Foundations of a Prayer Life.
Why call it that? Why not call it Foundations of Prayer?
Because I can’t teach you how to pray. The Holy Ghost does that.
Romans 8:26 Likewise the Spirit also helpeth our infirmities: for we know not what we should pray for as we ought: but the Spirit itself maketh intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered.
YOU LEARN TO PRAY BY PRAYING.
Going to Exodus 33.
Context: Israel has miraculously left Egypt, Moses has climbed Mt. Sinai to receive the Law and the Instructions for building the Tabernacle, and Israel has sinned by making a golden calf and worshipping it. 3000 people had just died by the sword over it, and more were dying of a plague. Moses had gone to intercede for Israel, and this is where we find ourselves now:
7 And Moses took the tabernacle, and pitched it without the camp, afar off from the camp, and called it the Tabernacle of the congregation. And it came to pass, that every one which sought the Lord went out unto the tabernacle of the congregation, which was without the camp.
8 And it came to pass, when Moses went out unto the tabernacle, that all the people rose up, and stood every man at his tent door, and looked after Moses, until he was gone into the tabernacle.
9 And it came to pass, as Moses entered into the tabernacle, the cloudy pillar descended, and stood at the door of the tabernacle, and the Lord talked with Moses.
10 And all the people saw the cloudy pillar stand at the tabernacle door: and all the people rose up and worshipped, every man in his tent door.
This is NOT the Mishkan, The Tabernacle, with the specific dimensions and furniture that God specifically told them to pitch in the MIDDLE of the camp. No, this was a different tent, referred to in this scripture as OHEL MOED, Ohel = tent, Moed = meeting. Moed is the same word found when describing the festivals that God commanded the Israelites to keep: Moedim. Appointed Meeting Times. The Tabernacle, Ha Mishkan, was not complete and set up until Exodus 40. So the events of Exodus 33 happen PRE TABERNACLE, and OUTSIDE THE CAMP.
Exodus 33:11 King James Version (KJV)
11 And the Lord spake unto Moses face to face, as a man speaketh unto his friend. And he turned again into the camp: but his servant Joshua, the son of Nun, a young man, departed not out of the tabernacle.
We learn many things from this section of Exodus, but here are 3 highlights:
- The tent was OUTSIDE the congregation. It was alone and set apart.
- ANYONE, not just Moses, who wanted to inquire of the LORD about something went there. However, Moses was who God spoke to “face to face.” Intimately. God specifically mentioned to Moses that HE knew his name, and Moses acknowledged that God knew his name and that he had found grace in His sight.
- Joshua, son of Nun, spent an awful lot of time there.
Joshua: Joshua 1:5 “There shall not any man be able to stand before thee all the days of thy life: as I was with Moses, so I will be with thee: I will not fail thee, nor forsake thee.”
Joshua 10: 12 Then spake Joshua to the Lord in the day when the Lord delivered up the Amorites before the children of Israel, and he said in the sight of Israel, Sun, stand thou still upon Gibeon; and thou, Moon, in the valley of Ajalon. 13 And the sun stood still, and the moon stayed, until the people had avenged themselves upon their enemies. Is not this written in the book of Jasher? So the sun stood still in the midst of heaven, and hasted not to go down about a whole day. 14 And there was no day like that before it or after it, that the Lord hearkened unto the voice of a man: for the Lord fought for Israel.
THAT JOSHUA. One does not command the sun and moon to stand still without knowing God intimately enough to ask such a thing.
My point here tonight is INTIMACY.
Moses was intimate with God. Joshua was intimate with God. And while they were parting rivers and commanding celestial bodies, they were also humble under the hand of God, and staying in an intimate relationship with Him.
And this did not start in the congregation. This started in a lonely place, set apart from the congregation, where a man could solitarily, or in small groups, seek the face of God.
Basically, to make a long story short, Moses set up a prayer closet.
Matthew 6:6 But thou, when thou prayest, enter into thy closet, and when thou hast shut thy door, pray to thy Father which is in secret; and thy Father which seeth in secret shall reward thee openly.
So What is a prayer closet? How is it a tent of meeting?
First, What is it NOT?
Church is not your prayer closet. The Tabernacle, the MISHKAN, was not the Tent of Meeting. The Tabernacle was set up in the Center of the Camp…but Moses’ tent of meeting was outside the camp, away from everyone else.
The Prayer Closet vs Pray Continually
Pray Continually, Pray without Ceasing
Acts 6:4 4 But we will give ourselves continually to prayer, and to the ministry of the word.
1 Thessalonians 5:17 17 Pray without ceasing. in the shower, on the road, doing the dishes,
Have a running conversation with Jesus all day in your head, This is wonderful, this is encouraged, but this is NOT your prayer closet. Do you count doing the dishes together as a date with your husband? Neither does God. That doesn’t mean it’s wrong. It just means something more Intimate is desired. Also, please understand that your car is not a prayer closet. He won’t give you mind blowing revelation and mighty visions if you are flying down the highway. He’s God. He’s not going to kill your body to give you a revelation.
John 3:1 There was a man of the Pharisees, named Nicodemus, a ruler of the Jews:
2 The same came to Jesus by night, and said unto him, Rabbi, we know that thou art a teacher come from God: for no man can do these miracles that thou doest, except God be with him.
3 Jesus answered and said unto him, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.
WHY did Nicodemus go to Jesus at night? No distractions. It’s dark. Jesus the Light shines brighter in the dark. John 1:9 That was the true Light, which lighteth every man that cometh into the world.
John 8:12 12 Then spake Jesus again unto them, saying, I am the light of the world: he that followeth me shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life., John 9:5 5 As long as I am in the world, I am the light of the world. He can illuminate what needs to be seen that is hiding in the dark
Jesus wants you to separate yourself!!! From EVERYTHING!!!! Matt 10:37-38, Ex 20:3, 34:14 He is Jealous! Including: false sources of light *If you have anxiety over this, don’t let this stop you from creating a prayer closet. Sometimes it takes time to build trust. Go into a prayer closet, keep the lights on, build yourself up to turning the lights down, and finally off. Relationships take time to build!!
Food, companionship, climate control, your PHONE, put it all down, and go into the prayer closet, remove all distractions, all stimulations, and be completely alone with Jesus.
What to do in your Prayer Closet…Matt 6:6 But thou, when thou prayest, enter into thy closet, and when thou hast shut thy door, pray to thy Father which is in secret; and thy Father which seeth in secret shall reward thee openly.
Shut the Door. No distractions. Separate yourself. Pray in Secret. No audience. Just you and HIM.
if I regard iniquity in my heart, Jesus will not hear me. Psalms 66:18
step one is repent. always repent.
step two is praise. always praise.
step one and step two can be reversed in order but they must both happen. an acknowledgement of WHO Jesus IS, and Who I am Not. “I am the Lord, I know no other.” Isa 44:6, Hos 13:4
The Prayer Closet is about Intimacy.
YES YOU ARE SUPPOSED TO PRAY FOR YOURSELF IN YOUR CLOSET.
Prayer is about RELATIONSHIP, not a means of getting what you want. When you spend the time to develop the RELATIONSHIP, you will find that intercession comes easier and more effective.
Fall upon The Rock before He falls on you. Matt 21:42-44 42 Jesus saith unto them, Did ye never read in the scriptures, The stone which the builders rejected, the same is become the head of the corner: this is the Lord’s doing, and it is marvellous in our eyes?
43 Therefore say I unto you, The kingdom of God shall be taken from you, and given to a nation bringing forth the fruits thereof.
44 And whosoever shall fall on this stone shall be broken: but on whomsoever it shall fall, it will grind him to powder.
HONESTY. If you are mad at Jesus, tell Him, because He already knows. Then repent of it. It may be a perception problem. There is a big difference between what Jesus WILLS and what Jesus PERMITS. *illustration about kid with stitches* Keep in mind this is an argument you will NOT win. But if you keep bitterness in your heart, you will get nowhere. Acknowledge it, repent of it, and let Jesus free you of it. It will sting, and you will feel embarrassed, and pretty humble, but you will be free.
If you are ashamed, tell Jesus, because He already knows. WHETHER IT’S YOUR FAULT OR NOT, tell Him. Then accept His forgiveness or His ability to Forgive, whichever it is you need.
If you are bitter at someone else or a situation, tell Jesus, because He already knows. Then ask for help rooting it out. Forgive that you may be forgiven.
If you are numb, tell Jesus, because He already knows. Then ask for His love to be shed abroad in your heart through the Holy Ghost.
If you are lost and confused, tell Jesus, because He already knows. Then ask for Wisdom.
Listen. My Sheep Know me, and they Know My VOICE. John 10:27
WHO is praying in tongues? Do you know this voice?
Yes you are hearing His voice, even if you don’t understand it.
Romans 8:26 26 Likewise the Spirit also helpeth our infirmities: for we know not what we should pray for as we ought: but the Spirit itself maketh intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered.
SO PRAY FOR UNDERSTANDING.
Other ways we hear His Voice. Audibly, In your heart, In your mind, In the scriptures, from someone else later. But wait until you hear it, and wait for it to be confirmed. Don’t jump on something because it’s what you WANTED to hear. 2 Cor 13:1 This is the third time I am coming to you. In the mouth of two or three witnesses shall every word be established.
Was that me, or was that Him?
Let the Word of the Lord Cleanse you. If you keep repenting of the same thing over and over again, you are repenting but not being cleansed of it. Let God cleanse you of it. A Washing of Regeneration (Titus 3:5)
Hebrews 11:6 But without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him. Diligently believe in him? NO, diligently SEEEEEEK him.
It was said that Moses spoke with God Panim al Panim – Face to Face. They had an intimate relationship, which was called into question in Numbers 12.
4 And the Lord spake suddenly unto Moses, and unto Aaron, and unto Miriam, Come out ye three unto the tabernacle of the congregation (OHEL MOED). And they three came out. 5 And the Lord came down in the pillar of the cloud, and stood in the door of the tabernacle, and called Aaron and Miriam: and they both came forth. 6 And he said, Hear now my words: If there be a prophet among you, I the Lord will make myself known unto him in a vision, and will speak unto him in a dream. 7 My servant Moses is not so, who is faithful in all mine house. 8 With him will I speak mouth to mouth, even apparently, and not in dark speeches; and the similitude of the Lord shall he behold: wherefore then were ye not afraid to speak against my servant Moses? 9 And the anger of the Lord was kindled against them; and he departed.10 And the cloud departed from off the tabernacle; and, behold, Miriam became leprous, white as snow: and Aaron looked upon Miriam, and, behold, she was leprous.
God confirmed his relationship with Moses, that He would speak face to face with him. Do you realize that Jesus died so that he could speak face to face with you? Do you realize that you are a tabernacle and that He lives in you? You are a temple, you are a tent of meeting, you are a house of prayer. You don’t need to build anything fancy. You just need to find that special place apart from everyone else and every distraction where you can be consistently intimate with God.
At the end of that story, Moses Intercedes for Miriam, and Miriam is healed, and made clean and whole and restored after 30 days. Again and Again, Moses intercedes for the people, even when God told Moses, Get out of the way, I’m going to kill them all and start over with you, Moses STILL interceded for the people! It takes a personal intimate relationship with God to intercede on this level. So begin in the prayer closet, your own personal tent of meeting, and begin building the Foundations of a Prayer Life.