DOES PRAYER MATTER NOW?
Prayer seems like the right thing to do when there is a crisis. Some will say we need action and not just prayer. I agree. But we must begin with prayer. However, many of us simply say #prayforlasvegas or #praying and then either don’t do it, or pray powerless, begging prayers that have little intention and even less effect. I find myself drifting into these vague prayers that don’t do much. Christians, we can do better. Here are a few thoughts on how you can pray in a meaningful way that makes a difference.
Declare the Father’s Intention. Proclaim Christ’s Victory. Invoke the Spirit’s Presence.
DECLARE THE FATHER’S INTENTION
Before I start praying for any particular issue, I need to ask myself, “What is God’s intention here?” We know that if we pray according to God’s will, he wants to act. So I must start with what he wants and, as Jesus said, “only do what I see the Father doing.” Declaring his intention for a person or situation builds faith and becomes prophetic as a way of “bringing the kingdom” on earth as it is in heaven. You know God’s intention is for life, his will is to make us like Jesus and his specialty is working all the bad things together for our good. So declare those things out loud. Coming into agreement with God’s will is the first part of prayer.
PROCLAIM CHRIST’S VICTORY
Proclaiming Christ’s victory has a way of reminding me, the person I’m praying for and the whole spiritual world around me just what Christ accomplished in his life, death, resurrection and ascension. I am acting under the authority of the one who lived perfectly, died for our sins, rose to defeat death and bring life, and ascended to a position of all authority which he poured out for us to defeat all the power of the enemy who wants to steal, kill, destroy and accuse. Proclaiming Christ’s victory builds faith and establishes the kingdom in this place and situation. It is a way of applying the finished work of Christ to the person or issue at hand.
INVOKE THE SPIRIT’S PRESENCE
Finally, in invoking the Spirit’s presence and activity, we recognize the God who is not only with us but “IN US” who wants what the Father intends and the Son has accomplished to be fully realized in and through us. He is in us to will and to work according to his good pleasure and he can do immeasurably more than we could ask or imagine. His power is available to us. So we invite him to do what he wants and apply what he has accomplished. Part of that work is in others and part of it is in empowering us to take action. This way, when you take action, you take appropriate action based on God’s will and direction.
This is a great way to pray and much more effective than, “God please help”. Try it. I think you’ll like it.
Declare the Father’s intention. Proclaim Christ’s victory. Invoke the Spirit’s presence. Then don’t forget to thank him in advance for his answer.