So, today, we will be closing out 2020 by concluding our look at the “The Power and Protocol of Prayer” where we have been learning not just about prayer, but specifically how to unlock the power and potential in it. So, what we have learned in this series is that the power & potential in prayer is found in the protocol of prayer—that is, in the official procedure or principles that govern it.
So, in this series of teachings, we have learned what prayer is and what prayer is not. We have looked at what Jesus warned to do and not do when we pray. Then we looked at how Jesus taught us to pray. We have also learned the importance of praying the will of God and the spirit by which our prayers need to be prayed. And over the holidays, we have learned that incorporating things like thanksgiving & rejoicing are the appropriate seasoning for our prayers. Those things encompass the first 5 parts of this series.
Then we shifted over into another important virtue that we need to possess in our prayer lives—perseverance. We found that these things like patience, persistence, and perseverance are critical to our prayer lives because as it is with everything in our Christian lives, it’s not how we start; it’s how we finish.
Then over the last two parts in this series, we have looked at the different kinds of prayer & supplication by camping on Ephesians 6:18. We saw that in this verse, the apostle Paul gave us another weapon of our warfare by teaching us that we are to pray in every season in the Holy Spirit. We learned that this means that the Holy Spirit is there to help us in our prayer lives when we don’t know what to pray for as we ought. He will intercede through us in every season so that we pray the appropriate prayer for that situation. And we saw that the reason this is important is because there are different kinds of prayer and different kinds of supplication for every single circumstance.
For example, the specific kind of prayer the Bible calls “the prayer of faith” would not be appropriate when praying for the salvation of someone. Why? Because we cannot pray once and believe we receive their salvation when their will is involved. What would be called the prayer of intercession is what would be most appropriate when praying for the lost because when free will is involved continuous, repetitive prayers are necessary. The prayer of faith would be more appropriate when praying for things that God has already both promised you and I and accomplished through Jesus like healing, financial provision, and protection.
So, what we did was we looked at both the different kinds of prayers and the different kinds of supplication in that Paul distinguished between them both—and we saw that while prayer is more of the relationship side of conversation with God, supplications more revolve around our petitioning Him for things.
Therefore, we saw that the different kinds of prayer were things like the prayer of thanksgiving, the prayer of praise, and the prayer of worship. It includes the prayer of meditation and the prayer language given to us by the Holy Spirit. The different kinds of supplication were things like the prayer of faith, the prayer of agreement, the prayer of intercession, etc. None of these different kinds of prayer and petition are more important than the other. Each just has its own time & place to where it would be considered more appropriate.
So, if you’ve missed any of these teachings over the past few months, I would encourage you to go back on our website and get up to speed in order to unlock the power & potential in your own prayer life. And as always, be sure not to just be a hearer of the Word, but be doers of these truths—because as James taught us, it is the doers of the Word that will be blessed. Amen?
So, as I considered what else the Lord might have for us before we move in a different direction for next year, I had on my heart to share with you some very practical nuggets of truth that I have accumulated through my walk with the Lord. So, I would like to end this series on prayer with giving you some of the most important prayers I have personally found that we could pray either for either ourselves or others.
I would consider these specific prayers something like those smooth stones that David gathered on his way to face Goliath out of the brook. These are things that through my time walking with Him and the Holy Spirit pouring the waters of truth over my heart, that I consider to be the best prayers one can pray.
Now some of these will be absolute Scriptural prayers in that they were essentially taken from the Bible as Spirit-inspired prayers that were prayed by men of God. Others will be simply what I have discovered over my Christian walk as wisdom & revelation.
So, let’s begin with more of the Scriptural prayers:
As we have learned throughout this series, praying the will of God is one of the most important aspects of prayer—for we are promised that if we pray according to His will, we know that He hears us, and when we know He hears us, we know we have the petitions we have presented to Him (See First John 5:14-15). So, for you and I to know His will and then to pray according to it, is one of the greatest keys to answered prayers.
And we learned that the will of God is contained in the Word of God. So, one of the best ways to pray according to His will is to pray the Word where His will is made manifest. For example, if the Scriptures teach us that God is not willing that any should perish but that all come to repentance (and they do), then I might pray like so for the lost or a backslidden believer— “Father, I know that you are not willing that any person would perish. You will for everyone to come to repentance. So, I am asking you to open their eyes to see their need for repentance. Show them the error of their ways, that they might turn to You and not perish …” What you just saw right there was prayer that was according to the will of God.
So, it is for that reason that I believe arguably the best way to pray the will of God is to actually pray the prayers that are found in the Bible—prayers like the one’s David or Solomon prayed in the Old Testament or like the one’s Paul prayed throughout his epistles. These prayers are totally Scriptural and contain the will of God for all people for all time.
But let me begin with a portion of the prayer that we have covered in this series, but one that is worth reiterating, commonly known as the Lord’s prayer: We saw that Jesus gave us His model prayer in the Sermon on the Mount, He gave us a great prayer template of what to pray. But at the very beginning of this prayer, He told us to pray— “Your kingdom come, Your will be done on earth as it is in heaven.” (Matthew 6:10). Now, church, this one of the most important prayers we can pray—a prayer that seeks first the kingdom of God and His will before all else. Amen!
Do you remember when we studied this model prayer of Jesus that we noted that this was the first request Jesus included in His model prayer—for God’s kingdom to come? And I made the point that this is essentially what Solomon asked the Lord for when He told him to ask for anything he wanted. Of course, we know that Solomon’s request was for a wise and understanding heart that he may rule over God’s people. This was Solomon seeking first the kingdom of God and His righteousness (See Matthew 6:33).
And we know the result of his whole-hearted request—God said that because he asked for this and not wealth, the life of his enemies, etc. that He would give Solomon the wisdom that he asked for and all of these other things as well. Then, as we study Solomon’s proverbs after that event, he reveals that with wisdom comes prosperity, honor, health, etc.—showing us that the real reason he obtained the riches & honor that he did was because he got wisdom and understanding.
So, while the majority of Christians are praying for these physical things like healing, financial provision, and freedom from other natural issues of life, wouldn’t it be more prudent for us to pray for a wise & understanding heart instead of for all of these physical things?
So, let me tell you how I like to pray for people who are maybe struggling in their finances—"Father, grant them the wisdom they need. Give them a wise & understanding heart so that they can truly prosper on the outside. Create in them the capacity to get and keep wealth by giving them your way of thinking concerning these things.”
You see, when we study the prayers of the apostle Paul—which contain New Covenant perspectives in prayer—do you know what we never see. In all them (where there are at least 7 that are multiple verses), Paul does not one time pray for anything physical or carnal. No, not once does he pray for these church’s finances, physical health, or their growth. He only deals with things like their fruitfulness, wisdom, revelation, strength, light, etc. I believe what we ought to take away from that is the most important things we can pray for others is not their natural, physical needs; It is for their spiritual needs and issues of the heart.
And again, it was not because Paul was unconcerned about their physical needs. I just believe he understood something that most don’t, and that is—if we deal with the root of the problem, we change the fruit that appears to be the problem.
So, the first & best prayer (and appropriately so) that we can pray is this— Lord, fill my heart and mind with wisdom, understanding, revelation and knowledge. Give me a wise & understanding heart that we might more effectively seek first Your kingdom.
I’ll tell you—things like wisdom, understanding, revelation, and knowledge are laced throughout Paul’s prayers. Let’s look at a couple of them:
The first one is contained in Ephesians 1:17. After Paul gave this church so many tremendous truths from verses 3-14—things which we can chew on for years and years—he then prays for them to have a spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of the Lord and that their eyes would be enlightened. Why? It is because you can have information without revelation. Our eyes need to be opened to perceive spiritual truth.
That is why Paul began his letter to the Colossians praying that they would be filled with the knowledge of His will in all wisdom and spiritual understanding (See Colossians 1:9). It was because in order for them to move into the truths about who Christ was in them and who they were in Him, they needed to be filled with the knowledge of His will in all of His wisdom and spiritual understanding.
Church, this is why Solomon taught us to get wisdom and in all our getting to get understanding (See Proverbs 4:7). It is because wisdom is the principal thing (i.e. the first thing and of the most importance). If we seek first after this wisdom for the purpose of seeking first His kingdom, everything else will be added to us. Yes, all of these physical needs will be met as a result. Therefore, this is one of the top prayers you and I can pray for ourselves and others.
And this prayer for a spirit of wisdom & revelation leads us to the next prayer Paul prayed for the Ephesian church found in Ephesians 3:14-20 …
Now when one studies this prayer, you find that it builds from Paul praying that the Holy Spirit would strengthen them with power in their inner man to God doing exceedingly, abundantly, above all we could ever ask or think according to that power that works in us.
So, since it’s apparently all about the power of the Holy Spirit being worked in us that releases all of the ability of God in and through our lives, then I believe one of the greatest prayers we can pray is this – Lord, strengthen me in my inner man. Empower me from the inside to the outside—for I know that when my soul prospers, it will affect my outward man.
Church, the Lord strengthening us with ability in our inner man is what releases the ability of God in our lives. It is what produces the fruit of the Spirit in our lives and causes that fruit to abound. It is what causes our souls to prosper which will reflect in every area of our natural lives. So, that is why I believe prayers for the ability of God to be released in our inward man is one of the best prayers we can pray.
You see, so many Christians want power on the outside. They either want God to deliver them from all of their physical, natural problems or they want Him to give them power to rule over demons, heal diseases, etc. There is nothing wrong with any of that, but I have found that first praying for God to work inside of us is far more important—because if my inward man, soul, heart, etc. are prospering and yielding to the power of God, it will absolutely transform my life.
As Joyce Meyer was once quoted as saying, “People want authority over demons when they don’t even have authority over a sink full of dirty dishes or a screaming baby.” Friends, we are fooling ourselves if we are wanting to move forward in changing things around us when we have allowed Him to change things within us. That is where the power is—first in us, and then in the world around us. Amen?
For example, allowing God’s power to work in us, strengthening our inward man, we will most certainly love those around us. Yes, we will be more patient, longsuffering, kind, humble, etc.
We see this in Colossians 1:11 when Paul prayed for this church to be strengthened with all might according to His glorious power for all longsuffering and patience with joy. So, what was the purpose for all of this power according to the apostle Paul? It was “for all longsuffering and patience with joy.”
Church, one thing I do is when I see my patience and longsuffering with others failing, I go back to this. I look for a strengthening from the Holy Spirit in myself because I know that He is the power source for the fruit in my life. Verily, verily, the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, self-control, etc. So, the power for everything from love to self-control come from a Spirit-controlled life. Amen.
Which leads me to the next part of Paul’s prayer in Ephesians chapter 3—for our roots to go deep into the love of God and that we might know this love of Christ which passes knowledge.
Church, I consider seeing and knowing the great love that God has for us as the single greatest revelation we could ever receive from the Lord.
The reason I can say this is because, through understanding that God is love, we will be drawn into a more intimate communion with Him—thus fulfilling God’s primary purpose for our lives. On top of that, knowing how much God loves us will produce, not only more of a love for Him, but it will also produce more of a love for others (1 John 4:19). What could be greater than that—because to love God and love others fulfills the two greatest commandments given to us by God?
Therefore, I believe another one of the best prayers we can pray is— Lord, reveal to me your unfailing love. I want your love for me to live in our heart so that I am experiencing your dimensionless love. Amen.
Church, receiving His love like that this will produce many awesome things. Let me give you a few benefits. I should want to know, see, and experience His love for me …
As Paul’s prayer goes on to say, all of this leads us to being filled with the fullness of God Himself—because to be filled with love is to be filled with God.
Now let’s move into some other prayers that I see as being some of the best we can pray …
I love this one right here – Lord, help me to see things through your eyes. Oh, how much this would benefit us—for if we can see things from His perspective, I guarantee you it would change everything from our love for others to our faith in Him.
I would sum up the “things” into four categories:
1. Myself- What a difference it would make if we could see ourselves through God’s eyes!?! To know how loved we are, how He thinks good thoughts towards us, and how precious we are in His sight, this would increase in us boldness, confidence and a security that nothing else could offer. Church, we need to see ourselves through God’s eyes!
2. Other People- But not only is it good to see ourselves through His eyes; it is also good to see others that way too. Some of the benefits of this are so that we may love them like the Lord does, that we may see beyond their current issues and see them through the eyes of faith, and that we might have more of the heart to be a soul winner for the kingdom of God.
3. Circumstances- It would also be great to be able to see our circumstances the way He sees them too. Far too often when we go through things in this life, our faith is shaken, we become discouraged, and lose our joy & peace. But I am convinced that when we see things from our Heavenly Father’s perspective, everything looks a whole lot different. I would compare this to how much different things look to parents than to young children: when they are pitching a fit about the littlest of things, the parents are calm, cool and collective because they know “it’s just not that big of a deal.” So, seeing our situation and circumstances through His eyes will cause me to have faith, joy, peace, etc. no matter what I am going through.
4. Time- Finally, time. This is one I added down the road to my prayer life. Lord, may I see time through your eyes. I know that this will help me to make the most of this life here on the earth and lay up more treasures in heaven because if I see my time on this earth, in this body, through His eyes, then I will not live like this is the only life I have. Amen.
Let me briefly give you a few more:
Ø Lord, create in me a clean, pure, and sensitive heart – We know here that the heart is what needs to be guarded above all things—for it is where the issues of life flow from. So, while the heart is our responsibility to condition and cultivate, there is still biblical precedence for the Lord creating in us a clean and pure heart. So, for that reason, I believe praying for the Lord to help us keeping our heart in a good, healthy condition is paramount. It would make us more sensitive to things pertaining to His kingdom and also make us to feel what He feels. How wonderful would that be!?!
Ø Lord, grant me a heightened awareness of the communion that is available with the Holy Spirit (See Second Corinthians 13:14) – Oh, that we would all have our awareness of the presence, power and person of the Holy Spirit heightened!?! The Holy Spirit is to play a far greater role in our lives than most have allowed Him to. We have reduced Him to a power that we are to get ahold of and use rather than a Person who is to get ahold of and use us. Church, we would do well to fully capitalize on the Helper that lives on the inside me—benefiting from His guidance, leading, and His teaching in our lives—since He is to us today what Jesus was to His disciples yesterday.
So, I’ll end today with how Paul ended his writings to the Corinthians— “The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, the love of God, and the communion of the Holy Spirit be with us all. Amen.”