Christian Churches of God
The Power of Prayer
(Edition 1.0 20190321-20190321)
The true power of prayer was not fully understood until Christ and the Church from 27 CE onwards. Also those making proper prayer could not do so in full power unless they were keeping the Law and the Testimony and the Commandments of God (Rev. 12:17; 14:12).
The Power of Prayer
The basic papers on prayer are Teach us to Pray (No. 111) and also Praying to Christ or Beings other than the Father (No. 111B).
We have been a stiff necked people ever since we became tribes and nations as we see from the time of Moses.
Exodus 32:9-14 And the LORD said to Moses, "I have seen this people, and behold, it is a stiff-necked people;10now therefore let me alone, that my wrath may burn hot against them and I may consume them; but of you I will make a great nation." 11But Moses besought the LORD his God, and said, "O LORD, why does thy wrath burn hot against thy people, whom thou hast brought forth out of the land of Egypt with great power and with a mighty hand? 12Why should the Egyptians say, 'With evil intent did he bring them forth, to slay them in the mountains, and to consume them from the face of the earth'? Turn from thy fierce wrath, and repent of this evil against thy people. 13Remember Abraham, Isaac, and Israel, thy servants, to whom thou didst swear by thine own self, and didst say to them, 'I will multiply your descendants as the stars of heaven, and all this land that I have promised I will give to your descendants, and they shall inherit it for ever.'" 14And the LORD repented of the evil which he thought to do to his people.
While Israel was in Egypt so also the sons of Shem, Abraham, Ishmael and Keturah were sinning and God sent the prophets Hud and Salih to them to enforce repentance but they would not listen and many were destroyed and so also they continued to sin as did Judah and Israel. See also Chronology of the Commentary on the Koran (Q001B); Summary of the Commentary on the Qur’an or Koran (QS) and Commentary on the Koran: Surah Q015 (Q015).
When Moses was set aside and sent to Midian for his training to lead the children of Israel he was given understanding of the history of his people in greater depth and he wrote the Book of Job, the First Book of the Bible there while he was in training under Jethro priest of Midian, his father-in-law.
The capacity of the sons of Shem and of Abraham to bring themselves to the verge of destruction is a matter of record and of legend.
In all these times it was through the Plan of God and the prayers and intercession of His servants the prophets and the Church of God that the tribes were saved.
When Israel occupied the Promised Land according to God’s purpose they also did what was right in their own eyes and sinned against God repeatedly over the time of the Judges. They were only saved by the repentance of the tribes under the Judges as we see in the paper Samson and the Judges (No. 073).
God revealed the plan of salvation over the times of the Prophets and He established the entire testimony of the Scriptures over the period of the Prophets and the Kings.
The Temple was built from Solomon on down to the final phases under Herod and the Messiah; as we see in the paper Rule of the Kings Part III: Solomon and the Key of David (No. 282C).
We see Solomon’s prayer at 2Chronicles 6:12-42. From verses 14-20 he prayed for himself:
2Chronicles 6:12-20 Then Solomon stood before the altar of the LORD in the presence of all the assembly of Israel, and spread forth his hands. 13Solomon had made a bronze platform five cubits long, five cubits wide, and three cubits high, and had set it in the court; and he stood upon it. Then he knelt upon his knees in the presence of all the assembly of Israel, and spread forth his hands toward heaven; 14and said, "O LORD, God of Israel, there is no God like thee, in heaven or on earth, keeping covenant and showing steadfast love to thy servants who walk before thee with all their heart; 15who hast kept with thy servant David my father what thou didst declare to him; yea, thou didst speak with thy mouth, and with thy hand hast fulfilled it this day. 16Now therefore, O LORD, God of Israel, keep with thy servant David my father what thou hast promised him, saying, 'There shall never fail you a man before me to sit upon the throne of Israel, if only your sons take heed to their way, to walk in my law as you have walked before me.' 17Now therefore, O LORD, God of Israel, let thy word be confirmed, which thou hast spoken to thy servant David. 18"But will God dwell indeed with man on the earth? Behold, heaven and the highest heaven cannot contain thee; how much less this house which I have built! 19Yet have regard to the prayer of thy servant and to his supplication, O LORD my God, hearkening to the cry and to the prayer which thy servant prays before thee; 20that thy eyes may be open day and night toward this house, the place where thou hast promised to set thy name, that thou mayest hearken to the prayer which thy servant offers toward this place.
From verses 21 to 39 Solomon prayed for the people:
21And hearken thou to the supplications of thy servant and of thy people Israel, when they pray toward this place; yea, hear thou from heaven thy dwelling place; and when thou hearest, forgive. 22"If a man sins against his neighbor and is made to take an oath, and comes and swears his oath before thy altar in this house, 23then hear thou from heaven, and act, and judge thy servants, requiting the guilty by bringing his conduct upon his own head, and vindicating the righteous by rewarding him according to his righteousness. 24"If thy people Israel are defeated before the enemy because they have sinned against thee, when they turn again and acknowledge thy name, and pray and make supplication to thee in this house, 25then hear thou from heaven, and forgive the sin of thy people Israel, and bring them again to the land which thou gavest to them and to their fathers. 26"When heaven is shut up and there is no rain because they have sinned against thee, if they pray toward this place, and acknowledge thy name, and turn from their sin, when thou dost afflict them, 27then hear thou in heaven, and forgive the sin of thy servants, thy people Israel, when thou dost teach them the good way in which they should walk; and grant rain upon thy land, which thou hast given to thy people as an inheritance. 28"If there is famine in the land, if there is pestilence or blight or mildew or locust or caterpillar; if their enemies besiege them in any of their cities; whatever plague, whatever sickness there is; 29whatever prayer, whatever supplication is made by any man or by all thy people Israel, each knowing his own affliction, and his own sorrow and stretching out his hands toward this house; 30then hear thou from heaven thy dwelling place, and forgive, and render to each whose heart thou knowest, according to all his ways (for thou, thou only, knowest the hearts of the children of men); 31that they may fear thee and walk in thy ways all the days that they live in the land which thou gavest to our fathers. 32"Likewise when a foreigner, who is not of thy people Israel, comes from a far country for the sake of thy great name, and thy mighty hand, and thy outstretched arm, when he comes and prays toward this house, 33hear thou from heaven thy dwelling place, and do according to all for which the foreigner calls to thee; in order that all the peoples of the earth may know thy name and fear thee, as do thy people Israel, and that they may know that this house which I have built is called by thy name. 34"If thy people go out to battle against their enemies, by whatever way thou shalt send them, and they pray to thee toward this city which thou hast chosen and the house which I have built for thy name, 35then hear thou from heaven their prayer and their supplication, and maintain their cause. 36"If they sin against thee--for there is no man who does not sin--and thou art angry with them, and dost give them to an enemy, so that they are carried away captive to a land far or near; 37yet if they lay it to heart in the land to which they have been carried captive, and repent, and make supplication to thee in the land of their captivity, saying, 'We have sinned, and have acted perversely and wickedly'; 38if they repent with all their mind and with all their heart in the land of their captivity, to which they were carried captive, and pray toward their land, which thou gavest to their fathers, the city which thou hast chosen, and the house which I have built for thy name, 39then hear thou from heaven thy dwelling place their prayer and their supplications, and maintain their cause and forgive thy people who have sinned against thee.
Verses 40 to 41 Solomon prayed for the priests:
40Now, O my God, let thy eyes be open and thy ears attentive to a prayer of this place. 41"And now arise, O LORD God, and go to thy resting place, thou and the ark of thy might. Let thy priests, O LORD God, be clothed with salvation, and let thy saints rejoice in thy goodness.
Finally he prayed for himself again:
42O LORD God, do not turn away the face of thy anointed one! Remember thy steadfast love for David thy servant."
From chapter 7:1-14 we see that the purpose of the Temple was to enable it to be used for the prayers and sacrifice under the priesthood and through the worship of the Temple of God. See Rule of the Kings Part IIIB: Man as the Temple of God (No. 282D).
That purpose was to point to the Messiah and the Church as the Temple of God. Judah and Levi and part of Benjamin were given the chance at Salvation but they failed and in 70 CE in accordance with the Sign of Jonah they were sent into captivity (cf. Sign of Jonah and the History of the Reconstruction of the Temple (No. 013)).
We see Christ’s prayer from John 17:1-26.
John 17:1-26 When Jesus had spoken these words, he lifted up his eyes to heaven and said, "Father, the hour has come; glorify thy Son that the Son may glorify thee, 2since thou hast given him power over all flesh, to give eternal life to all whom thou hast given him. 3And this is eternal life, that they know thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom thou hast sent. 4I glorified thee on earth, having accomplished the work which thou gavest me to do; 5and now, Father, glorify thou me in thy own presence with the glory which I had with thee before the world was made. 6"I have manifested thy name to the men whom thou gavest me out of the world; thine they were, and thou gavest them to me, and they have kept thy word. 7Now they know that everything that thou hast given me is from thee; 8for I have given them the words which thou gavest me, and they have received them and know in truth that I came from thee; and they have believed that thou didst send me. 9I am praying for them; I am not praying for the world but for those whom thou hast given me, for they are thine; 10all mine are thine, and thine are mine, and I am glorified in them. 11And now I am no more in the world, but they are in the world, and I am coming to thee. Holy Father, keep them in thy name, which thou hast given me, that they may be one, even as we are one. 12While I was with them, I kept them in thy name, which thou hast given me; I have guarded them, and none of them is lost but the son of perdition, that the scripture might be fulfilled. 13But now I am coming to thee; and these things I speak in the world, that they may have my joy fulfilled in themselves. 14I have given them thy word; and the world has hated them because they are not of the world, even as I am not of the world. 15I do not pray that thou shouldst take them out of the world, but that thou shouldst keep them from the evil one. 16They are not of the world, even as I am not of the world. 17Sanctify them in the truth; thy word is truth. 18As thou didst send me into the world, so I have sent them into the world. 19And for their sake I consecrate myself, that they also may be consecrated in truth. 20"I do not pray for these only, but also for those who believe in me through their word, 21that they may all be one; even as thou, Father, art in me, and I in thee, that they also may be in us, so that the world may believe that thou hast sent me. 22The glory which thou hast given me I have given to them, that they may be one even as we are one, 23I in them and thou in me, that they may become perfectly one, so that the world may know that thou hast sent me and hast loved them even as thou hast loved me. 24Father, I desire that they also, whom thou hast given me, may be with me where I am, to behold my glory which thou hast given me in thy love for me before the foundation of the world. 25O righteous Father, the world has not known thee, but I have known thee; and these know that thou hast sent me. 26I made known to them thy name, and I will make it known, that the love with which thou hast loved me may be in them, and I in them."
Note in this prayer of Christ to the Father he identifies the elect and that the Father is the One True God, and that He sent Jesus Christ, who, by this claim, can be neither co-eternal or co-equal with the Father.
This text shows the error of the last eras of the Churches of God in Revelation Chapter 3 that do not inherit the Kingdom of God in the First Resurrection except for the few.
We as a people and the entire world are about to be dealt with and punished. It will not be a simple captivity but the massive destruction of our civilisations in the Wars of the End as we see in:
It is important that we of the Churches of God understand the future that lies before us and the danger many of us are in. If we wish to survive and enter the First Resurrection or the Body of Christ in the Millennium then we had better repent and go before our God in fear and trembling.
Other examples of the types of prayer available to us in the trials ahead of us from examples of the past are as follows:
Prayers of Intercession
We can ask for intercession in order that we may be saved or achieve the understanding of the redemption of our people and the coming of the Messiah and our place in the coming Kingdom of God.
Psalm 118:25 Save us, we beseech thee, O Lord! O Lord, we beseech thee, give us success! (RSV)
Luke 2:36-38 And there was a prophetess, Anna, the daughter of Phan'u-el, of the tribe of Asher; she was of a great age, having lived with her husband seven years from her virginity, 37and as a widow till she was eighty-four. She did not depart from the temple, worshiping with fasting and prayer night and day. 38And coming up at that very hour she gave thanks to God, and spoke of him to all who were looking for the redemption of Jerusalem. (RSV)
Romans 10:1 Brethren, my heart’s desire and prayer to God for them is that they may be saved. (RSV)
Romans 15:30-31 I appeal to you, brethren, by our Lord Jesus Christ and by the love of the Spirit, to strive together with me in your prayers to God on my behalf, 31that I may be delivered from the unbelievers in Judea, and that my service for Jerusalem may be acceptable to the saints, (RSV)
Ephesians 1:15-17 For this reason, because I have heard of your faith in the Lord Jesus and your love toward all the saints, 16I do not cease to give thanks for you, remembering you in my prayers, 17that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give you a spirit of wisdom and of revelation in the knowledge of him, (RSV)
1Timothy 2:1-2 First of all, then, I urge that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and thanksgivings be made for all men, 2for kings and all who are in high positions, that we may lead a quiet and peaceful life, godly and respectful in every way. (RSV)
2Timothy 1:3 I thank God whom I serve with a clear conscience, as did my fathers, when I remember you constantly in my prayers. (RSV)
James 5:16 Therefore confess your sins to one another, and pray for one another that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person has great powers in its effect. (RSV)
Prayer in giving thanks
It is in our prayers that we appropriately give thanks.
Psalm 50:14-15 Offer to God a sacrifice of thanksgiving, and perform your vows to the Most High, and call upon me in the day of trouble; I will deliver you, and you shall glorify me.”(RSV)
Psalm 95:2 Let us come into his presence with thanksgiving; let us make a joyful noise to him with songs of praise! (RSV)
1Corinthians 1:4 I give thanks to my God always for you because of the grace of God that was given you in Christ Jesus, (RSV)
2Corinthians 1:11 You also must help us by prayer, so that many will give thanks on our behalf for the blessing granted us through the prayers of many. (RSV)
Philippians 4:6-7 Have no anxiety about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. 7And the peace of God, which passes all understanding, will keep your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. (RSV)
Colossians 1:3-4 We always thank God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, when we pray for you, 4because we have heard of your faith in Christ Jesus and of the love which you have for all the saints, (RSV)
1Thessalonians 5:16-18 Rejoice always, 17pray constantly, 18give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you. (RSV)
Does God hear our prayers?
God answers prayer requests when we ask according to His will and in the name of His son Jesus, the Messiah.
John 14:13-14 Whatever you ask in my name, I will do it, that the Father may be glorified in the Son; 14if you ask anything in my name, I will do it. (RSV)
Psalm 4:1 Answer me when I call, O God of my righteousness! You have given me relief when I was in distress. Be gracious to me and hear my prayer!
Psalm 18:6 In my distress I called to the Lord; to my God I cried for help. From his temple he heard my voice, and my cry to him reached his ears.
Psalm 55:17 Evening and morning and at noon I utter my complaint and moan, and he hears my voice.
Romans 10:13 For “every one who calls upon the name of the Lord will be saved.” (RSV)
It is important to note that everyone in these troubled times ahead who calls upon the name of the Lord God will be saved. They are required however, once granted salvation, to obey the Commandments of God and the faith and testimony of Jesus Christ. For these are the saints (Rev. 12:17; 14:12).
Hebrews 5:7 In the days of his flesh, Jesus offered up prayers and supplications, with loud cries and tears, to him who was able to save him from death, and he was heard because of his reverence.
James 5:14-15 Is anyone among you sick? Let him call for the elders of the church, and let them pray over him, anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord; 15and the prayer of faith will save the sick man; the Lord will raise him up; and if he committed sins, he will be forgiven. (RSV)
1John 5:14-15 And this is the confidence which we have in him, that if we ask anything according to his will he hears us. 15And if we know that he hears us in whatever we ask, we know that we have obtained the requests made of him. (RSV)
We are commanded to pray, and God promises to listen when we do.
Psalm 17:6 I call on thee, for thou wilt answer me O God; incline thy ear to me, hear my words.
Psalm 34:17 When the righteous cry for help, the Lord hears, and delivers them out of all their troubles. (All RSV)
1Chronicles 16:11 Seek the Lord and his strength; seek his presence continually! (RSV)
Mark 11:24 Therefore I tell you, whatever you ask for in prayer, believe that you receive it, and you will. (RSV)
Luke 18:1 And he told them a parable, to the effect that they ought always to pray and not lose heart. (RSV)
Acts 12:5 So Peter was kept in prison; but earnest prayer for him was made to God by the church.
(From verses 7 to 11 we see God answered their prayer.)
James 1:5-8 If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask God, who gives to all men generously and without reproaching, and it will be given him. 6But let him ask in faith, with no doubting, for he who doubts is like a wave of the sea that is driven and tossed by the wind. 7For that person must not suppose that a double-minded man, 8unstable in all his ways, will receive anything from the Lord. (RSV)
Some instances of answered prayer
God has answered the prayers of our people when they repented and turned to Him on countless occasions.
Zacharias prayed for a son:
Luke 1:13 But the angel said to him, "Do not be afraid, Zacharias, for your petition has been heard, and your wife Elizabeth will bear you a son, and you will give him the name John. (RSV)
A leper asked for healing:
Matthew 8:2-3 and behold a leper came to him and knelt down before him, saying, "Lord, if you will, you can make me clean." 3And he stretched out his hand and touched him, saying, "I will; be cleansed." And immediately his leprosy was cleansed. (RSV)
The Centurion prayed for his servant (Mat. 8:5-13):
Matthew 8:5-8 As he entered Capernaum, a centurion came forward to him, beseeching him 6and saying, "Lord, my servant is lying paralysed at home, in terrible distress." 7And he said to him, "I will come and heal him." 8But the centurion answered him, “Lord, I am not worthy to have you come under my roof; but only say the word, and my servant will be healed.
13And so to the centurion Jesus said, “Go; be it done for you as you have believed.” And the servant was healed at that very moment. (RSV)
Peter asking for Tabitha:
Acts 9:40 But Peter put them all outside and knelt down and prayed; then turning to the body, he said, "Tabitha, rise." And she opened her eyes, and when she saw Peter, she sat up. (RSV)
Elijah prayed about the rain:
James 5:17-18 Eli'jah was a man of like nature with ourselves and he prayed fervently that it might not rain, and for three years and six months it did not rain on the earth. 18Then he prayed again and the heaven gave rain, and the earth brought forth its fruit. (RSV)
Abraham asked for a son:
Genesis 15:1-4 After these things the word of the LORD came to Abram in a vision, "Fear not, Abram, I am your shield; your reward shall be very great." 2But Abram said, "O Lord GOD, what wilt thou give me, for I continue childless, and the heir of my house is Elie'zer of Damascus?" 3And Abram said, "Behold, thou hast given me no offspring; and a slave born in my house will be my heir." 4And behold, the word of the LORD came to him, "This man shall not be your heir; your own son shall be your heir."
Abraham prayed on behalf of Ishmael:
Genesis 17:18-20 And Abraham said to God, "O that Ish'mael might live in thy sight!" 19God said, "No, but Sarah your wife shall bear you a son, and you shall call his name Isaac. I will establish my covenant with him as an everlasting covenant for his descendants after him. 20As for Ish'mael, I have heard you; behold, I will bless him and make him fruitful and multiply him exceedingly; he shall be the father of twelve princes, and I will make him a great nation. (RSV)
Moses prayed for Israel for help at the red sea:
Exodus 14:15-16 The LORD said to Moses, "Why do you cry to me? Tell the people of Israel to go forward. 16Lift up your rod, and stretch out your hand over the sea and divide it, that the people of Israel may go on dry ground through the sea. (RSV)
Moses on behalf of Miriam’s leprosy:
Numbers 12:13-15 And Moses cried to the LORD, "Heal her, O God, I beseech thee." 14But the LORD said to Moses, "If her father had but spit in her face, should she not be shamed seven days? Let her be shut up outside the camp seven days, and after that she may be brought in again." 15So Miriam was shut up outside the camp seven days; and the people did not set out on the march till Miriam was brought in again.
David in Adversity:
Psalm 138:3 On the day I called, thou did answer me, my strength of soul thou did increase. (RSV)
Psalm 118:5 Out of my distress I called on the Lord; the Lord answered me and set me free. (RSV)
Hannah asked for a child:
1Samuel 1:10-11,20 10She was deeply distressed and prayed to the LORD, and wept bitterly. 11And she vowed a vow and said, "O LORD of hosts, if thou wilt indeed look on the affliction of thy maidservant, and remember me, and not forget thy maidservant, but wilt give to thy maidservant a son, then I will give him to the LORD all the days of his life, and no razor shall touch his head."
20and in due time Hannah conceived and bore a son, and she called his name Samuel, for she said, "I have asked him of the LORD." (RSV)
Samson asked for strength to avenge him against the Philistines:
Judges 16:28-30 Then Samson called to the LORD and said, "O Lord GOD, remember me, I pray thee, and strengthen me, I pray thee, only this once, O God, that I may be avenged upon the Philistines for one of my two eyes." 29And Samson grasped the two middle pillars upon which the house rested, and he leaned his weight upon them, his right hand on the one and his left hand on the other. 30And Samson said, "Let me die with the Philistines." Then he bowed with all his might; and the house fell upon the lords and upon all the people that were in it. So the dead whom he slew at his death were more than those whom he had slain during his life. (RSV)
Elijah holds off the rain in prayer:
1Kings 17:1 Now Eli'jah the Tishbite, of Tishbe in Gilead, said to Ahab, "As the Lord the God of Israel lives, before whom I stand, there shall be neither dew nor rain these years, except by my word." (RSV)
It is in this method Elijah will deal with Israel and the world in the last days ahead.
Fire for sacrifice will also be provided as Elijah directs in the last days.
1Kings 18:36-38 And at the time of the offering of the oblation, Eli'jah the prophet came near and said, "O Lord, God of Abraham, Isaac, and Israel, let it be known this day that thou art God in Israel, and that I am thy servant, and that I have done all these things at thy word. 37Answer me, O LORD, answer me, that this people may know that thou, O Lord, art God, and that thou hast turned their hearts back." 38Then the fire of the Lord fell, and consumed the burnt offering, and the wood, and the stones, and the dust, and licked up the water that was in the trench. (RSV)
Isaiah and Hezekiah prayed to save Hezekiah’s life as we are able to do.
2Kings 1-7 In those days Hezeki'ah became sick and was at the point of death. And Isaiah the prophet the son of Amoz came to him, and said to him, "Thus says the LORD, 'Set your house in order; for you shall die, you shall not recover.'" 2Then Hezeki'ah turned his face to the wall, and prayed to the LORD, saying, 3"Remember now, O LORD, I beseech thee, how I have walked before thee in faithfulness and with a whole heart, and have done what is good in thy sight." And Hezeki'ah wept bitterly. 4And before Isaiah had gone out of the middle court, the word of the LORD came to him: 5"Turn back, and say to Hezeki'ah the prince of my people, Thus says the LORD, the God of David your father: I have heard your prayer, I have seen your tears; behold, I will heal you; on the third day you shall go up to the house of the LORD. 6And I will add fifteen years to your life. I will deliver you and this city out of the hand of the king of Assyria, and I will defend this city for my own sake and for my servant David's sake." (RSV)
Gideon prayed asking the token of the dew:
Judges 6:36-40 Then Gideon said to God, "If thou wilt deliver Israel by my hand, as thou hast said, 37behold, I am laying a fleece of wool on the threshing floor; if there is dew on the fleece alone, and it is dry on all the ground, then I shall know that thou wilt deliver Israel by my hand, as thou hast said." 38And it was so. When he rose early next morning and squeezed the fleece, he wrung enough dew from the fleece to fill a bowl with water. 39Then Gideon said to God, "Let not thy anger burn against me, let me speak but this once; pray, let me make trial only this once with the fleece; pray, let it be dry only on the fleece, and on all the ground let there be dew." 40And God did so that night; for it was dry on the fleece only, and on all the ground there was dew. (RSV)
Daniel prayed interceding for the people:
Daniel 9:20-23 While I was speaking and praying, confessing my sin and the sin of my people Israel, and presenting my supplication before the LORD my God for the holy hill of my God; 21while I was speaking in prayer, the man Gabriel, whom I had seen in the vision at the first, came to me in swift flight at the time of the evening sacrifice. 22He came and he said to me, "O Daniel, I have now come out to give you wisdom and understanding. 23At the beginning of your supplications a word went forth, and I have come to tell it to you, for you are greatly beloved; therefore consider the word and understand the vision. (RSV)
Daniel’s interpretation of the dream:
Daniel 2:19-23 Then the mystery was revealed to Daniel in a vision of the night. Then Daniel blessed the God of heaven. 20Daniel said: "Blessed be the name of God for ever and ever, to whom belong wisdom and might. 21He changes times and seasons; he removes kings and sets up kings; he gives wisdom to the wise and knowledge to those who have understanding; 22he reveals deep and mysterious things; he knows what is in the darkness, and the light dwells with him. 23To thee, O God of my fathers, I give thanks and praise, for thou hast given me wisdom and strength, and hast now made known to me what we asked of thee, for thou hast made known to us the king's matter." (RSV)
We may ask for the capacity to intercede but true intercession comes from the power of the agents of God in the Body of the Elect.
Ezekiel asked to have the breaking of his bread of affliction changed:
Ezekiel 4:12-15 And you shall eat it as a barley cake, baking it in their sight on human dung." 13And the LORD said, "Thus shall the people of Israel eat their bread unclean, among the nations whither I will drive them." 14Then I said, "Ah Lord GOD! behold, I have never defiled myself; from my youth up till now I have never eaten what died of itself or was torn by beasts, nor has foul flesh come into my mouth." 15Then he said to me, "See, I will let you have cow's dung instead of human dung, on which you may prepare your bread." (RSV)
Ezra for the humbling of Judah in returning from captivity:
Ezra 8:21,23 21Then I proclaimed a fast there, at the river Aha'va, that we might humble ourselves before our God, to seek from him a straight way for ourselves, our children, and all our goods.
23So we fasted and besought our God for this, and he listened to our entreaty. (RSV)
In what bodily position should we pray?
We are told to pray without ceasing (1Thes. 5:17), as we give glory to God and worship Him. This thus implies that we could find ourselves in any of various positions when we seek to pray to God. Note the following Scriptures:
1Kings 8:22 Then Solomon stood before the altar of the Lord in the presence of all the assembly of Israel, and spread forth his hands toward heaven; (RSV)
1Kings 8:54 Now as Solomon finished offering all this prayer and supplication to the Lord, he arose from before the altar of the Lord, where he had knelt with hands outstretched toward heaven; (RSV)
Exodus 4:31 And the people believed; and when they heard that the Lord had visited the people of Israel and that he had seen their affliction, they bowed their heads and worshiped. (RSV)
Exodus 34:8 And Moses made haste to bow his head towards the earth, and worshipped.
Bowing towards the Temple
Psalm 138:2 I bow down toward thy holy temple and give thanks to thy name for thy steadfast love and thy faithfulness; (RSV)
Faces to the ground
2Chronicles 20:18 Then Jehosh'aphat bowed his head with his face to the ground, and all Judah and the inhabitants of Jerusalem fell down before the LORD, worshiping the Lord. (RSV)
Matthew 26:39 And going a little farther he fell on his face and prayed, "My Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me; nevertheless, not as I will, but as thou wilt." (RSV)
John 17:1 When Jesus had spoken these words, he lifted up his eyes to heaven and said, “Father, the hour has come; glorify thy Son, that the Son may glorify thee,
Lifting the hands
1Timothy 2:8 I desire then that in every place the men should pray, lifting holy hands without anger or quarrelling.
Lying in bed
Psalm 63:6-7 When I think of thee upon my bed, and meditate on thee in the watches of the night; 7for thou has been my help, and in the shadow of thy wings I sing for joy. (RSV)
Pounding the breast
Luke 18:13 But the tax collector, standing far off, would not even lift his eyes to heaven, but beat his breast saying, ‘God, be merciful to me a sinner!’
So we see that the power of prayer does not come from the words we use or from the position or direction of our bodies or even when we choose to pray. God is more interested in what is in our hearts.
Psalm 145:18 The Lord is near to all who call on him, to all who call on him in truth.
We can present our requests to God with praise and thanks knowing that if we ask according to His will He will hear us. If we know that He hears us in what we ask, we know that we have what we asked of Him (1Jn. 5:14-15).
God already knows what we need and He may grant or choose to deny our requests. Notice the answer Paul received when he asked that the thorn in his side be removed:
2Corinthians 12:8-9 Three times I besought the Lord about this, that it should leave me; 9but he said to me, "My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness." I will all the more gladly boast of my weaknesses, that the power of Christ may rest upon me. (RSV)
Our prayers bring us into contact with the One True God and He will answer us according to His Will and timing. However, prayer is necessary for God’s intervention on a normal basis but the Holy Spirit intervenes also so that we are saved many times by divine intervention from things we know not, provided we are loyal and faithful.
And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With that in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the saints. (Eph. 6:18, NIV)
For the power of prayer and fasting please see the papers on Sanctification of the Simple and Erroneous (No. 291) and also Atonement (No. 138).