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THE PRAYER PAGE!

A detailed study of some great Bible verses to help us better understand the awesome privilege of prayer!

 

 

 

Dr. Bagwell holds an original 1613 King James Bible!

 

 

SUNDAY, MAY 20, 2007:

It's a short prayer!

Yet it's an effective prayer.

It was prayed when Peter was walking on the water, well, when he was beginning to sink really!

"But when he saw the wind boisterous, he was afraid; and beginning to sink, he cried, saying, Lord, save me. And immediately Jesus stretched forth his hand, and caught him, and said unto him, O thou of little faith, wherefore didst thou doubt?" Matthew 14:30-31

He cried; "Lord, save me!"

That's the prayer!

Three words!

"Lord, save me."

"Lord," in Greek "kurios" and in Latin "dominum," means "one who has control!" It's from a word that means "supremacy!" It is translated three main ways in the King James Bible, Lord and Master and Sir.

The verb "save" is "sozo" and means "to deliver." But it brings with it several word pictures too. If one is sick "sozo" means to make well! If one is under siege "sozo" means to bring victory, defeating the enemy! If one is alienated "sozo" means to make peace!

Jesus is the Victor and the Doctor and the Peacemaker too, the Saviour to sum it up better!

The next time you need help, pray those three words!

The Lord answered that fleeting request for Peter!

Look again: "He was afraid; and beginning to sink, he cried, saying, Lord, save me. And immediately Jesus stretched forth his hand, and caught him."

Immediately!

Sick?

Under the pressure of some kind of battle?

Misunderstood or hated?

Or just lost in your sins?

Jesus can save you ... today!

Short prayers can be powerful prayers too!

Use ... as needed!

                                                                   --- Dr. Mike Bagwell

 

 

NOW HERE ARE 15 PREVIOUS ARTICLES ON PRAYER FROM PAST WEEKS ...

 

ARTICLE 1:

Paul was a man of prayer!

In fact, I am going to call him an "intercessor!"

That's one who prays primarily for others!

Listen to what he prayed for the Roman Christians:  "Making request, if by any means now at length I might have a prosperous journey by the will of God to come unto you. For I long to see you, that I may impart unto you some spiritual gift, to the end ye may be established."   Romans 1:10-11  (Here the words "making requests" indicate prayer to God!  And, being in the present tense, they reveal that this prayer was a constant petition from Paul to God!  He prayed to get to see them again!  And to help them further grow in the Lord!)

That's intercession!

Then Paul also prayed for the Corinthian Believers that "they would come behind in nothing!"  See 1 Corinthians 1:7. Again, that's intercession for their spiritual maturity.

And for the Galatians he literally "travailed" in prayer (as would a lady giving birth)!  "My little children, of whom I travail in birth again until Christ be formed in you." (Galatians 4:19)  This is earnest intercession!

He further tells the Ephesians that he has been "making mention of them in his prayers!"  (Ephesians 1:16f)  "That God would give them the spirit of Wisdom ... that their eyes would be opened to know the hope and the riches and the inheritance of the saints ... and the great power available to them!"  And later he prayed that they would "be rooted and grounded in love!"  (Ephesians 3:17)  Wow!  What intercessory praying!

And while in prayer he "thanked God" for the Philippians too, making requests on their behalf!  (See Philippians 1:3-4)

And he "always" prayed for the Colossians according to Colossians 1:3.  And he had never even seen them face-to-face!  (Colossians 2:1)

And he regularly prayed for the Thessalonians (1 Thessalonians 1:2-3) and for the young preacher Timothy, whom he remembered in prayer "night and day!"  (2nd Timothy 1:3)

He even does not leave Philemon off his prayer list!  (Philemon verse 4)

And this brief list today does not even consider the times Paul asked other Christians to pray for him!  (For example, "Finally, brethren, pray for us ...."  2nd Thessalonians 3:1)

Neither have I mentioned Paul's asking the Believers to pray for some of their own number who were imprisoned for their faith!  ("Remember them that are in bonds, as bound with them; and them which suffer adversity, as being yourselves also in the body."  Hebrews 13:3)

With a prayer life like this ... Paul the intercessor must have spend a lot of time on his knees!

He did!

So much so that he wrote to some Christians saved under his ministry:  "Pray without ceasing."  1 Thessalonians 5:17

In Ephesians 6:18 Paul teaches us that we too are to be ... "Praying always in the spirit ... for all saints!"

And that's exactly what Paul did all his saved life!

What an example!

Dear Reader, for whom are you praying today?

                                                                               --- Dr. Mike Bagwell

 

ARTICLE 2:

Psalm 65:2 gives us our verse for today.  "O thou that hearest prayer, unto thee shall all flesh come."

Wow!  What a verse!

The verb here for "hearest" is (in Hebrew) "shama" and means to listen to with interest!  God cares about our needs!  It is a Qal participle.  That means the voice is "active."  God is the One doing the listening!  And the  "time" sense here is one of on-going activity!  God is still listening to our prayers!

Here David envisions all people coming to God in prayer!

That is not happening in America today.

BUT it will happen on a world-wide scale some glorious daybreak ... when Jesus returns!

God hears prayer!

In fact, let me show you one more quick little thought about prayer. 

Psalm 109:4 says of the Lord:  "For my love they are my adversaries: but I give myself unto prayer."

Believing this Psalm to be "Messianic" (talking about Jesus), our Lord says here something very interesting!  (Peter uses part of this 109th Psalm ... and applies it to Judas' betrayal of Jesus!) 

Listen to Jesus:  "But I give myself unto prayer."  Jesus was a prayer Warrior!  He prayed (no doubt) without ceasing.

In the Hebrew text (which does not have the italicized words supplied by our King James translators for extra clarity) ... Jesus says  "BUT I (AM) PRAYER!"

Get it?

He says:  "I am prayer!"

Add that to the list of His great "I am" statements!

He is Prayer!

This sure makes me want to spend more time with Him today ... time in prayer ... or should I have said time WITH Prayer?

                                                                           --- Dr. Mike Bagwell

 

 

ARTICLE 3:

James 5:16 says:  "Confess your faults one to another, and pray one for another, that ye may be healed. The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much."

Today I would like for us to notice the words I've capitalized in this great verse!

"Pray one for another!"

The verb here ("pray") is an imperative!  James, under the leadership of the Holy Spirit, is giving us a command!  We are expected to pray one for another!

The verb is also in the present "tense."  This tells us that such prayer is to be on-going and habitual in our lives!  It's to be a practice ... not just an occasional event!

And the verb is framed in the "middle" voice, telling us that such action (prayer) will impact the one who prays!  It will change him or her! (For the better!)

The Greek word for "pray" is "euchomai" and is only used 7 times in the whole New Testament! (The usual word for "pray" is a compound of this one.)  Of its 7 appearances in the Bible, it is rendered by its primary meaning "to wish" 5 times!  It is translated "pray" only twice! 

Accurately one may say that the implication here is to go to God and express to Him your desires, wishes, aspirations, goals or longings!  Wow!

The expression "one for another" is interesting too.  The pronouns are identical ("one" and "another") in Greek.  "Allelon" means another (of the same kind)!  For example, apples compared to apples!  This is NOT apples compared to squirrels! James here is saying that believers are to pray for other believers!  (Scripture of course does not prohibit us from praying for the lost ... but here definitely concentrates on prayer for our brothers and sisters in Christ.)

There are over a dozen "one another" passages in the New Testament!  (Things we should do one to another or one for another!)  What a study that would be!  Our verse today is just one of them!

Lastly let's notice the preposition "for."  In Greek it is spelled "huper."  In English it would be "hyper!"  With the genitive case (as here) it means "in behalf of!"  (For example, in Romans 5:6 we can read:  "For when we were yet without strength, in due time Christ died for the ungodly."  Here's "huper" with a genitive "ungodly."  It means that Jesus died "in behalf of" the ungodly!  He took my place!  This is substitutionary atonement!  Praise the Lord!) 

We are to pray "in behalf of" our loved ones in Christ!  What a difference that activity alone could make in our churches!

It's plain to see that the prayer James is describing is a little different than just asking for things YOU want!  It is actually being concerned for others and seeking God to meet THEIR needs! 

This form of prayer is called "intercessory" prayer.  Again, that's praying for others!

Of course, notice that this is reciprocal!  You pray for him ... and he is supposed to pray for you!

Let's just stop right now ... and pray for someone we love.

                                                                              --- Dr. Mike Bagwell

 

 

ARTICLE 4:

This morning I have Psalm 16 on my heart.

Would you pray with me that God will help me as I preach it today?

In fact, I have a suggested verse of Scripture I'd like us all to "add" to our prayer arsenals.  It is found in 2 Kings 6 and is taken from the life of Elisha.

"And Elisha prayed, and said, LORD, I pray thee, open his eyes, that he may see."   (2 Kings 6:17)

That's what I'd like today.  To be able to "see" the true beauties in the Word of God as never before!

That verb "open" means to make sensitive!  (To open the senses ... especially the eyes!)  It is used 34 times in the Bible ... almost always in reference to one's sight! As is often the case with prayer ... the word is an imperative too!

And the verb "to see" (the usual word in Hebrew = "raah") means to perceive, to understand to consider or to heed (as well as to look at)! 

And the "time" sense of both verbs here is that of constant action!  Lord, keep on opening and let me keep on seeing!

Does God answer such prayers?

"And the LORD opened the eyes of the young man; and he saw: and, behold, the mountain was full of horses and chariots of fire round about Elisha."  (2 Kings 6:17)

He does!

Next the Psalmist adds to our "quiver" of prayer weapons as he prays in Psalm 119.

He there asks the Lord:  "Open thou mine eyes, that I may behold wondrous things out of thy law."  (Psalm 119:18)

Of course the "law" is the dear Word of God.  David (or whomever the Spirit used to write this passage) is hungry to learn from the Scripture ... and He asks for the Lord's help!

The verb "open" is written in a Hebrew form that shows INTENSE DESIRE!  The Psalmist here is diligent with his request.  Also I noticed that the verb is in the imperative mood.  While this is hard to explain for  Bible teachers ... we must accept it as written!  An imperative verb expresses a command!  (You can't COMMAND God and tell Him what to do!)  I believe what is being shown us here is that David is so earnest in wanting to understand Scripture that he strongly urges the Lord to  freely reveal Truth to him!  In its most precise sense the verb means "to uncover!"  When used in its basic meaning of "uncover" or "reveal" (or that general thought) the verb appears about 109 times. 

But here's something unusual, the verb is also translated "carry away" or "captive" or "captivity" another 61 times!  This is so dramatic that some Bible scholars believe these vastly different definitions must indicate somehow 2 different words! But clearly in the "spelling" at least, they are NOT different words --- just very different definitions for the same word!  But, wait a minute, let's not wrestle with our human logic ... let's just "plug in" the definitions the Holy Spirit uses to our verb and see what happens!

"Open" would also mean "take me away captive!"   Is that not exactly what happens when we get "into" the Word of God and really begin to enjoy its truths?  We are so delighted and consumed by the Scriptures that we seem to be spiritually "captivated" by it!  I'm telling you right now --- the Word of God is gloriously addictive.  I've never had any booze or any cocaine or even marijuana --- but NOTHING could possibly make me "feel" and "delight" and "thrill" to reality itself as can the Word of God!  You fall in love with it ... and that relationship will last for a lifetime! 

The secondary verb "behold" means "to scan" then "to look at intently" with the implication of "regarding with favor, pleasure or care!"  (Exactly!)  It's used 95 times in the Old Testament, beginning in Genesis 15:5 where God told Abraham to go outside and LOOK at the stars and count them ... for his seed would would be innumerable (like those stars)!  The Hiphil stem means there's a "cause" that propels the looking!  The cause is undoubtedly the magnetic drawing power that the Word of God has in the lives of real Christians!  It's translated:  "look, behold, consider, regard, see and respect!" 

"Wondrous" is a Hebrew adjective.  It is first used in Scripture in Genesis 18:14 where it is translated "too hard!"  (Is anything "too hard for the Lord?)  In its literal "root" meaning the word derives from a verbal form:  "to separate, to distinguish!" (To be different!)  That just may be the idea here:  God's Word is DIFFERENT (marvelously so) from any other writing ever!  It is a living Book! ("Quick, powerful!  Hebrews 4:12)  In Psalm 131:1 it's "things too high!"  The Psalmist well may be asking the Lord to reveal to him the "hard things" of Scripture! 

I have known of a number of preachers of the past who ... before opening their Bible to study, worship or prepare sermons ... would ALWAYS bow their heads, close their eyes, and ask the Lord God Almighty to open their eyes to the beauty and truth of the Bible ... and cause them to "see" wondrous things therein!

That's a pretty good idea!

The Holy Spirit" still does "wondrously!"

Wow!  This is a great verse in two different categories!  It's a "Bible Study" verse! And it's "prayer" verse! 

How very wondrous!

                                                                         --- Dr. Mike Bagwell

 

 

ARTICLE 5:

This is one of James' most well-known statements.

" ... Yet ye have not, because ye ask not."  James 4:2

And the amazing thing is this.  James places his words of wisdom here at the end of a "warring and fighting" statement!

It is as if he is saying that we have unrealized desires ... simply because we do not "filter" them through God's program called PRAYER!

I can have anything (I really need in God's Will) ... if I will just ask for it!

Things that are wrong, forget them!  (You can't pray and ask God for them anyway! They are outside His will!)

Things that are permissible and approved of God ... WHY just sit around and long for them?

Ask God for them!

Generally speaking, He has promised to grant them!

The verb "have" translates "echo" in the present indicative active 2nd person plural form.  It pictures my entire list of possessions.  (I own nothing proper that God did not give me anyway.  James 1:17)

"Because" is the little Greek preposition "dia." It suggests "the channel of an act!" God's channel for giving me the genuine needs of my life is PRAYER!

And the action word "ask" is English for "aiteo," meaning to request something. (It often carries the idea of asking for something with urgency!)  Often in Greek it was used with such vehemence that it was translated "require or demand!"  Here it is an infinitive (present tense, middle voice).  If we are to keep on having ... we must keep on asking!  (That's what the present tense tells us.) And the asking will IMPACT us personally!  We ourselves must do the asking ... not just expect someone else to do it for us! (That's what the middle voice tell us.)

So ... here is the Bible solution to all lusts (strong desires) and arguments and battles wars among professing Christians ... take those longings to the Lord ... in prayer!  He can (and will) grant us what we need!  And what He does not grant us ... we do not need!  Forget it!

Amen, Brother Bagwell!

                                                                                      --- Dr. Mike Bagwell

 

 

ARTICLE 6:

Isaiah 59 gives us our Bible background today. 

"Yea, truth faileth ... and the LORD saw it.  And He saw that there was no man, and wondered that there was no intercessor: therefore his arm brought salvation unto him; and his righteousness, it sustained him."  Isaiah 59:15-16

God saw the situation in which His people were languishing! 

God immediately knew what was needed!

An "intercessor!"

The Hebrew noun "paga" means one who entreats (for another) or one who meets another (to help) or even one who "falls into" another's pathway to do kindness!

In prayer an intercessor is one who prays for another!

(Jesus, our Great High Priest, intercedes for us now! Here is how Hebrews 7:25 describes Him: "Seeing he ever liveth to make intercession for them.")

But look at God's reaction to the fact of there being no intercessor!

The verb "wondered" translated "shamem" in Hebrew.  It means to be astonished or amazed!  (Appalled!)  It literally means "to be stunned!" 

The first few uses of the verb in the King James Bible find it being translated as "desolate!"  (Genesis 47:19 and Leviticus 26:31,32,34,35 and 43!)

See how important an "intercessor" is to God?

Is there someone for whom you need to be praying today?

Is there anyone for whom you have promised to pray?

Has the Holy Spirit laid anyone on your heart this day ... for whom you should be praying?

Be a prayer "warrior!"  Be an intercessor!

Remember what old Samuel said to Israel:  "Moreover as for me, God forbid that I should sin against the LORD in ceasing to pray for you."  1 Samuel 12:23

Let's go pray!

                                                                         --- Dr. Mike Bagwell

 

 

ARTICLE 7:

In Genesis 24 a Bride is being chosen for Isaac. That chapter is filled with helpful information for us yet today.

As one studies it, he is impressed with a number of truths, none of which is more outstanding that this:  prayer!

All the way through its 67 verses prayer is observed again and again!

Maybe the truth is: when choosing a mate, prayer IS one of the chief tools God has given us!

Here's the first prayer:  "And he said, O LORD God of my master Abraham, I pray thee, send me good speed this day, and shew kindness unto my master Abraham. Behold, I stand here by the well of water; and the daughters of the men of the city come out to draw water: And let it come to pass, that the damsel to whom I shall say, Let down thy pitcher, I pray thee, that I may drink; and she shall say, Drink, and I will give thy camels drink also: let the same be she that thou hast appointed for thy servant Isaac; and thereby shall I know that thou hast shewed kindness unto my master."  Genesis 24:12-14

Notice that the servant prayed for the sake of another!  That's called intercessory prayer.

Notice that he has carefully chosen a wise place for prayer too!

And observe that his prayer is based upon God's superintending power!  (The one "Thou hast appointed" for Isaac!)

And also see that his prayer is of a specific nature!

And the servant wisely uses answer to prayer as a step to assurance!  ("Thereby shall I know ...!")

Here's more praying:  "And the man bowed down his head, and worshipped the LORD. And he said, Blessed be the LORD God of my master Abraham, who hath not left destitute my master of his mercy and his truth: I being in the way, the LORD led me to the house of my master's brethren."  Genesis 24:26-27

Here we have worship and praise combined with prayer!

This prayer (as did the first one) emphasizes the constant and eternal nature of God ("The God of my Master").

This prayer celebrates two of God's attributes:  Mercy and Truth!  (Emphasize the Essence of God as you pray!  Magnify His dear Name!)

And yet again the prayer mentions location ("I, being in the way, the Lord led me to the house ....")

Next watch this servant even as he recounts his first prayer (as a testimony) to Rebekah and her family!  "And I came this day unto the well, and said, O LORD God of my master Abraham, if now thou do prosper my way which I go: Behold, I stand by the well of water; and it shall come to pass, that when the virgin cometh forth to draw water, and I say to her, Give me, I pray thee, a little water of thy pitcher to drink; And she say to me, Both drink thou, and I will also draw for thy camels: let the same be the woman whom the LORD hath appointed out for my master's son. And before I had done speaking in mine heart, behold, Rebekah came forth with her pitcher on her shoulder...."  Genesis 24:42-45

Answers to prayer should become part of our testimonies too!

Notice that before he was through praying ... the answer came!  (In Isaiah 65:24 the Lord says: "And it shall come to pass, that before they call, I will answer; and while they are yet speaking, I will hear.")

Fourthly, he even re-tells his prayer of thanksgiving!  But still here we learn new things about the prayer life of this man of God!  "And I bowed down my head, and worshipped the LORD, and blessed the LORD God of my master Abraham, which had led me in the right way to take my master's brother's daughter unto his son." Genesis 24:48

The verb "worshipped" means to prostrate oneself, to bend down in adoration!

The verb "blessed" here is in the Piel stem, telling us the prayers were intensive in nature!  He prayed with all his heart!  These are "fervent" prayers!  James 5:16 teaches us: "The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much."

And do see that the servant gives all the credit to God for the success of the endeavor!  ("The Lord God ... had led me in the right way!")

I've lost count by now (Oh, yes!  It is the fifth mention of prayer in the chapter so far!), but here's more prayer:  "And it came to pass, that, when Abraham's servant heard their words, he worshipped the LORD, bowing himself to the earth."  Genesis 24:52

Here is praise for even more answered prayer!

Note that he prayed right in "public" with everyone around too.

This is immediate thanksgiving!

See how this Passage intermingles worship and prayer so much that one can hardly tell the difference?  Jesus did that too.

Next to lastly, we have an "implied" prayer.  Rebekah's relatives bless her in such a way that only God could have answered!  "And they blessed Rebekah, and said unto her, Thou art our sister, be thou the mother of thousands of millions, and let thy seed possess the gate of those which hate them."  Genesis 24:60

By the way, God has answered that prayer too!  (In fact, He is not yet through answering it!)

This represents prayer for those we love!

It is in the form of a patriarchal (from Father) or matriarchal (from Mother) blessing. The Bible is full of them.  Maybe Christian parents today should bless their children in the Name of the Lord!  That sure beats criticizing them all day long!

The we have a final prayer "hint" in the chapter.  Just as Rebekah and Isaac meet, we are told something:  "And Isaac went out to meditate in the field at the eventide: and he lifted up his eyes, and saw, and, behold, the camels were coming."  Genesis 24:63

What was Isaac doing when he met his Bride?

To "meditate" means to pray and ponder the things of God!  (The textbook definition:  to muse or to commune!)

Isaac was praying!

Everyone in this chapter is praying!

And that IS the right spirit to bring when one needs a wife (or a husband)!

The attitude (and action) of prayer will prove the deciding factor in choosing a mate! (Or in making any other choice in the Christian life too!)

Proverbs 15:29 is still true:  "The LORD is far from the wicked: but he heareth the prayer of the righteous."

Also let me add this.  Not only is prayer a powerful asset in choosing a mate ... but prayer is indispensable in living in a marriage as well!  The "spiritual" aspect of a home (the most important part of it) just cannot be maintained without prayer ... and a lot of it too!

No wonder Paul admonished us to:  "Pray without ceasing."  1 Thessalonians 5:17

                                                                           --- Dr. Mike Bagwell

 

 

ARTICLE 8:

The verse is found in Isaiah 62:6-7!  There the Lord God says:  "I have set watchmen upon thy walls, O Jerusalem, which shall never hold their peace day nor night: ye that make mention of the LORD, keep not silence. And give him no rest, till he establish, and till he make Jerusalem a praise in the earth."  Wow!

The Hebrew noun for watchmen is a word that means to protect or to guard!  (Did you ever think of praying over someone as a way to protect them?)

The walls being mentioned is likely a "hint" of further protection and separation from the outside world!

These watchmen are prayer warriors obviously!

They are beseeching the Lord for the peace of Jerusalem!

God wants them to "never hold their peace!"  Pray!  Pray!  Pray!  Seek the welfare of the City!

Pray day and night!  ("Without ceasing!"  Paul says this in 1 Thessalonians 5:17.)

Give God no rest!  (Now I would have had trouble with that statement ... had not God Himself said it!) 

And one can safely assume ... if God so loves his children to intercede for Jerusalem, He well may love for them to intercede for other causes as well!  I believe He does!

Christian friend, pray for someone you love today!

Intercede!

After all, you would just be following your dear Saviour!  (Who even now is interceding for His Own!)

"Wherefore he is able also to save them to the uttermost that come unto God by him, seeing he ever liveth to make intercession for them."  Hebrews 7:25

Let's go pray!

                                                                         --- Dr. Mike Bagwell

 

 

ARTICLE 9:

I was studying some yesterday afternoon on prayer. I found a very encouraging verse of Scripture!

Here it is: "Then hear thou from the heavens their prayer and their supplication, and maintain their cause."   2 Chronicles 6:35

These words are addressed to the Lord by Solomon. In fact, Solomon is praying here as he dedicates the Temple.

He is believing our great God to "hear" the supplications of His people! The verb to "hear" is in Hebrew "shama" and means to listen with interest and concern! We have a God Who actually cares about our needs!

Usually "prayers" are more general requests and "supplications" are more specific needs placed before the Lord.

BUT what I want you to see is this. According to our verse today, the God who hears and considers our prayers and supplications can also do another great thing!

He can "maintain our cause."

What does that mean?

I just studied that verb "maintain." Itís in Hebrew "asah" and means to do, to make, to fashion, to accomplish or to produce! Itís one of Godís WORKING verbs! It literally says that the God to Whom you bring your needs is fully able to also DO even more than that which you are asking! (It can also mean to advance oneís cause!)

Give God the specifics ... for He can handle it ALL!

Take your burdens to Him ... for He can carry your whole load!

Give God your tomorrows ... for He can direct your entire life!

The noun "cause" is a translation of "mishpat," the Hebrew word for oneís judgments, decisions or pronouncements!  (Oneís life goals!)

This sounds a little bit like Proverbs 3:6 --- "In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths."

Or maybe it is better explained by Proverbs 16:3 --- "Commit thy works unto the LORD, and thy thoughts shall be established."

But perhaps is is best of all just to let the verse speak alone. Here it is again. Remember, Solomon is praying to God and says: "Then hear thou from the heavens their prayer and their supplication, and maintain their cause."

We have just discovered a great by-product (or side-effect) of prayer!

God will do MORE than we ask!

Paul says the Lord "is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that worketh in us."  Wow!  (Ephesians 3:20)

We ask for small things ... and God provides the big things!

We ask for little pieces ... and He gives it all!

He hears our prayers and supplications ... and maintains our cause!

What cause do you need maintained?

Well, pray as you should. Bring every little thing to your great God and place it before His Throne of Grace!

And ... as you do so ... He will maintain your whole cause!

Praise His good Name!

Iíve got an idea!

Letís pray!

                                                                  --- Dr. Mike Bagwell

 

 

Article 10:

I was reading a book about prayer.  The author was discussing prayers as they were offered during the Greek and Roman era.  He had found many instances where the worshippers bargained with their gods or goddesses as they besought their favours!

Here's a quote.  "Reciprocity was the key to ancient Roman prayers!"  That means that the worshipper was to do something for the god ... then the god would do something for the worshipper!

In prayer the average Greek or Roman would tell his god all the good things he'd done for this particular deity ... and then demand certain things in return!

Again, that's called "reciprocity."

Prayer was to them an "informal contract."  A "tit-for-tat."

It was "counter-service" in action!

But, oh, how different is Christian prayer!

See if you discern any bargaining in this request:  "And the publican, standing afar off, would not lift up so much as his eyes unto heaven, but smote upon his breast, saying, God be merciful to me a sinner."  Luke 18:13

Or get what Jesus said in Matthew 7:7-8.  "Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you: for every one that asketh receiveth; and he that seeketh findeth; and to him that knocketh it shall be opened."

See any counter-offers here? 

Or think of the words of the old hymn "Rock of Ages" that says ... 

"Nothing in my hand I bring;
Simply to Thy Cross I cling;
Naked, come to Thee for dress;
Helpless look to you for grace;
Foul, I to the fountain fly,
Wash me, Saviour, or I die."

Thank God for the "grace" of prayer!

The Epistle of Hebrews even calls God's very dwelling place "The Throne of Grace!" (Hebrews 4:16)

Exercise that great privilege of petition and intercession and thanksgiving today!

Pray!

                                                                      --- Dr. Mike Bagwell

 

 

ARTICLE 11:

I saw this view of the Lord's Prayer a couple of weeks ago.  It has thrilled my heart.

It "sets" the model prayer Jesus taught us in the "light" of Bible history.

It makes it the most "logical" thing one could ever pray!

Let me show you what I mean.

The "text" I'm following is that of Matthew 6:9-13.

"Our Father Which art in Heaven"  God as a personal "Father" is NOT generally an Old Testament doctrine. It fits more into the gracious New Testament pattern. ("Abba" Father!) However, we do find the term used a few times in the Jewish Scriptures.  Notice Exodus 4:22-23.  "And thou shalt say unto Pharaoh, Thus saith the LORD, Israel is my son, even my firstborn: and I say unto thee, Let my son go, that he may serve me: and if thou refuse to let him go, behold, I will slay thy son, even thy firstborn."  Or again you can see it in Hosea 11:1 where God says:  "When Israel was a child, then I loved him, and called my son out of Egypt."  Observe that in both texts the subject is Israel being brought out of Egyptian bondage!  That's history!  (Redemptive history!)

"Hallowed be Thy Name"  At the burning bush experience God emphasized the meaning and the holiness of His Name!  "And the angel of the LORD appeared unto him in a flame of fire out of the midst of a bush: and he looked, and, behold, the bush burned with fire, and the bush was not consumed. And Moses said, I will now turn aside, and see this great sight, why the bush is not burnt. And when the LORD saw that he turned aside to see, God called unto him out of the midst of the bush, and said, Moses, Moses. And he said, Here am I. And he said, Draw not nigh hither: put off thy shoes from off thy feet, for the place whereon thou standest is holy ground. Moreover he said, I am the God of thy father, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob. And Moses hid his face; for he was afraid to look upon God."  Then God's Name is introduced into the conversation.  "And God said unto Moses, I AM THAT I AM: and he said, Thus shalt thou say unto the children of Israel, I AM hath sent me unto you. And God said moreover unto Moses, Thus shalt thou say unto the children of Israel, The LORD God of your fathers, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob, hath sent me unto you: this is my name for ever, and this is my memorial unto all generations."  And Psalm 111:9 adds this about God's Name:  "He sent redemption unto his people: he hath commanded his covenant for ever: holy and reverend is his name."

"Thy Kingdom come"  This was God's very goal for historical Israel.  He would be their King!  Their Lord!    Jehovah was grieved when they wanted a man as King, a Saul son of Kish!  In Exodus 19:6 here's what God said to Israel:  "And ye shall be unto me a kingdom of priests, and an holy nation. These are the words which thou shalt speak unto the children of Israel."  Wow!  As we all now know, Israel rejected God's offer ... but Jesus will still some day sit and rule as "King of the Jews!" (This is a millennial text!)

"Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven"  This petition reminds me of the Old Testament Tabernacle with all its beautiful pictures of Christ Jesus!  God had come down to earth.  The Brass Altar is Jesus on the Cross!  The Candlestick is Jesus the Light of the Word!  The Mercy Seat is Jesus the propitiation of sin!  (In fact, when John tells us of the Incarnation ... He said:  "And the Word (Jesus) was made flesh, and dwelt (the verb = "tabernacled") among us, and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth."  I'd surely call That God's Will!

"Give us this day our daily bread"  Here we historically see the Manna in the wilderness!  (Which manna was simply a Type of our Lord Jesus Christ, the True Bread of Life!  Remember Jesus' statement:  "And Jesus said unto them, I am the bread of life: he that cometh to me shall never hunger; and he that believeth on me shall never thirst." John 6:35)  God still feeds us day by day ... both physically and spiritually!

"And forgive us our debts as we forgive our debtors"  I wonder if this may indirectly refer to their "borrowing" from the Egyptians as they did.  See Exodus 3:22 or 11:2. "Speak now in the ears of the people, and let every man borrow of his neighbour, and every woman of her neighbour, jewels of silver, and jewels of gold."  Now I am not implying that they did anything wrong here. They were just following God's orders.  But there is also no doubt a further historical inference here.  The people of God sinned again and again in the wilderness.  They needed and at times sought God's forgiveness.  Moses illustrates this fact with his great prayer in Exodus 32:32 where he intercedes: "Yet now, if thou wilt forgive their sin--; and if not, blot me, I pray thee, out of thy book which thou hast written."  Wow!  This also might have in view every 7th "Sabbatical" Year or even the 50th Year of "Jubilee!"  God can certainly set us free!

"And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil"  This is a prayer for God to defer or remove certain "testings" from their pathway.  Israel has always faced trials and persecutions.  This very request acknowledges that God is their supreme Controller!  BUT ... here Israel may have been asking God to remove (not His testings and trials toward them, but ...) their selfish and carnal testings toward God Himself! Often Israel rebelled against God and vexed or grieved Him on their journey!  (In Numbers 14:22 God directly states that Israel had "tempted" Him again and again!  "Because all those men which have seen my glory, and my miracles, which I did in Egypt and in the wilderness, and have tempted me now these ten times, and have not hearkened to my voice."  Wow!  Ten times!  That may mean "repeatedly.")  Paul in 1st Corinthians 10:9 says that Israel "tempted" the Lord too. "Neither let us tempt Christ, as some of them also tempted, and were destroyed of serpents."  Lord, don't let us do that!

"For Thine is the Kingdom and the Power and the Glory, for ever."  And some day ... some glorious day ... Israel will be humbled (the Tribulation) and convicted and saved (at Armageddon) by the Grace of God!  She then will bow before Her Messiah Jesus, King of all, and ascribe to Him the Kingdom and the Power and the Glory for ever!  "And I will pour upon the house of David, and upon the inhabitants of Jerusalem, the spirit of grace and of supplications: and they shall look upon me whom they have pierced, and they shall mourn for him, as one mourneth for his only son, and shall be in bitterness for him, as one that is in bitterness for his firstborn."  (Zechariah 12:10) Paul adds in Romans 11:26-27 ... "And so all Israel shall be saved: as it is written, There shall come out of Sion the Deliverer, and shall turn away ungodliness from Jacob: For this is my covenant unto them, when I shall take away their sins."  Glory to God!

Then, lastly, "Amen"  Even this little word has historical significance for the Jews! It was used early in their national life when they agreed to the blessings and curses of obeying or not obeying God's Word!  (Twelve times you'll find "amen" in Deuteronomy 27!)  They used it in the days of David as worship was lifted to God! See 1st Chronicles 16:36 --- "Blessed be the LORD God of Israel for ever and ever. And all the people said, Amen, and praised the LORD."  It was used in the days of the great Revival in Nehemiah 8.  See verse 6.  It was used repeatedly throughout the Psalms.  It was used in the New Testament era.  Fifty (50) times I find it in the New Testament!  Paul used it habitually!  And ... according to the Book of Revelation they are using it in heaven right now!  "Amen" means TRUE, FAITHFUL, RIGHT!  In fact, it is Jesus' very Name:  "And unto the angel of the church of the Laodiceans write; These things saith the Amen, the faithful and true witness, the beginning of the creation of God."  That's Jesus talking!

There you have it!

Certainly this is not the only way to view the Lord's Prayer.

It may not even be the best way.

But it is one way ... and it's lovely!

This sure teaches us to pray to our Lord our of our daily experiences, doesn't it?

Amen!

                                                                           --- Dr. Mike Bagwell

 

 

ARTICLE 12:

I had a godly old Professor in Bible College who had this habit.

It was a "prayer" habit!

Every time someone would call on the phone ... before that conversation ended ... he would have prayer with them!

(I wonder how that would work with "telemarketers!")

If it was a church member ... he prayed with them and for them!

If it was a relative ... still the same!

Or even a salesman!

He also included wrong numbers!

That's just the way it was with him!

He used every phone call as a "prayer pointer!"

That has me thinking.

Why can't one expand the area of "prayer pointers?"

Why can't every red light remind me to pray for my wife?  That would be a thirty second to _____ minute(s) prayer!  Some of those things last a while!

Why not let a trip to the mail box be prayer time for the Pastor (or someone else)?

Or "loading the dishwasher time" be converted into intercession for your Sunday School teacher?

Even "vacuuming time" might work!

And men, when Spring comes, grass cutting time too!

There's no limit to the possibilities!

But ... what would be the Biblical Basis for such praying?

Ah!  I've found it.  And it is predictably from the pen of Paul:  "Pray without ceasing."  1st Thessalonians 5:17

If someone resolves to try this little plan, kindly let me know ... and I'll pray for you as you begin this new spiritual adventure!

                                                                              --- Dr. Mike Bagwell

 

 

ARTICLE 13:

Any growing Christian needs it!

What?

Prayer!

He or she needs to have people praying for them!

Lots of people!

Paul believed that.

Everywhere he went he sought to enlist prayer helpers for his ministry!

Watch:

All these flow from the pen of that great Apostle.

In Romans 15:30 Paul asked for the prayers of his friends in the Capital city!  "Now I beseech you, brethren, for the Lord Jesus Christ's sake, and for the love of the Spirit, that ye strive together with me in your prayers to God for me."

And he knew the Philippians were praying for him.  He had asked them to do so again and again no doubt!  In Philippians 1:19 he says:  "For I know that this shall turn to my salvation through your prayer, and the supply of the Spirit of Jesus Christ."

And here's how he asked the Ephesians to help in prayer.  "Praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, and watching thereunto with all perseverance and supplication for all saints; and for me, that utterance may be given unto me, that I may open my mouth boldly, to make known the mystery of the gospel." Ephesians 6:18-19

Even in Colossee too!  "Withal praying also for us, that God would open unto us a door of utterance, to speak the mystery of Christ, for which I am also in bonds: that I may make it manifest, as I ought to speak."  Colossians 4:3

And maybe the best example is found here.  "Finally, brethren, pray for us, that the word of the Lord may have free course, and be glorified, even as it is with you:  and that we may be delivered from unreasonable and wicked men: for all men have not faith."   2 Thessalonians 3:1-2

Even the little Epistle of Philemon contains an example! "But withal prepare me also a lodging: for I trust that through your prayers I shall be given unto you." Philemon 1:22

Paul literally built an "army" of prayer warriors and intercessors on his behalf!

Fellow Believers, if we are wise, we will do so too!

Start today.

And Sunday (the Lord's Day) at Church, if I were you, I'd begin asking others to join that little "army!"

One of the most thrilling comments I hear as we travel is this:  "Preacher I pray for you every day!"

Thank you!

Oh, the power of prayer!

Better said:  Oh!  The Power of the God of Heaven Who answers prayer!

                                                                                --- Dr. Mike Bagwell

 

 

ARTICLE 14:

I heard someone just mention this thought and I liked it!

They talked about praying the Names of God!

Later, as I was driving to a Revival Meeting one evening, I thought of someone dear to me who is sick.

I needed to pray for her.

I then became an intercessor, one who prayed to God for another person.

I was asking our Almighty God, my Heavenly Father, to meet the needs of my wife, a believer in Jesus Christ the Lord.

Then it occurred to me, why not pray one of God's Names concerning her sickness?

But which Name should I invoke?

It just seemed that immediately the Holy Spirit prompted my memory.  Jehovah God has a Name that deals with physical healing!

Let me show you.

Listen to what God promised the Jews in the wilderness of Sinai.

"And said, If thou wilt diligently hearken to the voice of the LORD thy God, and wilt do that which is right in his sight, and wilt give ear to his commandments, and keep all his statutes, I will put none of these diseases upon thee, which I have brought upon the Egyptians: for I am the LORD that healeth thee."  Exodus 15:26

Well, my wife obeys the voice of the Lord.  And she also seeks to do right in His sight.  Then perhaps I can claim the rest of the verse too!

"I AM THE LORD THAT HEALETH THEE!"

In Hebrew the words "LORD THAT HEALETH" are spelled Jehovah Rapha.

It is one of His compound Names!

If God's Name is the God Who Heals ... may I not claim that part of His Essence as I pray?

Of course I can!

We are commanded to pray in His Name!

The next time you seek the Lord for physical strength and healing (whether for yourself or someone else) ... remember His Name, His Healing Name!

Jehovah Rapha!

If He so chooses, He can keep those "diseases" away from us!

Blessed be the Lord!

                                                                                  --- Dr. Mike Bagwell

 

 

ARTICLE 15:

Recently I saw a verse of Scripture that thrilled me.

It is really a prayer to the Lord.

The faithful servant of Abraham, on his way to find a bride for Isaac, asked the Lord for two things in Genesis 24:12.  Here's how he worded it:  "And he said, O LORD God of my master Abraham, I pray thee, send me good speed this day, and shew kindness unto my master Abraham."

Now in subsequent verses this faithful servant asks other things ... particularly concerning the bride whom he had come to acquire.  However, for today we shall just look at the two-fold petition I've printed in the above paragraph.

I think the words of this prayer are powerful!

I do not know why I can't pray them yet today!

His prayer is directed to the LORD God!

These two specific Names of God are Jehovah (LORD ... all capital letters) and Elohim (God).  They are the two main Names for the Lord in the Bible.  LORD occurs 7,836 times and God another 4,444 times!

The Name Jehovah specifically emphasizes God's eternal nature (The Great "I AM") and is used Biblically for the God Who loves His people and has entered into a covenant relation with them!  He is the God Who saves!

Whereas Elohim includes the prefix that means strong or powerful!  An omnipotent God!  Also it, having a plural ending, depicts a Triune God; the Father, Son and Holy Spirit!

Then the request comes, "send me good speed."

The Hebrew Text is constructed so that it places the intercessor's name next: "to me" (literally "to my face") send ....  This is a personal thing now!  Eliezer (the servant's name) wants God to do something for him as an individual.  Lord, before my face please meet this need!

This whole scene reminds me of Hebrews 4:16.  "Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need."

The expression "good speed" is unique as well!  "Qarah" means "to encounter, to meet, to befall or to happen!"  Yet it also can mean "to place beams of timber on a building, bringing it to completion!"  Now I must explain this.  In our King James Bibles the word that gives us "good speed" here is elsewhere translated:  "to meet" (5 times), "to happen along" (7 times), "to befall" (3 times) and "beams" (4 times)!

This servant has just asked the Lord to meet him that day and help him with his duties!  Lord, ease into my life today and take control!  Lord, complete (lay the beams upon) the task I've been given ... and help me finish the job at hand!

What a prayer!

What is "good speed" to this man?

Why, it is The Very Presence of God!

Amazing!

But there's even more to this great prayer ...

The second request quickly follows.  But this one is NOT for Eliezer.  It is a prayer for Abraham, his master!

" ... And shew kindness unto my master Abraham."

The verb "show" is "asah" and means to build or to make or to construct!  He is asking the Lord to custom make some kindness for Abraham that day!  No doubt he here prays in reference to God's providing just the right young lady to be Isaac's bride!

"Kindness" is "hesed" or "chesed" and is the key Old Testament word for God's mercy (149 times) and lovingkindness (30 more times)!  What a kind God He is!

I believe each of us has someone we love for whom we can pray this little petition.  Pray it daily!  Lord, be kind today to ________ . 

That's intercession ... when we pray for others!

Putting everything together now ... "And he said, O LORD God of my master Abraham, I pray thee, send me good speed this day, and shew kindness unto my master Abraham."

I encourage you to consider making this powerful verse part of your prayer arsenal!

We all know and love "The Lord's Prayer" and "The Jabez Prayer" and the "Psalm 20 Prayer" and the "John 17 Prayer" ... why not the "Genesis 24:12 Prayer" too?

You do what you want ... I'm including it in my life as of today!

                                                                               --- Dr. Mike Bagwell

 

                                                          

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