Prayer That Moves God

Dan Lenington on May 16, 2013

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It is rare for a book to shake me as thoroughly as the one I have just finished. But I realize that God is the real instigator of the perspective I now have concerning prayer. Honestly, I've always known that my prayer life is not powerful like the prophets and apostles or even the great evangelists and godly men of more recent times. Sadly, I haven't taken the time to find out why until now. It started when Pastor asked me to preach a series on Sunday nights on a topic of my choice. I began to think it over and the topic of prayer entered my mind. I've always wanted to truly study prayer to learn how to really get great things from God in answer to prayer. So when Evangelist Dwight Smith spoke on prayer and wrestling with God like Jacob until He answers, I decided to learn more. God providentially guided me to a book that I would not otherwise pick up. This book began to challenge every assumption and presupposition I've ever had about prayer. First, it slapped me with the issue of my pride. I've been trying to build a ministry with my own ideas, intellect, and ingenuity. God says "Ye lust, and have not; ye kill, and desire to have, and cannot obtain: ye fight and war, yet ye have not, because ye ask not." James 4:2. It is pure pride when I try to do in my own strength what only God can do. It is pride to think a particular type of program, music style, message, advertisement, or adjustment will affect spiritual change. It may build a crowd but it will not bring revival. God can't bless when I may get the credit. Next, God convicted me of my unbelief. My prayers rarely ask anything specific from God or if they do they always tack on an "if it be thy will." The problem is not my desire to pray in God's will, but my secret belief that I really can't expect God to actually answer my prayers in any meaningful way. So the tacked on "if it be thy will" was basically hedging my prayers so that if God didn't answer then I could blame Him and not my own laziness to actually learn God's will or the sin that may be keeping my prayers from being answered. Then, I began to see how casual and indifferent my prayers really are. When people asked me to pray for something or when I looked over a list of prayer requests, I rarely asked myself if any of them were things that I knew God really wanted me to pray for. Often I would just go through the motions and check off each item thinking I had prayed for them. In reality, it was all vain repetition. How casual and indifferent were my prayers for the lost! God demands that we pray fervently and even fast. When had I last truly sought the Lord with a burden that brought true results. Also, God reminded me about praying in His Spirit. Usually, I pray in the flesh, forcing myself to go through the routine of prayer without really letting the Spirit show me what to pray for. Sin had also hindered my prayers so that they simply bounced off the ceiling. I realized that often when I prayed in public I was not praying to God but praying in rehearsed phrases and spiritual cliches for the ears of men to hear and be impressed. Rarely, did I ask for specific needs, as I was too busy sounding good and too afraid people may notice that my specific prayers had not been answered. I realized that I had reasoned away the clear promises in Scripture that God wanted to answer big request and move mountains in my life. I've realized that real prayer is intimacy with God that very few Christians ever find. I am relearning how to pray and I know It will take time to grow into a man who can wrestle with God and be victorious. I challenge you to get serious about prayer the way I've been challenged to be. The book that God has used to convict and shake me from my long spiritual lethargy is Prayer: Asking and Receiving by John R Rice. I also realized that I have known many of the truths he noted for many years but had never really allowed them to take root in my life. I could have read this book at other times in my life and not been shaken, but God knew I was now ready to hear and learn. You may not be ready yet, and it may not shake you as it has shaken me. However, you must first be disgusted with your lack of power in prayer and have a hunger to get ahold of God. Our churches need to be shaken, and so does America. Politics won't get it done. It will only happen when you are first shaken to pray for revival in your own heart and in your own church.