The Lost Key Found for the New Year: Prevailing Prayer

A couple months ago I went to our local gym and as I was doing my sit-ups, my house key dropped out of my pocket and ended up under some equipment. After running home, panting and about to die, I dug into my pant pocket and found no key. I was flustered and locked out of my own house!

This is what has happened to the Church in America.  We have put our confidence in our programs, pulpits and personalities and lost the key to personal and corporate revival. What is that lost key?

Hebrews 7:24-25 tell us our Lord Jesus has an eternal priesthood and “He is able to save forever those who draw near to God through Him, since He always lives to make intercession for them.” It is an amazing reality that our Lord Jesus forever lives to pray and intercede for us. As Dan Ratchford says, “You are at the top of Jesus’ prayer list.” That is true for every believer.  But there is another amazing truth the Church has lost. I believe it is the key for personal and corporate revival.

The Apostle Paul in Ephesians 2 tells us that we once “dead in our trespasses and sins . . . sons of disobedience .  .  . by nature children of wrath.” But now because of God’s tender mercy and love toward us who were treasonous traitors, He has “made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved), and raised us up with Him, and seated us with Him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus” (Eph 2:5-6). The reality for every true believer in Jesus is that we were crucified with Christ, risen with Christ, ascended with Christ and we are now spiritually present with Christ at the right hand of the Father. We have direct access to the Throne of God as we are seated with Christ at His right hand.  This is why we can “draw near with confidence to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and may find grace to help in time of need (Heb 4:16). Not only that, the Holy Spirit is not just praying for us, but interceding through us as we pray (Rom 8:26). Incredible!

We can change the courses of our own lives, others’ lives, and even nations and people groups as we pray. Jesus is praying right now for us. The Holy Spirit is praying right now for us and through us. We have direct access to the Throne of Grace where we are constantly seated.  It is our rightful place in Jesus. So let’s take hold of this long, lost key in 2014 and prevail in pray for spiritual revival in our lives, in the Bride of Christ and the transformation of nations for the glory of Jesus.

James 5:17-18 reminds us that we are no different than Elijah. He found the key to changing the course of his own nation and nations around him through prevailing prayer. Let’s join Elijah and change the course of history through prevailing prayer at the right hand of the Throne of Grace in 2014!

A great book I am currently reading is Mighty Prevailing Prayer by Wesley L. Duewel.

House of Prayer (Part 8): Praying in Holiness

Every church is to be “a house of prayer for the nations” (Mark 11:17). The four foundational pillars for that “house of prayer” are the glory of God, the advancement of Christ’s Kingdom, the Gospel, and divine desperation. The first four building stones for that house of prayer are praying the heart of Jesus, praying the name of Jesus, praying the Word of God, and praying in the Spirit. The fifth building stone is praying in holiness.

Often, we come to the Lord out of a desperate need to be cleansed from our sin. Though we are saved by grace through the Cross and Resurrection of our Lord, and we are children of God who have the Spirit of God, we still sin every day.

Yet, the only prayer God will hear is in holiness. God promises in Psalm 66:18 that “if I regard wickedness in my heart, the Lord will not hear”. We have to pray with “clean hands and a pure heart” (Psalm 24:4). This means praying in holiness.

To pray in holiness means to pray the Gospel every day. That is why prayer always begins with the Gospel. Paul Miller, commenting on his book, The Praying Life, writes,

In the gospel, because of Jesus’ death for us, we are accepted by grace. The only thing we bring to the table is our helplessness. In fact, if we try to bring our goodness, the gospel doesn’t work. Prayer works the same way. Jesus tells us to come helpless, “weary and heavy laden.” So prayer isn’t a discipline but learned desperation. It’s not so much a mountain to climb as a valley to fall into.

That is what it means to pray in holiness. 

Instead of thinking prayer is only for holy people, know this: prayer is for helpless and desperate people who need a Savior every day.  That is you and me!

House of Prayer (Part 7): Praying in the Spirit

Every church is to be a house of prayer for the nations (Mark 11:17). The four foundational pillars for that “house of prayer” are the glory of God, the advancement of Christ’s Kingdom, the Gospel, and the divine desperation. The first three building stones for that “house of prayer” are: praying the heart of Jesus, praying the name of Jesus, and praying the Word of God.

The next building stone is praying in the Spirit. A lot of ink through the centuries has been spilled on what it means to pray in the Spirit.

We are all commanded in Ephesians 6:18, “With all prayer and petition pray at all times in the Spirit, and with this in view, be on the alert with all perseverance and petition for all the saints.

Some believe this means praying in one’s own prayer language which is possible from 1 Corinthians 14:14-15. Others believe this is prayer that is fervent and intense.

Given the context, I believe it means praying prevailing prayer. As someone said, “pray until you have prayed, and God has heard your cry“. Let me give you an example. When I first start jogging, I just want to quit. I hate the first mile. I have to jog through that first mile, then I feel like I have gone for a run. Prayer is the same way. We have to persevere in prayer and pray through until we know we have the mind of the Spirit as we pray. Then we know we are praying God’s will.

This is what our Lord Jesus did as He prayed at Gethsemane. He prayed until He was fully surrendered and in agreement with His Heavenly Father. We must pray the same way. Pray through an issue until you know you have the mind of the Spirit. It may take ten minutes, or it may take hours, or perhaps days (see Daniel 10 for an example of 3 weeks of prayer).

Keep persevering in prayer and do not give up. That is what it means to Pray in the Spirit.

House of Prayer (Part 6): Praying the Word of God

The Lord Jesus calls every local church to be a “house of prayer for all the nations” (Mark 11:17). The foundational pillars for that “house of prayer” in any local church are: the glory of God, the advancement of Christ’s Kingdom, the Gospel and divine desperation.

The first two building stones to this house of prayer for all the nations are praying the heart of Jesus and praying the Name of Jesus.

The third building stone is praying the word of God. Our Lord Jesus said in John 15:7, “If you abide in Me, and My words abide in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you.” Jesus ties intimacy with Him and answers to prayer to His Word.

How do you know you are praying the Lord’s will? You pray His Word. There is a tremendous promise related to God’s Word and answers to prayer in 1 John 5:14-15: “This is the confidence which we have before Him, that, if we ask anything according to His will, He hears us. And if we know that He hears us in whatever we ask, we know that we have the requests which we have asked from Him.” This promise is revolutionary, but very simple. God never promises to answer “YES” to any of our prayers unless they are according to His will. We know His will through His revealed Word. So pray His Word! That is always His will. He will answer that prayer every time.

Here are some prayers to pray for others and for yourself that God will answer: John 17:20-21; Ephesians 1:17-19; 3:14-21; Philippians 1:9-11, and Colossians 1:9-12.

So pray the heart of Jesus and in the Name of Jesus, but always pray the Word of Jesus. That prayer He will answer as a big AMEN!

House of Prayer (Part 5): Praying the Name of Jesus

The Lord Jesus calls every local church to be a “house of prayer for all the nations” (Mark 11:17).

In earlier posts (Part 2, Part 3), I said the foundational pillars for that house of prayer must be the glory of God, the advancement of Christ’s Kingdom, the Gospel, and divine desperation.

Last week (Part 4), we examined the first building stone to this house of prayer, praying the heart of Jesus. Today we will look at the second building stone, praying the name of Jesus.

What does it mean to pray in the Name of Jesus? If I say at the end of my prayer, “in Jesus’ name,” does that mean my prayer will be automatically answered? If so, why not pray for a million dollars today in the name of Jesus and see what happens? I tried it. Nothing!

Jesus’ name is not a magical coin we put in the cosmic slot machine expecting God to give us whatever we want. He is not a cosmic genie. He is the Holy God who is sovereign Creator and Master over the universe and over you and me.

When we pray in Jesus’ name, we are praying by His authority and power (Heb 4:14-16), for His glory (John 16:14), and surrendered to His divine plan (Lk 22:42).

We can only enter into the Presence of the Holy God in the authority and power of Jesus’ name. That authority and power came through His Cross, Resurrection and Ascension. But we also must pray for His glory, not ours. So often I pray for my glory in my way and in my time. God will only answer prayer that is all about the glory of His Son.

Finally, to pray in Jesus’ name means we are surrendered to His divine plan in His divine time. So often the Lord says “Wait” or “No” when we pray in Jesus’ Name. The Father said “No” to His Son in the Garden of Gethsemane. As we pray in Jesus’ name, our hearts must be the heart of Jesus who was totally surrendered to His Father’s divine plan for Him. That meant the Cross.

It is because of that Cross we remember this week that you can pray freely in the Name of Jesus through His power and authority, all for His glory, and all surrendered to His divine plan.

House of Prayer (Part 4): Praying the Heart of Jesus

The Lord Jesus calls every local church to be a “house of prayer for all the nations” (Mark 11:17).

The last two weeks, I said the foundational pillars for that “house of prayer” must be:

  • the glory of God,
  • the advancement of Christ’s Kingdom,
  • the Gospel, and
  • divine desperation

The first building stone to this “house of prayer for all the nations is praying the heart of Jesus. God will not hear or answer our prayers unless they are from the heart of Jesus.

So what is the heart of Jesus? Jesus said in Mathew 6:33, “But seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.” The heart of Jesus is His kingdom and His righteousness.

Just prior to this statement, He had told His disciples how to pray His heart for the kingdom and righteousness in the Lord’s Prayer (Matthew 6:9-13). Don’t just recite the prayer repetitively, but pray through it. This praying includes

  • worship of the Father,
  • asking for His Kingdom to come,
  • asking that the Father’s will be done,
  • asking our Heavenly Father for our needs to be met (not our wants),
  • confession and asking forgiveness for our sins and offenses against God and others, and
  • asking God to protect us from temptation and evil.

If you want to pray the heart of Jesus, you will find His heart in that prayer. Pray the Lord’s heart by praying the Lord’s prayer.

House of Prayer (Part 3)

The Lord Jesus calls every local church to become a “house of prayer for all the nations” (Mark 11:17). To become a “house of prayer for all the nations,” a local church must have at least 4 foundation stones and 12 building stones.

Last week we said the first two foundational stones were the glory of God and the advancement of Christ’s Kingdom. The last two foundational stones are the Gospel and divine desperation.

The Gospel of the Lord Jesus is ultimately all we have, and it is all we need. Jesus’ life, death, resurrection, ascension, and seating at the right hand of the Father is the basis for our justification, sanctification and glorification. The Gospel is the door we walk through into the Christian life, but it is also the path we walk every day. It is the basis for our transformation (Rom 1:16-17; 2 Cor. 3:18).

Without divine desperation we are just spinning our wheels. Every major move of God in the Bible and historically has been preceded by someone having this divine desperation. Divine desperation is an intense grief over the status quo and an intolerable burden for the glory of God in a situation or location. This divine desperation drove Abraham, David, Daniel, Ezra, Nehemiah, the Lord Jesus, and the Apostle Paul.

Business as usual will only lead to the demise of our nation and the continued decline of the Church. We must have this divine desperation. Several individuals with an intense divine desperation for the glory of God and the advancement of Christ’s Kingdom can transform a local church into a “house of prayer for all the nations.” Prayer for these individuals is like fresh air to a person who is suffocating. It is the air they breathe!

Will you ask God for this kind of heart and will to be a catalyst to transform your church into a “house of prayer for all the nations?”

House of Prayer (Part 2)

The Lord Jesus said His house should be a house of prayer for all the nations (Mark 11:17). God calls every local church to be a house of prayer for all the nations. So what does that look like?

There must be at least 4 foundational pillars and 12 building stones. The 4 foundational pillars sustain the entire structure.The 4 foundational pillars are:

  • the glory of God,
  • the advancement of Christ’s Kingdom,
  • the Gospel, and
  • a divine desperation.

The primary pillar is the glory of God. Everything must be for His glory (1 Cor. 10:13). Psalm 96:3 states, “Tell of His glory among the nations, His wonderful deeds among all the peoples.” A praying church will be a church revealing and proclaiming the glory and majesty of God.

The second pillar is the advancement of Christ’s Kingdom. Christ’s will is that His Kingdom may be known on the earth, [His] salvation among all nations (Psalm 67:2). The gates of hell shall not prevail again the advancement of Christ’s Kingdom on this earth (Mt 16:18). We advance Christ’s Kingdom on our knees, corporately and individually.

The great glories of God and the advancement of Christ’s Kingdom on this earth strangely do not depend on our great programs or our new ideas, but on the prayers of the saints. E. M. Bounds said,

What the church needs today is not more or better machinery, not new organizations or more novel methods. She needs men [and women] whom the Holy Spirit can use – men [and women] of prayer, men [and women] mighty in prayer. The Holy Spirit does not flow through methods, but through men [and women] …. He does not anoint plans, but men [and women] – men [and women] of prayer!

Will you be that man or woman that help to make your Church into a house of prayer for all the nations?

This is the second post of a continuing series.

Special thanks to Dr. Henry Krabbendam & Rev. Al Baker for the ideas of the foundational pillars and building stones above.

House of Prayer (Part 1)

Note: This is the first of a series on becoming a house of prayer for all the nations.  These posts will also appear in the Chapin Presbyterian weekly prayer list.  Look here for a new post in the series each Thursday.

It happened on Monday, the day after the Lord Jesus’ Triumphal entry into Jerusalem (Mark 11:15-18). Jesus came into the Temple, saw many getting ripped off by the money changers who forced people to pay exorbitant prices for their sacrifices, and so the Lord began overturning the tables of the money changers and casting them out of the Temple. Then Jesus said it, “My house shall be called a house of prayer for all the nations. But you have made it a robbers’ den.” (Mk 11:17; Is 56:7; Jer 7:11)

Our Lord’s will is for every local church to be a house of prayer for all nations. We understand the Lord was speaking directly about the Temple being that house of prayer, but we can derive from what He said that every local expression of the body of Christ is to become a house of prayer.

So what does a house of prayer for all the nations look like? Over the next several weeks we will examine the four foundational stones and the 12 building blocks for a local church to be a house of prayer. What do you think it will take to make your church a house of prayer for all nations? Are we becoming a house of prayer for all nations? How are you doing in contributing to that happening?

Next week: the first 2 foundational stones: the glory of God and the advancement of Christ’s Kingdom.

Special thanks to Dr. Henry Krabbendam and Rev. Al Baker for some of the content of this blog.