If you are joining us on Transformation Today’s blog site you may not have seen earlier blogs on prayer posted on July 1st and July 29th 2017. Here are two further reflections to make our prayers more effective.
Some things you just don’t ask the Lord for. If He says you already have it then just acknowledge this, agree with His Word that you have it and, instead of asking, give Him thanks for it. For example, He already said He would never leave you nor forsake you so why are you asking Him not to leave you nor forsake you? Thank Him that He neither leaves you nor forsakes you. We pray and ask for protection but He has said that He is our shield and buckler, over us are His everlasting arms. So, thank Him and appropriate what He has already said is yours! Part of the problem is that many believers either do not really believe the promises of God or feel that they do not apply to us personally. We continue to walk in unworthiness. We have not believed that we are accepted in the beloved and that He truly loves us and has made us to be joint heirs with Christ Jesus of His precious inheritance for the saints. Or could it be that we are still struggling with issues of shame and guilt that make us feel unworthy to receive the promises of God. That we are continuing to walk as orphans instead of sons and daughters of the Living God!! This is certainly not His will for you.
Therefore there is now no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus, who do not walk according to the flesh, but according to the Spirit. (Rom. 8:1)
For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, these are the sons of God. For you did not receive the spirit of bondage again to fear, but you received the Spirit of adoption by whom we cry out, “Abba, Father.” The Spirit Himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God, and if children, then heirs – heirs of God and joint heirs with Christ, if indeed we suffer with Him, that we may also be glorified together. (Rom. 8:14-17)
And the second issue regarding prayer. Don’t act foolish then ask the Lord to fix the consequences. Ask Him to help you to fix the behaviour and habits that cause you to continue to act foolishly. For example, you stay up watching TV even though you are feeling tired and then wake up with a headache the following morning. You then proceed to pray for God to heal the headache in Jesus’ name. I know it sounds ridiculous but we do it all the time. We make foolish decisions regarding how we spend the money God has given us and then cry out to God to make provision for us. Instead, we ought to be praying for God to give us the wisdom and the strength not to yield to the temptation to buy things we know we cannot afford; to be good stewards over the money He gives to us. Why would God want to give us more money anyway if we couldn’t be trusted with what He had already given us? Another example has to do with prayer for healing. We eat ourselves into diabetes, stress ourselves into high blood pressure, and then ask the elders to pray the pray of healing and wonder why we don’t get healed. Obviously, we need to change our lifestyle and obey the wise counsel God has given us in His word to cause us to prosper and be in good health (3 John 1:2). It’s a soul issue that needs to be addressed. It could be a need for lifestyle adjustments or it could be the need to repent of generational iniquity, which is the cause of many chronic illnesses that have a family history. Other root causes of illness are unforgiveness, fear, bitterness, shame, guilt and self-hatred. For more on the spiritual roots of disease read a More Excellent Way by Dr. Henry Wright.
Sometimes, we may not even be aware of the root issue that is causing us to continually behave in a way we know is foolish. Then, we ought to be praying for the Holy Spirit to reveal these root issues so we can truly repent and be delivered from their influence over our lives. We need to take responsibility and acknowledge that we have acted unwisely and seek help to overcome our weaknesses. This is what the Scripture refers to as our carnal nature or walking according to the flesh rather than according to the Spirit.
I was thinking that maybe I should write a book entitled “Christians Do the Wierdest Things”. Don’t worry, I would be featuring in their right beside you. None of us is exempt from doing foolish things. Why do we take so long to learn? We do something once and reap the negative consequences and go right back and do the same thing, somehow believing that the consequences will change. Or maybe we are just masochists; we love to inflict punishment on ourselves. Thank God He understands our weakness and is willing to forgive us once we acknowledge our sin (or foolishness) and confess it to Him. That is the key. Don’t act as though it’s okay and all is fine with you. Acknowledge when you have done something stupid. I know it’s very humbling. But better to humble yourself than have God come and do it for you.
Pride goes before destruction, And a haughty spirit before a fall. (Prov. 16:18)
For You will save the humble people, But will bring down haughty looks. (Ps. 18:27)
You will save the humble people; but Your eyes are on the haughty, that You may bring them down. (2 Sam. 22:28)
In closing, I thought it would be a good idea to summarize the prayer insights from the 3 prayer blogs.
We can change God’s mind through prayer because God is compassionate and merciful. A change in attitude can change God’s heart. As we pray, we need to remind Him of His unchanging character and His unchanging Word (this is why we need to know His Word). But the reverse is true also. If the change of mind we are seeking from God requires Him to act against His character or His Word, it’s not going to happen. He cannot deny these two things. He has to act in accordance with His character and in accordance with His Word.
Blessings are not something you pray for. You determine God’s blessings on your life based on decisions you make. God has laid out in His Word how we access blessings. Therefore, instead of praying for blessings for yourself and loved ones (which is unproductive anyway) you should pray instead to be submitted to God so that the power of the Holy Spirit will give you the strength to obey God’s commandments, for in so doing the blessings will flow naturally.
Don’t pray and ask God for things He already says are yours. Get to know what God has promised for those who believe and obey, agree with His Word that you have it and, instead of asking, give Him thanks for it by faith.
Don’t act foolish then ask the Lord to fix the consequences. Confess your faults. Ask Him to help you fix the behaviour and habits that cause you to continue to act foolishly. Above all things, ask for wisdom because He says He will not withhold it from us.
If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all liberally and without reproach, and it will be given to him. (Jam. 1:5)
Pray wisely and without ceasing!!