Taking Hold of the Power of Prayer

Well, I was all set to just put blogging aside for a bit so I could focus on getting ready for our fantabulous vacation coming up.  And then God showed me something incredible that I just have to share.

A friend and I were chatting yesterday about some of our struggles and frustrations and fears, and the conversation inevitably turned to God as it always does when I'm talking with a Christian friend.  To be more specific, we talked about prayer and it's power.  At one point, we started talking about "those Name It and Claim It people" :-)  In my circles, "those" types of folks are always spoken of with a hint of curiosity, and slightly larger portion of disdain.  The general feeling is that they treat God like He's some sort of genie in a bottle who is sitting around waiting to make our dreams come true.

After we got off the phone, that conversation really stuck with me.  God was trying to show me something, I could feel it.  I searched the Word.  I prayed.  I considered many of the amazing things that God has done in my life.

And you know what?  I think I've been wrong all this time.  I've been selling God and His power in my life far short.

No, God is not a genie in a bottle waiting for just the right "type" of prayer to bless me with whatever I ask.  No, praying in a certain way will not ensure that I avoid suffering or pain.  No, praying about everything that comes to mind will not result in the precise Heavenly answer I want.

But here's the thing....who am I to edit my prayers?

All this while I've been measuring my prayers to God against what I think is "appropriate".  I don't pray for certain things because it feels "wrong".  I don't ask about certain things because who am I to know such things?  And even when I DO find the courage to pray a bit more boldly, I don't really expect great things from God...I am amazed when I get great things.  Not because God is amazing, but because He actually answered my prayer.

Why do I expect any less??

In this area of my life, I see now that I've been sucked into being falsely humble (Colossians 2:18).  The idea that I need to pre-screen my prayers before a God who already knows me inside and out is not humble...it's not "appropriate prayer".  It's pride.  Plain and simple - ugly pride...taking control in an area of my life where it is only God's place to be in control.

IT IS NOT MY PLACE to pray for less than everything that's in my heart!  To do so puts me in a position of power before the Lord.  I am instructed...ordered, even....to pray about every single thing I have going on.  When I let my prayers be hindered by a need to pray for appropriate things or in an appropriate way, I am blocking the power of God in my life.

The way I should be praying is this:  On my face in humility before Him, baring my every fear and concern and praise and joy...my every dream.  And then I leave it at His feet to do as He pleases.

I should be praying for (and expecting!) my every single dream to come true or for my dreams to be changed by a God who can change hearts.

Yes, it's a bold way to pray.  Boldness can sometimes be interpreted as arrogance, and if my boldness is based on confidence in my own power to get something done it IS arrogance.  But in this case it is just the opposite.  My boldness is based on a faith in the power of God - THAT is true humility!

So what's the point?  Why be sure that I'm praying "right"?  Well, isn't it obvious - I want to win the lottery and I want my kids to always be healthy and I want to look beautiful and lose 15 more pounds- and God can do these things for me if I just ask the right way!  Hahahah - just kidding!

I want to pray in a way that opens the door to God doing all things great and wonderful in my life and in my heart, so yes, I want His blessings.  But more importantly, I love Him.  I want Him to delight in my heart and my attitude toward him.  I don't want to hold anything back from Him.  I want my heart and my life to be laid bare before Him, and I want to rest in the knowledge that the one who is best able to be guiding and directing and blessing my life is being allowed to do so.  

(By the way - I don't want to forget that we have an enemy who is lying and cheating and stealing his way to making me miserable.  If I were him and I knew first hand the power of God and of His people's prayers?  One of the first things I'd try to do is convince God's people that there's no power in prayer and that they shouldn't be expecting great things from God.  Don't let the slimy little jerk get away with his lies.)

A small sampling of what the Bible says about prayer and God and the desires of my little heart:

Psalm 6:9 "The LORD has heard my cry for mercy; the LORD accepts my prayer."

Psalm 66:20 "Praise be to God, who has not rejected my prayer or withheld his love from me!"

Proverbs 15:8 "The LORD detests the sacrifice of the wicked, but the prayer of the upright pleases him."

Matthew 21:22 "If you believe, you will receive whatever you ask for in prayer."

Mark 11:24 "Therefore I tell you, whatever you ask for in prayer, believe that you have received it, and it will be yours."

Philippians 4:6 "Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God."

James 5:16b "The prayer of a righteous man is powerful and effective."

Psalm 37:4 "Delight yourself in the LORD and he will give you the desires of your heart."

Zephaniah 3:17 "The LORD your God is with you, he is mighty to save.  He will take great delight in you, he will quiet you with his love, he will rejoice over you with singing."

Luke 11:9 "So I say to you: Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you."

1 John 5:14 "This is the confidence we have in approaching God: that if we ask anything according to his will, he hears us.

James 4:2b "You do not have, because you do not ask God."

Sheila  – (6/29/2010 04:22:00 PM)  

I appreciated this. Thank you.

Beth in NC  – (6/29/2010 07:38:00 PM)  

Great post Daiquiri. I think the "name it and claim it" folks take the stance where we serve a God who calls things that are not as if they were so. He speaks things into existence and He lives within us. That tied into the scripture that says we eat the fruit of our lips.

At least that is what I'm guessing.

Thanks for sharing your heart and all of those wonderful scriptures with us.

You're right -- God knows us in and out.

Bless you!

Craig and Bethany  – (6/30/2010 11:37:00 PM)  

YES! This is one thing my mom commented on when she and my dad returned from Kenya last spring. Those Kenyans, they pray huge absolutely unblinking prayers. Their need is great but their faith is awesome. I totally agree that the enemy loves nothing better that to weaken our prayers. Great post!

Hilary  – (7/03/2010 07:29:00 AM)  

I totally agree. I once had a youth leader that told us that what was important to us was important to God and he will help us achieve any righteous goal -- even if it's to lose weight, make more friends, etc. :)

Julie  – (7/07/2010 12:43:00 AM)  

Thank you for this reminder.....I too have been caught in the trap of thinking that I have to pray a certain way in order for it "to work". I have described to my husband at times the feeling that I am walking on egg shells, I have to ask just the right way, or do just the right thing in order for the Lord to hear me or deem my request worthy...how silly huh? LOL!
Thank you again for reminding me of His love and his desire to answer all!

Julie@ oatmealonthewall.blogspot.com

Anonymous –   – (7/07/2010 05:03:00 PM)  

I loved this. Thank you!!!

Our Family for His Glory  – (7/08/2010 09:27:00 PM)  

I really appreciated reading this- how true! And I've loved taking a peek at your blog- I found you through the Christian Moms Blog Ring... & I'm so glad I did! I love your heart for God!

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