Prevailing prayer

praying-306777_640Isaiah 16:12: And when Moab presents himself, when he wearies himself on the high place, when he comes to his sanctuary to pray, he will not prevail. (ESV)

Prayer is an attempt to do the impossible. It is the means to shake the heaven and the earth and activate the presence of God. Jesus taught us to pray some lines of prayer which revealed the possibilities that are locked up in the act (Matthew 6:9-13).

Our father who art in heaven

This shows that prayer is the means for us to connect with the father in heaven. In the Garden of Eden, man lost connection with God, but Jesus restores us back to God. But the extent to which we maximise that connection varies from person to person and is linked to our prayer life.

When we pray, the more we pray, we affirm our relationship with God. When we draw near to God, in that sense, God draws near to us (James 4:8). In constant prayer, God becomes to us, not just a name in the bible or a faraway Spirit, but someone close by.

We know that God is Spirit (John 4:24) and in prayer we chose to yield ourselves to the Spirit of God, to be touched by his presence, to access his grace as we approach the throne of grace (Hebrews 4:16).

Hallowed be thy name

When we pray we acknowledge the greatness of God. We recognise his holiness. In prayer, we affirm God as special to us.

In prayer, we set our gaze on the father, and as we look to him we are transformed into who he is. The bible says that we should be holy as our heavenly father is holy, but we cannot be holy apart from him (1Peter 1:15).

For Isaiah, becoming clean was not something he can achieve on his own, he needed not only to be confronted with the holiness of God, before which he felt helpless, but he also needed to be helped  in the holiness lane by the touch of the fire of God on his tongue (Isaiah 6:1-7). The holiness that is in God, was transferred into him in the place of spiritual contact, and that is descriptive of prayer.

Thy kingdom come

When we pray we welcome the kingdom of God into our lives. Nothing should be more important than that. The kingdom of God is about his peace, power, presence and purpose activated and in full-swing.

In the place of prayer, we actively chose to conform to his will. If we do not choose to pray, it means we are not seeking the presence or the rule of God.

Prayer is an avenue for change, and praying means we are willing to change, to lose control to have God control you the more. Prayer becomes the conduit for the establishment of the kingdom of God in our lives. It is a place where we shift gear, from following our own ways to following the ways of God, from choosing our own path to choosing the path of God.

Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven

In this phrase, Jesus expands the scope of the impact of prayer to all the earth, which shows that nothing should be seen as being out of reach of prayer, nothing at all, no matter how knotty it looks, once we are praying according to the will of God, alignment with the preference for the rule and dominion of God, as revealed in his word. That was why the phrase we are considering is preceded by “thy kingdom come.”

Man was given dominion on the earth, but the expression of that dominion was not to be in isolation from God, and now in the place of prayer, we connect with God to expresses his dominion on the earth.

If the will of God can be done without our prayer then there is no need to pray, but it is clear from this phrase that prayer is needed and is linked to what God will do or won’t do, as the numerous testimony of scriptures show.

And if we can’t believe the scriptures, what can we believe?

Nothing on earth is beyond the reach of prayer. Every situation is amenable to, yields to, prayer attack.

Give us this day our daily bread

This immediately shows that prayer should be a daily thing. David said: morning afternoon and evening will I pray and cry aloud, and he shall hear my voice (Psalm 55:17). God can never be tired of listening to us.

A life of prayer does not make a good logic for the ordinary human being, the carnally-minded, the spiritually dead, but for the Christians it stands for fellowship with God. It is a symbol of the relationship of love that we have with God.

Since in prayer we say to God: “give me”, it is, therefore, an acknowledgment of weakness that you do not know all things and cannot do all things. We acknowledge our need for God, we express our need for a daily dose of his physical and spiritual sustenance, a daily dose of grace. As mentioned earlier, we draw near God with the understanding that by so doing, he will draw near us, according to the promise of the scriptures. And he draws near us with his sustenance.

Forgive us our trespasses

In the place of prayer, we receive forgiveness. It is not advisable to wait for a special time of prayer before we confess our sins. We should not sweep sin under the carpet even for a moment, and the first step to making amends is to confess our sins, immediately, as soon a particular one is brought to our consciousness (rather than pray something general).

When we do that, we are opening up ourselves for the cleansing work of God in our lives, otherwise we open ourselves to hardness of heart. John wrote that if we confess our sins, God is faithful and just to forgive us and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness (1John 1:7-9).

Lead us not into temptation; deliver us from evil

When David wrote that he who dwells in the secret place of the Most High shall abide under the shadow of the almighty, it was a reference to prayer (Psalm 91:1). Jesus said prayer is something for the secret place (Matthew 6:6).

He said: when we want to pray, we should go to God in the secret of our room and the God who hears in secret will reward us openly. We gain divine protection in the place of prayer, it is there we put on the whole armour of God as recommended by Paul and we are able to wrestle against principalities and power, and push back the wiles of the devil, and the fiery darts of the enemy in prevailing prayer (Ephesians 6:1-10).

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