August 5: Petition – The Answer to Worry

We’re on Day 2 of Petition – how to pray for personal prayer requests:

WebMD lists the following as possible results of worry:

the chronic anxiety and outpouring of stress hormones can have serious physical consequences, including:

Suppression of the immune system

Digestive disorders

Muscle tension

Short-term memory loss

Premature coronary artery disease

Heart attack

If excessive worrying and high anxiety go untreated, they can lead to depression and even suicidal thoughts.

https://www.webmd.com/balance/guide/how-worrying-affects-your-body#1

What does the Bible say we should do?

Be careful for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God. And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.

Philippians 4:6-7
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tJRd65Y1QUE

August 4: Petition – The Prerequisite for Personal Prayer Requests

We’re returning to the Hour of Prayer and looking at Personal Prayer – the Petition.

If ye abide in me, and my words abide in you, ye shall ask what ye will, and it shall be done unto you.

John 15:7

First – It’s ok to ask God for personal needs!

Second – How do we abide? What do we need to do to abide?

John MacArthur points out this is something that should already be decided. He says that Jesus is contrasting those who are in proximity to Jesus with those who are “abiding” in Jesus. You can be near Jesus but not “plugged in” – a lamp won’t go on if it’s near the outlet, it must be plugged in. Judas was “close” to Jesus, but he didn’t “abide” in Jesus.

You can be connected with Jesus Christ and not saved. Do you realize that people were called disciples of Jesus, according to John 6:66, that “many of his disciples went back and walked no more with Him.” They were identified with Christ, but they weren’t for real. In John 8 they believed on His name, and He said, all right, if you believe on My name, you’ll continue with Me, and they didn’t. They left. In 2 Corinthians 13, Paul warns us and he says you better examine yourself to see whether you’re really in the fellowship or not, because there’s so many people who think they are. So you have here some professing people in John 15, and they are similar to the ones in Hebrews 6 in the sense that they are on the edge, but they’ve never made that genuine commitment; and they’re in tremendous danger of being cut off, cast into the fire.

John MacArthur

Throughout church history people have tried to bridge the gap to allow people to be “near Jesus” that weren’t “plugged in” / “abiding” in Jesus. During the Colonial period, this was known as the Half-Way Covenant.

The Puritan-controlled Congregational churches required evidence of a personal conversion experience before granting church membership and the right to have one’s children baptized. Conversion experiences were less common among second generation colonists, and this became an issue when these unconverted adults had children of their own who were ineligible for baptism.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Half-Way_Covenant
Jonathan Edwards
Jonathan Edwards

It was in this setting that Jonathan Edwards warned them that “half-way” wasn’t good enough. They were still Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God.

Make sure that you are not just nearby Jesus, or even half-way. Make sure you are abiding in Jesus!

August 3: Faith like Noah

Daniel Whittle shares that the life of faith and the necessity of uncompromising hold on the promise’s, expecting their fulfillment, is admirably explained in the illustration of Noah’s prayer. One day Mr. Moody was much discouraged, and it was as dark a Sabbath as ever he had, and a friend suggested to him to study the life of Noah.

D.L. Moody
D.L. Moody

“I got out my Bible, and the thought came over me, ‘Here is a man who labored and talked a hundred years, and didn’t succeed; didn’t get a convert notwithstanding all his efforts, all his prayers, but he didn’t get discouraged.’

“But he took God at his word; he worked right on; he prayed right on; and he waited God’s time. And, my friends, from that time, I have never been discouraged. Whenever I think of him, it lifts me up out of the darkness into the light. Don’t get discouraged.”

The lesson of Noah’s life is briefly this: He never converted a soul outside of his own family. That was the work God gave him to do, and he prayed and waited and worked, and never gave up, and he was saved and all his family with him.

So every Christian must recognize that his field is not far off, but right around him, in his house, among his friends, working, praying, waiting, but never getting discouraged. The Lord will never fail those who “abide in Him.”

By faith Noah, being warned of God of things not seen as yet, moved with fear, prepared an ark to the saving of his house; by the which he condemned.

Hebrews 11:7

August 2: Persevering Prayer

Daniel Whittle shares another account from D.L. Moody:

D.L. Moody
D.L. Moody

At one of the prayer-meetings at the Brooklyn tabernacle, Mr. Moody closed by narrating an instance of persevering prayer by a Christian wife for an infidel husband. She resolved to pray for him at noon for eighteen months, and at the expiration of that time, her knocking not having been responded to, she exclaimed, “Lord, I will pray for him, every day, and at all hours, as long as life lasts.”

That day the Lord heard her knock, and gave her the desire of her heart, in the conversion of her husband. When the Lord saw her faith would not give up, he sent the answer immediately.

I say unto you, Though he will not rise and give him, because he is his friend, yet because of his importunity he will rise and give him as many as he needeth.

Luke 11:8

August 1: Moody’s prayer for flour

D.L. Moody
D.L. Moody

Give us this day our daily bread.

Matthew 6:11

Daniel Whittle notes that Mr. Moody’s domestic life had always been a happy one, but in the early days of his marriage, he was very poor, and his faith was often put to the severest tests.

One day, on leaving home in his missionary work and labors of love, he remarked to his wife, “I have no money, and the house is without supplies. It looks dark; is it possible that the Lord has had enough of me in this mission work, and is going to send me back again to sell boots and shoes.” But he prayed. In a day or two, a Stranger sent him two checks of $50 each–one for himself, and one for his school.

On another occasion his wife informed him that they had no flour for the day’s use, and asked him to order some on his way. Having no money in his possession, he was perplexed how to proceed to raise the required amount; but meeting a person in whose spiritual welfare he was concerned, he forgot all about such sublunary considerations as money and flour, and went heart and soul into the Lord’s work before him.

On his return home at night, he felt somewhat nervous about his reception on account of his not having sent the flour, but to his joyful surprise, he found that on his arrival the table was spread with a bountiful repast.

It seems that a friend of his was powerfully impressed that morning, and without seeing the family or knowing anything about their need, had packed up a barrel of flour and sent it.

Others of his friends, who were interested in his work, and felt confidence in his work, unknown to him, selected a new house, and furnished it throughout with every facility for convenience and comfort, and when all was completed invited him and his family to it, and made him a present of the loan of his house, and all its contents.

Thus the Great Helper remembered him and answered his daily prayer, “Give us this day our daily bread.”

July 31: Prayer returning stolen property!

Daniel W. Whittle
Daniel W. Whittle

Daniel Whittle records that the New York Observer related a remarkable instance of the return of stolen property, which in its extraordinary way can be accounted for only by the control of a Supreme Will, and all in answer to prayer.

“On February 16, 1877, United States and railroad bonds and mortgages to the amount of $160,000, belonging to Edgar H. Richards, were stolen from the banking house of James G. King’s Sons, of this city. No clue whatever to the robbers could be obtained. Several parties were arrested on suspicion, but nothing could be proved, and the mystery remained unsolved.

“Mr. Richards, being a member of one of our most prominent churches, made it a subject of constant prayer, that the Lord would wholly prevent the thieves from any use of the property and cause it to be returned to him. When asked if he was ever incredulous, he said, ‘No, I have never lost my faith in recovering this property. I believe in prayer, and I have made it from the first a subject of prayer, and it will be answered.’

“Meanwhile some curious influences must have been at work among the thieves, for they acted in an extraordinary manner as follows:

“One day last week a stranger, well dressed, modest looking, gentlemanly, walked into the office of Elliott F. Shepard, Esq., one of Messrs. King’s counsel, and tendered his services for the recovery of the property, asserting he knew nothing about the robbery, nor the thieves, but that he could get the treasure. He was told that a reward would be paid for the capture of the thieves, but he earnestly protested that it was entirely out of his power to obtain any clue to the person or whereabouts of the thief; and no inquiries ever disclosed that this was not a perfectly true statement. Indeed, it proved that he had been selected as an agent to do this work, and that there were at least five or six connecting intermediaries between him and the robbers, each exercising that virtue which is called honor among thieves, and which on this occasion proved a wall of adamant to every attempt to pierce it or break it down.

“True to his word the stranger caused the delivery at Mr. Shepard’s office, at the appointed hour to a second, of an ordinary pasteboard bandbox, wrapped in newspaper, by the hands of a little boy. He had come in a pelting rain-storm, and part of the newspaper had become torn, and disclosed the blue, unsuspected hat box. The boy knew nothing about it, except that a gentleman had given him a dime in the street to bring the box.

“Mr. Richards being present, opened the bandbox, examined and checked off the contents with one of Messrs. King’s head clerks, and found every single item of his missing securities, stocks, bonds, mortgages, accounts, bank books, wills, everything. A most remarkable thing! The parties could hardly believe their eyes.”

July 30: Luther’s Prayer Answered

From Daniel Whittle:

Dr. Martin Luther

At one time in the life of Luther, there was a critical moment in the affairs of the Reformation. Bitter persecution prevailed with extraordinary power, and threatened every one. They were the dark days when faith could only cling. There were but few friends to the reformers, and these were of little strength. Their enemies were every where strong, proud, arrogant.

But Luther relied on his God, and at this moment, with his favorite hymn in his heart, “A Mighty Fortress is our God,” he went to the Lord in prayer, and prayed that omnipotence would come to the help of their weakness. Long he wrestled alone with God in his closet, till like Jacob he prevailed. Then he went into the room, where his family had assembled, with joyous heart and shining face, and raising both hands, and lifting his eyes heavenward, exclaimed, “We have overcome, we have overcome.”

This was astonishing, as there was not the slightest of news which had yet been heard to give them hope of relief. But immediately after that, the welcome tidings came that the Emperor, Charles V., had issued his Proclamation of “Religious Toleration in Germany.” In Luther’s prayer was fulfilled the remarkable promise of Proverbs:

The king’s heart is in the hand of the Lord, as the rivers of water; he turneth it whithersoever he will.

Proverbs 21:1

July 29: Freedom from Tobacco, Opium, and more

And be not drunk with wine, wherein is excess; but be filled with the Spirit;

Ephesians 5:18

Scripture commands us to be under God’s control – and not of substances. Daniel Whittle shares from the Rev. W.H. Boole, a city missionary in New York City, who had been witness in his ministries, of many cases of complete deliverance from bad habits, and appetites, solely by believing prayer. Many are contained in a little tract written by him, “The Wonder of Grace.” He gives a few of these incidents:

“One is an officer in a church in New York, who had used tobacco for forty years, making during that time many efforts to abandon the practice, but always failing because of the resultant inward growing. But he was brought to an act of specific faith in Jesus, to save him from the appetite, and now, after several years, he testifies, ‘From that hour all desire left me, and I have ever since hated, what I once so fondly loved.'”

“Another is of a prominent church member in Brooklyn, N.Y., who had used tobacco for thirty years, and could not endure to be without a cigar in his mouth, and sometimes even rose and smoked in the night; after many failures to overcome the habit, one night when alone, he cast himself on his Savior for just this victory; and from that hour was delivered from the desire as well as from the outward act, and now wonders that he ever loved the filthy practice.”

“A certain old lady, who lived near Westbrook, Conn., aged seventy, was a confirmed opium eater, and used daily, an amount sufficient to kill twenty persons. She was led to see that the habit was a sin; and as such, she abandoned it, with specific application to Christ to save her from it. She was heard, and lived for two years afterward, free from any desire for that drug.”

“A similar case was that of a carpenter, in Brooklyn, N.Y., who, from taking morphine to allay the pain of a fractured leg, fell into its habitual use, till he almost lived upon it for several years after his recovery. He once swallowed, in the presence of several physicians, a dose which it was calculated would destroy the lives of two hundred ordinary men. Not long since, he was made to look at this as a sin, and tried to break off the habit, abstaining, with an alarming reaction, till five physicians declared that death would ensue, if he did not resume it. This he did for a year; but then on a certain Sunday evening, broke off again, casting himself by faith on Christ, from which moment the desire left him, and has never returned, and he has experienced no reaction or other ill effect, but has greatly improved in health.”

July 28: The Tavern Keeper Overcome

Daniel W. Whittle
Daniel W. Whittle

Daniel Whittle shares an account from Charles G. Finney relates, in his “Spirit of Prayer,” of an acquaintance of his whose faith and importunity in prayer and the answer were very remarkable:

“In a town in the northern part of the State of New York, where there was a revival, there was a certain individual, who was a most violent and outrageous opposer. He kept a tavern, and used to delight in swearing at a desperate rate, whenever there were Christians within hearing, on purpose to hurt their feelings. He was so bad, that one man said he believed he should have to sell his place or give it away, and move out of town, for he could not live near a man that swore so.

“This good man of faith and prayer that I have spoken of, was passing through the town and heard the case, and was very much grieved and distressed for the individual. He took him on his praying list. The case weighed on his mind when he was asleep, and when he was awake. He kept thinking about him, and praying for him, for days; and the first we knew of it, this ungodly man came into a meeting, and got up and confessed his sins, and poured out his soul. His barroom immediately became the place where they held prayer-meetings.”

July 27: Prayer for the salvation of children

The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance.

2 Peter 3:9

Daniel Whittle shares the account of Mrs. C. S. Whitney:

In regard to the conversion of souls, many times prayer has been answered immediately.

At one time, in a little prayer meeting, a desire was given me for the speedy conversion of several children present. After some conversation and prayer, we agreed that, each in our own home, the next morning, at nine o’clock, should ask God to bless and save. At our next meeting, ten of the children gave evidence of a change of heart; which had occurred at that very hour.