Friday, January 6, 2012

Praying with Power

Have you ever thought about what it means to approach God with confidence (Hebrews 4:16)? Or to contend with all the energy Christ so powerfully works in you (Colossians 1:29)?

When Christ lives in us, great power and great faith live in us. Therefore, great prayers should come out of us.

Of course, there are as many ways to talk to God as there are people who talk to him. Any prayer is good as long as it is sincere. And I don't mean we should pray with eloquent words and proud hearts. What I mean is, we can and should pray with great power and great faith. Our grammar and sentence structure may also change over time as the Spirit guides our praying more and more.

Let me explain. A prayer might sound something like this:

"Dear Lord, thank you for this day. Thank you for my family. Please bless them. Please heal my friend Susie. And please help me be a better wife and mom. Please show us your will for our life. Amen."

But when you add power and faith, it could sound something like this:

"FATHER. You are my King. My circumstances today are horrible, but YOU are with me and you are enough. The fact that you are with me makes this day bearable and important. Thank you that you suffer with me. My husband and son are such awesome gifts from you. I bless them today. You give me joy as I serve them. You are helping me in each moment. You are healing Susie even when she goes through pain. Thank you for your Word which shows us your perfect will for our way of life. Holy Spirit, come and internalize this Word in us that we may live it out to the glory of Jesus Christ. Amen."

See the difference?

Next time you pray, slow it down, and speak out loud so you can hear yourself. And then consider some of the following. (This isn't a formula... just some fresh perspective!)

1) "Father."

Relationship with our Heavenly Daddy. Acknowledge our Dad in his heavenly pad. Many people only pray to "Lord Jesus," but Jesus himself specifically told us to pray to Father (Luke 11:2; John 16:26-27).

2) "You are my King."

Submit to his royal authority, his Lordship. Getting into our rightful position helps us discern his voice in humility instead of pridefully listening to ourselves.

3) "My circumstances today are horrible."

Be honest.

4) "BUT you are with me and you are enough."

Never end a prayer with hopelessness and confusion. There are too many promises God has given us to stand on. If you can't think of a promise, it's time to open your Bible and find one. Claim God's promises in faith. Faith pleases God (Hebrews 11:6).

5) "The fact that you are with me makes this day bearable and important."

God's promises move us out of despair and confusion. They help us draw conclusions about what is really true. Speak the truth out loud for your own ears to hear. Your spiritual enemies will also hear it and flee.

6) "Thank you that you suffer with me."

We are commanded to give thanks in all circumstances (1 Thessalonians 5:18). There is at least one gift in every moment for which to thank God. Pause until you can see what that gift is, and thank him.

7) "My husband and son are such awesome gifts from you."

Stating the obvious praises God by not taking any of his gifts for granted.

8) "I bless them today."

God wants us to bless others, even verbally. Spiritual blessing does actually flow out of us onto others when we bless them (Joshua 22:6 is just one example).

9) "You give me joy as I serve them."

Instead of complaining about challenges, like how hard it is to be joyful in a situation, we can remind God about how he comes through for us. Not so much because he needs to be reminded, but because we need to believe. This is a prayer of faith. The Psalmists did this.

10) "You help me in each moment."

Instead of begging for the help God has already promised to give, state that he does. Next time you need this help, say it again. "God, you are my helper. You never leave me to fend for myself." Just as God spoke creation into being, we speak his Word and it manifests.

11) "You are healing me even when I go through pain."

If you ask a room full of people for prayer requests, most of them will tell you that someone they know is sick. As a person who battles illness, let me tell you this: Please, stop whining and begging God to heal the sick. What we need are people who will stand strong and claim God's healing promise and power over the sick. Believe that he does heal and is working on it. Refuse the enemy's attacks on our behalf.

12) "Thank you for your Word which shows us your perfect will for our life."

If we are endlessly pleading for direction for our life and running in circles saying, "It's no use. God just isn't speaking to me." ...then there are likely specific standards laid out in Scripture that we may not be accepting or grasping yet. The Bible holds all the wisdom and guidance we could ever need. Search no further than God's Word, accept conviction from the Holy Spirit, and obey. Watch what happens next in your life. A door will open or a door will close. Either way, risk stepping out of the boat. This is the only way we will ever find ourselves walking on water, walking with Jesus. When we obey all we know, when we seek first the Kingdom of God and his righteousness, all necessary things will be given to us as well (Matthew 6:33).

13) "Holy Spirit, come and internalize this Word in us that we may live it out to the glory of Jesus Christ."

Recognize the third person of the Trinity: the Spirit. Since we can't carry out God's will in our own might, we need the Holy Spirit to do it through us supernaturally. Imperative.

Welcome to the victorious Christian prayer life!

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