Asking or praying to God to do something
What is it and how does it work? There are hundreds of books and opinions about prayer. Everyone wants their prayers answered and even politicians and royalty believe in it.
Firstly, I need to set some parameters or basic understanding - God gave us free will. He does not impose his will on us, we always have a choice!
As parents, spouses or friends we cannot ask God to change someone or do something to someone. That’s not on, even if we believe it’s for their own good. In the same way God would not and does not impose his will on us, therefore how or why would he act on our requests or instructions.
I believe there is a logic to our relationship with God and with our fellow ‘humans’.
Pray it out loud and clear
As long as you say it, it has an effect. I've seen hundreds of memes and graphics that say God hears every prayer, even silent prayers of a sincere heart. Yes, they're right, he hears them, he can't do anything about them because you're only thinking!!! Trouble is preachers and evangelists want you to think that you don't have to do anything.There is not one sentence in the Bible that says pray silently.
Our spoken words are the transmitters of prayers.Spoken prayer is essential as simply saying them in our heads is called 'thinking' or 'meditation'. We are taught that our thoughts are worthless (Psalms 94:11) but we have to keep the Book of the Law on our lips and meditate on them day and night (Joshua 1:8). So, as you can see, there's been a plan for all this for thousands of years but like many things, they get forgotten about and set aside.
There was a reason that Jesus taught us how to pray and that was because it wasn't supposed to be difficult. It's called 'The Lord's Prayer' (Matt 6:9-13) and when we take time to think about the content it really makes sense. There are slightly different versions and that's why it's important to check against different versions. We ask God to forgive our sins and also those who sin against us, which are also called 'trespasses'. The NIV Bible version says to forgive 'debts', but you can decide which is more appropriate!
Praying for Ourselves
Firstly, when we pray about ourselves, we have to understand about submitting to God which means agreeing that He’s in charge. We have to give permission to God and allow Him to make the change in us. To ask God to help us step out and succeed at whatever it is we are asking for. To do this we need wisdom; James 1:5 says If you need wisdom, ask our generous God, and he will give it to you. He will not rebuke you for asking.
The Bible tells us that God is working in us, giving us the desire and power to do what pleases him (Philippians 2:13) and also we are to take delight in the Lord, and he will give us our heart’s desires. (Psalms 37:4) so from my perspective, we are to go with what is on our hearts and as long as it is good, it's from God (discernment is also required!).
Because we are giving permission and want to be led by the Holy Spirit, God can and will make the changes in us. So when it comes to work, finances or emotional situations, we need the wisdom (As Solomon requested of God, 1 Kings 3:10-15), to know how and what to do. It is not about a bolt of lightning and a suitcase full of money or an equivalent instant result!
God gives us the ability to earn wealth (Deuteronomy 8:18) and the words to speak (Luke 12:12, 21:15, Matt 10:19), which in turn sows seeds in others (Mark 4:14) and connect with others, bringing forth the fruit of our words or as Isaiah 55:11 says, our words will not come back void.
Our prayers enable us to speak and act in a way that lines up with Gods word and enables us to achieve and realise his plans for us (Jeremiah 29:11).
Praying for Others
I see this as intercession. We are fighting the enemy on behalf of the other person, but we cannot ask God to stop another from doing something, even if we think it is wrong.
We can pray to break any strongholds, cancel any assignments and any demonic attachments, but there also has to be some human intervention, to sow the seeds of faith in that person.
This is why we can pray for opportunities and divine interventions and to place others in the paths of those we are praying for, so that words or contact can be made. And again, if we are placed in the way, for us to pray that we act or speak the right words.
Praying for healing
Whether we lay on hands or pray from afar our words have the same power as Jesus’ (Matt 8:5-13). We are praying for divine health, to cast out of the damage that is caused as a result of satan’s fallen world.
Non-Christians can have demons in them, Born Again Christians can only have demons on them, because the enemy cannot reside side-by-side with the Holy Spirit.
If demons are cast out or off someone and there is no understanding of the Bible or teaching, the enemy can come back with seven more (Luke 11:26, Matt 12:45).
Where does satan fit in?
Going back to Christians and non-Christians, satan operates in a similar fashion to prayer as we understand it. Even Islam simply requires someone to recite the shahada to become Muslim. He wants individuals to speak ‘things’ into being in their own lives. Things like lies! Lies about ourselves, lies about other people, lies about God, you name it, any lie will do. As long as it goes against God or separates us from God. Once things have been spoken into our lives, he prompts us to act them out. Things like fighting, cursing, swearing even killing.
We are the supernatural event!
Don't fall in to the trap that many people do, thinking that behind every door there is a supernatural event; that each time you pray you expect God to perform for you. That's not going to happen.
Take a minute to imagine what would happen if God granted everyone's prayers! It would be chaos! I believe that to maintain the order of things there are most definitely miracles and most definitely miraculous healing, but when it comes to personal requests, this is where we have to understand why it is so important that we allow God to change us in order that we can 'perform' the necessry task.
We are the supernatural event we've been waiting to happen. We are the individuals that have been born again, we are the ones the Holy Spirit has chosen to reside in. Therefore we have to understand how the order of prayer and Christian life operates and not to become disillusioned that God isn't answering our prayers.
Lest we forget, we have a new destiny in heaven once we've finished our training here on earth. We're going home. Therefore we can look to enjoy this time on earth. But consider this. What type of person would God want in heaven? An aggressive entrepreneur who makes loads of money for himself and despises everyone or someone who wants to help others? I'll leave it to you to decide, but we don't need money in heaven!
Asking Jesus to act on our behalf
Many people pray for Jesus to heal - for him to perform whichever actual duties are required. Sadly, this is a form of unbelief, a misguided understanding of what Jesus did for us on the cross. This is a lie of the enemy, satan.
Asking Jesus to act on our behalf is asking him to be crucified again, it’s like saying what He did for us was not enough so get back on the cross and die for us all over again. When He died, He said “It is finished” and at the point of His resurrection He gave us back the authority to do even greater things than He (See John 14:12).
We must understand our authority as born again Christians, as individuals who believe that Jesus is the son of God and Lord of our lives, that we repent of our sins and are baptised in water. See John 3:1-5.
Baptism isn’t an option, it isn’t about being part of a sect, faction or out of personal choice. It is fundamental to being a Christian. There is no argument Jesus says we must be baptised to be born again. Jesus said it and that’s good enough for me.
Non-Christians; satan is not really bothered with this group because they will already do what he wants and they’re not following God, Jesus or the Holy Spirit and so they’re no threat. They will do what pleases them without taking any notice of The Bible or believing that there’s any consequences for their actions.
Religious groups like Islam will kill them all the same because they don’t believe in ‘their’ god, but none of the other religious groups are bothered about non-believers.
Christians; this group have already confirmed their allegiance to Jesus and therefore they have the power of the Holy Spirit in them to act on and receive from direction from God. This is why satan makes a bee-line for Christians, via Islam, left-wing politics and any other faction that can silence the Christian faith.
Satan will do everything he can to turn a Christian away from God, even the smallest thing can act as a doorway to being tempted even more. Just one cigarette, just one drink, just one joint, just one look at porn. One thing can lead to another and we must be on our guard. But also misguided thinking about faith in operation. This is why we have to study and meet together to ensure we are all on the right track.
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