One important purpose of prayer is to usher the future into the present. God intends that our praying accomplish God’s purposes on earth as in Heaven.
Prayer is more than religious duty. It’s more than a psychologically beneficial exercise. Prayer is the means to implement God’s will in the here-and-now.
HEAVEN-ARRESTING prayer is EARTH-ALTERING in it’s impact. “The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much” (James 5:16). God designed intercession to produce change.
God’s Son taught the disciples (us) to pray, “Thy kingdom come, thy will be done in earth as it is in heaven.” Jesus also said, “This kind comes not forth but by prayer and fasting.” Some things will not occur without the extraordinary means when fasting is combined with prayer.
Throughout the Bible we see instances where the prayers of men accomplished the plan of God.
Moses prayed and Israel was spared.
Joshua prayed and the sun stood still.
Abraham prayed and judgment was delayed at Sodom.
Elijah prayed and the heavens poured rain.
Solomon prayed and received wisdom.
Jesus prayed and Lazarus rose from the dead.
Ananias prayed and Paul regained his sight.
The early church prayed and heavenly fire fell at Pentecost.
God’s purposes were realized as these Saints partnered with God in the place of prayer.
There is no merit in merely saying “our prayers.” Since all true prayer is faith-based, it is imperative to pray “in faith.” Unbelieving petitions are not only worthless, they are sinful. Scripture teaches us, “Whatsoever is not of faith is sin.” So even prayer may be sinful if faith is lacking.
Praying words in unbelief offends the Lord. God’s greatest grief is to be doubted. But His greatest pleasure is to be believed.
So what does it mean to pray “in faith”? How should we direct our petitions toward Heaven? Thanking God is the first step of faith. Simply put, we can pray it forward. We can thank God for answers ahead of time. I believe that expressing gratitude in advance blesses the heart of God. Those who pray MUST believe God rewards those who diligently seek Him (Hebrews 11:6).
“Without faith it’s impossible to please God.” You can learn to couch every request with thanksgiving. After ASKING, start THANKING. To thank God before receiving the answer is exercising faith. Our prayers honor the Lord when offered with upfront gratitude.
We are instructed to enter his gates with thanksgiving. But not only should we thank God for the blessings we have received, we should thank God for the blessings we will receive as a result of a prayer.
At Lazarus’ tomb Jesus thanked the Father for hearing Him. Immediately He spoke, “Lazarus come forth.” Bound in grave clothes, Lazarus hopped out of that grave!
Even when we are unsure how to pray in accordance with the will of God, we can still pray faith-based prayers. Pray like this… “Lord, thank you for guiding and directing me.”
“Lord, thank you for giving me wisdom.”
“Lord, thank you for your supply.”
“Lord, thank you for working in my child’s heart.”
Thanking God in advance will move you from a mentality of defeat to a stance of faith. Prayer becomes exciting when you expect God to answer! So stop praying yourself into despair with unbelieving petitions. Get in on the adventure of a lifetime—start PRAYING IT FORWARD!