I want things to be better. I want better things for others.
So…I pray. I pray everyday. And I keep on praying.
But I have a problem…like many of you.
I love prayer…and I hate prayer.
WHAT? How can you say that, Pastor?
Prayer is the most basic of all spiritual disciplines, and yet it is one of the most difficult things for a believer to understand and do consistently. Right?!
Haven’t you ever noticed that everyone you know always comes to the conclusion that they need to pray more? They say it at the end of every Bible study. They hear the call to pray in so many sermons.
For all of us, prayer is fraught with guilt. It’s plagued with unbelief. We wonder more often why God doesn’t answer prayer than testify to how He has.
At times, it seems the power of prayer is random, and it doesn’t produce the results that I want. And that’s the problem…isn’t it?
We tend to see prayer as a tool…a weapon…a way of producing supernatural results in our lives. And when it doesn’t work, we get frustrated and feel helpless in our situations. We wonder if God’s listening. Or worse, we think, “What’s wrong with me that God would withhold His blessings.”
In truth, I think our greatest struggle with prayer comes down to the simple fact that we may have a wrong view of prayer.
Today, in order to help you translate the unseen into the seen, here are 4 foundational truths about prayer that I believe will dramatically shift the landscape of your prayer life, as well as your whole life. In fact, if we come before the Lord standing on these foundations, we will always be an open door for the supernatural realm.
- Prayer is RELATIONAL.
The Bible says that Jesus would often draw away to lonely places to pray. (Mark 1:35-36; 6:46-47)
Prayer for Jesus wasn’t a way to get things done, but way to the understand the Father and see what He was doing all around Him. Jesus Himself said, “The Son can do nothing of His own accord, but ONLY what He sees the Father is doing. For whatever the Father does, the Son does likewise.” (John 5:19)
Prayer, therefore, is a conversation. It was never meant to be a magic formula to supernatural power. God is not some genie in a bottle that responds when we rub the lamp correctly. Prayer ensures that I’m in step with the One I say I’m in relationship with.
I was brought into a relationship with our Heavenly Father through the precious blood of Jesus Christ. And as in all relationships, we don’t manipulate one another for personal benefit. We seek to understand one another so that we move forward together in mission.
Praying in relationship, then, is first and foremost conversation for the purpose of understanding and seeing.
- Prayer is SPIRIT.
Jesus said, “God is Spirit, and those who worship Him must worship in Spirit and truth.” (John 4:24)
Prayer gets us out of the flesh and connects us to the one who is unbounded by our human situations. When we pray, we enter into God’s realm of the Spirit. We actually begin to move into the realm of God’s mind.
What God sees and thinks is the truth. What did Jesus say? “If you abide in my Word, you are truly my disciples, and you will know the truth and the truth will set you free.” (John 8:31)
From the place of Spirit, we begin to see as God does. We begin to understand what Jesus taught us. We begin to move into the move of God in the earth. We no longer evaluate things according to our human experience. Instead, we learn how to develop vision from an eternal perspective.
Praying in the Spirit, then, is about creating an intersection between this realm and heaven’s realm for the purpose of moving as God does.
- Prayer is FAITH.
The Word says, “Without faith, it’s impossible to please God.” (Hebrews 11:6)
I like to say it this way, “Without faith, it’s impossible to step into the place of God’s greatest pleasure.”
Prayer emboldens me to courageously step into the thing I’m asking and seeking for. In prayer, Jesus reveals the next steps of faith I need to make to step into a fuller expression of God’s activity. God doesn’t usually bring His plans to me; He sends me into the plans He reveals.
Prayer always brings me to decisions requiring me to trust in the Holy Spirit’s revelations.
In faith, I have to learn to give into what I receive in the Spirit. Only then, can I discover that being led by the Holy Spirit is trustworthy.
Praying in faith, then, is all about God bringing me to a place of courageous decision making for the purpose of manifesting His will on earth as it is in heaven.
- Prayer is HUMILITY.
You can’t hear God if you’re shouting at Him.
The Word says, “For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, declares the Lord. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts.” (Isaiah 55:8-9)
The Apostle James says, “But he gives more grace. Therefore it says, “God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble.” Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. Draw near to God, and he will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, you sinners, and purify your hearts, you double-minded.” (James 4:6-8)
I’m not privy to all that the Lord is doing. I’m not supposed to know. I don’t have that level of clearance. So, I pray to get enough insight so as to move, regardless of my understanding, or the level of my ability to predict outcomes.
I humbly draw near to God so that He would draw near to me.
Praying in humility, then, is about yielding my right to be right for a greater purpose that I may or may not understand.
Prayer, of course, is a lot more than these four things, but these are foundational. If you get these in your spirit, then it will open a wide door to a vast world that you’ve never seen before.
One more thing, Jesus instructed His disciples on how to cast out demons by saying, “This kind cannot be driven out by anything but prayer (and fasting).” (Mark 9:29) What does this mean for us? We pray not so that we have the power to cast out demons; we pray persistently and consistently, so that we are relationally tight with the Father. In doing so, we actually become the embodiment of His presence for whatever is required at any moment.
I believe that, soon, we’re coming to the crossroads of a huge divine interruption. It’s a season where His glory will be increasing. It will require a completely different prayer life in order to manifest it.
I pray that these foundation stones of prayer will help us all get there.
With great love for you all!