Recently I was able to speak at the National Day of Prayer held in the small town where I grew up. I was thrilled for the invitation to go back and give back. One of my favorite things to do is speak about prayer and to encourage others in their prayer life.
I can honestly and personally give testimony to the power of prayer and all that God’s Word teaches us about prayer. God’s Word is one of the main and most important ways God speaks to us, but prayer is an extremely important way we speak to God. As in all of life’s relationships, communication is key and it is NO different when establishing a personal, intimate relationship with Christ.
In the last couple of years I have desired a more powerful prayer life. Prayers that “move mountains,” the ones we see and the ones we don’t. If God in his Word says that prayer can move mountains, then you better believe I believe it and I have lived it. As I have studied Scripture in regards to what it teaches about prayer, allow me to explain what I have learned.
1 John 1:9 teaches “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” When we do that it makes us righteous (not self-righteous…there is a difference). Righteous means clean before God.
James 5:16, “Therefore confess your sins to each other pray for each other so that you may be healed [from sin]. The prayer of the righteous person is POWERFUL AND EFFECTIVE” (emphasis mine).
As I have studied Scripture, and had a little help from my friends like Anne Graham Lotz and Rick Warren, I have learned that if I commit sins one at a time, then maybe I should take the time to confess them one by one instead of lumping sin all together into one big pile. As I have decided to devote more time to living this, recognizing my sin and “labeling” it in my prayers–gossip, ingratitude, anger, selfishness, etc.–it’s been a big “OUCH!!” Often I find myself stopping to confess right after I do it. I can honestly say, even though it is humiliating, it makes you want to run and hide, I have learned to “GIRL UP” and do it.
Funny, but not surprising, Satan wants to run in and “accuse,” throw a chain of guilt and condemnation, which I have learned to rebuke also. Please learn from me. God sees all, “Nothing in all creation is hidden from God’s sight,” (Hebrews 4:13). When we “label it,” there is just something cleansing about it. Also, it imprints in our brain and helps us to recognize and stop the next time before we do it.
Sometimes I fail but I can tell you I am having more success in resisting by ”labeling” my sin. Satan is the master in whispering lies to us to make us not want to “label.” Please learn and tell yourself: “God sees and wants us to see.” The minute we do label and confess HE does forgive.
Satan would never want us to believe that so he heaps shame and guilt our way. Handing us “the bomb” we should never take. The enemy doesn’t want our prayers to be “powerful and effective!” If you reread the verse above, you see confession brings righteousness. When we are righteous, our prayers become powerful and effective.
If you have to read and reread the verses above, do it. I want everyone to experience the power of prayer as I have experienced it. It doesn’t make me perfect but it does make me more powerful as I pray in His name. Also, I have a few more scriptures I am very intentional about:
Philippians 4:6-7, “Do not be anxious about anything, but in EVERY SITUATION, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus” (emphasis mine).
And I don’t mind asking God for things but I always relinquish my will to His. 1 John 5:14, “This is the confidence we have in approaching God; that if we ask anything according to His will, He hears us.”
We also need to understand God loves us, reminding ourselves when we pray that He gave His Son for us. Knowing that Matthew, one of Jesus’ disciples who actually walked with Him on earth, writes in Matthew 7:7-11, “Ask and it will be given to you, seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives; the one who seeks finds; and the one who knocks the door will be opened. Which of you, if your son asks for bread, will give him a stone? Or if he asks for a fish, will give him a snake? If you, then though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how MUCH MORE will your FATHER in heaven give good gifts to those who ask him” (emphasis mine).
God wants to give us good things according to His will and His purpose. We can’t always understand God’s ways or His comprehensive will for all. We also need to understand that we have to ask with the “right motives.” God looks at the heart. James, the half-brother of Jesus, writes in his book in James 4:3, “When you ask, you do not receive, because you ask with the wrong motives, that you may spend what you get on your pleasures.”
I hope this helps your prayer life grow and you can see the explosion of power in your life. Diving into and studying the Old and New Testament teaches so much about how to pray and the power of prayer. I know now why in 1 Thessalonians 5:16 it teaches to “Rejoice always, PRAY CONTINUALLY, give thanks in all circumstances; this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.”
Because 30 minutes in the morning or 20 minutes at night isn’t enough time to develop the kind of prayer life that moves mountains.
I have seriously learned that I need to pray all day, every day, about all things–the small and the big. LOL. When we don’t know what to pray and are at a loss, the Holy Spirit intercedes on our behalf.
Praises in knowing that!!
One last thing I will add, God’s Word teaches us to pray for our enemies–those who curse you, persecute you, or mistreat you. Read Luke 6:27-28 and Matthew 5:43-45. This, at times, has been the hardest of all for me to do, but take my advice. Don’t follow your feelings. Do it. Pray for your enemies. It has also ushered a “piece of heaven” into my life and has also moved some mountains. The Word of God is the will of God. Praying His Word back to Him ushers in a power like you cannot even imagine…unless you do it. Indescribable!
“Is prayer your steering wheel or your spare tire?” ~Corrie ten Boom
“Prayer does not fit us for the greater work; prayer is the greater work.” ~Oswald Chambers