ABOUT PRAYER AND POWER
(By: Norm Rasmussen)
For some of you, what I'm about to share is very elementary. To others, hopefully God will use it to help you in your understanding about certain spiritual matters.
The word 'power' is used rather loosely in Christian circles, and I often think that we would be better served in our relationship with God if we cleared away some erroneous thoughts and beliefs about power, and put them in their correct application.
We often hear these statements: 'There is power in prayer' or 'The power of prayer.' Stated either way, these are only half-truths, and truly, can be very misleading, if there are no qualifiers given with them. Allow me to qualify what I've said in saying this, as we read further on down the page.
First of all, when God said, 'I AM', He summed up in two words everything there is to be said about EVERYTHING, and power is included within that declaration.
Let's try to find some useful words to see if we get gain a little better understanding of what He is talking about in those two words - 'I AM' and their connection and/or correlation to power.
God IS power. As God IS love, God IS power. As God IS wisdom, God IS power. The reason God has ALL power to do as He pleases is because He IS power. If He wasn't power, the only power He would have is that which has been loaned to Him from someone else, or some OTHER means, more powerful than Himself.
The Holy Bible clearly communicates that God is the Great 'I AM.' Whether we believe that to be true or not, God leaves it up to us to decide. The wise ultimately choose to believe it is true. The unwise living on this planet could care less at this time whether He IS, or ISN'T the Great 'I AM.' In the next life, if they don't unite with Jesus Christ before they die in this life, they'll have eternity to hate themselves for being so unwise and uncaring while they were alive on this planet.
Because God IS power, and there is no one nor no means higher that could possibly loan Him that power, this becomes our starting point, our launching pad so to speak, to help comprehend our place regarding power in the scheme of things.
Before moving forward, let's address Satan's power, and the power demons may have over mankind. Whatever power they may have at their disposal at this time, or in the future, has been loaned to them by God the Father. They have been loaned power from God their Creator just like the holy angels in heaven have been loaned power from God their Creator to do His will. Don't EVER fall for the lie that Satan has power within Himself to do whatever he well pleases. The only thing Satan has been granted power to do, or ever WILL do, or any of the demons to do, is what God is allowing them to have and to exercise. A time is coming when that power will be completely stripped from them, and all of creation yearns for that time to come very, very soon. It will come -- in God's time.
There are those who will take issue with what I'm about to say, which is understandable, and fine. For everyone alive on this planet, when they talk to God, meaning PRAY to God, God hears them talking to Him. Whether it be spoken, written, or just our thoughts inside our head, God hears us when we are speaking directly to Him. Yet just because He hears us communicating to Him, praying to Him - does not obligate Him to respond to us. He responds to our talking to Him, our praying to Him, as He sees fit. The ball is in His court, as we would say. He can respond however He so wills to our communication to Him.
Motivating Him to respond FAVORABLY to our communication to Him is in part where this is going to be leading up to, in case you're wondering.
Thus when we pray to God, asking Him for something, there is no power released from God until He responds to that prayer either in a favorable manner, or even perhaps in an unfavorable manner.
If God remains neutral to our prayer of request, He releases no power from Himself.
If God responds favorably to our request of Him, then power is released by whatever means He decides to execute that power to have our request of Him granted.
Thus the request we ask of God has no power in and of itself. It is when God answers our request favorably that His power is released to grant our request. Does that make sense?
Thus to say, 'There is power in prayer,' is a misnomer. More truthfully said, 'God releases His power if He chooses to when we go to Him and request that He releases His power to deal with what we're requesting of Him.'
You may think those are too many words to say something so simply, but I believe God wants someone reading this to break through some 'smokescreen' Satan has thrown up regarding prayer.
If you know God, and you know your Bible, God wants those who are IN Christ Jesus to constantly strive to ONLY be praying prayers to Him that He desires to answer favorably.
Satan's strategy is to constantly try to confuse God's people about prayer. He does that through doubt, unbelief, erroneous teaching, through silence from the pulpit in our churches. (What the sheep hear over and over from the pulpit is what most sheep end up responding to. Pastors, teachers -- never forget that). The more God's people are confused about prayer, and frustrated with prayer, the less Satan has to worry about God's power in this dispensation (which incorporates God's will), being released upon earth when God's people pray prayers to Him that are favorable to God.
Now then, if you are IN Christ Jesus, you have every right to be confident that God desires you ask Him requests non-stop that will somehow bring Him glory; that is His will; that fits God's timing as well as God's ways. That is THE primary 'discerning filter' God desires we use to have a quickening from the Holy Spirit as to whether God the Father will be motivated to answer, to release sufficient power, to grant whatever we are asking of Him.
Let's cut right through Satan's 'smokescreen' regarding prayer. A person IN Christ Jesus who is not giving place to sin frequently, who is unselfish, thereby praying unselfishly, is posturing themselves to be an instrument or vessel in which God delights in releasing His power to affect things on earth when they pray, trust, and remain patient and persistent, (and obey if called upon by God to do so in the matter).
A person IN Christ Jesus who delights in praising God 'frequently' is posturing themselves to be an instrument or vessel in which God delights in releasing His power when they pray. A THANKFUL, OBEDIENT, PATIENT and PERSISTENT person who delights in PRAISING God 'frequently' is posturing themselves to be even a GREATER instrument or vessel in which God delights in releasing His power when they pray.
I hope you can receive this.
One person IN Christ Jesus that God the Father delights in releasing His power when they ask requests of Him (pray) is more dangerous to Satan and his demons than all the power God has loaned Satan and his demons to execute their will in the lives of people on earth. Satan doesn't want you knowing that, let alone believing that.
Do I have any Bible proof of making such a statement? I do. Nowhere in the Bible will you find that Satan nor the demons that serve him ever have, or ever will move God by asking Him to stop the earth and moon from rotating 'for about a whole day', (let alone a minute or two), yet we read in Joshua 10:12-14 that God used Joshua to do so.
God tells us who are IN Christ Jesus in James 5:16-17, that we are constantly to aspire to have a prayer life like that of Elijah. (TIP: To see growth [confidence] come in our prayer lives, it requires purity and increasing obedience in every area of our lives). Elijah was moved by the Holy Spirit to pray to move God the Father to stop the rain for a season, and then after it stopped for a season, the Holy Spirit again moved Elijah to begin praying and trusting that it would again rain, and it in fact did. That was no more of a difficult thing for God to do than stopping the earth and moon from rotating, and that is no more difficult for God to do if the Holy Spirit moves upon you or me to be a vessel God chooses to use to do any other miracle God may wish to execute.
Again, God wants to increase our faith regarding prayer. I believe one of the greatest reasons we may not BELIEVE that we can be vessels God can and delights to use as He wills to accomplish something of the equivalent as Joshua and Elijah did with their prayer(s) is because Satan has so effectively kept the full knowledge from us in who we really ARE IN Christ Jesus. If we don't have the knowledge of who we really ARE IN Christ Jesus, we won't (or seldom will, anyway) have the confidence necessary to BELIEVE that we can be just as useful to God when we pray as Joshua and Elijah was.
The first Chapter of the book of Ephesians is packed with wisdom and insights about God's power, about the hierarchy of those God has entrusted with being able to be trusted with and to see Him execute His power as He wills at any given time, and the limitless potential that YOU and I who are IN Christ Jesus also have been granted.
Let's closely examine some of the wording in Ephesians Chapter 1:
Therefore I also, after I heard of your faith in the Lord Jesus and your love for all the saints, do not cease to give thanks for you, making mention of you in my prayers: that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give to you the spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of Him, the eyes of your understanding being enlightened; that you may know what is the hope of His calling, what are the riches of the glory of His inheritance in the saints,
and what is the exceeding greatness of His power toward us who believe, according to the working of His mighty power which He worked in Christ when He raised Him from the dead and seated Him at His right hand in the heavenly places, far above all principality and power and might and dominion, and every name that is named, not only in this age but also in that which is to come.
And He put all things under His feet, and gave Him to be head over all things to the church, which is His body, the fullness of Him who fills all in all. Ephesians 1: 15-23 (NKJV)
You may not be able to receive this right now, but if every person on the planet who are IN Christ Jesus was moved of the Holy Spirit to come together in some common agreement, stop what they are doing, and go into prevailing prayer, we the Church have been granted the authority In Christ to move God to dethrone every evil government; every evil dictator; every individual in a position of authority to do Satan's bidding in the affairs of mankind. That truly is the authority God the Father has granted His Bride, which are those of us who are IN Christ Jesus.
Now of course we know God is not going to do such a thing prior to the return of Jesus Christ in His fullness, because otherwise it would negate prophecy in God's Word, (and God's Word WILL be fulfilled), so don't let the devil give you any silly ideas that we need to try to launch some prayer campaign to try to force God's hand in the matter.
Yet let's take this into the future. What if the Holy Spirit speaks at the same time to most (or maybe just a few in number who can hear Him at the time and are willing to obey Him) of those on planet Earth who are IN Christ Jesus to stop what they are doing, and go into prayer, asking and trusting that the Father would send Jesus Christ back to earth to snatch away His Bride? The Body of Christ has been granted that authority corporately, I hope you realize, if the Father should will such a thing to happen to assist in motivating Him to grant Christ's return to Earth in His fullness.
The Holy Spirit recorded these words of Jesus for those of us in the end times. 'Watch and pray!' Watch for WHAT? Pray for WHAT? Excellent questions! In great part, I believe the Holy Spirit is telling us to constantly WATCH for spiritual deception. It is only going to increase, and become more deceptive than ever before in all of mankind's history.
Secondly, constant communicating (which is the same thing as PRAYER) with God is more important to strive after and work toward than anything else on this planet that we can give ourselves to. Because through prayer, God can help us with every problem we may encounter, protect us from every attack from Satan, provide for our every need, no matter what may be happening to others.
Jesus said this about the end times:
Then He spoke a parable to them, that men always ought to pray and not lose heart. (Luke 18:1)
The six verses following that is the parable given to exhort believers to persist in prayer. Then in Luke 18:8 the Holy Spirit in Jesus, in one sense, drops a BOMB!
'Nevertheless, when the Son of Man comes, will he really find faith on the earth?'
What is God saying here by this statement -- will Jesus find faith when He returns to earth? Primarily, I believe He's saying, 'Will I find people who believe prayer REALLY is important, AFTERALL? Will I find people who believe I can use THEM to feed the hungry with two loaves of bread and five fishes, or whatever else they may or may not have in their hands?'
Child of the living God who is IN Christ Jesus, here is God's sure word to YOU:
Do NOT underestimate what your prayers and trust (believing) with patience and persistence can accomplish in accordance with God's will, and for the purposes of giving Him pleasure and glory.
Your prayers have no power, in and of themselves. They never will have power, in and of themselves. (That's a wonderful thing, by the way. It helps us realize we're not God, nor ever will be. That keeps us totally and forever dependent on HIM!) However, your prayers (requests to God, in other words), because of who you are In Christ Jesus, can release the power of God to stop every planet in every galaxy from spinning, to stop every evil plan Satan may have launched against you or someone else, to dispatch every angel endowed with God's power to accomplish what we humanly think is impossible.
This is the authority we have IN Christ Jesus. Use that authority, and use it wisely. It came very costly for Jesus Christ and The Father to grant us that authority, so don't be unwise and trifle with it, nor abuse it.
Through your connection with God the Father, because of your position IN Christ Jesus, there is no limit to how much glory you can bring to the Godhead, to the holy angels, and to the bride of Christ, His church, His redeemed saints, sinners saved by His loving and merciful grace, of which I am Chief sinner saved by grace. You may think you are. You are wrong. I AM!
Yet I am also the righteousness of God in Christ Jesus, as you are, if you are in Christ Jesus as well.
For He made Him who knew no sin to be sin for us, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him. (2 Cor. 5:21)
On March 30, 2009, my wife and I were watching Joyce Meyer on TV. As she was ministering, she shared that recently while she was in prayer, God asked her a question three times, just like He asked Peter three times if Peter truly loved Him. What God asked Joyce three times was, 'Do you REALLY believe in the power of prayer?'
I don't believe God asks someone like Joyce a question like that because she's 'hard of hearing.' It would seem evident to me that He most likely has plans to deepen her comprehension regarding prayer. God wants to deepen YOUR and MY comprehension regarding prayer.
Let's make it our daily quest to seek God for a deeper revelation regarding prayer. The more comfortable we are with prayer, the stronger our love for God will grow, and the stronger our faith in God will grow. Who of us have reached a place where we no longer need our love and faith for God to grow?
After all ... Jesus gave us a sobering warning about our love growing cold just prior to His return for the Church:
"Then many false prophets will rise up and deceive many, and because lawlessness will abound, the love of many will grow cold." (Matthew 24:11-12)
The less comfortable (more frustrated) we are with prayer ... the easier it becomes to let our love for God grow cold. As our love for God grows colder and colder, the more vulnerable we become to demonic powers handicapping our usefulness to God.
The wise child of God works hard to make certain their love for God does not grow cold. Working diligently to protect and enhance your prayer life is a KEY way to keep one's love and faith strong for God.
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Remember: All that we do in this life comes back to our God-given purpose which is to serve and glorify God. The money and assets we accumulate, the fame and power we've attained or seek to attain - all of the things of this nature will one day pass away, but those lives of others we impact for Jesus Christ will last for eternity, and we will be rewarded for the part we helped play by impacting those lives ... for eternity. (Matthew 6:19-20 is our assurance)