Three Parts to a Prayer
This is paraphrased from the book The ABC of Prayer by Glenn Coon
This individual was once a Christian, but, as you will see lost her way as the result of a number of influences that were introduced into her life. At the age of 6 she was introduced to snuff and in her ‘teens she started to use alcohol.
Somewhere along the line she united with the church. For a short time, she gave up both the use of snuff and alcohol, and then just as suddenly she went back to her old habits. Finally, one Sabbath morning, she heard a sermon that impressed her. She felt that deep desire to cut loose from these habits and not knowing what else to do phoned the pastor. He was a young man. He told her he didn’t know what he could do for her but would talk to the church board about it and see what they might suggest. The matter was brought up at the next church board meeting and they helped her right out of the church!
Sometime later we came to that city to hold a series of meetings and she came! On Sunday night I invited anyone who wanted deliverance from any habit or problem to meet me after the service where we passed out some prayer request cards. When the pastor and I looked over the cards he told me the story I have just related and I suggested that we visit her.
When she answered the door, the first thing I did was smile and say, “Sister George, we haven’t come here to scold you.” As I looked her in the eyes, I could see the relief. She began to relax when she realised that we hadn’t come to condemn or embarrass her. However, she undoubtedly expected to be berated and scolded, for this is what had happened before. This is what those naming the name of Christ had done the last time they had called. God forgive us! Oh, that we could learn the approach Jesus used and find the success He found.
I felt impressed to continue in this vein of thought. I said, “We’ve come to help you, because we love you as a Christian. Now suppose you had been involved in an accident and had lost a lot of blood. Is it reasonable,” I said, ” that the Doctor would stand by your bedside and scold you for having lost so much blood?” She looked at me and in her timid way smiled as she shook her head, “No,” she said, “I don’t suppose he would…. he would order a transfusion.”
The moment I heard her say that, I felt impressed to give to her a spiritual transfusion and said, “Sister, that’s exactly what we have come to do!” I had never thought of the claiming of Bible promises as being a spiritual transfusion, but I felt impressed by the Holy Spirit that that’s exactly what it is! I must have looked overjoyed as I told her of the victory she would receive that very afternoon as the result of the spiritual transfusion we were about to give to her.
She had already heard the A, B, C’s of prayer in the meetings. ‘A’ stands for ‘ask’, ‘B’ for ‘believe’, and ‘C means ‘claim’ or ‘receive’, after which we give thanks. She knew that! She had related these A, B, C,s to the promises of God’s word and realised that each step was important to victory. But we reviewed it together and thrilled to realise how simple and yet how powerful it was.
Then we read several verses including Matthew 1:21 ‘He shall save His people from their sins’ and John 6:63 ‘…the words which I speak unto you, they are spirit and they are life.’
We knelt. First the pastor prayed a beautiful prayer in which he confessed that we all have sinned and come short of the mark that has been set for us. He included each of us in that prayer. But, he reminded us, provision has been made for each of us to become strong where we are weak through the power of Jesus. “Now here is a promise, Lord,” he said, “Jesus will save us from our sins. I ask You now, Lord to save Bertha George and give her victory over these habits. I believe that You are, on the basis of these promises, saving her. I claim this salvation for her and thank You that You are doing it.”
I felt the presence of the Holy Spirit as this pastor prayed. He was praying a prayer of reception – claiming – receiving what God had promised. Since God cannot lie, I knew He was going to answer this request. When he finished, it was Bertha George’s turn to pray, and this is what she said: “Dear Jesus, I don’t ask You to save me just from alcohol and tobacco, but I ask You to clean me all up, Amen.”
That was a beautiful prayer and prayed so sincerely, but she had left the B and C out altogether, so just as soon as she said, “Amen,” I continued her prayer by saying, “…and Lord, we believe You are doing it, and we want to thank You for delivering Bertha George completely.” And I got just that far and Bertha interrupted my prayer and said, “Dear Lord, You do love me, don’t You? I didn’t know that You loved me so. I’m so glad You do love me….”
This poor woman had lost all sight of the fact that God loved her. But here in the presence of the love of God that filled that room, the Lord helped us to help her see that He still loved her. In the quietness of that moment the impact of His love broke through and she realised it with clarity and power. She wept for joy as she realised the God loved her. Then she continued, “….thank You Lord, You have delivered me…”
We rose to our feet and I gripped her hand and said, “Sister George, not because you feel it, but because God has promised, do you believe that you have victory?” I wanted to have her say it again, realising that confession of belief is so important to lasting victory.
“I know God has given me victory. I know it!”
Less than a week later, in the same church, two alcoholics were present at the after-service. They had come in response to an invitation extended them by two of the members of the church. Somehow Bertha George found out about the problem these two people had, and very quietly she slipped over to where the lady sat and gently took her hand…