I GET ON MY KNEES: THE POWER OF PRAYER
“Now I lay me down to sleep….” “God is great, and God is good, and we thank Him for our food….” “May the Lord watch between me and thee….” For years, this was my version of praying. A few words upon rising, a few words over a meal, and a few words before going to sleep. That was it. But as Iife has knocked me around a bit, I’ve learned that these rote prayers only served to appease my conscience and to allow me the satisfaction of checking off “I prayed today” on my to-do list. God is showing me that my prayers just might contain enough power to transcend rituals and routines, ascend to the heavenly realms, and move God to act. My prayers might actually shake up hell, scare demons, heal diseases, and enlarge the kingdom of God!
Scripture: Ephesians 6:8 – Praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, and watching thereunto with all perseverance and supplication for all saints;
When I became more active in the church, I worked with varying ministries. And while I loved working behind the scenes, I had a great fear of being in the spotlight. I particularly dreaded the idea of someone calling on me to pray in public. My fear drove me to extremes like arriving late and leaving meetings early. And while this “saved” me from having to pray at the meetings, it ultimately backfired. I remember one particular meeting designated a planning meeting for a special program. I, of course, arrived late, and when handed the assignments of each member for this special day, I was assigned – you guessed it – intercessory prayer. I thought I would DIE! I would be praying in front of others; I’d be praying on behalf of others in front of the entire congregation. I’m having heart palpitations as I write, just remembering that moment. “Who am I to pray on behalf of others in front of the whole church? I’m not a pastor or elder or deaconess or one of the stalwarts of the church.” I somehow made it through that day. I think I strung together lines I’d heard from other pastors as well as different verses from various hymns – “Father I stretch my hands to Thee, no other help I know…because there is a fountain filled with blood, drawn from Emmanuel’s vein…where my hope is built on nothing less than Jesus’ blood and righteous….”
I quickly realized I’d better figure this prayer thing out. So I did what I do. I started reading about prayer. I learned that, in essence, prayer is communication with God (Psalm 17:6, Isaiah 38 5). I also learned that we should always pray (Romans 12:12) about everything (Philippians 4:6) for everyone (I Timothy 2 1). I studied The Lord’s Prayer, the example of how to pray given by Jesus, Himself (Matthew 6:9- 3). And I even searched for prayers prayed by others in the Bible (See my list of Scriptural Prayers Found in the Bible) and worked to fashion them into my own (See Praying Scripture Resource). And for a while, it seemed as if my prayer life had improved. But something was missing. My prayer life was better, but I wasn’t moving mountains, experiencing breakthroughs or healing, or scaring satan, and I wasn’t living a bold, confident life like Peter or Paul. My prayers were safe. I wasn’t praying like I believed that God could do the impossible. I wasn’t praying to be “blessed beyond my wildest imaginations” or for expanded territory or for demons to be cast into the pit of hell (Mark 4:40, Matthew 17: 9). I was drawing near to God, near to God with my mouth and lips, but my heart and my trust were far from Him (Isaiah 29: 3). I was treating prayer like a habit to be incorporated into my daily routine, like brushing my teeth. Prayer had become my last line of defense when things went awry when it should have been my first. And then, three books changed my prayer life – Your Thoughts are Killing You, Discerning the Voice of God and Dangerous Prayers.
What I learned and now strive to live is that if I want to experience God’s miraculous working power, if I want to exercise the kind of power that the disciples had, then I have to get out of my safety zone and pray like it matters. I don’t have to know the how or the when because I know the Who. Craig Groeschel, author of Dangerous Prayers, states, “When you start to pray things like “search me, break me, send me,” you may experience valleys. Attacks. Trials. Pain. Hardship. Discouragement. Even heartbreak. But there will also be the joy of faith, the marvel of miracles, the relief of surrender, and the pleasure of pleasing God.” And this is what I long for.
According to Priscilla Shirer, author of Discerning the Voice of God, we must:
- Know Him to hear Him (Luke 24:32, Jeremiah 20:9; 23:29; Psalm 39:3, Hebrews 4: 2). “God is more than a feeling. The more Scripture you hide in your heart, the more You’ll come to truly know God.”
- Listen way more than we speak (Ecclesiastes 5:1-2, Ezekiel 3:10, John 8:47, Hebrews 2:1, Proverbs 2:1 5). “Listening is active, intentional and aggressive – instead of telling God what you want and telling Him things He already knows, invite Him to tell you things only He knows, things He wants to share with you, things that will reveal His plans and purposes for your life.”
- Be in tune with God’s Voice. “When the Holy Spirit speaks, His voice comes with power and authority. It hits deep. It grips you. Your heart burns. His voice comforts, heals, instructs, corrects and gives wisdom. It’s noticeable by its resonance, depth and impact. It pulses with a calm, steady force that makes a clear impression on your soul.”
- Not only hear Him but experience Him. “Become familiar with what a sense of God’s presence feels like, what His whisper sounds like. The Holy Spirit will never speak anything to you contrary to what’s written in Scripture. If what you are sensing makes you feel frantic, hurried, unsteady, condemned, fearful or burdened by guilt, it’s most likely not from God. Learn to know the difference. If the Spirit of God brings conviction (pointing out our sin), it’s always expressed with His love for us. He will give us enough grace to leave our sin behind and continue forward in righteousness. He will provide a way forward, a way out, or a way back. When we hear from God, you’ll be able to experience His character in your life (Job 42:5).”
- Be intentional about your prayer life. “Create time, space and opportunity to hear from God. Be patient, wait and watch. Carve out time each day to be still (mind, body, and spirit) and purposefully listen for God’s voice and nothing else. Don’t let the enemy (schedules, over-commitment, busyness, distractions) invade the sanctuary of our quiet time with God. Don’t feel hurried or pressured to make a decision. Only when God has spoken should you act. Waiting for a message from God is often just as important as the message. As we wait, our faith grows.”
- Obey quickly when God speaks (Jeremiah 1:6-8, Exodus 7:1, John 2;5, James 4: 7). “There is a difference between peace and comfort. The easy way is not the same as a peaceful day. God’s peace gives us security and is evidence of His presence. His peace is one of the determining factors in knowing when God is leading and speaking to you. God will never call you, then leave you. God gives you the courage and the power to follow His call ng. And sometimes you just have to follow God in stunned, submitted obedience, with radical faith, stepping out of your comfort zone and leaving the realm of your natural abilities and entering into the realm of His supernatural ones (John 14:21).
2 Chronicles 17-20 provides wonderful lessons for how we are to engage in this battle called life. We need to “woman up” (1 Corinthians 16:13-14) and fight on our knees. This is our battle plan according to Jehosophat:
- Be Positioned (2 Chronicles 17:3,5): How did Jehosophat position himself to be in favor of God and to deal with the battles as they arise? Are you positioned to be in favor of God and to deal with battles when they arise? How might you get positioned?
- Pray God’s Promises (2 Chronicles 20:5-11): What elements did Jehosophat include in his prayer? Personalize this prayer for a specific challenge that you are experiencing.
- God’s Power Employed (2 Chronicles 20:15, 17): How do these verses speak to God’s power? How do you know that you can trust God’s power and promises? How might these verses encourage you?
- Give God Praise (2 Chronicles 20:18, 19): How do these verses speak to how we are called to praise and worship God? How easy is it to praise God in the midst of the storm before having answers to your prayers? Practice giving God praise IN ALL THINGS.
When we have a relationship with God and allow the Holy Spirit to work in us, we can manifest the power of the Holy Spirit in our lives and the lives of others. Jesus left us with everything we need to live victoriously. The spiritual weapons at our disposal are mighty for demolishing strongholds (2 Corinthians 10:3-5), casting out demons and healing diseases (Mark 3:15), trampling on snakes and scorpions and overcoming all the power of the enemy (Luke 10:19). But we have not because we ask not (James 4:2-3).
It’s time to fight. It’s time to fight for our spouses, children, families, friends, communities, and those who don’t yet know Christ (Nehemiah 4:14). It’s time to get battle-ready, get in the Trenches and fight like a girl in prayer!
- How does Ephesians 6:8 speak to you?
- What are your personal LIFE Lessons?
- Liberation: What new insights have you gained that have freed you from past thoughts and practices?
- Inspiration: In what ways have you been spiritually, emotionally and mentally motivated to live for Christ?
- Fortification: What additional scriptural texts, passages or stories can reinforce and strengthen you against the attacks of the enemy?
- Edification: How might you share your story to edify others and bring glory to God?
As you process, digest, and apply what’s been shared, here are a few songs from my “Life Lessons” Playlist. Listen, Let the music infiltrate your soul. Read the lyrics and let the words encourage you. And I pray that you’ll be blessed as I was.
- Believe for It by CeCe Winans – CeCe Winans – Believe For It (Acoustic One Take)
- I Get on My Knees by Jaci Velasquez – On My Knees
- What a Friend/Sweet Hour of Prayer by Angela Bryant –What a Friend / Sweet Hour of Prayer
Dear Heavenly Father, Thank you so much for the opportunity to commune with you. Help me never take this privilege for granted. Draw me closer to Thee. Help my thoughts, words, and actions to align with Your will and Your way for me. Help me delight in You and serve as an extension of You. In Your most holy name Jesus, I pray, Amen.