Have you ever experienced situations where you prayed with all your heart, maybe many times, yet your prayers went unanswered? Maybe a better question is, “Haven’t all believers at some time or another experienced frustration or disappointments due to what seemed like unanswered prayers?” I certainly will admit that while many of my prayers have been answered, there have been far more that seemed to go unanswered. When faced with what seems like failures, or a big “No” from God, we may conclude that our prayers did not line up with His will, and this may be completely untrue. Within the past few weeks, one of our pastors taught about prayer, and shared some insights from the book, “A Better Way to Pray,” The author, Pastor Andrew Wommack, has been in ministry for over forty years. Applying the biblical principles Pastor Wommack shares in this book has radically impacted my prayer life, and I am witnessing first-hand God working through the changes I have made. If you desire to experience greater and more frequent manifestations from your prayers, read on….
The first thing we must confront in our lives is that God, our heavenly Father, desires a relationship with us. And, He makes it is easy for us by instructing us how we should approach Him. We are to “Enter His presence (gates) with thanksgiving and His courts with praise. Give thanks to Him and praise His name (Psalm 100:4).” “Let your roots grow down into Him, and let your lives be built on Him. Then your faith will grow strong in the truth you were taught, and you will overflow with thankfulness (Col. 2:7).” When we pray we are to approach God with our praises and thanks. Our focus is to be on who He is, and what He has done for us, and His ability and His promises. When we begin with the right focus, our hearts will naturally overflow with faith in Him. Our focus is no longer on our problems, but on His ability! As we begin to praise God for His infinite power and acknowledge that there is nothing that compares with Him, our faith begins to strengthen and we are preparing to receive what He has promised.
Recently, I felt the Lord directing me to visit a couple of friends on a Sunday afternoon. They had been going through a very challenging time in their lives. Bills had piled up and their were months behind in rent. They were unable to buy all of the medications they had been taking. The situation looked almost hopeless in many respects and it was creating significant relationship problems in their marriage. As I entered their home that day, I could sense the tension. The husband was very angry and his wife was taking the brunt of many of his comments. God spoke to my heart to apply the teaching from the sermon that morning. So I asked if I could pray with the couple and they agreed. The Lord directed me to have them join hands and recite some of their wedding vows. Next the Lord directed me to have them confess out loud that God is their Provider. Not a prayer for help, but to confess and acknowledge that God is their Provider. Not might be, or may be, but is Jehovah Jireh, God their Provider. God had already promised in Matthew 6:33 and Philippians 4:19 that He was their Provider and this couple was simply acknowledging the finished work God had already done. Within five days, the wife was offered what she said was her “Dream job.” Within two weeks, they received two checks for almost $1,000 each that enabled them to catch up their rent. It was an amazing intervention by God in their lives.
About two weeks ago, my mother was diagnosed with an aortic aneurysm. Our family prayed and acknowledged Jesus was our Healer and that His shed blood on the cross had already made her well (Isaiah 53:4,5). When she went to the doctor for a follow-up x ray of the aneurysm to determine how serious it was, the x ray came back negative. No aneurysm was present because Christ our Healer had touched her and made her whole.
The conclusion I have come to in the past few weeks is that God has not changed, I have changed how I approach Him. In the book, “A Better Way to Pray,” the author writes, “Prayer is not trying to twist God’s arm to make Him do something. Prayer is receiving by faith what he as already done (p. 10).” Pastor Wommack goes on to write, “By continuing to hold on to unproductive prayer patterns, you have much more to lose than gain!” Pastor Wommack continues writing, “I regularly see miracles of every kind happen in my life and ministry. My own son was raised up after being dead for five hours. I’ve seen blind eyes and deaf ears opened, not to mention all the cancers healed, people coming out of wheelchairs and demons cast out…and all of the glory belongs to our Lord Jesus Christ!”
When we pray, we should:
1. Enter the presence of the Lord with a grateful heart, filled with thanksgiving. Praise, thanksgiving, worship should make up most of our prayer time because our focus is on God, Who He is, and His ability.
2. We should always make our requests in the name of Jesus (John 14:13-14, 15:7).
3. We should speak directly to the “mountain” in our life. In Mark 11:22-24 Jesus instructs us to:
a. Have faith in God.
b. Speak directly to the problem. If your back is in pain, speak directly to your back, acknowledge Jesus has made you whole.
c. Command the problem to go away and confess that God as already completed all that needs done for healing to manifest in your life.
d. Believe that what you are saying will happen because Christ has said it will.
e. Stand firm, and unmovable until the healing or answer is manifested.
We must recognize there is a spiritual world, as well as the physical world we live in. Our focus and confession and faith is in the spiritual world where Christ has already completed all that needs done for our healing and needs to be met. So I am not encouraging you to try some “name it and claim it life,” but am certainly encouraging us to get your focus on Christ and the work He has already done that is ours for the taking.
Someone has defined insanity as “doing the same thing over and over again expecting to get a different result.” This often describes our prayer life. We aren’t seeing God move, yet we have a tendency to cling to our past experiences and beliefs. Why?
Jesus said, “And these signs shall follow them that believe; In my name they shall cast out devils…they shall lay hands on the sick , and they shall recover (Mark 16:17-18).” Notice that these signs will accompany the lives of all who believe. Christ has already empowered us to fulfill the mission He has given us!
Jesus also said, “If you abide in Me, and My words abide in you, you shall ask whatever you will and it shall be done for you (John 15:7).”
If you get a chance, I encourage you to read the book “A Better Way to Pray.” It will challenge your approach to prayer and confront the man-made religious practices in your prayer life, as it has mine. As I was about half way through the book, I almost quit reading. But I continued and God has used this book to open my mind and heart and prayers in new and wonderful ways. As the Lord speaks to your heart about prayer, I encourage you to allow Him to confront those areas and prayer practices that can be changed to better align with His Word and promises. After all, what do you have to lose…and there is so much more to gain by acknowledging God as our Ultimate Source and The Promise Keeper, and acknowledging that when Jesus said, “It is finished,” His work was accomplished forever for our salvation, our healing, our provision, and so much more.
God is good, All the time.