Mobilising, training and equipping Christians for prayer

“Every great movement of God can be traced to a kneeling figure.” (D.L.Moody)

“Each work of God can be traced back to a kneeling form.” “Tarry at a promise and God will meet you there.” (D.L.Moody)

“For no matter how many promises God has made, they are ‘Yes’ in Christ.   And so through Him the ‘Amen’ is spoken by us to the glory of God” (2 Cor.1:20).   Read this verse carefully.  All promises are yes in Christ, but they must become amen through us.   Amen means “it is true and certain.”  We must take God at His Word because His Word is true and just, and we must use those promises in faith when praying.   We add the amen with our lives because a promise means nothing if we do not claim it for ourselves.

According to Everet E.Storms (1) there are 7959 promises in Scripture made by God.  If we use one promise each day it will take us twenty-two years to use each of the promises once.  Caleb lived forty years on one promise.  How may years can we live on 7959 promises?

Armin Gesswein said:  “Promises predict the answers to prayer.  They are the molds into which we pour our prayers.  They foretell what to expect.  They shape our praying.  They motivate, direct and determine our supplication…This makes Christian praying different!  How?  In a very real sense we pray from the answer…with the answer in mind…from the answer to it.   This is the way of the Lord, the way of faith.  He promises – we believe.  We act on His Word.  In this way answered prayer not only satisfies us, it delights the heart of God by fulfilling His own Word.  And this is a very important thing with God.”

We must go to God with His own promises.  When we pray for revival or a person’s salvation we must look in Scripture for God’s will and then look for any promise in that connection.  Stand on those promises, add an amen to the promise.  In Jer.33:19-27 the Lord says that His promises (to David) are as steadfast as sunrise and sunset:  “If you can break my covenant with the day and my covenant with the night, so that day and night no longer come at their appointed time then my covenant with David my servant…can be broken…”  See what it says in Nm.23:19: “God is not a man that He should lie nor a son of man that He should change his mind.  Does He speak and then not act?  Does He promise and not fulfill?”

To illustrate this thought more clearly we add the following quotation.  The quotation is from an Armin Gesswein’s School of Prayer pamphlet, a testimony about Armin Gesswein himself:

“Change in thinking:  Early in the ministry I (Armin Gesswein) had an experience which completely changed my understanding of prayer.  What a transformation!   I was called to start churches and had just discovered the ‘prayer meeting truth’: in Acts.  So I started a prayer meeting – the first one I ever attended.

In came an elderly Methodist one night.  When he prayed I detected something new.  ‘I have never heard praying like that,’ I thought to myself.  It was not fervency – I had plenty of that.  Heaven and Earth got no further apart – in fact, we’re moving along together!  He had it taped or so it seemed to me.   The Holy Spirit was right here, in action, giving him assurance of the answer even while he was praying!   When I prayed God was ‘way out there, listening in the distance somewhere.  The answer too was in the distance, totally unreachable.

Discovery!  Eager to learn his secret I went to see him one day.  His name was Ambrose Whaley and everyone called him “Uncle Am.”  He was a retired blacksmith – also a Methodist lay preacher.  I soon came to the point: “Uncle Am, I would love to pray with you.”  At once he arose, led me outside across the driveway into a red barn, up a ladder, into a haystack!   There, in some old hay, lay two big Bibles – one open.  ‘What is this?’ I thought.  I first prayed, as I recall it.  I poured out my heart, needs, burdens, wishes, aspirations, ambitions to God.  Then he prayed – and there was ‘that difference’ again.  There, in that hay, on our knees, at eye level, I said: ‘Uncle Am, what is it?  You have some kind of secret in praying…Would you mind sharing it with me?’

I was 24, he was 73 (he lived to be 93) and with an eagle-look in his eyes, he said: ‘Young man, learn to plead the promises of God!’  That did it!  My praying has never been the same since.  That word completely changed my understanding of prayer.  It really revolutionised it!  I ‘saw it’ as soon as he said it.  Saw what?  Well – when I prayed there was fervency, ambition, etc.  (The Lord does not put a perfect ‘squelch’ on these either.)  But I lacked faith.  Prayer is the key to heaven, but faith unlocks the door.  There must be faith.  Where does that come from?  From hearing…the Word of God.  Uncle Am would plead Scripture after Scripture, reminding Him of promise after promise, pleading these like a lawyer does his case – the Holy Spirit pouring in His assurance of being heard.  This man knew the promises ‘by the bushel.’  He did not seem to need those two Bibles in that hay!  I soon learned that he was a mighty intercessor.  He prayed ‘clear through.’  He prayed using the Bible as a basis on which his prayers were built.  He taught me the secret of intercessory praying.  How can I ever thank God enough for leading me to such a prayer warrior!

What happened?  With this discovery, God really gave me a new Bible!   I had not yet learned how to make the Bible my prayer book.  It gave me a new motivation for Bible study.  I began to ‘dig in.’  I would now search the Scriptures…meditate…mark its many promises…memorize, memorize, memorize!  There are thousands of promises;  a promise for every need, burden, problem, situation.

‘Young man, learn to plead the promises of God!’  These words keep ringing in my soul!”

Practical suggestions for using God’s promises in prayer

God’s being is expressed in His promises: His promises cannot be separated from His being.  When the Lord makes a promise, He binds Himself to that promise.  Every promise of God corresponds with His being.  If God were to break any of His promises, He would have to act in contradiction to His own being – and that could never happen.

God’s promises are revealed in two ways. Firstly, God’s promises are vested in the Name of God the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit.  Every Name of God gives expression to the being of God and as such, every Name of God is in fact a promise.  The other manner in which we get to know the promises is by simply reading the Word and taking note of the promises that God makes in Scripture with regard to various matters.

Biblical promises are God’s words to us for specific situations.  However, all promises do not apply to all situations.  Be sensitive to the work of the Holy Spirit in your life so that you can hear what He wants to say to you in different situations.

The primary and most important task of intercessors is to seek the will of God in a specific situation.  Look for a word from God for, or in that situation, and once you have found it, follow the Lord and trust Him – irrespective of any form of resistance you may encounter.

If you find yourself in a difficult situation, rely on the promises in the Word.  Test these promises in the struggle: for example, Rm.6, Jn.15, Ps.46:11, Re.12:11, and Rm.8:32-39.  Because situations differ and the onslaught of the devil comes from a different angle each time, it is necessary to know that different promises relate to different situations. One promise does not apply to all situations; otherwise the Lord would have given us only one promise. Instead, the Bible holds more than 7 000 promises.

If I pray according to the promises of God, I am actually saying: “Lord, let it be according to what You say.”  If in my prayer I simply lay a number of requests before the Lord without reminding Him of His promises, it is as if I am saying: “Lord, let be as I say.”

There is a promise for every situation. Moreover, our God is far greater and more profound than His promises, and certainly greater than any situation that may arise.  Live in the clear knowledge of this fact.

Underline the promises you find in the Bible during your daily quiet time.  Ponder on them (meditate), and try to discover to which areas of your life – your prayer life in particular – these promises apply.  Learn to live by these promises.

Sometimes we find ourselves in extremely difficult situations in which we do not understand what God is doing or why He does or allows certain things.  In such situations one often feels that even God’s promises no longer matter.  Should you feel this way, you should immediately move to another realm: consider the problem from God’s perspective.  Look at the problem with God’s eyes, from heaven, from above, and you will see that the matter looks totally different.  As human beings we see insurmountable problems, dangers, crises.  God, however, approaches the problem from His omnipotence, omniscience and omnipresence.  Sometimes it helps to know that even though I do not know how to handle a problem, and even though I do not understand what is happening, God does.  God knows where He is taking me.

When you pray God’s promises, pray them in the Name of Jesus Christ.  Only if we pray in the Name of Jesus do we have a guarantee that God will listen to us when we stand on His promises.  It is only on the basis of Jesus’ death on the cross and reconciliation through the Blood that God’s promises are valid.

A practical suggestion: Take a blue pen/pencil and underline all the promises you come across when you read the Bible.  This will highlight the promises and make it easy for you to refer to them when you wish to pray.

Promises for different needs:

God keeps His promises – God is not a man that He should lie, nor a son of man that He should change His mind (Nm.23:19;  Heb.10:23;  Is.46:11;  Ps.89:34-36;  Is.30:18).

God listens to our prayer – For the eyes of the Lord are on the righteous and His ears are attentive to their prayer (1 Pe.3:12; Ps.34:17;  1 Jn.5:14;  2 Chr.16:9;  Ps.4:4; Ps.102:17).

God answers our prayer – “Before they call I will answer; while they are still speaking I will hear” (Is.65:24;  Jer.33:3;  Mk.11:24;  Jn.16:24;  Jn.15:7;  Is.58:9;  Eph.3:20;  Mt.7:7).

Promises about salvation – For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn it but to save the world through Him (Jn.3:17; Rm.10:9-10,13; Eph.2:8-9;  1 Tim.2:3-4;  Heb.6:18)

Promises about new life – Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come! (2 Cor.5:17; Jn.10:10; 1 Pe.2:24; Ga.2:20; Rm.6:4; 1 Jn.3:9;  2 Cor.3:18;  Ez.36:26).

Promises about freedom – Then you will know the truth and the truth will set you free…So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed (Jn.8:32, 36; Rm.6:14, 22;  Rm.8:1-2;  2 Cor.3:17;  Ac.13:38).

Promises about forgiveness – If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness (1 Jn.1:9; Ps.32:1-2; Is.43:25; Ps.103:12; 1 Jn.2:12;  Eph.1:7;  Rm.8:33).

Promises about justification – God made Him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in Him we might become the righteousness of God (2 Cor.5:21; Rm.8:10;  1 Cor.1:30;  Rm.3:21-22;  Rm.4:4-5;  Rm.5:17).

Promises about the Holy Spirit – If you then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give the Holy Spirit to those who ask Him (Lk.11:13; Is.44:3; Jn.14:16-17;  Jn.16:7; Ac.1:8; Ac.2:38-39; Ga.4:6; Ga.3:14; 1 Jn.4:13;  Mt.3:11;  Ez.36:27;  Eph.1:13).

Promises about faith in God – Think of yourself…in accordance with the measure of faith God has given you (Rm.12:3; Eph.2:8;  Heb.11:6;  Jas.1:3; 1 Pet.1:7; Rm.1:17; 1 Jn.5:4; Mk.9:23;  Eph.6:16;  Jn.20:29; Mt.21:21-22; Jn.16:24)

Promises about the Word – All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness so that the man of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work (2 Tim.3:16-17; 1 Pe.1:25; Is.40:8;  Mt.4:4;  Dt.29:29;  Jos.1:8;  Is.55:11; Heb.4:12).

Promises about protection from the Evil One –  But the Lord is faithful and He will strengthen and protect you from the Evil One (2 Th.3:3; 2 Tim.4:18; Col.1:13; Col.2:15; 1 Jn.5:18;  Rm.8:38-39;  Ps.91:9-13;  Heb.2:14-15).

Promises about His presence – And surely I am with you always to the very end of the age (Mt.28:20; Is.43:5;  Jas.4:8; Jn.14:15-16; Mt.18:20; Ps.23:4; Heb.13:5).

Promises about spiritual growth – Being confident of this, that He who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus (Php.1:6; Jn.17:18-19;  2 Pe.1:3-4;  2 Cor.3:18;  1 Cor.1:8;  Eph.3:17-19;  Php.1:9-10)

Promises about spiritual gifts – God’s gifts and His call are irrevocable (Rm.11:29; Rm.12:5-8).

Promises about the truth – “When the Counsellor comes, whom I will send to you from the Father, the Spirit of truth who goes out from the Father, he will testify about me” (Jn.15:26; Jn.8:31-32;  Jn.16:3;  Eph.5:9).

Promises about the love of God – But God demonstrates His own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us (Rm.5:8; Jer.31:3;  Is.54:10;  1 Jn.4: 9-10;  Jn.15:9; 1 Jn.3:1).

Promises about joy – “I have told you this so that My joy may be in you and that your joy may be complete” (Jn.15:11; Ps.16:11;  Rm.14:17;  Is.55:12;  Is.35:10).

Promises about the peace of God – But He was pierced for our transgressions; He was crushed for our iniquities;  the punishment that brought us peace was upon Him, and by His wounds we are healed (Is.53:5; Jn.14:27;  Rm.5:1;  Php.4:7; Rm.5:22).

Promises about the hope of the Christian – For everything that was written in the past was written to teach us so that through endurance and the encouragement of the Scriptures we might have hope (Rm.15:4; Col.1:27; 1 Pe.1:3; Heb.6:18-19; Rm.5:2; Rm.15:13).

Promises about eternal Life – For God so loved the world that He gave His one and only Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life (Jn.3:16; 1 Jn.2:25;  Rm.6:23;  Jn.10:27-28;  Jn.5:24; 1 Jn.5:11-13).

Promises about the second coming of Christ – “In my Father’s house are many rooms; if it were not so I would have told you.  I am going there to prepare a place for you.  And if I go and prepare a place for you I will come back and take you to be with Me” (Jn.14:2-3; Jn.14:28;  Ac.1:11; 1 Th.4:16-17;  Col.3:4;  Heb.9:28; Re.1:7).

Promises about heaven – I saw the holy city, the new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride beautifully dressed for her husband.  And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying:  “Now the dwelling of God is with men, and He will live with them.  They will be His people and God Himself will be with them and be their God” (Re.21:2-3; 1 Pe.1:4-5; 2 Pe.1:10-11;  2 Pe.3:13;  Lk.23:43).

God promises power – He gives strength to the weary and increases the power of the weak (Is.40:29; Ps.29:11;  Is.26:4;  Neh.8:10;  Eph.6:10;  Php.4:13;  Is.58:11).

We can trust in God – Have no fear of sudden disaster or of the ruin that overtakes the wicked for the Lord will be your confidence and will keep your foot from being snared (Pr.3:25-26; Pr.14:26;  Is.30:15;  1 Jn;3:21;  1 Jn.5:14-15).

God promises wisdom – To the man who please Him, God gives wisdom, knowledge and happiness (Ecc.2:26; Pr.2:6-7;  Pr.9:10;  Job 12:13;  Dn.2:20-22; 1 Cor.1:30).

The Lord will teach us – He guides the humble in what is right and teaches them His Way.   All the ways of the Lord are loving and faithful for those who keep the demands of His covenant (Ps.25:8-10, 12-14;  Ps.32:8;  2 Tim.3:16-17;  Pr.15:33).

The Lord will guide us – Whether you turn to the right or to the left, your ears will hear a voice behind you, saying, “This is the way; walk in it”  (Is.30:21; Ps.48:14;  Ps.23:1, 3;  Ps.139:9-10).

The Lord will make us prosperous – Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge Him and He will make your paths straight.  (Pr.3:5-6; Jos.1:8;  2 Chr.20:20;  Pr.16:3;  2 Cor.3:5; 1 Chr.22:12-13).

God will comfort us – Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted (Mt.5:4; 2 Cor.1:3-4;  2 Th.2:16-17;  Is.49:13;  Jn.14:18).

God will give us the desires of our hearts – May He give you the desire of your heart and make all your plans succeed (Ps.20:4; Ps.21:2;  Pr.10:24;  Ps.103:4-5;  Mk.11:24).

Promises about the family of the believer – The Lord blesses the house of the righteous (Pr.3:33; Pr.12:7;  Dt.12:28;  Is.54:13;  Ps.112:1-3;  Pr.22:6; Ps.128:1,3;  Dt.4:40;  Eph.6:2-3).

Promises about health and healing – By His wounds we are healed (Is.53:5; Jer.30:17;  Dt.7:12, 15;  Ps.91:5-6, 10;  3 Jn.1:2;  Jer.33:6; Ex.15:25-26;  Ps.103:3;  Mal.4:2;  1 Pe.2:24; Jas.5:13-14, 16;  Mt.8:16-17).

Promises about the protection of God – The Name of the Lord is a strong tower; the righteous run to it and are safe (Pr.18:10; 1 Sam.2:9;  Ps.125:1-2;  Ps.91:3-4, 11-12;  Ps.34:19-20;  Ps.121:1-8;  Pr.29:25).

Promises about practical/physical needs – And my God will meet all your needs according to His glorious riches in Christ Jesus (Php.4:19; Mt.6:25-26, 31-33;  Dt.28:1, 11-12;  Lk.12:30-31;  Dt.29:9;  Ps.111:5;  Is.1:19;  Zech.10:1;  Lev.26:3-5).

Promises for times of fear and doubt – “So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God.  I will strengthen you and help you;  I will uphold you with My righteous right hand” (Is.41:10; Is.41:13;  Is.43:1;  2 Tim.1:7;  Lk.12:6-7;  1 Jn.4:18;  Rm.4:21;  Ps.112:7;  Is.58:9).

Promises for times of depression – Why are you downcast, o my soul?  Why so disturbed within me?  Put your hope in God, for I will yet praise Him my Saviour and my God (Ps.43:5; Ps.73:26;  Ps.37:23-24;  Ps.34:4-7;  Is.49:15;  Heb.13:5).

Promises in times of failure and helplessness – “Do not let your hearts be troubled.  Trust in God; trust also in Me” (Jn.14:1; Is.61:1-3;  Ps.147:3;  Rm.8:28;  Is.41:13;  2 Cor.12:9;  Rm.8:26;  Heb.13:6;  1 Jn.4:4).

Promises in times of anxiety – If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, will He not much more clothe you, o you of little faith…Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself (Mt.6:30,3 4; Php.4:6-7;  Lk.12:25-26;  1 Pe.5:6-7;  Ga.5:1;  Mt.11:28-30).

Promises in time of temptation and demonic attacks – No temptation has seized you except what is common to man.  And God is faithful;  He will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear.  But when are tempted, He will also provide a way out so that you can stand up under it (1 Cor.10:13; 2 Pe.2:7-9;  Heb.4:14-16;  1 Th.5:22-24;  Jas 4:7;  Ga.1:3-4;  Rm.16:20;  Jn.16:33;  1 Jn.4:4).

Promises in suffering, difficulties and attacks from people – The salvation of the righteous comes from the Lord;  He is their stronghold in time of trouble.  The Lord helps them and delivers them;  He delivers them from the wicked and saves them because they take refuge in Him (Ps.37:39-40; Jas.1:12;  Rm.5:3;  1 Pe.1:4-7;  Jer.15:21;  Ps.27:1-2;  1 Pe.3:9;  Rm.8:31;  Ex.14:13-14;  Mt.5:10-12;  Lk.21:12-15;  Re.2:10).

God gives power for His service – This is the word of the Lord to Zerubbabel:  “Not by might nor by power, but by My Spirit” says the Lord Almighty (Zech.4:6; Ac.1:8;  Is.40:31;  Eph.6:13;  Php.2:13;  Eph.3:16;  Col.1:11).

Promises about financial and material provision – Consider the ravens; they do not sow or reap, they have no store room or barn yet God fees them and how much more valuable you are than birds! (Lk.12:24; Php.4:19;  Lk.11:9;  Ps.84:11-12;  Mt.6:32:  Ps.37:3,25; Lk.12:30-31;  Lk.6:38).

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