Prayer Must Be Learned

By Clifton Jones

Prayer is not an automatic activity in the life of the believer, therefore I must agree with the concept of one of Jesus’ disciples in Luke 11:1.

“And it came to pass, that, as he was praying in a certain place, when he ceased, one of his disciples said unto him, Lord, teach us to pray, as John also taught his disciples.”

This method must be learned and put into perpetual practice. Consequently, I believe the first lesson in the school of prayer is recognizing that you don’t really know the full value of prayer nor how to pray. Acknowledging this fact prepares you to become a student that is receptive to the idea and eager to enroll in one of the longest and yet most rewarding adventures of this spiritual life.

There is no short-cut nor fast track to developing a prayer life. You can not “test out” of this course. Yet there are so many who ask, what is the secret to prayer? What they really are asking is, how can I get the results prayer produces without having to invest so much time in the study hall of prayer. The answer, of course, is it’s impossible. I suppose the only real secret is that there is no secret.

Hearing prayer taught, preached, and having read books about prayer is no guarantee that you will be successful in prayer. Until you get involved personally and stay with it, your prayer life will never develop. Don’t be easily discouraged by feelings, lack of instant answers or anything else. Prayer is your most powerful spiritual weapon.

Satan, the enemy of the soul of all believers, is a master at using our own ignorance as an effective tool to destroy our walk with the Lord. When you do not pray, you remain ignorant of the sound of the Lord’s voice, His provision and care, and of His specific direction for your life. Therefore, aborting prayer isolates you from spiritual blessings and guarantees the continued dominance of carnality. I am sure that if you have done any praying at all, you have discovered that consistency in prayer is not the easiest course to follow. It attracts more distractions than any other phase of your spiritual life.

As you continue, you will learn to ignore distracting impulses and so called important assignments. The ability to hang in there and pray when you don’t feel like it, or when there is no real emergency or crisis, distinguishes the prayer from the player. This ability comes by staying in the school of prayer. The more you pray and the more you
desire to pray, the easier it will become; not so easy that all stumbling blocks will be gone, but easy in the sense that you will always pray.

Failure to develop a consistent prayer life will certainly doom all other aspects of your walk with and your work for the Lord. To succeed in your prayer life opens new territory for spiritual adventures. There will be no limits, except the ones you set.

My dear reader, before you proceed any further, stop now and take a moment to ask the Lord to give you a praying spirit. Ask Him to accept your application to the school of prayer. If the question ever arise in your mind, how can I maintain a prolific prayer life, the answer is that it will all rest upon your desire. All prayers must have a continuous increase in desire to maintain a vibrant prayer life. Without a desire your prayer life will die, your spiritual life will
die, and your spiritual effectiveness will disappear. Desire is a Jesus backed guarantee that your spiritual hunger will be satisfied.

– Matthew 5:6 “Blessed are they which do hunger and thirst after righteousness: for they shall be filled.”

– Mark 11:24 “Therefore I say unto you, What things soever ye desire, when ye pray, believe that ye receive them, and ye shall have them.”

Someone might ask, “What then is desire?”

Desire is craving strong enough to make one willing to sacrifice for what he or she wants. A strong desire enables you to stand your ground in the face of trying circumstances. Ones desire must be strong enough, or the complexities of life will drive them off course. If we would faithfully ask the Lord to increase our desire for Him, this hunger will assure us of continues growth. A strong enough desire will guarantee you victory over every snare of the enemy. Ask the Lord to use these writings to open the gateway to your spirit, and increase your hunger and thirst for a growing relationship with Him. Allow me to say here that men don’t just fail the Lord because the devil is so strong, but because their desire is too weak.

Psalms 42:1,2 “As the heart panteth after the water brooks, so panteth my soul after thee, 0 God. My soul thirsteth for God, for the living God: when shall I come and appear before God?”

We need to pray until we become addicted; this experience only comes by sticking with a thing until you feel that you cannot do without it. Just as nothing outside of water can truly kill your thirst, only the presence of Jesus can satisfy your spiritual desire.

Psalms 63:1,2 “0 God, thou art my God; early will I seek thee: My soul thirsteth for thee, my flesh longeth for thee in a dry and thirsty land, where no water is; To see thy power and thy glory, so as I have seen thee in the sanctuary.”

With this kind of hunger and thirst, I promise you the Lord Jesus will hear and answer your prayer. Your desire is so important to your continued prayer life, that one cannot live without the other. Therefore to increase your desire, is to increase your prayer life. Just think, it is a most difficult task to do anything you don’t want to do and that includes eating. So trying to pray without a desire is as difficult as trying to sweeten the ocean with a teaspoon of sugar. Just as praying must be learned, desire must be earned, and you do so by feeding on the word of God to the neglect of what your flesh is saying.

Your desire and prayer life is the first thing that comes under attack of the enemy. As a person can feel the symptoms of sickness, you can tell when your desire is under attack, that old feeling of neglect of the word of God and prayer raises its ugly head trying to get you to believe you are too tired, too sick, too busy or just have no want for those things. Just as you would force yourself to eat in order to gain strength, you must likewise press your way beyond the attack against your soul.

Someone might ask, “How do you get pass that feeling?” I am glad you asked. When your desire is attacked, take your Bible and walk the floor if you have to and read it aloud and beyond what you would normally read, “Enter his gates with thanksgiving” flowing from your lips loud and clear. You cannot let your desire die, for to do so will cause you to loose your prayer life.

Isaiah 26:9 “With my soul have I desired thee in the night; yea, with my spirit within me will I seek thee early: for when thy judgments are in the earth, the inhabitants of the world will learn righteousness.”

Let me add a word of caution here, just as you did not become an adult over night, neither will you become a prayer over night. Praying is a life long venture which requires consecrated effort for lasting results.

If after reading these lines, you feel the urge to enroll in the school of prayer, please do not over shoot your faith nor under cut it. For example, don’t plan to pray even one hour, if in times past you have only been able to pray five or ten minutes. Be faithful with the time you have been using until your desire increase to the point that it demands more time in God presence. We should never outgrow the need to pray, “Lord increase my desire for you. ” If at all possible, the enemy will discourage you and make you feel that you do not love the Lord, therefore there isn’t any need for you trying to pray. When in reality your flesh has never had a desire for spiritual things and you will not
allow your carnal nature to set the tone for your relationship with your loving Lord. You are going to heed Peter’s advice.

Peter 2:2 “As newborn babes, desire the sincere milk of the word, that ye may grow thereby.”

There are no words that will satisfy a hungry baby. Only the taste of milk will satiate and cause him to turn the alarm off. That is the kind of desire every child of God need. The kind that will keep us in pursuit until the things desired are accomplished, and our relationship with the Lord become an obsession.

Psalms 73:25 “Whom have I in heaven but thee? And there is none upon earth that I desire beside thee.”

The heart of praying is getting to know the Lord Jesus and desiring to know Him better. The better you know Him the easier it is to communicate with Him. We see this principle at work in everyday life in the people who are personal friends of ours. We can spend hours upon hours conversing with them while we are limited in our conversation with strangers. It’s simple, the longer you have known a person the more you have to talk about. That is why those who have been saved at length should find talking with Jesus is an ongoing experience. This is not to say that the babe in Christ is without conversation with his loving Father.

The sooner you get enrolled in the school of prayer the sooner your knowledge of Him will increase. My experience has been that when new born saints get involved in the prayer school, they will out grow many who have been in the way for years. This is easy to understand; soon after some are born in Christ they began to fertilize their spiritual
relationship while others neglected this most precious adventure. No amount of years can substitute for prayer. In other words, no one gets to know the Lord by just being around. You must seek Him on regular basis if you desire to know Him for yourself. Please do not get in the habit of seeking the Lord just for your needs. Seek Him for who He is
and what being in His presence will do for your relationship with Him.

Psalms 16:11 “Thou wilt shew me the path of life: in thy presence is fullness of joy; at thy right hand there are pleasures for evermore.”

My dear reader do not settle for anything less than satisfaction in His presence. For to do so is to drop out of the greatest school in the universe and the only school that teaches intimacy with Jesus Christ the Righteous. While in school, please keep in mind, Lessons that are difficult to learn require more time than those which come easy.

Since prayer seems to be the most often dropped course, it goes without saying, it requires much time and consecrated effort. Since the lesson of prayer is so important, we ought to purpose in our hearts to stay in school that we might gain all possible insight. I promise you if you enroll in the school of prayer and stay with it until the Lord calls you home, life will have a rich meaning for you.

Dear reader, take it upon yourself to get involved in the ministry of prayer because of what it will do for you and what it means to the kingdom of God.

There are many souls held hostage by the kingdom of darkness waiting for someone to plead on their behalf for deliverance. Will that someone be you? If so, will you began today, because time is running out, and wickedness is increasing while the righteous sit idly by.

The greatest need of this hour is not more organization but more agonizing; not more talent but more time spent on our knees; not more preachers but more pray-ers; not a better air condition, but improved prayer condition.

“Mother prayer is in intensive care dying from gross neglect.”

Since her absence from the house of God, conditions have become vastly worst; a shortage of fire in the pulpit, cold love in the pews, divisions, jealousy, resentment, hostility, worldliness, greed, selfish ambitions, carnality, and every kind of weakness is having free range.”

“Will someone please go and visit her, hold her hand, and tell her how much she is missed at the church. Please stress to her how important she is to the work of the Lord. Tell her the numbers of spirit filled people in their seats have truly dropped since she have been sick. The anointing in the pulpit is a rare thing since she left. Repentance is
at an all time low, and convictions are as weak as spaghetti that spent the night in hot water, since mother prayer has been gone.”

“Mother, the choir is more professional but less anointed since you’ve been gone. Revivals have been replaced by just regular meetings since you left. Oh yes, the meetings that are called revivals are poorly attended unless it is preached by a highly famous preacher.”

Notice I said famous, not necessary anointed. If the revivalist isn’t well known, you can’t get enough people out to eat two fried chickens.

“Mother Prayer, please come back to church! We need revival; people are dying, divorcing, dividing, denouncing the faith, jacking for positions, disgracing the holiness of God, building their personal kingdoms, and many are fulfilling Jude 11: “Woe unto them! For they have gone in the way of Cain, and ran greedily after the error of Balaam for reward, and perished in the gainsaying of Core.”

“Mother, when you come back to church, things will change and revival, repentance, convictions, fellowship, and anointing will return to destroy the yoke of the enemy.”

A person would have to be blind not to know that we are in serious need of revival. Nothing short of revival can bring us back from where we have fallen. Through a consistent diet of God’s word and a dose of old fashion repentance, coupled with genuine prayer, we shall be saved from our present declining condition.

I am reminded of the history of Israel and Judah. They were both guilty of many of the same sins, yet Judah survived longer than Israel. The reason is very obvious: Judah had a few kings which led them into revival while Israel had none. Will we perish like Israel or will we join with the pray-ers and ask God to give us men and women who will
lead us into revival?

Just as Nehemiah became burdened with the walls being down and set his face to seek the Lord for help for the city and the people of God, we need some men and women with that kind of compassion for the spiritual walls that are fallen in our day. Those who care enough to seek the Lord with tears, fasting, weeping, repenting and a fresh return to the word of God.

Nehemiah 1:4 “And it came to pass, when I heard these words, that I sat down and wept, and mourned certain days, and fasted, and prayed before the God of heaven.”

Nehemiah not only rebuilt the walls and reorganized the government, he also led them into revival.

Nehemiah 9:1-3 “Now in the twenty and fourth day of this month the children of Israel were assembled with fasting, and with sackcloth, and earth upon them. And the seed of Israel separated themselves from all strangers, and stood and confessed their sins, and the iniquities of their fathers. And they stood up in their place, and read in the book
of the law of the LORD their God one fourth part of the day; and another fourth part they confessed, and worshipped the LORD their God.”

Please notice that the word of God: repentance, fasting, weeping, confession and worship were the format for the revival led by Nehemiah. I am convinced that those same ingredients will produce revival in our day.

II Chronicles: 14 “If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land.

As you read these lines, you might feel that you are not the one to lead us into revival. If so, please pray that the God appointed one will soon come forth. To put it into the words of Paul in Romans.

Romans 13:11-14 “And that, knowing the time, that now it is high time to awake out of sleep: for now is our salvation nearer that when we believed. The night is far spent, the day is at hand: let us therefore cast off the works of darkness, and let us put on the armour of light. Let us walk honestly, as in the day; not in rioting and drunkenness,
not in chambering and wantonness, not in strife and envying. But put ye on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make not provision for the flesh, to fulfill the lusts thereof.”

Prayer purchased revival is the only thing that will wake us up, clean us up, and cause us to look up “for our redemption draweth near.” You might notice that many of the old testament prophets cried often for revival. The people of God were often sliding backward, as many are today and they knew that only revival would bring them back in to the fold.

– Habakkuk 3:1,2 “A prayer of Habakkuk the prophet upon Shigionoth. O LORD, I have heard thy speech, and was afraid: 0 LORD, revive thy work in the midst of the years, in the midst of the years make known; in wrath remember mercy.

– Psalms 80:7 “Turn us again, 0 God of hosts, and cause thy face to shine; and we shall be saved.”

– Psalms 85:6 “Wilt thou not revive us again: that thy people may rejoice in thee?”

I don’t mean to belabor the point of revival, but I sure would like to impress upon your mind the need to become a pray-er, so that we might call upon Him for help. Can the body of Christ depend on you to enroll in the school of prayer today, and with a made up mind, never drop out no matter what the cost?

The sooner you enroll, the sooner you can began receiving the most valuable insight available to man. Watch out for distractions and those who have been in the way, but yet won’t pray. Multitudes of Christians are passing off the scene, without ever developing their prayer life or failing to put quality time in prayer. My dear reader, keep asking the Lord to teach you to pray and increase your desire for Him; you will be a breed apart, and a flaming vessel ready for the battle.

Oh, will you please ask the Lord for a deep seated, long lasting, culture changing, joy filling, church shaking, community changing, state awakening, national alerting, world wide revival. Then the earth can witness the glory of the Lord in the midst of His people upon planet earth. This kind of revival will energize God’s people with spiritual power for united prayer and push the enemy into retreat.

Revival leads to repentance and cleaned-up lives. God’s power flows freely through clean vessels. One of the first marks of revival awakening is when sin is seen as exceedingly sinful. Earlier I made mention that `Mother Prayer’ is in intensive care dying from gross neglect. Maybe now we can see how valuable she is to our spiritual welfare. Maybe now we can visit, tell her how much we’ve missed her and bow badly she needs to return for the deliverance of all of us.

I believe if we can get enough people to visit her, spend the night with her, hold her hand and tell her over and over again how valuable she is to our spiritual livelihood, she will rise up and come back to her rightful place. When she does, we are going to see the divine wind and fire as we saw at Pentecost. Wind and fire is hard to control. The more the wind blows, the more the fire will burn. In other words, when revival breaks out, we want to see it burn out of control, sweeping over the entire universe until all of the known world is influenced by this prayer ordered revival.

I believe the time has come for the whole body of Christ to cry out like Rachel of old. “Give me children, or else I die.” Only we need to cry give us revival or else we die. I hope you can See that learning to pray puts you into a network that involves worldwide ministry.

The ministry of prayer, blesses or opens the door of blessings for the multitudes, and ministers life to the one who prays. Furthermore, we are commissioned by the word of God to pray for all men.

Timothy 2:1-4 “I exhort therefore, that, first of all, supplications, Prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks, be made for all men; For kings, and for all that are in authority; that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and honesty. For this is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Savior; Who will have all men to be
saved, and to come unto the knowledge of the truth.”

May our desire be swallowed up by His desire to see men saved, then will we pray with heart and soul.

(The above information was published by PRAYER CLINIC II, 1990)

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