If there is one most powerful weapon given to us by our Lord, but at the same time, the most underrated and the most unutilized weapon by us, it is no other than Prayer.
Prayer is so underrated among the believers today that oftentimes during our battles, we do not select and use this weapon firsthand. Most of us today are using this weapon as our plan B only and therefore, during great difficulties, we are often defeated. The main reason why we do not utilize this weapon to its greatest potential is because of our lack of correct understanding of it.
The aim of this article therefore, is to lay down the Biblical (correct) understanding of Prayer and to hopefully emphasized how we can fully utilize this all-powerful weapon given to us by our Lord. We will then give one Biblical story as an example of how to effectively utilized prayer.
As you can see, our world now is worsening as the soon appearing of our Lord to rapture His Bride is getting close. After the COVID 19 Pandemic, our world is now experiencing wars. And most likely after this, great famine around the world will soon follow. I say this because in the Bible, these three: pestilence, wars and famine, always go hand in hand (Matt. 24:6-7, Lev. 26:25-26, Jer. 42:17, Eze. 7:15, Eze. 14:21, Jer. 27:13, Eze. 5:2, Jer. 14:12).
Our life here on Earth is becoming harder and harder and the battles faced by every soldier of God today are also getting tougher. We need to utilize and maximized every weapon that we have so that we can be victorious in this war. This is why we need to know how to use the power of prayer.
WHAT IS PRAYER?
When you pray at night or in the morning because it is already your custom to pray on these hours of the day, those are not prayers, they are customs. When you pray for food before or after meals because you are obligated to pray for the food, those are not prayers, they are obligations. When you pray to the church before service because the service cannot start without opening prayer, that is not prayer, that is program. When you pray in front of many people and you are focused on carefully selecting the words that you will say in order to impress the crowd, that is not prayer, that is impressing the crowd. When you join the prayer meeting in the church every Sunday early morning even if you don’t feel like it because you are still sleepy, that is not prayer, that is forcing yourself. When you pray before driving your car because you think God will not protect you if you don’t pray to Him first, that is not prayer, that is bargaining to God your prayer in exchange for His protection.
You know, prayer is not like these. God cannot be deceived by these. We cannot approach Him like these. Prayer is talking to God not because it is customary, nor an obligation nor a program, nor impressing the crowd, nor making a bargain with Him. Prayer is the highest act of approaching God in SINCERITY. It is talking to Him with utmost SINCERITY.
Prayer is when you saw a mother crying for her sick child and you want to help them but you have nothing to offer and you ask the Lord to help them. That my friend, is prayer. Prayer is when you told the Lord about your day, your joy, your pains, your plans, your fears, your sorrows just like a friend telling his friend. That my friend, is prayer. Prayer is when you are facing a very great problem and you are in a very tight possession that you don’t have anywhere to go and you just cry to the Lord, pleading Him to help you. That my friend, is prayer.
Again, prayer is approaching God with utmost sincerity.
PRAYER – A COMPLETE AND A PERFECT WEAPON
In Ephesian 6:11-17, Paul emphasized that we are in a spiritual warfare and that our enemies are not flesh and blood but principalities, powers, rulers of darkness and spiritual wickedness in high places. In short, there is a spiritual war going on and our enemies are tough enemies because they are spirits. This is why Paul advises us to put on the whole armor of God.
When it comes to the full armor of God, most of us stop on verse 17 of Ephesian 6, thinking that the full armor of God here is only until the sword of the Spirit, which is the Word of God. But we forgot verse 18 which says:
“Praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, and watching thereunto with all perseverance and supplication for all saints.”
Paul is telling us here that the full armor of God actually includes prayer. If you noticed, among those six components of the armor of God mentioned by Paul: the girt of truth, breastplate of righteousness, shoes of the gospel of peace, shield of faith, helmet of salvation and the Sword of the Spirit – only the Sword of the Spirit is the offensive weapon. All the others are for defense. But the inclusion of Prayer in verse 18 completes the whole armor of God.
When prayer is included, it became the seventh component of the armor of God. Therefore, prayer completes and the one that perfects the whole armor of God (seven means Spiritual Perfection). Without prayer, the warriors of God cannot have a complete and perfect armor. We cannot have a perfect offense and defense.
As you can see, unlike the six components of the armor of God that were first mentioned by Paul in verse 14 to 17 which have specific roles as either offense or defense, prayer on the other hand, has both the offensive and the defensive roles. You can use it as defense and at the same time for offense. This is why it is a complete and a perfect armor and weapon. Among the seven, the one that a warrior should never ever neglect is prayer. If you have prayer, then you have both the offensive and the defensive advantage in this warfare.
Again, prayer is not your plan B, it should always be your plan A. Just like what 1 Thessalonians 5:17 says:
“Pray without ceasing.”
HOW TO PRAY EFFECTIVELY
Since prayer is a weapon, the next thing we should know is: How can we use this weapon effectively to its full potential?
Just like what I have stated above, the main reason why believers are not using this weapon effectively is because of our lack of correct understanding of it. Most of us don’t even have a prayer life. I for example, was raised by a devoted Roman Catholic Family. I was thought that prayer is just memorization of the readily available “prayers” provided by the Roman Catholic Church like the “Hail Mary,” “Our Father,” “Apostles’ Creed,” etc. and that you need to memorize them especially in doing the Holy Rosary. So for me, I see prayer as only a ritual and a chant. But alas, prayer is not like this and is far from this.
Now, let me share to you the two Biblical requirements on how to pray effectively:
1. PRAY IN THE SPIRIT
Eph. 6:18a “Praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit”
Jude 1:20 “But you, beloved, building yourselves up in your most holy faith and praying in the Holy Spirit.”
This is the first and the most important requirement for an effective prayer. For us to be able to pray, we need to possess the Holy Spirit first. We need to be baptized by the Spirit of God in order for our prayers to be heard. Those people who can pray are only those who possess the Spirit of God. Those who do not have the Spirit of God can never pray in Spirit.
The most effective prayers are prayers that are prayed by God himself. That’s why if you are praying in the Spirit, it is God himself that is praying in you. And those prayers prayed by God are of course 100% sure to come true. If you are praying in the Spirit, then consider those prayers heard.
According to Romans 8:26-27, it is the Spirit of God that is praying for us for we do not know what to pray:
“Likewise the Spirit also helpeth our infirmities: for we know not what we should pray for as we ought: but the Spirit itself maketh intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered. And he that searcheth the hearts knoweth what is the mind of the Spirit, because he maketh intercession for the saints according to the will of God.”
The reason why the prayers of those who pray in the Spirit are always answered is that they are praying for the will of God. Why are their prayers the will of God? It’s because it is God Himself that prays through them. Without the Spirit of God, we do not know His will, we do not know what to pray. That’s why the prayers of a natural man (man who does not possess the spirit of God) cannot be heard by God. The natural man cannot pray in the Spirit. All they can do is pray in the flesh. This kind of prayer is never heard by God because the will of the flesh is not the will of God (James 4:3).
This is why we need to be very careful when we pray because although we already possess the Spirit of God and we can now pray in the Spirit, we are still in the flesh. We are still prone to the will of the flesh. That’s why we need to discern if we are praying in spirit or in flesh.
Again, only those people who have the Spirit of God can pray in the Spirit. This is the reason why their prayers are always heard as written in James 5:16b
“The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much.”
Righteous man here are those men who possess the only One that is righteous in this world, Who is no other than our Lord Jesus Christ (Jer. 33:16, 2 Cor. 5:21). If we want our prayers to be answered, we must PRAY IN THE SPIRIT.
2. WHEN YOU PRAY, DO NOT APPROACH GOD BY WORKS. APPROACH HIM BY GRACE.
When we are praying, we are actually talking to God. We are approaching Him. And we are in the Grace period right now (Eph. 3:2). Therefore, we need to approach Him in Grace also, not in our works. That is, when we pray, we do not say “Lord, if you grant me this prayer, I will do this for you.” This is not the right way to approach our Lord. If you pray like this, sure enough, your prayer will not be heard.
This prayer is actually a prayer of the flesh where you are telling God that His granting of your prayer will be dependent on the things that you can do for Him. This is a very bad approach. This prayer is not dependent on Him but on you. This is not actually a prayer. This is bargaining with God the things that He can do for you with the things that you can do for Him. Again, PLEASE DO NOT DO THIS.
We are in Grace Dispensation right now. You should approach God according to Grace not your works. GRACE means His leading, His works, His will. Not yours. In praying, we should be fully dependent on Him. We should let Him do in our case. This is what prayers are supposed to be.
Instead of telling Him what to do or telling Him what you can do, just lay down your case before Him and tell Him:
“Lord, this is what I am experiencing right now. I lay them down before You. May your will be done upon me.”
This is how you approach God by Grace. If you do this, surely, HE WILL TAKE IT PERSONALLY. Our Lord will take it as if it is His own problem and not yours. This is because, you lay it down before Him. You give it to Him. You are letting the ever-powerful God do what He can with your problems. And because He is a powerful God, your prayers will be answered. This is actually what our Lord God wants from us – for us to let Him be our God. In our prayers, we should let God be God. This is approaching Him by Grace.
As a personal testimony, I TELL YOU THIS IS VERY EFFECTIVE.
Another piece of advice: if you approach our Lord in prayer, do not be like those who are begging or pleading to our Lord repeatedly as if He is unwilling to give. Some are even doing “penance” where they are inflicting punishment upon themselves just for God to answer their prayers. Again, this is the wrong approach. Simply expose by faith every situation that arises in you and lay them down before the all-sufficiency of the One who indwells you. This is what approaching by Grace means.
BIBLICAL APPLICATION – THE PRAYER OF KING HEZEKIAH
With this, we will now see in the story of the Bible how these two requirements were followed and used. It is in the story of King Hezekiah.
King Hezekiah was a king of Judah when Sennacherib, king of Assyria, threatens to destroy Judah and inflict great fear upon its people. Let’s pick up the story in 2 Kings 19:10-14:
“10 Thus shall ye speak to Hezekiah king of Judah, saying, Let not thy God in whom thou trustest deceive thee, saying, Jerusalem shall not be delivered into the hand of the king of Assyria.
11 Behold, thou hast heard what the kings of Assyria have done to all lands, by destroying them utterly: and shalt thou be delivered?
12 Have the gods of the nations delivered them which my fathers have destroyed; as Gozan, and Haran, and Rezeph, and the children of Eden which were in Thelasar?
13 Where is the king of Hamath, and the king of Arpad, and the king of the city of Sepharvaim, of Hena, and Ivah?
14 And Hezekiah received the letter of the hand of the messengers, and read it: and Hezekiah went up into the house of the LORD, and spread it before the LORD.”
We can read here how Sennacherib mocks Hezekiah and not only Hezekiah but our Lord God saying “Don’t ever think that your God can save you. Do not be deceived. Your God cannot help you. Don’t trust in your God… See? I have smashed all the gods of all the nations and yours will be no different. We are the strongest kingdom in the world. No one can stand before me, no one can stop me! Your God cannot help you. You will not be spared!”
But I love how king Hezekiah responded to this mockery. After reading the letter full of threats from Sennacherib, Hezekiah went straight to the house of God. And there, he spread out the letter before the Lord his God. Now, this is how we lay down our burdens before God: Spread them out before Him. Then King Hezekiah prayed before God:
2 Kings 19:15-19 “And Hezekiah prayed before the LORD, and said, O LORD God of Israel, which dwellest between the cherubims, thou art the God, even thou alone, of all the kingdoms of the earth; thou hast made heaven and earth.
16 LORD, bow down thine ear, and hear: open, LORD, thine eyes, and see: and hear the words of Sennacherib, which hath sent him to reproach the living God.
17 Of a truth, LORD, the kings of Assyria have destroyed the nations and their lands,
18 And have cast their gods into the fire: for they were no gods, but the work of men’s hands, wood and stone: therefore they have destroyed them.
19 Now therefore, O LORD our God, I beseech thee, save thou us out of his hand, that all the kingdoms of the earth may know that thou art the LORD God, even thou only.”
Faced with an overwhelming problem, the first response of Hezekiah is to pray. Prayer is not his plan B, it is his plan A. He goes to the Lord and pray. If our first response always is to pray, then imagine the worry that will be spared from us! And look how he prays. He did not pray for deliverance so that they can dwell in peace and to have a nice life in Judah. Instead, Hezekiah prayed for deliverance so that all the kingdoms of the earth may know that his God is the only true God! When you pray like this, sure enough, God will take it personally because it is His glory that is at stake. This is the best example of praying in spirit. You are praying for the name of God to be glorified.
2 Kings 19:20-22 “Then Isaiah the son of Amoz sent to Hezekiah, saying, Thus saith the LORD God of Israel, That which thou hast prayed to me against Sennacherib king of Assyria I have heard.
21 This is the word that the LORD hath spoken concerning him; the virgin the daughter of Zion hath despised thee, and laughed thee to scorn; the daughter of Jerusalem hath shaken her head at thee.
22 Whom hast thou reproached and blasphemed? And against whom hast thou exalted thy voice, and lifted up thine eyes on high? Even against the Holy One of Israel.”
Look at the reply of the Lord to the prayer of Hezekiah through the prophet Isaiah: “Because you have prayed to Me about Sennacherib, I have heard you.” What have might happen if Hezekiah did not pray? Imagine if upon hearing the threats from Sennacherib, Hezekiah just said “I’ve got this. It will be fine. No need to worry. We can do this.” And went out to meet Sennacherib with his own strength? I bet, the outcome will be different. But thank God he prayed! And so should we. Because he prayed, that’s why he was heard. Prayer makes all the difference.
And because Hezekiah approached God by praying for the deliverance of Judah not because they wanted to live a peaceful life, but for God to be glorified in all the kingdoms of the Earth, God took the matter personally. And I have a feeling that Sennacherib is about to learn a very painful lesson: that prayer is a powerful weapon and that the God of prayer is not to be messed with!
2 Kings 19:35-37 “And it came to pass that night, that the angel of the LORD went out, and smote in the camp of the Assyrians an hundred fourscore and five thousand: and when they arose early in the morning, behold, they were all dead corpses.
36 So Sennacherib king of Assyria departed, and went and returned, and dwelt at Nineveh.
37 And it came to pass, as he was worshipping in the house of Nisroch his god, that Adrammelech and Sharezer his sons smote him with the sword: and they escaped into the land of Armenia. And Esarhaddon his son reigned in his stead.”
Wow! Is prayer a weapon? Of course! And a very powerful one indeed! Let us not forget that the kingdom of Assyria is the most powerful kingdom at that time. Assyrians were wicked and deadly army. They were greatly feared by many nations. They were experts in warfare and they had done many horrible things to many nations. Yet, this powerful kingdom was defeated by one prayerful man. A prayerful person plus a powerful God is a deadly combination. Much deadlier than all of the nuclear bombs of this world combined.
This is the reason why the most difficult people to be an enemy are those prayerful ones. Touch not the prayerful ones. They know how to use a powerful weapon. Also, this is why you are a very blessed person if you have a prayerful person with you. An example of this is our prayerful mothers. Mine is the best. I have been protected and blessed all this time because I have a prayerful mom. One of the most precious things you can have in this world is a praying mother. Thank you Lord for praying mothers!
Again, is prayer powerful? Indeed! And Sennacherib learned that the hard way! And this lesson will also be learned by the kings of the earth during the battle of Armageddon (Rev 6:15-16).
As I have stated above, we are living in these trying times. If there is one best time to pray, it is no other than today, when the world is deteriorating and the fight is getting tougher.
Until that glorious day of the rapture will come, there will come a time when all we can do is pray. And that is okay. God doesn’t mind those times at all! We have the best armor and formidable weapon. He will allow a great drought to be experienced by His Bride for her own good.
God allowed the burdens to increase upon His people Israel so that they will loosen their grip on Egypt. So that they will look forward to the Promised Land. The same is true why God is allowing our burdens to increase today in preparation for the Rapture. So that we will lose our grip on this world and look forward to our heavenly Promised Land. He has a better place for us. A heavenly one that has been prepared for those that love Him. This is what we look for and this is what we long for. But until that day will come, always remember your most powerful weapon – prayer.
May our Lord will bless you more.
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