They Prayed and I was Healed – The ABC’s of prayer

They Prayed and I was Healed – The ABC’s of prayer

“We tend to use prayer as a last resort, but God wants it to be our first line of defence.” Oswald Chambers

As a regular church going family we prayed. Prayer has always been in my life, in my family life! We were taught that we should pray, and we prayed together in times of need. My family prayed for me as when, at the young age of 9 or 10 years, I had spinal meningitis and it caused swelling of the fluid and membranes around the brain and spinal cord. It was so serious and my family doctor signed me into the hospital because the hospital administration wouldn’t they and feared I was too severe to treat. They prayed and I was healed.

Another impactful moment of prayer was when I came into contact with a small group while posted in Germany. I went to church with them and they invited me into their home meeting. Knowing that I had said I had a problem, they asked me if they could pray?  In my struggling with addiction to drugs and alcohol, I had tried seeking help by going to AA, and I tried running away from my addictions and problems. That is how I ended up in the Canadian military then in Germany. Here I was surrounded with loving Christians who knew where their help came from! Their prayers and my heart’s cry were answered as I became a new creation in Christ. As we prayed I was born again. Their prayers closed when I yelled, ‘I  love Jesus Christ!’

That day my life changed; I was transformed into a baby, a babe in Christ.

I personally did not know how to pray. Several years later in a small group a challenge to pray and read scripture was again given. The context was that a survey had been sent out to all Pentecostal Assemblies of Canada members (PAOC), Pastors and church members included. Although I do not have their questions, they went something like this:

Do you have a regular prayer time?
How often do you pray?
When do you pray?

They asked similar questions regarding Bible reading.

Many in the PAOC had actually fallen short in daily prayers and Bible reading.  My Pastor at that time attended our small group and lamented that he had failed in both these areas as did I. Imagine a Bible believing, spirit filled fellowship, most of whom had little time for prayer or Bible reading.

At that time, a trend in many churches was to encourage people to pray for an hour, using Jesus’ own words in the garden of Gethsemane, “Couldn’t you watch with me even one hour? Keep watch and pray, so that you will not give in to temptation. For the spirit is willing, but the body is weak!” Matthew 26:40. We realized that committing to an hour a day would not be attainable for us all.  In the end we did agree to set a small but attainable goal. Five minutes, everyone could handle five minutes.  Five minutes every day to read scripture! This was an attainable goal for all. We all desired to draw nearer to God with our scripture reading and prayer times. As my journey started, I needed instruction.

Therefore, I turned to Jesus who taught us the basics, the ABCs of prayer.

Jesus taught ​us to pray! Jesus had a habit of praying. The Gospel of Mark 1:35 indicates a daily practice, “Before daybreak the next morning, Jesus got up and went out to an isolated place to pray.” In Luke 5:16 “Jesus often withdrew to the wilderness for prayer.” It was His example of praying often which indicates “when we should pray!” We should pray often! Jesus did it daily and privately as it was just mentioned that Jesus went to an isolated place. But He also prayed publicly.

Luke informs us that one of His disciples came to Him and said, “Lord, teach us to pray, just as John taught his disciples.” Jesus gave us the “Our Father” to teach how to pray, it was His teaching, that is why it is also called, “The Lord’s prayer.”

Matthew and Luke ​both share with us Jesus’ instructions on prayer​ through the Our Father at the centre.

In Matthew, Jesus says to not pray like the hypocrites. Why? Because hypocrites like to be seen by men. When we pray our reward comes from God sees and hear us, whereas the hypocrites receive their reward from being seen and heard by men who are unable to answer their prayers. Jesus continued “When you pray, don’t babble on and on as the Gentiles do. They think their prayers are answered merely by repeating their words again and again.” Was He saying was that I should not repeat prayers. No! He was warning us not to pray meaningless repetition. Prayers which are full of empty words that do not come from your heart.

Jesus told us to find a quiet place, a place with no distractions. Shut the TV off, put down the cell phone. Go and find a quiet place. Jesus said it this way “When you pray, go away by yourself, shut the door behind you, and pray to your Father in private. Then your Father, who sees everything, will reward you.” Be specific and truthful, quiet your heart. Why? Because a troubled heart and an anxious heart will not hear ​a still small voice. The cares of this life will choke out Jesus’ voice!

Jesus continues, with a perfect prayer model: “Don’t be like them, for your Father knows exactly what you need even before you ask Him! Pray like this:

Our Father in heaven,
may your name be kept holy.
May your Kingdom come soon.
May your will be done on earth,
as it is in heaven.
Give us today the food we need,
and forgive us our sins,
as we have forgiven those who sin against us.
And don’t let us yield to temptation,
but rescue us from the evil one.

Several years ago, I was given the Lord’s prayer as a guide, from that I was able to grow in my prayer life
by using each line of the Lord’s Prayer as a sort of heading or title which would guide me as I prayed:

Our Father in heaven, may your name be kept holy. The term “Abba Father ” recognize​s that He is a loving Father unlike any earthly father. So full of love for us! Starting like this gives Him glory and honour. All the  names of God are there in the guide, here are a several:

Yahweh (Lord, Jehovah) My Lord, my Saviour and My God!
Jehovah Nissi (The Lord My Banner) Being ex- military; I can look to Him! He will answer!
Jehovah-Raah (The Lord My Shepherd) Thank you Lord that you lead me!
Jehovah Rapha (The Lord That Heals) Thank you Lord that you are my healer!
Jehovah Shammah (The Lord Is There) Thank you Lord for your presence!
Jehovah Tsidkenu (The Lord Our Righteousness) Thank you Lord that you are my righteousness!
Jehovah Mekoddishkem (The Lord Who Sanctifies You) Thank you Lord that you set me apart for you!
Jehovah Jireh (The Lord Will Provide) Thank you for always providing for me!
Jehovah Shalom (The Lord Is Peace) Thank you for leading me beside still waters and I can rest in you!
Jehovah Sabaoth (The Lord of Hosts) Thank you for giving your angels charge over me!
El Olam (The Everlasting God) Lord, thank you, that you never change, you love me with an everlasting love!

May your Kingdom come soon. May your will be done on earth, as it is in heaven. God wants us to realize His will. His will is being done in Heaven, therefore if it is in heaven we can pray expecting God to answer according to His will. In heaven there is no sickness, we can ask for healing! Everyone in Heaven has a love for the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit therefore, we can pray for revival and awakening for yourself and your family members, your church (Pastor, leadership, faithfulness of people) Your nation, (city, province, country, political and spiritual leaders, awakening in home, schools and churches).

Give us today the food we need. (Our daily bread) You can ask for your daily needs to be met. James the Apostle writes, “you don’t have what you want because you don’t ask God for it”. (James 4:2b). Believe God’s promises to give you good gifts.

And forgive us our sins, as we have forgiven those who sin against us.  Notice this is a condition: we are asking God to forgive us, as we forgive others, and if we do not forgive, we are not forgiven. We are commanded to forgive those who offend us, hurt us, yes even those who sin against us! Matthew 6:14-15 ends with Jesus stressing forgiveness. “If you forgive those who sin against you, your heavenly Father will forgive you. But if you refuse to forgive others, your Father will not forgive your sins.”

And don’t let us yield to temptation, but rescue us from the evil one. Temptations are everywhere. Jesus taught us to use His word, as we are doing here by using The Our Father. Jesus used the Word of God to resist the devil’s temptations when the Holy Spirit led Him into the wilderness (Matthew 4:1-11).

Jesus’ teaching on prayer did not stop at the “Lord’s prayer”. As His Sermon on the mount continued so did Jesus’ teaching on prayer.

Jesus taught us to be persistent… keep knocking, keep asking! He said “Keep on asking, and you will receive what you ask for. Keep on seeking, and you will find. Keep on knocking, and the door will be opened to you.” (Matt 7:7, Luke 11:5-7)

To summarize: the Lord has taught me to pray, find a quiet place, put the cell phone down, get alone with God, close the door and practice the ABCs of prayer.

A – Adoration
Praise His Holy name, give Him honour and glory!

B – Begin
Begin by agreeing with God that His will be done; no sickness or needs are in heaven, may that be
done on earth!

C – Confession
Confess your sins and ask for forgiveness, as you have forgiven others!
Maybe you find praying hard work? I certainly did, yet the Lord taught me when to pray, that is daily, I
accepted the challenge of five minutes. I challenge you to take 5-10 minutes a day in prayer and
scripture reading. Why scripture and prayer? Because as we learn to hear God’s voice scripture helps us
by jumping off the pages to bite our hearts. In this way prayer turns from a boring monolog to dialog
with the King of Heaven and earth. It will change your life with an infusion of purpose, power and peace. It
did for me!

My prayer for you is that the Holy Spirit leads you into a deeper prayer life. It may feel like a discipline at first, but it will turn from a form of discipline into a delight.

Peter Cousineau

Peter  lives in Gatineau Quebec with his wife Joanne. He is retired from the Canadian military, now serving God’s children, in God’s spiritual army.  His heart’s desire is to see God’s children experience His love through the manifest power of His Holy Spirit in their lives. He and Joanne Joanne have three wonderful married children Melissa (Chris Koebel), Faith (David Woods) and Jonathan (Jamie Durham) and three delightful grandchildren; Caitlin, Theo,  & Franklin.