Prayer To Return Into Fellowship With God
Learning to Pray Inquiring Prayers for God’s Work
Have you ever felt that your service to God was ineffective? Fruitless? Without direction? I know I have.
What’s worse, we may sadly find out one day that all our work for God was presumptuous and displeasing to Him because He was not its Source or Initiator (Matt. 7:21-23).
In order to avoid this, we’ll consider in this post how to enter into a more effective Christian service by learning to pray inquiring prayers that honor Him.
What do we mean by inquiring prayers?
As a preface, it is important to realize that the prayer to fellowship with God is the foundation of prayer. I covered this first aspect of prayer in my previous post, Practical Points on How to Pray to Fellowship with the Lord.
our prayer for fellowship, we can progress to the second aspect of prayer—the prayer for inquiring. Inquiring prayers are prayers in which we open to God and allow Him to initiate His burden in us. We need to learn this type of prayer for both the Lord’s work, as well as for our personal needs.
Initiated by God
By first praying to fellowship with the Lord, we enter into God. Then, while we’re in fellowship with Him, the prayers that we pray will be something initiated by Him. He will give us His burden to pray and reveal His intention to us.
Consider the example of the five who were ministering to the Lord in Acts 13:1-4. It was while they were praying that the Holy Spirit gave them the burden for the spread of the gospel through the sending of Barnabas and Saul.
More inquiring than petitioning
In this aspect of prayer there is more inquiring than petitioning. Petitioning is to tell God what we want Him to do for us. However, inquiring is to ask the Lord what is on His heart—what He wants us to pray for. Inquiring prayers are very good prayers because they honor God. It is by such prayers that God’s desire is made known to us.
It is as we are calmly inquiring of the Lord, step by step, point by point, that we can sense God’s leading and then work according to His leading.
For example, we may ask the Lord if He wants us to pray today for the spread of the gospel.If we sense His leading for the gospel, we may inquire further if it His desire that we pray for the salvation of our family members or our coworkers.
While inquiring, we may feel deeply burdened for a family member that is far from the Lord. Our heart may be touched even to tears. Sensing the Lord’s burden for this one’s salvation, we may further ask Him how He would have us to pray for him or her. We may specifically ask the Lord if this is the right time for us to visit this one.
Feeling peaceful about visiting, we may go on to inquire of the Lord concerning what He would have us to say. We may feel that the Lord simply wants us to go and take time to listen to what interests them.
From the example above, we can see that our inquiring should be thorough and detailed. On our own we might just tell the Lord to save that person. But that is not thorough enough.
We need to inquire of the Lord for each detail. We may ask the Lord if it would be better to meet this person at their home or at a coffee shop, by ourselves or with a companion.
Don’t think that this is too trivial.
Fulfilling the Principles of Prayer
We need to realize that many of our prayers in the past were not answered because we did not pray according to the principles of prayer. Just telling the Lord to do something does not follow the principles of prayer.
We should first use our spirit to contact God and allow Him to anoint His burden into us and give us His feeling. Then we can inquire according to this feeling for every item of our work–in this case, our visiting of people.
Needing time to pray for the work
From this illustration, it is clear that we need to spend more time to pray. The effectiveness of our work really depends on how much time we’re willing to spend before God. We should not be anxious or overwhelmed, but realize that this lesson requires our whole life to learn.
As those who love the Lord Jesus and want to give Him the first place in our Christian life and work, we can’t afford to neglect these crucial lessons in prayer. May we honor the Lord by first learning the prayer of fellowship and then going on to the prayer for inquiring.
Needing companions for the work of prayer
As a final note–praying for the Lord’s work is not just the work of some individuals.
We really need spiritual companions for this kind of detailed prayer– the two or three praying in harmony in Matthew 18:18-20.
Otherwise, our “praying hands” will become weary those of Moses in Exodus 17:9-13. We need companions “Aaron and Hur” to preserve us in this kind of prayer for God’s work for the long run.
Lord, recover the finer work of prayer among Your people. Teach us how to have fellowship with You in prayer so that we may enter deeply into Your heart. Then lead us further to inquire of You so that we may take You as the Source and Initiator of all our Christian living and work. Grant us proper companions that will share in this work of prayer to carry out Your will in this age.
If you’ve had some experience in learning to pray the prayer of fellowship and the prayer for inquiring, please share your confirming experiences so that we can mutually learn and be encouraged.
These points were mainly drawn from Fellowshipping with the Lord for the Mingling of God with Man, by Witness Lee, pp. 11-15.
Prayer is Face to Face Fellowship with God
Many people struggle with prayer because they feel God is far away and they are not sure if He is listening. Faith is required in prayer.
And without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to Him must believe that He exists and that He rewards those who earnestly seek Him. (Hebrews 11:6 NIV) Faith is when you believe what God says and not what you feel.
Pray by faith and later you will begin to sense the presence of God and learn to hear His voice, as you are changed. It is a great and awesome privilege to interact with the Creator of the universe in prayer.
What is man that You take thought of him, And the son of man that You care for him? Yet You have made him a little lower than God, And You crown him with glory and majesty! (Psalms 8:4-5 NASB) The word care above means to visit, to pay attention to, care for.
God created you for intimate fellowship with Him. Since the time of Adam, God desired relationship with those created in His image. God had face-to-face fellowship with Adam and Eve until one day.
And they heard the voice of the LORD God walking in the garden in the cool of the day: and Adam and his wife hid themselves from the presence of the LORD God amongst the trees of the garden.
(Genesis 3:8 KJV) This is one of the saddest verses in the Bible. People still have a tendency to hide from God because of sin.The word presence means face. Adam and Eve could not face God after sin entered their lives.
Their conscience was no longer comfortable in the presence of God’s holiness.
This is why God sent Jesus to Earth to shed His blood on the cross as a sacrifice for our sins so that we could be restored to our original purpose, intimate fellowship with God, our Father.
“Therefore repent and return, so that your sins may be wiped away, in order that times of refreshing may come from the presence of the Lord; (Acts 3:19 NASB) Again, the word presence here means face.
When you humble yourself, turn to face your Father God, and seek Him with all your heart; He is with you and you are with Him, face to face. Whenever you seek God with your whole heart, you have His attention. Seek the LORD and His strength; Seek His face continually.
(Psalms 105:4 NASB)
God wants quality time with you alone. But you, when you pray, go into your room, and when you have shut your door, pray to your Father who is in the secret place; and your Father who sees in secret will reward you openly. (Matthew 6:6 NKJV) Prayer is not one sided, it is talking to God and listening to Him.
Waiting on God, is when your attention is focused on Him and you wait quietly in His presence. It is a time to enjoy being with Him; the way you would enjoy spending time with a best friend. When you love someone, you enjoy just being in their presence, even when you are not talking to each other.
Prayer is an expression of heart-felt desires; exchanged between you and the Father.
Therefore humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God, that He may exalt you in due time, casting all your care upon Him, for He cares for you.
(1 Peter 5:6-7 NKJV) In this verse, the word care means anything that causes you anxiety; it also means anything that causes a distraction.
When I saw that, I immediately knew that a distraction is anything that is keeping you from experiencing the Kingdom of God; righteousness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit. (Romans 14:17)What is distracting you from experiencing God’s righteousness, peace and Joy? You must bring those things to Him, in prayer. God is a loving Father. He wants you to give Him all your anxieties, fears and distractions and He will carry them for you and give you His righteousness, peace and joy in exchange.
The next verse tells why this is important. Be self-controlled and alert. Your enemy the devil prowls around a roaring lion looking for someone to devour. (1 Peter 5:8 NIV) Things in your life that cause fear and distractions can also be an open door for your enemy.
Talk to God about everything that is happening in your life. You may be thinking, why do I need to tell God everything in my heart since, He knows everything? It is for your benefit and the benefit of the relationship and so He can help you.
You will find that as you present yourself to Him and spend time sharing your heart with Him you will begin to have new understanding as He also shares His perspective. There is a divine heart to heart exchange that happens in prayer.
This will affect every area of your life that you share with God in prayer.
When you present yourself to God and turn your heart to face Him, your perspective is changed and you are changed. Nevertheless when one turns to the Lord, the veil is taken away.
Now the Lord is the Spirit; and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty.
But we all, with unveiled face, beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory, just as by the Spirit of the Lord. (2 Corinthians 3:16-18 NKJV)
Prayer is Divine Fellowship
It is good to have daily designated times for alone time with God in prayer. However, prayer is also practicing the presence of God and should be thought of as continuous open communication.
Be joyful always; pray continually; give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.
(1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 NIV) Prayer is a lifestyle of being God conscious and having constant access to the heart of your Father and in Heaven.
God desires to make you His home of fellowship. Jesus answered and said to him, “If anyone loves Me, he will keep My word; and My Father will love him, and We will come to him and make Our home with him.
(John 14:23 NKJV) You are a house of prayer. And He said to them, “It is written, ‘MY HOUSE SHALL BE CALLED A HOUSE OF PRAYER, (Matthew 21:13 NKJV). Truly our fellowship is with the Father and with His Son Jesus Christ.
(1 John 1:3 NKJV)
Below are some other Bible verses about Prayer
As for me, I will call upon God, And the LORD shall save me. Evening and morning and at noon I will pray, and cry aloud, And He shall hear my voice. He has redeemed my soul in peace from the battle that was against me, For there were many against me. (Psalms 55:16-18 NKJV)
Devote yourselves to prayer with an alert mind and a thankful heart. (Colossians 4:2 NLT)
Glory in his holy name; let the hearts of those who seek the LORD rejoice. Look to the LORD and his strength; seek his face always. (1 Chronicles 16:10-11 NIV)Now He was telling them a parable to show that at all times they ought to pray and not to lose heart, (Luke 18:1 NASB)
“Keep watching and praying that you may not come into temptation; the spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak.” (Mark 14:38 NASB)
He guides the humble in what is right and teaches them his way. (Psalms 25:9 NIV)
The humble also shall increase their joy in the LORD, And the poor among men shall rejoice In the Holy One of Israel. (Isaiah 29:19 NKJV)
For thus says the High and Lofty One Who inhabits eternity, whose name is Holy: “I dwell in the high and holy place, With him who has a contrite and humble spirit, To revive the spirit of the humble, And to revive the heart of the contrite ones. (Isaiah 57:15 NKJV)
“But take heed to yourselves, lest your hearts be weighed down with carousing, drunkenness, and cares of this life, and that Day come on you unexpectedly.
For it will come as a snare on all those who dwell on the face of the whole earth.
Watch therefore, and pray always that you may be counted worthy to escape all these things that will come to pass, and to stand before the Son of Man.” (Luke 21:34-36 NKJV)
God is our refuge and strength, A very present help in trouble. (Psalms 46:1 NKJV)
Seek the LORD and His strength; Seek His face continually. (Psalms 105:4 NASB)
Let us then approach the throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need. (Hebrews 4:16 NIV)