The True Prayer-True Power!
The following lesson was developed from the writings of Steve Bray- “The Faith that Prays.”
Prayer is the grandest power in the entire universe. It has more force than anything else known to mankind. Prayer has just as true, just as real, and just as invaluable an influence over the entire universe as any of the laws of nature. When a Spirit-led believer begins to pray, it is not a question of whether God will hear him or not: God must hear him. He has promised to respond to these prayers. We can depend on Him to fulfill His promise. As He is the Most High and true God, He cannot deny Himself.
The prayers of spiritual Christians are nothing more than God’s own desires and promises being breathed from their hearts. The requests become His decrees. To the degree that our words have their source in His will, they become as omnipotent as the decree that stated, “Let there be light: and there was light.” (Gen. 1:3)
There is real power in prayer. Regardless of where Christ places you in His body, you may become as powerful in your service as the most effective ministers. There is no need to receive certificates from the schools to do this supernatural work for the kingdom of God. The ear of God shall listen, and the hand of God shall yield to your requests. When you can plead His promises in harmony with the life of Jesus Christ, then your will is His will. You will speak forth and it will be done.
The real work of the kingdom of God takes place as we overcome the powers of darkness through the power of Christ’s Spirit. “For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places.” (Eph. 6:12) This work cannot be carried out by depending on human abilities on the natural plane of life.
Christ now has complete dominion over the powers of darkness. It may be helpful to insert the words of A. J. Gordon at this point. He explains how Jesus is now prepared to share His power and authority with His disciples.
“Behold, I have given you authority…over all the power of the enemy…” (Luke 10:19)… In my Master’s Name, I would speak out this message of His, all anew to every follower of His… This is His message to you today. Listen keenly, “I, Jesus, have given you authority over all the power of the enemy. I have the authority. I have won it for you. I give it to you. Use it in My name! Greater works shall ye do because I am with the Father in the place of authority, and you shall act in My place…”
It means claiming as our very own whatever is needed. It means taking possession by faith of what our great Captain has won back for us.
The last message of our Lord’s lips, on Olivet, fits in here with peculiar power. “All authority hath been given unto me in heaven and on earth. Go ye therefore.” That little preposition “on” in “on the earth” could accurately be made to read “over”. He has been given all authority on the earth and over the earth. It is because of that authority that we are bidden to “go.”… As we “go” we will need not only power but authority, for every step of our ongoing is contested. In that authority we are to go, and to take what is our rightful possession, in the Name of our Substitute-Victor.
As your service leads you on to a bit of ground that is held by the forces of evil, remember this: that bit of ground belongs to man, to be held by him for God. It has been lost through disobedience. But it has been won back by Jesus, the Victor. You have the right to step in and say, “I take, in the name of the Lord Jesus, I take this back for Him.”…
But—the taking must be as deep as your life; it must be as intense as the opposition. Satan is a stiff fighter: he doesn’t yield, except what he must. The taking must be definite. Prayer must always be definite… The taking must be as insistent as the enemy is persistent, and just a bit more; and that is where the fight comes.
What a tremendous thing to have this glorious power of Christ’s Spirit in one’s hands! If the Christian will only have faith in God, there will be nothing that is impossible to him. If he can but believe the promises found in God’s Word, and continue holding them up before the Lord’s eyes while praying with unfaltering reliance, the Creator of the universe must respond.
There is no force so tremendous, no energy so marvelous, as the energy that God has made available through prayer. Like Jacob, if we can wrestle and prevail with God in prayer, everything needful is within our grasp. “For with God nothing will be impossible.” (Luke 1:37) But we must believe that prayer is what it is said to be, or it will have no power in our lives. “Now He did not do many mighty works there because of their unbelief.” (Matt. 13:58) Everything in the kingdom of God is dependent on faith. “According to your faith will it be done to you.” (Matt. 9:29)
God may grant requests to those who are still lost in darkness and without any real faith. He may do it in His own sovereign grace. He gives rain to both the sinner and the saint. But He has not promised to do it. On the other hand, He must respond to His children of faith when they are abiding in His life and will.
The doctrine of faith requires us to depend on God to fulfill His promises. When our faith can plead the promises with earnest desire, it is no longer a probability as to whether they shall be answered. Unless the Eternal truth has departed from His Word, unless the oath that He has given shall be forgotten and He shall cease to be the God of all truth, “We know that we have the petitions that we desired of Him.”
And now let us take this one step higher. We need to begin counting over the mercies before they are ever received, believing they are on the way.
In chapter 10 of the book of Daniel, the whole machinery of prayer seems to be laid bare. Daniel is on his knees in prayer, and an angel comes to him. The angel talks with Daniel and tells him how his words had been heard when he first set his heart on the Lord and began to seek understanding for the vision. This was when the Lord dispatched the angel. Then the angel tells him in a most businesslike manner, “I should have been here before, but the Prince of Persia withstood me; nevertheless, the prince of your nation helped me, and I have come to comfort and instruct you.” If God has breathed the desire into our heart, and we are under the leading of His Spirit, we can be sure that God has heard the request. We can therefore expect to see His mercy in due time.
Some seem to think these deep spiritual truths are the mere imaginations of deluded people. Men have considered George Müller of Bristol irrational because he gathered together hundreds of children and then depended wholly on his loving Father to supply their needs through answered prayer. In order to demonstrate God’s willingness to answer prayer, he never directly turned to man for help. He relied on God to move others through the power of the Spirit. He found there was never a mountain too large to be move by prayer.
In truth, Mr. Müller was one of the most rational men in all of God’s creation. He had enough sense to respond to the Word of God with a living faith. He did what should be the common action of every Christian. He lived by dependent faith in the Creator of the heavens and the earth.
Of course, Mr. Müller, as he lived by faith, was living by a rule that most people will reject because it is not rational when looked at through the self-sufficient eyes of the world. It is a way of life that will inevitably appear irrational to the weak in faith, but never so to the spiritual child of God. Mr. Müller depended on something higher than common sense—He lived by uncommon faith. Oh, that we had that uncommon faith to take God at His Word!
Our Father cannot and will not permit the child of faith who has placed all their trust in Him to be ashamed or confounded. “Then you will know that I am the Lord, for they shall not be ashamed who wait for Me.” (Isa. 49:23) Waiting on God in childlike dependence is the essence of walking by faith. We can expect Him to manifest His power and glory through our lives if we will continue to show our trust in Him by walking in this way of faith. “You will ask what you desire, and it shall be done for you. By this My Father is glorified…”
There is a need to examine our prayer meetings. Is it not a fact that people think they must display a special skill in prayer? And that skill, in the case of many praying men, will depend on having a good memory to recall many of the great texts that have been quoted since the days of our grandfather’s grandfather. Others will pray over their long lists without ever considering what God has purposed to work out through their prayers. And then we wonder why our prayers are so ineffectual.
It would be good to burn the whole stock of old prayers and spiritual words, and all those other quotations that we have been dislocating and repeating from man to man. We need to come before God and speak as the Spirit is leading, realizing that these are the prayers that can be granted. This complete surrender to the leading of the Spirit would be a grand thing for our prayer meetings. They would be better attended if everyone would shake off that habit of formality, begin talking to God as little children with a serious request, and then expect a response. Everyone must learn to pray for the very things that God has placed on their hearts and then sit down and be done.
God does not want those old words repeated over and over again. He wants the new oil just distilled from the fresh olive of your own yielded heart. Do not learn the language of prayer, but rather seek the spirit of prayer. When your prayers come from the Son through the Holy Spirit, God will bless you with answers to your requests.
Look upward, and let us weep! O God, You have given us a mighty weapon, and we have permitted it to rust. You have given us something that is as mighty as Yourself, and we have let this great means of power lie dormant.
Would it not be a crime if a man were given an eye that he never opened or a hand that he never lifted? And what must we say of ourselves when God has given us power in prayer—matchless power that is full of blessedness and unnumbered mercies—and yet that power is never used.
Weep believer! We have been defeated and our banners trail in the dust because we have not prayed in the Spirit. Go back to your God and confess before Him that you were armed and had access to a mighty weapon, but you have failed to fulfill your duty in the day of battle.
Go to your God and tell Him that if the kingdom of God is not furthered, it is not because He does not have the power to save, but rather because you have never travailed in Spirit-originated prayer. Your spirit has not been moved. Wake up, wake up, and be astonished: you have neglected this mighty power during this day of great need.
You must learn to wrestle with God in prayer. If you will do your part, the blessings will come. There is both an early and latter rain of His mercy. Do not rest with justification and forgiveness of sins. Seek the latter rain of the harvest season and the earth shall bring forth an abundance of fruit, and all the nations shall call you blessed. “And let us not grow weary while doing good, for in due season we shall reap if we do not lose heart.” (Gal. 6:9)
Once more, look up and rejoice! Though you have sinned against Him by neglecting to sacrifice your time to pray for the advancement of His kingdom, He still loves you. You have not sought His face, but He is still saying: “Seek and you will find.” You may not have gone to the fountain, but the fountain continues to flow freely. You have not drawn near to God, but God waits to be gracious still, and He is ready to hear your petitions.
Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives, and he who seeks finds, and to him who knocks it will be opened. (Matt. 7:7-9)
Behold, God says to His children, “Ask Me of things to come concerning My sons; And concerning the work of My hands, you command Me.” (Isa. 45:11) We are to be His representatives in this world telling Him what needs to be done. As we live in union with Christ’s Spirit, He will share with us in His dominion. Each one of us has a work that He intends to accomplish through our lives. And He waits for us to voice what needs to be done. “And concerning the work of My hands, you command Me.”
What a blessing it is to be an ambassador of the Lord Jesus Christ—the One who now has all power and authority in heaven and on earth. He says, “you command Me.” He is ready to hear what needs to be done! He is looking for disciples who will advance His kingdom of light through their prayers. Will you present yourselves to Him as a living sacrifice to become a part of this glorious work?