“God’s purpose may be thwarted, or it may be accomplished depending, to one degree or another, on the obedience of His people and their willingness to use the weapons of spiritual warfare that He has provided. God is powerful enough to win any battle, but He has designed things so that the release of His power at a given moment of time often is contingent upon the decisions and the actions of His people. A principle weapon of spiritual warfare is prayer. Not just routine or mediocre prayer, but prayer powerful enough to move God’s hand in order to determine the destiny of a whole nation.” C. Peter Wagner
God sent Jesus to die for our sins as the only possible way to get back into the right relationship with God. Everything in our lives, whether we are Christ-followers or not, is shaped by this spiritual need to be in right standing with God. No one has the power to do this through their own strength, design, or merit. It is the work of the Holy Spirit drawing us to the Father. It is the work of prayer.
One of the greatest privileges in the universe is to talk to our Creator. Did you know that praying is something that every human is designed to do? Anthropologists and historians have discovered that every culture throughout history prays. They do not all pray to the one true God, but the desire to pray is something that God has place within us. God wants to have a conversation with you!
Humans naturally love the merit system. Personal property, human rights, governments, capitalism, judicial systems, and even elementary school are based on the merit system. The better I do, the better grades I get, the better job I get, the more money I make, and the better relationships I have. This system works except in your spiritual life. You can’t earn God’s favor. He simply gives it to you because of His grace. Any spiritual system based on works or the merit system does not work. It always leads to legalism, Pharisaic attitudes, burnout, failure, and unrealistic expectations. Prayer helps you align yourself with God’s grace.
On the other hand, when you begin with God’s grace and mercy and you understand that everything is based on His desire for you which, in turn, creates your desire for Him, it changes everything. In my marriage I can do things for my wife out of a heart of love and desire for her and it is wonderful. When those acts of love based on desire become expectations, however, they lose their meaning and actually hinder our relationship. If I buy her a gift simply because she expects it and I would be in trouble if I did not, that gesture no longer has any meaning. If, however, I buy her a gift because of my desire and love for her it has tremendous significance.
I want you to experience the kind of relationship with God that is based on desire rather than expectation. I want you to experience the joy of praying to know Him better. Prayer is one of the most important things you can do.
How can you make your prayer life better? Here are a few things that can help.
Prayer is Simply Talking to God. You don’t have to know lots of fancy words or have a theological degree to pray. Prayer is simply talking to God. I love the words of Jesus in Matthew 6: 7-9. He says, “The world is full of so-called prayer warriors who are prayer-ignorant. They're full of formulas and programs and advice, peddling techniques for getting what you want from God.
Don't fall for that nonsense. This is your Father you are dealing with, and he knows better than you what you need. With a God like this loving you, you can pray very simply.” (MES)
Prayer is Asking and Receiving. Praying requires action and faith. We are to pray in faith in order to receive. Prayer is simply asking and receiving.
Matthew 7:7 “Ask, and you will receive; seek, and you will find; knock, and the door will be opened to you.”
Prayer is Aligning Yourself under God’s Authority, Grace, and Power. One of the most powerful things about prayer is that it expresses our need for God. He loves it when you come to Him. He loves to help those who admit that they can’t help themselves. He loves it when we depend on Him. That is how we experience His power in action.
John 15:5 “…for apart from Me you can do nothing.” (NASB)
Prayer Must be Authentic and Sincere. Who are the prayer experts? It is the ones who are genuine. God does not require fancy words or big fanfare. He simply wants you to talk to Him.
Matthew 6:6 "Here's what I want you to do: Find a quiet, secluded place so you won't be tempted to role-play before God. Just be there as simply and honestly as you can manage. The focus will shift from you to God, and you will begin to sense his grace. (MES)
Prayer changes things. It will change the world. It will change your world. It will change you. I hope you will take new ground in 2018 through the power of prayer.