Praying WITH Power
Praying With Power
by Annette Capps
I’ve heard it said that prayer is never a waste of time. However, I would dare to say that prayer can be ineffectual if: (1) you have no purpose because it is only a religious habit, or (2) you don’t know the principles governing prayer.
Some of the sermons I have heard on prayer would lead you to believe that all prayer is something you do to please God, or something you do for God. Jesus taught us that there are many kinds of prayer. Prayer or “talking with God” is for our benefit and for fellowship with our Creator.
One of the ways of praying is the prayer of petition. A petition is when you ask for something. You don’t ask for something on God’s behalf; you ask for yourself or others. So there is no reason for the prayer of petition unless there is a need.
When an attorney goes to court before the judge to present a petition, he must obey the laws of the land and appear in a manner in which the court approves. He presents the facts of the case and shows faith in the court by assuming that the judge and jury will uphold the law that is written. No honest judge would be reluctant to uphold a clearly stated law.
In a similar way, God revealed Himself in the person of His Son and gave us a written statement of how His laws work. The Word of God is a legal statement of fact. It tells us what God will do.
I John 5:14-15 states, “Now this is the confidence that we have in Him, that if we ask anything according to His will, He hears us. And if we know that He hears us, whatever we ask, we know that we have the petitions that we have asked of Him.”
All we must do to have our petitions granted is to ask according to His will! It is easy to find God’s will because it is written in His Word and demonstrated through Jesus. If it pertains to life and life more abundantly, God wants you to have it!
Now, in the courts here on earth, you don’t keep going back continually with the same petition. When I was a child I would often ask my mom if we could stop at the Dairy Queen and get a chocolate dipped ice cream cone on the way home. If she said yes, we were excited – looking forward to the tasty treat! Now wouldn’t it be crazy if after she said, “Yes,” I just kept asking again and again, “Please can I have some ice cream? Please!!! I am begging you! I will do anything! Please! I want ice cream!” Yet some people do this continually in prayer. Now I knew that it was a few miles to the Dairy Queen and it would take some time to get there, but I didn’t bawl and squall about it. I looked forward with hope, and I looked forward with faith in my Mom’s promise.
All the promises of God are yes and amen. (II Corinthians 1:20) We know He has already given Jesus to redeem us from poverty, sickness and death, so since He has already provided it and said “Yes!” to our petition, we do not need to ask Him, beg Him, plead with Him over and over. We pray once – asking to receive – then believe and rejoice that it is done. Now is the time to get excited and look forward with expectation. The fulfillment may be a few miles away and it may take some time (like the trip to the Dairy Queen), but you’ll get there.
You Can Have Confidence
In the latter part of I John 5:15, Wuest’s translation reads, “We know with absolute knowledge that we have the things which we have asked from Him.” Absolute knowledge means faith! It means confidence! It means that you know that you know!
Many years ago I read this quotation: “Prayer is not overcoming God’s reluctance, but taking hold of God’s willingness.”
If we come to God with the attitude of trying to talk Him into something, we are not in faith. We find His willingness in His Word, and we come in confidence because we know He will perform His own Word.
To show you just how willing God is to answer your prayer, I want you to read Wuest’s translation of John 15:7. “If you maintain a living communion with me and my words are at home in you, I command you to ask, at once, something for yourself, whatever your heart desires, and it will become yours.”
What powerful words! Such an inspiration to faith! He did not say, “Well, you talked me into it. I guess I’ll have to do it now.” No! He commanded us to ask Him, at once (immediately), whatever our heart desires. He is not only willing, but eager to give us our petition!
It may seem a little unbelievable that this Scripture says, “whatever your heart desires” will become yours, but Jesus gave us the condition to this promise that would eliminate wrong motives and desires from fulfillment. He said, “If you maintain a living communion with me and my words are at home in you…”
If you are in fellowship with Jesus, and His words live in you, you will not ask for something that is harmful to you or others, because the Word will cleanse you.
If you follow the principles of prayer, you will have confidence that your prayers are heard and answered because you have the written promise that guarantees it. However, you should recognize that there are several different kinds of prayer that apply to varied circumstances. The prayer of petition is only one kind of prayer.
Prayer of Dedication
There are other kinds of prayer, such as the prayer of dedication and commitment, which are prayers you will pray again and again over your lifetime. Praying this type of prayer more than once is not unbelief. It is a recommitment to serve God, and obey His leading and direction for your life. There may be things you struggle with in your life – perhaps you are having trouble doing something He told you to do or not do. There are things that God has instructed me to do which I did not understand and did not want to do, but I prayed the prayer, “I don’t understand, but I will do what you want me to do. I will be obedient to the leading of the Holy Spirit and leave the rest up to You. Not my will, but Your will be done.” (Matthew 6:10, 26:39)
This prayer may need to be prayed many times in life. Its purpose is commitment to God.
In the prayer of petition, if you keep asking for the same thing over and over then you did not believe you received the first time you prayed. When this happens, it is usually because:
- You did not have the scriptures supporting what you were asking. (no supporting documents – have 2 or 3 minimum)
- You don’t believe God wants you to have what you are asking for either because you have not searched the scriptures above or your heart condemns you. (I John 3:20-21)
Jesus prayed the same prayer over and over in the Garden, but He was wrestling with knowing what God wanted Him to do and not wanting to do it. He was having an emotional discussion and spiritual crisis. It was not unbelief; it was distress and then dedication and commitment.
It is OK to ask God what is going on when you haven’t received what you prayed for. Questions such as, “Is there anything I should be doing that I am not doing?” “Is there anything that is hindering me from receiving?” These are legitimate questions and not unbelief.
Unfortunately, many people have become confused and mixed up the kinds of prayer. The purpose of the prayer of dedication is for you to surrender to God’s will. The purpose of the prayer of petition is to receive something. The purpose of the prayer of thanksgiving is to show gratitude, and the purpose of the prayer of intercession is to release the power of God and the angels to affect the lives of other people.
Prayer of Intercession
Paul said he prayed with the spirit and the understanding. If you only pray in your natural language and natural mind you can miss the power in the spirit. Intercession is made on behalf of others, and it can be done in tongues or in your own language. Technically, you cannot intercede for yourself, because the word “intercession” means to “plead, or make a request on behalf of another.”
When you are praying for others you don’t necessarily know how to pray. This is the advantage of praying in the Spirit. “Likewise the Spirit also helpeth our infirmities: for we know not what we should pray for as we ought: but the Spirit itself maketh intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered.” (Romans 8:26)
One of the best ways to intercede for others is by praying the Word of God for them. (Ephesians 1:17-19, Ephesians 3:14-19, Colossians 1:9-14) You can’t miss it by speaking God’s own Word in another’s behalf. This is a very safe way to pray. When we pray for others, we sometimes have a tendency to pray what we think they need. Only by revelation of the Holy Spirit can we know what others need. We need to be cautious about praying our own will for others. Even God does not violate an individual’s will.
Prayer of Thanksgiving
Another kind of prayer is the prayer of thanksgiving. Once you have prayed the prayer of petition and believe you have received, then you can offer the prayer of thanksgiving as often as you like – the more the better! Thanksgiving includes your confession such as, “Praise God. I thank You Lord, You have heard my prayer. You have supplied my needs abundantly and because of You, I have no lack. I have abundance of finances. Thank You Lord! Because of Jesus, I am healed, whole and well! I love You and worship You because Your Word is true.”
Praying this prayer of thanksgiving more than once is not unbelief! It is your praise and confession.
I find it is a good practice to spend time with God first thing in the morning. I ask for guidance for the day, for wisdom and His will to be done in my life that day. Repeating this prayer each morning is not unbelief, it is a form of commitment, dedication and recognition of the Holy Spirit’s guidance.
I encourage you to do the same. It’s amazing how much better my day goes when I commit it to Him!
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- Annette Capps