This week we’re releasing another excerpt from Samuel Brengle’s book, The Soul Winner’s Secret. In this post, Brengle discusses five keys to successful prayer that give the believer access to God’s power in the war against sin and in our efforts to share the gospel and make disciples.
1. Prayer must be definite. Once, when Jesus was leaving Jericho with his disciples and a great number of people, blind Bartimaeus sat by the wayside begging, and when he heard Jesus was passing by, he began to cry out and say: “Jesus, Thou Son of David, have mercy on me,” but that prayer was not definite—it was altogether too general.
Jesus knew what Bartimaeus wanted, but He desired Bartimaeus to state exactly what he desired, and said to him: “What wilt thou that I should do unto thee?”
Then the blind man prayed a definite prayer. “Lord, that I might receive my sight,” and the definite prayer then received a definite answer, for Jesus said unto him: “Go thy way, thy faith hath made thee whole,” and immediately he received his sight.
We should be as definite when we go to God, in asking him for what we want, as we are when we go to the store. The salesman is prepared to sell us anything and everything in the store, but he in reality sells us nothing until we tell him what we want, and so it is with our Heavenly Father.
2. Prayer must be importunate, persevering. Jesus teaches this very clearly in His parable of the importunate friend “Which of you,” said Jesus, “shall have a friend and shall go unto him at midnight and shall say unto him; ‘Friend, lend me three loaves, for a friend of mine in his journey has come to me and I have nothing to set before him,’ and he from within shall say,
‘Trouble me not, the door is now shut, and my children are with me in bed I cannot rise and give thee.’ I say unto you, though he will not rise and give him because he is his friend, yet because of his importunity, he will rise and give him as many as he needeth.”
And then Jesus adds: “Ask and it shall be given you, seek and ye shall find, knock and it shall be opened unto you. For every one that asketh receiveth, and he that seeketh findeth, and to him that knocketh it shall be opened unto him;” by which Jesus means to teach that we are to hold on in prayer till we get an answer.
If the answer is delayed, our own hearts will be searched, the purity of our motives will be proved, and our faith will be purified, tried, developed and strengthened for future and greater triumph.
3. Prayer must be for the glory of God and according to His will. If we ask things simply to gratify our own desires, God cannot grant them. James said of certain ones, “Ye ask ….. but ye ask amiss, that ye may consume it upon your lusts,” but John said, “This is the confidence that we have in Him, that, if we ask anything according to His will, He heareth us; and if we know that He heareth us… we know that we have the petitions that we desired of Him.”
Jesus said, “If ye abide in Me and My words abide in you, ye shall ask what ye will and it shall be done unto you.”
We are to ask according to the things revealed as His will in His Word, and according to the principles laid down therein; therefore we should study His Word constantly and hide it in our own hearts, and see to it that we hide ourselves in His heart and thus be filled with the truth; we shall then not ask amiss, and being filled with the Spirit, we shall not be denied.
4. Prayer must be mixed with faith—must be believing prayer. “Whatsoever ye desire when ye pray, believe that ye receive and ye shall have.” Oh, what a victory I got one morning over the devil, when he tried to shake my faith and confidence! I laid hold of that promise and wrestled through to the solid rock of believing prayer, and had one of the most glorious soul-saving days in my life! The man whose faith is constantly wavering shall receive nothing from the Lord. (James 1: 6-7)
5. Finally, prayer must be in the name of Jesus. “Whatsoever ye will ask in My name that will I do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son,” said Jesus.
“The blood, the blood is all my plea,” and with that plea the vilest sinner may come, while the child of God may approach with unabashed boldness into the presence of his Heavenly Father and claim all the resources of Heaven in his warfare against sin, and in his effort to save sinners and build up the kingdom of God.