My dear brothers and sisters, I greet you in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, the author and finisher of our faith and the sustainer of all living beings. Today I want us to look at the subject of prayer and its place in the life of a believer.
What is prayer?
Prayer is a communication, and the kind that takes place between God and the believer. In fact prayer is the meeting point between divinity and humanity, that is to say the vehicle that transports the believer beyond the realms of the earth into heaven. And to quote the arch bishop Duncan Williams, “Prayer is the vehicle that transports out of eternity into time what God has on his mind concerning the believer.” We ought to realize that God can do nothing for man (humanity) until he has been invited. This is because GOD RESPECTS THE INDEPENDENCE AND THE WILL OF CHOICE He has given man, and as such He is restrained until He is invited. Prayer then becomes the tool that we employ in that regard. Just as the bearing of fruit of the land (earth) is connected to the rains of heaven, so is the movement of God connected to the prayer of a believer. (Isaiah 55:10-11)
Prayer and faith go hand-in-hand
Beloved, prayer is an act of faith and in Hebrews 11:1, faith is defined as the confidence that what we hope for will actually happen; it gives us the assurance about things we cannot see. (NLT)
Friends, drawing lessons from Elijah the prophet we see faith in action. In his days Elijah was confronted with several challenges that made him activate his own faith. In 1 Kings 17:1-ff, Elijah made a declaration to King Ahab about an impending drought over the land of Israel and it is amazing how he ended the prophecy. He said, “Except by my word.” Know that this was in response to the many abominable sins of the king and the household of Israel. Friends, from the account of 1kings it appears Elijah spoke a faith word and went back to eat, drink and sleep but according to the revelation in James 5:17-18, it is very clear that before he made that public declaration he had to engage God fervently in prayer, he had to argue out his case why there should not be rain on the land in order to get judicial judgment in his favour. The word ‘fervent’ as applied in the text mean a lot of passion and energy went into the prayer and in the same manner even more had to be done to open the heavens again. On Mount Carmel he bowed himself down upon the earth and put his face between his knees seven times in order to get the heavens opened. (1 Kings 18:41-42)
Again in the same 1 Kings 17:20-ff, Elijah had to travail before the Lord to get him to revive the widows son. He contended with God through three different levels of prayer before God granted the request. Elisha in 2 Kings 4:32-ff had to convince God as to why he should restore life back to the mistress’ child. Remember also that before the Israelites had access to the city of Jericho, they had to spent time in prayer for seven days and on the seventh day marched round the city seven times, and on the seventh march they shouted with faith and the walls came crumpling down. Permit me to quote from Pastor Chris Oyaklhilome in his book HOW TO PRAY EFFECTIVELY vol. one, he said “If God is going to hear a man in public, He must have heard him first in private; that is to say before a public proclamation of faith there must first be a private dealing with the Lord.”
Brethren the point I am drawing home is that even though you may have had a Prophetic Word from God you are responsible for the manifestation of that Prophetic Word.
Beloved in John 14:12-14, Jesus assures us that whatever that we ask in his name He will do it so that the father’s name will be glorified. We started by saying that prayer is an act of faith and faith is driven by purpose or a need. It is therefore important that our prayers are purpose driven and guided by faith and the word of God. This is so because the word of God says in Hebrews 11:6 that without faith it is impossible to please God and that those that approach Him must believe that he exists and that He rewards those who seek Him (RSV). Again in Luke 9:62 Jesus said that anyone who puts a hand to the plow and looks back is not fit for the kingdom of God (RSV), still talking about a lack of or shaky faith in the Lord and His word.
Why prayers go unanswered
We should understand that prayer can be said to be effective when it is backed by faith, because in Mark 11:23-24, Jesus makes us understand that the double minded person cannot achieve anything in prayer. He said, “Therefore I tell you, whatever you ask in prayer, believe that you have received it, and it will be yours (RSV). What this means is that the extent to which you can believe will be the measure of your success in prayer (how much you can believe is how much you get in prayer). (Refer James 1:6)
Again, in prayer you are expected to be point on and not beating about the bush. Specificity, conciseness and precision are what God demands of us when we come to him in prayer (Refer Matthew 6:7). We are told in James 4:3 that we ask and do not get because we ask wrongly, why:
- Because we do not ask at all-this is resulting from the fact that most of the time we complain, nag and chase after the enemy in prayer and at the end of it ask nothing from God.
- Because many of the times we get overwhelmed by the problems and needs that we get confused as to which one we want to present to God (lack of specificity)
- Even when we are clear in our minds our motives might be wrong.
It is not enough being specific, Paul also talked about persistence in prayer (Refer Ephesians 6:18), and this is corroborated by Jesus in Luke 11:5-13. Are you the type who easily gets discouraged in prayer because you think God is delaying or think God is not listening? Then be informed that prayers that move mountains are the kind done fervently, persistently and consistently day and night until something happens. Prevailing prayers are the kinds made with faith stating convincingly your case before the judge of heaven and staying there until you have a note of victory from God.
I pray that you may never grow weary in prayer until God has established you in the promises He has made concerning you and that you continue to hold high the banner of our Lord Jesus Christ, doing all things to the glory of God the Father.
GOD BLESS YOU.