I used to think that prayer was telling God what your problems were and then expecting an answer from him sometime later. You know, kind of like filing an insurance claim. I’m astounded at how much my views have changed since then.
Would you like to pray more powerful prayers? When you pray, would you like to have the unshakable confidence that God has heard and will answer?
Then stop listening to your problems and telling God about them; start listening to God and telling your problems about your God.
Let me explain.
1. Spend consistent time with the Lord.
Have you ever noticed that when Jesus and the disciples healed people, they rarely said, “God, please heal this person”? It usually sounded more like this: “Woman, you are free from your infirmity” (Luke 13:12). Jesus didn’t need to have a quick side conversation with the Lord to find out if it was his will to heal this person; he already knew it was because he had spent time with his Father. Check out the first chapter of Mark’s gospel. “Very early in the morning, while it was still dark, Jesus got up, left the house and went off to a solitary place, where he prayed” (Mark 1:35). Jesus came back knowing exactly where to go preach and then healed a man with leprosy like it was nothing.
It’s not so much about knowing what to pray; it’s about knowing Whom you are praying to.
Don’t fill up your personal quiet time with only requests. It should involve a lot more meditation on the character of God.
2. Listen to the Lord.
Do you hear from God? Like a radio, he is always broadcasting. You just have to be tuned into his frequency… and be quiet for a moment.
Are you taking time to listen?
Prayer is not a monologue. It’s a two-way street, just like any relationship. Again, don’t fill up your personal quiet time with only requests. Put some space for listening in there.
1 Corinthians 2:11: “For who knows a person’s thoughts except their own spirit within them? In the same way no one knows the thoughts of God except the Spirit of God.“
Romans 8:26: “In the same way the Spirit also helps our weakness; for we do not know how to pray as we should, but the Spirit Himself intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words.”
Praying is tough. Beloved saint, don’t do it alone! You have a powerful advocate. Don’t let Him go to waste!
A couple weeks ago, I was finishing my prayer time and felt especially impressed to pray that my teammates’ upcoming appointments would hit and not be canceled. I responded in obedience by taking several minutes to concentrate and pray specifically on that matter. I was able to pray a laser-focused prayer because I was in a place of listening to the Lord. Then I received a definitive sense that I had prayed through, and I had assurance that God had heard my prayer.
3. Pray commanding prayers.
Here’s an example of how I might pray for someone with knee tendon pain:
Father, you are love. You love this person with such an amazing love that when she hurts, you hurt. You love her so much that you sent Jesus to die on the cross in her place. Thank you that when Jesus was crucified, it wasn’t just for her sins, but it was also for her physical body. “He was pierced for our transgressions, He was crushed for our iniquities; The chastening for our well-being fell upon Him, and by His scourging we are healed” (Isa 53:5). Thank you that Jesus rose from the grave in victory over death.
Now I command healing into her body. Tendinitis, you have no more place here. Knee, return to perfect function. Pain, leave now. Holy Spirit, come and fill every part of her being and bring it into perfect alignment with heaven. In Jesus’ Name, amen.
To make a timid request from a God whose will we don’t know is ignorant at best and false humility at worst.
Rather, get to know God, listen to him, and when evil crosses your path… open fire!
When I see a spider crawling across the floor in my parents’ house, I don’t call for my mother to see if she wants me to kill it. I know my mother well. She hates all creepy crawly things! Neither do I ask her to come kill it. Why would I? She has given me full authority within the house as a son to clean and to protect, so what do I do? Squash the sucker’s brains out!
What if our prayer life had that kind of confidence?
Lastly, a story:
A couple months ago, I was at a recent prayer conference with laborers from all over the region. The leaders took some time to listen to the Lord. He directed them to pray for a particular people group that’s not well known globally. A few hundred of us gathered corporately and prayed for about an hour for the Rohingya of Myanmar. Praying with the presence of God, we felt empowered by the Holy Spirit to intercede on behalf of these very unreached, very oppressed people. A quick answer came! Specifically, there was a believing family from that particular tribe which had fallen away and lost contact with the resident family of western workers. After we started praying, the very hour we were praying, the indigenous family called seemingly out of nowhere and said, “We want to reconnect with you guys.” What a faith booster! Also, if you haven’t noticed over the past several weeks, the Rohingya people group has been getting much more sympathetic attention from the press.
Stay hungry, my friends. -GG