Prayer – Prayerful Confession part 2

In part 1 we focussed on how meditating and confessing the names of God and discovering the character of God (which is revealed through His names) can help us in our times of prayer.    Other things to help us in prayer are:

1. ATTITUDE; – The word “confess” comes from the Hebrew word “Yadah” meaning “an open or extended hand” – In prayerful confession we are reaching out to take hold of God and Him alone and declaring that we are putting our trust in Him alone.   We are acting humbly by putting God in His rightful position and focusing on Him.

This humble attitude is a KEY to God hearing and answering our prayers:

“If my people who are called by My Name will humble themselves and pray and seek My face and turn from their wicked ways then I will hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin and heal their land ”  2 Chronicles 7 v14

A HUMBLE ATTITUDE in our hearts can be demonstrated physically in prayer by KNEELING, LYING ON OUR FACES BEFORE GOD, RAISING OUR HANDS etc.

Jesus’ model prayer demonstrates humility in his final words “FOR YOURS IS THE KINGDOM AND THE POWER AND THE GLORY FOREVER AMEN”.

Let us not forget (particularly when prayers are answered or when the gifts of the Holy Spirit are in operation) that the glory always belongs to God and Jesus.

2.THE WORD OF GOD;   If we are going to give voice to our faith and understanding of GOD’S Character, His Works, His Wonders, His Glory and confess our belief in God, His promises and His Word then we need to have our bibles or other access to the Word of God to hand whilst we pray so that we can confess scripture out loud or meditate on the Word.

Try and get into the habit in your prayer times or meetings of praying with your bible to hand or other access to the Word of God through your phone, tablets etc.

Isaiah Ch 55 v 11 “ So shall My word be that goes forth from My mouth: It shall not return to Me void, But it shall accomplish what I please, And it shall prosper in the thing which I sent it”.

When you proclaim the Word it will build you up spiritually and encourage you in your faith. You are also proclaiming God’s word to spirits, principalities & powers and you will learn to use it as a sword. e.g. if you were in a situation where you needed to be assured of God’s victory/might in battle you could read out the song of Moses in Exodus 15 1-18 when God rescued the Israelites from the pursuing Egyptians. If you needed to declare Christ’s sovereign position and authority then read out Revelation 19 11- 16.

It will take some effort initially to look up relevant portions of scripture but the Word of God is the sword of the spirit (Ephesians Ch 6 ) and one of the weapons of warfare so we need to know how to use THE WORD effectively in prayer.  This doesn’t mean picking out scriptures without any thought to throw at situations but by prayerful meditation on the Word allow the Holy Spirit to direct you to passages of scripture.    When you meditate on the Word in prayer it also gives God the opportunity to speak to you through HIS WORD and His still small voice in your spirit.

3. WORSHIP –   Prayerful confession of God’s name is also part of WORSHIP which literally means – giving worth to HIS NAME . Our response to the name of the Lord is to worship (Psalm 66:2) and to give thanks, praise and bless (Psalm 100:4) and to lift up our hands (Psalm 63:4) – See later notes on Solomon’s attitude in prayer.

It changes the atmosphere when you speak out and give voice to the praises of God and Jesus in your prayer times. Praise and worship should always be part of our times of prayer as it is the pathway of praise & worship which leads us into His presence.   If you find it difficult to praise and worship on your own or in a small group then perhaps start by reading a Psalm of praise out loud/ putting on worship music/reading out loud the lyrics of a worship song.   I have found that repeating the name of Jesus over and over and meditating on His name and telling him how much I love him is helpful at such times.

ln Psalm 103 we are encouraged to “Bless the Lord O my soul: and all that is within me, bless His holy name” and in Psalm 99 “Let them praise Your great and awesome name – He is holy”

4.REPENTANCE – Confession/revelation of God and His character will lead us into repentance. Ask God by His Holy Spirit to reveal areas of our lives where we are not living right. Take time in prayer to allow God to search our hearts. Pray and meditate on Psalm  51 v 10 “Create in me a clean heart, O God and renew a right spirit within me”.   Repent of anything revealed and receive and thank God for his forgiveness and cleansing by the precious blood of Jesus Christ.   Remember this is conviction not condemnation. We should repent of sin (including sins of omission, bad attitudes etc) then receive forgiveness through Christ and move forward. We can’t be effective in prayer if there is sin between us and God. We need to be right with God before we can pray effectively.   It is the “ FERVENT PRAYERS OF A RIGHTEOUS MAN WHICH ARE EFFECTIVE” James 5:16

PRAYERFUL CONFESSION in SCRIPTURE;

An example of prayerful confession and the importance of declaring God’s name is found in many of David’s Psalms but also Solomon’s prayer of dedication of the temple to God in 2 Chronicles Ch 6 v 12-42.

In these verses first of all we see Solomon demonstrate a humble attitude before God by kneeling down before all the people and lifting his hands up towards heaven.     Kneeling before God in prayer/lifting up our hands to heaven demonstrates submission to God as mentioned earlier.     Solomon did this before “all the people”. He was the king but he wasn’t too proud or embarrassed in front of the people to adopt this humble posture before God.

Solomon starts by confessing who God is “v 14 LORD God of Israel, there is no God in heaven or earth like You, who keep Your covenant and mercy with your servants who walk before you with all their hearts”.

Then Solomon goes on to ask God to hear and answer the prayers which the people will make in the temple. He points to the responsibility of the people to seek God for mercy and the importance of repentance and confession of God’s name (v24 & 26) as part of this.

RESULT: “ When Solomon had finished praying fire came down from heaven and consumed the burnt offering and the sacrifices and the glory of the Lord filled the temple” Ch 7 v1

If we want the fire of God to fall on us and spiritually ignite us in prayer so that we experience God’s glory then I believe we need to give God a sacrifice of prayer, praise and worship. This means spending time in prayer and making prayer our lifestyle.

THE BIG QUESTION WE NEED TO ASK OURSELVES IS AND I COUNT MYSELF IN THIS TOO – AM I WILLING TO SACRIFICE TIME IN PRAYER TO SEE REVIVAL IN MYSELF, MY FAMILY, MY CHURCH, MY COMMUNITY & MY NATION?

If the answer is yes, particularly in these troublesome times, then let us all spend time each day seeking God in prayer and asking Him to increase our desire for him, actively seeking Him, for Him to give us an urgency in our spirits to pray and to pour out the Holy Spirit upon us in power and the fire.

John the Baptist said of Jesus “He shall baptize you with the Holy Ghost and with fire”

Let’s agree to pray for some of that fire.

“I pray that you will know God and the Lord Jesus Christ in a new and deeper understanding. That you will have a deeper revelation of who Jesus is and the power which is His.

I pray that the eyes of your heart will be opened.   That your spiritual eyes will be opened.   That you will have a deeper and more intimate relationship with Jesus Christ from this day forward.

I pray that fire from heaven will fall upon you and the power of the Holy Spirit. That you will be filled with the power of the Holy Spirit and will go out and do great works by the power of His holy name, Jesus Christ of Nazareth. Let the fire fall and let your heart be aflame with love and revelation of Jesus and the power that is in Him. Never tire of doing His good works and walk in His footsteps forever and ever. Amen”

Prayer – What’s in a name? Part 1

Prayer – What’s in a name? Part 1

KNOW YOUR GOD – To be effective in prayer we need to know:

WHO we are praying to;

in WHOSE name we pray;

and the AUTHORITY and POSITION we have in CHRIST :

One of the main purposes of prayer is to develop our relationship with God by actively seeking/pursuing HIS FACE through the person of his son, JESUS CHRIST, with the help of the HOLY SPIRIT who will lead us into further revelation of CHRIST and GOD.

Through our fellowship with God and Christ in prayer and meditation on scripture we start to change (REVIVAL) and become more like JESUS. We then reveal Him to others as our characters change (through the fruit of the HOLY SPIRIT in our lives) and by our witness lead them to salvation in CHRIST.

As we get to know God more intimately we become more conscious of His “still small voice” and the leading of the Holy Spirit. Our prayers will be shaped by our revelation of GOD and we will pray with more effectively with understanding, faith, authority & power.

A             THE START OF DEVELOPING OUR PRAYER LIFE WE NEED TO KNOW WHO WE ARE PRAYING TO:   BEING GOD FOCUSED

“In the beginning GOD”     Genesis 1:1

Jesus’ model prayer in Matthew 6: 9-13 starts “Our FATHER in heaven, Hallowed be Your NAME

Hallowed means – to revere, sanctify, consecrate, set apart, worship, lift up, exalt HIS HOLY NAME

One way to achieve this is by CONFESSION – This is not to be confused with repentance here but means actively:

1              PROCLAIMING WHO GOD IS;

2              ACKNOWLEDGING WHO GOD IS; and

3              CONTEMPLATING WHO GOD IS:

It is a statement of our faith and understanding of GOD’S Character, His Works, His Wonders, His Glory –as are revealed in scripture and through the Jesus his son and the Holy Spirit working in us to draw us into deeper relationship and intimacy with God

It involves confessing (speaking out) belief in God and His promises and His Word.

Studying the names of God is one way to help us to do this more effectively in prayer as each one of God’s names reveal a part of His Character. Names have great significance in the Bible and in the spiritual realm.   A name denotes not only character and identity but authority and power as well.   The Hebrew word for name is “onoma” and was used to signify rank or authority, character and reputation.

These are some of the things which the Bible says about the Name of the Lord:

The Name of the Lord is a defence (Psalm 20:1)

A help in time of trouble (Psalm 9:10)

A comfort (Daniel 11:32)

A strong tower (Proverbs 18:10)

A weapon (1 Samuel 17:45; 2 Chronicles 14:11)

An ointment poured forth (Song of Solomon 1:3)

“In the name of our God We will set up our banners: The Lord fulfil all your petitions “ Psalm 20:5

In Exodus 34 when God descended and revealed himself to Moses v5 “The Lord descended in the cloud and stood with him there AND PROCLAIMED THE NAME OF THE LORD; And the Lord passed before him and proclaimed. “The Lord, the Lord God merciful and gracious, longsuffering and abounding in goodness and truth, keeping mercy for thousands, forgiving iniquity and transgression and sin, by no means clearing the guilty, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children and the children’s children to the third and fourth generation

Every name of God in the Bible reveals a characteristic of God but God doesn’t just want us to know His names.  In and through prayer, He wants us to experience true fellowship and communion with Him and find out that He is all the things He says He is:

NAMES OF GOD REVEALED IN SCRIPTURE;

1.“ELOHIM” – GOD THE CREATOR – Genesis 1:1 – GOD is revealed as the creator of heaven and earth who has all authority, power, greatness, dominion and glory in the whole of the universe. Elohim is the plural form because Jesus and the Holy Spirit were there at the beginning with God when the world was created.

In prayerful confession we can acknowledge and thank God that He alone is the creator and sustainer of all things and that He is sovereign God. We can acknowledge His glory and power demonstrated in creation.

2. ”EL – SHADDAI” – GOD ALMIGHTY – Genesis 17:4 & Exodus 6:3 – GOD is revealed as the God who is all-powerful, the God of impossibilities. He is mighty, unconquerable, all-sufficient. Able to do anything and supply all needs.     He is able to keep all His promises to us.

Declare in prayer that God is all-powerful and that you can trust Him and rely on Him in all situations (even when we don’t know what is happening and it’s a painful place!). Confess that nothing is impossible for God and He can fulfil all his promises in His Word.

3. “EL ELYON” – THE MOST HIGH GOD – Genesis 14:18 God is revealed as the Most High – There is no-one above Him. He occupies the highest position and throne.

Declare that God is the only one who is worthy of praise and to be highly exalted. Take a humble attitude towards Him by kneeling in His presence.

4.“JEHOVAH” – Exodus 3 v 13 “ I AM THE I AM.” – God reveals himself to Moses at the burning bush as the I AM. i.e. God is everything and in everything. He reveals himself as a HOLY GOD and tells Moses to take off his shoes because he is standing on holy ground.

Acknowledge that God is everything you need. That God is a Holy God and that He desires a Holy people. When meditating on God’s holiness take time to let God search your heart and reveal any sin which needs to be repented over. Receive God’s forgiveness through the blood of Jesus Christ.

5.JEHOVAH JIREH – Genesis 22:8-14. God revealed himself to Abraham on Mount Moriah that he is the GOD of PROVISION. God provided a ram for the sacrifice instead of Isaac. Abraham saw the provision of God.   God later provided Jesus as the sacrifice in our place (on the same mountain) so that we could be redeemed.   Jesus tells us to take our needs to the Father and ask for what we need so that God can provide.

Acknowledge God’s provision to us.  Ask God to help us rely on His provision rather than trusting in ourselves. Acknowledge Christ’s sacrifice on the cross which provided the ransom for us so that we are now redeemed and righteous in God’s sight.

6.JEHOVAH ROPHE – Exodus 15:26 – God reveals himself as the GOD WHO HEALS. God is a healer and a restorer– It is His nature.

Acknowledge that God alone brings healing and restoration. Thank God that He is the God who heals physical illness & diseases, emotional hurts, spiritual brokenness. Ask Him to move in specific areas where healing or restoration needs to take place. Read and meditate on Isaiah 53 4/5 & Isaiah 61

7.JEHOVAH NISSI – Exodus 17:15 – God is revealed as “The LORD is my BANNER”. He revealed his protection of Israel by defeating their enemies the Amalekites.  He is also EL GIBBOR –Mighty God (Champion/hero) Isaiah 9: 6,7

Acknowledge and thank God for His protection and the He is victorious in battle. He is undefeated. Acknowledge that the battle belongs to Him and we wage war against our enemy Satan under His banner. Acknowledge Christ’s victory over Satan at the Cross over sin and death when He took the keys of death and hell from Satan and that we are victorious in Him. Christ is our champion. We fight a defeated enemy and final victory will happen.

8.JEHOVAH SHALOM – Judges 6:24 – the Lord is PEACE.

Acknowledge that in God alone perfect peace is found. Thank him for His peace that passes all understanding. Shalom Peace means rest, harmony, wholeness, completeness, health, welfare, safety, soundness, tranquillity, and prosperity i.e. total wellbeing.

9.JEHOVAH TSIDKENU – Jeremiah 23:6 – the LORD our RIGHTEOUSNESS

Acknowledge that God is righteousness and that it is only through the blood of Christ that we are righteousness. Ask for righteousness to be maintained in our lives and that we reject sin in our lives.

10.JEHOVAH SHAMMAH – Ezekiel 48:35 – the LORD is THERE.   God reveals himself as always being there. He is in the past, present and future. He is omnipresent and eternal in nature.

Acknowledge and thank God that he is always there with us. A very present help in time of trouble. We cannot go anywhere as the Psalmist said and not find Him. He is everywhere. He is the Alpha (beginning) and the Omega (end). He is there when we get up and when we go to bed. He is not surprised by anything!! Even when we are.

11.JEHOVAH SABAOTH – 1 Samuel 17:45 – “The LORD of HOSTS”. God is the captain of all the hosts (angelic) of Heaven.

Acknowledge & thank God that angels are sent forth by Him to be ministers to those who will inherit salvation. Ask God to release and send angels into specific situations to help others and us.

12.JEHOVAH – ROI (Ra-ah)– God is revealed as our SHEPHERD – Psalm 23: 1

13.ABBA FATHER – Matthew 6 9-13 – Jesus reveals God as our Father for the first time in scripture. It reveals a new more intimate level of relationship.

14.The whole Bible reveals that God is LOVE (AGAPE)– His Character is LOVE – 1 John 4:8 “He who does not love does not know God, for God is love. In this the love of God was manifested toward us, that God has sent His only begotten Son into the world, that we might live through Him.”

AGAPE means “undefeatable benevolence and unconquerable good will that always seeks the highest good of the other person”. It describes the unconditional love which God has for the world.

Practical Focus:

Practice some prayerful confession and pray through a portion of Psalm 23 which reveals God as our shepherd – JEHOVAH ROI (Ra-ah)

Read PSALM 23: verses 1-4

 Example PRAYER; –

“ Lord, your word says that you are my shepherd. I choose to believe your word and declare in faith that you are my shepherd . Thank you God that you are Jehovah Roi – My Shepherd. I declare that I belong to you and you alone and you are Lord of my life. Thank you God that you are the one true shepherd who tends, cares and provides for me.   Thank you that you make me lie down in green pastures where I can rest and be refreshed in you.   Thank you Lord that you lead me every day. Help me to follow in your footsteps and to be obedient to your voice. Thank you God that you are JEHOVAH JIREH – the God who provides for me and that I shall not want. Lord, your word declares that you will provide all my needs according to your riches in glory. Help me to see Lord that these are not my wants but my needs.

Thank you Lord that you are JEHOVAH TSIDKENU the God of righteousness who leads me in paths of righteousness.   Lord keep me from temptation and sin and keep my feet on the rights paths of your presence. Thank you God for Jesus who your word declares is the good shepherd who by his death on the cross has opened up the way for me to come before your throne. I thank you for the blood of Christ that cleanses me and the robes of righteousness which cover me.

God, help me to share the love of Christ with those who don’t know you so that they can see and know Christ as their Shepherd.   Lord give me compassion for those who don’t know you.

Thank you God for [name people] in this church who you have put in positions to be shepherds of this flock. God bless them and help them to be good shepherds filled with your wisdom as they love us, lead us and care for us.

Lord, help me to feed on good food – building up myself and strengthening myself in you and your Word. Lord, renew my appetite and thirst for you because I know that you are the only one who can satisfy.   You alone are the bread of life.

God finally, I acknowledge that your word says that “Know that the Lord, He is God. It is He who has made us and not we ourselves. We are His People and the Sheep of His pasture”. Lord, let me have a true revelation of who you are so that I will not boast in me but in you alone. That I will walk humbly before you.   In Jesus’ name, Amen.

I encourage you to continue to practice some prayerful confession using the names of God.  Choose one of God’s revealed names and in your own words pray making confessions of that name – it may be that you need more revelation of that aspect of God’s name/ or there is someone you know in a particular situation who needs a revelation of that name. Let the Lord lead you as you pray and be open to what He will reveal to you.

Amen.Prayer – Let’s be inspired