"Revitalizing Your Prayer Life"


In Prayer




Session 1: "Probing into Prayer: In Search of its Essence"


A.  Prayer is the key to vitality and fruitfulness.

1.  Jesus lived and breathed prayer.

2.  Jesus taught His disciples to cultivate a disciplined prayer life.

3.  The New Testament Church was born, sustained, and enlarged through prayer.

4.  The fruitfulness of our lives and ministries depends on prayer.

B.  To have an effective prayer life, we must understand the essence of prayer.

1.  "Essence" refers to the unchanging nature of a thing.

2.  Our mental pictures of prayer highlight changing forms of prayer.

3.  What is the essence of prayer?

a.  Premise: Prayer is a dynamic exchange connecting heaven with earth.

b.  Analogy: "The prayers of Godís saints are the capital stock of heaven by which God carries on His great work upon earth." (E.M. Bounds)

-- Paul E. Billheimer, Destined for the Throne: How Spiritual Warfare Prepares the Bride of Christ for Her Eternal Destiny. Revised Edition. (Minneapolis, Minnesota: Bethany House Publishers, 1996), p. 51.

c.  Definition: "Prayer is the passageway to a living and working relationship with God by which His kingdom comes to the earth." (J. Mark Copeland)

C.  The essence of prayer suggests four components of prayer.

1.  Prayer is the passageway to a living relationship with God.

a.  COMPONENT ONE: Prayer as comunication

b.  COMPONENT TWO: Prayer as communion

2.  Prayer is the passageway to a working relationship with God.

a.  COMPONENT THREE: Prayer as cooperation

b.  COMPONENT FOUR: Prayer as combat


Body of Teaching

I.  Prayer as Communication

A.  Prayer is "calling out" to God.

1.  The first reference to prayer in the Bible confirms this. (Gen. 4:26b)

2.  Psalm 107 is a biblical tribute to prayer as "crying out" to God.

a.  It gives four scenarios of prayer born out of desperation.

b.  It shows the movement from desperation to intervention to thanksgiving.

3.  In New Covenant praying, deperation evokes faith for answered prayer.

a.  The cry of faith brings Godís saving intervention. (Joel 2:28-32)

b.  The prayer of faith apprehends Godís grace.

(1)  The covenant of grace changes our perspective on prayer.

(2)  The covenant of grace changes our view on the place of prayer. (Heb. 12:18-24; 4:14-16)

4.  Illustration: John G. Lakeís tesimony demonstrates how desperation can become the stepping stone to triumphant faith.

-- John G. Lake, Adventures In God (Tulsa, Oklahoma: Harrison House, 1981), pp. 73-82.

a.  His family was under strong attack through a cycle of terminal illnesses.

b.  He learned of Godís healing covenant and power.

c.  He learned to turn desperation into confident faith in God.

d.  He saw family members healed and even raised from the dead.

e.  He was thrust into a phenomenal healing ministry.

B.  Prayer is dialogue with God.

1.  People heard from God in the Old Testament.

a.  God spoke to Moses face to face. (Exod. 33:10)

b.  The word of the Lord "came unto" the prophets.

c.  False prophets spoke without first hearing. (Jer. 23:18,22)

2.  People heard from God in the New Testament.

a.  Jesus said His sheep know his voice. (Jn. 10:27a)

b.  Paul said the Spirit of God reveals the thoughts of God. (1 Cor. 2:12b)

c.  Believers heard from God in the book of Acts, e.g., Peter, Philip, Paul, the prophets and teachers in Antioch.

3.  We can and should hear from God today.

a.  We should learn to recognize the ways in which God speaks.

b.  We should make room for God to speak.

4.  Illustration: I had a personal experience in prayer in which God dialogued with me about my prayer seminar.

a.  He initiated the dialogue.

b.  He spoke specific geographic regions and place names.

c.  He confirmed his direction through subsequent events.

II. Prayer as Communion

A.  Prayer moves from dialogue to intimacy.

1.  Per the Psalmist: "Deep calls to deep in the roar of your waterfalls; all your waves and breakers have swept over me." (Psa. 42.7)

2.  Per Jesus: "Whoever believes in me, as the Scripture has said, streams of living water will flow from within him." (Jn. 4:37b-38)

3.  In the divine intercourse with the human spirit, there is passion, ecstacy, and overflow.

B.  Prayer as communion is prayer as worship.

1.  Worship is the spirit of prayer. (Mt. 6:9, 13b)

2.  Worship is an expression of prayer. (1 Tim. 2:8)

C.  Prayer is empowered by the fullness of the Holy Spirit.

1.  The Spirit prompts prayer. (Zech. 12:10-13:2: Rom. 8:26-27)

2.  Prayer invites the fulness of the Spirit. (Acts 2, 10, 19)

3.  Prayer in the Spirit enables intimate communion with God. (Jude 20; Eph. 5:18)

D.  Illustration: My experience of the Baptism in the Holy Spirit was an intimate and powerful encounter with God.

1.  I was filled with the Holy Spirit during a corporate time of prayer.

2.  I was catapulted by the Holy Spirit into a worshipful encounter with God.

3.  My encounter led others to the fulness of the Spirit.

III.  Prayer as Cooperation

A.  Prayer brings us into a working relationship with God.

1.  Jesusí prayer life enabled Him to co-labor with His Father. (Jn. 7:16; 10:32; 14:10)

2.  Our prayer lives position us as co-laborers with Christ.

3.  We co-labor with Christ through prayers of petition and prayers of intercession.

B.  Prayers of petition are a means of partnering with God.

1.  We ascertain what God wants us to do. (Hearing/seeing; Jam. 1:5; 1 Cor. 2:12)

2.  We ask God to do the thing He reveals. (Petitioning; 1 Jn. 5:14-15; Jn. 14:13)

3.  We allow His Spirit to accomplish His work. (Releasing; Jn. 1:14; Mk. 16:20)

4.  NOTE: Revelation is the foundation of effective petitionary prayer.

a.  This is demonstrated with the analogy of the keys of the kingdom.

(1)  Revelation preceded the keys being given to Peter. (Mt. 16:16-19)

(2)  The keys were given to the disciples in conjunction with spiritual authority in prayer. (Mt. 18:18-19)

b.  We can have and use the keys of the kingdom.

(1)  The keys enable us to know the will of God: The revelation gifts

(2)  The keys enable us to speak the words of God: The utterance gifts.

(3)  The keys enable us to release the work of God: The power gifts.

5.  Illustration: I experienced prayer as partnership with God and with his people in the healing of Louise Baker.

a.  There was a divine invitation to cooperate with God.

b.  There was an opportunity to partner with the people of God.

c.  There was the privilege of releasing Godís Spirit to accomplish His work.

C.  Prayers of intercession are a means of partnering with God.

1.  Prayers of intercession are prayers of mediation.

a.  To intercede is to act as a mediator between God and others.

(1)  Merriam Websterís Collegiate Dictionary (Tenth Edition) defines intercede as "to intervene between parties with a view to reconciling differences: MEDIATE."

(2)  Merriamís defines intercession as "prayer, petition, or entreaty in favor of another." (my italics)

b.  Jesus is our mediator and intercessor. (1 Jn. 2:2; 1 Tim. 2:5; Rom. 8:34)

c.  We are called as mediators and intercessors. (1 Pet. 2:9; 2 Cor. 5:20;1 Tim. 2:1-5)

2.  Intercession appeals to God for a two-fold work of grace.

a.  This two-fold work of grace is described in a classic passage on intercession in Ezekiel. (22:30-31)

(1)  Intercessors "build the wall" for protection against the enemy.

(2)  Intercessors "stand in the gap" to reconcile people with God.

b.  This two-fold work of grace is characteristic of New Testament intercession.

(1)  There are prayers for "building the wall." (Jn. 17: 15; Lk. 22:31-32; 1 Cor. 1:8; Jude 24)

(2)  There are prayers for "standing in the gap." (Rom. 10:1; Eph. 1:17- 19a)

3.  Illustration: Bolette Hinderliís intercession for Lars Olsen Skrefsrud demonstrates intercession as building the wall and standing in the gap for another.

a.  She was a simple country girl with a prayer assignment from God.

b.  She received a clear vision and a direct word from God.

c.  Her prayer assignment had elements of protection and reconciliation.

d.  Her faithfulness in prayer led to Mr. Skrefsrudís fulfilling Godís call on his life.

IV.  Prayer as Combat

A.  Effective prayer is always warfare prayer.

1.  This is evident from the very nature of prayer.

2.  This is evident from the central petition of the Lordís Prayer.

B.  Warfare prayer is upward and outward praying, addressing both God and Satan.

1.  It is upward prayer that talks to God.

a.  God is pleased to give us His kingdom. (Lk. 12:32)

b.  We graciously receive the kingdom with thanksgiving.

2.  It is outward prayer that addresses the Enemy.

a.  The Enemy seeks to prevent our receiving the kingdom.

b.  We forcefully lay hold of Godís kingdom. (Mt. 11:12)

c.  With a word of rebuke, we violently rend Godís kingdom from the obstructing clutches of Satan.

C.  Warfare prayer engages the Enemy on two plains.

1.  We do battle with demons that operate in the heavenlies.

a.  We engage spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. (Eph. 6:12b)

b.  This is modeled in Danielís intercessor/warfare praying. (Dan 9-10)

2.  We do battle with demons that bind people on the earth.

a.  We engage the "powers of this dark world." (Eph. 6:12b)

b.  These spirits darken peopleís minds to Godís revelation. (2 Cor. 4:4)

D.  Illustration: Morris Cerulloís power encounter with Haitian witch doctors demonstrates prayer as combat.

-- C. Peter Wagner, Praying With Power: How to Pray Effectively and Hear Clearly From God (Ventura, California: Regal Books, 1997), pp. 50-53.

1.  He received an invitation but encountered stong spiritual resistance.

2.  A voodoo curse brought sudden strong physical pain in his abdomen.

3.  He was enlightened by God as to the cause and instructed how to respond.

4.  He fearlessly stood his ground when a power encounter was being staged.

5.  He overcame resistence by speaking and releasing Godís power.



A.  Prayer is a living and working relationship with God.

B.  Prayer brings us into a living relationship with God in which we communicate with Him in dialogue and commune with him through intimate, joyous worship.

C.  Prayer brings us into a working relationship with God in which we cooperate with Him in the establishment of His kingdom and in the combat by which Satanís kingdom is dispelled.

D.  Prayer is being and doing, relating and serving.



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