An Alphabetical Analysis
Volume 10 - Practical Truth - Page 56 of 277
At this juncture we may well pause to ask ourselves, What is the
purpose behind prayer?  Is it a means of extracting something from God that
He would otherwise be unwilling to give?  Or is it its effect upon us in some
As we survey the evangelical world, we find a multitude of conceptions
existing among believers.  Some talk of 'prayer warfare'.  Are we justified
in regarding prayer as an offensive weapon?  The answer to these and all
other spiritual problems is only found within the range of inspired
Scripture.  Ephesians 6 is the passage generally alluded to in connection
with this idea.  Here we have a description of the 'whole armour (panoply) of
God' which is for the believer with a view to the 'evil day' (Eph. 6:13).  A
careful reading will show that this armour is sixfold, five pieces being for
the defensive, and only one offensive weapon and that is not prayer, but the
Word of God, the Sword of the Spirit.  Prayer does not occur at all in the
symbolism of the armour, but follows on in verse 18.  We do not deny that the
believer who has taken to himself the whole armour of God, will also use to
the utmost the privilege of prayer, but this does not of necessity turn it
into an offensive weapon.  Rather is it more protective than offensive.
Let us consider what prayer does for the believer and we may then
appreciate something more of its supreme importance in our daily lives.  We
may remind ourselves to begin with, that there is no such thing as unanswered
prayer.  If we have waited upon the Lord for a certain thing, and in His
wisdom it is not granted, the answer is 'No', and 'No' is as much an answer
from Him as 'Yes'.  Paul himself learnt this lesson.  Three times he
earnestly prayed and asked the Lord to remove his 'thorn in the flesh' (2
Cor. 12:8).  The Divine answer was 'No' but the glorious experience of the
added grace and strength imparted to him more than compensated for the
negative answer to his prayer.  Wise are we if we can take the Lord's
refusals without being offended, and have a complete trust in His matchless
wisdom and love for each one of us, a love that will not allow Him to grant
us things that would be to our harm.
True prayer gives access to the Father
To appreciate this properly, we should put ourselves back into Old
Testament times.  Do we realize that, prior to the all -sufficient Offering
on Calvary, no believer ever enjoyed access into God's presence?  Jehovah
surrounded Himself with barriers of sacrifice and priesthood to impress upon
His people the fact that sin separates Himself eternally from fallen man and
until the One Offering for sin had been made and sin put away righteously,
there could be no possibility of access in the fullest sense to Himself.  Let
us consider the following verses:
'The Holy Ghost this signifying, that the way into the holiest of all
was not yet made manifest, while as the first tabernacle was yet
standing' (Heb. 9:8).
'Having therefore, brethren, boldness to enter into the holiest by the
blood of Jesus' (Heb. 10:19).
We may point out, in passing, that the right to enter into the holiest
of all did not confer upon believers of the Acts period the tremendous
privilege of dwelling there for ever.  To enter there by prayer is one thing,
but to be seated there in Christ Jesus, to have one's permanent homeland