Day 24 – Effective Prayer Recap
Effective Prayer Podcast, by Colin Dye
And now we come to 1 John 5:14. This, for me, is in many ways my favorite verse on prayer. I base so much of my teaching on prayer on this verse. Let’s read it, “Now this is the confidence that we have in Him, that if we ask anything according to His will, He hears us.” If we ask anything according to His will, He hears us.
Now some people have misunderstood us to pray “If it be your will” kind of prayers. I wonder if you’ve heard about that. “If it be your will” kind of prayers. Jesus says in John 15:7, “If you abide in Me, and My words abide in you, you will ask what you will, what you desire, and it shall be done for you.” So both 1 John 5:14, which says “This is the confidence that we have in Him, that if we ask anything according to His will,” and the John 15:7, “If My words abide in you, you will ask what you will and it shall be done for you.” Both these verses show us that “if it be thy will” prayers really they’re not biblical. I will go so far as to say that. They are not biblical.
As you will see, it is possible to come to a point where you have to pray an “if it be your will prayer” because you’ve tried hard, you’ve read the Bible, you’ve prayed, you’ve said, “Lord, show me Your will,” and you are still not sure and you have to admit, “Lord, I don’t know what Your will is in this situation, but if this is Your will, then I pray You will do it,” and God will sort it out.
It doesn’t mean to say we always pray accurately according to His will. Sometimes we can be absolutely convinced it is His will and we can inform God that it is His will, we can tell Him in no uncertain terms that this is His will, we’re sure about it, but it’s not. We can make mistakes.
The real thing I’m saying is this: Have in your heart the desire to pray according to the will of God. Spend time discovering His will and pray accordingly, and if you have to say at times, “I don’t know Your will,” but honestly admit it. But certainly don’t use “if it be Your will” kind of prayers as an excuse, as many people do.
It’s a religious phrase, “if it be Thy will.” We should know God’s will. He’s revealed His will. The Spirit of God prays according to God’s will. Well now, I hear people say—many have said to me when I teach like this, “You’re twisting the Scripture. Jesus prayed, ‘if it be Your will.’” Oh dear, well if Jesus did it, perhaps we’re wrong here. We need to understand that if Jesus did it perhaps we ought to do it.
So they will take you to Luke’s Gospel chapter 22, the full passage 39 to verse 45, and here He is, Jesus tells them not to enter, to pray that they don’t enter into temptation, verse 41, “And He was withdrawn from them about a stone’s throw, and He knelt down and prayed, saying, “Father, if it is Your will, take this cup away from Me; nevertheless not My will, but Yours, be done. Then an angel appeared to Him from heaven, strengthening Him.” Then He prays that prayer and eventually He comes in and He submits to the will of God and He says, “Lord, I take this cup. I drink this cup.” But He did pray, “if it be Your will.”
Now let me ask you a question: Was Jesus honestly in any doubt about God’s will here when He prayed that? Not at all. He knew it was God’s will. He has just said, “Father, glorify Your Son. For this purpose I’ve come into the world.” He knew that the cross was His hour of glory. He knew that His death was a death to be accomplished. He knew what the Father’s will was. He spoke to His disciples, “The Son of Man shall be betrayed and He shall be crucified, but He shall rise again from the dead the third day.”
He knew God’s will. He was in no uncertain doubt. He was in no doubt at all. There was no uncertainty at all as far as Jesus was concerned. He knew the will of God, and yet He still prays, “If it be Your will.” What is this? This isn’t the prayer of asking God God’s will. This is Him struggling in the garden with carrying out God’s will. In His humanity, He was shrinking from this, and He was, as it were, scouring the universe to see, “Is this the only way? Do I really, really have to go through with this? If there is any other way, Father,” as the weight of the cross was beginning to touch Him, as the agony…He was sweating drops of blood. Physiologically He was going through such pain and agony, and this cup, the bitter cup, He shrank from it in His humanity and He knelt before God and He said, “If there is any other way, but whatever way it has to be, then I submit.”
This is a prayer of submission, and that is a good “if it be Thy will prayer.” And if you want to pray “if it be Thy will,” you pray it those times when you are tested and you are going through pain and difficulty and you know that God is leading you every step of the way, and you know that this is His plan for your life that you go through the valley and you experience the depths of suffering in one way or another and you say, “Dear God, I submit to Your will, but I thank You that beyond this experience there is coming a joy and a celebration and a glorification because resurrection is happening to me, resurrection is coming my way. I submit to your will.”
It’s a prayer of submission; it’s not an excuse not to pray or to pray lazily and to leave God, as it were, as the one who is going to sort it all out anyway. That’s opting out; it’s not engaging with God.
Now I want to bring you to some of the principles of effective prayer which I have been teaching throughout this series and bring this series to conclusion. I also want to touch on one other major thing before we finish today. Number #1, God wants you to ask. He wants you to ask. “You don’t have because you don’t ask,” James says. You don’t have because you don’t ask.
Secondly, He wants you to ask with boldness. Boldness. Ask with boldness. Remember the man in the parable? He was cheeky enough to wake up his friend. That’s why he got an answer. Ask with boldness. Pray, #3, according to His will. We touched on that again. Very important. You don’t pray your own will; you pray God’s will.
Number #4, ask in faith. We are going to touch this…come to this in detail when we deal with faith in the Sword of the Spirit series on faith, but right now know that we must believe that God is both able and willing to touch people’s lives and to answer our prayers.
Ask with persistence, number #5. Keep on praying with persistence. Don’t give up. If you don’t give up, you will get the answer. And number #6, pray with variety. Know that the Holy Spirit has so many different, powerful ways of praying so that you will find your prayer life of interest and of value, and it’s not something that you yourself will get bored with. And I tell you something, if you’re bored with it, then God also will be bored with it. That’s right; no boring. Bring variety.
Let me show you this from a passage in the Scripture. Turn, please, to 1 Timothy 2, “Therefore,” verse 1, “Therefore I exhort first of all that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks be made for all men.” What do you see here? Variety. You see variety there, don’t you? Supplications, intercessions, thanksgivings; they’re all here. Supplications, intercessions, thanksgiving; it’s all here. Variety.
Now actually this is part of a process. I want to take you through it. it’s part of a process, and if you learn this process, you will know how the Holy Spirit works and you will recognize this process in intercession and this makes it very interesting. You are praying with variety, but you are also praying according to a kind of flow of these principles.
Now then, let me take you through each of these words. First of all, you pray with supplications. This is the Greek word deesis. Supplications. Deesis. Now you remember that word means “praying out of a sense of need.” That’s where prayer begins. It begins with a sense of need, and you are recognizing the need and you come to God and say, “Lord, I have this need. There is a need.” It might be your need or somebody else’s need. So that is what this word means: deesis—prayer focusing on the need, concentrating on the need, arising out of the need. But if you just keep on praying there, it’s boring. That’s how many people pray, “Oh God, heal my body. oh God, heal my body. oh God, I’m sick in my body, I’m sick in my body everywhere, everywhere. Lord, I’m sick in my body.” And the Lord says, “I’m sick of your praying.” Don’t pray like that. you need to move on from there.
You move from deesis, deesis, to proseuche. So you’ve got supplications, then you’ve got how the Bible translates it as prayers. This is the word proseuche, which is the most commonly used word in the Bible of prayer. But proseuche is prayer made focusing on God who answers the need. That’s the emphasis in the word. Deesis—supplication, focusing on the need, arising on the need. But you need to turn from there, “Oh God, heal my body,” to “You are the healer. You are the healer. You are who calls me to trust You as Yahweh Rapha, the Lord who heals me. By His stripes I am healed. Lord, I thank You.”
The moment you turn away from the need and turn towards the Father, the one who meets the need, that’s proseuche, then you step into intercession, because there you actively engage. You take your stand in the spiritual realm and so you move through this process step-by-step. First of all, deesis, supplication, prayer arising out of the need. Secondly, proseuche, that is prayer focusing on the God who answers the need, moving now you’re equipped into the third phase here of intercession, enteuxis, enteuxis. Now you are armed and equipped to take your stand in the heavenlies and you say, “Oh God, there is a need, but there is a God who meets the need. Hallelujah. And I take my authority now in the name of Jesus Christ,” and you begin to actively, aggressively come before God, understanding your whole petition is being heard on high.
And then you come to the final word here, which is thanksgiving—eucharistia. Eucharistia—giving thanks, and you find yourself moving in this direction many, many times, exactly like that. You start, first of all, because there is a consciousness of a need. You know that; that’s what needs you to pray. Then the Holy Spirit leads you to the God who is going to meet that need and supply for you, and then you are equipped for intercession and you begin to pray. That’s when you really get down to it and you are praying and persevering and it is pushing back boundaries, pushing back the boundaries, and then suddenly the breakthrough comes and you move spontaneously into thanksgiving, you say, “Hallelujah, Lord. Thank You. I have my request. This is done. You have answered my prayer. Praise the Lord.”
That is a prayer process. That is exactly how the Holy Spirit has led me right from the very beginning in my Christian life, and when I saw it in the scripture here I found it very, very, very encouraging.
And now before we finish this session I want to go back to one of the other sessions and complete something that we started there, the law of agreement, and it’s Matthew 18:18-20, because Jesus says there,
Assuredly, I say to you, whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven. Again I say to you that if two of you agree on earth concerning anything that they ask, it will be done for them by My Father in heaven. For where two or three are gathered together in My name, I am there in the midst of them.
A very important prayer principle. It is the law of agreement, and everywhere in Scripture we read about this law of agreement. It’s a law that applies in many different ways. Originally in the law, Deuteronomy 19:15, “One witness shall not rise against a man concerning any iniquity or any sin that he commits; by the mouth of two or three witnesses the matter shall be established.”
And again in New Testament times, 2 Corinthians 13:1, the Apostle Paul says, “This will be the third time I am coming to you. ‘By the mouth of two or three witnesses every word shall be established.’” And so this is not just a kind of legalistic thing; it is a principle, and I find this principle of the Holy Spirit operating in many different ways. The Holy Spirit, when He speaks to you and when you are searching out for Him and to hear His voice, He will very often use this principle, “Out of the mouth of two or three witnesses.”
Have you learned it in your own experience? Somebody says something to you, it just sparks off on the inside, “Have you ever thought about…” and they say something, maybe a suggestion that they feel is from the Lord for your life, “Have you ever thought about going into full-time Christian ministry?”
You say, “Well, I haven’t really, but it’s surprising you should say that, because just this morning in my prayer time I had the Holy Spirit impress that upon my heart.”
And then lo and behold one week later somebody else says it, and it’s a confirmation. Have you ever had that confirmation, that spiritual confirmation? That’s the Holy Spirit working according to this principle of “out of the mouth of two or three witnesses.”
Now this is what the prayer of agreement is. He doesn’t say here, “Look, just decide yourself what God’s will is and then go and tell somebody else to agree with you.” No, it’s not talking about that. He says, “Out of the mouth of two or three witnesses.” In other words, where two or three agree, and that’s the word which we get the English word “symphony” from. In other words, there is a forming together. And what is that symphony? It is music that is being written. And what is the agreement here? It is concerning God’s will in heaven.
In other words, when you come to pray and pray the prayer of agreement, you have a witness together concerning God’s will, and the fact that there are two or three of you together agreeing and saying, “Yes, I have this witness, too,” this is how the Holy Spirit is working. You have force and strength because Jesus says, “There I will be in the midst. I am in the midst of that. I am really in this situation where you are praying together the prayer of agreement. You need to learn to agree with one another together in prayer. When you are joining in your prayer times together, you pray the “amen” of agreement, and when somebody’s praying, your “amen” means “Yes, I agree. So be it, Lord. I understand that this is the will of God.”
Now the prayer of agreement isn’t, “Let’s get together. I would like a Rolls-Royce.”
“You would? I would like a Jaguar.”
“Oh yes, I would like a Mercedes-Benz.”
“So there are three people, hallelujah, we’re agreed. We are agreed, brother. God’s got to do it. Lord, you said where two or three were agreed. Are we agreed? Yes, brother we are agreed. We’re agreed, Lord. You’ve got to do this. I agree now. Rolls-Royce. I agree now, Mercedes-Benz. I agree Jaguar. I agree.”
And God says, “I disagree. I disagree.”
This isn’t you agreeing amongst yourself what you want God to do and what He therefore has to do. No, no, no, no, no. Let’s read the verse again. The verse says, it starts in verse 18, Matthew 18, “Assuredly, I say to you, whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven.”
What is He talking about here? This is a Greek grammatical construction. I’ll give it to you—in English, but I’ll give it to you anyway. This is a future perfect passive. Future perfect passive. Let me translate it for you literally. “Assuredly I say to you, whatever you bind on earth shall have been bound in heaven. Whatever you loose on earth shall have been loosed in heaven.”
What? You mean to say we can only agree on earth concerning what is already done in heaven? Yes. That’s the whole point of prayer. “Our Father in heaven let Your will be done on earth as it is done in heaven.” You see, God knows what His will is. His will is fixed and established in heaven, but heaven is not the problem. God knows what He permits; God knows what He doesn’t permit. He knows what He binds; He knows what He looses. God knows that; we must know it. And when we come together to pray, God will reveal it to us. He will say, “Son, I’m binding this in heaven. This is against my will. You pray accordingly.”
And we hear, “Oh, the Father has spoken to me. The Spirit has given me a witness. This building that we are going to go for and there is a blockage on it, that’s not God’s will. God’s will is for that thing to be broken open. Yes, and we have the witness and we agree together.” And then we pray according to the established will in heaven and we continue to pray until that established will in heaven becomes established on the earth.
That’s the powerful prayer of agreement. That’s how we need to pray in agreement. We agree concerning what God’s will is in that situation, and that means that when we pray together we multiply prayer. like it says in the Bible, “One shall put to flight 1,000; two shall put to flight 10,000.” You multiply prayer that way, and you stay on track. You are not now just getting caught up somehow in your own way, praying your own things. No, you are submitting to the will of the Father.
And so we have, as we bring this series to a conclusion, the glorious cycle of prayer. Prayer begins with God, and God, first of all, gives us a revelation concerning the need, and as we pray according to that revelation concerning that need and intercede before the Father, then what happens is the Father sends the answer. So it begins with revelation, it moves into the area of intercession, and finally it ends in manifestation—God’s will is done on the earth.
That’s how you pray effectively: You discover God’s will, get on your face before the Father, put your life right with Him, ask Him to cleanse you from everything that you know to be wrong, and you begin to pray and intercede as the Holy Spirit leads you and as you pray with prayer partners as the Holy Spirit leads you together and you pray with persistence and perseverance, pray with faith, believing God, speak out His Word, declare the victory and the manifestation comes, your prayers remain and they become effective in Jesus’ wonderful name. Amen. Well, God bless you. That’s the very end of this series, and I look forward to seeing you on the next series of the Sword of the Spirit and it’s a school of ministry for you. And my prayer has been that you will rise up in our faith and in your ministry to pray effectively and to serve Jesus Christ with all the passion and power He instills within you. God bless you and thank you for joining us for this teaching series. God be with you, amen.