The Art of War…Preparing for the Battle (Part2)

Watch therefore, and pray always that you may be accounted worthy to escape all these things that will come to pass, and to stand before the Son of Man.” Luke 21:36

Three things jump out at me when reading the above verse: 1) These things will most certainty come to pass. 2) Only the ones who are “accounted worthy” will stand before the Son of Man. 3) The word “therefore” is there for what has just been stated in the entirety of the chapter…which is Luke’s account of the tribulation. And 4) If a man is not praying, then he will not escape all these things.  For the above scripture says to us, “pray always that you may be accounted worthy to escape all these things.” This does not mean that you actually pray, “Lord, account me worthy to escape all these things…” – but it means that if you are praying, then you will be accounted worthy to escape all these things.  Because a man who is really praying is in all probability (unless he has deceived himself) living a Godly and holy life, and has an intimate relationship with the Lord Jesus Christ.

The spirit of prayer is more precious than treasures of gold and silver. Pray often, for prayer is a shield to the soul, a sacrifice to God, and a scourge for Satan.  – Thomas Brooks

The Lord changed Simon’s name to Peter.  “Simon” means: a reed.  “Peter” means: a rock.  One of only two other times before the death of Christ did He call Peter Simon. And this can be found in Mark 14:37, while in the Garden of Gethsemane when Peter was sleeping when he should have been praying: “Simon, are you sleeping?”  You see, when we are sleeping when we should be praying, He calls us by the name of our old nature.

Prayer does not equip us for the greater work, Prayer is the greater work. – Oswald Chambers

Prayer will keep you from turning the temptation to sin into sin.  Consider the following verse very carefully: “Rise and pray, lest you enter into temptation.” Luke 22:46.  Did you really catch what that was saying?  Temptation will be entered into if you are not praying.  Prayer is the stabilizing force in the Christian’s heart and life to recognize temptation for what it is…a prelude to sin.  Temptation comes to all people.  Satan is called “the tempter” twice in the New Testament (Matt. 4:3, 1 Thess. 3:5).  All that he can do is tempt.  He can not make you do anything, but you will “enter into the temptation” if you are not praying.

It is better to be in deep dangers praying, than on high mountains of vanity playing. – Archibald Symson

The prayerful saint is the spiritual saint; because only worldly people don’t pray.  The prayer closet is where God produces overcomers.  In Proverbs 23:21, it says that “laziness will clothe a man in rags.” Rags are symbolic of sin in scripture. So then, if you really want freedom over sin, then start in the prayer closet.  Don’t ask Him for victory over sin.  Just worship God and develop a relationship with Him and sin will fall off you like a moth-eaten leprous garment.  Dear reader, once a man sees sin for what it really is and for it really does (mainly to the Lord), he will run from it in stark terror!!  He will see sin for what it really is in the eyes of the Lord…leprosy.

For most of us the prayer in Gethsemane is the only model. Removing mountains can wait. – C. S. Lewis

Prayer is a spiritual locator.  It will locate you and show you where you are at.  Real prayer will expose you before God, and before yourself.  You will see who you really are and how stained you really are.  You will then see all of your inabilities and weaknesses; and then you will see all of His ability and His strength.  Right then and right there you will be faced with a decision…to not go further with Him into the garden to be confronted and then to take the long way around the mountain again, or to remain and be changed.

Prayer is more powerful than habits, heredity, and natural tendencies. It can overcome all these. It is more powerful than the forces that hold the planets in place. Prayer, though it comes from the heart of an unlearned child of God, can suspend the laws of the universe, if such be God’s will, just as the sun stood still when Joshua prayed. There is no other power on earth that the enemy of souls hates and fears as he does prayer. We are told that ‘Satan trembles when he sees the weakest saint upon his knees.’ – Matilda Andross

If you do not pray, then you will not obey.  Because it will not be in you to obey.  It will be in you to go your own way.  Prayer produces a life of obedience.  Prayer does not change God…it changes you.  We must let Christ confront us on the shore of our hearts just as He did to Peter.   John exclaimed, “It’s the Lord” and Peter jumped out of the boat and swam 100 yards in cold water only to be confronted by the Lord on the shore of his own heart… “Simon…do you love Me?”  When we come to the Lord in our prayer closet, the first thing He is interested in is our love towards Him, and He will ask this several times.  He doesn’t ask it for His own good, but He asks it of us so that we might look way down deep in the fountain of our love and really see what our hearts are drawn to and occupied with.

Prayer strikes the winning blow; service is simply picking up the pieces. – S.D. Gordan

Dear reader, we will only experience the death to self on our knees.  The spiritual reality of it is in the word of God, but the experience of it is to be found on our knees.  And this must come.  If not, then we will go through life empty and barren knowing that His full will was never accomplished in us.  God must be sought with our spirit.  Isaiah 26:9 says that “with my spirit will I seek Him early.”  Prayer must come from the spirit and by the spirit.  Many people are just lost in prayer.  They have no direction.  Your heart needs to be set and firmly fixed to seek Him and to find Him…no matter the cost. 

I fear the prayers of John Knox more than all the armies of England and France. – Queen Mary of Scotland

You live where you pray.  If you pray in the natural, then you’ll live in the natural, carnal realm.  If you pray in the glory, then you’ll live in the glory.  You live where you pray.  Prayer brings brokenness to our lives.  What I mean is that we will begin to see ourselves for who we really are measured against the benchmark of what God’s word tells us we are to be.  And brokenness produces humility, and humility produces empathy, and empathy sows the seeds of love for others, and loving others by default causes us to serve them and think very little of ourselves.  And eventually we start becoming smaller, and smaller, and smaller, and yes, even smaller in our own eyes and estimation of ourselves.  But it all starts on our knees in deep contrition, confession, and an utter abhorrence of ourselves.  This is the place of great breaking…and oh, how we need to be broken to pieces before Him!!

Oh brother, pray; in spite of Satan, pray; spend hours in prayer; rather neglect friends than not pray; rather fast, and lose breakfast, dinner, tea, and supper – and sleep too – than not pray. And we must not talk about prayer, we must pray in right earnest. The Lord is near. He comes softly while the virgins slumber. -Andrew Bonar

Dear reader, if we are really going to serve in God’s army, then we will need to learn the art of communication.  And when we are praying and all hearing the same thing, then we will speak the same thing on the battlefield.  And this all starts with the word of God as we learned last week.  A friend of mine likes to say, “You can only use God’s vocabulary if you have His dictionary.”

The men who have done the most for God in this world have been early on their knees. He who fritters away the early morning, its opportunity and freshness, in other pursuits than seeking God will make poor headway seeking Him the rest of the day. If God is not first in our thoughts and efforts in the morning, He will be in the last place the remainder of the day.  No learning can make up for the failure to pray. No earnestness, no diligence, no study, no gifts will supply its lack. – E.M. Bounds

If a man loves the Lord, then it just stands to reason that he would want to be with Him in fellowship.  Prayer produces intimacy.  Try this out and see if it is not true: pick a particular person who rubs you the wrong way and with whom you find it difficult to get along with.  Begin to earnestly pray for this person on a regular basis.  Pray for their increase, for their welfare, that God would just capture their heart and bless their business and marriage and children.  Really cry out to God on their behalf and see what happens…not only to you, but to them.  This is a tangible way to actually see how God operates.

Prayer is the acid test of devotion. – Samuel Chadwick

The little estimate we put on prayer is evidence from the little time we give to it. – E.M. Bounds

Prayer will make a man cease from sin, or else sin will entice a man to cease from prayer– John Bunyan

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Blow ye the trumpet in Zion, and sound an alarm on My holy mountain! Joel 2:1