocabulary & which we should frequently use is, "Should we stop & pray?" If we could somehow make this phrase as common in the Family as "I love you" & "God bless you," I don't think we'd have any more problem with forgetting to pray! If we were to introduce this as a new rule in the Family, that someone at the beginning of every activity must say out loud, "Should we pray?" or "Shall we stop & pray?", it would solve a great deal of problems & would certainly help us all to be infinitely more prayerful.
6. If it were a requirement to ask this question before any & all activities, & the responsibility was evenly shared with all & did not fall on one person only--usually the leader--I'm sure we'd do a lot more praying! We need to "exhort one another daily, while it is called today," & "consider one another to provoke unto love & good works."--Heb.3:13; 10:24.
7. If it was clearly understood by all that it was not just the leader's responsibility to stop everyone & lead a prayer before activities, discussions, etc., but that everyone had that responsibility, then no one would feel hurt or offended when an under-officer or even one of the babes piped up & said, "Don't you think we should pray?" It would be just as much the responsibility of everyone else participating in the activity as it would be the leader's. It seems that at least someone would always remember to pray.
8. I believe that doing this would cause a tremendous revolution in our prayer life!--And we would soon see the blessings of the Lord's protection & provision & wisdom & anointing & virtually everything we need multiplied in greater abundance than ever before!
9. The secret of prayerfulness & walking prayerfully throughout life is simply making it a habit. There's not really anything that's so mystical or mysterious about it, you just have to keep doing it & keep at it, faithfully "acknowledging Him in all your ways!"--Pro.3:6.--And in order to do that, you may need the help of others to keep reminding you at first. That way everybody would be reminding everybody! And we could all make it a habit together.
10. Even when we sit down to fellowship, we should immediately say a prayer, even if our purpose is just to watch a video or to have a little personal fellowship or to discuss a problem or just to relax. Why not ask the Lord to bless that time & fill it with whatever He wants? If we already know specifically what we want to do, we should at least ask the Lord's blessing on it. And if any problems are to be discussed, we should ask the Lord for His solutions to those problems.
11. That way, whether we actually intended to sit down to discuss problems or not, we will have had prayer before the conversation may inadvertently turn that way. And even if it doesn't turn into a serious discussion, it's just as important to ask the Lord's blessing for our fellowship together, for Bible study, for devotions, for watching the news, or whatever it is we're planning on doing.
12. We have already formed a very good habit of praying before meals, & most of the Family prays faithfully before they go anywhere in their vehicles. Most of us also remember to pray before we go to sleep at night, & also when we first wake up in the morning. We usually pray together before a united meeting with the Home, & hopefully even before holding small, informal meetings with our Teamworkers.
13. But what about the meetings that just sort of happen spontaneously? And what about when you are going through reports or correspondence or notes from others, do you pray over every piece of paper? What about before you go out for your Get-Out?--Or before you sit down to watch the news, or before you watch a movie? Or before you walk into the kitchen to talk to the cook?--Why not say a little prayer before you begin talking with her? It shouldn't really matter how short or how lengthy an encounter you're planning on having, you need the Lord's blessing on everything you do, right?
14. Of course, I'm not even including all the prayers that we should be praying during such activities! I'd like to take it just one step at a time, & make the rule that we pray before our activities, & let everyone learn as they go to be more prayerful throughout the activities as well.
15. We should learn to pray out loud during meetings, during Get-Outs, during trips & errands, before lovemaking, & even before taking a shower.--And certainly before putting in a light bulb or before mowing a lawn or before turning on a stove, cooking a meal or washing the dishes! We need to make prayer a habit!
MORE ON MAKING PRAYER A HABIT!
16. It's not enough to just make a habit of praying before you eat. You also have to make a habit of praying before you drive. You also have to make a habit of praying before you go to sleep. But that's not enough either. Then there's praying when you wake up, & even that's not enough!
17. To truly make prayer a habit, you have to pray about everything! Of course, it's a good start if you pray before you eat & before you drive & before you go to bed & upon waking up, but what about all the other things you do during the day? You need to pray about which work you should do, or if you already know, if it's a set pattern, you need to pray about how to do it. If you faithfully pray every day before doing your work, the Lord might show you a new way of doing it that day, or a faster way.
18. When you're first forming the "prayer habit," you almost have to force yourself to pray at every step, & really pray desperately. Ask the Lord to check you so you'll remember! You need to pray before you read the Word, & ask the Lord what Chapters you should read or what Letter you should read. Even if you're following a set reading course, you shouldn't just say, "Well, I already know what I'm going to read, it's planned out for the next month." Maybe you've planned on reading all the Letters on a certain subject like Faith & Trust, but each time before you sit down to read, you should pray for the Lord's leading, because maybe the Lord wants to change it! How do you know?
19. Maybe you needed to read up on Faith & Trust a week ago, so you decided to read all those Letters. Well, that's good. But maybe the Lord knows that you need something else even more this week! So you need to pray about it instead of just blindly following your previous plan.
20. You may have prayed about it last week & the Lord showed you what to do, but maybe one week of that was enough & the Lord now wants you to change! You need to be open to praying every day that the Lord will show you what to do & if your plan is right, if what you're doing is what He wants you to do. Maybe He wants you to be doing something else.--But how are you going to know if you don't leave room for Him to change things?
21. Prayer really needs to become a habit!--And to make anything a habit it takes a lot of conscious effort over a period of time. It also usually involves a lot of forgetting & some remembering. Then finally we start remembering more than we forget! Prayer is just like anything else that you make a habit, it takes a lot of conscious effort, & you'll forget a lot of times.
22. Just like with teaching little kids to brush their teeth every day, you have to keep reminding them & keep reminding them every morning & every night. They'll forget half the time unless you remind them. But as they get older & they keep doing it year after year, finally, they'll rarely forget! When they get up to their teens, lo & behold, after all those years they've finally made it a habit!
23. That's what it takes with prayer, although we certainly hope it won't take so long! It also takes praying that the Lord will help you to cultivate the habit as quickly as possible. It takes effort on our part, but if we pray & ask the Lord to check us when we don't pray, then cultivating a good habit of prayer will go much easier & much faster.
24. If I think back, I can see so many times or circumstances in which I don't pray, so many instances where I should have prayed over every little thing.--Like what to work on. A lot of times my tendency is to just sit down & grab the first thing that's on my pile of papers. That's the way my work usually is, I just pile it up, item after item as it comes in. And I tend to just grab the first thing that's on the pile!--Or now, since I can't read, the first tape in my box. But I'm learning to really pray, "Well, Lord, what do You want done now?"
25. Even if the answer seems obvious, there are some times that the Lord changes things & shows me something else to do when I really pray about it. Usually I already know what's the most urgent, or what to me seems the most urgent & what has a deadline on it, what's supposed to be done. But I'm learning to pray more about it because the Lord sometimes brings something else to my mind that needs to be done even more urgently.--You just never know unless you ask the Lord!
26. We usually have our own plan & it may be a pretty good one. But what if the Lord wants to change it? If we don't pray, then we're going to miss out on doing what the Lord wants us to do! We usually know what we're supposed to do in our work, & it may be a very good plan, but there may be times when the Lord wants to change it. If we're not in the habit of praying all the time, then maybe on that one day that He wants things done differently, He won't be able to show us because we're not in the habit of asking & listening to Him about it.
27. So we should learn to pray over everything! That's why it says, "Pray without ceasing."--1Th.5:17. So we need to strive to really make it a habit in some of these areas where we don't normally pray. There are different aspects to praying over your work.
28. I'm not just talking about a general "Lord, help me with my work today," but rather, "Lord, what exactly do You want me to work on today?" Then when you've figured that out you should pray, "Lord help me to know how to do it."--And if it's a dangerous job, "Lord, protect me in this."--And then pray through every step that you need to take. The Lord wants us to acknowledge Him in every area, "In all thy ways acknowledge Him & He shall direct thy paths!"--Pro.3:6.
PRAYING OUT LOUD!
29. Why is it so important that we pray out loud? Well, one reason is that doing so is a way of giving the Lord the glory. For example, say a driver gets in the car & silently prays a little prayer that the Lord will bless & keep him & his passengers as they go, but he doesn't pray it out loud. Then the others in the vehicle didn't hear him, they don't really know if he prayed or not. So when the Lord keeps & protects them, He may not get the glory & credit that He deserves. No one would even know that He was asked to!
30. When I never hear someone praying out loud, I often have a little question in my mind about just how prayerful they really are. To hear someone praying out loud is very reassuring to me, it's very comforting to know that they're praying. Then I know that I don't have to worry about them & what they're doing because I know they're faithfully committing their actions to the Lord.
31. I know it's difficult for some people to do that, to constantly pray out loud, acknowledging the Lord & asking His help in front of others. They sort of feel like they might appear to be self-righteous or spiritually proud to others, or that perhaps someone might think that they're trying to show someone else up who doesn't pray out loud, or maybe they're just shy!
32. There are all kinds of reasons people can have for not wanting to pray out loud! But I personally think it's very important that we do that whenever possible, & it's certainly preferable to praying silently, just to ourselves. In the various tasks that people must do during the day, if they're not out in public where Systemites might think they're fanatical, but are within our own Homes, why can't they pray out loud?
33. I love to hear people praying out loud! It's always so comforting for me because I know that the Lord is going to answer them & protect & keep them because they're being prayerful. Perhaps they're being prayerful anyway, but when I hear them, then I know they are, & I'm much more reassured. I can't read their minds, so I like to hear them say it! Besides, it's a good testimony & a good reminder to us all, so let's try to remember to pray out loud!
34. As anyone who has lived close to Dad can testify, he is constantly praying, & whenever possible prays out loud, which immediately encourages us to join in with him, as well as sets a very good example for us.--Not only by how he prays, but by the fact that he, by his sample, constantly shows us that he does pray about everything.
WE NEED TO LEARN TO PRAY SHORTER PRAYERS!
35. You don't always have to do the same thing in your prayers. I'd like to suggest that we try to teach the Family to pray shorter prayers in our meetings & fellowship times. When we go around in a circle praying, we should try to limit individuals from praying too long. If some people get too long, you just need to gently remind them & say, "OK, let's try to keep each person's prayer nice & short, keep it to no more than one specific topic each if possible."
36. We did pretty well last night, but we could have kept them even a little bit shorter. With short prayers everybody gets to pray, & sometimes more than once.--Unless they're listening to someone special like Dad praying, whose prayers are a learning experience in themselves, or it's some special occasion or in special circumstances where a "preaching prayer" is needed.
37. I think everyone's mind definitely wanders more when people pray long detailed prayers. And you can imagine what it must be like for our children when they're not participating & somebody's praying like that! Even the children do the same thing, that's what they've been taught. They do just like the adults, & one child goes on & on & on & prays a very long prayer. By the time they're done, all the other children are probably somewhere else a long way away in their minds!
38. When in a group, we all need to learn to pray shorter prayers! So let's spread the prayer requests out more in our meetings, & just assign everyone one topic to pray a little-bitty prayer for. You can have just as much prayer that way as if one person was praying one long prayer, but the advantage is everybody gets to participate. We can all pray more for things & everybody can share their heart with the Lord in our meetings. I know it's not easy to break that old long prayer habit, but I think it's well worth it!
39. Instead of just one person praying a long prayer, let's have lots of people praying short prayers. They're just as good as the long prayers, & what you don't have time to say publicly, you can say to the Lord later privately. Or maybe one of the next people to pray will say it. We need to try to break that long prayer habit, & have more people praying shorter prayers. Then everyone's going to be concentrating more & everyone will contribute more & feel more a part. PTL!
40. We heard in a report from Juan & Abi that they were trying out real short & brief prayers when they met together with some of their leaders in the USA not long ago. When that very negative article came out in the Houston Chronicle, the 14 people who were gathered together in their meeting drew little printed promises out of a bowl & went around their prayer circle four times, praying brief, powerful prayers, claiming the verses that they happened to pick. Abi wrote, "When I opened my eyes to see what time it was, I was amazed at how much time had gone by so quickly!"
41. I think our Family needs to learn more about how to pray in a conversational way. In what is known as "conversational prayer," everyone in the prayer circle or group adds a little bit here & there to the prayer without one person just going on & on & on praying one big long prayer with everybody else just "amening" them. I think this conversational kind of prayer is more effective because everybody gets to participate. They'll put their heart more into this kind of group prayer than they will if they just have their eyes closed & are "amening" somebody else's long prayer.
42. In the churches I attended, one person would usually pray the prayer & everybody else would listen. Of course, the listeners should be praying too, but it's a little difficult sometimes. If you're listening to the prayer, you should be agreeing with the person who's praying, so in that sense you are praying too. But usually the person voicing the words is actually praying more than the rest of the people because it's usually more heart-felt when you're seeking the Lord yourself.
43. When I was in college just before joining the Family, I was helping to teach a college-age Sunday School class in our church. I wanted to do something to help us get closer to the Lord, & I got the burden to form a little prayer group. I invited the members of the Sunday School class to meet with me one morning each week before our college classes. Four to six people would come each time & we would pray conversationally for an hour. We would pray for one subject or topic or one certain person or situation at a time, each person adding their thought or request to the Lord one at a time as they felt led. Each would contribute only a sentence or two at a time, about only one aspect of that particular problem. As in a normal conversation, the thoughts usually logically follow one after the other.
44. I think that's one of the best ways to pray with teens & older children. The kids certainly aren't going to keep their minds on one person praying a long dragged-out prayer. Maybe the adults will, but kids' minds easily wander, & when you have one person praying a long prayer, the kids' minds are going to wander off somewhere else. But if all the kids join in & everybody's expected to say a little prayer, you'll keep everyone's attention much better.
45. The leader of the prayer group, or whoever he designates, opens the prayer session by asking the Lord's blessing on it, and that the Lord will lead them in what they should pray for and bless the time together, and rebuke any distractions etc. And then he can also add his sentence or two on whatever subject he wishes to start with--perhaps a request from your prayer list.
46. For example, if we were going to be praying for Dad's health, the group leader might start out with something like this, "Dear Lord, You know Dad has been quite sick lately, & this must be very discouraging for him. So please, Lord, encourage him right now, & in spite of the bad cough he has, give him a very good night's rest."
47. And then, after two or three sentences at the most, this person stops & another person says, "Yes, Lord, we just rebuke the Enemy right now! We resist the Devil & his evil devices & the way he uses this cough to keep Dad awake or to wake him up in the night." Then someone else pipes up & says, "We claim Thy Word, Lord, that You give Your beloved sleep. We thank You Lord that You stay awake all night & watch over us, You never slumber nor sleep." When they stop, someone else says, "And, Jesus, while he sleeps we ask You to give him good dreams. Guard his mind so that his sleep will be sweet & restful & relaxed, & instruct him in the night seasons. We thank You for how few bad dreams he's had lately."
48. Someone else then carries it on from there: "And, Lord, strengthen his eyes, as he has to read so much for our sake, Jesus. We thank You for what good eyesight You have given him all these years. Continue to protect his eyes so he can do his work for You." Then someone else enters the conversation, "And strengthen his body with good exercise, Lord, that he'll feel healthy & refreshed & invigorated, that his body can keep working as efficiently as possible for Thy glory." Someone else could then say, "And, Lord, we know what a miracle of Your power it is every time Dad is able to get his food down without any trouble. So we just ask You to continue to keep things working properly, & keep his food going down, Lord. You promised that whatever we shall loose on Earth shall be loosed in Heaven, so we ask You to loose that food & let it continue to go down through his esophagus into his stomach, to nourish his body & make it strong for Thy Work."
49. You can do it that way in the same length of time that it would take for one person to pray one big long prayer. So why not? Then everybody gets to participate! It's just like a conversation; one person says something & stops, then the next person adds something.
50. This kind of prayer can be very effective when we get together in small groups to pray. That way one person doesn't have the burden of trying to remember to pray for all the different details, but others can help him. By praying all together like this you can easily cover everything needed.
51. Then when the leader of the prayer circle feels one subject has been covered thoroughly enough, he can begin prayer for a new subject, if time permits. Of course, some situations or people that you will be praying for will not require so much detailed prayer, & can probably be covered by one or two or three people at the most, each praying only a sentence or two.
52. For children or those who might be more hesitant to pray, you could just go around in the circle with each one praying in turn. Other times you can just let each person contribute to the prayer as they feel led, as the Lord lays something on their heart. Conversational prayer is most helpful when a fairly small group of people meet together specifically to pray, when those present are there for the purpose of pouring out their hearts to the Lord. It's just like having a regular conversation, except that you're directing it to the Lord. He, of course, joins your conversation by way of His Word which you claim as you pray.
53. Suppose a group of children wanted to pray for a sick classmate. An example of Conversational Prayer with children could be something like this: One could pray, "Dear Jesus, Suzie is sick with the flu today & can't be with us. Please help her to get better soon, Lord." And another could pray, "Jesus, please help her not to miss us too much & not be lonely." Another could pipe up, "And help us not to forget to pray for her every day, Lord."
54. Another could pray, "Show us what we can do to make her happy." Someone else could pray, "And help us, Lord, not to get sick, & to stay strong & healthy for Your Work. Thank You for the good health You've given us."
55. The teacher might have to help them & prompt them for a while but after some practice it's not only satisfying to pray this way but you'll find yourselves getting more definite with the Lord in your united prayer. It causes you to really think specifically about the need you're praying for & what the Lord wants & how He wants you to pray for it.
56. In this case, the children not only pray for someone who is sick, but they learn to put themselves in the shoes of that person & ask themselves what specific things would that person need & what specific prayers would he want to have answered while he's sick.
57. If your Home or your council come together to pray for a trip, for another example, the various participants can all pray--one for good health, one for good weather, one for protection of all the luggage, one for protection on the road or in the air, one for getting to destinations on time etc.
58. Try Conversational Prayer!--You'll love it!
STATE OF CONSTANT PRAYERFULNESS!
59. Even when we have a very serious problem or emergency situation on our hands that we have to desperately pray & continue to pray about, we can't stop all of our work & just sit around doing nothing but praying. After we've desperately prayed & committed the situation to the Lord, from then on we just have to pray as we go, keeping it constantly in the back of our minds. And when we do have a minute between tasks, when we don't have to be concentrating on something else, that's when we should continue to ask the Lord for His help & deliverance for the situation.
60. We can be in a state of constant prayerfulness, "praying without ceasing," a constantly prayerful frame of mind whatever we're doing. We can keep praying for the emergency situation whenever we all get together & whenever we think about it, but we've also got to keep working! PTL! We must "work the works of Him that sent us while it is day, for the night cometh when no man can work!"--Jn.9:4.
ASKING THE LORD INSTEAD OF DEPENDING ON OUR NATURAL REASONING!
61. Some months ago we needed to make a decision about whether one of our staff should or shouldn't go & take care of some legal work that had come up, so we discussed all the pros & cons. In a group of people you usually have a very logical reason on one side why you should do something, & a very logical reason on the other side why you shouldn't. With most decisions you can usually come up with logical reasons for both sides. But the point the Lord is teaching us is that we can't trust in that, in working things out in our own natural reasoning, which is trying to do things in the arm of the flesh. We just have to ask the Lord & see what He wants us to do.
62. So we had to make this decision whether we were going to do this business right away or not, whether we should do it now or whether we should just wait & not do anything for awhile. So finally I said, "Well look, you all are going to have your Sunday Fellowship tonight, why don't you all pray unitedly about it & get something from the Lord? Just present the problem & really pray & ask the Lord for His answer. We can't make such decisions in our own strength & in our own natural reasoning.--We don't even know what the entire situation is, & there's no way that we can really know what decision is accurate & the right thing to do unless the Lord shows us!"
63. So they got together & really prayed, & they all felt afterwards that it would be wiser to wait. They didn't get anything real specific, but some general things about "wait on the Lord," which I suppose in a situation like that could be interpreted as being specific enough. They all sort of felt in general that it would be wiser to wait. And I felt that that also goes along with the Lord's principle that Dad's taught us, "When in doubt, don't."
64. But it really feels good to just pray about a situation like that, to pray & then by faith to make some kind of decision. That's so much better than just talking about it, discussing all the pros & cons & all the things that could happen or the things that might not happen. That can be such a drain & strain, & often when you get done with that you're not really any closer to a solid conclusion or decision than you were before!
65. But when you take it to the Lord, even if you don't get real specific or direct answers, at least you know by faith that He's heard & He's going to answer & give you the victory.--And once you've made a decision according to the general direction that He seems to be leading, you know He's going to take care of everything. Even if you don't have specific enough instruction just then, you know that as you proceed by faith, that He'll lead you. That gives you a lot more peace.
66. We decided at the time that whenever we do decide to have them go ahead with that business, we can put out a fleece with the Lord & say, "Look, Lord, we're going to go ahead by faith & do this, but if You don't want them to go, if they shouldn't go, if it isn't Your Will & if they'd be in danger, stop them in some way!" And we would also pray specifically that the Lord would not have to stop them by any kind of a serious situation such as an accident or illness or something. The Lord's very able to do little things to keep us from doing something that we shouldn't. It doesn't have to be anything real serious that will endanger anyone or damage anything, but just some sign to stop us & to show us that that isn't His Will, such as letting your alarm clock not go off in the morning.--Or a big storm could suddenly come up, or the car could refuse to start, etc.
67. Anyway, after that decision was made not to do anything just yet, it was a real relief. It gave us a peace to just wait & let the Lord indicate when would be the best time. PTL! "Commit thy way unto the Lord; trust also in Him; and He shall bring it to pass. Wait on the Lord: Be of good courage, and He shall strengthen thine heart: Wait, I say, on the Lord!"--Psa.37:5; 27:14.
PRAYING FOR PEOPLE GOING OUT!
68. Whenever people go out shopping or witnessing, we need to always remember to not only pray for their safety & that they don't have accidents or they don't have any security problem or run into any evil-spirited people, but we also need to remember to pray against sickness, that they won't contract anything themselves or bring anything back that they could pass on to others. When people go out, we need to specifically pray against any evil that would befall them, that the Lord will keep them within the circle of His protection & put a hedge about them so that those things can't touch them! We often claim that verse that the Lord will protect & preserve our going out & our coming in. (Psa.121:8)
IMPOSSIBLE SITUATIONS!--THANK GOD FOR THEM!
69. It takes an impossible situation for the Lord to do a miracle, so we shouldn't ever complain about impossible situations since the Lord wants to do the miracle to show us that He can do it & that without Him we can do nothing! He wants us to give Him the glory, & He wants us to see that He is all-powerful & He controls everything & He can do whatever He wills & whatever He wishes, no matter what the circumstances are! He also allows such situations so we'll really get desperate with Him & really depend on Him.
70. So we shouldn't complain when impossible situations come up, & groan & think, "Oh no, what a problem!--What are we going to do now?" We should accept it as a challenge to eagerly look forward to God's solutions, anticipating by faith what the Lord is going to do, because it's exciting to see Him work!
71. The more impossible situations there are, the more miracles the Lord does, & the more faith we have for the next time! Every time the Lord overcomes & does the miracle, it just increases our faith for the next time! And each time our faith grows so that we continually look forward more & more to the challenge of "What's the Lord going to do this time?" "Faith cometh by hearing, & hearing by the Word," & in each of these cases we certainly do have to cling real close to the Lord & His Word, & our faith is increased each time! So PTL for His wonderful victories!
TELLING OTHERS WHEN WE'VE PRAYED!
72. Another lesson on prayer that we're learning is that when we've prayed about something in private, to tell others that we've prayed.--That way, you are giving the Lord the glory & the credit for any ideas you may have come up with. Even though I assumed that Peter & others whom I work closely with already knew that I was real prayerful about things, I recently started making more of an effort to tell them when I'd prayed about something. The Lord checked me that I really shouldn't leave anything up to assumption. We all need to try to be as clear as possible in our signals to our co-workers.
73. We need to get over any reservations we might have about telling others that we've prayed; whether we're afraid that they'll think that we're trying to show off or be super-spiritual or whatever. The advantages & value of letting others know that we've prayed far outweigh any such reservations or seeming disadvantages.
74. Of course, when you let others know that you have been desperately seeking the Lord before speaking to them or giving them counsel, it will lend more weight to what you say.--So you'd better be very sure that you really have prayed through on the subject, & that you have heard from the Lord!--And not just use this to try to somehow boost your authority or credibility!
75. When we tell others that we have prayed about something, it's important that as a result we don't close ourselves off to any further discussion on the subject. Doing so would negate the good results of giving the Lord the glory & helping others to see that their leadership is leaning on the Lord. We should be bearing good fruit in everything we do, & if something bears bad fruit, then either we shouldn't do it, or in this particular case, we should change our presentation.
76. If you, as a leader declare, "I was praying about something & the Lord showed me this," your teamworkers will probably be quite hesitant to bring up any contradictions or even another side to the issue that they may be aware of. They may feel unable to say anything, you may have stopped them right there. Because if you're the leader & you tell them that the Lord showed you something, how can they say, "No I don't agree with that, there's another side to it!" You stopped them cold!
77. I recall that we have had to caution different leadership that they should not even go so far as to slant a discussion one way or the other until they had first pulled everyone else's opinions out. In some cases, when people haven't really adjusted yet to working in teamwork, if the senior member even so much as gives the slightest inkling of what he thinks should be done--regardless of whether he's prayed about it or not--the junior members of the teamwork will figure that there's nothing further to say. (Either because they then think that leadership has already done the work & made the decision, so they feel their involvement isn't needed, or perhaps they feel that since the senior member has already made what they may interpret as a "final" decision, they're then obliged to be in complete agreement with it.)
78. So we certainly want to avoid producing a negative effect in others by telling them that we've prayed about something. But despite that possibility or potential problem, I feel that we should still do all we can to give the Lord the glory for any ideas He may have given us. And as mature leaders, we should always try to balance things out & to make sure we present such things wisely, so that our co-workers will still feel encouraged to state their personal opinions & offer their suggestions & even pray for solutions themselves.
79. The leader who is ultimately responsible has got to be very careful how he expresses himself when telling others that he has prayed about something. A good way to do it would be to say something like, "Well, I've prayed about this, & it seems to me that the Lord may be leading in this direction. But I might not have gotten all of my signals completely clear, & I could be wrong. So what do you think about it? What is your prayerful opinion?"
80. Or they might need to say something like, "After desperately praying about it, I'm changing my former opinion on this or that issue, & I now feel that it might be better to do such-&-such. However, I really want to be sure that I'm hearing from the Lord, so I want you to help me & let me know what you think as well, after you have prayed about it." That way you can at least let people know you were praying & that you didn't just get your ideas off the top of your head.
81. Of course, it must be kept in mind that we have had a big problem with people being so very fearful of contradicting their leadership or stating contrary opinions, that they may be hesitant to accept the responsibility of praying through & coming up with their own answers & suggestions on things! So all of this must be handled very wisely & gently, & the responsible leader needs to constantly try to draw out & use what the Lord shows his underleaders. It should be constantly emphasised that the work that we have to do for the Lord requires a team effort, all of us working together in unity, & everyone's prayerful contributions are important & necessary. PTL!
82. So the senior member must constantly emphasise to his team members that he wants to hear from them. Furthermore, he must not only constantly try to draw them out, but handle what may at first be their rather timid suggestions gently & respectfully, never demeaning or belittling them, but always welcoming them, & never showing any sign of sensitivity or annoyance if it contradicts what the senior member happens to believe is the right way to look at things. If you really want to have counsellors, you have to prove it by pulling out the counsel & then welcoming it, not only once but consistently over & over.
83. Even though there may be some problems in expressing to others that you've prayed, I still think that the value of telling them outweighs any difficulties. I think others need to know that we, as leaders, do spend time with the Lord, & we really do desperately pray about things. But again, we need to make sure that we really are praying, & that we're getting things from the Lord & hearing from the Lord, & not just telling people that we've prayed as a means to try to give ourselves greater spiritual status or authority! Because if you're not being sincere about it, the Lord is going to show you up & make you fall flat on your face & bring your decisions to nought by showing that you really haven't heard from Him! So it's not something to be taken lightly when you tell others that you've been hearing from the Lord.
IMPORTANCE OF PRAYING FOR LITTLE THINGS!
84. Another good reminder on prayer has to do with the importance of praying for little things. Often we hear people say things like, "Well, I didn't ask for prayer for my sore toe because I didn't think it was worth everybody's time & trouble to worry about me, & to take all that time to pray for it.--It really wasn't bothering me that much & it's not that big a deal."
85. Well, one of the ways that the Lord uses to get us into the habit of constantly praying is to teach us to pray for the little things. Because if we only pray for the big things, the big things don't usually come along very often, at least not often enough to force us to make a habit of prayer.
86. But the little things are always with us, & if we get into the habit of praying for all the little things that come along, then we will automatically get in the habit of praying for everything--big or small. And if we pray for all the little things & see how the Lord answers in all those miraculous little ways that He does, then our faith will be increased to face the bigger needs when they come up!
87. Another reason why we need to faithfully pray for the little things, is that it's a sign to the Lord that we want Him to be a part of every aspect of our lives, of our entire life, all of our activities, instead of just bringing Him in for the "important" situations. I'm sure you can think of a lot of other reasons why it's important to pray for the little things.
88. Another reason to pray for little things could be illustrated by the above example of the case of a sore toe; If you don't pray for it, the Lord could very well allow it to become worse! Then soon your entire body may be hobbling & limping around because that one little toe got so sore that you couldn't even walk on it anymore! The "little" thing can become a very big thing if we don't pray!
PRAYING WRITTEN PRAYERS!
89. I heard that when one of our Units got together to pray for my eyes recently, they took the prayers that Dad had already prayed in the Letters & they passed a Lifelines Volume around, & instead of everyone praying their own prayers, they read & prayed aloud two or three paragraphs each of Dad's prayers for my eyes. They said that it was very powerful & effective. I know that Juan has also said that he & his folks have done that before, & have had very good results.
90. Actually, I had suggested to our staff here that we do that the other night as well, but when it came time to do it, because I had never done it before, I sort of chickened out at the last minute. I thought, "Well, I'm not sure how well this is going to work." So I told them, "Why don't you just go ahead & pray in your own words?" But because they were already prepared to read Dad's prayer from the Volume, it sort of threw them off a bit.
91. I realised afterwards that I really sort of missed the Lord on that, & we should have read & prayed aloud Dad's beautiful prayers that are published in the Books. I was sorry that we didn't because I realised that if we had, we would have been praying the Word & it would have been much more powerful.
92. This is something that more of you might want to try if you have an already-printed prayer that's appropriate for whatever it is you're praying for. We're learning a lot by experimenting with different ways of praying, and I'm sure such variety and change in our normal ways of praying together will be an inspiration for everyone.
93. I think the Catholics are much further along in some ways than the Protestants are in the area of prayer. They may not be able to do much praying on their own, ad libbing, but they do have a lot of prayers that are written for them, & a lot of them do pray those quite faithfully. I really feel that there's something to be said for praying prayers that have already been thought out & have been powerfully expressed, even though by someone else. Look how powerful Dad's prayers are!
94. It's often difficult for us to express what we feel, we don't always know how to put it into words. Thank the Lord the Holy Spirit can get our point across much better than we can! But what I'm talking about now has to do with praying in public. I think if we had some good prayers written down for us that express what we wanted to say, it would be to our benefit as well as to all those who are there, to read some very well-written prayers, & in our case, Dad's prayers. We already have two very good prayers like this published in DB 8, the Prayer for Deliverance, "The Lord Is My Deliverer!", & the Prayer for Healing, "Victory Over Affliction!", which are Dad's prayers edited so that you can pray them personally for yourself.
95. That's been my vision & burden for some time, to get out a Prayers of David book. I don't quite know when we're going to have time to get to that. I'd love to work on it myself if the Lord heals my eyes sufficiently. But if not, maybe someone else in one of our Units could, or maybe we could divvy it up with different people in our Units & all of them could work on it. It could certainly be a very powerful & helpful book!
96. The other day Dad himself suggested that it would be wonderful to have a Prayer Book for the Family where we could have prayers on every subject to use as we needed them. Jesus Himself set the precedent for printed prayers in the most famous Prayer of all, the Lord's Prayer. (See Mat.6:9-13) When His disciples asked Him how to pray, He didn't give them generalities like, "Well, just pray from your heart. Just say what you feel." But He actually gave them a prayer word-for-word that they could memorise & repeat--not their own words, but His Words. What better example of the power & effectiveness of written prayers could we ask for than that?
THE LORD'S GOT THE ANSWERS!
97. It's so marvellous how the Lord can take something that to our minds seems so difficult & confusing, & then He shows us how really clear & simple it can be when He speaks to us & opens our eyes! It's so often the case that when things seem real difficult & real muddled & we can't seem to find any kind of solution, when things look just unbelievably complicated, if we'll just go to the Lord & desperately seek Him, He gives us the simplest answer that we look at in amazement & say, "Why in the World didn't I ever see that? Of course I should have seen that!--How dumb of me!"
98. I think the Lord often allows that to happen just to show that no matter how clear things should be, if we don't seek Him for the answers, & if we try to do things in the arm of the flesh, we can't really do anything. In fact, He may deliberately muddle things up for us just to teach us a lesson that we should have gone to Him for the answer, & that without Him we can do nothing!--Jn.15:5.
99. Without Him, even the simplest little things can be very confusing. But with Him even the most difficult, complicated subjects can suddenly become very simple and very clear. PTL! (Amen!--Terrific! GBY!--D.)
(To be continued in Part 2!)
Copyright (c) 1998 by The Family