Powerful Prayer Part #7 – Prayer that Will Change the World

Scripture makes prayer seem simple, but not all we need to know about prayer is immediately evident. Here are 3 things that you must know in order to get your prayers answered.

This is the 7th in an 8 part series on Prayer. It’s best to read these lesson posts in order.

2018-26We have divided the obstacles to answered prayer into 2 categories: prayer for our self and prayer for others. In the previous post, we talked about prayer for our self and the foundation of answered prayer being our relationship with God. All power has been given to Jesus and He in turn has passed on that power to us. This power, however, is not immediately available to us; there’s a process in which we learn about the spiritual realm and how the Kingdom of God works. That process has been modeled to us by the Children of Israel who traveled through the wilderness from Egypt to the Promised Land. Each step of their journey represents the challenges we must overcome in order to receive the power and authority Jesus has acquired for us. This is the foundation of powerful prayer. It’s also the foundation of becoming like God in our desires and motives.

Prayer that will change the world (prayer for others) is a big part of our ministry as  believers. Jesus called it “fruifulness”. He is the “life” of the tree or vine which bears fruit, but the “farmer” must prune the tree in order for it to produce fruit. The allegory of “pruning” refers to the process modeled in the story of the Children of Israel.

Scripture tell us that the challenge for every Christian is to overcome the devil, the world, and the flesh. Jesus was tempted 3 times at the end of His wilderness experience and denounced the power of these 3 enemies over Him. He overcame these obstacles (opponents) and gained a “position” of power and authority from which He performed His ministry. So how did Jesus overcome these obstacles?

Overcoming the Devil
Prayer flows out of our relationship with God, and because we have experienced His presence and love, we’re motivated to have others discover this as well. Listening to and being led by the Holy Spirit in prayer is at the heart of successful prayer; however, it’s also helpful to understand what scripture says about praying successfully.

When we pray for others to discover God and His love, scripture says that the challenge is that “the god of this world has blinded their eyes”.  This doesn’t mean that people who don’t know God are ‘demon possessed’; it means they have no protection against the work of the devil which keeps them from seeing God’s light. Here are the tools for powerful prayer when the devil is your main opponent.

Faith is important to successful prayer. It’s something that we ‘grow’ through our prayer experiences. We come to ‘know’ that we have authority over all things through ‘practicing’ authoritative prayer. Jesus said He has given us authority over every work and form of the devil (Luke 10:19), but knowing is not believing! Believing comes from seeing our prayers change things. The more we practice prayer using Jesus as our model, the more we build up our faith. Faith is like a musical instrument – it takes practice and if you don’t use it, you lose it. We can’t please God without (using our) faith.

If faith is “power” in prayer, then “position” is authority. Understanding that Jesus has seated us with Him at the right hand of the Father is critical to praying with authority. We have the authority of God; hence, Jesus said, “nothing will be impossible for you”. Knowing this and believing it aren’t the same, as we all know, since few of us have raised the dead or walked on water. The potential, however, is there to do amazing things through our prayers and actions. The “perfect church” for which Jesus said He is coming back will be using His power and authority to do amazing works of love and healing.

There are times in which we have “position” which does not come from our position in Christ. Each of us has a domain of authority which we’ve been given for our ministry. It includes all those who are under our authority such as being a “father”, member of government, director or manager of a company. There are positions which also provide authority in which we have the “right” to bring the spirit of Christ into. Positions of authority bring a trickle-down effect which provides and open door for the Kingdom of Love to overcome its enemies.

5126-12Strategic Sins
There’s another obstacle to answered prayer which affects our prayers. The devil has no authority or power because Jesus has given it ALL to us; however, a person’s past can influence the outcome of our prayers for them. Some people’s past include vows (our words are powerful), connections to the occult, strongholds of thinking, bitterness (emotional wounds), unforgiveness, and previous rejections of truth.

These are strategic sins in which the enemy attempts to prevent people from escaping his control; however, Jesus provided a tool in which we can “undue” the devil’s work and create an unhindered opportunity for the person to respond to revelation. For more information on the ‘Power to Forgive Sins’ see post #3. When we pray on behalf of a person, we can ask for forgiveness and/or forgive their sins with the authority God has given us. Some people feel uncomfortable with taking this authority, but it’s an important gift/tool God has given us in order to be free from the snare of the devil.

There are two more obstacles to answered prayer which occur when praying for individuals. Some people have had experiences (including with God) in which they were disappointed. These experiences are spiritual strongholds which stand in the way of the seed of the Gospel germinating and taking root in a person’s life. This type of obstacle takes ongoing and focused prayer effort to overcome. Declarations (confessions) of freedom spoken out loud, intercession, and forgiveness of sins are all part of the tools for overcoming this prayer challenge.

Jesus explains another obstacle we face when we pray for individuals in the parable of the sower. The (good) seed falls upon hardened ground (which we talked about above). It also is choked out by weeds which He describes as the cares and worries of this world. This is a picture of indifference, self-sufficiency, and fear of not having enough. It’s also a picture of a ‘luke-warm’ church who isn’t able to grow spiritually or overcome their prayer enemies because they have their roots in this world and not in Christ. The forgiveness of sin is our tool to bring change to the situation. Once the sin and its influences are removed, people are able to hear and respond to God. The second part of overcoming this prayer challenge is to build a scenario in prayer in which God can reveal His love, faithfulness, and blessings to them in a way they can receive them. Be creative, be specific, be bold in your prayers.

Jesus has secured all the tools we need in order to win every battle with our enemies; we need to learn how to use them.

In the next and final post, we’ll provide tools for overcoming the last 2 obstacles to prayer which are “the world” and “the flesh”.

Your comments are invited……

This is the 7th in a series of 8 posts about prayer. Please invite your friends to join the conversation. The image below can be saved to your computer by right clicking and selecting “save image as” and then it can be “attached” or “inserted” in a email message. You can also become a “subscriber” and never miss a new post. Check out the “Meta” section “Entries RSS”on the side bar to the right.

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