PRAYER THAT CHANGES THINGS
PART ONE: FIRST THINGS FIRST!
The purpose of this article is to take you to a higher plane in Christ; making you a more powerful and effective believer; creating a difference in your life and the lives of others around you by employing the Word and promises of God provided through Jesus Christ, thus impacting the world as a son of God which is His will for you. Probably the most important aspect in the life of a believer is the topic of prayer; why we need it, what it is, what it does and how to go about doing it in the most effective way. Prayer is communion, that is, intimate communication with our Heavenly Father. The word communion is used here because it speaks of more than just communicating; it is more of an intimacy of close fellowship with the one with whom we are communicating. In order to have intimate fellowship with the Father it is imperative that we have a right relationship with Him; otherwise our level fellowship with Him can be hindered by the unseen obstacles in our lives. Thus any problem we have of communicating in prayer, and getting the results we want, is not His but ours.
We need to understand why it is that sometimes we pray and don't get answers. First is the problem of SIN in our lives. Would you as a father, or mother, be eager to give your child the desire they asked you for if they have been doing wrong and getting you upset with their behavior. You may acknowledge their wants, but you would first like to see them straighten up because you see that there is something much more important in their life than what they are asking you for at that time. Our Heavenly Father is even more keen as to our behavior since we are His children. We will get into the topic of repentance and asking forgiveness later on in Part Two as one of the key elements of "prayer that changes things".
Next, we need to examine our relationship with our heavenly Father: is it intimate; is it adoring; is it worshipful; do we desire to be with Him and in His presence more than anything else? Do we seek first His Kingdom and His righteousness, as Jesus instructed us to do in Matthew 6:33? Or do we have other priorities in our lives and only consider fellowship, prayer and communion with Him as something we resort to in a crisis.
Do you delight in Him? Do you delight to commune with Him and be in His presence? Or do you delight in other things first, such as: your favorite TV program; sports; recreational activities or hobbies; video games; the internet; get rich schemes; shopping; boating, biking, playing, etc.? What is it you delight in most? .....more likely than not it isn't fellowshipping with Him, worshipping, or in prayer, or in His Word.
Psalm 37:4 - "Delight thyself also in the Lord; and he shall give thee the desires of
For most believers, their fellowship with the Father is passive, not active, and rarely aggressive as an intercessor. Is it no wonder why many don't get their prayers answered as or when they want. For too many believers God is treated as an after-thought; He is not considered to be the every-day and ever present help, or as one who is dotingly watching over His children wanting the very best for them. We are too preoccupied by other things to notice or give heed to His hovering care and presence. So how can we expect to get the answers we desire of Him when we do not take our delight in Him.
What does it mean to delight in the Lord? The word delight means something that gives great pleasure; something that is highly pleasing. To delight in the Lord means that your relationship with him is so pleasing that you are eager to be with Him, or you can't wait to get back in his presence again. When you wake up in the morning your goal is to be able to talk with Him again because you derive such pleasure being in His presence. It's much like other things you take delight in; except He is your ultimate source of pleasure. How many of us really have that kind of relationship and fellowship with our Lord?
We tend to delight ourselves in other things and activities, or the things we want from Him without actually delighting IN Him. So how can we expect Him to give us the things we desire if we don't give Him the true heart-felt attention He deserves? The problem is that we want things from Him more than we want HIM! No wonder many prayers don't get answered!
James 4:3 - "Ye ask, and receive not, because ye ask amiss, that ye may consume it upon your lusts."
What do you take delight in? It could be that what it is you desire, or lust after, is the problem. Do you take more delight in that thing than in Him? A self examination and an evaluation of your priorities is needed. At this point is a good time to repent and ask God to forgive you of putting other things first in your life. Humble yourself before Him and submit to His beckoning to come enjoy Him for Who He is and bask in His loving care for you. He is eager and willing to bless your socks off - but put Him first in your life! Be more concerned about pleasing and blessing Him than pleasing and blessing yourself.
Matthew 6:33 - "But seek ye first the kingdom of God and His righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you."
Your quiet time with Him should be such filled with joy and expectation of what He will say to you, reveal to you or show you. That time of intimate fellowship should be a time that you look forward to.
PART TWO: ELEMENTS OF PRAYER THAT CHANGE THINGS
The prayer life of a typical believer is really quite shallow and is likely the result of our fast paced society of microwave food, instant potatoes or high-speed internet. Our prayers for our own needs, as well as the needs of others, resemble putting a bandage on a wound when it needs more intense treatment and stitches. Thus many don't see the results they would like to get, and it's simply because we fail to effectively pour out our heart before God letting Him know we are really devoted to and serious about seeing the requested results, seeing the answer come through. Yes, many pray "half-hearted" prayers, or even less than half hearted.
Jesus gives us the basic elements of prayer:
Matthew 6:9-13 - "After this manner therefore pray ye: Our Father which art in
heaven, Hallowed be thy name. Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread. And forgive us our debts (sins) as we for give our debtors (those who sinned against us). And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil: For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, forever. Amen".
First we come by acknowledging God for who He is. This, when properly recognized will cause us to praise, worship and adore Him. We declare His sovereignty over all things, in heaven and on earth; especially over us and our circumstances. Spending some time reading the Bible first helps us to recognize His majesty and greatness and His willingness to help us in time of need. Thus we come into His presence with praise, joy worship and all this produces hope and builds faith. We need to see that His Kingdom has already come and He is the King - and this is true by faith. Then we shall see the manifestation of the power of His kingdom materialize right here on earth just as Jesus declared:
Matthew 10:7 & 8 - "And as ye go, preach, saying, The kingdom of heaven is at hand. Heal the sick, raise the dead, cast out devils: freely ye have received, freely give".
We must stop making excuses for our lack of faith. God and His word have not changed. Those who do act on His word, as quoted here, do see these things happen. Acknowledging Him as Almighty and the most Holy God, worthy of praise and worship, becomes even more significant when we recognized Him for just how loving, caring our Heavenly Father is:
Matthew 6:9 - "Our Father, which art in heaven....".
An important factor about prayer that is often overlooked is getting into that secret, or very private place, where it's just you and Him in intimate communion and fellowship.
Matthew 6:6 - But thou, when thou prayest, enter into thy closet, and when thou hast shut the door, pray to the Father which is in secret; and thy Father which seeth in secret shall reward thee openly."
This does not necessarily mean actually hiding in a closet and shutting the door before you can begin to pray. It is a figure of speech that means getting yourself to where you leave the world, its cares, your burdens and problems behind and enter into His presence and find that place of refreshing; a place of righteousness, peace and joy. A place where you are renewed, refreshed, re-energized, and invigorated by being totally focused on Him and His caring love for you. It is the secret place of intimacy with Him; in His holiness; like being in the Holy of Holies. This is that secret place referred to in:
Psalm 91:1 - "He that dwelleth in the secret place of the most High shall abide under the shadow of the almighty".
Now here is an important point that many believers miss: if you can't enter into, or have difficulty entering into, that place of refreshing its probably because you need a spiritual shower - a cleansing. You may need to wash off the cares, burdens, heaviness and/or sin that weighs you down by confessing, renouncing and discarding all such things. Let Him wash you first by asking forgiveness; know that Jesus' blood cleanses from ALL unrighteousness; that you can cast all your cares upon him; let him relieve you of heaviness and burdens.
Matthew 11:28-29 -"Come unto me, all ye that labor and are heavy laden, and i will give rest."
1 Peter 5:7 - "Casting all your cares upon him: for he careth for you."
Do not attempt to carry burdens, cares, fears or sins into the secret place of intimacy with Him; it won't work. You have got to leave them outside and be cleansed first. This is the principle shown by the High Priest of Israel who first had to wash himself at the laver in the inner court of the temple; then at the next station he sacrificed the lamb for a blood atonement for sins; then he was able to enter into the Holy of Holies and into the presence of the Lord.
James 5:16 - "...The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much".
Since it is the effectual fervent prayers of a RIGHTEOUS man that gets the greatest results, we need to get all unrighteousness out of our lives at this point before we attempt to go on to that secret place. Humble yourself before Him in a time of soul searching. Then forgive others who have troubled, offended or bothered you so there is no resentment or unforgiveness in your heart:
Matthew 6:14 & 15 - "For if ye forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you: But if ye forgive not men their trespasses, neither will your heavenly Father forgive your trespasses."
Be prepared to spend some quality time in this shower to get every bit cleaned off. You don't want any hindrance to intimate fellowship with Him. Besides, getting thoroughly cleansed is a wonderful and refreshing feeling in itself.
Now that you have rid yourself of the things in your life that He is concerned about, your fears, failures, burdens and sins, He is ready lift you, strengthen you and encourage you because your seriousness demonstrated in this matter causes you to gain His attention. It's as if He is saying, "What can I do for you my child".
Now you can enter into that secret place to fellowship Him and find your refreshing. At this point you're going to feel so good and grateful for the cleansing that you will be praising, rejoicing and exceedingly joyful and full of spiritual life.
Psalm 16:11 - "Thou wilt shew me the path of life: in the presence of the Lord there is fullness of joy and at his right hand are pleasures evermore."
Now recognize and declare your absolute dependence on Him as your source for protection, provision and guidance.
Matthew 6: 13 - "And lead us not into temptation but deliver us from evil.....".
In your communion and fellowship with the Lord, be more concerned for what He wants than for what you want. He has a plan and purpose for your life, and it is in these times of intimate fellowship with Him that He begins to reveal these plans to you may show you the next step down the path that is His will for you. It helps if you can get such direction day by day.
Matthew 6:10 - "....Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven."
He doesn't reveal it to you all at once, but He leads you one step at a time. It is for this reason you must frequently have these times of intimate fellowship with Him; it's to get the next step on His pathway for you - consider Proverbs 3:5-6; Proverbs 16:9; Proverbs 20:34; Psalm 37:23 and Jeremiah 10:23.
Matthew 6:33 - "But seek ye first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added unto you".
After your time of refreshing and renewal you are now ready to deal with those outside cares, burdens, etc. They are no longer a burdensome part of you, weighing you down, so now you can objectively present them to the Lord.
Matthew 6:32 - "(For after all these things do the Gentiles seek:) for your heavenly Father knoweth that you have need of all these things."
You can easily express those needs and place them in His hands with full confidence of His loving care for you. You can leave them in His hands knowing He has them all covered.
Matthew 6:11 - "And give us this day our daily bread (provision)."
The fear and worry you had before is gone and you can continue to rejoice knowing He will provide for you and take care of those things that previously bothered you.
1 Peter 5:7 - "Casting all your cares upon him: for he careth for you."
Then you can be more objective and in control since the problems or conditions that were troubling you are no longer dominating your thoughts, feelings and focus of attention. You are now able to see victory and speak as an overcomer since you have been refreshed, renewed and strengthened by experiencing God's grace (provision) in person.
Now you can go back out to face the world and deal more effectively and victoriously as more than a conqueror. That's because you have been strengthened and renewed in His presence. Then it will be recognized by others that you are an overcomer, a child of God - to men, to God, to the angels, and to the enemy. Now, what you speak, plead and demand in Jesus' name, has God's full endorsement and power behind it. Satan and his forces notice, tremble and have to yield.
James 4:7 - "Submit yourselves therefore unto God, Resist the devil, and he will flee from you."
This brings us to Part Three:
PART THREE - THE MIGHTY PRAYER WARRIOR, WHOSE INTERCESSORY PRAYER CHANGES THINGS
James 5:16 - "...The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much".
EFFECTUAL means affective; getting or producing the desired results. FERVENT means intense; earnest; with full feeling; throwing yourself fully into it; pouring out your heart in the matter.
Earnest and fervent prayer is not to convince God or to twist His arm to get him to move on behalf of what, or who, we are praying for. God is already on our side and He stands ready to do as we ask in accordance to his will.
Matthew 7:7 & 8 - "Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you: For every one that asketh receiveth; and he that seeketh findeth; and to him that knocketh it shall be openned.".
So the fervency in prayer to not to get God to act but to bring to pass what He has promised to provide according to His Word. That fervency is required to bring that answer through the barriers that the forces of the enemy have set up to try to keep us from receiving what God has promised and provided for us.
Ephesians 6:12 - "For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places."
We, as the children of Almighty God, have an enemy, an evil adversary, who is bent on our destruction and tries to keep us from receiving the things God has promised and provided:
John 10:10 - "The thief (devil) cometh not, but for to steal, and to kill, and to destroy: I (Jesus) am come that they might have life (zoe, life as God has it), and that they have it (zoe) more abundantly."
Be it known to you that God has made all provision for every one of His children to be victorious over all the wiles of the enemy. All of God's promises, provisions and means of warfare are revealed in His word (Bible), but it is incumbent upon us to know the Word of God and apply it. Otherwise we live as prey to the enemy, being devoured by sickness, disease, circumstances and various evil afflictions. We are engaged in a deadly spiritual warfare, and most believers are not even aware of what is going on.
1 Peter 5:8 & 9 - Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour: Whom resist steadfast in the faith, knowing that the same afflictions are accomplished in your brethren that are in the world."
It's the god of this world, the devil (2 Corinthians 4:4), who opposes us and stands as the adversary and hinderer of what we pray for. That is why we need to learn to fight the fight of faith as a PRAYER WARRIOR.
2 Corinthians 10: 3 & 4: - For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war after the flesh: (For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but mighty through God to the pulling down of strong holds;)."
The prayer warrior is one who intercedes; one who prays on behalf of others; one who forms a hedge of defense for another; one who stands in the gap for another and fights for that person who may not be able to fight the fight of faith for himself. An intercessor does battle for one who has been wounded by the enemy in some way and lacks the ability to fight or does not have the knowledge of what or how to battle and obtain the victory.
A prayer warrior/intercessor is team player who as an earnest regard for other members of the body of Christ. One who is willing to sacrifice his or her time and effort to see to the need and care of others. This is one of the most important and powerful forms of ministry that a believer can engage in; and it does not cost money, just quality time.
As an intercessor for another, you point them out to God; you symbolically bring them into your secret place of intimacy by bringing them to God's attention; lifting them up before Him and pleading their case for them. You pray for others just as you would pray for yourself or loved ones who face the same situation. You are getting them His help with their needs.
You can easily do this after you have been refreshed yourself, since after being refreshed in Him, your focus is on Him and His ability instead of on your problems, or their problems. Having been renewed and refreshed you are able to speak and pray the solution and not dwell on the problem regardless of how big it is or how impossible it seems.
Ephesians 3:20 - "Now unto him that is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think....".
After being intimate with God in His presence you become more keenly aware of His greatness, majesty and power that He bestows on your behalf. Your confidence is elevated and you begin to speak and pray as Jesus did. Your faith is built up and you are ready to take your stand and fight for yourself, your family and others.
Fasting even increases this influence in your life; it is a spiritual force of great significance that can't be measured but can sure be seen by its results. Fasting is a key element in intercessory prayer as it shows your devotion and commitment to that which your are pursuing. Since fasting is a subject all by itself you would do well to study it for yourself as we won't get into it here.
Sickness, illness, disease and any form of physical malady can be healed as Jesus demonstrated. Even the dead can be raised. The problem is that we are so focused on the physical situation that we fail to accept and apply the supernatural power that changes things - believing what God does and says:
John 14:12 – Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that believeth on me, the works that I do shall he do also; and greater works than these shall he do; because I go unto my Father.
Luke 13:11-13 – Spirit of infirmity – And, behold, there was a woman which had a spirit of infirmity eighteen years, and was bowed together, and could in no wise lift up herself. And when Jesus saw her, he called her to him, and said unto her, Woman, thou art loosed from thine infirmity. And he laid his hands on her: and immediately she was made straight, and glorified God.
Luke 11:5-10 – And he said unto them, Which of you shall have a friend, and shall go unto him at midnight, and say unto him, Friend, lend me three loaves; for a friend of mine in his journey is come to me, and I have nothing to set before him? and he from within shall answer and say, Trouble me not: the door is now shut, and my children are with me in bed; I cannot rise and give thee. I say unto you, Though he will not rise and give him, because he is his friend, yet because of his importunity he will rise and give him as many as he needeth. And I say unto you, Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you. For every one that asketh receiveth; and he that seeketh findeth; and to him that knocketh it shall be opened.
Importunity, to entreat persistently and repeatedly until answer received. not giving up the fight and yielding to the enemy. Not diverted, not giving up, holding fast to the goal or purpose sought after, be it healing, deliverance (casting out spirits), provision, direction, salvation, guidance or anything that is promised in god's word.
INSISTANT FAITH- You will not be denied, as the woman from Canaan:
Matthew 15:22-28 – And, behold, a woman of Canaan came out of the same coasts, and cried unto him, saying, Have mercy on me, O Lord, thou son of David; my daughter is grievously vexed with a devil. But he answered her not a word. And his disciples came and besought him, saying, Send her away; for she crieth after us. But he answered and said, I am not sent but unto the lost sheep of the house of Israel. Then came she and worshipped him, saying, Lord, help me. But he answered and said, It is not meet to take the children’s bread, and to cast it to dogs. And she said, Truth, Lord: yet the dogs eat of the crumbs which fall from their masters’ table. Then Jesus answered and said unto her, O woman, great is thy faith: be it unto thee even as thou wilt. And her daughter was made whole from that very hour.
CONSISTANT in prayer – praying faithfully knowing you will receive or win in the situation.
A prayer warrior does not simply fire a round at the enemy and feel that he has done his job and disengages the attack or ceases to intercede; he keeps firing until he sees the enemy flee; he prays until he knows he has won the battle and obtained victory. Jesus gives us an example to follow.
John 16:23-24 – And in that day ye shall ask me nothing. Verily, verily, I say unto you, Whatsoever ye shall ask the Father in my name, he will give it you. Hitherto have ye asked nothing in my name: ask, and ye shall receive, that your joy may be full.
To tap into greater power you go into team prayer. This multiplies the power; If one can put a 100 to flight, two can put 10,000 to flight. Joining with others in intercessory prayer greatly magnifies the power output in the spirit realm.
Matthew 18:19 – Again I say unto you, That if two of you shall agree on earth as touching any thing that they shall ask, it shall be done for them of my Father which is in heaven.
Ask = make demand on a promise is like writing and issuing a check, a promisary note, that allows the recipient to present that check to the bank to make demand on what that check says. Jesus being the issuer of all promisary notes (promises) listed in the Bible; we make demand in His name.
John 14:13-14 – And whatsoever ye shall ask in my name, that will I do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son. If ye shall ask any thing in my name, I will do it.
In dealing with the enemy, “to ask” is actually to command the enemy and his forces in Jesus name to get out, off, or away from a person, or from creating a condition or situation.
The true warrior/intercessor will continue the battle until it is won; until the demon flees; until the healing manifests; until the provision comes; until the answer arrives. This involves a sacrifice and dedication on the part of the intercessor. This is the person whose prayer changes things. This is not so much of a calling or gifting to be and intercessor warrior as it is the determination on the part of the person to see and experience the things of the kingdom; what God has promised and what Jesus purchased for us.
When believers begin praying like this then the world will take notice as miracles will begin to happen as God's word and kingdom begin to manifest in our presence. Then be ready to give answer to those unbelievers who ask what is this and how did it happen. Then you too can respond to them as Peter responded to those who inquired the same of him:
Acts 3:4-8 & 16 – And Peter, fastening his eyes upon him with John, said, Look on us. And he gave heed unto them, expecting to receive something of them. Then Peter said, Silver and gold have I none; but such as I have give I thee: In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth rise up and walk. And he took him by the right hand, and lifted him up: and immediately his feet and ankle bones received strength. And he leaping up stood, and walked, and entered with them into the temple, walking, and leaping, and praising God. 16 And his name through faith in his name hath made this man strong, whom ye see and know: yea, the faith which is by him hath given him this perfect soundness in the presence of you all.
Acts 4:7-10 – And when they had set them in the midst, they asked, By what power, or by what name, have ye done this? Then Peter, filled with the Holy Ghost, said unto them, Ye rulers of the people, and elders of Israel, if we this day be examined of the good deed done to the impotent man, by what means he is made whole; be it known unto you all, and to all the people of Israel, that by the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, whom ye crucified, whom God raised from the dead, even by him doth this man stand here before you whole.
Then the church begins to really function as the church that Jesus is coming back for. Jesus will be revealed in his true power and glory and people will be drawn to Him.
Look up and read about the prayer ministry of Henry Gruver and his team that has gone around the world to pray in foreign cities; breaking the stronghold of evil over those areas; others laying hands on the seats of street cars and buses before they embark on the days routes. Mid-wives laying hands of new-born and praying God’s blessing on them.