Prevailing In Prayer
As we embark on our spiritual journey for 2019, it has been a time of intense prayer and supplication before God. God loves it when His people demonstrate their dependence on Him in the place of prayer. However, beyond that demonstration, He also wants His people to prevail in prayer. We see the example in Jacob who was faced with a life and death situation. Not knowing what to do, he turned to God in prayer. He had wronged his brother, Esau, by taking away his birthright. Now, Esau is coming to him with 400 men with the intent to crush him – v.6. His family and all that he had worked for was on the line. In his agony, he had to send his family over a brook, and retired to be alone and to wrestle with God in prayer. And he prevailed and received a blessing.
According to Charles Finney, prevailing or effectual prayer is that prayer that obtains the blessing that it seeks. It is prayer that moves God to act on your behalf. We pray but do not get answers and we become disillusioned thinking that the word of God is no longer true. May I suggest to us that there are pre-requisites for prevailing in prayer. It is important that we know them. They will be useful beyond this spiritual journey time.
Conditions for Prevailing in Prayer
· Repentance and confession of sin – See Isa. 59:1-2, Ps. 66:18. You cannot knowingly harbor sin in your heart and expect God to bless. It is good to pray but sin must be put away first. Consider the people of Israel in Joel 1 & 2. God wanted to bless his people but sin had withheld that blessing. Yet, in His mercy, He gave them another chance – see Joel 2:12-20.
What sin is preventing you from gaining God’s ears? Unforgiveness? Adultery? Drunkenness? Secret sins that no one knows? Stealing from God and man? Covetousness? Slander? Gossip? Idol in the heart? The sin must be dealt with.
· You must pray according to the revealed word of God. Find out what God is saying concerning your situation and pray in that direction. God will not answer your prayer that your enemy should die.
· You must be specific and definite in what you want God to do for you. Consider Blind Bartimaeus – Mk 10:51. Hannah was specific when she prayed for a child – I Sam. 1:11. Do not go rambling everywhere in prayer. Ask yourself, “What do I want to pray for?” before you go on your knees. It is not enough to say, “Bless me,” or “Touch me”. How will an answer to your prayer look like?
· You must pray with the right motives (Jas. 4:1-3). Do not pray out of selfish motives. You need to ask yourself why you are praying for a financial breakthrough… Are you praying for the conversion of your unbeliever colleague so as to marry him/her? Do you seek the gifts of the Holy Spirit to prove your arrival spiritually? If your motives are not right, God will deal with them before He hears your prayers.
The essence of prayer is to transform us in such a way that our life condition makes it consistent for God to bless us which He would not do otherwise.
· You must pray with persistence and insistence. Consider Luke 18:1, 11:8. Persistence can even make God give you what He otherwise would not have given you. The Israelites’ demand for a king was a case in point. Therefore, before you give up on your prayers, have you been insistent?
· Also pray with expectation and faith, and be willing to submit to the will of God. Heb. 11:1, 2, 6, Mk. 11: 22-24. People made it to the wall of faith because they trusted in God. In II Sam. 12:15-23, David fasted and prayed for his sick child hoping that God would spare the child, but the moment the child died, he rose up from the fast, submitted to the will of God and refreshed himself.
Some examples of people who prevailed in prayer are Moses (Exo. 32:9-14), Elijah (Kgs. 18: 41-44), Blind Bartimaeus (Mark 10:46-52) and the persistent widow (in Luke 18: 1-8).
In Summary: Prevailing prayers are made by righteous people, that is, people who already have made Jesus their Savior and have been declared righteous in God’s sight. As you persist in prayer, pray with expectation. Be specific and definite in what you want God to do for you, but still submit to the will of God!
Father Lord, please give us the grace to persist in prayer. Holy Spirit, teach us how to be patient without losing faith, as we wait on You, in Jesus’ name!