Purpose of Prayer by Stephen Nielsen: Table of Contents, Introduction and a short excerpt

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CONTENTS

Introduction . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . vii

1  Prayer is God’s Idea . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  9

2  The Lord’s Prayer . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 18

3  Answers to Prayer . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 47

4  Prayer in Jesus’ Name . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  74

5  Prayer Warfare – Part 1 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  84

6  Prayer Warfare – Part 2 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 100

7  The Sin of Prayerlessness . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  116

8  How Long Should We Pray? . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 130

9  Revival . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  140

Notes . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  157

 

                                                    INTRODUCTION

What is the purpose of prayer? What is the reason for it? Man’s ideas of prayer are sometimes very different then God’s. If a man or woman has little regard for what God desires, their prayers will naturally be quite selfish; they will pray just to acquire things that please them. But when we submit our will to God and seek the things He desires, He will work in our heart to change our prayer purpose.
The chapters of this book have to do with learning how to pray according to God’s purpose for prayer. I sincerely desire and pray that you will find that purpose.

 

Here is a short excerpt from chapter one:

 

CHAPTER 1

PRAYER IS GOD’S IDEA

 

I think it is natural to assume that prayer is God’s idea. For true prayer is always according to the Word of God—according to His promises and according to how He has taught us to pray.
     Some people, however,—those who don’t believe that the Bible is the inspired Word of God, that God is a personal God, and that He has given us personal promises—have arguments that prayer is not really God’s idea. They believe prayer is their own idea.

 

ARGUMENTS THAT PRAYER IS NOT GOD’S IDEA

Here are three different arguments that some people may use:

1. Prayer is man’s own thought-up way of expressing his need to what he hopes is God. Here the argument is that God doesn’t tell man what to pray or draw him in any away to prayer; it is his own idea. In this view, man is believed to be separate from God and not sustained by God. Thus he believes that most of the time he doesn’t need God, only sometimes. At those times he may pray to God for help, but his prayers are his own idea and in his own words. Note also, in this argument that this person doesn’t have a real, solid belief in God. He just hopes that something or somebody is out there bigger than himself that will offer him some help when he decides that he needs it.

2. Prayer is talking to yourself. Since some believe that they themselves are God (or god), prayer for them is simply talking to self. And I suppose they would say that the more you talk to yourself the more you will be able to form the god within you and thus to see clearly (to be more convinced) that you really are God (or a god), and that you can do anything when you put your mind to it. Thus, in this view, prayer is not the idea of communicating to God in Heaven; it is the idea of talking to the god within.

3. Prayer is man’s way of letting off steam. In this view God may exist, but man doesn’t really pray to Him. Prayers are mainly man’s way of letting off steam, and a way to unburden self. It is really like point two, a self-talk. In this view, however, man doesn’t really think he is a god, he just talks to himself as a form of meditation. I suppose in this view it is believed that the more effort is put into trying to help yourself, the more God will come along beside you and help you to feel good about yourself. Here again, prayer is not God’s idea; it is man’s idea.
        Now I want to tell you that these arguments are not documented, compiled from any survey; I just made them up. But since I thought of them, I’m sure someone else did too. And so I’m convinced that these are some of the arguments that some people use, along with many others.
       I want to tell you, however, that true prayer is most definitely God’s idea. As a matter of fact, He chose us and appointed us as His fruit bearing servants with the unique privilege of being able to ask for whatever we want and to receive it (Jn. 15:16). Prayer then is not only our privilege but also our appointed calling from the Lord. Yes, prayer is definitely God’s idea, and there is proof…

 

PROOF THAT PRAYER IS GOD’S IDEA

There is ample proof, through the life of Jesus, that prayer is God’s idea. For Jesus, who is really God come to us in the flesh, commanded us to pray, taught us to pray, and demonstrated prayer to us. 

     He commanded us to pray. Jesus would not have commanded us to pray unless prayer was His idea and His Father’s idea. All that He commands the believer is part of His plan. When He commands us to “watch and pray,” when he says “ask, seek, and knock,” and when He says “men ought to pray and not to faint,” that indicates to me that prayer is His idea and that He is trying to relay that idea to us. He wants us to know that it will work if we will do it as He says.

     He taught us to pray. Jesus would not have taken such great pains to teach us to pray if prayer was not His idea and His Father’s idea. E.M. Bounds has said, “Prayer is one of the great truths which He [Jesus] came into the world to teach and illustrate. It was worth a trip from Heaven to earth to teach men this great lesson of prayer.”

     He demonstrated prayer to us. In His teachings on prayer, Jesus used many stories and illustrations, but the best illustration of all was His own prayer life.

     One day His disciples came to Him as He was finishing His prayer, and they said, “Lord, teach us to pray…” And so He gave them an outline of how to pray. We call it The Lord’s Prayer (Lu. 11:1-4). The disciples used this simple prayer as a model prayer; and I’m sure it helped them learn how to pray. But I want to emphasis that, if they had not been observing Jesus while He was praying, they would not be so curious about prayer and so eager to learn how to pray.
     Jesus prayer life was different, unlike anybody’s they had ever seen. He seemed to be always praying, and in all kinds of places. They could tell that He had a special relationship with God whom He called His Father. Yes, prayer is God’s idea. It is how His Son Jesus communicated with Him, and it is how He has designed that we also are to communicate with Him.
     Now then, let me tell you what God’s great idea of prayer is. Here are ten of His ideas—or purposes—for prayer, which He has in mind for us.

 

GOD’S TEN IDEAS FOR PRAYER

     1. Prayer is God’s idea as the way to acquire salvation. Whether it is a verbal prayer or a silent prayer of the heart, God has designed that salvation will come to us when we cry out to Him in prayer. He has said in His Word (in Romans 10:13), “Whoever will call upon the name of the Lord will be saved.” Therefore, God has made prayer a tool that gives expression to our faith—as we ask Jesus into our heart and He comes in and redeems us from our sins.
     But prayer is not only for personal salvation. We can use prayer for the salvation of others; for God says to us, “Ask of me, and I will surely give the nations as thine inheritance…” (Ps. 2:8).

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About Stephen Nielsen

I'm an author, a self publisher, and a painting contractor. I live in beautiful Minnesota, USA . Welcome to my blog site.
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