“God wants to perform in ways beyond our expectation. His desire is to respond ‘exceedingly above all that we can ask (pray) or think (imagine).' So, if we can imagine it, or ask it, it’s likely too small!”
Alice and I hope your summer 2013 has started smoothly and that it will hold many blessings for you and your family. We’re looking forward to some fun times with friends and family, woven into our work and ministry schedule. Summertime usually brings financial challenges to ministries as ours. Please pray with us that won’t be true this year.
Have you ever been told, or heard someone told, “You are never satisfied, are you?” Well, has it ever occurred to you that dissatisfaction with the status quo is a basis for petitionary prayer (intercession)?
You see, praying Christians like us will never be satisfied until God’s kingdom comes and His will is done on earth as it is being done in heaven. We continually live with a holy dissatisfaction with what exists, and are committed to, as Alice wrote last month, see it changed through prayer.
If this describes you, here are three tips that may help. In this letter, I’m offering more along the line of Alice’s excellent May letter.
- Discern and accept the burdens of the Lord. Perhaps one of the most difficult things for us to do today is to discern that for which we are to pray. Because of the Internet and other modern conveniences, we can be easily overwhelmed with requests and the needs around us. We must remember we aren’t primarily here to meet needs. We are here to engage with the Father in what He is doing. (Jn 5:19) What is the Father doing? What does He want to do?
We can only know this if our hearts are closely entwined with His. We can’t share the burdened heart of someone we hardly known. God, as a gentleman, will never force us to bear burdens unwillingly. Instead, He invites us to co-labor with him in His kingdom work. He is looking for co-laborers. (Isa 59:16) That’s why we describe His assignment as “the great CO-mission.” (Mt 28:19-20)
Notice the burdens we are called to bear are His burdens--“the burdens of the Lord.” True God-assigned prayer begins in the heart of God. When He deposits His burdens into our hearts, if we don’t understand what He’s doing; what we should do and how we should do it; we may easily miss the point. In fact, we are saddened to see how many of the Christians who are diagnosed as emotionally or mentally depressed are in reality experiencing the Father’s call to intercede. They neither know that what they sense is the burden of the Lord, nor how they should respond to His call to intercede. One of our mandates is to offer training resources. Once we discern and accept a burden from the Lord, we are to…
- Identify with God’s desire to intervene in the matter. (2 Pet 3:9) God shares His burden with us to orchestrate a “heavenly intervention.” Satan is at work today to destroy people, and to disrupt God’s plans on the earth. (Jn 10:10b) Much of what is happening around us today breaks the Father’s heart. His desire is to expose and defeat evil, and to extend mercy and grace. (Jas 2:13).
However in His plan, the Father has limited Himself to some degree by giving us responsibility for what happens here. (Gen 1:28; Psa 115:16) So mysteriously, He awaits our prayerful invitations to operate in the earth realm. As His kingly priests (Rev 5:10), if we are to see His activity here, we must discern and accept His burden and desire regarding the people, places and things around us; and invite Him to operate accordingly. Notice that Revelation 5:10 doesn’t suggest some of us are kings, and some are priests. All who are in Christ are kingly priests, or priestly kings (male or female). Remember, there is no “laity” in the body of Christ. All are ministers. (Eph 4:12)
- Pray in faith for a breakthrough. God wants to perform in ways beyond our expectation. His desire is to respond “exceedingly above all we can ask (pray) or think (imagine). So, if we can imagine it, or ask it, it’s likely too small! But there is a fight of faith in prayer.
Wouldn’t it be amazing if Jesus would ask the Father on our behalf? Great, perhaps, but that isn’t the way it works. Jesus said, “In that day...the Father will give you whatever you ask in my name…Ask and you will receive…you will ask, I’m not saying that I will ask the Father on your behalf.” (Jn 16:23-26) So, to ask is clearly our responsibility.
IMPORTANT: The following does not apply to what’s commonly referred to as the false teaching: “name it and claim it.” Remember our premise. We are praying according to the Father’s desire, His burden-- our heaven-given assignment. Got it? Great! Now hold on.
Do we really believe that He hears us when we ask in His name, according to His will? If so, then He commands us to consider it done. Amazing, isn’t it? He specifically says, “Therefore I tell you, whatever you ask for in prayer, believe that you have received it (already), and it will be yours.” (Mark 11:24) One of the most difficult verses of Scripture for us to believe is Mk 11:24, where Jesus said, “…whatever you ask for in prayer, believe that you have (already) received it, and it will be yours.”
There is clear evidence that we understand and practice prayer that is based on our belief that we have received that for which we are asking. What is the evidence? Paul said, “Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer…, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.” If we truly believe we have received that for which we are asking our praying will be void of anxiety and filled with gratitude to the Father for His faithfulness.
What about perseverance? What about wrestling in prayer? There is perhaps no greater struggle, no greater spiritual warfare, than the battle against our fleshly minds, the faithless testimonies of others, and the contrary things that we see around us that say “your God doesn’t hear, and isn’t going to answer you.” Our fight of faith is to stand convinced that He already has heard us, and that we already have that for which we’ve prayed in His name, according to His will. He is the Only Faithful One!
If this lesson has blessed, enlightened or encouraged you, will you ask the Father how you can support the ministries of the U.S. Prayer Center? Thank you SO MUCH for standing with us financially this summer.
In His love,
Eddie and Alice
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