40 Days of Prayer: Day 23
Power and confidence in praying scripture
Is anyone among you suffering? Let him pray. Is anyone cheerful? Let him sing psalms.
Is anyone among you sick? Let him call for the elders of the church, and let them pray over him, anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord.
And the prayer of faith will save the sick, and the Lord will raise him up. And if he has committed sins, he will be forgiven.
Confess your trespasses to one another, and pray for one another, that you may be healed. The effective, fervent prayer of a righteous man avails much.
Elijah was a man with a nature like ours, and he prayed earnestly that it would not rain; and it did not rain on the land for three years and six months.
And he prayed again, and the heaven gave rain, and the earth produced its fruit.
We know that Gods word is true and that we can count on it and the promises that God has given us. Scripture has amazing truth and if we would just take time to memorize it and use it in our prayer time. Jesus quoted scripture as the devil tempted him. There is something reassuring about praying the very words of God back to him that keeps our minds focused and reassured. It helps us know God will be pleased.
I saw a great meme on FaceBook yesterday. It said; "I can do ALL things when I take scripture out of context…” So if we are to pray scripture, make sure you study the context of that scripture and its true application. Stay in context.
I can do all things through Him who strengthens me.
This verse has nothing to do with touchdowns, dunking basketballs, winning marathon races or closing an amazing business deal. The Apostle Paul is awaiting trial and is under house arrest, he knows he may be put to death for preaching about the resurrection of Jesus. So instead of sitting down in defeat and wallowing in self pity, he takes his suffering as a teaching moment for the young church at Philipi. He shows them that he can endure any and every circumstance. Highs and lows in his journey, ups and downs that happen daily, because his eyes are fixed on Jesus and that is where he draws his strength from. As a genuine Holy Spirit filled follower of Christ he has the supernatural strength to endure all seasons and situations. As do we!
You probably could come up with a list of “popular” scriptures that are on a mug or T-shirt that have been taken out of context. There is power in praying scripture, but make sure to look at the context of the scripture that you are using. So lets look at a couple of scriptures that we can pray with confidence.
James 5:16says; "...The effective, fervent prayer of a righteous man avails much”.
1 John 5:14-15
This is the confidence which we have before Him, that, if we ask anything according to His will, He hears us.
And if we know that He hears us in whatever we ask, we know that we have the requests which we have asked from Him.
The word effective, means we have to work, take action in praying to start with, constant, strenuous and intense. So in these two passages we see James and John saying that for prayers to be effective, they must be fervent, meaningful and in agreement of Gods will. One way to know that our prayers are the will of God is to pray specific verses that express what is on our heart. Remember scripture is NOT a magic chant that we mindlessly chant as if the words had all the power. When we see the power of prayer is when God responds to a servant heart. As we study Gods word we find scripture, commands and promises that express what is on our hearts, and we know that we are agreeing with God as we use them in prayer.
It is imperative that we are known as people of the Book, that is that, we read, meditate and memorize the Bible in such a way that it becomes part of us and naturally comes out in our prayer time. If we have been studying Gods word, it comes to mind as the Holy Spirit works in and through us. There are many times I go to prayer, and I do not know what or how to pray. First we know the Holy Spirit is our helper.
In the same way the Spirit also helps our weakness; for we do not know how to pray as we should, but the Spirit Himself intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words;
Scripture can give us the words as well. Just look at the Psalms, hundreds of prayers, many of our thoughts already put into words. Jesus’ longest recorded prayer is the “High Priestly Prayer” found in John 17. Jesus and God are one, He is not telling God anything he didn't know, he was agreeing with the circumstances and ready to fulfill the will of the father. Jesus spent so much fervent time in communication with the Father that He knew His heart. We must do the same thing, spend time, using your words or those written in the Bible, the Key to effective prayer is when it comes from the heart and is genuinely seeking the will of God.
What does a prayer from scripture look like? Galatians 5:20 can be used as a prayer of consecration.
“Father, today I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me. This life I live today I will live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.” In Jesus name Amen! If we can pray this way then we take the heart of God which is the will of God and take ownership of it.
Do not flop your bible open and randomly point at a scripture to pray. We cannot pray every scripture in the Bible as if it directly correlates to our life. If we did, we would have problems with verses like 1 Samuel 15:3: “Now go, attack the Amalekites and totally destroy all that belongs to them.” I know Im repeating myself, but its important. We must always read Scripture within its context and learn more about God from the principles we find. After reading a Scripture and understanding the care of it, the life lesson, then God may use it to speak into our lives and our situation. The prayer then may turn to, Lord destroy the worldliness in my life and leave NO remnant.
Or, we could pray, “Lord, just as You told the Israelites to totally destroy everything that represented the evil of the Amalekites, I want to tear down any false gods in my life and leave nothing but You. Purify my heart as they purified their land.” In Jesus name amen!
Effectual and fervent prayer can come from our Hearts and from scripture. Our main goal is that we would be intone with God through His word and constant conversations with Him. Jesus, even on the cross cried out the words from Psalm 22; “my God My God why have you forsaken me”?
The more Scripture we learn and personalize, the more our prayers will reflect the will of God and the more effective they will be.
Pray Hard !
Prayed for you all this morning!
Much love and blessings,