Prayer, real prayer, intelligent prayer, it is this that routs Satan’s demons, for it routs their chief. David killed the lion and bear in the secret forests before he faced the giant in the open. These disciples were facing the giant in the open without the discipline in secret. “This kind can be compelled to come out by nothing but by prayer,” means this:—“this kind comes out, and must come out, before the man who prays.” This thing which Jesus calls prayer casts out demons. Would that we knew better by experience what He meant by prayer. It exerts a positive influence upon the hosts of evil spirits. They fear it. They fear the man who becomes skilled in its use.
There are yet many other passages in this Bible fully as explicit as these, and which give on the very surface just such plain teaching as these. The very language of scripture throughout is full of this truth. But these four great instances are quite sufficient to make the present point clear and plain. This great renegade prince is an actual active factor in the lives of men. He believes in the potency of prayer. He fears it. He can hinder its results for a while. He does his best to hinder it, and to hinder as long as possible.
Prayer overcomes him. It defeats his plans and himself. He cannot successfully stand before it. He trembles when some man of simple faith in God prays. Prayer is insistence upon God’s will being done. It needs for its practice a man in sympathetic touch with God. Its basis is Jesus’ victory. It overcomes the opposing will of the great traitor-leader.
III. How to Pray
1. The “How” of Relationship. 2. The “How” of Method. 3. The Listening Side of Prayer. 4. Something about God’s Will in Connection with Prayer. 5. May We Pray with Assurance for the Conversion of Our Loved Ones?
The “How” of Relationship
If I had an ambition to be the ambassador of this country to our mother-country, there would be two essential things involved. The first and great essential would be to receive the appointment. I would need to come into certain relation with our president, to possess certain qualifications considered essential by him, and to secure from his hand the appointment, and the official credentials of my appointment. That would establish my relationship to the foreign court as the representative of my own country, and my right to transact business in her name.