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Devotions > Power for Praying

30 Jan 2013



Have you sensed an increasing internal confidence that you are receiving life altering answers to your prayers in recent days?  

Of course we must remember this instruction: our ways are not like His ways and our thoughts are much lower than His.   These indelible truths tend to put a righteous wrench into the gears of our natural intuitive evaluation of this question.   So how can we know if our prayers are really making a difference?

If we were to start near the beginning we should remember the disciples question to Jesus …..

Luke 11:1 (NASB95)
1 It happened that while Jesus was praying in a certain place, after He had finished, one of His disciples said to Him, "Lord, teach us to pray just as John also taught his disciples."

The response of Jesus is very instructive:

Luke 11:2-4 (NASB95)
2 And He said to them, "When you pray, say: 'Father, hallowed be Your name. Your kingdom come.
3 'Give us each day our daily bread.
4 'And forgive us our sins, For we ourselves also forgive everyone who is indebted to us. And lead us not into temptation.' "   
(emphasis added)

Notice that the first word is Father, followed by the request that His name be kept holy.   If we are to authentically pray from the pattern Jesus gave, we must surely first consider our perspective and position regarding His name.    For example, do we come to prayer from a position and perspective that the absolute first priority is to keep His Name Holy?   This might be described as a good start to prayer.

Due to our natural self-centered nature, we quite often struggle with maintaining a position of the submission of our thoughts and desires to those of God.   We want to be first and we naturally yearn for our requests to be considered above all others.    However in the model given for our instruction submission to God and His kingdom asfirst is clearly the instructed pattern.    Have you noticed our self-centered natures are often obstinate and difficult to domesticate?    

Our self-centeredness (pride) can be a significant barrier to answered prayers

James 4:6 (NASB95)
6 But He gives a greater grace. Therefore it says, "GOD IS OPPOSED TO THE PROUD, BUT GIVES GRACE TO THE HUMBLE."

We can receive God’s grace or His opposition in regard to our prayers, the choice is ours.   But how can we consistently make the right choice?   Jesus, our model, consistently made the correct choice; how did He do it?

John 5:19-20 (AMP)
19 So Jesus answered them by saying, I assure you, most solemnly I tell you, the Son is able to do nothing of Himself (of His own accord); but He is able to do only what He sees the Father doing, for whatever the Father does is what the Son does in the same way [in His turn].
20 The Father dearly loves the Son and discloses to (shows) Him everything that He Himself does. And He will disclose to Him (let Him see) greater things yet than these, so that you may marvel and be full of wonder and astonishment.

I believe that we see in this scripture together with others, a key to the overcoming of our pride.   The key is, in a word, love.    Have you noticed love responds to love?   Of course we are talking about agape love, the kind of love that can only have its origin in God.    

Our problem is often that we have a doctrine of love without the real and momentary experience of it.   Love doctrines are excellent as far as doctrines go, but doctrines are no match for self-centeredness.    Ideas are not in the same league with real love.   Love never fails!   Much of the demise in our churches today is the deep deficiency of the reception and nurture of the agape love God is constantly providing. 

While God continues to offer incredible love for His children, like some human children, we often lightly regard or even disregard our Father’s love.   In reality we do not experience it because our hard and wandering hearts are unable or unwilling to receive it.   While we desperately hunger for love and sometimes look for it in many menacing and corrupted corners, God is persistently offering His superior love for the simple price of seeking Him in submission. 

For an example of the power of a love relationship with the Father, we will look to the words and actions of Jesus in Mark Chapter Nine.    Some of Jesus’ disciples found it impossible to cast out a demon.   When Jesus arrived on the scene, the demon possessed boy’s father asked Jesus if He could do anything please have mercy and help them.    Jesus’ response was to first question the father’s question.   He stated clearly “all things are possible to him who believes.”    At this the father began to cry out “I believe, help my unbelief.”      Jesus, responding to this desperate and humble cry, immediately cast out the demon from this boy.

A bit later the disciples ask Jesus why they were unable to cast out this demon.  

Mark 9:29 (NASB77)
29 And He said to them, "This kind cannot come out by anything but prayer."

The word Jesus chose translated prayer in this case carries with it a significant sense of worship.   It seems that Jesus was saying the dynamic of His power flows out of the worshipful time of prayer spent in the presence of His Father.

 For confirmation if we simply revisit the model prayer of Jesus, it is clear His instruction for prayer is not primarily a wish list of things we desire but it is foremost a time of worship and submission, a time of coming into the holy presence of the King of kings.    

This leaves us with a few questions.    Are we consistently seeking to keep His name Holy?   Are we asking Him for help in this?   Are we seriously making our petition first for those things that are specific for the building His kingdom?   Are we more interested in our daily bread to feed us or to lift us up above others?   Are we always forgiving all others?    How would our answers to these questions be impacted by spending serious quality time in His presence each day?   How would our prayer time be impacted if we were to spend sufficient time and focus simply pursuing Him?   What would it look like if I were to always seek His face first before I sought His hand?   Would our confidence in God’s answers improve if we were to spend more time seeking His face?

For more powerful prayers, for more prevailing witnessing, for a more potent faith, spend more time in the presence of your loving Father.   This is the precious place where we find true peace, the kind that passes understanding.    Is this not the womb for the birthing of revival?

Jeff Willams