“Therefore I tell you, whatever you ask in prayer, believe that you have received it, and it will be yours.” (Mark 11:24 RSV).
Prayer is one of the greatest privileges that the High and Lofty God has bestowed upon mortal men. Sadly, only few people avail themselves of this privilege.
Many praying believers today are not prevailing in prayers because they are mostly praying amiss. The Scripture warns that when you pray amiss you won’t receive answers to your prayers (Jam. 4:3).
Many people are praying amiss or wrongly today, thereby not receiving answers to their prayers and becoming frustrated, because they are praying according to human wisdom, traditions and beliefs, and not according to the Scriptures.
The Lord Jesus said, “You are mistaken, not knowing the Scriptures nor the power of God.” (Matt. 22:29 NKJV).
Therefore, it is very crucial to know the truths that the Scripture teaches about prayer so that we may pray correctly, according to the Scriptures, and so receive answers to our prayers.
In the first part of this piece we contrasted three common assumptions about prayers with the truths about prayers in God’s Word. Let us recap them briefly.
First, the Believer’s Spiritual Power or Authority is not proportional to his Prayer Life:
Contrary to the general notion in our churches that prayer is a source of spiritual power or authority for the believers, the Scripture teaches that the Holy Spirit is the only source of the believers’ power, and that the believers’ authority only proceeds from their relationship, spiritual union or identity with Christ.
Therefore, praying long, loud, or repeatedly does not generate, produce or give rise to more spiritual power and authority in Christ. Your spiritual power or authority in Christ does not fluctuate with your prayer life. It is constant! (Acts 1:8, Lk. 24:49, Eph. 2:4-6).
Second, the Efficacy of Prayer is not determined by its Volume, Loudness, Duration, Frequency, Location, Repetition, or Gesticulation:
The Scripture teaches that the efficacy of our prayer is primarily affected by our motives, spiritual understanding, yielding to God’s perfect will, and our faith and obedience to God.
Sadly, many believers today erroneously believe that praying at a certain hour of the day, at a certain sacred or holy place, or repeating the same words in prayers and praying at the top of their voice with vigorous gestures guarantee quick answers to their prayers (John 14:13-14, 1 John 5:15, Jam. 4:3). That is a mistaken belief!
Third, the Power of Prayer is not relatively proportional to the Population of People Praying:
Contrary to the notion or belief that the power or efficacy of prayer increases with the number, size or population of people praying on the same issue at the same time or place, the Scripture does not exalt or magnify corporate or joint prayers above that of individual believer.
The Scripture expressly testifies that: “The earnest prayer of a righteous person has great power and produces wonderful results.” (Jam. 5:16b NLT).
Let us now further contrast some general misconceptions about prayer with what the Scripture teaches.
Fourth, the Ultimate Purpose of Prayer is Fellowship with God:
It is a carnal mindset to make prayers all about yourself – moving or persuading God through prayers to meet your needs or grant your heart’s desires. The primary purpose of prayer is fellowship, communion, or intimacy with God.
In the Garden of Eden, when there was no need or lack to ask God to supply or meet, and there was no devil, sickness, or evil to pray against, yet the first man was always praying or talking with God (Gen. 2:19, 3:8).
This clearly reveals that the main purpose of prayer transcends receiving something from God; it is being with God, beholding His glory and enjoying His love and presence.
Fifth, Prayer is not Wrestling with God:
There is no reluctance or unwillingness on God’s side to answer the prayers of His children. We are the ones that are slow to receive from God through our unbelief and ignorance of the things that have been freely given to us in Christ (Matt. 7:11, Rom. 8:32).
Sadly, due to wrong teachings and beliefs about prayer, many believers today consider prayer as a means of wrestling with God, or prevailing upon God to bless, heal, or deliver them.
The carnal mindset of seeing prayer as grappling and wrestling with God presupposes that God is reluctant or unwilling to answer the prayers of His children, or that God is very callous and insensitive to the plights and problems of His children.
Consequently, like the ungodly judge mentioned in Luke 18, God needs to be bothered, begged, persuaded, or motivated through series of prayers, vain repetitions, plenty words, or protracted fasting before He could hear, consider, answer or respond positively to His children’s cries.
What a slander and terrible picture of a Loving God!
What a travesty and mockery of the fatherhood of God!
Contrary to our carnal prayer mindset, the Scriptures clearly portrays God as a Loving Father whose love for His children is infinite, absolute, perfect, unconditional, everlasting and sacrificial.
Was it not when we were ungodly that God sent His Son Jesus Christ to die for our sins?
If God therefore freely gave us the greatest gift when we were sinners and far away from Him, why then will He delay or refuse to give us any good things now that we are His children and in His Kingdom?
That is unthinkable!
The Scripture queries, “He who did not spare His own Son, but delivered Him up for us all, how shall He not with Him also freely give us all things?” (Rom. 8:32 NKJV).
Sixth, Praise is an Integral Part of Prayer:
It is often said in our churches today, “If prayer fails, try praise.” This notion or belief presupposes that praise is completely different from prayer and also more powerful than prayer. This is a fallacy!
It is unscriptural to separate praise, worship or thanksgiving from prayer; it is an inherent part of prayer.
The Scripture admonishes us to “Come before His presence with singing… Enter into His gates with thanksgiving, And into His courts with praise. Be thankful to Him, and bless His name.” (Psa. 100:2-4 NKJV).
When the early disciples of Christ asked the Lord to teach them how to pray, He taught them to start their prayer with praise, worship or adoration and to also end their prayer with the same.
The Lord Jesus taught His disciples, “In this manner, therefore, pray: Our Father in heaven, Hallowed be Your name.” (Matt. 6:9 NKJV).
He also taught them to end their prayer thus, “For Yours is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever. Amen.” (Matt. 6:13 NKJV).
In obedience to the Lord’s teaching on prayer, the early disciples always included praise, worship, adoration and thanksgiving in their prayers (Acts 4:24, Eph. 1:15-16, Phil. 1:3-4, Col. 1:3, 1 Thess. 1:2).
Therefore, if we are separating praise from our prayer today we are either ignorant of the Lord’s teaching on prayer or disobedient to the Lord’s teaching on prayer.
Seventh, God has answered all our prayers in and through Jesus Christ:
Through faith in Jesus Christ, the believers are now heirs of God and joint heirs with Jesus Christ, thereby lacking nothing good (Rom. 8:17).
The Scripture states:
“Therefore you are no longer a slave but a son, and if a son, then an heir of God through Christ.” (Gal. 4:7 NKJV).
“Therefore let no one boast in men. For all things are yours: whether Paul or Apollos or Cephas, or the world or life or death, or things present or things to come–all are yours. And you are Christ’s, and Christ is God’s.” (1 Cor. 3:21-23 NKJV).
As a born-again believer you now have an unlimited access to all that God has through your faith in the person and redemptive work of Jesus Christ. Everything that you need or will ever need has been richly and freely given to you in Christ.
The Scripture states:
“Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ.” (Eph. 1:3 NKJV).
“His divine power has granted to us all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of him who called us to his own glory and excellence.” (2 Pet. 1:3 RSV).
Therefore, it is simply ignorance or unbelief to seek to impress, propel or compel God to bless you or do anything for you through your prayers. In His love, God has anticipated all your needs and has already made abundant provisions for them to be fully met in and through Christ.
You cannot mount any pressure on God or motivate God to do anything for you through your prayers. God has already moved in love and your favour through Jesus Christ to make all things available freely and abundantly to you.
Beloved, quit seeking to use prayer or fasting to compel, motivate or pressurize God to give you anything or to do anything for you. God has already granted you all things in Christ and done all things for you through Christ. Therefore, simply ask in faith and receive with thanksgiving your inheritance in Christ.
The Lord Jesus said, “Therefore I tell you, whatever you ask in prayer, believe that you have received it, and it will be yours.” (Mark 11:24 RSV).
May you begin to enjoy every moment you spend in prayer, seeing it as not a time to wrestle with God for blessing, but as a time for intimate fellowship with your loving Heavenly Father to behold His glory, experience His love, and enjoy His presence.
Prayer: My Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for opening my eyes of understanding to know the truths about prayer. Help me Holy Spirit to begin to see my time of prayer as a time for intimate fellowship and communion with my loving Heavenly Father to enjoy, experience, and relish His love and presence, in Jesus’ name. Amen.