LORD TEACH US TO PRAY
The basic theme of these Lessons is answered prayer. That may seem on the surface to be a simple theme. But having now completed the series I am conscious once again that I have done little more than fumble with the fringes of my subject. The following pages could hardly be considered anything more than a wondering learner's introduction to the exciting matters with which they deal.
Nonetheless, I hope that you will find here much encouragement for your faith, and that the result of your studies will be a richer experience, not just of prayer itself, but of answered prayer. Not all prayer is answered. But the right kind of prayer, prayed by the right person, in the right way, and to the right God, always is!
These Lessons are not written in strict sequence, with each idea confined to one section. Instead, they are built around groups of ideas, at times repeated, then looked at from different angles and set within different emphases. The various aspects of successful prayer are so interwoven into each other that this kind of group approach to the subject is virtually inevitable.
On the matter of prayer itself: I am sadly aware that there are many marvellous passages of scripture I have not so much as mentioned, and many others that have received only passing attention. It was simply not possible for me to deal even briefly with many scriptures that actually do deserve extended comment. However, I have tried to cover at least some of the most important general principles of successful prayer, and in particular, throughout the book, to highlight those emphases that reflect a charismatic approach to prayer.
There are doubtless many exceptions, but it would be broadly true to say that charismatics do tend to have an approach to prayer rather different from that of the older evangelical school. Prayer in charismatic circles tends to be less agonising and more affirmative, less passive and more aggressive, less concerned with penitence and more eager to assert authority.
That comment is not meant to disparage the manner of prayer employed by other Christians, but simply to emphasise that we are privileged to be alive at a time when the Holy Spirit is calling the church world-wide to reach a level of achievement in prayer beyond anything it has ever known in its history. The Psalmist spoke truly when he declared that all flesh would hasten to worship the God who answers prayer (65:2). The greatest revival the world has ever seen would break loose if the widespread failure of the church to enjoy answered prayer could be turned into widespread success.
Let us then together echo the cry of the disciples, "Lord, teach us to pray!" (Lu 11:1). And let us then be ready to be taught by the Lord, and so to begin praying in a way that will release the Holy Spirit to fulfil scripture in us, and to "do exceedingly abundantly above all that we can ask or even think!" (Ep 3:20)