On Intercessory Prayer by Rev. Andrew Murray

“And he said unto them, Which of you 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 is come unto me from a journey, and I have nothing to set before him; and he from within shall answer and say, Trouble me not: 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 arise and give him as many as he needeth.” — Luke 11:5-8

“I have set watchmen upon thy walls, O Jerusalem, which shall never hold their peace day nor night: ye that are the Lord’s remembrances, keep not silence, and give Him no rest.”— Isaiah 62: 6, 7.

We have seen in our previous chapter what power prayer has. It is the one power on earth that commands the power of heaven. The story of the early days of the Church is God’s great object-lesson, to teach His Church what prayer can do, how it alone, but it most surely, can draw down the treasures and powers of heaven into the life of earth.

Just remember the lessons we learnt of how prayer is at once indispensable and irresistible. Did we not see how unknown and untold power and blessing is stored up for us in heaven?—how that power will make us a blessing to men, and fit us to do any work or face any danger? how it is to be sought in prayer continually and persistently? how they who have the heavenly power can pray it down upon others? how in all the intercourse of ministers and people, in all the ministrations of Christ’s Church, it is the one secret of success? how it can defy all the power of the world, and fit men to conquer that world for Christ? It is the power of the heavenly life, the power of God’s own Spirit, the power of Omnipotence, that waits for prayer to bring it down.

In all this prayer there was little thought of personal need or happiness. It was the desire to witness for Christ and bring Him and His salvation to others, it was the thought of God’s kingdom and glory, that possessed these disciples. If we would be delivered from the sin of restraining prayer, we must enlarge our hearts for the work of intercession. The attempt to pray constantly for ourselves must be a failure; it is in intercession for others that our faith and love and perseverance will be aroused, and that power of the Spirit be found which can fit us for saving men. We are asking how we may become more faithful and successful in prayer; let us see how the Master teaches us, in the parable of the Friend at Midnight, that intercession for the needy calls forth the highest exercise of our power of believing and prevailing prayer. Intercession is the most perfect form of prayer: it is the prayer Christ ever liveth to pray on His throne. Let us learn what the elements of true intercession are.

Murray, Andrew. The Ministry of Intercession A Plea for More Prayer (pp. 13-14). Kindle Edition.

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Lord, Teach us to Pray – by Rev. Andrew Murray

‘Lord, teach us to pray.’ Yes, we feel the need now of being taught to pray. At first there is no work appears so simple; later on, none that is more difficult; and the confession is forced from us: We know not how to pray as we ought. It is true we have God’s Word, with its clear and sure promises; but sin has so darkened our mind, that we know not always how to apply the Word. In spiritual things we do not always seek the most needful things, or fail in praying according to the law of the sanctuary. In temporal things we are still less able to avail ourselves of the wonderful liberty our Father has given us to ask what we need. And even when we know what to ask, how much there is still needed to make prayer acceptable. It must be to the glory of God, in full surrender to His will, in full assurance of faith, in the name of Jesus, and with a perseverance that, if need be, refuses to be denied. All this must be learned. It can only be learned in the school of much prayer, for practice makes perfect. Amid the painful consciousness of ignorance and unworthiness, in the struggle between believing and doubting, the heavenly art of effectual prayer is learnt. Because, even when we do not remember it, there is One, the Beginner and Finisher of faith and prayer, who watches over our praying, and sees to it that in all who trust Him for it their education in the school of prayer shall be carried on to perfection. Let but the deep undertone of all our prayer be the teachableness that comes from a sense of ignorance, and from faith in Him as a perfect teacher, and we may be sure we shall be taught, we shall learn to pray in power. Yes, we may depend upon it, He teaches to pray.

‘Lord, teach us to pray.’ None can teach like Jesus, none but Jesus; therefore we call on Him, ‘Lord, teach us to pray.’ A pupil needs a teacher, who knows his work, who has the gift of teaching, who in patience and love will descend to the pupil’s needs. Blessed be God! Jesus is all this and much more. He knows what prayer is. It is Jesus, praying Himself, who teaches to pray. He knows what prayer is. He learned it amid the trials and tears of His earthly life. In heaven it is still His beloved work: His life there is prayer. Nothing delights Him more than to find those whom He can take with Him into the Father’s presence, whom He can clothe with power to pray down God’s blessing on those around them, whom He can train to be His fellow-workers in the intercession by which the kingdom is to be revealed on earth. He knows how to teach. Now by the urgency of felt need, then by the confidence with which joy inspires. Here by the teaching of the Word, there by the testimony of another believer who knows what it is to have prayer heard. By His Holy Spirit, He has access to our heart, and teaches us to pray by showing us the sin that hinders the prayer, or giving us the assurance that we please God. He teaches, by giving not only thoughts of what to ask or how to ask, but by breathing within us the very spirit of prayer, by living within us as the Great Intercessor. We may indeed and most joyfully say, ‘Who teacheth like Him?’ Jesus never taught His disciples how to preach, only how to pray. He did not speak much of what was needed to preach well, but much of praying well. To know how to speak to God is more than knowing how to speak to man. Not power with men, but power with God is the first thing. Jesus loves to teach us how to pray.

Lord, Teach Us To Pray (p. 5). Kindle Edition. Rev. Andrew Murray 1896