The past couple of weeks I’ve been writing on the subject of prayer. Today, I want to consider another aspect I’ve come across in the last several years. I mentioned in a previous post that the only thing the disciples asked Jesus to teach them was how to pray. (If you didn’t see it, you can read it here.) He gave them a model that we call the Lord’s Prayer. It begins with, “Our Father in heaven, hallowed be Your name, Your kingdom come, Your will be done on earth as it is in heaven.” (Matthew 6:9-10) I believe we’ve recited this so many times we don’t really stop to consider what we’re saying. Do we really know what God’s will is? What is it exactly that He wants done on earth? How can we find out what His will is, so we know what to pray?
I could go off on a rabbit trail here, because I’ve had more conversations than I can count with folks who ask these questions, — not about what His will is for earth, but rather for their own personal lives. If we struggle with discerning God’s will for our lives, how can we possibly understand what His will for the earth is? But that’s not the point of this article…just an observation.
We can know His will because it is written in His Word. One thing I love about the International House of Prayer in Kansas City (and others using similar models) is their emphasis on praying the Word. God gave us specific prayers to pray in His Word because He knew we would need help! There are many written by the apostles that we call Apostolic Prayers. Some examples are: Ephesians 1:17-19, 3:16-19; Colossians 1:9-12; Philippians 1:9-11; and many others. There are prayers in the Psalms and many of the Prophets as well. Then there are Jesus’ prayers such as Matthew 6:9-13 and John 17:1-26.
When we pray God’s Word back to Him, we pray according to His will. And when we do, “This is the confidence we have in approaching God: that if we ask anything according to His will, He hears us. And if we know that He hears us — whatever we ask — we know that we have what we asked of Him.” (1 John 5:14-15) We can know without a doubt that God hears and answers prayers from His Word!
Praying from His Word also alleviates the possibility of “soulish” or “witchcraft” prayers. When we pray from our soul – our mind, will, and emotions – we pray according to what we think or feel, and truthfully, we don’t have a clue what is best! I encountered this years ago in some of the prayer groups I participated in. Though I didn’t understand it at the time, I felt a strong resistance in my spirit that it wasn’t right. People often pray out of their fears, which come from the demonic realm. Praying out of one’s anger or wounding is also a form of soulish prayer. Praying what we want, rather than what God wants, is not prayer at all, but wishful thinking. These kinds of prayers not only go unanswered, but they can also open us up to demonic torment.
As I said last week, prayer is an awesome opportunity to partner with the God of all creation in seeing His perfect plans and purposes come to pass in the earth and in our lives. He has made it easy by giving us prayers to pray that will always get answered! I encourage and challenge you to join Him in what He is doing in the earth right now, for who knows if He has brought you into the Kingdom for such a time as this?