Series: Nicholson Devotional Set

Petition Mission

J. B. Nicholson Jr.


Praying the Prayers of the Bible.

Prayer is heaven’s language, one of the core subjects in the Savior’s schooling.

The Divine Handbook is filled with petitions already in that Spirit-inspired language, exactly matching God’s will. But there’s something more.

We not only need the words in the Book; we need them in our hearts. Crises arise suddenly. Recall the night Jesus was on the mountain praying. His disciples were caught in the grip of a storm and were losing hope. It’s always false to assume that, if we can’t see the Lord, He doesn’t see us. Nothing is further from the truth.

“For He commands and raises the stormy wind” (Ps 107:25). When “at their wits’ end,” God’s people “cry out to the Lord in their trouble, and He brings them out of their distresses. He calms the storm” (vv 27-29).

Note: He first commands, then calms, the storm. In between we learn to cry to Him. Prayer meetings on stormy seas put us on a PETITION MISSION in a hurry.

“Prayer is the exercise of drawing on the grace of God,” explained Oswald Chambers. Andrew Murray reminded us, “Prayer is not monologue, but dialogue; God’s voice is its most essential part.” And J. Sidlow Baxter wrote, “Men may spurn our appeals, reject our message, oppose our arguments, despise our persons, but they are helpless against our prayers.”
Prayer — true, believing prayer — is an agreement between the thoughtful mind and the needy soul to seek the face of God. Seeking such help both humbles us in the awareness of our poverty and elevates us by grace to heaven’s throne room. We are not beggars seeking aid but children seeking their Father. The personal biography of prayer begins with a sinner’s cry for help and concludes with a saint’s longing for Home. In between, we have the honor of being the interface between divine provision and human need.
Prayer at the same time is a strong tower, a school room, a treasure house, and a banquet table. It interweaves the scarlet thread of supplication, the heavenly blue of intercession, and the fine gold of worship, all linked to the white linen of God’s righteousness. Our prayers may be feebly formed and weakly expressed, yet the Spirit translates them into prayers worthy of God. We may ask small things of Him, but He delights to always outgive our asking. And when His people fail to pray for themselves, Christ “always lives to make intercession for them” (Heb 7:25).
The meditations in this daily devotional were collected in the midst of a busy life. They are not intended to be the final word on the subject of prayer, but perhaps will be a little encouragement for us to come more often, linger longer, and find a place of rest in the presence of One who delights to hear our voices and meet our needs.
A big Thank You to the following friends who helped compile the memory verses by uniting to read through the whole Bible in just a few weeks: Amanda King, Caleb Washburn, Lydia Washburn, Chase Boone, Cristen Richard, Daniel Scott, David and Erin Nicholson, Devonn Armstrong, Deshundrick Burt, Joanna and Travis Robertson, Robert Fleming, Sam Hylton, Scott Degroff, Sharon Cook, and Stephen George.
Special thanks to Brian Cretney for the cover design and book layout, Eunice Free for massaging the text into proper English, my brother Bill for posting the original meditations, the kindness of my dear wife Louise in allowing me time for the project, and for the ongoing prayers of God’s people. They live what I preach!
To any errors I lay personal claim; for any blessing, glory to the Lord.
J. B. Nicholson

Prayer is a vital resource provided to believers by God so we may approach Him in a real and significant way. It is the means by which we communicate with God. The pattern of access is to the Father (He is the giver of all), in the Spirit (He helps our infirmity in prayer), and presented through the Son (because we are “accepted in the beloved” — e.g., Jn 14:14; Eph 3:14).

Our Master Teacher
When the disciples asked the Lord Jesus to teach them to pray, He was not finished teaching when He gave them the famous model prayer recorded in Matthew 6. He would teach them by example, praying all night under the stars He made, on transfiguration mountain in the antechamber of heaven, and even on the Cross in an agony so horrific that it put the sun in sackcloth and caused earth’s bosom to heave in a paroxysm of sympathizing grief.
But He would teach them also through other mortals who had learned lessons in the penultimate communication skill — one-to-one with God. The apostle Paul left on record a series of breathtaking prayers from his own life and ministry, God-sized prayers that would split the roof over our assemblies and pour down heaven’s bounty on us — if we would embrace these truths and pray them up to God (see chart of Paul's prayers).

Kinds of Prayer
▪ Intercession: requests made for others, especially those who do not or cannot pray for themselves
▪ Supplication: requests made for our own needs
▪ Imprecation: never found in the New Testament; a request calling for judgment on enemies; in some psalms
▪ Meditation: a prayerful attitude of expectancy as I consider the Word of God
▪ Confession: an expression of contrition concerning a known sin
▪ Thanksgiving: expressions of gratitude for the Lord’s blessings
▪ Adoration: ascriptions of praise for who God is in Himself

J. B. Nicholson Jr.

Jabe Nicholson, Canadian-born, makes his home in Starkville, Mississippi. He and his wife, Louise, are blessed with seven children. Having been involved in Christian publishing for a number of years, Mr. Nicholson has authored many articles and several books. He travels extensively to teach and preach the Word of God and has been editor of the Choice Gleanings Calendar and Uplook Magazine.

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