Protocol For Effective Prayer
By Pastor Michael Olawore
New Wine Church, London
Foundation Scriptures: Luke 11:9-13, Matthew 7:7-11
Sunday 5th June 2016
During this season of fasting and prayer for New Wine Church locally and globally, this new series that I am beginning today will play a major role in helping each of us maximise our time in praying effectively, with the ultimate aim of experiencing answers to our prayers. As much as it is assumed that we all pray, and that we understand how vital it is to our godly walk, receiving answers to our prayers encourages us to persist in spending time, communicating with God.
Here is our foundation scripture from Luke 11:9-13, which reads: “And so I tell you, keep on asking, and you will receive what you ask for. Keep on seeking, and you will find. Keep on knocking, and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks, receives. Everyone who seeks, finds. And to everyone who knocks, the door will be opened. “You fathers—if your children ask for a fish, do you give them a snake instead? Or if they ask for an egg, do you give them a scorpion? Of course not! So if you sinful people know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him” (NLT)..
God delights in answering our prayers; He is not a ‘Kill-joy’. However, some spiritual protocols must be observed in order to enjoy the blessings of answered prayers. Here they are: (a) God’s Will: 1 John 5:14 put this way; ‘And this is the confidence (the assurance, the privilege of boldness) which we have in Him: [we are sure] that if we ask anything (make any request) according to His will (in agreement with His own plan), He listens to and hears us. And if (since) we [positively] know that He listens to us in whatever we ask, we also know [with settled and absolute knowledge] that we have [granted us as our present possessions] the requests made of Him’. The answer to our prayers is assured when we pray in accordance with God’s will (b) Faith: But without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him. Also read Mark 11:22-24. We must engage our faith when we pray, as this pleases God. (c) In His name: John 16:23-24 reads, ‘At that time you won’t need to ask me for anything. I tell you the truth, you will ask the Father directly, and he will grant your request because you use my name. You haven’t done this before. Ask, using my name, and you will receive, and you will have abundant joy’. When we ask in the name of Jesus, we also align ourselves with the protocol for answered prayers.
Down the ages, men and women have affected the course of their destinies through prayers. For every success in life, we can trace it back to a successful prayer-time. The opposite is also true – every failure in life can be traced back to a failure in prayers. Jesus was known for His prayers – constantly communicating with his father, and this permeated every aspect of his successful ministry. With prayers, we establish God’s will and change our course to fall in line with His set purpose for our lives. Besides, the enemy shudders at the prayers of the saints – whether it is a corporate gathering in church or a quiet private time spent with God as a father, mother, daughter or son.
The bible records the story of men and women who prayed, affecting the course of history including Abraham who prayed for Abimelech and his household in Genesis 20:17, Hannah who prayed earnestly for a child, eventually giving birth to a child in 1 Samuel 1:10 and 27, and Hezekiah who received a response to his request through Isaiah the prophet in 2 Kings 19:20. Elijah was referred to as a man with a nature like ours in James 5:17-18, yet he prayed effectively, altering the downpour of the seasonal rain for three and a half years. So did Jesus, getting up to pray, way before daybreak in Mark 1:35.
In recent history, we have the prayers of saints like John Knox, who prayed; ‘Lord, give me Scotland or I’ll die’. And he prayed with such intensity, that the Lord answered him. Other prayer warriors include; John Hyde, Brother Lawrence, DL Moody, John Wesley, George Whitefield and Charles Spurgeon. One of Martin Luther’s quotes on prayer says: ‘No one can believe how powerful prayer is and what it can effect, except those who have learned it by experience’. Another quote from John Wesley reads: "God does nothing except in response to believing prayer." There is no power like that of prevailing prayer; Abraham pleading for Sodom, Jacob wrestling in the stillness of the night, Moses standing in the gap, David heartbroken with remorse and grief, Jesus in sweat of blood. Samuel Chadwick wrote, “Such prayer prevails. It turns ordinary mortals into men of power. It brings power. It brings fire. It brings rain. It brings life. It brings God."
In Luke 11:1-8, Jesus gives us an illustration of what persistent prayer looks like from a story he related to his disciples after teaching them how to pray with the Lord’s Prayer. ‘Now it came to pass, as He was praying in a certain place, when He ceased, that one of His disciples said to Him, “Lord, teach us to pray, as John also taught his disciples.” So He said to them, “When you pray, say: Our Father in heaven, Hallowed be Your name. Your kingdom come. Your will be done on earth as it is in heaven. Give us day by day our daily bread. And forgive us our sins, for we also forgive everyone who is indebted to us. And do not lead us into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one. And He said to them, “Which of you shall have a friend, and go to him at midnight and say to him, ‘Friend, lend me three loaves; for a friend of mine has come to me on his journey, and I have nothing to set before him’; and he will answer from within and say, ‘Do not trouble me; the door is now shut, and my children are with me in bed; I cannot rise and give to you’? I say to you, though he will not rise and give to him because he is his friend, yet because of his persistence he will rise and give him as many as he needs’. Matthew 6:5-7 gives us the same account from a slightly different perspective, which can be summarised thus: Prayer time is not meant for showmanship, it is not a time to seek man’s praise, it is purely a time of communion with God through Jesus Christ, our Lord.
Here are some vital truths from the story in Luke 11:5-8:
(a) For every need, there is supply: In God, there is always supply. There is nothing we need that God hasn’t already figured out. So when we approach God in prayer, we must do so from a position of confidence and assurance that all we need is already available.
(b) Take all your needs to God, irrespective of the times or season: All needs must be communicated to God, irrespective of how late it may seem to us. Midnight according to this passage could represent a past deadline, a dry season of our lives, or a timeframe that looks irreversibly far spent. Yet, God can do the impossible with our lives, unequivocally.
(c) There is no obstacle except the one you allow: As long as we are confident that God will supply, irrespective of the reports, obstacles or season, then we can be rest assured that God will honour our trust and confidence in Him.
(d) There is no obstacle except the one you allow: As long as we are confident that God will supply, irrespective of the reports, obstacles or season, then we can be rest assured that God will honour our trust and confidence in Him.
(e) You must never stop trusting God and exercising your faith: Even when it looks like the state of things is bleak, you’ve been refused and denied your breakthrough, yet you must hold on to God and His ability to meet the need. Be fully persuaded that God is able.
(e) What you need would be supplied because of your faith: We must have confidence that God will supply all needs because it is according to His will. We ought to know that God loves each of us too much to leave us in the same condition, incessantly.
Our all-knowing, all-sufficient God is able to do all things at the best time that He has pre-ordained. Our part is to adhere to the protocol of effective prayer in order to see the results that we desire.
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