“Praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, being watchful to this end with all perseverance and supplication for all the saints…” (Eph 6:18)
“Pray at all times (on every occasion, in every season) in the Spirit, with all [manner of] prayer and entreaty. To that end keep alert and watch with strong purpose and perseverance, interceding in behalf of all the saints (God’s consecrated people).” (Eph 6:18 – Amp)
Prayer is like cooking or driving a car. You can’t learn it unless you do it. You can read a good cooking book, but until you get in the kitchen and start putting the ingredients together and cooking a meal you won’t learn how to cook. You could also study a driver’s manual, but until you actually get behind the wheel, start the car and go, you won’t learn to drive.
Many talk of prayer, write about prayer, and read books on prayer but until you pray you will not learn and grow in the art of prayer. In the last blog I told you about the new convert in my home town whom I am mentoring. He was saved 3 years ago, but is already praying supernaturally with tongues and at times interpretation. He has learned by doing it. He wouldn’t have learned to pray this way with teaching only.
It takes time to learn the Word and the Spirit in prayer. The prayer of faith (Mk 11:23-24) (Jam 5:16) is the prayer most believers are familiar with. This is a prayer where you ask and believe and it’s done. But those who consider to be people of faith and people of the Word make the mistake of trying to make this prayer work for everything in every situation. By doing so we miss what the Holy Spirit is trying to teach us and do for us.
For example, if the Holy Spirit is alerting you to make intercession for somebody, praying the prayer of faith won’t work. Now the prayer of faith will always work for you and your needs, but not necessarily for others. If it did always work for others you would never need to intercede for anybody. We must learn to be keen enough in the Spirit and knowledgeable enough in the Word to know what type of praying needs to be done in a situation. The prayer of faith and the prayer of intercession are two different kinds of praying.
Here’s an illustration. One woman in a church kept getting this sense that something bad was about to happen to her son. Instead of praying and waiting on the Lord she just went on about her business. Not too long after sensing this, her son was seriously injured in a motorcycle accident and later died. If this mother had begun to intercede and take hold of this situation with the Holy Spirit this tragedy would probably have been avoided. God was alerting her to pray. Then people question God and wonder why He allowed something like this to happen, but He was trying to stop it.
Praying the prayer of faith in that situation would probably not have worked. Intercession was needed. The old Pentecostals knew something about praying this way. They called it “praying through”. You’ve got to be keen in the Spirit and skilled in prayer to understand how and when to pray this way.
Sometimes you take hold with the Holy Spirit, but other times He will initiate a burden or reveal something to you and take hold with you. With things and situations you have knowledge of you can initiate and take hold with the Holy Spirit. But when it comes to things you have no knowledge of with your natural mind, as was the case with this mother, the Holy Spirit will reveal it and initiate a burden or a strong inward witness about it. Then He will begin to take hold with you while you cooperate with Him. This mother did not cooperate with what the Holy Spirit was showing her.
Two years ago my 81 year old father had open heart surgery. It was not an easy surgery at his age and there were complications. I’m sure some of my friends were praying for him, but I was watching over him in the Spirit and talking to the Lord about it all the time. I didn’t just pray the prayer of faith and call it done. I’d get a phone call in the middle of the night from the hospital and immediately my heart would sink thinking the worst might have happened, and perhaps we lost him. But I would plead my case with the Lord and make a pact with Him, and I constantly reminded Him of it. And then I would pray in the Spirit and make intercession for my dad.
One night I prayed through and received a word from the Lord basically telling me that he’d be alright. Peace flooded my soul and from that point on that word became my anchor. In this case, if I had only prayed the prayer of faith once and claimed victory, things may not have turned out right. Many bad things that happen to people could be averted if we had been more sensitive to the Spirit of God and listened and prayed.
The Lord Jesus Christ has given authority to His Church. That authority is carried out on the earth through faith and prayer. God is limited by our prayer life.
“It seems that God can do nothing for humanity unless somebody asks Him to do it.” John Wesley
If you have a burden or a strong inward witness about something don’t just rebuke the devil or speak a few words in tongues and claim the victory. God may be trying to alert you to something. Stop and wait on Him and see how the Holy Spirit will lead you and what He’ll show you. If we take hold with Him He will take hold with us and win the victory.