Yesterday I spoke some about the power of prayer and primarily about its impact on the lost. Today I want to continue this on this subject and add to what was already said-even expounding on it.
Prayer. A word we are all familiar with but an action that many of us are actually quite unfamiliar with. Let’s not be unfamiliar any longer.
Christians don’t pray because of either ignorance or just plain laziness. Or maybe there is a third reason. Unrealized potential. Now I label this differently than ignorance because some truly just don’t know how to pray or realize what prayer will do. This is just ignorance which in any case, can be rectified by teaching them the truth but then also expecting them to go out and practice it. Those who are lazy are well…just lazy. They don’t want to put the work in to pray. That’s right. I called it work. Because it is. In comparison to loafing on the couch with a bag of chips watching the daily sitcom-it’s work! Prayer takes effort and many don’t want to exert that effort.
Now to the third category. Unrealized potential. Potential of both the pray-er and the prayer. One may not be lazy and they are also not completely ignorant. What if many of us just haven’t realized what is really involved and what can transpire when we do pray. Now this can trickle over into what we call ‘unbelief’. Maybe, but I don’t believe the unbelief is necessarily direct unbelief. It could be labeled indirect unbelief. Either way, the unrealized potential of the prayer of just one person has not been realized and thus not actualized. End result? No results.
We need to pray. I mentioned before about prayers for the lost being oh so important. They are spiritually blind. They cannot see and they don’t even know they cannot see. The devil has them duped into believing they already know everything about Christianity and religion and they are not interested in hearing the Gospel. Actually for most Christians, they probably couldn’t even tell someone what the Gospel is, nor share the Gospel (but that is another blog for another time). God is looking for intercessors. He is looking for people to come before His throne and petition for souls. He is looking for men and women who know Jesus, who have been born again and filled with the Holy Spirit, to take authority over Satan, lay claim to souls for Jesus, pray the blinders off their eyes, and if possible-share the Gospel with them so they get saved. Or at the least, pray someone will come along their path to share the Gospel with them once they’ve prayed.
We have been given the precious Holy Spirit. He (the Holy Spirit) comes into our lives to give us direction, counsel, comfort and power. All too often, we try to do (spiritual) things through our own fleshly strength. What’s the result? We get fleshly results. I can’t think of the number of times I’ve tried to do things in my own power or ability, trusting in myself to accomplish a God result. It will never happen. What if we prayed first? What if, before ministering on a Sunday morning, we prayed for every person coming into that sanctuary? What if before we stepped on stage to lead worship, we prayed for the anointing power of God to be present, binding the dark powers of hindrance over people’s lives so they could receive from God and be healed? What if instead of whining about the people at our job and how they gossip and get on our nerves, we actually prayed for them? What if we sought the Holy Spirit for guidance before attempting to share the Gospel with another person? What if? What if? What if?
We need to stop with the ‘What if?’ and start proclaiming the ‘What IS’ because we prayed. Praying moves mountains. It makes things happen! The American church has gotten all too comfortable doing church. In fact, many can do entire services without ever needing the Holy Spirit to do anything. Oh we talk an awful lot about things and the power and on and on…but do we pray about it? Do we pray for things to actually happen? Or are we just rambling on about our problems to other and to God? The Apostle Paul told the Corinthian church,
‘The kingdom of God is not a matter of talk but of power.’ (1 Cor 4:20/NIV)
Jesus when speaking in Mark 11, after the fig tree withered at His command, said these words:
“Have faith in God,” Jesus answered. “Truly I tell you, if anyone says to this mountain, ‘Go, throw yourself into the sea,’ and does not doubt in their heart but believes that what they say will happen, it will be done for them. Therefore I tell you, whatever you ask for in prayer, believe that you have received it, and it will be yours.” (Mark 11:22-24/NIV)
He had spoken to a fig tree not producing fruit, cursed it, and it had died. He then goes on to say that if we believe and not doubt, we can have what we ask for in prayer! Prayer moves things. It makes things happen! There is a very real spiritual realm and there are principalities and spiritual forces at work all around us all the time. Whenever we are sharing the Gospel with someone, there are evil spirits in play, trying to prevent that person from understanding and accepting Jesus Christ as their savior. Whenever we dealing with our kids and discipline issues because of incidents that happened in their lives, many times there are spiritual forces of evil working to oppose us and oppress our children. In our finances there is spiritual opposition. In our marriages. In our relationships. In our job! Everywhere we go, there are spiritual forces of wickedness and evil at work. Especially for the Christian who carries around in their body the very life of Christ! You can sure bet they WILL and ARE opposing us!!
How do we overcome them?
We need to come before the throne room of God declaring our needs to Father, fully secure that we will receive. We need to get forceful with the devil and rebuke him and his cohorts off of our kids and family members. We need to beseech the Holy spirit to give us wisdom and supernatural insight (if required) when sharing the Gospel with someone. God WANTS to work with us in everything we do, but we must go to Him for answers and help! The Word tells us we can”
‘…approach the throne of grace with confidence that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.’ (Heb 4:16/NIV)
What if when sharing the Gospel with someone, who up to that point, had been completely obstinate regarding anything to do with Jesus, the Holy Spirit then imparted a word of knowledge or word of wisdom regarding this person to you? And this word was something for you to share with them at that moment? And this word was something you could never know apart from them telling you? Think it would get their attention? You bet it would! Now, I’m not here to venture into teachings on the gifts of the Holy Spirit. That would take a while and fill up another blog entirely. But I will say, when we pray to God, we should expect answers and expect for Him to speak to us and answer our prayers at just the right moments. Maybe it’s not sharing your faith but rather, an untimely flat tire or an unexpected bill that exceeds our financial abilities? Or our kids are in trouble and at that moment, the Holy Spirit is trying to prompt us to STOP what we are doing, get on our knees and pray! That prayer could save our kids’ lives. That prayer in faith could put into action the miraculous for our financial situation. Our prayers could lead us a different way to work so that WE can be the ones to stop and help that person with their flat tire. And maybe share our faith too while we are at it (we do live in the land of multi-tasking!)
Point being-we need to pray. We need to realize the full potential in that lies within our prayers. And if we can’t seem to connect this knowledge with our actions, then guess what? We need to pray! We need to pray and ask God to connect this within us! Ask Him to give us the revelation of wisdom regarding the impact of prayer and the oh so many people who need prayer-not just ourselves mind you. We need to pray without ceasing (1 Thess 5:17). We need to pray for the lost. We need to declare to the devil that we aren’t putting up with his antics and that we are children of the most high God, and that we have authority over him! We need to pray (ahead of time) for timely miracles. All of these God has ordained for us to do as His church-the body of Him who fills all things in every way. Prayer works. Prayer is effective. Prayer changes things.
Let’s make some changes and start praying!
‘The prayer of a righteous person is powerful and effective.’ (Jas 5:16b/NIV)