Have you ever told someone, "I'll be praying for you!" and then promptly forgotten as soon as you walked away, hung up the phone or received your newest text message? I have. The Lord arrested my attention about that once and it has transformed the way I view prayer ever since.
Zero Gravity: Weightless Prayers
Sometimes we don't believe our prayers carry much weight with God.
Let me explain. Here is one of the most common prayers we recite today: '"Thank-you-Father-for-this-food-bless-it-to-the-nourishment-and-strength-of-our-bodies-and-bless-the-hands-who've-prepared-it-in-the-name-of-Jesus-Christ-Amen!" (Or some derivative thereof). Like some sort of speed race. Translation: "Let's get this formality over with, so we can get to the good stuff. I'm hungry!" Saying "grace" over every meal can become a tradition in which we no longer even think about the words we say. If we're not careful, we no longer mix faith with the words we speak. And that's a dangerous place to be. Our words become diluted and powerless, because they lack genuine, heart-felt belief.
One time in prayer I kept hearing the phrase, "I'll be praying for you" repeat in my mind over and over again. I was convicted on the spot for having said that to someone without following through. I lobbed the phrase like a platitude goodbye, without giving it much thought. The next thing I heard from the still, small voice of the Holy Spirit within was: "Whenever you tell someone that you will pray for them, think: ‘The Almighty God is intervening on your behalf through my intercessory prayer for you.’ Imagine God Himself literally moving around circumstances and situations in people's lives to assist them." Suddenly, prayer became active and real for me!
Not that I didn't pray before. I did! Often. But now I started mixing faith with my prayers. I actually started to expect God to move in people's lives and in my own life in powerful ways. And guess what happened? He did!
I’d be in the shower praying for someone one morning and later that same day, I’d receive an excited phone call, email or text message letting me know that God had miraculously moved in their lives to change a heart or situation. Praise God!! To this day, I still hear that feedback. Why? Because when you actually believe to see your prayers answered – you do! Hebrews 11:6 says, "But without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that comes to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him."
These are what I call dangerous prayers: ones where you've found out the will of God and you actually believe that He will do what He said. Why are these prayers dangerous? Because they work!!! (James 5:16). That scares some people. Because if things really changed, then what would we do? Our paradigms could come crashing down and we would have to interact with this living, breathing God, or ignore Him at all costs. That is terrifying, especially if you think God’s a bad guy.
Fear Underlies Faithless Prayers
Some people don't like dangerous prayers. For some, it's way more comfortable to pray wishy-washy, low-risk prayers, like "Lord, if it be thy will, let me be healed. But, if not, then thy will be done." Sounds pious, doesn't it? But, as one minister put it best: "so, in other words, why are we praying?" If the outcome is predetermined no matter what, why even bother? If our prayers don't move the heart of God, or more accurately, move things in us so God can move through us, then why pray?
I want to camp on this for a moment.
Wishy-washy prayers assume whatever happens, good or evil, is God's will. That is simply not true. If God perpetrated evil, then God would be an abusive Father (which He is not!). We don't think of it like this, but every time we say: "maybe God doesn't want us healed," or "maybe God wants me broke," or "maybe God wanted my relative or friend to die," or after a series of failed relationships we think, "maybe God just wants me single forever," - we are besmirching His character!!! God is a GOOD God! Bad does not equal good. Most people aren’t brass enough to say outright “God killed your friend” or “God hates people.” But that’s what we imply when we say "you never know God's will…" or “God is mysterious, His ways are not our ways (insert negative connotation).” Too many of us are dying the slow death of disappointment, because we don’t know who God really is. We have been afraid our prayers are just wishful thinking, because it would crush our hearts if something doesn’t work out like we want or expect.
But God is not the taker! He is the Giver. He is not the great withholder. He says, "No good thing will I withhold from those who walk uprightly."(Psalm 84:11).
God doesn’t make us guess at His will. He says: Be not unwise, but understanding what the will of the Lord is." (Ephesians 5:17). “God is not tempted of evil, neither tempts He any man." (James 1:13). And, “Beloved I wish above all things that you prosper and be in health, even as your soul prospers." (3 John 2).
Too often we forget that we have an enemy who seeks to steal, kill and destroy our lives - and that enemy is not God! "The devil walks about as a roaring lion seeking whom he may devour." (1 Peter 5:8).
Let me be honest with you. I wouldn't trust a 'god' who makes me sick. I wouldn't trust a 'god' who wants me defeated. I wouldn't trust a 'god' who wants me broke and begging. (On the contrary, King David said, "I once was young and now am old, yet have I not seen the righteous forsaken or His seed begging bread.") I wouldn't trust a 'god' who killed my family members and friends. You know why I wouldn't trust in that god? Because that god matches the description of the 'god of this world' - the devil. The devil is a liar and the father of it, and he seeks to 'steal, kill and destroy our lives.' But Christ is come that we might have and enjoy life, and live it more abundantly. (John 10:10). The devil has seduced far too many people into believing that up means down, bad means good, and that God, the Healer, is the one Who makes you sick. That is a lie. Satan, the great accuser, is the great abuser. Not God.
God is For Us
Hear this Truth:
Hear this Truth:
God is Light and in Him is no darkness at all. (1 John 1:5).
God is Love… (1 John 4:8)
God is Good (Psalm 136:1)
God is Just… (2 Thessalonians 1:6)
God is Healer (Exodus 15:26)
God is Provider (Philippians 4:19).
God's Mercy Endures Forever (Psalm 136)
God is NOT a man that He should lie (Numbers 23:19)
Costly in the sight of the Lord is the death of His saints (Psalm 116:15)
(*The death of the Lord's faithful is a costly loss in His eyes.)
It is not good for the man to be alone; I will make a helper fit for him (Gen 2:18)
For this purpose the Son of God was manifested, that he might destroy the works of the devil. (1 John 3:8)
Get the picture? Sounds different from a god who wants you dead, broke, sick and alone. Someone does, but not my God! God destroys that which destroys you. My God wants you raised to new life, prosperous, healed and well, and He wants you to know that you are NEVER alone, even to the end of the age.
IF YOU KNOW YOU ARE LOVED BY A GOD WHO IS LOVE, THEN YOU WON’T HESITATE TO PRAY. YOU KNOW YOUR PRAYERS WILL WORK EVERY TIME, BECAUSE HE LOVES YOU AND HE WILL MAKE ALL THINGS WORK TOGETHER FOR YOUR GOOD.
I write today to tell you that your prayers move mountains. I didn't say it. Jesus did! When you believe in your heart and pray with your mouth, you get whatever you say (good or bad). (Mark 11:23-24). So pray what He prays and see His results. Right in the middle of that terrible situation you are in right now. When everything is falling apart is not the time to pray an "I hope this works" prayer. It is the time to pray in faith (“Hey, God! Move in me, rearrange me, resurrect my heart and life!”), and watch God move mightily in impossible circumstances.
Over and over again, He promises He will! He says:
WHATSOEVER YOU ASK IN MY NAME, I WILL DO, THAT THE FATHER MAY BE GLORIFIED IN THE SON. (John 14:13).
ASK ANYTHING IN MY NAME, AND I WILL DO IT. (John 14:14; 1 John 5:14).
ALL THINGS ARE POSSIBLE TO HIM THAT BELIEVES (Mark 9:23).
GREATER WORKS THAN THESE SHALL YOU DO… (John 14:12).
So Why Do We Pray?
Contrary to popular belief, prayer is not just a pleasantry. Prayer is a battlefield where families and lives are won or lost. Your life, and the quality of it, hangs in the balance. God has made up His mind. He wants you whole, prosperous of soul, and excellent in every way. Always. For Eternity. How about you? Will you let Him? Will YOU give a Loving God permission to intervene on your behalf?
It’s time to pray like a Loving God will answer our prayers for good.
Saying "Grace" Takes on a Whole New Meaning!
Saying "Grace" Takes on a Whole New Meaning!
Today, even when I pray over my food, I infuse my prayers with faith. I don't just pray, "Lord, bless the ingredients to the health of our bodies." I pray, “Lord! Awaken in our hearts life and laughter, and reawaken love. I pray for fruitful conversation around the dinner table and hearts open to receive what the Lord has prepared for us, meal and all. I pray for hearts open to give to one another the spiritual food we crave...in moments of silence by the candlelight, in meaningful laughs and thoughtful exchanges. I pray for a softening of hearts. I pray life in all of its fullness would manifest and be magnified at this dinner table.” Now that, my friends, will stir up your faith! Suddenly the mundane becomes magnificent.
Be joyful in hope; persevering in tribulation; continuing instant in prayer. ~ Romans 12:12.
Now I want to pray over us...Lord, Revive our hearts, Quicken our dead dreams to new life. Restore hope. Paint our mess into a masterpiece. Let impossibilities fall before our eyes. Breathe new life into the desert places of our souls. Renew and restore the joy of our salvation. Raise our expectancy in You. Thank you for families swept into healing, callings made clear, and complete renewal and transformation in 2016. I pray for a deluge of your Power and Love that would wash over us, so even the skeptics would be brought to their knees by your Love and say that You are God. In the name of Jesus Christ, the name at which every knee must bow in Heaven and Earth and beneath, I pray: Amen!