Prayer With Intention

Give time to God's Holy Spirit to quiet your heart. Most of us just rush in to God's presence, say a few words, and rush out again. Take time to get quiet before God.

Scripture: Colossians 4:12-13, Romans 8:9, 1 Corinthians 6:19


Alright, thank you very much. And hello again radio friends. How in the world are you? You doing alright today? I’m fine, thank you, happy in the Lord. Praise God from whom all blessings flow. We’re over in Colossians, chapter 4. We’re talking about Epaphras and his burden of prayer. He prayed for Colossians, for people in Colossi, the Colossians. They were the folks he knew the best because he came from there. Sometimes you feel, like a hometown boy, you feel as though no one gives you the respect that you deserve. Jesus said, “A prophet is not without honor, save in his own country and among his own kindred.” Sometimes you feel that way, but do remember that you pray the best for the people you know the best. Start there. Then Laodicea, he prayed for these affluent, well-off, self-satisfied, lukewarm people. Dare to pray for believers who have it good, because they need revival, they need the fires of God rekindled in their hearts. He prayed for Laodicea.

Then he prayed for Hierapolis. This is the only place in the entire New Testament where this town, which I am told was about 20 miles away from Colossi, where this town is mentioned. Hierapolis is only mentioned here in Colossians 4:13. Now, why? Well, because he had a special burden for this place, which was not distinguished by any event, or was not famous for any special person. It was just a place, and he knew about some of these people. Whether or not he’d been there, whether or not he had acquaintances there, whether or not one of his boyhood friends had moved there, who knows? The fact is that you and I need to be reminded to pray for God’s nobodies, people who don’t have a pedigree but who most certainly have a need.

I was greatly challenged by an article that came out in a publication called The Intercessors. I get it every so often. And a person named June Cockshead who lives in New Zealand was writing about the fact that she is part of an Intercessors group that meets every now and again. And she said, “It had been one of those days, running late. I raced down the basement steps to the room where our regular Wednesday night Intercessors group met and took the one vacant metal chair in the circle. There were about 20 people present. Across from me, a lady was sharing a deep concern. ‘What is this?’ I whispered to my next-door neighbor. ‘It’s Pat’, she whispered back. ‘Her cancer is in its last stages. The doctors don’t expect her to last the night out. But it’s not Pat we’re troubled about. She’s prepared. It’s her husband, Charles.’ I didn’t know Charles, but listening to the group discussion I found he was a bitter man who didn’t share his wife’s faith, was angry at God and emotionally unable to cope with Pat’s impending death. I could identify with his hurt in my head. In my heart, I felt nothing. My mind was whirring over another project that I’d been tackling all that day.”

So she goes on to say the group went to prayer and people were on their knees, and some of them were weeping. And there on that thin green basement carpet, heads in their hands, sobbing out before God, praying for this man Charles. But she was still sitting upright on her chair. “I sat back unattached. I found myself questioning what was I witnessing? Was it really an expression of God’s Holy Spirit or was it merely a display of human emotion?” Well, it went on, but she said, “It had been a hectic day. I was tired. I didn’t know Charles. I’d sit this prayer meeting out and let those who knew him wage war on his behalf.” Well, the spirit of God reminded her of this word, quote, ‘Bear ye one another’s burdens.’ “Conviction hit me. I might not know Charles, but neither did the Good Samaritan know that wounded road-side traveler when he ministered to him. My sin was that I hadn’t made myself available to the Holy Spirit. I went on into the circle where the crouched figures were praying, agonizing before God, and I began to intercede with them for this hurting man. What was Charles like? Was he thin, fat, tall, or short? I didn’t know. But as I knelt there, God gave me insight into his need, and through the Holy Spirit I was able to identify with his grief and pain. By the time I rose from my knees some two hours later, a heart transformation had taken place. I carried a concern for a man whom I had never met.”

Now, that’s not only beautiful writing, it’s also a beautiful truth. Isn’t it, beloved? What do you know about real intercessory prayer? Huh? For the most part, our praying is so shallow, and oftentimes pointless because it’s interlarded with comfortable expressions that sound religious but don’t have too much meaning. How do you become an Epaphras that has a great, intense burden, a pain for others, even for the people at Hierapolis, God’s nobodies, only mentioned once in the whole New Testament? No mention of anybody who ever came from there, just a mention of the fact that Epaphras was burdened about believers who were there. How do you get a real burden for prayer, and what do you do about it? Well now, you know, don’t you, that the blessed Holy Spirit indwells the believer? Romans 8:9, “If any man have not the spirit of Christ, he is none of His.” 1 Corinthians 6:19, “Know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost which ye have of God, and ye are not your own? For you are bought with a price: Therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, both of which belong to God.”

So the Holy Spirit of God is there. He came to dwell when you made the Lord Jesus Christ your Lord and Savior by faith. What does he do? Well, He bares His blessed fruit, so to speak, in your character, the fruit of the Spirit that is the result of the Holy Spirit’s working in your life. The fruit of the spirit is love, joy, peace, long suffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, and self-control. He begins to work in your character. He enables you to be a witness. Jesus said, “Ye shall be witnesses unto me.” When? “After the Holy Ghost has come upon you.” There are two things that cannot be successfully faked in the Christian life. One is Christian character, and the other is an effective, spontaneous Christian witness. The Holy Spirit of God must do both of these things in your life, and He does. What else does he do? Paul says in Romans 8, “We know not what we should pray for as we ought, but the Spirit Himself maketh intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered. And he that searcheth the hearts,” that’s God the Father, “knoweth what is the mind of the spirit, because He the spirit maketh intercession for the saints according to the will of God.”

And so we have the expression “praying in the spirit.” What does that mean? That means prayer that is directed by the Holy Spirit of God, as to it’s content, as to it’s temperature, you may say, it’s intensity, and as to the ability to believe God for the answer. When you are praying in the spirit, not only do you bring your requests, but you also are enabled to fulfill Christ’s command of receiving. “What things soever ye desire, when ye pray, believe that ye receive them and ye shall have them.” The Holy Spirit enables you to do that. You know, when He witnesses in your own heart, that the prayer is answered. You know that, and you’re enabled to rejoice and say, “Thank you Lord,” and go on your way.

Now, all of this then comes into focus, doesn’t it, when we’re talking about intercessory prayer? You don’t have to work up some kind of a feeling. There are people whom I know who, when they get down to pray, immediately shift into a kind of a pious tremulant in their voice. This is their effort to sound as though they’re praying effectively. Have you heard that? If it weren’t so serious you could chuckle at it. I’ve been tempted to, I must admit. But here’s a brother who a moment before had been talking in perfectly normal tones to you about anything, whether it was the weather or whatever, perfectly normal tones, you were conversing. Now you’re going to pray and immediately he shifts into a very pious and pompous tone, “Dear Lord,” and I think God must smile at our affect, [chuckle] affected behavior in prayer. You don’t do it that way, beloved. Now, I’m not poking fun at anybody who has a special style in praying. Go ahead, be yourself. It’s alright. I don’t mean to be critical, nor indeed do I mean to poke fun at anyone. You understand that. I love you. But I do think that we can be perfectly natural, we can be ourselves with God. And the Holy Spirit of God within you will enable you to pray as a normal, garden-variety Christian, pray in the enablement of the Holy Spirit so that you are laboring fervently in prayer. Trust the Spirit of God, who dwells within you, to pray through you according to the will of God.

Now, here’s a couple of things that you might remember in terms of procedure. Take time for God’s Holy Spirit to quiet your heart. Most of us just rush into God’s presence, and say a few words, and rush out again. Take time to get quiet before God. I do this best when I go into the scriptures and read a passage of scripture. Read some of the Psalms, for instance, because so many of them are direct prayers. Read some of God’s blessed holy Word, because faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the Word of God. And then be quiet before God, and let the Holy Spirit just speak to your heart. And as you wait before, and as he speaks to you, wonderfully, strangely, and oftentimes surprisingly, you’ll find him bringing to your remembrance things about which you ought to pray. And when you obey those promptings, you will find that you are praying earnestly and effectively. Don’t neglect meetings with others to pray for people, intercessory prayer meetings, where groups of people zero in on some special need. Don’t neglect that. Get in on a prayer group wherever you can, and God will bless you and use you increasingly. You don’t have to work up a prayer spirit, I mean to say. Let the blessed indwelling Holy Spirit pray through you.

Dear Father, today, in the name of the Lord Jesus, we ask that the Holy Spirit of God may pray through us in power and effectiveness. I ask in His name, amen and amen. God bless you, dear friends.

Till I meet you once again by way of radio, walk with the King today and be a blessing!

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