The Power of Prayer
Living TRUTH Radio Broadcast, February 20, 1998
Recently, as the Family of God gathered in the home of a some believers that reside in Westerville, Ohio, we found ourselves in an exciting and challenging discussion on prayer and fasting.
Near the end of the evening, the moving of the Holy Spirit brought us to our knees in prayers, intercessions, weeping and repentance, and the wonderful sense of the nearness of our Holy and mighty God!
As the wonder of this experience continues to linger in my heart and mind, I recall the emphasis of last week's broadcast, and the request that I offered to this radio audience. The text was 2 Chronicles 7:14 and the call to prayer, repentance, humility and obedience to our Lovely Lord and King.
The Lord today is powerfully convicting many of us concerning this great need for more prayers, fastings and intercessions. We are also discovering that same witness of the Holy Spirit being found in various other churches and brethren with whom we are in contact.
All of this has inspired me to present today's teaching on...
the power of prayer.
How little do we realize this tremendous power that the Lord of the universe has bestowed upon us, in offering us this awesome privilege of petitioning Him! How little do we take advantage of this powerful option, to assume this important responsibility that God has placed upon all of His children!
Today, with the guidance and inspiration of the Holy Spirit, and the power of His Living Word, we will attempt to remedy this situation. By His grace we will recover ourselves from this malady that pervades Christianity, much to the rejoicing and success of our adversary.
LORD, TEACH US TO PRAY...
In Luke 11, starting with verse 1, we read: And it came to pass, that as he was praying in a certain place, when he ceased, one of his disciples said unto him, Lord, teach us to pray, as John also taught his disciples.
Oh how inspired these disciples must have been by the prayer life of the Master! Being God's chosen people, surely they had heard many prayers, and even prayed themselves on occasion, but there must have been something different about His praying that made them desire that very same heart-felt prayer life and relationship with God!
What a privilege! To even be present while the Son of God prayed to His heavenly Father! But better still, to be instructed by Him in effectively approaching the most powerful being in this universe!
And how blessed are we to possess the inspired, written record of His answer to them, in order that we also may learn this often forgotten or neglected art!
Lord, teach us to pray!
There is one thing about prayer, you will never learn it until you do it. Some may feel inadequate, and rightly so. Even Paul the apostle admitted that we do not always know how to pray as we ought -- but wait! The Spirit Himself makes intercession for us, through us, when we cannot find the proper words. He will pray the will of God through us! (Romans 8:26,27)
The important thing here is to pray!
Luke 11:2: And he said unto them, When ye pray, say, Our Father which art in heaven...
This is important. He did not say, pray to my Father. God is our Father as well! We are born of Him! We are not beggars, coming for a handout, but sons of God, born from above!
Prayer is about our relationship with the Father! I suspect that our reluctance to pray might be evidence of our lack of understanding who we really are in Him!
Do children with a normal, healthy family life hesitate to talk to their father, who naturally provides for them, cares for them, and joys in giving them joy? Do they somehow sense that they have no right to approach Him?
Of course not!
Listen to me: God is your Father! You are the children of God! Talk to Him, cry to Him, even whine to Him if you must! He is your Father! That is what He is there for!
But also don't forget to listen to Him. He will speak to you, as any good earthly father would, but we must have ears to hear Him speak to us by His Spirit and Word.
And then we read:
Hallowed be thy name. Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done, as in heaven, so in earth.
This statement, "thy will be done," is often seen as passive resignation to undesirable situations and circumstances. Please don't get me wrong here. There are times when we must accept some things that may not be pleasing to our human side, in order that God may receive greater glory.
It is written that Jesus our forerunner endured the cross for the joy set before Him. But observe the fact that the ultimate goal of God was not Christ's sufferings, but His glorious triumph and resurrection!
We are to pray the Will of God! In this way we participate in the establishment of His reign in this earth!
Lord, teach us to pray, that your will will be done in earth, just as it is eternally accomplished in your heaven!
There is a great deal of misunderstanding among believers concerning the will of God. At another time I would like to deal with this subject in greater depth, but for now I would like to focus on the principle of praying the will of God.
In Mark chapter 9, verses 19 through 29, we see the story of a boy who was possessed by a spirit that prevented his speech. Jesus' disciples had attempted to deliver him, but failed. How many times have we prayed for an individual to be healed or released from one bondage or another, without success? How many of us have closed out this chapter of our adventure in Christ with this statement: "It must not be God's will for this person to find relief?"
As we have already said, there are times when we will suffer according to the will of God, but observe what Jesus said in this instance:
He answereth him, and saith, "O faithless generation,
how long shall I be with you? how long shall I suffer you? bring
him unto me." And they brought him unto him: and when he
saw him, straightway the spirit tare him; and he fell on the ground,
and wallowed foaming.
And he asked his father,"How long is it ago since this came unto him?" And he said, "Of a child. And ofttimes it hath cast him into the fire, and into the waters, to destroy him: but if thou canst do any thing, have compassion on us, and help us."
Jesus said unto him, "If thou canst believe, all things
are possible to him that believeth." And straightway the
father of the child cried out, and said with tears, "Lord,
I believe; help thou mine unbelief."
When Jesus saw that the people came running together, he rebuked the foul spirit, saying unto him, "Thou dumb and deaf spirit, I charge thee, come out of him, and enter no more into him." And the spirit cried, and rent him sore, and came out of him: and he was as one dead; insomuch that many said, "He is dead."
But Jesus took him by the hand, and lifted him up; and he arose. And when he was come into the house, his disciples asked him privately, "Why could not we cast him out?" And he said unto them, "This kind can come forth by nothing, but by prayer and fasting."
Let us consider the fact that it was the will of God for this boy to be healed, in spite of the fact that the disciples' prayers were ineffective! The boy and his family continued to suffer, not because of the will of God, but because of their lack of faith and trust in God!
The disciples previously had great success in delivering others, but this situation had somehow stumped them. For whatever reason, this time prayer was not enough. This was a time for prayer AND fasting!
Most of us realize that there will be times when even both prayer and fasting can not change the situation, but I want to ask you this: how will you ever know for sure until you try? Remember the time when King David fasted for his dying child, but accepted the outcome when the child was taken? He evidently felt he had nothing to lose, and neither do we when we fast and pray to see the will of God performed in the earth!
Even when disappointed with the outcome, we have His assurance that His will and His good and perfect intention will ultimately be seen.
Lord I believe! Help thou my unbelief! May our prayers be as honest and hopeful as this man's was!
Reading again in Luke 11, starting at verse 3:
Give us day by day our daily bread. And forgive us our sins;
for we also forgive every one that is indebted to us. And lead
us not into temptation; but deliver us from evil.
And he said unto them, Which of you shall have a friend, and shall go unto him at midnight, and say unto him, Friend, lend me three loaves; For a friend of mine in his journey is come to me, and I have nothing to set before him?
And he from within shall answer and say, "Trouble me not: the door is now shut, and my children are with me in bed; I cannot rise and give thee."
I say unto you, Though he will not rise and give him, because he is his friend, yet because of his importunity he will rise and give him as many as he needeth.
And I say unto you, Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you. For every one that asketh receiveth; and he that seeketh findeth; and to him that knocketh it shall be opened.
If a son shall ask bread of any of you that is a father, will he give him a stone? or if he ask a fish, will he for a fish give him a serpent? Or if he shall ask an egg, will he offer him a scorpion?
If ye then, being evil, know how to give good gifts unto your children: how much more shall your heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to them that ask him? (Luke 11:3-13)
Let us pray:
Father, you know our hearts. You know our weaknesses. you know our need to know you more deeply as well as our need to more accurately understand ourselves. We make this request of you today: Teach us to pray. Teach us how to relate to you as your children who are born from above. Help us to more consistently lean on you, trusting in your grace, power and love. And more than that, give us a bold persistence for your purposes, your will and to see your reign of righteousness, peace and joy in this earth. Fill us with your Holy Spirit, that we might both see and enter into your Majestic Kingdom!
In Jesus wonderful Name,