An elderly Methodist lay preacher named Uncle Am always had assurance his prayer would be answered. A young preacher asked for his secret. He said, “Young man learn to plead the promises of God.”
-D.L. Moody: “Every work of God can be traced to some kneeling form.”
CHANGE IN THINKING
Early in the ministry, I had an experience which completely changed my understanding of prayer. What a transformation! I was called to start churches and had just discovered “prayer meeting truth” in the Acts. So I started a prayer meeting-the first one I ever attended.
In came an elderly Methodist one night. When he prayed, I detected something new. “I have never heard praying like that,” I said to myself. It was not only fervency-I had plenty of that. Heaven and earth got together at once when he prayed. There was a strange immediacy about it. The prayer and the answer were not far apart-in fact, were moving along together. He had it “in the bag!” so it seemed to me. The Holy Spirit was right there, in action, giving him assurance of the answer even while he was praying! When I prayed, God was “way out there,” somewhere in the distance, listening. The answer, too was in the distance, in the bye and bye.
Eager to learn his secret, I went to see him one day. His name was Ambrose Whaley, and everyone called him “Uncle Am.” He was a retired blacksmith-also a Methodist lay preacher. I soon came to the point: “Uncle Am, I would love to pray with you.” At once he arose, led me outside across the driveway into a red barn, up a ladder, into a haymow! There, in some old hay, lay two big Bibles-one open. “What is this?” I thought. I prayed first, as I recall it. Poured out my heart, needs, burdens, wishes, aspirations, ambitions to God. Then he prayed-and there was “that difference” again. There, in that hay, on our knees, at the eyeball level, I said: “Uncle Am, what is it? …You have some kind of secret in praying…Would you mind sharing it with me?”
I was 24, he was 73 (he lived to be 93), and with an eagle-look in his eyes, he said: “Young man, learn to plead the promises of God!”
THAT DID IT!
My praying has never been the same since. That word completely changed my understanding of prayer. It really revolutionized it! I “saw it” as soon as he said it. Saw what? Well-when I prayed there was fervency, ambition, etc. (The Lord does not put a “perfect squelch” on these either.) But I lacked FAITH. Prayer is the key to heaven, but faith unlocks the door. THERE MUST BE FAITH. Where does that come from? From hearing…the WORD OF GOD. Uncle Am would pray Scripture after Scripture, reminding Him of Promise after promise, pleading these like a lawyer does his case-the Holy Spirit pouring in His assurance of being heard. This man knew the promises “by the bushel.” He did not seem to need those two Bibles in that hay! I soon learned that he was a mighty intercessor. He prayed “clear through.” He prayed THROUGH THE BIBLE. He taught me the secret of intercessory praying. How can I ever thank God enough for leading me to such a prayer warrior!
With this discovery, God really GAVE ME A NEW BIBLE! I had not yet learned how to make the Bible MY PRAYER BOOK. It gave me a new motivation for Bible study. I began to “dig in!” I would now search the Scriptures…meditate…mark its many promises…memorize, memorize, MEMORIZE! There are thousands of promises: a promise for every need, burden, problem, situation.
Young man, learn to plead the promises of God! These words keep ringing in my soul!
“In Him all the promises of God are yes.” (2 Corinthians 1:20, Berkeley)
D.L. Moody: “Tarry at a promise, and God will meet you there.”
PROMISES PREDICT THE ANSWERS
They are the molds into which we pour our prayers. They foretell what to expect. They shape our praying. They motivate, direct, and determine our supplication.
PROMISES LIKE THESE
Call unto me, and I will answer thee, and show thee great and mighty things, which thou knowest not. (Jeremiah 33:3); All things, whatsoever ye shall ask in prayer, believing, ye shall receive. (Matthew 21:22); If ye shall ask anything in my name, I will do it. (John 14:14).
THIS MAKES CHRISTIAN PRAYING DIFFERENT!
How? In a very real sense we pray FROM THE ANSWER…WITH THE ANSWER IN MIND…from the answer to it. This is the way of the Lord, the way of faith. He promises-we believe. We act on His Word. In this way answered prayer not only satisfies us; it delights the heart of God by fulfilling His own Word. And this is a most important thing with God.
Remember the old arithmetic book at school? It had all the answers in the back of the book! What a book! You waited, of course-first worked out the problem and then looked up the answer! You did not! You quickly looked back for the answer; you could not wait! Then you worked out the problem, WITH THE ANSWER IN MIND, TO MATCH IT.
This is how we pray. We pray from God’s promise which is His answer, and expect it to be fulfilled. Also, as with the arithmetic book, there are different answers for different problems. The Bible contains thousands of promises, and these hold the answers to our thousands of needs and prayers. They are so varied-all sizes and shapes. With them, our praying takes on another form, and moves into God’s action. HOW PHENOMENAL-THE BIBLE BECOMES MY ANSWER BOOK!
HOW DOES THIS WORK?
Find the promise that fits your need. The Bible is just the right size. It is as big as LIFE: “The Book of Life.” It answers to every situation. The promises are life-size:
There is a promise for that job you need: But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added unto you. (Matthew 6:33)
There are many promises for the guidance you are seeking: For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God. (Romans 8:14). Another is Philippians 4:6,7. Consult the Lord, not horoscopes! He will answer your “request” with “peace”-His inner green light, His go-ahead.
Do you lack joy? Read Philippians. For more “faith” read Hebrews. Are you suffering? Look up 1 and 2 Peter. Are you tempted? Dig into Matthew 4 and Luke 4. Need encouragement? 2 Corinthians is loaded with help. Need healing? James 5, and many other Scriptures, like 3 John 2. Find also the many Scriptures that spur you on to pray for, and help the poor, the needy, the fatherless, the widows: like James 1:27, Psalm 41:1, Matthew 25:35 ff.
Are you praying for revival and renewal? See 2 Corinthians 7:14, Habakkuk 3:2, Acts 2:17 ff. Revelation 1-3. And how about “prayer meetings?” Are you clear on the Scriptures here-the Bible basis for the congregational prayer meeting? THE WHOLE BOOK OF ACTS, THE “BOOK OF THE CHURCH.”
ON AND ON LIKE THIS, until we learn to do “everything by prayer and supplications with thanksgiving” and learn to “live by every Word of God”. Philippians 4:6,7; Luke 4:4). Someone has said that we should never pray without reading the Bible, and we should never read the Bible without praying.
It all adds up to this: we must learn to make the bible our prayer book!
We hope you enjoyed this inspiring article! Now that the author has your attention, do you find yourself wondering what promises are in the Bible for you to “plead”?
Listed below are a few examples of some of the Bible promises that God has made to His children. As you read these verses, think about each verse as if it were written directly to you. When you pray, acknowledge to God that His word is true, and that this truth is a promise that you “claim” as His child. You will be amazed at the joy and comfort you will have when you agree with God and His word concerning you!
- Isaiah 41:10
Fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you, Yes, I will help you, I will uphold you with My righteous right hand.
- Psalms 32:8
I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go; I will guide you with My eye.
- Hebrews 13:20-21
Now may the God of peace who brought up our Lord Jesus from the dead, that great Shepherd of the sheep, through the blood of the everlasting covenant, make you complete in every good work to do His will, working in you what is well pleasing in His sight, through Jesus Christ, to whom be glory forever and ever. Amen.
- Romans 15:13
Now may the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, that you may abound in hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.
- Psalm 23
The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want. He makes me to lie down in green pastures; He leads me beside the still waters. He restores my soul; He leads me in the paths of righteousness for His name’s sake. Yes, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil; for You are with me; Your rod and Your staff, they comfort me. You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies; You anoint my head with oil; my cup runs over. Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life; and I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever.
Unless otherwise noted, Scripture quotations are from the New King James Version,
Copyright 1979, 1980, 1982 Thomas Nelson Publishers, Inc. Used by permission of the Publishers.
All rights reserved by Armin R.Gesswein. Used by permission.
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Rev. Armin R. Gesswein
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