Elements of True Prayer


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By D. L. Moody
Copyright 1894
(This is an excellent sermon by the famous preacher, D. L. Moody. I have shortened it somewhat for this article.)

If there is going to be a great, deep, thorough, lasting work it is going to be in answer to prayer.

If we ask God to do a certain work He is not going to give us chaff. If we have faith to claim, I believe He will answer our prayers. I don't believe He mocks His children. I believe He will give out of His abundance, and give us the very best He has.

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Elements of True Prayer

  1. 1. Elements of True PrayerBy D. L. MoodyCopyright 1894(This is an excellent sermon by the famous preacher, D. L. Moody. I haveshortened it somewhat for this article.)If there is going to be a great, deep, thorough, lasting work it is going to be inanswer to prayer.If we ask God to do a certain work He is not going to give us chaff. If we havefaith to claim, I believe He will answer our prayers. I dont believe He mocksHis children. I believe He will give out of His abundance, and give us the verybest He has.At different times we may ask, "What is the use of prayer, anyway?Sometimes when we pray it has seemed as if the heavens were closed over us.It seems as if God does not hear. Our words all come back to us.In answer to that, let me say, in the first place, Jesus Christ is an example forus. We profess to be His disciples. Well, remember that as a man He prayed.As God He answers prayers. The key to Christs character and life is this: Hewas a God-Man. At times He spoke as God, at times as a man. At times Heacted as a man. At times as God.But there is one thing, you will find His life all through His ministry was filledwith prayer, and there was no great event in His life that was not preceded byprayer.
  2. 2. All through His public ministry you will find Him often in prayer, and everygreat event of His life, as I said before, was preceded by prayer.  At His baptism, he came out of the water praying. The Spirit came in answer to prayer, and the voice that came from heaven saying, "This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased," was a response to prayer.  The night preceding the most marvelous sermon He preached while on earth you will notice He spent in prayer. There were about fifteen thousand sermons in that one.  When He went up into the mountain and was transfigured we find that He was praying when His visage was changed. He had on that heavenly glory because His Father was to visit Him.  In the twelfth chapter of John, He was praying again that God might glorify His name, and in Gethsemane He was praying and sweating, as it were, great drops of blood when the angel came. The angel didnt come when He was uttering some parable or preaching some sermon, but when He was praying.And if you and I are going to hear from heaven it will be when we are praying.I have often said that I would rather be able to pray like Daniel than preachlike Gabriel.What we want is men and women that know how to pray, who know how tocall fire down from heaven. Do you have that power with God in prayer?(In the next paragraph, Reverend Moody tells a story of a time when he wasasked to preach in London. He went and stayed there for ten days, and four
  3. 3. hundred people were saved. At a later time, he found out that a bedriddenwoman had been praying for God to revive the whole church. She began to praythat God would send D. L. Moody to her church.)"On Sunday morning her sister came home and said, Who do you thinkpreached for us this morning? She guessed a number of ministers and finallygave up. The sister said, It was Mr. Moody, from America. The poor womanturned pale and said, I know what that means. That is in answer to prayer.There is going to be a great work here. The servants brought up her dinner,but she said, No, no dinner for me today. I spend this day in prayer. And thatnight while I was preaching she was praying, and in answer to her prayers thepower of God just fell upon the audience."Let us pray to God to give us the spirit of prayer. Let us expect great things,and we will not be disappointed if our expectations are from God. Let ourexpectations be from Him, not from man. If you look to man you are going tobe disappointed, but God will never disappoint you. Bring your burden hereand pray it out before God, and ask Him to do great and mighty things.Elements of True PrayerChrist never taught His disciples how to preach. He taught them to pray. Weshould often ask, "Lord teach me how to pray."1. ContritionSometimes we go into the presence of God as if we are on equal footing withhim. Let us keep in mind that God id holy. The closer we get to him the morewe will think of His holiness. We will grow smaller and He larger. One of thetruest signs that a person is growing great is that God increases and the
  4. 4. person decreases. When a person talks about themselves constantly, they arenot growing in grace but in conceit.But when we get near to God, how small we look and how great God seems!When Isaiah saw God he cried, "Holy, holy, holy, Lord God of Hosts." And thenwhat did he say? That he was unclean and lived with unclean people, and hewanted the coal to be taken from off the altar and put upon his lips that hisiniquity might be purged away.Now it is one thing to hear God, but when we see Him it will be another thing,and let us keep it in mind that contrition is the first thing. You remember thatwhen Christ taught His disciples to pray, He said, "Our Father."2. ConfessionThe next thing that follows is the confession of our sins. There is no trueprayer without confession. As long as we have unconfessed sin in our soul weare not going to have power with God in prayer. He says if we regard iniquityin our hearts He will not hear us, much less answer.As long as we are living in any known sin we have no power in prayer. God isnot going to hear it. It is a prayerless prayer and an abomination to God andman.What God wants is reality. Now if there is some sin we have hidden in ourhearts that we are not willing to confess, then of course we cannot pray. Putthe question to yourself, can you pray? I dont mean to go through a form, buthave you power with God in prayer? How many times do you hear people getup in prayer meeting to pray, but there is no power in it? If a man doesnttreat his wife right he neednt pray. It is all a farce, you know. The sacrifice ofthe wicked is an abomination to God. If sacrifice is an abomination to God, do
  5. 5. you tell me that the prayers of a man or woman who is not living right is notan abomination to God?Now you must bear in mind that there must be true confession before we aregoing to have an answer to prayer. Not to confess and then go and do thesame thing over again, but just turn from the sin.My dear friend, if there is anything in your life that is wrong, make up yourmind that you are not going to let the sun go down before you confess it. Letme read you a few verses from Psalm 32. "Blessed is he whose transgressionis forgiven..." There is no confession up to this time. The Psalmist didntprosper because he would not confess. (First to the fifth verse) But nownotice, "I acknowledge my sin unto thee, and my iniquity have I not hid. I said,I will confess my transgressions unto the Lord; and you forgave the iniquity ofmy sin." See! At just the moment he confessed, the Lord forgave, andthen it was that he had power with God in prayer.3. RestitutionThe next true element to prayer is restitution. It is folly for us to ask God to dosomething for us that we can do for ourselves. If I have five dollars in mypocket that belongs to someone else and I try to cheat him out of it, can I pray?Once, a lady came to me after a meeting. She was greatly troubled, and Italked with her a number of days and found out what her trouble was. "Icannot pray. I get down onto my knees to pray, but five bottles of wine comeup before me, and I cannot see the face of the Lord." She told that when shewas a housekeeper for a wealthy gentleman in his sickness, she stole fivebottles of wine, and every time since then when she got down on her knees topray, up would come the five bottles of wine."Did you ever make restitution?"
  6. 6. "No.""Well, you must confess and make restitution to that man before you will beable to pray.""Why," she said, "have I got to confess that?""Not only confess, but you must make restitution."Oh, but she couldnt do that, though the next day she came back and said,"Now, if I give that money to the church, wont that do just as well?""Why no, the Lord does not want any stolen money. It is not yours to give.There is only one way when you have done wrong to make it right and that isto confess your sins, and, if it is in your power, make restitution."Finally she felt as if she could not carry the burden any longer. She took thetrain to the home of this mans son and told him the story of her sin andhanded him the money to pay for the wine.He said, "I dont want the money."And she said, "Well, I dont want it."Finally he said, "I will take it and put it into the treasure of the church."
  7. 7. She had gotten rid of the five bottles of wine!If there is something wrong in your life, make restitution. Those kind of thingsspeak louder than any sermons; thats the kind of Christianity that we want.Supposed it costs you something. I never saw a person who was willing todo these things for God that didnt receive a blessing. I know this to betrue. If someone has wronged you, you want them to make it right, dont you?There was a man in the south of Ireland who got right up and went out of themeeting, went clear up to the north of Ireland and paid man after manhundreds of pounds that he had cheated them out of. I believe there are agood many people who have no power at all because there is something intheir lives that doesnt please God.4. ForgivenessThe next element is forgiveness. There are more people that stumble rightthere and lose their power than anywhere else. Now, if I do not forgive just asI want God to forgive me then I cannot pray. That is the reason why a goodmany people cannot pray.A man said to me some time ago, "We have a magnificent organ, a wealthy andcultured preacher, but we have not had a person converted in our church. Canyou tell me why?”"Yes, there are half a dozen families in your church who are not on speakingterms, and the Holy Spirit cannot work."God cannot nullify himself. He says he cannot work. If there is anyone you arenot willing to forgive, dont you see that you have broken down the bridge,
  8. 8. and how are you going to get over yourself? If you have not forgivensomeone, go and make it right with him or her. Get things settled.God delights to answer prayer. But you cannot deceive yourself. If you areliving a dishonorable life God hides His face and will not hear you. Are thereany bottles of wine in the way? That is the question. May God help you toanswer it honestly.Brought to you by http://www.oldfashionedhomemaking.com