Three Foundational Truths about Prayer

Let’s review a post I made a few weeks ago; First, prayer unleashes the power of God into a given circumstance. Second, prayer is an invitation to experience the boundlessness of God. Third, prayer takes the battle out of our hands and places it into God’s hands. Fourth, prayer can be launched in an instant, at the speed of thought.

In this post I will address three foundational truths of prayer and the repercussions of those truths. First, no Christ-follower’s spiritual life will rise to stay above the level of their personal prayer life. Second, no church’s corporate prayer life will rise to stay above its members’ personal prayer lives. Third, no church’s effectiveness will rise to stay above its corporate prayer life.

Effective prayer is different that merely praying at meals, praying for the sick, praying for God’s blessings, or praying for our needs and wants. Effective prayer is really spiritual warfare. Prayer makes the difference in the battle. In Exodus 17:8-16 there is a story of Joshua fighting the Amalekite army while Moses was praying with Aaron and Hur at the top of a hill over-looking the battle. When Moses held up his hands in prayer Joshua and the Israelites were winning. When Moses grew tired and dropped his hands the Amalekites were winning. So Aaron and Hur held up Moses’ arms so He could pray with his hands lifted.

In verse 13 it says, “So Joshua overcame the Amalekite army with the sword”. The word translated “sword: is the Hebrew word “peh”. It is can be translated “testimony, mouth, speech, command, edge (as in edge of a sword)”. Of the five ways “peh” can be translated, four of them have to do with speaking. Joshua did not win because of his men’s skill with their sword. He won because of the prayer of an old man standing on the hillside over-looking the battle. In Revelation 12:11, it says, “They overcame him (the enemy) by the blood of the Lamb (Jesus) and by the word of their testimony.”

I believe prayer changes things. Every documented revival or spiritual awakening in history had its origin in prayer. Satan uses laziness, complacency, apathy, a lack of discipline, etc to cause the church to lay aside as a weapon. Prayer is a gift from God without substitute. It is the key to the unlimited resources of God. Satan does mind what we do as long as leave the power of Almighty God out of it. Prayer in the hand of faith is the key to the immeasurable, unimaginable resources of God. Like Judson Cornwall stated, “Empty hearts, prayer-less spirits, tired bodies, undisciplined minds, unopened Bibles, and careless attitudes have ruined more worship services then all the demonic activity of Hell.

What is Prayer?

Prayer simply means communication with God. Communication with God is like communicating with a person, is a two-way process. Prayer changes things. Every documented revival in history had its origin in prayer. Satan uses laziness, complacency, apathy, a lack of discipline, etc….to cause the church to lay aside as a weapon. Prayer is a gift from God without substitute. It is the key to the unlimited resources of God. Satan does mind what we do as long as leave the power of Almighty God out of it. Prayer in the hand of faith, is the key to the immeasurable, unimaginable resources of God.

Prayer unleashes the power of God into a given circumstance. God could, but rarely forces Himself into your world. He desires for you to invite Him into your life and circumstances. In John 16:24 Jesus said, “Until now you have not asked anything in my name. Ask and you will receive, and your joy will be made complete.” God knows your needs, your thoughts, your intentions, your motives, God knows everything about you, yet He still desires to be invited to participate with you. By communicating with Him (prayer) we can simply invite Him to work in, around, and through us so He can make a difference in, through, and around us. Ephesians 3:20 says “God can do immeasurably more than all we can ask or imagine, according to His power that is at work within us”.

Prayer is an invitation to experience the boundlessness of God. We serve an unlimited God who is not bound by anything except His own will and purposes. By inviting us to talk to Him (prayer), God is inviting us to partner with Him in His Kingdom work. As we see God answer prayer, meet needs, restore relationships, set people free from addictions, and bondages of all kinds, we begin to realize that there truly is nothing that is impossible to God.

Prayer takes the battle out of our hands and places it into God’s hands. In Zechariah 4:6, God said. “It will not be by might, nor power, but by My Spirit”. The things God desires to accomplish will not be accomplished by our might, our strength, our wealth, our experience, our wisdom, nor will it be accomplished by our power, our work ethic, our endurance, our fitness, our energy. The God-sized things God wants to do will only be accomplished by His Spirit!”. “God can immeasurably more than all we can ask or imagine, according to His power that is at work within us.

Prayer can be launched in an instant, at the speed of thought. Communicating with God can occur any place, at any time, in any posture, in any situation. Prayer isn’t just for the church setting. Prayer does not have to wait until you have 20 minutes to spend. Prayer is merely an intentional thought away. As fast as you can think it, God hears it. Prayer should be seen as on on-going conversation with God. Over the years we have uses “Amen” to end the prayer. Since I believe that we should have an on-going conversation with God (Pray without ceasing. 1 Thess 5:17) I rarely say “Amen” in my personal prayers. That is as silly as saying “good-bye” to someone who will be with you for the rest of the day.

Take a few moments today, as you drive, work in the yard, take a walk, stare at the computer, or watch TV to thank God for all He has given you or to ask Him for the wisdom you need, or just tell Him how amazing He is to you. The God of all creation is waiting to hear from you, don’t leave Him hanging

Empowering Prayer: Ways 9-12

Ninth, make lists. Use lists of various topics to pray about, such as: a list you write of your personal needs, prayer lists you receive from your church or charities or missionaries that detail their current needs, and Bible verses you want to pray. Consider praying through your lists while taking a leisurely walk. After you pray through your lists, keep them for a while to remind you of what you’ve been praying and notice how God has answered.

Tenth, use your downtime. Make the most of the downtime you have each day, by praying in situations like: standing in line, waiting in a doctor’s or dentist’s office, sitting in traffic, waiting to be served in a restaurant, cleaning up after a meal, mowing the lawn or working in the garden, listening to music, trying to fall asleep, taking a bath or shower, sitting at the computer, watching your kids play, taking a walk, or watching television. View every moment of downtime you experience as an opportunity to pray.

Eleventh, just talk with God about whatever comes at you. Whenever life throws circumstances at you for which you’re not prepared, make prayer your first response to them. Instead of letting yourself become overwhelmed, wasting time and energy worrying, or trying to solve problems in your own limited strength, pray when you first encounter challenges to release God’s power into those situations right away.

Twelfth, ask, seek, and knock. If you’re asking God about something, frame your request in terms of biblical principles to make sure you’re asking according to His will. Seek the answer to your prayer by taking action after you ask. For example, if you’ve asked God to help you become more physically fit (which aligns with the biblical principle of taking care of the body He gave you), seek the answer to your prayer by exercising regularly.

Don’t just wait around for God to magically drop the answer in your lap without you doing anything that will move you closer to your goal. Keep knocking on God’s door persistently while you wait for Him to answer your prayers; don’t give up.

R.A.Torrey stated, “We live in a day characterized by the multiplication of man’s machinery and the diminishment of God’s power. The great cry of our day is work, work, work, organize, organize, organize. But the great need of our day is prayer, more prayer and better prayer.”

Empowering Prayer: Ways 5-8

Incorporating brief prayers into your daily life will put you in frequent contact with God, which will make your prayer life rich and full, no matter how busy you are. Scripture says we are to “pray without ceasing”. The only way to pray without ceasing is to develop an attitude and a mindset of prayer that causes you to communicate with God constantly throughout your day. Picking up where I left off last week, here are some more ways you can pray without ceasing as you go through your daily life.

The fifth way you can enhance your prayer life is, pay attention. Notice the abundance of opportunities you have to pray all around you, and make a habit of praying as you encounter various needs from people and situations in your life. Instead of just praying about what’s routinely on your mind, make time to pray every time you interact with someone who needs God’s touch or deal with something that could benefit from God’s intervention. Know that the more you pray, the more God will answer and work in the world. Seek to become a significant force for change in your community.

Sixth, listen for the Spirit’s prompting. Expect the Holy Spirit to nudge you to pray about people or situations you may never have thought of on your own. Whenever that happens, respond right then, praying while the need is fresh in your mind. Then enjoy watching how God answers your prayers.

Seventh, use information from the media. Whenever a news story catches your attention, talk to God about it. Remember that, while you probably don’t personally know the people involved, they’re real people in real situations that need God’s help. Intercede using the specific details you’ve learned from the news story, asking God to transform the people’s hearts and impact the situations according to His will. Rather than assuming you know the best outcome (such as in the case of a political election), simply pray for God’s will to be done. Be assured that by praying about world events, you’re tapping into real, unlimited power that can change the world for the better in powerful ways.

Eighth, shift your prayers. Get out of the rut of praying for the same old subjects over and over again. As you go through each day, deliberately shift from one topic to another so you can touch on a wide variety of subjects, like: family, friends, neighbors, coworkers, the government, the war on terror, people of other religions, your church, your small group, your city or county, your children’s teachers and classmates, your upcoming vacation, moral issues, upcoming legislation, and the criminal justice system. Be creative, exploring new ground as you pray.

Remember, prayer is a gift from God without substitute. Prayer in the hand of faith is the key to the immeasurable, unimaginable resources of God.

Empowering Prayer: Ways 1-4

Have you ever felt guilty because you did not have long stretches of time to send lengthy prayers to God? Or have you felt condemnation because your prayer life was inconsistent? Remember God hears the short prayers you offer throughout your day too, like while you’re driving, exercising, working, or eating. And yes, He’ll answer them, too.

Incorporating brief prayers into your daily life will put you in frequent contact with God, which will make your prayer life rich and full, no matter how busy you are. Scripture says we are to “pray without ceasing” (1 Thess 5:17). The only way to pray without ceasing is to develop an attitude and a mindset of prayer that causes you to communicate with God constantly throughout your day.

Remember prayer is a religious term that simply means to communicate with God. As will any form of clear and healthy communication, prayer is to be two-way communication between you and God. It is all about your personal relationship with Christ. Here are some ways you can pray as you go through your daily life.

First, Recognize the opportunities. Know that everything that comes your way is an opportunity for you to pray about something. Realize that tremendous power you have to change the world for the better through your prayers, and decide to use that power to the fullest. Ask God to give you His perspective on the people and situations you encounter so you’ll be motivated to pray for them.

Second, don’t stop “communicating”. As with any healthy relationship, good communication does not always require words. Think of prayer as something you can do continuously, without stopping. See it as ongoing communication with God. Remember that God is always present with you. He knows your thoughts, motives, attitudes, etc. Aim to “check in” with Him often with thoughts, single sentence prayers, etc.

Third, be natural. Understand that prayer should come as naturally to you as breathing does. Don’t worry about trying to follow any type of formula for prayer; instead, simply pray in the way that works best for you at a particular time. Be assured that God will hear your prayers even if you don’t go to a special place, kneel, close your eyes, speak your prayer aloud, use elaborate language, or pray for a certain amount of time. Relax and focus just on communicating with God in whatever way works best for you.

Fourth, be creative. Realize that prayer shouldn’t be boring; it should be enjoyable and interesting. Rather than praying about the same old subjects over and over, pray about new topics, as well. Instead of using the same format for your prayers, mix up the order and change the style for variety. Ask the Holy Spirit to guide you as you pray, so the process will be exciting.

Let Satan’s masterstroke is to use complacency, laziness, lack of discipline, etc…to cause the Church to lay aside prayer as a weapon. Satan does not mind what we do as long as we leave the power of Almighty God out of it.

Three Foundational Truths of Prayer

In this article I will address three foundational truths of prayer and the repercussions of those truths.

First, no Christ-follower’s spiritual life will rise to stay above the level of their personal prayer life.

Second, no church’s corporate prayer life will rise to stay above its members’ personal prayer lives.

Third, no church’s effectiveness will rise to stay above its corporate prayer life.

Effective prayer is different that merely praying at meals, praying for the sick, praying for God’s blessings,  or praying for our needs and wants. Effective prayer is really spiritual warfare. Prayer makes the difference in the battle. In Exodus 17:8-16 there is a story of Joshua fighting the Amalekite army while Moses was praying with Aaron and Hur at the top of a hill over-looking the battle. When Moses held up his hands in prayer Joshua and the Israelites were winning. When Moses grew tired and dropped his hands the Amalekites were winning. So Aaron and Hur held up Moses’ arms so He could pray with his hands lifted.

In verse 13 it says, “So Joshua overcame the Amalekite army with the sword”. The word translated “sword: is the Hebrew word “peh”. It is can be translated “testimony, mouth, speech, command, edge (as in edge of a sword)”. Of the five ways “peh” can be translated, four of them have to do with speaking. Joshua did not win because of his men’s skill with their sword. He won because of the prayer of an old man standing on the hillside over-looking the battle. In Revelation 12:11, it says, “They overcame him (the enemy) by the blood of the Lamb (Jesus) and by the word of their testimony.”

Most churches are in decline, or at best plateau-ed due to the lack of authentic, heartfelt prayer from its members. Everyday 11 churches close their doors forever….nearly 4,000 churches per year. Don’t believe it? Look around at your community or even your county. How many churches do you know of that are truly growing and reaching unchurched & dechurched people? What is the average age of the members of our churches? If things do not change…where is the church headed over the next year, five years, or ten years?

I believe prayer changes things. Every documented revival in history had its origin in prayer. Satan uses laziness, complacency, apathy, a lack of discipline, etc….to cause the church to lay aside as a weapon. Prayer is a gift from God without substitute. It is the key to the unlimited resources of God. Satan does mind what we do as long as leave the power of Almighty God out of it. Prayer in the hand of faith, is the key to the immeasurable, unimaginable resources of God. Like Judson Cornwall stated, “Empty hearts, prayer-less spirits, tired bodies, undisciplined minds, unopened Bibles, and careless attitudes have ruined more worship services then all the demonic activity of Hell.