The revelation about prayer, which is of the first magnitude, is that prayer is a 100% spiritual ministry. 4 important truths about prayer
- Everything in the natural must be overcome and be brought under Spiritual Authority if you are to succeed with prayer.
- Because Prayer is so effective and powerful, Satan fights it and you causing an unrelenting warfare on the spiritual battlefield.
- This spiritual context has caused PRAYER to be one of -if not- the most misunderstood and least successful ministries in the Church.
- THERE IS NOTHING NATURAL ABOUT PRAYER.
We all want our prayers to be “effective,” so much so that when we focus on the “results” of our prayers, we lose sight of the incredible privilege we have in prayer. That people like us can speak to the Creator of the universe is itself an amazing thing. Even more astounding is the fact that He hears us and acts on our behalf! The first thing we need to understand about effective prayer is that our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ had to suffer and die on the cross to even make it possible for us to approach the throne of grace to worship and pray.
Hebrews 10:19-23 (NLT) 19 And so, dear brothers and sisters, we can boldly enter heaven’s Most Holy Place because of the blood of Jesus. 20 By his death, Jesus opened a new and life-giving way through the curtain into the Most Holy Place. 21 And since we have a great High Priest who rules over God’s house, 22 let us go right into the presence of God with sincere hearts fully trusting him. For our guilty consciences have been sprinkled with Christ’s blood to make us clean, and our bodies have been washed with pure water23 Let us hold tightly without wavering to the hope we affirm, for God can be trusted to keep his promise.
Although the Bible offers a great deal of guidance on how we can deepen our communication with the Creator, effective prayer has more to do with the one doing the praying than it does with “how” we are to pray. Indeed, Scripture says in James 5:16 The prayer of a righteous man is powerful and effective , and in 1 Peter 3:12 & Psalm 34:15 “eyes of the Lord are on the righteous and his ears are attentive to their prayer and, again in Proverbs 15:8 “the prayer of the upright pleases Him”. Prayer saved the righteous Daniel from the lion’s den (Daniel 6:11), and in the wilderness, God’s chosen people benefitted from Moses’ right standing with God (Exodus 16–17). The barren Hannah’s steadfast and humble prayers resulted in the prophet Samuel (1 Samuel 1:20), and the apostle Paul’s prayers even caused the earth to shake (Acts 16:25-26). Clearly, the passionate prayers of God’s righteous children can accomplish much (Numbers 11:2).
We need to make sure that our prayers are in line with God’s will. 1 John 5:13-15(ESV) I write these things to you who believe in the name of the Son of God that you may know that you have eternal life. 14 And this is the confidence that we have toward him, that if we ask anything according to his will he hears us. 15 And if we know that he hears us in whatever we ask, we know that we have the requests that we have asked of him. Praying in accordance with God’s will is essentially praying in accord with what He would want, and we can see God’s revealed will throughout Scripture. And if we do not know what to pray for, Paul reminds us that as God’s children we can rely on the Holy Spirit to intercede for us, in Romans 8:27 (ESV)And he who searches hearts knows what is the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for the saints according to the will of God.
Without Jesus the only prayer God hears is that of repentance. If you are not saved God is not obligated to listen to any of your prayers.
Isaiah 59:1(ESV) Behold, the Lord’s hand is not shortened, that it cannot save, or his ear dull, that it cannot hear;2 but your iniquities have made a separation between you and your God, and your sins have hidden his face from you so that he does not hear.
Psalms 66:17 (ESV)I cried to him with my mouth, and high praise was on my tongue.18 If I had cherished iniquity in my heart, the Lord would not have listened.19 But truly God has listened; he has attended to the voice of my prayer.
Fortunately, “1 John 1:9 (ESV)if we confess our sins, He is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness”
Matthew 21:13 He said to them, “The Scriptures declare, ‘My Temple will be called a house of prayer,’ but you have turned it into a den of thieves!”
Jesus is pretty serious about prayer and His Father’s house.
Jesus is the gate into the House of Prayer, repentance is the key.
John 10:1(ESV)“Truly, truly, I say to you, he who does not enter the sheepfold by the door but climbs in by another way, that man is a thief and a robber. 2 But he who enters by the door is the shepherd of the sheep. 3 To him the gatekeeper opens. The sheep hear his voice, and he calls his own sheep by name and leads them out. 4 When he has brought out all his own, he goes before them, and the sheep follow him, for they know his voice. 5 A stranger they will not follow, but they will flee from him, for they do not know the voice of strangers.” 6 This figure of speech Jesus used with them, but they did not understand what he was saying to them.
7 So Jesus again said to them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, I am the door of the sheep. 8 All who came before me are thieves and robbers, but the sheep did not listen to them. 9 I am the door. If anyone enters by me, he will be saved and will go in and out and find pasture. 10 The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have life and have it abundantly. 11 I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep. 12 He who is a hired hand and not a shepherd, who does not own the sheep, sees the wolf coming and leaves the sheep and flees, and the wolf snatches them and scatters them. 13 He flees because he is a hired hand and cares nothing for the sheep. 14 I am the good shepherd. I know my own and my own know me, 15 just as the Father knows me and I know the Father; and I lay down my life for the sheep.
The Bible tells us that true repentance will result in a change of actions Acts 3:19(ESV) Repent therefore, and turn back, that your sins may be blotted out,). Acts 26:20 declares, “I preached that they should repent and turn to God and prove their repentance by their deeds.” The full biblical definition of repentance is a change of mind that results in a change of action.
Repentance and faith can be understood as “two sides of the same coin.” It is impossible to place your faith in Jesus Christ as the Savior without first changing your mind about who He is and what He has done. Whether it is repentance from willful rejection or repentance from ignorance or disinterest, it is a change of mind. Biblical repentance, in relation to salvation, is changing your mind from rejection of Christ to faith in Christ.
Barriers to effective communication with God
- Praying with selfish desires and wrong motives. “James 4:3(ESV) When you ask you do not receive, because you ask with wrong motives, that you may spend what you get on your pleasures”.
- Rejecting God’s call or ignoring His advice (Proverbs 1:24-28 Because I have called and you refused to listen, have stretched out my hand and no one has heeded,25 because you have ignored all my counseland would have none of my reproof, 26 I also will laugh at your calamity; I will mock when terror strikes you, 27 when terror strikes you like a storm and your calamity comes like a whirlwind, when distress and anguish come upon you.28 Then they will call upon me, but I will not answer; they will seek me diligently but will not find me.),
- worshipping idols (Jeremiah 11:11-14(ESV)11 Therefore, thus says the Lord, Behold, I am bringing disaster upon them that they cannot escape. Though they cry to me, I will not listen to them. 12 Then the cities of Judah and the inhabitants of Jerusalem will go and cry to the gods to whom they make offerings, but they cannot save them in the time of their trouble. 13 For your gods have become as many as your cities, O Judah, and as many as the streets of Jerusalem are the altars you have set up to shame, altars to make offerings to Baal.14 “Therefore do not pray for this people, or lift up a cry or prayer on their behalf, for I will not listen when they call to me in the time of their trouble.),
- turning a deaf ear to the cry of the poor Proverbs 21:13 Whoever closes his ear to the cry of the poor will himself call out and not be answered.
All these serve as additional obstacles to an effective prayer life.
Effective prayer is a way to strengthen our relationship with our Father in heaven. When we study and obey His Word and seek to please Him, the same God who made the sun stand still upon the prayer of Joshua in Joshua 10:12-13 (ESV)12 At that time Joshua spoke to the Lord in the day when the Lord gave the Amorites over to the sons of Israel, and he said in the sight of Israel, “Sun, stand still at Gibeon, and moon, in the Valley of Aijalon.”13 And the sun stood still, and the moon stopped, until the nation took vengeance on their enemies.
We have access to the throne through Jesus
(Hebrews 4:16(ESV) Let us then with confidence draw near to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need.).