When reading the news on your phone you will occasionally see the top 10 most beautiful places to live in the world. They are all places filled with exotic lagoons that you can swim with the turtles. You will also see the top 10 worst places to live. Currently, the top two worst places to live in the world are Damascus, Syria and Lagos, Nigeria. We all live in a physical location and a spiritual location. A thought bubbled up in my mind this week, “What is one of the worst places to live for a Christian?” A location that is one of the most dangerous, most vulnerable oppressed places to live. I believe one of the worst places for a Christian to live is the place called Prayerless.
Prayerless is one of the most dangerous places to live. Prayerless is one of the most vulnerable places to live. Prayerless is one of the most disgruntled places to live. Prayerless is one of the most oppressed places to live. Prayerless Christians live knowing the truth but never get around to actually doing it. This is one of the most difficult places to live.
Have you ever wondered why does God want us to pray? The believe the first reason is to establish who our trust is really in. Prayer expresses our trust in God and is a means whereby our trust in him can increase. As children look to their fathers to provide for them, so God expects us to look to Him in prayer. Since God is our Father, we should ask in faith. “And whatever you ask in prayer, you will receive, if you have faith” (Matthew 21:22).Humble trusting people pray. Self-reliant people do not.
Another reason we pray is because we have been created for fellowship with the Lord. Prayer brings us into deeper fellowship with God where He loves and delights in us. We also pray realizing that it is God’s desire to involve us in His plans. In prayer God allows us as creatures to be involved in activities that are eternally important. When we pray, the work of the kingdom is advanced. In this way, prayer gives us opportunity to be involved in a significant way in the work of the kingdom and thus gives expression to our greatness as creatures made in God’s image.
Prayer is powerful! Have you ever wondered why keep praying when you don’t see results? If God has all power, why don’t I see more of it? Think about this: For him to release that power, do we need to pray? Let me give you three thoughts that have increased my desire and conviction to pray.
- 1. Invested Power
. Godhas deposited His power in us. This is extremely important to understand. When you understand this about prayer, you will become a person of prayer. Acts 1:8 says, “But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you, and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.”We receive invested power at salvation to be God’s witnesses to the ends of the earth. There are also more fillings of the Spirit that take place, not for an experiential moment of relief, but to be empowered to be a gospel carrier.
In Ephesians, Paul expounds on the power that has been deposited in us. Ephesians 3:20–21 says, “Now to him who is able to do far more abundantly than all that we ask or think, according to the power at work within us,21to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, forever and ever. Amen.” It is amazing how the Holy Spirit structured this verse. He could have left out all three adverbs. The Holy Spirit uses these descriptive words because it adequately shows the Father and His heart.
Question, is the Lord able to do exceedingly abundantly more than we can ask or imagine? Yes. Then why doesn’t He? Notice that Paul says, “according to the power at work within us.” This word according means measurement, or measure out, distribute. God has invested his power within us to distribute and give out. Similarly, the Lord gives us finances to distribute His way. We are in the shipping and receiving business. We have received to ship them out according to God’s plan. Consider your spiritual gifts. The Lord has invested His spiritual gifts in us to minister to others. “But the manifestation of the Spirit is given to each one for the profit of all” (1 Corinthians 12:7).
How much of God’s power are you measuring out to your family? How much of God’s power are you distributing to the situation that you need God to work in right now? Is it possible that God has done His part and now we distribute this power out? God has all power, but His unlimited power is limited in our lives by our prayerlessness. Are you going to distribute it? Are you going to measure it out to my situation?
- 2. We release the power of God through prayer. Imagine an owner in the front of their house lamenting the condition of their yard. The grass is brown and crackling under your feet. The plants are drooping just holding on for dear life. The yard just looks thirsty. If you were walking by this house and the man asked you what he should do. I would imagine you would tell him to turn on the faucet and water his lawn for an extended period of time and repeat the process every day. In a matter of a few days, that dry and thirsty land would become a revived emerald green. What is the condition of the yard of your life? Your friends, co-workers, family members. Do they need watering?
Elijah prayed seven times for something God already said He was going to do because he was releasing what God wanted to do in His life. Daniel prayed and fasted for twenty-one days according to Daniel 10. Verse 12 says, “Fear not, Daniel, for from the first daythat you set your heart to understand and humbled yourself before your God, your words have been heard, and I have come because of your words.” The angel Gabriel left heaven with the answer the first day Daniel prayed but there was spiritual warfare that was keeping him. Daniel kept praying and Gabriel was able to get through with the answer.The answer is sent the first day you pray but we wrestle with dark forces. Imagine if Daniel stopped praying after 20 days? In order to see fulfillment our lives, we need to pray to move heaven to earth.
- 3. God Answers Prayer: From Genesis to Revelation, the Bible is an unbroken series of supernatural interventions. Almost every page in your Bible pulsates with evidence of God’s involvement in the affairs of mankind. Clearly, He is eager to be an active participant in our daily lives. The Bible calls Him, “the God who answers” (1 Kings 18:24). He answers prayer because that’s just who He is. He talks. He talks back. He likes to talk back.
Isaiah the prophet visited Hezekiah with a word from the Lord. “Thus says the Lord, ‘Set your house in order, for you shall die; you shall not recover.’”(2 Kings 20:1). Hezekiah responds in prayer and contending before God. Before Isaiah had gone out of the middle court the Lord sends a new word.“Turn back, and say to Hezekiah the leader of my people, Thus says the Lord, the God of David your father: I have heard your prayer; I have seen your tears. Behold, I will heal you. On the third day you shall go up to the house of the Lord, 6 and I will add fifteen years to your life” (2 Kings 20:5). Hezekiah seeking the Lord in prayer gave him fifteen more years to live.
Hannah was unable to become pregnant and through prayer the Lord gives her a son who become the greatest prophet in Israel’s history. Isaac’s beloved wife Rebekah was barren, but he prayed to the Lord and she conceived a double portion blessing, two children. Peter was imprisoned but through prayer was escorted by an angel right out of that prison in front of his enemies. Moses prayed to see the glory of the Lord and was hidden in the cleft of the rock to only see the backside of the Lord. From this encounter the glory was so heavy on him that he has to wear a veil. Daniel prayed for himself and his friends to receive an interpretation to Nebuchadnezzar’s dream. Once he received it, they not only lived but were elevated to royal standings.
God answers prayer! If we believe this, we will pray more. We will tap into the invested power of God in our lives and distribute it through prayer generously. Take time now and water the landscape of your life in prayer.