The next step in drawing near to God is talking to Him! Who would've thought, huh? Just as we can't maintain earthly relationships without communication; we most certainly can't maintain a healthy relationship with our Heavenly Father if we don't talk to Him. As we do so remember that we are talking to the King of Kings and it would behoove us to come before Him respectfully, giving Him the honor due Him. Below are three areas of prayer you can start to practice in your own prayer life to either enrich it if you are long-time prayer warrior or if you are new to this journey of learning who your Heavenly Father is and how He wants to know you intimately.
"Oh that I knew where I might find Him! that I might come even to His seat! I would order my cause before him, and fill my mouth with arguments." ~ Job 23:3-4
3 Facets of Effective Prayer (taken from the book, Effective Prayer by Charles H. Spurgeon)
1. Ordering Our Cause before God As a petitioner coming into the court does not come there without thought to state his case on the spur of the moment, but enters into the audience chamber with his suit well prepared, having also learned how he ought to behave himself in the presence of the great one to whom he is appealing; so it is well to approach the seat of the King of kings as much as possible with premeditation and preparation, knowing what we are about, where we are standing, and what it is which we desire to obtain. We would do well to come with an unprepared spirit, for to be anxious and thoughtless in the closet is little less than blasphemy, for it is an abomination that anything will do for God. We have no right to what we are seeking and cannot expect to obtain it except as a gift of grace.
Speak in plain words before God (after all it is a real conversation), mean what you say and let your words be few.
Ask for what you now need, and, as a rule, keep to present need; ask for your daily bread.
Reflect on the blessing you desire, making sure there is no selfish motive as it forgets God's glory and caters only to our own ease and comfort.
2. Filling Our Mouth with Arguments Not filling the mouth with words nor good phrases, nor pretty expressions, but filling the mouth with arguments, as the ancient saints were wont to argue in prayer. When we come to the gate of mercy, forcible arguments are the knocks of the rapper by which the gate is opened. The arguments to be used are for our own benefit, not for His. He requires us to plead with Him, and to bring forth our strong reasons, as Isaiah says (Isa. 41:21), because this will show that we feel the value of the mercy. There is no need for prayer at all as far as God is concerned, but what a need there is for it on our own account! To pray is to cast off your burdens, it is to tear away your rags, it is to shake off your diseases, it is to be filled with spiritual vigour, it is to reach the highest point of Christian health!
Pray with God's attributes in mind
As Abraham pleaded this when he laid hold upon God's justice in Genesis 18, when God was about to destroy Sodom & Gomorrah. It was a powerful argument by which the patriarch grasped the Lord's left hand and arrested it just when the thunderbolt was about to fall. So you and I may take hold at any time upon the justice, the mercy, the faithfulness, the wisdom, the long-suffering, the tenderness of God, and we shall find every attribute of the Most Hight to be, as it were, a great battering-ram, with which we may open the gates of heaven.
Pray with God's Promises in mind
When Jacob was on the other side of the brook Jabbok, and his brother Esau was coming with armed men, he pleaded with God not to allow Esau to destroy the mother and the children, and as a master reason he pleaded "And thou saidst, surely I will do thee good." (Gen. 32:12). Oh the force of that plea! He was holding God to His word: "Thou saidst." Shall not He be true? Shall He not keep His word? Shall not every word that comes out of His lips stand fast and be fulfilled? If you have a divine promise, you need not plead with an "if" in it; you may plead with a certainty. If for the mercy which you are now asking, you have God's solemnly pledged word, there will scarce be any room for the caution about submission to His will. When God speaks, He speaks because He means to act,
Pray with the Great Name of God in mind
How mightily did Moses argue with God on one occasion upon this ground! "What wilt thou do for thy great name? The Egyptians will say, Because the Lord could not bring them into the land, therefore he slew them in the wilderness." There are some occasions when the name of God is very closely tied up with the history of His people. Sometimes in reliance upon a divine promise, a believer will be led to take a certain course of action. Now, if the Lord should not be as good as His promise, not only is the believer deceived, but the wicked world looking on would say, Aha! aha! Where is your God? Come Jehovah, Come, Jehovah, and once again show what Thy bare arm can do! This is a legitimate mode of pleading with God, for His great name's sake.
Pray with the Sorrows of God's People in mind
Jeremiah is the great minister of this art. He says, "Her Nazarites were purer than snow, they were whiter than milk, they were more ruddy in body than rubies, their polishing was of sapphire: now their visage is blacker than a coal." (Lam. 4:7-8). He calls upon the Lord to look upon His suffering in Zion; and before long his plaintive cries are heard. Nothing so eloquent with the father as his child's cry; yes, there is one thing more mighty still, and that is a moan when the child is so sick that it is past crying, and lies moaning with that kind of moan which indicates extreme suffering and intense weakness. Whenever you also are brought into the same condition you may plead your mournings, and when you see a church brought very low you may use her griefs as an argument why God should return and save the remnant of His people.
Pray with the Past in mind
David always used this in his prayers. "Thou has been my help. Leave me not, neither forsake me." (Ps. 27:9) He pleads God's mercy to him from his youth up. He speaks of being cast upon his God from his very birth, and then he pleads, "Now also, when I am old and greyheaded, O God forsake me not." (Ps. 71:18) How often have we cried in our trouble, "Lord, Thou didst deliver me in such and such a sharp trial, when it seemed as if no help were near; Thou hast never forsaken me yet." We may even use our own unworthiness as an argument with God. Perhaps we may petition, "Let the greatnesses of my sin make me a platform for the greatness of Thy mercy. Let the greatness of Thy love be seen in me."
Pray with the Sufferings, Death, Merit and Intercession of Christ Jesus in mind
We may not fully understand what it is that we have at our command when we are allowed to plead with God for Christ's sake. Because of Christs' suffering, death, merit and intercession, He virtually says to us, "If you need anything of God, all that the Father has belongs to Me; go and use my name." John 14:14 says, "If you ask anything in my name I will give it to you." Waver not and let not faith stagger! When you plead the name of Christ you plead that which shakes the gates of hell, and which the host of heaven obey, and God Himself feels the sacred power of that divine plea.
3. Giving Praise and Thanksgiving If the Holy Ghost shall teach us how to order our cause, and how to fill our mouth with arguments, the result shall be that we shall have our mouth filled with praises. The man who has his mouth full of arguments in prayer shall soon have his mouth full of benedictions in answer to prayer. Oh, have your mouth full of prayer - full of it, full of arguments so that there is room for nothing else. Then you shall soon go away with whatsoever you have asked of God. "Delight thyself also in the Lord, and He will give thee the desires of thine heart." (Ps. 37:4) God says in Psalms 81:10 to "Open thy mouth wide and fill it" - so fill it with arguments and He will fill it with mercies priceless, gems of unspeakable valuable. Let us then open wide our mouth when we have to plead with God. Our needs are great, let our asking be great, and the supply shall be great too.
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