Principles for Power-Full Praying
Principle #1: The Promises of God Are Conditional
Although God's love for each of us is unconditional, the use of His power on our behalf is based on our meeting the expectations He has of us. God is a God of covenants. Countless promises of God begin with the words: "If you." For example: "If you abide in me and my words abide in you, ask whatever you wish and it will be given you. (John 15:7). If we do our part, God always does what He promises.
Principle #2: Motivation Must Be Right!
James 4:3 says: "When you ask, you do not receive because you ask with wrong motives." If we are sick, for example, maybe we want to be healed just so we can feel good and go on doing what we want to do -- that's healing for our own sake. But in John 15:8, Jesus tells us the right motive for asking anything -- it has 3 parts:
- glorifying God
- serving the Kingdom
- honoring Jesus Christ
Whatever we ask of God must be in order to achieve those ends.
God wants you healed, for example, not just so you can feel good, but so you have the strength and energy to do the work He has called you to. Read the account of the healing in Acts 3:1 to 4:4 and see how all three things were fulfilled: glorifying God (3:9); serving the Kingdom (4:4); honoring Jesus (3:16).
Principle #3: Faith Is a Prerequisite for Answered Prayer
Mark 6:5 shows us that in the absence of faith, even the prayers of Jesus went unanswered. He cannot do what He wants to do for us unless we are totally convinced that...
- He can,
- He wants to,
- He will!
Most of us fall short in the last two areas, and James 1:7 warns us that if we have doubts, we "should not think (we) will receive anything from the Lord."
On the other hand, 2 Corinthians 1:20 and 1 John 5:14-15 let us know that if we ask anything that is the will of God, we can be absolutely certain that His answer is "Yes." How can we know His will? We seek the promises He has in His Word about the matter we are praying for. This leads us to the next principle.
Principle #4: Use God's Word in Prayer
In John 15:7, Jesus said, "If...my words abide in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be given you." If we find God's promise to us regarding any matter, we can know that is His will for us, and that "we have what we asked of Him." (1 John 5:15)
In Jeremiah 1:12, the Lord says:
I am watching to see that my word is fulfilled.
Principle #5: Agree Together with Other Christians
One of the highest priorities of Jesus is the unity and cooperation of His Body, the Church, in doing the work of the Kingdom (John 17:11, 22-23).
Jesus tells us in Matthew 18:19 that if even just two of us agree on earth about anything we ask, our Father in heaven will do it for us (assuming other conditions are met, of course).
Furthermore, if we are ill, we are to call several elders together to come and pray for us (James 5:14).
Principle #6: Live Out God's Word
Jesus emphasizes that the role of the enemy of God (Satan) is to steal, kill, and destroy, but His (Jesus') purpose in our lives is abundant life (John 10:10). We cannot cooperate with the enemy in one area and ask God's blessing in another.
In Psalm 66:18, David says, "If I had cherished sin in my heart, the Lord would not have listened," and Jesus said, "Blessed are those who hear the Word of God and obey it." (Luke 11:28)
That doesn't mean we have to live "perfect" lives in order for God to answer our prayers, but we must be committed to allowing His Holy Spirit to "lead us in paths of righteousness."
Principle #7: Be Persistent in Prayer
In Luke 18, Jesus tells a parable to teach us that we are to keep praying for something we have asked of God and not give up. That doesn't mean we keep begging the same thing again and again like a nagging child.
Rather, we know that God has already given that which we've asked (I John 5:15), so our "persistent prayer" now is praise and thanksgiving as we wait expectantly for that which God has promised.
Psalm 91 really instructs us here. In verse 15, God promises He will answer but until that answer arrives, He will be with us in the trouble we face. In verse 16 the answer is fulfilled.
It's the confident expectation -- giving thanks to God and trusting Him enough to express our belief that we "have that which we have asked of Him," even before we see the evidence of it in our lives -- that puts into action the faith of principle 3 (Hebrews 11:1).
These principles are not a "quick fix" -- they both build and express that relationship with Him through which His power can flow more freely. The result is greater and greater victory over the enemy. (See Eph. 6:10-18.)
God deeply loves us and wants a close, personal relationship with each of us. Our prayers are not answered simply because we "do all the right things." Our prayers are answered on the basis of that close, personal relationship we have with God.