People have conquered nations, defeated giants, healed the sick and delivered the oppressed through prayer. Prayers are powerful and scriptures attest to that. Jesus says, "Men (and women) ought to pray." If we are humans, we ought to pray. We have this notion that our prayers are for God to do something.
July 18, 2022
People have conquered nations, defeated giants, healed the sick and delivered the oppressed through prayer. Prayers are powerful and scriptures attest to that. Jesus says, “Men (and women) ought to pray.” If we are humans, we ought to pray. We have this notion that our prayers are for God to do something. In an attempt to persuade God we pray with tears and so much emotion. Like how little children try to manipulate their parents for something that they want. We assume that our prayers can manipulate God. We behave like little children wishing that our tears would change His mood. But nothing can be farther away from the truth. Prayer is not convincing or manipulating God to do something, because God is already convinced. Instead, prayer is convincing our own hearts. In prayer we have to expect God to change our hearts.
Illustration of spirit, soul, body:
We are a three part being, we have the body, then the soul, and finally the spirit. Our soul is composed of the mind or conscious part which controls our thinking, and the heart or the sub-conscious being which is incharge of the emotions. We are not a body with a spirit and a soul, instead we are a spirit being who have a spirit and a soul. And we receive the Holy Spirit in our spirits when we believe in Jesus and in the gospel. According to Ephesians 1: 13 we have the Holy Spirit as an inheritance and seal of promise in fullness when we believe in Jesus. Note that without the Holy Spirit, we cannot believe in the gospel.
We are a spirit being who has a mind and a body. In the Bible, marriage is used as an illustration to explain to us our union with the Holy Spirit. Like a husband and wife are united with each other as one being, our spirit is united with the Holy Spirit. The oneness that each of us experience with the Holy Spirit is much stronger and deeper than the bond of marriage. There is absolutely nothing that can separate us from the Holy Spirit. There is no sin in the world that can separate us from the Holy Spirit, because the blood of Jesus has sealed this union. That’s why Paul says until the day of redemption, that is, our salvation is complete, we are sealed with the Holy Spirit.
John 4: 13-14 (ESV) – Jesus said to her, “Everyone who drinks of this water will be thirsty again, but whoever drinks of the water that I will give him will never be thirsty again. The water that I will give him will become in him a spring of water welling up to eternal life.”
Here Jesus is talking about the Holy Spirit in the analogy of water. The Holy Spirit who has the power to fill the entire cosmos is inside of us. Jesus is saying that when we are sealed with the Holy Spirit, the potential of the Holy Spirit is not just to remain contained within our soul. He wants to overflow.
The Holy Spirit is not a rodent that is comfortable in limited spaces and darkness. The Holy Spirit is meant to overflow and has the capability to overwhelm the cosmos.
Jesus is saying that the Holy Spirit is like that water which we drink has the capacity to spring forth as the fountain of life from within us. We can experience an overwhelming presence of the Holy Spirit in our emotions and body.
John 17: 3 says eternal life is knowing God and knowing Jesus. We do not have to wait for eternal life after death. We can experience the Holy Spirit in our spirit being as the peace of God, righteousness of God, the kingdom of God, and the joy of God. The Holy Spirit has the capacity to overflow from our spirit to our mind, to our heart and body. In fact the Holy Spirit can overflow to the point that He takes over the atmosphere we are in. It does not come from above but from within us. When we worship, many times we welcome the Holy Spirit, however it is not that God is coming down from heaven but God is within us. We are not charging our spirit, rather through the Holy Spirit we are charging our mind, body and heart. We experience the same reality of the Spirit of God. Sickness, depression and poverty has no place when the Holy Spirit overflows and floods our being.
In Jesus, God has galready blessed us with everything. If the Father did not withhold his own son, how much more will he give us all things? (Romans 8) So we have received everything in our spirit, being in the person of the Holy Spirit. But the problem is we don’t know how to access it. Its like you have a bank account that has hundred crores of rupees, but you forgot where your chequebook or ATM card is. This lack of knowledge of the power of gospel is the major cause why many Christians perish. The gospel is not for us to go to heaven. The gospel is for us to experience heaven in our here and now because we have the king of heaven inside of us.
Then why do we pray?
We pray so that our hearts can receive what the Spirit has. Powerful Prayers Ps Samuel Thomas, Lighthouse
I want to encourage everyone to pray loudly. Romans 10 reads, Faith comes by hearing. And when we pray loudly, our heart is listening to what we are praying. In our prayer the Holy Spirit speaks to us. When our heart is offended, hurt, guilty, unforgiving or rebelling, we are blocking all the blessings of God. These kinds of emotions act as thick barriers that block the power of God to function in us. So, when we hear what we are praying, a change happens to our mind and our heart. It begins to align itself with the reality of the Spirit of God in us. Praying loudly doesn’t mean one has to scream, but at least our prayers should be audible to us. That’s why the Psalmist says, “Oh my soul, sing out to the Lord. Praise His holy name.”
Confessions in prayer
When we pray many of us confess truths about the nature of God, his goodness and grace. These confessions are not an attempt to massage God’s ego. But these confessions about the goodness and greatness of God convinces our being that despite what we are seeing around there is something greater. When we confess the goodness of God in prayers we are actually unplugging ourselves from the physical reality that we see around and plugging into the spiritual reality of God. This action of confession changes our posture. It changes our requests into convictions.
We are already blessed with all that we need for a life of godliness. But as we pray, the Holy Spirit can overflow and flood our minds, our heart, our thoughts, our emotions and our body with His presence. That’s the good news. We must not try to logically understand prayer. The same is true for scripture reading. When you try to read your Bible with your logical mind, it’ll not make sense. This is because Paul says a natural mind cannot understand spiritual things. You need a spiritual mind to understand spiritual things. So get the logic out of the way especially during prayers.
Posture in prayer
It’s how in a relationship when we are talking to a person, when we are loving that person, we get lost in that relationship. Get lost in prayer as nothing matters. You might start clapping or start speaking in tongues. It may sound gibberish but it is not. The Lord speaks to us through mysteries. Mysteries that no demon, not even our logical mind can understand. It is important that we make prayers that our logical mind does not understand because we are our biggest hindrance. If the logical mind understood what the Spirit of God was praying through us, we would not pray those prayers.
Our heart is the biggest hindrance to our blessing, that’s why the Holy Spirit starts speaking in tongues through us so that we will not understand what we are praying. And we will say yes and amen for things to happen. Good things will happen.
The best prayer
The best prayer that one can pray in human language is what Jesus prayed in Gethsemane.
Matthew 26: 36-44 (ESV) – Then Jesus went with them to a place called Gethsemane, and he said to his disciples, “Sit here, while I go over there and pray.” And taking with him Peter and the two sons of Zebedee, he began to be sorrowful and troubled. Then he said to them, “My soul is very sorrowful, even to death; remain here, and watch with me.” And going a little farther he fell on his face and prayed, saying, “My Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me; nevertheless, not as I will, but as you will.” And he came to the disciples and found them sleeping. And he said to Peter, “So, could you not watch with me one hour? Watch and pray that you may not enter into temptation. The spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak.” Again, for the second time, he went away and prayed, “My Father, if this cannot pass unless I drink it, your will be done.” And again he came and found them sleeping, for their eyes were heavy. So, leaving them again, he went away and prayed for the third time, saying the same words again.
In this account of Jesus praying, we see His sweat turned into blood while praying. This tension or struggle shows His humanity. But in the end, He does believe that the will and plan of the Father is what He wants for himself.
Prayer is where we ask God to change our heart so that we can align our will to His will. Prayer is not enforcing our will upon the Lord and saying, “Lord, this is my will. This is my desire. This is what I want to do. Let me put it on you now, do it.” If we want to make prayers that will absolutely bring results then we need to ask for God’s will.
1 John 5: 14-15 (ESV) – And this is the confidence that we have toward him, that if we ask anything according to his will he hears us. 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.
The best prayer that we can pray is “Lord, not my will, let Your will be done.” We pray this because we understand that we are limited in our thinking. Everybody has good plans for themselves. But those good plans are limited by how much we can see or imagine. We ask God based on what we see. However, since God sees everything, we can confidently say, “Lord, not my will, but your will be done because I know that you have the best for me. I know that You have the best intention for my life. So even if it doesn’t make sense, I’m willing to surrender my will.”
Step out in Faith
For Abraham, in Genesis 22, it was not easy to sacrifice Issac who was his future. Isaac was everything that he desired for and prayed for. He believed for 25 years and God said sacrifice him. As he’s going up the mountain, he is believing in the goodness of God. It is the knowledge of God’s will that gives us the strength to step out in faith. If we want to walk in faith, we need to have the eyes of faith. And the eyes of faith is knowing God’s will.
When we are seeing, our eyes are limited to the capacity of our vision. Similarly, our faith is limited by the knowledge of God’s will. So if we desire to walk in more faith, or pray in more faith, we have to know God’s will for our life.
That’s what Paul says in Romans 12, to not be conformed to the patterns of this world, but be transformed by the renewal of the mind. So that we can test and approve that God’s will for our life is good, acceptable and perfect. Indeed our will can be good and pleasing to us, but compared to God’s will, our will is not perfect. The catch here is that we require a renewed mind to know the will of God. We pray for a renewed mind so that when our mind is renewed, we can have access to the knowledge of God’s will.
For instance, if there is sickness while you are praying, you know it is temporary. The greater purpose of God is that everything will become a stepping stone for us to enter the next level of glory that He has for me.
Paul says, we walk from faith to faith. Christian life is walking in faith trusting Jesus, but faith without deeds is dead. Faith is not just mental agreement. Faith is a strong conviction that will be expressed in action.
James 2: 17 (ESV) – So also faith by itself, if it does not have works, is dead.
Illustration of a tightrope walker:
There was this person who could do tightrope walking between two buildings. And a number of people came to witness and cheer for him. He did it a number of times and people were getting excited. After some time, he said, “Give me a heavy bag to carry.” And he takes a heavy bag on his shoulders and walks on the rope. Then he looks at the audience and says, “Hey, how many of you trust me that I can carry one of you on my shoulders?” Though everyone believed that he could carry a person, nobody dared to volunteer. They mentally agreed that he could do it, but they did not believe.
If you believe, your mental agreement would enable you to step out in faith. Most Christian folks proclaim to believe in the Bible. But if we truly believe, we would have been walking, talking, speaking, smelling and breathing like Jesus. The truth is we are learning to believe. And our faith has to move from mental agreement into action. We have to take steps of faith. How can someone believe for a promotion, but not do anything about it like applying for interviews, upgrading skills or developing aptitude? We are expected to take steps of faith and we can only walk to the extent of what we see.
Steps of faith does not mean living a good moral life. James talks about two examples to show us that faith is much greater than our idea of morality. One is Abraham’s sacrifice of Isaac. The other is Rahab betraying her own country to protect the spies of Israel. Both instances don’t stand the test of morality as one is child sacrifice and the other is treason.
Doing good works in faith does not just mean being a good person. Faith means trusting God so that when you hear God’s voice you obey. We leave our logical mind, and trust the Lord. When the Lord invites us to make that adventure in that tight rope, even when it is not making sense we jump in. Throughout the Bible, we see people who did crazy illogical things. For instance, it doesn’t make sense to wave a rod in front of the sea and the sea splits. But just imagine if God tells us the same. Though it doesn’t make sense, but unless we do not take that step of faith, nothing will happen.
Another barrier for us to obey God’s voice is our dignity. Imagine speaking to the rock when people are thirsty. It looks foolish. But when Moses followed the instruction the water came out. We have to let go of your dignity to trust God and do what He says. If we are going to hold onto our credibility, we will never be able to step out in faith. Jesus, as He was praying in the garden of Gethsemane for the will of the Father to take over, it created endurance for Him to bear the cross. When He was dying on the cross, He was alone. All His disciples had fled, except one. The scene makes Him look like a failure. And maybe His mind was accusing Him of how a ministry that He started in might and valour just came down to nothing.
Mostly we experience something similar in life in the middle of the crisis, we go in this rabbit hole of negative thoughts and it’s like an endless loop. But Jesus on the cross says, “Father forgive them for they don’t know what they’re doing.” The boldness to say that on the cross was the result of the renewed mind that He tapped into through prayer. And He understood God, that if this is the will of God for Him, there is certainly a joy that the Lord has set before Him. Thus, He endured the cross as His eyes were set on the goodness of God. Prayer helps us to live the life of faith with a renewed mind. And our renewed mind has the access to the knowledge of God’s will. And that gives us access to walk out in faith with all confidence and boldness. In prayer we are no longer convincing the heavens but the heavens convince us of the goodness and mercy of God.
Our next level of glory would be just one step away from our prayer. In prayer a lot of these things are happening in the invisible realm. It doesn’t make sense to our natural mind. We might expect an angel appearing or a sound from heaven as we pray, but most often it is simply stillness and unceasing presence of God. But as we enjoy and engage in that time with the Lord, we will eventually see that doors are opening, our networks are expanding and that we are moving towards our destiny.
Never miss an opportunity to pray. Every time you invest your time, energy and attention to pray you are pulled towards your destiny. In other words, prayer escalates you towards our destiny. The unit of wealth is money. Similarly, the unit of destiny is time. And if you want to accelerate your destiny, pray. Anything that is healthy will grow. your spiritual lives will experience an exponential growth in prayers. When you pray you should know that you are investing your time in accelerating your life.