The Cycle

    What is your view of God in relation to you and prayer?  Do you see God a distant or near?  Do you see God as absent or present?  Do you see God as stingy or generous?  Do you see God as unapproachable or approachable? Do you see God as unfaithful or as being faithful?  Do you see God as being passive to our prayers or earnestly awaiting to hear from us?  Do you see God as being one who resists prayer or initiates prayer?

    For illustration, let us first look at a large clock with 12 hours represented upon it.  The cycle of prayer begins at 12 o'clock.  You will also find two axis on this cycle of prayer. The first one is the horizontal plane and the other is the vertical plane. You should note that JESUS is at the center of both axis.  On and below the horizontal plane below represents the level of human physical existence, while on and above the axis represents the spiritual level. Jesus is the mediator between the two planes.  "For there is one God, and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus; Who gave himself a ransom for all, to be testified in due time" (I Timothy 2:5-6). He, being God, also became human.  "Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus:  Who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God:  But made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men" (Philippians 2:5-7).   "And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth" (John 1:14).   "For we have not an high priest which cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities; but was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin" (Hebrews 4:15). We approach God, the Father, through Jesus and the Father provides for our needs through Jesus.

    In the 12 hour cycle, we start at 12 o'clock and end at 12 o'clock.

12 o'clock = We start with God in heaven glorified.  Non-christian philosophies begin with man, but the Bible starts with God. "In the beginning God ...." (Genesis 1:1).  Everything starts with God including prayer and fellowship and should also end with God.  He is the great "I AM".  "And God said unto Moses, I AM THAT I AM: and he said, Thus shalt thou say unto the children of Israel, I AM hath sent me unto you." (Exodus 3:14).  He is the eternal, self sufficient God, YAHWEH.  He is the creator of everything including man.  "Know ye that the LORD he is God: it is he that hath made us, and not we ourselves; we are his people, and the sheep of his pasture" (Psalm 100:3).  Furthermore, God has a purpose and plan for our lives.  "For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, saith the LORD, thoughts of peace, and not of evil, to give you an expected end" (Jeremiah 29:11).

1 o'clock = As with most any clock we know there is a "clockwise" movement.  At 1 o'clock, we see that God not only created man, but that he desires fellowship with man.  It was God who came walking in the Garden looking for Adam to have fellowship with him in the cool of the evening. "And they heard the voice of the LORD God walking in the garden in the cool of the day: and Adam and his wife hid themselves from the presence of the LORD God amongst the trees of the garden.  And the LORD God called unto Adam, and said unto him, Where art thou?" (Genesis 3:8-9). God came to find us.  "Herein is love, not that we loved God, but that he loved us, and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins" (I John 4:10). David said, "The LORD taketh pleasure in them that fear him, in those that hope in his mercy" (Psalm 147:11) John wrote, "That which we have seen and heard declare we unto you, that ye also may have fellowship with us: and truly our fellowship is with the Father, and with his Son Jesus Christ." (I John 1:3).

2 o'clock = Since God desires to have fellowship with man, He is the one who initiates prayer.  Look at the following verses.  "If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land" (II Chronicles 7:14).   "Call unto me, and I will answer thee, and shew thee great and mighty things, which thou knowest not" (Jeremiah 33:3). "Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you" (Matthew 7:7).  "Pray without ceasing" (I Thessalonians 5:17).  Now the question is, "WHO said it?"  It is God who exhorts us to pray.  He desires that we pray.  He is the initiator of prayer.  Jesus went out of his way to visit with and minister to the Samaritan woman at the well.  John said concerning Jesus, "And he must needs go through Samaria"  (John 4:4).

3 o'clock = Is the point of human need.  No miracle ever took place without first there was an existing need for one.  God in His infinite power in theory could have laid everything in our laps so that we would never have a need.  Just imagine, we wouldn't need to rest, eat, sleep, or anything else.  However, in His divine wisdom and plan God has created us so that we would have needs.  We may need physical healing, spiritual freedom, financial means to pay the bills, protection from the enemy, direction, emotional healing, or healing of relationships.  However, we should see two things here. First, we should see that there is a purpose in our having needs.  That purpose is to draw us to prayer and fellowship with God. "And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose" (Romans 8:28).   Second, we also need to see that God has already provided for our needs. God would be a abusive, cruel God to design us with needs and then not provide for those needs.  "But my God shall supply all your need according to his riches in glory by Christ Jesus" (Philippians 4:19). "He that spared not his own Son, but delivered him up for us all, how shall he not with him also freely give us all things?" (Romans 8:32).  Jesus was crucified in the flesh about 2,000 years ago. However, in another sense the event occurred with God before the foundation of the earth.  "And all that dwell upon the earth shall worship him, whose names are not written in the book of life of the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world" (Revelation 13:8). Therefore, God can answer our prayer even before we ask Him.  "And it shall come to pass, that before they call, I will answer; and while they are yet speaking, I will hear" (Isaiah 65:24).

4 o'clock = This is a time of great danger because it a time in which we are often tempted to fix the problem ourselves without seeking God's answer.  "Just let me figure this out."  Abraham and Sarah tried to fix the problem of their inability to have children through Hagar.  Saul tried to fix the problem of overcoming the enemy by offering a sacrifice in the office of a priest when he was only a king. It would be wise to remember the words of Jesus. "I am the vine, ye are the branches: He that abideth in me, and I in him, the same bringeth forth much fruit: for without me ye can do nothing" (John 15:5).  We have all tried to provide our on needs and ended up worse off than before we tried.  When this happens, we simply turn to some addiction such as alcohol, drugs, sex, work, or ministry to keep from facing the problem.  Even here, we should remember that God will provide the grace to endure the temptation.  "There hath no temptation taken you but such as is common to man: but God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear it" (I Corinthians 10:13). However, most often we fail to depend upon the grace of God and fail.

5 o'clock = This is a time of desperation.  Although this may seem to be the most difficult time on the journey.  It can also be an time of opportunity.  Jesus said, "Blessed are the poor in spirit: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven" (Matthew 5:3).  It is a time of destitution when everything falls apart that is going to fall apart.  The roof caves in, the walls fall down, and the floor falls our from under your feet.  You come to the end of your rope and their is nothing left to which to hold.   You may give up and become detached to the idea of your fixing the problem.  However, if you go a step further to depend upon God, it then becomes an opportunity to see God work miracles in your life.   Remember that we enter into the kingdom of God through the experience of tribulation.  "Confirming the souls of the disciples, and exhorting them to continue in the faith, and that we must through much tribulation enter into the kingdom of God" (Acts 14:22).  "For we have not an high priest which cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities; but was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin.  Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need" (Hebrews 4:15-16).

6 o'clock = This is a time of praying (asking) in faith.  Since God is the initiator of prayer, the Holy Spirit also works with the individual in prayer.  "Likewise the Spirit also helpeth our infirmities: for we know not what we should pray for as we ought: but the Spirit itself maketh intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered" (Romans 8:26).  The Holy Spirit reveals the promises of God and our inheritance in Christ.   "Howbeit when he, the Spirit of truth, is come, he will guide you into all truth: for he shall not speak of himself; but whatsoever he shall hear, that shall he speak: and he will shew you things to come.  He shall glorify me: for he shall receive of mine, and shall shew it unto you. All things that the Father hath are mine: therefore said I, that he shall take of mine, and shall shew it unto you" (John 16:13-15).   "For all the promises of God in him are yea, and in him Amen, unto the glory of God by us" (II Corinthians 1:20).  Again, Jesus is the means of receiving the promises.  "He that spared not his own Son, but delivered him up for us all, how shall he not with him also freely give us all things?"  (Romans 8:32).  Therefore we should pray to the Father in the name of Jesus. Using the name of Jesus is like using the power of attorney, whose use is limited to the directives of the will.  The will is the Word of God.  Jesus said, "And whatsoever ye shall ask in my name, that will I do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son.  If ye shall ask any thing in my name, I will do it" (John 14:13-14).   "And this is the confidence that we have in him, that, if we ask any thing 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 desired of him" (I John 5:14-15).  However, we must also ask in faith!  "But without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him" (Hebrews 11:6). "And all things, whatsoever ye shall ask in prayer, believing, ye shall receive" (Matthew 21:22).  Again this is not a magic enchantment, but a prayer based upon the Word and directed by the Holy Spirit in faith.

7 o'clock = This is a time of the testing of your faith.  Now that you have prayed, there often is a trial of your faith.  "That the trial of your faith, being much more precious than of gold that perisheth, though it be tried with fire, might be found unto praise and honour and glory at the appearing of Jesus Christ" (I Peter 1:7).  It is not uncommon that God will allow the enemy to test our faith. The enemy will often work through those people really close to us.  Someone may say, "Well, you don't really believe that will answer that prayer, do you?"  The deceiver may even use someone who is in authority or someone who for which we have a high respect.  Remember the young man of God who listened to the lie of the older prophet and became disobedient to God.  The young man was killed by a lion. (I Kings 13:1-34). However, we must remember that it is a more a trial of our faith than a trial of us.  The Believers' trial took place when Jesus took our sins upon himself on the cross.  "Seeing then that we have a great high priest, that is passed into the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold fast our profession" (Hebrews 4:14).  "Let us hold fast the profession of our faith without wavering; (for he is faithful that promised;)" (Hebrews 10:23).

8 o'clock = This is time of waiting upon God.  This does not mean that we sit with our hands in our laps and our legs crossed.  The basic meaning of waiting upon God in Scripture is to bind ourselves close to God while anticipating God's work in our lives.  "But they that wait upon the LORD shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint" (Isaiah 40:31). Another meaning is to adhere to as one adheres a note on a bulletin board with a thumb tact.  "Our soul waiteth for the LORD: he is our help and our shield" (Psalm 33:20).  David also declared, "But it is good for me to draw near to God: I have put my trust in the Lord GOD, that I may declare all thy works" (Psalm 73:28).  Our temptation is to draw back from God when we don't immediately see the answer to our prayers, but God would have us draw near to Him. This is a time of redirecting our focus from need and even from the answer to the need to the Person who provides the answer to the need. It may include a time of fasting and getting alone with God.  It is a time of communion with God. It is a time of self examination. "Sow to yourselves in righteousness, reap in mercy; break up your fallow ground: for it is time to seek the LORD, till he come and rain righteousness upon you" (Hosea 10:12).  It is a time to remove every hindrance to our faith. "Wherefore seeing we also are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us,   Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God" (Hebrews 12:1-2).  It is not only a time a searching, but a time of listening to God. "But if from thence thou shalt seek the LORD thy God, thou shalt find him, if thou seek him with all thy heart and with all thy soul" (Deuteronomy 4:29).

9 o'clock = It is a time of receiving with joy the answer to our prayers.  Remember, that God desires to give good gifts to His children.  "For the LORD God is a sun and shield: the LORD will give grace and glory: no good thing will he withhold from them that walk uprightly" (Psalm 84:11).  "And in that day ye shall ask me nothing. Verily, verily, I say unto you, Whatsoever ye shall ask the Father in my name, he will give it you.  Hitherto have ye asked nothing in my name: ask, and ye shall receive, that your joy may be full" (John 16:23-24).  "And my soul shall be joyful in the LORD: it shall rejoice in his salvation" (Psalm 35:9).  "Let them shout for joy, and be glad, that favour my righteous cause: yea, let them say continually, Let the LORD be magnified, which hath pleasure in the prosperity of his servant" (Psalm 35:37).  "Therefore they shall come and sing in the height of Zion, and shall flow together to the goodness of the LORD, for wheat, and for wine, and for oil, and for the young of the flock and of the herd: and their soul shall be as a watered garden; and they shall not sorrow any more at all. Then shall the virgin rejoice in the dance, both young men and old together: for I will turn their mourning into joy, and will comfort them, and make them rejoice from their sorrow" Jeremiah 31:12-13).

10 o'clock = This should be a time of giving thanks. "Be careful for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God. And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus" (Philippians 4:6-7).  It is God's will to give Him thanks.  "In every thing give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you" (I Thessalonians 5:18).  We are to give God thanks for all things.  "Giving thanks always for all things unto God and the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ" (Ephesians 5:20).  This is a major move into the spiritual realm.  "Enter into his gates with thanksgiving, and into his courts with praise: be thankful unto him, and bless his name.   For the LORD is good; his mercy is everlasting; and his truth endureth to all generations" (Psalm 100:4-5). It is a time of worship.  When Jesus healed the ten lepers, only one returned to give thanks and worshipping him. "And one of them, when he saw that he was healed, turned back, and with a loud voice glorified God,  And fell down on his face at his feet, giving him thanks: and he was a Samaritan" Luke 17:15-16). This is a time of moving from the natural to the spiritual realm.

11 o'clock = This should be a time of praise. Thanksgiving should lead one to praise. Praise is a step beyond just thanking God for answered prayer. Praise is giving adoration to God for His nature and character. "Praise ye the LORD. Praise the LORD, O my soul. While I live will I praise the LORD: I will sing praises unto my God while I have any being" (Psalm 146:1-2). To Praise the Lord, we must attribute all worth unto Him.  "Praise ye the LORD. Praise ye the name of the LORD; praise him, O ye servants of the LORD" (Psalm 35:1).  David praised the LORD seven times a day. "Seven times a day do I praise thee because of thy righteous judgments" (Psalm 119:164). We often take a coffee or Coke break, but why not take a praise break?  "Let every thing that hath breath praise the LORD. Praise ye the LORD" (Psalm 150:6).  

12 o'clock = This is a time of fellowshipping and glorifying God. The cycle is now complete.   "For of him, and through him, and to him, are all things: to whom be glory for ever. Amen" (Romans 11:36).  Look at the use of the prepositional phases: of him, through him, and to him.  Prayer starts with God and should end with Him.   "I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the ending, saith the Lord, which is, and which was, and which is to come, the Almighty" (Revelation 1:8).  God is the beginning of the alphabet and the ending of it as well. "Whoso offereth praise glorifieth me: and to him that ordereth his conversation aright will I shew the salvation of God" (Psalm 50:23). Remember the final destination as Believers is to be in Heaven worshipping and glorifying God.  "Thou art worthy, O Lord, to receive glory and honour and power: for thou hast created all things, and for thy pleasure they are and were created" (Revelation 4:11).

    So what is next?  In this life, we are like the clock on the wall, we start over.  We may reach a spiritual level, but there are other levels to obtain. Paul said, "Not as though I had already attained, either were already perfect: but I follow after, if that I may apprehend that for which also I am apprehended of Christ Jesus" (Philippians 3:12). It is simply an opportunity for further growth in the spirit and closer fellowship with God.  "But we all, with open face beholding as in a glass the glory of the Lord, are changed into the same image from glory to glory, even as by the Spirit of the Lord" (II Corinthians 3:18).

    It is not so important as to where you are in the cycle as it is that God wants you to keep on moving toward fellowshipping with, worshipping, and glorifying Him.   You also may be at one spiritual level in one area of your life and at a different level in another area of your life.  You don't have to stay where you are. Praise the LORD!