P R A Y
A number of years ago I when was honored to be a part of a blessed and anointed intercessory prayer group and one of the prayer partners handed out a little piece of paper that had only four words on its face. You may have already heard of this acronym but I have chosen to mention it because it has often reminded me of how to keep perspective in my prayer life. The four words are simple:
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These simple four words or progressive steps of prayer are a fantastic way to enter into and maintain a great depth in prayer. Let me step into the meaning of each:
Active praise prepares our hearts minds and souls to be in alignment with God’s presence and will. Praying God’s will is important to the success of your prayer life. The better you understand God’s will the more powerful your prayer life will become. God always wants to save soles, deliver souls from affliction and evil. God is always merciful, quick to forgive; his words promise that and at any time we as children of God can hold Him to his promises. This very act is an act of intercession that anyone can practice.
Enough digression, what is important to remember is that praising the Lord also creates a pleasing aroma for the Lord that even He can not resist. By praising as the first part of your prayer journey, you will find that God will enter into your midst and begin to move before even uttering a “traditional” prayer request. Let the whole spirit flow in your life and through that spirit, all things can be given and achieved.
The greatest thing that can stop the movement of the holy spirit in your life and thusly the success of your prayers is keeping “sin in the camp”. When the Israelites sinned in the old testament you will find that they consistently lost battles and wars against their enemies. Once they repented of their sins, the Lord restored them and gave them victory. We are under a new covenant now however this spiritual law still remains true. God often answers the prayers of a cleansed vessel far more readily than that of a vessel that lives in sin with no repentance. Now the word repentance has been given a bad name by many in the past so please don’t get me wrong. I am not saying that repentance needs to draw on self-hatred, denial, pain or anguish. Repentance, when done right, is actually relieving, refreshing, freeing and wonderful. Guilty feelings are only created to bring us to repentance. If after you repent of an issue you still “feel bad” in any way then things have moved from a holy conviction to an unholy manipulation from the enemy.
All that is needed for true repentance is two things (possibly three):
1. The act of asking for forgiveness
2. The turning from the ways that brought on the sin in the first place
3. If you so choose claiming victory over those issues and asking God to fill you with your spirit and walk with you and guide you in your new cleansed walk.
You know step three is in God’s will to answer simply because it is all over the bible that this is what he wants for all of his children, and it is step three that makes our walk easier simply because God is walking the walk through us instead of ourselves on our own strength trying (and often failing) to do everything right.
It is also stage three of repentance where the euphoria of forgiveness can begin to be felt. Many Christians, unfortunately, stop short of this feeling and reality.
Needless to say, the freedom of repentance is key to the success of your prayer life simply because God can use you as a vessel far more readily. Repentance can take seconds, minutes, hours, days, you can stretch it to however long you would like or need. Simply keep in mind though. You never have to ask for forgiveness of the same action twice. Once you ask repentance once, God has wiped the slate clean. From then on it is your own feelings of guilt, remorse or even implanted emotions from the enemy that would then have to be contended with. And those feelings can be defeated by claiming victory as your right and inheritance of being a “Child of God”. It is our repentance that makes us saints and not our actions. Once we are sinners, redeemed by Christ’s blood through true repentance, look out because the prayers we pray become truly powerful.
Clear your heart of anything that may stand between you and God before you ask for a request. It simply makes sense.
Now that you are surrounded by the Holy Spirit, in the spirit you have been purified through repentance and you are approaching Jesus as a living saint, you can feel free to pose your requests. Now, remember when you ask the Lord of something to check in your heart if it is really of God’s will. Because you are now in his spirit and approaching him as a saint, you will be able to be far more sensitive to this. You may want a mansion, a Porsche, a yacht and 10 happy children but what you sprit may truly be craving is peace, victory, or belonging. God may not grant you the desires of your mind but He will indeed grant the desires of your soul; which reflects itself quite often in your deepest longings. It is important that when you pray for someone or something that you pray from you deepest spiritual longings for that person. How many times has someone prayed for me to pray for a sick relative (to be healed) and in turn I pass that request across my heart and find that what God really wants me to pray is for that person to die in peace into his awaiting arms while God himself encourages and blesses the family through the transitioning time. To pray anything else other than God’s will would be praying “Witchcraft”. The needs of ourselves should always come secondary to the needs of Jesus. Who is to say we know better than Jesus in how to handle a situation or what is really best for all parties involved? We can’t see the beginning and the end. Only He can. Some prayers are to be said out loud but please be careful as you discern your prayers. Often God will tell you what to pray about, but not necessarily in front of the party in front of you. Most of the time though I have found, I can peak freely of what is in my heart because my deepest desires will even echo in the life of the requester even if it is not exactly what they have asked of me.
In short, the more you pray in God’s will the more powerful your prayers will become in general. God will soon turn to you as an intercessor and ask you to pray over specific areas simply because he knows you will pray the right thing. He may have all of heaven and earth in his grasp and yes God can do anything; sometimes though He waits for us to simply ask. He then mobilizes His army and declares victory.
Bet you didn’t see this one coming? May Christians tend to pray for things as things cross their mind while doing dishes or something of that sort. God hears all of those prayers yes and answers many of them but I am writing this article to explain how I have deepened my prayer life and through doing so seen many miracles happen on a regular basis. Yielding to the spirit is so important. It is during this time that often the holy spirit speaks to your heart about other areas He would like to have you pray. Sometimes this is the time where the holy spirit communicates with you about things you may have prayed in error so that you can further refine your prayer, other times the holy spirit will send a burst of warmth through your flesh as a sign of confirmation that your prayer has been answered. Sometimes the spirit will bring other areas about the prayers into your mind that may complete the prayer at hand. What is most important is to simply yield. And yielding does not have to be only done at the end of your prayer. I yield at the beginning. I personally also yield at the repentance and especially before every work I ask of my father. What’s the rush anyway. Do you really have better things to do with your time than impact the spiritual reality of our world and impact lives by mobilizing the same movement that threw Satan out of heaven in the first place? Yes we all live in the real world however to everything there is a season, and when it is the season to pray, be in no hurry. Yield. You will be amazed at what you find.
Many times in my yielding a quick 5 or 10-minute prayer turned into a 1.5-hour prayer and quite frankly I did not notice the time flying by. There was no place I would rather have been. I was at home with my Lord here on earth. In a state of oneness with Him.
Quite often I may enter into these prayer times expecting to pray over a friend with cancer and over one hour later I have prayed for Parents, Churches, Lives, Cities, Deliverance of others, Wisdom and discernment in my life and often in hopes that he wisdom and discernment will be used in my immediate prayers and completely forgotten to pray for my friend with cancer. Needless to say by the end of my prayer time when I remembered the topic of my friend God would tell me that I wouldn’t even have to pray it because it was already answered. Remember God knows the desire of our heart and God always has His agenda when we approach his throne room. Follow it at all times. Not yours. You will find victory in many ways. Pray for your friend if you are called to once you have entered into prayer with Him, or pray for that faceless person you have never met that just came to your heart. Their needs are just as real. God knows what needs to be done. Be led by Him and Him alone. Yield. Be still and know that He is God. Spend time in silence and don’t count the seconds. Communication through prayer is a beautiful thing. Enjoy it.
Through the above four points, it brings into perspective how one can live in constant prayer without always actively speaking to the Lord.