Prayer is the breath of the new nature.
It doesn’t need any artificial props and helps - anything of that kind. And you don’t have to put it on. It should be a spontaneous function of the new nature. Prayer is fellowship and conversation with God. .. So it’s up to us to take the low place, and not tell God how to run His Universe, as we’re so inclined to do, but to be occupied with Him. -Oscar M. Baker (What is Prayer?)
I guess I have wrestled with the concept of prayer all my life. From my days in religion wherein prayer had a mystical aura and prayers often resembled an Athenian calling on the gods to intervene on his behalf (or on behalf of loved ones) to times when I doubted that God would ever act in this age of grace.
I have studied, discussed and agonized over this topic for countless hours since becoming a Christian almost 25 years ago and I’m certain I’ll continue it until I fall asleep or receive my resurrection body.
What is prayer for? Why are we told so often to pray?
Prayer is intended to humble us by putting us into the place of helplessness and dependence. Prayer is meant to put us with our faces in the dust before the Mighty God. Instead of that, what do we find? We turn that place which is meant to humble us and keep us in the low place, into a Throne, from which we dictate to God what He shall do in our affairs, how He shall help to carry out our plans, what He shall do among the governments and political affairs of the world. That is the outcome of the pride of the "old man" within us. So that we, who cannot manage our own affairs, do not hesitate to take on ourselves the management of the universe, and "move the hand that moves the world."
–E.W. Bullinger (The Christian’s Greatest Need)
Before I start on what to expect of our prayers in this age, I need to start with what NOT to expect.
The great fact to be faced here is that God has never, at any time, in any manner, or in any place told you or me to walk upon water, to move a mountain, to heal the sick, to cleanse lepers, to raise the dead, to cast out demons. We cannot "act in faith" in regard to any of these things. If we try, we will be motivated by our own desires, acting in self-will. –Otis Sellers (Concerning Prayer)
And here the striking fact claims attention that while the record of the Pentecostal dispensation presents us with the practical counterpart of all such promises, the Epistles, which unfold the doctrine of the present dispensation, and describe the life which befits that doctrine the life of faith inculcate thoughts about prayer which are essentially different, and which are entirely in accord with the actual experience of spiritual Christians.
The most serious offenses in regard to prayer are those committed by Christians who claim promises that were never made to them, and those who take passages that have nothing to do with prayer and apply them to this subject. This is done habitually, and there are as a result of this misapplication many who are disillusioned and sorely distressed at the seeming failure of God to make good on what they call "the plain prayer-promises of the Bible." –Otis Sellers (Concerning Prayer)
So what is our expectation in the present Age?
By contrast we can say that God is not now demonstrating His power, majesty, justice or judgment. He is demonstrating His grace. This is His present purpose. –Otis Sellers (God’s Present Purpose)
God is working in grace
Paul refers to the unfathomable riches of God’s grace in this dispensation (Eph 3:8-9). The Holy Spirit uses the Greek word “anexichn” which gives the sense of being “untraceable” (Strong’s) and “beyond comprehension” (Thayer’s). We must see God with our spiritual eyes. We must trust him to act according to his eternal purpose. That’s not an easy thing to do, and it’s a lifelong endeavor.
The prayer of the Pentecostal age was like drawing cheques to be paid in coin over the counter. The prayer of the Christian dispensation, that is, of the life of faith, is to make known our requests to God, and to be at peace. If the matter were one within the power of a friend to deal with a friend whose wisdom we could trust and of whose love we were assured should we not be content to say, after telling him all," Now you know my feelings and my wishes, and I leave the case entirely in your hands." And this is just what God invites. –Sir Robert Anderson (The Silence of God)