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General Essays > In the School of Prayer: learning the great art of kneeology


George Mueller had just finished spending some quality time with a young missionary headed for China. He was enthralled by the vision this young man had to reach an entire country for Christ. J. Hudson Taylor was going to China without any sponsorship of any kind, except God. Mueller found in Taylor a kindred spirit and his heart was stirred. If anyone understood the life of trusting God, it was George Mueller.

     After Taylor left, Mueller felt a burden upon his heart for this young missionary that he could not shake. Never once did Taylor ask Mueller for money or even talk about where the money would come from, but spoke excitedly about what God was going to do without any regard of who was going to pay the bill. Monies were needed to support the vision Taylor had for reaching the country of China. Without saying anything to anybody, Mueller begin praying and trusting God for £100,000 for the mission in China. He set a day when the monies needed to be in and told absolutely no one, On the appointed day, monies began coming in from everywhere. Even Mueller was a little shocked at the overwhelming response to his prayer. People really did not know what was behind all of this giving but were impressed by God to give. Mueller understood what was behind it. God was behind it. Before that day ended over £100,000, the amount Mueller was trusting God for, had come in.

     How do you explain that?

     Today’s giving is predicated upon an advertising campaign. Thousands of dollars are spent hiring firms specializing in fundraising campaigns. Advertisements are created to lure people into giving. Celebrities are hired to plead the cause. Strategies are used to convince people that if they give they will get something back in return. This all in a ploy to raise money, supposedly to do kingdom work.

     Years ago, I ran across something Dr. Moody Stuart set down as rules, which guided his own prayer life. I put them in the front of my Bible constantly to remind me of these things.

     1. Pray until you pray.

     2. Pray until you are conscious of being heard.

     3. Pray until you receive an answer.

     These three things will go a long way in turning our prayer life into a dynamic encounter with God that actually accomplishes great things for God. Kingdom work demands the employment of kingdom principles.

     Everybody Prays

     It is safe to say that everybody prays, even those who say they do not believe in prayer. All that needs to happen is some incident or an accident and people instinctively turned to prayer. Those who do not believe in prayer succumb to prayer in times of trouble. Remember 9/11?

     Everybody prays but few have a proper foundation upon which to build their prayer ministry. Prayer is not some magical formula that applies to both saved and unsaved alike. Some believe if you have the right formula, the right ritual or the right words that God has to answer that prayer. It does not matter if your life is contrary to the nature of God. It does not matter, or so they think, if you are not walking with God day by day. God has to answer your prayer. All you have to do is just say the magical formula “in Jesus’ name” in your prayer is on its way. Nothing could be further from the truth. There is no way anybody can back God into a corner and get Him to do something contrary to His will.

     The Privilege of Prayer

     Prayer is the privilege of the believer. No greater honor could be laid upon the heart of the Christian. The foundation of a proper prayer life is none other than the Lord Jesus Christ. Apart from Him, we have no access to God the Father.

     The tragedy of this whole situation is that all of the prayers of the unsaved are baseless and get no higher than the ceiling. In order to penetrate the heavens and ascend to the Throne of God we must have an advocate, a mediator, which is none other than Jesus Christ. “For there is one God, and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus” (1 Timothy 2:5). Only through Christ will my prayers get through to God, the Father.

     Imagine spending your whole life praying to a God that does not exist. Imagine, after a life of hardship and toil you find out you really were not praying at all but rather mumbling words and phrases that had no significance to it at all.

     The proper foundation for prayer is Jesus Christ.

     Even those with a proper foundation often misuse prayer. The apostle James pointed this out in his epistle, “Ye ask, and receive not, because ye ask amiss, that ye may consume it upon your lusts.” (James 4:3). This is praying contrary to God’s will. How much time is wasted on nonessentials and non-kingdom stuff?

     We hear of the great work the United States Navy SEALs are doing in combating terrorism around the world. God has His elite group of spiritual “Navy SEALs” waging war “against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places” (Ephesians 6:12). This work is mostly covert and assigned to the strongest of God’s saints. This is engaging the enemy on his own turf in the power and demonstration of the Holy Spirit.

     Relatively few have accepted the necessary discipline for this kind of work. Some have a reputation of being a prayer warrior, which is really an oxymoron. A prayer warrior’s work is covert spiritual work of which most people do not know is going on. These great Saints have no reputation but have found the “secret place” of spiritual potency and are being employed by the Holy Spirit to engage the enemy in spiritual warfare.

     No glamour… No celebrity status… No spotlight. Just wrestling with the powers of darkness. This is praying down the enemy and all his forces around him.

     These great saints that have populated each generation of Christendom have attended the school of prayer and learned the great art of kneeology.