The Power of Prayer

The Power of Prayer

What is prayer.  What are we doing or what is “prayer” supposed to be doing?  Webster’s Dictionary says:

  1. Reverent petition made to God
  2. An act of communion with God
  3. Specially worded form used to address God

E.M. Bounds practiced law until he was called to preach the gospel.  During the Civil War,

Cover of "The Possibilities of Prayer"

Cover of The Possibilities of Prayer

he served as a chaplain until his capture.  He was held prisoner in Nashville, Tenn.  Later he pastored several churches.  His writings of articles and books have been read by thousands especially on the subject of prayer.  His books are now considered classics.

In his book “Possibilities of Prayer” published by Baker Book House in Grand Rapids, Michigan on page 11 he states:

“The ministry of prayer has been the peculiar distinction of all of God’s saints.  This has been the secret of their power.  The energy and the soul of their work has been the closet.  The need of help outside of man being so great, man’s natural in ability to always judge kindly, justly, and truly and to act the Golden Rule, so prayer is enjoined by Christ to enable man to act in all these things according to the Divine will.  By prayer, the ability is secured to feel the law of love, to speak according to the law of love, and to do everything in harmony with the law of love.”

When we as saints of God begin to walk in His ways, we all must have His sustaining power.  It is only through a direct connection with God that we are able to obtain that power.

E.M. Bounds speaks of “the energy and the soul of their work has been the closet”.  He is speaking of the “prayer closet”.   No longer do we as Christians sustain nor occupy a prayer closet.   We sit in our chairs, stand in church, or simply sit on the pews and never really experience the power which comes from earnest prayer.

Prayer is the lifeline, the spiritual connection we have with our God.  Without prayer, we have no direct connection with Him.  That prayer line must remain open in our lives for communication, a ‘communion’ or working relationship with God. 

I have heard of times when people used to weep literally at the alters of the church.  Today, we are lucky is we even have alters. We have removed the alters as the schools removed prayer for the classrooms.  The spiritual condition of a church depends on the spiritual condition of the members.  Without earnest prayer, we must question the spiritual condition of those attending even the ‘old timers’ of our congregations.

Many ask, “Why do we not see miracles in our midst anymore?”   Again, it is the spiritual condition of our members.  If we are not seeing miracles, answered prayers, feel God’s love around us, then we must question our relationship with Him.  If we do not witness answers to our prayers, healings, financial blessings, I would suggest we need to consider our spiritual walk with Christ.

Feelings of power over others, ruling authority in the church and ‘holy than thou’ feelings develop when we begin to slide from the power of God. Prayer has lacked in our lives and now Satan has a hold on our spiritual lives.  Are we merely going through the motions of prayer or earnestly seeking His will for our lives.  We must begin to spend time in the “Old fashioned Prayer Closet” for answers and power.

 

prayer..

prayer.. (Photo credit: aronki)

THE POWERS OF PRAYER INCREASED BY SELF-DENIAL

In Matthew 17:14-21Matthew 17:14-21
English: King James Version (1611) - KJV

14 And when they were come to the multitude, there came to him a certain man, kneeling down to him, and saying, 15 Lord, have mercy on my son: for he is lunatick, and sore vexed: for ofttimes he falleth into the fire, and oft into the water. 16 And I brought him to thy disciples, and they could not cure him. 17 Then Jesus answered and said, O faithless and perverse generation, how long shall I be with you? how long shall I suffer you? bring him hither to me. 18 And Jesus rebuked the devil; and he departed out of him: and the child was cured from that very hour. 19 Then came the disciples to Jesus apart, and said, Why could not we cast him out? 20 And Jesus said unto them, Because of your unbelief: for verily I say unto you, If ye have faith as a grain of mustard seed, ye shall say unto this mountain, Remove hence to yonder place; and it shall remove; and nothing shall be impossible unto you. 21 Howbeit this kind goeth not out but by prayer and fasting.  

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we read the story of the disciples attempting to cast out demons from a possessed boy.  They tried and tried but too much avail, there was no power to remove them.

The father of the boy was disappointed because he had known of other miracles happening from the disciples’ prayers. 

Self-denial is an vital part of our spiritual well-being.  Jesus came upon the scene and saw what had happened and became frustrated with the disciples’ lack of power and faith.

In verse 17 Jesus says “O faithless and perverse generation, how long shall I be with you?  How long shall I suffer you?  Bring him hither to me.”  Jesus shows his disappointment and frustration with us when we do not sacrifice all for the power of God.  We must totally dedicate and commit our lives to the service of God.

Jesus went onto say in verse 21 “Howbeit this kind goeth not out but by prayer and fasting.”  Prayer and fasting are the only ways we are able to totally seek and experience the true power of God.  Self-denial; by not allowing  true and complete power in our lives.

Jesus even knew He had to go to the Garden of Gethsemane to receive power from on high for what was about to take place in His life.  He knew the pain, sorrow, and trials He would face at the hands of the Roman soldiers.   He needed strength to endure and fulfill the Old Testament prophesies about His coming death for our sins.  (Matthew 26:26-43Matthew 26:26-43
English: King James Version (1611) - KJV

26 And as they were eating, Jesus took bread, and blessed it, and brake it, and gave it to the disciples, and said, Take, eat; this is my body. blessed it: many Greek copies have gave thanks 27 And he took the cup, and gave thanks, and gave it to them, saying, Drink ye all of it; 28 For this is my blood of the new testament, which is shed for many for the remission of sins. 29 But I say unto you, I will not drink henceforth of this fruit of the vine, until that day when I drink it new with you in my Father's kingdom. 30 And when they had sung an hymn, they went out into the mount of Olives. hymn: or, psalm 31 Then saith Jesus unto them, All ye shall be offended because of me this night: for it is written, I will smite the shepherd, and the sheep of the flock shall be scattered abroad. 32 But after I am risen again, I will go before you into Galilee. 33 Peter answered and said unto him, Though all men shall be offended because of thee, yet will I never be offended. offended: or, though the faith of other men should be shaken and fail, yet mine will be firm and constant 34 Jesus said unto him, Verily I say unto thee, That this night, before the cock crow, thou shalt deny me thrice. 35 Peter said unto him, Though I should die with thee, yet will I not deny thee. Likewise also said all the disciples. 36 Then cometh Jesus with them unto a place called Gethsemane, and saith unto the disciples, Sit ye here, while I go and pray yonder. 37 And he took with him Peter and the two sons of Zebedee, and began to be sorrowful and very heavy. 38 Then saith he unto them, My soul is exceeding sorrowful, even unto death: tarry ye here, and watch with me. 39 And he went a little further, and fell on his face, and prayed, saying, O my Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me: nevertheless not as I will, but as thou wilt. 40 And he cometh unto the disciples, and findeth them asleep, and saith unto Peter, What, could ye not watch with me one hour? 41 Watch and pray, that ye enter not into temptation: the spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak. 42 He went away again the second time, and prayed, saying, O my Father, if this cup may not pass away from me, except I drink it, thy will be done. 43 And he came and found them asleep again: for their eyes were heavy.  

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All of us regardless of our journey with Christ in this life must gain that higher strength that only comes through prayer and self-denial of our own powers, abilities, and experiences.

THE POWER OF PRAYER IS DEPENDENT UPON FAITH

In the Amplified Version of the Bible it states in Matthew 21:17Matthew 21:17
English: King James Version (1611) - KJV

17 And he left them, and went out of the city into Bethany; and he lodged there.  

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“and whatsoever you ask for in prayer, having faith and (really) believing, you will receive.”

This verse tells us whatever we ask for in prayer we have the power to receive.  BUT, the second part of that verse gives us a condition for receiving from God.  We must have faith and not only faith, but really believe  in God’s ability to provide us with what we are needing.  Power is only one portion of what we may receive if only we have faith.  Not only faith, but then truly and ‘really’ believe that God will and is capable to provide for us.

When we get into a need and seek God’s face, many times we have our little prayers all worded out and know just what to say.  When we get up, then we turn to someone and say “if only”.   That shows our doubt about what God can and will do for us.

Our faith must not waiver when we are seeking answers to life’s problems.

In John 14:13-14John 14:13-14
English: King James Version (1611) - KJV

13 And whatsoever ye shall ask in my name, that will I do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son. 14 If ye shall ask any thing in my name, I will do it.  

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it says “and I will do – I myself will grant – whatsoever you may ask in My name (presenting all I AM) so that the Father may be glorified and extolled in (through) the Son.  (vs14) (Yes) I will grant – will do for you – whatever you shall ask in my name (presenting all I AM).”

There are teaching that “whatever you ask for God will give it to you IF you have the faith for it.”  May I state that is wrong?

In this verse we see that first we must “ask in My name”.  We must ask God for our needs and requests, but we must ask in the name of Jesus.  We must ask God for an answer according to the will of God.  Maybe God doesn’t will you do have certain things, a special healing in your body because it’s time to leave this world, or He knows if you get certain material things, you will turn from Him.

I know in my own life, I have asked for a motorcycle and boat many times.  I never seem to get one.  I can tell you it would be difficult for me to be in God’s house on Sunday’s if I had a boat and the lake was open.  I would also have my wife drive and pull the boat as I rode the motorcycle.

Now that would make for a good marriage!  I believe it is not God’s will for me to have those things.  It would also not be things which would give glory to God.  God must be glorified in our circumstances and the answers to our prayers.

THE POWER OF PRAYER IS UNLIMITED OT THOSE WHO ABIDE IN CHRIST

John 15:7John 15:7
English: King James Version (1611) - KJV

7 If ye abide in me, and my words abide in you, ye shall ask what ye will, and it shall be done unto you.  

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says “If you abide in me and my words abide in you, you shall ask what you will,

03.365 (02.08.2009) Faith

Faith (Photo credit: hannahclark)

and it shall be done unto you.”  Does this say all my ‘wants’ will be fulfilled?  No, it doesn’t.

The previous verse we read stated we must ask in Jesus name and let God receive the glory.  We must live inside and allow Christ to live in us for our prayers to be fully answered.  When we totally trust in Him, then we will only ask for those things which are going to glorify God.

Sometimes we get outside the will of God and ask for things which are not in His will.  Then we feel He didn’t answer.  Well, if there is no answer, it is either your spiritual life needs more work for that request, the answer is “NO”, or it is not going to glorify God.

IN PRAYER, PRAISE SHOULD ACCOMPANY PRAYER TO BE MOST EFFECTIVE

In the book of Acts the 16th chapter we read about Paul and Silas.  They were locked up in prison. Not just prison, but the dungeon, the lowest part of the prison for safe keeping.  The Romans did not want to take a chance of them getting out.

In our lives, Satan puts us into situations which seem impossible to get out of.  We see in this verse Paul and Silas started to sing God’s praises.  If we would do the same, praise God for getting us out and saving our souls, we would see more power and answers to our prayer lives.

When we don’t praise God for His goodness and mercy in a situation, then our faith does not have a chance to grow.  We must have a total faith in God so He is able to allow His power to infiltrate our lives.

When Paul and Silas praised, they felt the ground shake, they experienced a great earthquake in their lives.  Today that’s what we need in our lives and churches.  A giant earthquake to shake the shackles off our hands and permit the power of God to reign.  God’s power is right beside us if only we will praise Him for doing what we ask, totally believing He is going to move mightily through our requests.

THE POWER OF PRAYER BECOMES MENEFESTED IN FERVENT PRAYERS OF THE SAINTS

  1. Jacob was a great man of God who wrestled with an angel.  When it seemed the angel had the best of him, he cried out to God to set him free and God moved.  Immediately Jacob heard “And he said, thy name shall be called no more Jacob, but Israel; for as a prince hast thou power with God and with men, and hast prevailed.”  (Genesis 32:28Genesis 32:28
    English: King James Version (1611) - KJV

    28 And he said, Thy name shall be called no more Jacob, but Israel: for as a prince hast thou power with God and with men, and hast prevailed. Israel: that is, A prince of God  

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      Jacob called on God and the power of God came into him so strong the angel could not hold him.
  2. Elijah in I Kings 17:1-7 had the ravens feeding him.  God told him what river to go to
    English: Elijah Resuscitating the Son of the W...

    Elijah Resuscitating the Son of the Widow of Zarephath (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

    and the ravens came twice each day to feed him.  Then in I Kings 17:7-16 we see a poor widow and her son gave him the last of their food.  They heard the voice of God and obeyed to feed the prophet.  When Elijah left, the barrel of meal never went empty nor the oil was used up.  They were taken care of because Elijah called to God; obeyed God, the woman obeyed God and therefore supplied both their needs!

  3. When Christ was crucified on the cross they hung him between two thieves.  One thief mocked him and the other called out to him to save his soul.  In Luke 23:39-43Luke 23:39-43
    English: King James Version (1611) - KJV

    39 And one of the malefactors which were hanged railed on him, saying, If thou be Christ, save thyself and us. 40 But the other answering rebuked him, saying, Dost not thou fear God, seeing thou art in the same condemnation? 41 And we indeed justly; for we receive the due reward of our deeds: but this man hath done nothing amiss. 42 And he said unto Jesus, Lord, remember me when thou comest into thy kingdom. 43 And Jesus said unto him, Verily I say unto thee, To day shalt thou be with me in paradise.  

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    we get to experience the awesome power of Christ even in His most vulnerable position.  Here Jesus is naked, bleeding, in terrible pain, hanging in front of the world and yet He has compassion on the one man who believed on Him and called to Him for help.  We must have that kind of faith in Christ to call even when things look the worse for us.
  4. In Acts 4:31-32Acts 4:31-32
    English: King James Version (1611) - KJV

    31 And when they had prayed, the place was shaken where they were assembled together; and they were all filled with the Holy Ghost, and they spake the word of God with boldness. 32 And the multitude of them that believed were of one heart and of one soul: neither said any of them that ought of the things which he possessed was his own; but they had all things common.  

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    and chapter 5:12-16
    we see the disciples seeking more power.  They went into a closed and prayed.  The key thing here to realize is they were all in agreement when they prayed.

 Our churches and even families have a difficult time agreeing on most things.  When we pray, we need someone in agreement with us.  When the disciples did, they as did Paul and Silas, felt the ground shake under the power of God’s moving in their lives.

 Would we realize the power of God if the earth shook under us?  Or would we just call it an earthquake?  We must have an earthquake experience of God’s power but it will only come through earnest prayer and fasting.  Seeking God’s power and His face for our answers.

 The second verse in Acts 5:12-16Acts 5:12-16
English: King James Version (1611) - KJV

12 And by the hands of the apostles were many signs and wonders wrought among the people; (and they were all with one accord in Solomon's porch. 13 And of the rest durst no man join himself to them: but the people magnified them. 14 And believers were the more added to the Lord, multitudes both of men and women.) 15 Insomuch that they brought forth the sick into the streets, and laid them on beds and couches, that at the least the shadow of Peter passing by might overshadow some of them. into...: or, in every street 16 There came also a multitude out of the cities round about unto Jerusalem, bringing sick folks, and them which were vexed with unclean spirits: and they were healed every one.  

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said they had such power that souls were being saved daily, people were laying their sick in the streets to just have Peter’s shadow pass over them. 

 Does our churches and the people have that kind of power that others flock TO us instead of running FROM us because of our spiritual condition?

 Let us all give ourselves a real ‘spiritual check-up’ today and seek the power of God through prayer in our lives.

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