Prayer is something that every Christian knows they need to do but very few Christians have successful prayer lives and so they have to depend on the man of God or other believers.
By Doug Mamvura
One of the reasons believers struggle with prayer is because of all the wrong teaching we have received about it. I will attempt to counter many modern religious traditions about prayer and establish a foundation upon which a rewarding and effective prayer life can be built upon.
However, I must confess that almost everything I will counter in this article I have also done because of ignorance.
Most of us are very frustrated by our prayer lives because they are not producing fruit.
There are lots of misconceptions about prayer. Jesus taught that there was the right and the wrong way of praying (Matthew 6: 5-13). He stated that hypocrites love to pray (Matthew 6: 5). He had to counter the religious concepts about prayer in His day.
Prayer is not about begging and pleading with God, or manipulating Him or informing the “misinformed” God about our needs. It is not about lengthy prayers or vain repetitions. It is communion with God.
Most people believe that God has the ability to do anything but He hasn’t and so they need prayer to move God. Please note that God is not stuck so we should not deceive ourselves by thinking that we can move God.
It is us who need to believe and appreciate what He has done for us.
Our problem is that we don’t believe He has already done it. He has blessed us with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places (Ephesians 1:3). All we need is to believe and rest in His promises.
He has already loved you, saved you, healed you and given you prosperity. However, do you believe?
You must believe you have received your request, the very moment you pray (Mark 11:24).
Salvation is not just forgiveness of sins. It includes deliverance, healing and prosperity. Most of us only end on forgiveness of sins and miss on the other three. Why should you just have a starter when you have a four course meal?
We need to find out what God has to say about our individual situations and meditate on those scriptures until they fill our hearts to overflowing.
God understands and cares about everything you are going through “For we have not a high priest which cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities, but was in all points tempted like us as we are without sin. Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need” (Hebrews 4:15-16). He is full of compassion.
We need to recognise that God isn’t angry at mankind anymore. He is no longer imputing or holding our sins against us. He has reconciled the world unto Himself, not imputing their trespasses unto them.” (2 Corinthians 5:19). He is a loving Father who cares for us. The war between God and man is over. That’s what the angels proclaimed at the birth of Jesus. Luke 2:14 says “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, goodwill toward men”. Jesus paid the price.
In the Old Testament, God’s judgement was poured out on both individuals and nations. In the New Testament, God’s judgement was poured out on Jesus. That is the nearly-too-good-to-be-true news of the gospel. We no longer get what we deserve; we get what Jesus paid the price for, if we will only believe.
Jesus is now the mediator. In the Old Testament, man had not yet been reconciled to God through Jesus. The people needed a mediator, someone to intercede with God on their behalf. That is where we find people like Abraham and Moses pleading with God.
In Genesis 18:23-25, Abraham interceded with God on behalf of Sodom and Gomorrah.
Abraham actually negotiated with God until He agreed not to destroy Sodom and Gomorrah for the sake of 10 righteous people. A similar account is recorded in Exodus 32:9-12 and 14. Here God was furious with the people, and Moses interceded for them.
From these and other stories in the Old Testament, modern-day “intercessors” believe we, too, must stand in the gap, or mediate, between God and man. Just as I also used to believe, they believe we must plead with God to save the lost, to withhold His wrath from those He is ready to judge, and to be merciful to those whose needs He is unwilling to meet because of their unworthiness.
That couldn’t be further from the truth, but it is what’s being taught in many churches today. It ignores the fact that Jesus is now seated at the right hand of the Father (Hebrews 10:12), ever making intercession for us (Hebrews 7:25). If Moses or Abraham could persuade God, don’t you think Jesus could do just as well?
In the New Covenant, Jesus is the only mediator needed to stand between God the Father and mankind (1 Timothy 2:5). Sin is no longer a problem with God; it’s been atoned for, and we are now the righteousness of God in Christ Jesus. That is how God sees us. If we understand that, it will change the way we pray.
It was appropriate for Abraham and Moses to pray as they did because God’s wrath had not yet been appeased through Jesus. Today, under the New Covenant, if people try to mediate in that way, they are actually antichrist — against Christ. They are saying that Jesus was not enough and are not esteeming what Christ has done. When Jesus became our Mediator, He put all other mediators out of business — forever. I know these words are strong, but they are the truth.
We have been deceived into believing prayer is all about persuading God to release His power. We believe that He can save, heal, and deliver but that He is waiting on us to shape up and earn it.
The truth is, we don’t deserve it, and we will never be good enough. Because of Jesus, all that God has is ours. That’s good news. We no longer need to beg or plead; we need to exercise the authority He has given us and receive His blessings.
I have exercised this authority and seen God heal a man in a wheelchair and someone whose heart had stopped pumping three times and doctors had written off being healed too.
Doug Mamvura is a graduate of Charis Bible School. Feedback: firstname.lastname@example.org or Twitter @dougmamvura