Luke 18: 1: Always pray, and never give up.
Ephesians 6:18 And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the Lord’s people.
I want to talk today again about prayer and our prayer room (our Bethel) and its activities. Check it out, especially on Thursday evenings when the whole group gets together. But in addition to that, we are open to hearing you and sharing 24/7; we are always there.
We love music in our Bethel. It is a wonderful part of the way we express love for the world and for each other. So throughout this message I will post special music to share as you read this.
Before we go into our prayer time, we normally chat a little about some idea that might seem special to us during the day or something that has happened in the world, or just something a little spiritual to actually lead into the prayer service.
Today, I want to start with an essay written by the writer James Dillet Freeman. It is very short. It touches me so, and I want to share it with you.
“A few years ago in my garden, I built two shallow lily ponds and put goldfish into them. They multiplied. But the dogs tore the liner and ruined the ponds, so in the fall, I drained them and gave away the fish.
“Later that fall, much rain fell and in winter much snow. Two or three inches of water formed in the bottom of the pools. It must have been frozen solid for at least a month, and must have frozen solid and thawed a number of times; there may even have been times when the pools were completely dry.
“When spring came, I went out one Sunday afternoon to measure the pools as I intended to rebuild them. I measured the larger pool and then went to the smaller one. It had no water in it. It had rained a week before, so how long it had been dry I do not know.
“There were a few spots of half-dry oozy muck on the bottom. On top of this muck, in the sun on its side and not breathing, lay a goldfish about three inches long. I still remember my surprise at seeing it. There, in the middle of that empty pond, shining in the sun – a little red goldfish.
“‘It has to be dead,’ I thought. But almost as I saw it, I thought something in that fish said, ‘No, no. I am alive. Pick me up.’ I ran to the house and got a glass of water. I picked up the fish and it gasped.
“I put it in the glass, and for a long time it did not move again. I could see that one fin was gone, and part of its side was damaged.
“I moved the fish from the glass into a larger bowl. For several days, it showed almost no sign of life, but little by little, its vitality came back. And in a week that little fish was lashing with life. That fish was the most alive creature I ever saw. He spent every waking moment splashing and darting and hurtling around the bowl, and trying to push through the glass. When I put him back in the lily pond, he lived in it as if he knew how dear life is, and he was not going to waste a single moment of it.
“How had he survived that winter of freezing and thawing and drying out?
It’s hard to surmise. And what if I had not gone out to the pond on that March day? A few minutes, at most, and he would have died . . . but he lived. He lived to live furiously again. You may not think so, but I will always believe I had to go out to that pond because he had to live.”
Isn’t that a lovely story? Just as James Dillet Freeman had to go out to that pond on that day (it was almost a Divine appointment for him), to allow that little fish to live, I like to think of our prayer time together as being that way. We are there so people, whatever their pain, whatever their hurt, whatever comfort or solace they need, whatever spiritual strength they need at the moment, or whatever praise they want to share can know that we are there praying so people might live or prosper or be healed.
There have been a lot of years of prayer in this ministry. People have come into the prayer room and have begun crying just because they feel that the atmosphere is so special and so sacred.
This whole ministry is founded on prayer. It is a reservoir of prayer. Today, as we pray, we will be filling that reservoir so that those who do thirst for more in their lives can come to that reservoir and tap into it.
Prayer is the battery that keeps this beacon of light shining. The light is a kind of a consciousness. Although no one can define it, I think everybody knows what it is. It is to this consciousness of prayer, this sacred trust that is this ministry, based on Jesus, in whose name we pray, today.
In praying for others, we are able to see the good that those people asking for prayer often cannot see. If you are in need of prayer, you often cannot see your own good. If you could see your good in your life, even the future good, you would not need prayer. You would say, “Well, it’s coming. It’s okay.”
If you are going to the bank to make a withdrawal, you don’t pray if you know you have a bank account. You just know you are going to make the withdrawal. If you are not quite sure if your balance is up, you might begin to pray. But when we are sure of things, we do not pray for them. We pray for those things we cannot envision.
In this ministry, we are very happy to hold your good for you. We can do it better than you can. We can see your good for you better than you can see it for yourself. But can you see that for your friend? Your friend could come up to you and say, “I really need some help; I really need to feel this,” and you can see their good for them. You can see that new car or their relationship straightening out. You can see it much better than they can.
That is the way we can do it in prayer, here. We know that God’s desire for us is absolute good; it is not conditioned on anything. When I was a kid, I thought my mother would love me more if my room were clean (and in retrospect, maybe she would have), but we are given messages that the better we act, the more lovable we are. That is just not true. We are love personified. It is up to us to accept it.
We know that God’s desire for us is absolute good. It is not conditional on our room being clean or our acting a certain way. We are always lovable and we are always loved.
If we are always loved, then God’s desire for us is absolute good. And if we know that God’s desire for us is absolute good, it is very easy for us to hold that. It does not matter what the circumstances in our life is right now. It may be in the biggest mess in the world, because God’s desire for you is good, we know good will come about. So, in prayer, we hold to the high road.
Dr. Larry Dossey, the best-selling author, wrote a marvelous book about prayer called “Healing Words.”. He says some of the things that we have always known to be true, but he puts a scientific slant on it. Intuitively, we know they are true. I think he knew it, intuitively, too, but being a physician, he wants to prove it to the world in a more scientific way.
He was trying to quantify what prayer does and he says that the more prayer people pray in a certain direction, it seems the better it is. The more intellect we bring into it, the less effective prayer is. These are the results of double-blind, scientific tests. It seems that the more people are praying for something, the better it works.
So, if you would like us to pray with you, we urge you to ask for prayer. Insert yourself in that fantastic reservoir of prayer that has been going on for a long time. Let all the consciousness of prayer pray with you.
If you have any needs today, in your mind, or if you want to write it out, do so and take advantage of this tremendous store-house of prayer.
We do not pray for God to change things. Indeed, wouldn’t that be a frivolous God if we could change God’s mind by whoever begged the loudest or made the best deal with God. “God, if you will let me win the lottery I will come here every Sunday, both services.” That is bargaining or auctioneering prayer. God is not an auctioneer.
We pray by seeing those who ask for prayer raised in prayer consciousness so they can accept that which is already theirs. It is not praying to change God; it is praying so we can change and raise ourselves up to that point to where our good comes to us.
So, if we are praying for God’s desire, there is no need to counsel, there is no need to manipulate or to say, “Well, if you do this, then this will happen.” We feel the highest form of help is prayer. We feel that the highest form of help we can offer is to pray for that person; to see them in that area with their consciousness raised to the point where they can accept the good from God that is already theirs.
So, we in our prayer ministry strive to be clear channels. If you choose to pray with us today or any day, we ask you to be a clear channel; not to go into this prayer with any agenda at all, but just to say, “God, I am a channel.”
If you are hosing your car off, you know that the first thing to be cleaned is the inside of the hose. Anything in that hose is washed clean first. So if you are praying, especially if you are praying for someone else in a selfless way, you are the first one who gets the benefit of that prayer. So, be an open channel; not a channel that directs to where the prayer should go or what should happen to the person, but just see them whole and centered and able to accept.
We pray together: “It is not I, but the Christ within who does the work.” That is why we want to be clear channels. So let’s relax now and know we ae the clear channel loving and knowing our Lord.
In the love that Jesus taught us, we remember all who ask for prayer and embrace them with the same love with which we embrace You. And we feel Your love in its fullest expression. We accept Your love in its fullest expression.
Peace fills our hearts. God’s Divine love envelops us in peace, and our life has order and harmony.
And the peace of God settles over us with a warm sweetness. The peace of God envelops us. We are safe and secure.
Go in peace; serve the Lord.