effective prayer

Relief in letting Jesus pray

Prayer in its purest and simplest form is not about what we say or how we say it. It is not about what we do or how we do it. And to talk about praying effectively is to miss the point entirely. Prayer for the Christ follower is really more about being, than doing. Its essence is discovered by being in a relationship with the one who is the lover of our soul and the friend who sticks closer than a brother. (Proverbs 18:24)

Our human nature in matters relating to God almost always gravitates to doing rather than being. We feel responsible to do something to get God’s attention or gain His favor. We are driven by a performance orientation that wants to prove to God our worth and our worthiness. And that naturally carries over into our prayers.

But God’s ways are higher than our ways, and our relationship with Him through His son Jesus Christ leaves nothing for us to prove. Through Jesus’ death, burial and resurrection, He has already done it all. And so the uniqueness of the Christian faith compared to all the other religions of the world, both past and present, is that the word “done” has forever been substituted for the word “do”.

As believers in Christ we understand the “done” as it applies to our righteousness and salvation that comes through faith in what He did at the cross for the forgiveness of our sins. And without a doubt that “done” is cause for the biggest sigh of relief and the greatest shout of joy we can utter.

But where we often struggle and revert back to doing is in our prayer lives. In Hebrews we find a very insightful verse into the secret to struggle free prayer. “Consequently, he is able to save to the uttermost those who draw near to God through him, since he always lives to make intercession for them.” Hebrews7:25 (ESV)

This verse emphasizes four things.

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God’s tipping point

In 2006 “thought leader” Malcolm Gladwell published a book entitled “The Tipping Point.” His premise was that the viral spread of an idea, product or disease is the result of repeated behaviors that builds an accumulative effect to a critical mass. When that threshold or “tipping point” is reached, a breakthrough occurs not unlike the collapse of a dam, turning a persistent trickle turns into a flood.

This same principle is applicable in spiritual matters also. There are tipping points in the realm of the Spirit when God releases breakthroughs. Tipping points with God are always linked to prayer or the lack thereof. That is why God so earnestly looks for intercessors, those who will stand in the gap before Him for His purposes to be accomplished in the earth. (Ezekiel 22:30) Prayer and intercession move His hand to pour out blessings and stay His hand in holding back judgment. (Revelation 5:8 & 16:1)

One of the names ascribed to God by King David was Baal-perazim – the “Lord who breaks through.” The occasion was one of the times when the Philistines attacked Israel. As was David’s practice, he first sought the Lord in prayer. “Should I go out to fight the Philistines? Will you hand them over to me?” The LORD replied, “Yes, go ahead. I will hand them over to you.” (1 Chronicles 14:10) So when David’s troops defeated them he exclaimed “God did it! …He used me to burst through my enemies like a raging flood!” (1 Chronicles 14:11)

Jesus gave us very specific instructions about the Father’s tipping points and how to trigger breakthroughs in our lives. In His Sermon on the Mount Jesus encouraged three things that every believer must do to move the Father’s hand to tipping points of blessing. (Matthew 6:1-8) Those three things, all forms of intercession, are alms giving, prayer and fasting. Jesus promised that when we do these things in secret, exclusively for Him and not for show, He will reward us openly.

In both the Old and New Testaments prayer and fasting were often triggers for releasing amazing breakthroughs.

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