Strategic Prayer

Strategic Prayer

PRAYER IS CONVERSATION WITH GOD.


The conversation reveals the relationship.

To be a Christian is to be prayer!

Prayer changes things and Father wants to change prayer!


 

Strategic= relating to the identification of long-term or overall aims and interests and the means of achieving them. Resources essential in fighting a war: tactical advantage = a strategic position.

Strategic prayer involves a cost. It takes an action along with time in His presence. Our first prayer is heard, and then comes the process of possessing the land. Victory does not come by osmosis for the most part. There is more to strategic prayer than just praying hard and diligently sitting in our houses. Prayer is more than that; there is a knowing that there is a cost to see the fulfillment – obedience that displays trust in what He speaks. Each day. It is not simply about time spent praying but time spent listening and doing.  It is about who I am in God and who He is in me.  

The Lord asked me to look at prayer that moved His hand through the whole bible. He asked if there was anything about answered prayer that required more than words spoken? As I began to look at the Israelites and those in Christ in the NT who received answered prayer I found that in God’s answering of prayer there was always a trust and obedience required of those who prayed. They had to respond to God’s response by displaying faith – an action of belief had to be walked. Obedient trust was exhibited! Prayer alone is not enough! The Moravian’s demonstrated this. They became the answer to their own prayer for workers to be sent – their 24/7 prayer caused them to be the ones who went first! All who prayed ended up GOING! Then more workers were raised up as they went and found them in the harvest themselves.  Just like the disciples of Christ at the beginning, they prayed in the upper room and then became the answer to the prayers they prayed. God’s presence was manifest through and by them to the lost!

 Jesus told the disciples that He had more to tell them that they were not ready for but when Holy Spirit came He would guide and show them all truth and things to come. (Jn.16:12-15). We still need more so we can finish the House that Jesus began and the apostles laid the foundation for. Paul says we are to build on this foundation until the house is completed. —That means that in the beginning we did not know it all and we still don’t. The house will be completed when we look like Jesus, walk like Him and pray like Him. WE must get a new perspective on prayer and shift into a new position. That means prayer must change! Begging and demanding is not the answer. We are going to have need of finding the place of trust and surrender to Father that Jesus lived in, walking out His desires and will in specific ways. We need to find the intimacy Jesus demonstrated and the submission He modeled that displays Father’s presence, power and Love. His specific words on our lips are the prayers that change things! “Lazarus, come forth!” can only be spoken as prayer when we have heard and trust! We need fewer words, more trust and a very real intimacy that brings God’s presence into our world today!

Praying without ceasing, always praying and to feint not, being a house of prayer, the temple of God, and being the effective fervent prayer of the righteous is going to take a shift, a willingness to let go of traditions that do not produce the life of God manifest in others. Prays of Importunity (praying as if our life depends on it) may need to be changed from insistent repetition, demanding and begging, to one born of intimate relationship that knows that only Father’s words contain life;

John 12:49-50 (NKJV,) For I have not spoken on My own authority; but the Father who sent Me gave Me a command, what I should say and what I should speak. 50 And I know that His command is everlasting life. Therefore, whatever I speak, just as the Father has told Me, so I speak.” (emphasis mine)

Matthew 21:13 (NKJV,)

13 And He said to them, “It is written, ‘My house shall be called a house of prayer,’ but you have made it a ‘den of thieves.’ ”

 Luke 18:1 (NKJV,)

Then He spoke a parable to them, that men always ought to pray and not lose heart,

1 Thessalonians 5:17 (NKJV,)

pray without ceasing,

John 20:21 (NKJV)

So Jesus said to them again, “Peace to you! As the Father has sent Me, I also send you.”

James 5:16(NKJV,)

The effective, fervent prayer of a righteous man avails much. – the supplication of a righteous man avails much in it’s working(RKJV)

i.e, it moves the hand of Him who moves the world!

 1 Corinthians 3:16 (NKJV,)

Do you not know that you are the temple of God

 1 Corinthians 6:19-20 (NKJV,)

Or do you not know that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God, and you are not your own? 20 For you were bought at a price; therefore glorify God in your body and in your spirit, which are God’s and that the Spirit of God dwells in you?

Matthew 21:12-13 (NKJV)

Then Jesus went into the temple of God and drove out all those who bought and sold in the temple, and overturned the tables of the money changers and the seats of those who sold doves. 13 And He said to them, “It is written, ‘My house shall be called a house of prayer,’ but you have made it a ‘den of thieves.’ ”

(Mt.6:5 NKJV,)

“And when you pray, you shall not be like the hypocrites. 

(Read  this passage clear to Lord’s prayer.) (repetitive, loud, long, scripture speaking, positional filled, demanding of Father to submit to and honor OUR requests type of praying/speaking may be unfruitful and prideful).

“Thy kingdom come and thy will be done…”

may mean we need to “ask Him first” what is His will in any given specific situation, trust His communication and then ask how do we pray in such a way as to bring His specific will and Kingdom to earth.

We see that in general we are to be prayer 24/7. What we need to be about is “answered prayer”! So how do we pray like we see in James 5:16?

 Lu.18:1-8, The end of this passage says something most do not see..

“…However when the Son of man comes will He really find faith on the earth”?

Find faith = after searching find the thing sought

This scripture states that if you pester Father long enough like the widow coming to the unjust Judge– “though He bears long with you”, He will end up giving you what you petition for – though He would rather not. He would rather find faith—some of our prayers won’t bring life and God does not want to answer them as He knows what they will actually bring. Maybe we should listen.

So we see here that God would like us to be different than this lady who comes before the unjust judge. We do need to pray always but is it prayer that is founded on a responsive, intimate relationship of trust or is it demanding to have our own way? In prayer, Jesus and the Apostles should be our example- the i.e. Relationship and trust are paramount in being a house of prayer.

Why did the man Jesus see all of His prayers answered? Why do we see such a large amount of prayers answered in the book of Acts? How do we get there?

Keys to answered prayer;

1 John 3:22 (NKJV,)

And whatever we ask we receive from Him, because we keep His commandments and do those things that are pleasing in His sight.

1 John 5:14-15 (NKJV,) read the prerequisites in Ch 3-4,

Now this is the confidence that we have in Him, that if we ask anything according to His will, He hears us. 15 And if we know that He hears us, whatever we ask, we know that we have the petitions that we have asked of Him.

Read also Jn.14:15,21 and 15:14. The prerequisite – “if you keep my commands”!  Prayer has to be coupled with obedience, out of our love for Him, to do His commands! (Emphasis mine)

These examples are just representative of so many we see in the Gospels and throughout the NT. .

Our perspective of who we are and our responsibility will change everything and it needs to change!

Jn 14:12 and 20:21 tells us we are to do and be like Jesus!

Our example or model in all things should be Jesus, the answer to being strategic in prayer, can be seen and found in His intimacy with Father and our resulting position through Him (our intimacy with Father).  He lived in a responsive relationship with Father, not as one who dictated to Father what He had to do.

Jn 5:19-20; 6:38; 8:26,28; 12:49-50; 14:10, 23,26; 15:26; 16:13; 20:21

This establishes something that should relate to all prayer. Remember we are to “pray always and feint not” or “pray without ceasing”!  Our concept of prayer must change. Prayer is 24/7 and must be reproducible by all who are in Christ Jesus.. It can include some of those things we have been taught but those things are way short of all that prayer is. Prayer should be about living in constant communion and communication with Father, listening and responding to His voice. (His voice is seldom audible but is always heard and sometimes just is, He can communicate in a nano-second more than I can write in a month!)

Matthew 7:7-12 (NKJV,)

“Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. 8 For everyone who asks receives, and he who seeks finds, and to him who knocks it will be opened. 9 Or what man is there among you who, if his son asks for bread, will give him a stone? 10 Or if he asks for a fish, will he give him a serpent? 11 If you then, being evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father who is in heaven give good things to those who ask Him!

Our perspective on whether or not God speaks or answers when we pray (ask, seek and knock) affects how we view Father, prayer and our value.

Matthew 16:13-19 (NKJV,)

When Jesus came into the region of Caesarea Philippi, He asked His disciples, saying, “Who do men say that I, the Son of Man, am?”14 So they said, “Some say John the Baptist, some Elijah, and others Jeremiah or one of the prophets.”15 He said to them, “But who do you say that I am?”16 Simon Peter answered and said, “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.”17 Jesus answered and said to him, “Blessed are you, Simon Bar-Jonah, for flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but My Father who is in heaven. 18 And I also say to you that you are Peter, and on this rock I will build My church, and the gates of Hades shall not prevail against it. 19 And I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven, and whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven.”

The full revelation found in this passage changes this a bit… it is not enough to know that Jesus is Lord but you must hear from the Father and know Jesus is Lord to be the Church that hell will not prevail against. The one with all the keys to bind and loose is the one who hears from the Father FIRST, knows Jesus is Lord, therefore does not take liberties with HIS kingdom but instead hears then obeys.  Then what is bound on earth is bound in heaven because we don’t speak unless He has! We live in response, under authority to be in authority. (see the centurion’s story further on in this letter, He recognized that Jesus lived in response to Father – a man also under authority.)

Luke 10:19-20 (NKJV,)

Behold, I give you the authority to trample on serpents and scorpions, and over all the power of the enemy, and nothing shall by any means hurt you.

To understand this scripture in line with what is discovered in Matthew you must go back to verse one of the chapter to see the specifics of their mission… then you see it is about being under authority first. When we go and do specifically as directed by Jesus we are in responsive authority – sent as a delegate from Father through the Lord. Then we are in authority: as we walk obedient to His specific directions.

Matthew 12:22-29 (NKJV,)

Then one was brought to Him who was demon-possessed, blind and mute; and He healed him, so that the blind and mute man both spoke and saw. 23 And all the multitudes were amazed and said, “Could this be the Son of David?”24 Now when the Pharisees heard it they said, “This fellow does not cast out demons except by Beelzebub, the ruler of the demons.”25 But Jesus knew their thoughts, and said to them: “Every kingdom divided against itself is brought to desolation, and every city or house divided against itself will not stand. 26 If Satan casts out Satan, he is divided against himself. How then will his kingdom stand? 27 And if I cast out demons by Beelzebub, by whom do your sons cast them out? Therefore they shall be your judges. 28 But if I cast out demons by the Spirit of God, surely the kingdom of God has come upon you. 29 Or how can one enter a strong man’s house and plunder his goods, unless he first binds the strong man? And then he will plunder his house.

We have made this scripture about binding and loosing over cities, but it is not. As we see here is is about casting a spirit out of a man!  All evil spirits have to work through a host (a person). Demons cannot create anything. Only God and man have creative power. The enemy has to have people to create his kingdom as he has no authority, man does! Dealing with people and the spirits they are ruled by will change a city. The strongman over a city HAS A HOST, dealing with them (that person, business or family) will affect the spiritual atmosphere and open the door for the gospel to the rest of the city! I.e. Jesus deals with the Samaritan woman at the well, and the demonic in the tombs and thus changes both cities. Paul deals with the slave girl in Philippi with a spirit of divination and the whole city is mad at him.

Matthew 8:5-11 (NKJV,)

Now when Jesus had entered Capernaum, a centurion came to Him, pleading with Him, 6 saying, “Lord, my servant is lying at home paralyzed, dreadfully tormented.”7 And Jesus said to him, “I will come and heal him.”8 The centurion answered and said, “Lord, I am not worthy that You should come under my roof. But only speak a word, and my servant will be healed. 9 For I also am a man under authority, having soldiers under me. And I say to this one, ‘Go,’ and he goes; and to another, ‘Come,’ and he comes; and to my servant, ‘Do this,’ and he does it.”10 When Jesus heard it, He marveled, and said to those who followed, “Assuredly, I say to you, I have not found such great faith, not even in Israel! (emphasis mine)

The key to strategic prayer like Jesus prayed is to always be UNDER, not in authority. The centurion knew that Jesus never did anything unless He was directed by Father!  This is called great faith!

Most people are looking for formulas for prayer and many feel that “intercession” is a specific gift. I do not see that scripturally. Some are way more sensitive to our calling to be “houses of prayer”, but all are called to intercede or be intercessors i.e. “houses of prayer”.

Tradition plays a large role in ineffectual prayer. We tend to speak a lot of words, quote a lot of scripture, do a lot of binding and loosing, then expect God to perform according to OUR dictates and mandates. Maybe if we listened, trusted and obeyed we would be more strategic and see more results.

Nowhere in scripture is there a place that I have found where “spirits” over cities were bound or loosed to take that city. In all references of cities being affected by Jesus or Paul preaching Jesus, they dealt with a person that had some type of influence in the city. Then the city was glad, sad or mad… because dealing with that one person changed the city!

Strategic prayer deals with people and the enemy working through people. It is the result of living in intimacy with the Father, listening, following, trusting and obeying. We have a purpose like Jesus – ‘seeking and saving the lost and destroying the works of the enemy”. We cannot do that without the same position, love, power and the kind of prayers that we see in the NT. We must let go of traditions and embrace scripture and Father’s command of trust and obey… we must change our perspective and see from a different position.

Prayer changes things and Father wants to change prayer!  Are we willing to change and shift to be more?

neil

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