- What Is Prayer?
- What Does It Mean To Pray In The Name of Jesus?
- Is It Permissible To Pray More Than Once For Something?
- Didn’t Miracles Stop When The Last Apostle Died?
- How Do I Pray For A Miracle?
- Are Healings Caused By The Power of Suggestion?
- Should Christians Consult With Doctors and Take Medicine?
- Can Healings and Other Miracles Be Lost After They Are Received?
- How Can I Know God’s Will?
What Is Prayer?
Prayer is communion with God. It is the closest, most intimate relationship with the Creator you can have.
Prayer is not playing magic games, spinning prayer wheels, reading off a list, or asking for things to be done. It is a communion. “Deep calls unto deep,” the Bible says (Psalms 42:7). In prayer the depths of your spirit are in communion with the depths of the Spirit of God. Out of this can come instruction, guidance, or a burden to pray for certain things.
The apostle Paul said, “For we do not know what we should pray for as we ought, but the Spirit Himself makes intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered” (Romans 8:26). There are times when we can emit only wordless groanings because we don’t know how to pray about a specific situation.
We can learn much from the Lord’s Prayer, the model prayer (see Matthew 6:9-13). The first is that if we are to structure prayer, we should begin with an acknowledgment of the One we are talking to–God, our Father. We should also include adoration, “Hallowed be Your name.” We are to glorify and worship His name, His very Being.
Next, we must be concerned about the extension of His kingdom. We ask that men should come to know Him and submit to Him. “Your kingdom come. Your will be done on earth as it is in heaven.” Next to the name and the person of God Himself, the most important thing in prayer is the extension of God’s kingdom.
After that, we ask God for our daily bread–whatever we need to carry out His work. It may be money, a car, food, clothing, a house, or a $20 million budget for a Christian organization. It may be money to feed the poor. It may be a lot of things. We ask Him to give us, day by day, bread that is sufficient for us. That is the petition part of prayer. The first part of prayer is praise, the second is intercession for others, and the third is petition, when we ask for our needs to be met.
Finally, we seek God’s protection that we might not be led into temptation and that God will keep us from evil. We ask Him to keep us walking in His way, so that we might be covered by His power and anointing and not be susceptible to Satan’s influences.
We must remember that prayer is rooted in forgiveness. “Forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors.” The relationship of God’s people to Him comes about because of continuous forgiveness. If we are going to see miracles in our lives, we have to be willing to forgive other people, even as God is willing to forgive us.
Christians should always be in an attitude of communion with God. Prayer can take place in every circumstance (see Psalms 4:4,5:3, Daniel 6:10, Acts 21:5, I Thessalonians 5:17). In my life, as events pass by, I may find myself talking to Him, wanting to know something, asking for advice and counsel, or for favor and blessing. The Christian’s life should be filled with prayer. In addition, we should set aside specific times, at least once a day, for prayer and for reading the Bible.
As we read the Bible, we should pray, worship God, speak to Him about our needs, and listen to His answers. This should be a time of communication between two spirits that sets the order of events for each day.
What Does It Mean To Pray In The Name of Jesus?
Jesus once made a statement that sounds rather sweeping: “And whatever you ask in My name, that I will do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son. If you ask anything in My name, I will do it” (John 14:13-14). That is a fantastic promise, but it must be understood properly, because simply adding “in Jesus’ name” to the end of every prayer does not guarantee success.
In our legal system, we have what is called the grant of a power of attorney. This means that an individual who owns property, money, or some right gives control over it to someone else, and that person acts in the owner’s name. In whatever he or she does regarding the thing under control, the action is done with the owner’s authority. It is as if the owner himself were acting. Likewise, in the promise above, Jesus gives us His authority to make requests of the Father. When we ask in His name, it is as though Jesus Himself were making the request. In that name there is absolutely awesome power.
For this authority to be exercised properly, however, the attorney must be a faithful agent of the owner. That is, his actions must be in accord with the owner’s wishes. To do otherwise is to abuse the power of attorney. We see that this is true also of God: “Now this is the confidence that we have in Him, that if we ask anything according to His will, He hears us” (I John 5:14). So when we prepare to ask something of God in Jesus’ name, we need to be sure that our request reflects His will, not ours.
Then, too, God answers prayers offered in Jesus’ name “that the Father may be glorified in the Son.” The result of such prayer should be that God is honored and glorified, for that is its whole purpose.
Jesus has given us the power to ask in His name, and it is a wonderful privilege of which we should take full advantage. But to misuse that power is presumption.
Is It Permissible To Pray More Than Once For Something?
Some people teach that if we pray once, that is sufficient, and any prayer beyond that one is evidence of a lack of faith. This is not in accordance with biblical teaching. Jesus instructed His disciples about prayer. The original New Testament text of His instructions used the Greek present tense which implies continuous action. Jesus told His disciples to “Ask and keep on asking, and it shall be given you; seek and keep on seeking, and you shall find; knock and keep on knocking, and the door shall be opened to you” (Luke 11:9, Amplified). This is not one prayer but continuous prayer.
Jesus told a parable about a man who was at home in bed (Luke 11:5-8). It was at midnight when he heard frantic knocking on his door. A neighbor needed some bread to feed a guest who had arrived unexpectedly. At first the man said, “I cannot get up, I will not do it.” But the neighbor kept on knocking, and the householder finally walked downstairs, shoved a couple of loaves of bread out the door, and went back to bed. The man who was petitioning got his request only because of his persistence–not because he was a neighbor or a friend, but because he kept on knocking. Therefore, the concept that you must pray only once about something is clearly not biblical.
There is one exception–when God says yes. If you ask God for $1,000 and God says, “Yes, I am sending it,” you should praise and thank Him for it. If you continue to ask Him, then you act as if you do not have a relationship with Him. You need to know His voice and be able to hear Him, especially when He says yes or no.
Didn’t Miracles Stop When The Last Apostle Died?
Many people teach that miracles stopped at the end of the first century when the last apostle died. Those people misinterpret I Corinthians 13:8 which says, “Whether there are prophecies, they will fail; whether there are tongues, they will cease; whether there is knowledge, it will vanish away.” The chapter goes on to say that when the perfect has come, the imperfect will be taken away. Some say “the perfect” is the Bible.
There is only one that is perfect, Jesus Christ. So, I Corinthians 13:8 is not referring to the Bible but the return of Jesus to earth. When that happens tongues will cease because we will be in His presence. We will not need prophecy and knowledge, because He will reveal all things to us. The things that are imperfect will be done away with when we see the perfection that will come in Jesus Christ.
Until He comes, we need to have His life and His weapons for bringing His rule on earth (see II Corinthians 10:3-6). Perhaps we need His power more today than the church did nineteen hundred years ago, because today we are faced with powerful forces of unbelief and satanic power.
As we draw closer to the return of the Lord, spiritual warfare will intensify (see Ephesians 6:12). Those who oppose God will be stronger and more malevolent than ever before, and those who serve Him will experience an intensification of God’s miraculous power as never before.
How Do I Pray For A Miracle?
When we are faced with a great need, either for ourselves or others, we should begin by humbly seeking to know what God’s will is in the matter (see I John 5:14-15, Romans 12:1-2, 8:26-27). “Father, what do You want to do in this situation?” Jesus said, “My Father has been working until now, and I have been working” (John 5:17). He listened to the voice of the Father, and He watched Him. Be careful not to start or end a prayer by saying blindly, “If it be Thy will.” Rather, you should seek to know God’s will in the situation and then to base your prayer upon it. Say, “Father, in advance, tell me what Your will is and what You are doing.” Then you can ask Him to perform the miracle that you know He wants to bring about.
Most people ask God for a miracle, but many omit a key requirement–the spoken word. God has given us authority over disease, demons, sickness, storms, and finances (see Matthew 10:1, Luke 10:19). We continue to ask God to act, when, in fact, He has given us the authority to act with divinely empowered speech. We are to declare that authority in Jesus’ name. We are to command the money to come to us, command the storm to be stilled, command the demon to come out, command the leg to grow, command the cancer to leave.
Jesus said, “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 come to pass, he will have whatever he says'” (Mark 11:23). Believe in your heart that it has already happened! With the anointing of faith that God gives you, you speak it forth.
Are Healings Caused By The Power of Suggestion?
It is possible that some people are healed of psychosomatic illnesses by suggestion. I do not question that this occurs. But that is not to suggest that all healings take place because of suggestion. There are many examples of healings that could not be explained in these terms. Here is just one.
At age 19, Barbara Cummiskey was diagnosed as having multiple sclerosis. By the time she was thirty-one, the MS had helped cause a slowly paralyzing diaphragm, bouts of pneumonia and asthma, a collapsed lung, and tumors on her hands. She was technically blind and confined to her bed. These were well-diagnosed medical problems, and she was operated on more than once. But on June 7, 1981, she heard a voice say, “My child, get up and walk.” She did just that and was healed! Barbara’s legs had atrophied from lack of exercise. When she first got out of bed, however, her legs had muscle tone. Her mother shouted, “Calves! You have calves!”
Similarly, I have come across instances where people were not near a television set when “The 700 Club” was used by God to heal them. One man went to bed blind, but a prayer request came in to our television program for him, and when he woke up, he could see.
I know of instances where little children have been healed. The power of suggestion could not have been responsible for these healings.
Should Christians Consult With Doctors and Take Medicine?
I believe medical science is a gift from God. The skill that doctors have is, without question, a blessing that God has given us for our good. However, we must understand that all healing comes from God (see Psalms 103:2-3, Isaiah 53:4-5). Medicines can help, but they only speed up the natural process of healing. Ambroise Pare’, the sixteenth-century father of modern surgery, often said, “I dressed his wounds; God healed him.” I believe God heals through prayer, through rest and nutrition, through medicine, and through doctors. It is God’s will that those who are sick be made whole, just as it is His desire that all might come to know Him. Regrettably, as long as people are as they are and the world is as it is, all will not come to know God and all will not be healed.
Can Healings and Other Miracles Be Lost After They Are Received?
It is possible to lose a healing. I remember I prayed for one girl who had terrible vision. She was virtually blind. After prayer, her sight improved dramatically. But as she looked around, she thought, I can see, but I am not supposed to see! Her healing went away. There was no way we could get it back. It just left.
When Peter saw the Lord walking on the water, he wanted to walk on the water as he saw Jesus doing. Jesus said, “Come on out.” So Peter got on the side of the boat, put his feet on the water, and started walking. But then Peter looked around and became frightened. He thought, I am not supposed to be walking on water! The minute he started to think that, he started to sink (see Matthew 14:28-30). Today, some people receive a healing and then think, I am not supposed to have this, and they lose it. The devil has a way of coming to people and saying, “You are not really healed. You still have that disease, and you had better go back and take your medicine and put your braces on.” I remember one instance involving an acquaintance who was healed of multiple sclerosis. The doctors said he had a remission, but he knew it was a healing in answer to prayer. For a year, he had no evidence of the disease. Then one weekend, the entire force of multiple sclerosis began to come upon him. All the symptoms started to come back, and for an entire weekend he wrestled against it, saying, “Satan, I will not accept this.” In the name of Jesus, he continually proclaimed that he was well. When that weekend of struggle was over, the symptoms left him. He has not been troubled since then. But if he had given in to those symptoms, he would have once again had multiple sclerosis, and he probably would have died from it.
The best way to know God’s will is to be familiar with the Bible. That is because virtually everything you need to know concerning the will of God is in the Bible. If you are totally familiar with the Bible, can interpret it, and understand it clearly, you can know the will of God.
Another way you can know the will of God is through prayer, when you commune with God and learn what pleases Him. The Bible says, “Let the peace of God rule in your hearts” (Colossians 3:15). This means that the peace of God is like a regulator, so that when you violate the will of God, His peace leaves you and you have inner turmoil. You then know immediately that you are going against God’s will. I would say emphatically that the Bible and the peace that comes about through a continuous relationship with God are the best ways of knowing His will.
It is true that God will show us His will through a number of other means. He will show us His will through circumstances. We can also know the will of God through the inner voice of the Spirit as God speaks to us. Sometimes God will send us visions or dreams. He may send us angels or even appear to us Himself. God is infinite, and He can reveal His will to us in many ways.
The key is to be sure that we are submitted to Him and are willing to do whatever He shows us. If we purpose to do His will, we will know His leading.
Finally, for people who seemingly are unable to discern God’s positive directions, I recommend “negative” guidance. Say, “Father, I want Your will above all else. Please do not let me miss Your plan and purpose for my life.” As the writer of Proverbs put it, “Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge Him, and He shall direct your paths” (Proverbs 3:5-6).