----- Forwarded Message -----
From: Francis Harper
Francis Harper Message for 9/27/2019
“Lord, Teach us to Pray”
“And it came to pass, as Jesus was praying in a certain place, when he ceased, one of his disciples said unto him, Lord, teach us to pray, as John also taught his disciples. And he said unto them, when ye pray, say, our Father who art in heaven, hallowed [holy] be thy name. Thy Kingdom come [highest priority], thy will be done as in heaven, so in earth [we need to seek his will in all things]. Give us this day our daily bread [God wants us to have the necessities of life. He will answer our prayers for these things]. And forgive us our sins as we also forgive everyone who is indebted to us. [We cannot expect to be forgiven until we forgive those who have sinned against us]. Let us not be led into temptation. Deliver us from evil” (Luke 11:1-4). See also Matthew 6:10-15 IV; 6:9-13 KJV.
Peter wrote: “The Lord knoweth how to deliver the godly out of temptation” [and addictions] (2 Peter 2:9). Peter was quite likely speaking from personal experience. I too can bear witness to the truth of Peter’s statement. “For it is by grace that we are saved after all we can do” (2 Nephi 11:44).
Jesus also taught that we should be persistent in our prayers. He asked: “which of you shall have a friend, and shall go unto him at midnight, and say unto him, Friend, lend me three loaves; for a friend of mine has come to me in his journey, and I have nothing to set before him; And he from within shall answer and say, Trouble me not; the door is now shut, and my children are with me in bed; I cannot rise and give thee. I say unto you, though he will not rise and give him because [even though] he is his friend, yet because of his importunity [persistent solicitation], he will rise and give him as many as he needeth (Luke 11:6-9).
The Lord responds to an urgent prayer of faith. Evidence of this is recorded in Matthew 15:21-27: “And, behold, a woman of Canaan came out of the same coasts, and cried unto him, saying, Have mercy on me, O Lord, thou son of David; my daughter is grievously vexed with a devil. But he answered her not a word. And his disciples came and besought him, saying, Send her away; for she crieth after us. He answered, I am not sent but unto the lost sheep of the house of Israel. Then came she and worshipped him, saying, Lord, help me. But he answered and said, It is not meet [appropriate] to take the children’s bread, and cast it to dogs. And she said, Truth, Lord; yet the dogs eat the crumbs that fall from the master’s table. Then Jesus answered and said unto her, O woman, great is thy faith; be it unto thee even as thou wilt. And her daughter was made whole that very hour.” And thus we see “the prayer of faith shall save the sick” (James 5:15).
It was the faith of a Centurion, a gentile, that brought healing to his servant. Jesus said to his disciples, “Verily I say unto you, I have not found so great faith; no, not in Israel. . . . And Jesus said unto the Centurion, Go thy way, and as thou hast believed, so be it done unto thee. And his servant was healed in the self-same hour” (Matthew 8:10, 13). Faith is the key to answered prayer. “Lord, I believe; help thou mine unbelief” (Mark 9:21 IV; 9:24 KJV).
Faith is honored by the Lord wherever it is found; whether in Israel, latter day Israel, or elsewhere. As Jesus said: “And I say unto you, that many shall come from the east, and the west, and shall sit down with Abraham, and Isaac, and Jacob, in the Kingdom of heaven” (Matthew 8:11).
“Behold I say unto you, that ye must pray always, and not faint; that ye must not perform anything unto the Lord, save [until] in the first place ye shall pray unto the Father in the name of Christ, that he will consecrate thy performance . . .” (2 Nephi 14:12).
A scripture often quoted by the Restoration Saints is James 1:5-7: “If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth [condemns] not; and it shall be given him. But let him ask in faith, nothing wavering; for he that wavereth is like a wave of the sea driven with the wind and tossed. For let not that man think that he shall receive anything from the Lord.”
I have learned that Spirit directed prayers are always answered. In January of 1984, my father, Francis, Sr., and I were asked to pray for Phyllis Peterson as it is prescribed in James 5:14-15: “Is any sick among you? Let him call for the elders of the church; and let them pray over him, anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord; And the prayer of faith shall save the sick, and the Lord shall raise him up; and if he have committed sins, they shall be forgiven him.” This was only two months before my father’s death. He anointed and I offered the confirmation prayer.
Phyllis and her husband had joined the church in 1980. It had been our joy and privilege to help with the cottage meetings in their home and to see them respond fully to the message of the Restored Gospel of Jesus Christ. They asked for baptism even before the cottage meeting series was completed.
After becoming members of the church, Phyllis began experiencing pain and she consulted with the doctors. They x-rayed and found a large tumor in her uterus. It was so large that it was pressing against her internal organs, thus causing her a considerable amount of pain. Surgery was scheduled.
The Sunday before the scheduled surgery Phyllis asked for the prayers of administration that I have already mentioned. As I was offering the confirmation prayer I prayed for a healing, then I added these words, “But if surgery is necessary, direct the doctors in their work.”
As we were returning home from church, I mentioned to my wife how I had prayed for a healing when surgery was already scheduled? Perhaps I should have just prayed the doctors would be blessed in their work?
Phyllis entered the hospital at the scheduled time that week. She was taken to the operating room at the hour scheduled for her surgery, but during the final x-rays the doctors discovered the tumor was gone! The surgery would not be necessary. She was released from the hospital. Two weeks later she returned for a checkup and the doctor told her she would not need to return.
From this experience I learned that Spirit directed prayers are always answered in God’s perfect timing. John taught that our prayers should always be in agreement with God’s will. He wrote: “And this is the confidence that we have in Him, that if we ask anything according to His will, He heareth us; And if we know that He hear us, whatsoever we ask, we know that we have the petitions that we desire of Him (1 John 5:14-15). “Let us therefore come boldly [with full assurance and confident faith] unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need” (Hebrews 4:16).
The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much” (James 5:16). “Our prayers are much availing if we walk upright and just.” (“Let us pray for one another.” Hymns of the Restoration. #63).
My Love to All,
High Priest Francis Harper