Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Prayer of Faith

11.11 Common mistakes in the prayer of faith

Sometimes, we may not get results in the prayer of faith due to a lack of revelation of what Christ has accomplished on the cross. Let me share three common mistakes in the prayer of faith by using the example of healing.

1) Uncertainty over God’s Will

When we pray for healing, we should not say, “Lord, IF it is Your will, heal me.” This prayer has no basis of faith as there is an uncertainty reflected by the word “if”. First of all, we need to be certain if it is God’s will to heal.

In Matt 8:2, a leper came to Jesus and asked if Jesus was willing to heal him. Jesus said He was willing. The leper had to know that. Today, we know God’s will through Jesus. Isaiah 53:5 declares, “By His stripes we are healed.” Beloved, have no doubt that it is God’s will to heal – Jesus has paid the price for your healing!

2) Lack of Revelation of “Christ the Healer”

When we pray for healing, we do not say, “Lord, PLEASE heal me.” When people pray for healing as a knee-jerk reaction to a crisis, they end up pleading. Their prayers are filled with anxiety.

It is important to receive a personal revelation of “Christ the Healer”. Those who have a revelation of Christ the Healer would be unshaken in a crisis; they do not plead but turn to Him in faith and quiet confidence.

3) Lack of Revelation That “It is finished”

When we pray for healing, we do not say, “Lord, I pray that YOU HEAL me.” If we truly understand the redemption work on the cross, all our healing was accomplished when Jesus cried, “It is finished.” For God, there is no more work to be done for healing. For us, it is a matter of enforcing what was accomplished 2,000 years ago on the cross by speaking to the circumstances. The way to receive is by faith through our spoken word.

When Peter quoted Isaiah 53:5, he used the past tense. He said, “By whose stripes you WERE healed” (1 Pet 2:24). He was looking back at the finished work on the cross.

When we receive this revelation, we will end up “speaking to the mountains” instead of “asking in prayer”. All the successful ministers throughout Church history who experience great results in the prayer of faith always spoke to their mountains.

11.10 How to pray the prayer of faith (part 4) – Standing in faith

What happens after we have prayed? Sometimes we receive immediate results. On other occasions, the manifestation of the results may take a little longer. Do we look at the circumstances with our natural eyes and begin to doubt? If we do so, we will nullify the power of prayer.

2 Cor 5:7 says that we are to walk by faith and not by sight. I know how hard it can be but we are to believe that the mountain has already been removed in the spiritual realm, and that the manifestation has to follow. We should see the prayer answered through our spiritual eyes. We have prayed and it is settled!

Mark 11:24 (Revised Standard Version) says that whenever we pray the prayer of faith, we must believe that we have received. It is in the past tense.

(Mark 11:24, Revised Standard Version)
THEREFORE I tell you, whatever you ask in prayer, BELIEVE THAT YOU HAVE RECEIVED IT, and it WILL BE YOURS.

Hence, we should be giving thanks to God between the time of prayer and the manifestation of the results. We should also maintain our faith by meditating on God’s Word and by proclaiming victory over the circumstances.

Some are of the view that the prayer of faith can be prayed only once. But on one occasion, Jesus prayed for a blind man twice (Mark 8:22-25), and the healing was progressive. If the results do not manifest immediately, we should continue visualizing and proclaiming to the circumstances to release our faith. As we do so, we should also continue giving thanks for His finished work.

A few years ago, I woke up with soreness on my heels. I thought it was due to too much exercise. But the pain remained and grew worse. Soon I was unable to even stand up to worship on Sundays. So I prayed the prayer of faith for healing. I told myself that I had a lot more places to go to. But nothing happened. Week after week, I would proclaim my healing as I took the Holy Communion. I was still thanking God for my healing one year later.

One day, the doctor said that if things didn’t improve, he would have to inject steroids into my heels. I didn’t want to be injected with steroids. I continued giving thanks. A few days before my appointment, the pain disappeared. The healing only manifested over a year later.

11.9 How to pray the prayer of faith (part 3) – Resting our faith in Jesus

When we pray the prayer of faith, we do not focus our faith on our faith. It is not how hard we believe. It is who and what we believe. We rest our faith in Jesus. Using the name of Jesus is a common expression that we are resting our faith in Him.

When Jesus completed the work on the cross, God raised Him up and gave Him the name above very other name – in heaven, on earth and beneath the earth. It is the most powerful name in the whole universe. This explains why Satan tries to degrade the name of Jesus, and Hollywood uses His name disrespectfully as a swear word.

(Phil 2:9-11)
Therefore God also has highly exalted Him and given Him the NAME which is ABOVE EVERY NAME, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of those in heaven, and of those on earth, and of those under the earth, and that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.

The name of Jesus represents His Person as well as the fullness of His authority. He has given us the right to use His name because we represent Him and He has delegated His full authority to us on earth. This explains why Mark 16:17-18 says, “IN MY NAME they will cast out demons; they will speak with new tongues; they will take up serpents; and if they drink anything deadly, it will by no means hurt them; they will lay hands on the sick, and they will recover.”

We are to execute our authority using the name of Jesus. Therefore, when we pray the prayer of faith, we put our faith in the name of Jesus, which represents His Person and His authority. In Acts 16:18, Paul commanded an evil spirit to come out of a girl in the name of Jesus. Another powerful example was how Peter prayed for the lame man at the gate called Beautiful.

(Acts 3:6-8, 16)
Then Peter said, “Silver and gold I do not have, but WHAT I DO HAVE I give you: IN THE NAME OF JESUS CHRIST OF NAZARETH, RISE UP AND WALK.” And he took him by the right hand and lifted him up, and immediately his feet and ankle bones received strength. So he, leaping up, stood and walked and entered the temple with them—walking, leaping, and praising God.

And His name, through FAITH IN HIS NAME, has made this man strong, whom you see and know. Yes, the FAITH which COMES THROUGH HIM has given him this perfect soundness in the presence of you all.

Peter spoke to the problem, not to God. He focused his faith in the name of Jesus. He attributed the healing to faith in His name.

11.8 How to pray the prayer of faith (part 2) – Speaking to the mountain

In the last lesson, we said that there were 4 important principles in the prayer of faith. The first was to believe the promise from God’s Word. God’s Word cannot fail; it is the basis for our faith.

Today, let us talk about how we can release that faith through prayer. Many people talk to God about their mountain. But God wants us to talk to our mountains about God.

Every healing, every miracle and every promise has been purchased on the cross 2,000 years ago. We do not have to ask God anymore. It had already been given when Jesus cried, “It is finished.” We just need to enforce those promises as kings and priests by speaking them into existence. Our faith is released through our outward confession.

We will now show you that the prayer of faith is not even talking to God. It is simply speaking to the mountain to be cast out, or calling forth His promise. The famous passage which teaches us about the prayer of faith is in Mark 11:22-24.

(Mark 11:22-24)
So Jesus answered and said to them, “Have faith in God. For assuredly, I say to you, whoever SAYS TO THIS MOUNTAIN, ‘Be removed and be cast into the sea,’ and does not doubt in his heart, but believes that those things he says will be done, he will have whatever he says. THEREFORE I say to you, whatever things you ASK WHEN YOU PRAY, believe that you receive them, and you will have them.”

This passage shows us that the prayer of faith is through speaking to the mountain. Jesus equates “asking in prayer” with “saying to the mountain”. Therefore, when we speak to the mountain, we are actually asking in prayer. Jesus shared this passage to explain how the fig tree which He cursed earlier withered away. He simply spoke to it saying, “Let no one eat fruit from you ever again” (Mark 11:14).

This principle of “speaking” is used throughout the Bible especially in praying for the sick, in raising the dead, in casting out evil spirits and in praying for the baptism in the Holy Spirit (Acts 3:6-8, 9:17, 9:40, 16:18; Mark 5:41; Luke 4:39; John 11:43). We can also apply this principle to the other promises of God. For example, you can speak to your mountain of debts. You can proclaim life to the barren womb. You can speak to yourself to receive wisdom, love, joy and peace of the Lord.

Therefore, in the prayer of faith, we should be speaking to the mountain to be cast out, or to call forth God’s promise. God will back us up in heaven when we enforce His victory. So stop talking to God about your mountain; start talking to your mountain about God.

11.7 How to pray the prayer of faith (part 1) - Believing in the promise

There are four simple principles in the prayer of faith. Firstly, we believe the promise. Secondly, we speak to the mountain. Thirdly, we rest our faith in Jesus. Finally, we must maintain our faith in Jesus after praying. Remember that these are not formulas. More importantly, let an understanding of the principles produce faith in our hearts. We should always depend on the empowerment of the Holy Spirit to pray; as we keep our eyes on Jesus, our high priest.

1) Believing in the promise

God’s Word gives us certainty of His promises and produces faith in us. As such, when we understand more of God’s Word, our faith increases and we get more results in the prayer of faith. Here are some examples of God’s covenant promises:

1) Forgiveness and salvation (Is 53:5; John 3:16; Eph 2:8)
2) The gift of no condemnation (Rom 8:1)
3) The gift of righteousness (2 Cor 5:21; Rom 5:17)
4) Baptism in the Spirit with the new prayer language of tongues (Acts 1:8, 2:1-4)
5) The leading of the Holy Spirit from within (Rom 8:14)
6) A divine destiny in life (Heb 12:1-2; Ps 139:16)
7) Family salvation (Acts 16:31)
8) The power of the Holy Spirit (Eph 1:19-21)
9) The gifts of the Spirit (Eph 4:7-8)
10) Spiritual authority over Satan (Eph 2:6; Rev 1:6; Mark 16:17-18)
11) Angelic help (Heb 1:14)
12) Freedom from fear and having a sound mind (2 Tim 1:7)
13) The love of God (Rom 5:5; Gal 2:20)
14) The joy of God (Neh 8:10; John 16:24; Rom 14:17, 15:13)
15) The peace of God (Is 53:5; Phil 4:6; Rom 5:1, 14:17)
16) Boldness (Prov 28:1)
17) Wisdom and possessing the mind of Christ (1 Cor 2:16; James 1:5)
18) Prosperity of the soul (3 John 2)
19) Deliverance from trouble and victory (Ps 91:15; Deut 28:7)
20) Financial blessings (2 Cor 8:9; Phil 4:19; 3 John 2; Deut 8:18)
21) Promotion (Deut 28:13)
22) Redemption of lost years (Joel 2:25)
23) Physical healing (Is 53:5; 1 Pet 2:24)
24) Divine health (Rom 8:11; 3 John 2)
25) Renewal of your strength and youth (Is 40:30-31; Ps 103:5)
26) Good sleep (Ps 127:2)
27) Fruitfulness of the womb and having blessed children (Ps 128:3)
28) Long life (Ps 91:16; 118:17)
29) Deliverance from labor pains (Gen 3:16; Gal 3:13)
30) Divine protection (Ps 91)

The list is not exhaustive. The abundant covenant promises in the Bible are for you to discover in this exciting journey. You can you possess your promises in Christ.

11.6 The prayer of faith

Many believers do not realize that there are different types of prayers with different rules. We can apply the wrong rules and end up not getting the right results. It is like playing rugby according to soccer rules.

The Apostle Paul spoke of praying to God with “all kinds of prayer” (Eph 6:18, The New Century Version). The Amplified version says, “With all manner of prayer and entreaty.” Paul was talking about more than one type of prayer.

(Eph 6:18, NCV)
Pray in the Spirit at all times with ALL KINDS OF PRAYER, asking for everything you need. To do this you must always be ready and never give up. Always pray for all God’s people.

In order to engage in prayer effectively as New Covenant priests of God, we need to first know the different types of prayer. Each of these prayers applies to different situations and the principles for each are different. Applying the right principles for each type of prayer with the help of the Holy Spirit will get us the required results.

Let us start with the prayer of faith. The prayer of faith is used to possess the covenant promises of God. It is used when the Bible gives us a specific promise and His will is clear. God’s Word is a legal covenant and it gives us a legal basis to receive His promises. The condition to receive His promises is faith.

We can only use the prayer of faith when we have spiritual authority over the subject matter. We can pray for our families, our children, our spiritual dependants, our possessions and ourselves.

However, one believer cannot exercise faith on behalf of another believer who is not a spiritual dependant. That person has to exercise his faith over his personal spiritual domain. We can pray in agreement with, intercede and make supplications for that person. These other kinds of prayer will also be covered later.

by Joshua Lye

No comments: