We understand that Jesus is the perfect example of the Spirit-filled man. He was fully God Who took on flesh and fully became a man. While in the flesh, Jesus prayed. He did not need to pray as God, but it was essential for Him to pray as a man. Thus, we understand how prayer is unquestionably necessary for us. If we are going to be filled with God’s Spirit in order to live a victorious Christian life, it demands that we become people of prayer.
Nehemiah’s example of prayer provides a good format for us to understand how to pray powerful prayers. Look at Nehemiah’s prayer as he wrestled with the obstacles and need to go to Jerusalem and help in the rebuilding of the walls. He prays:
Yahweh, the God of heaven, the great and awe-inspiring God who keeps His gracious covenant with those who love Him and keep His commands, 6 let Your eyes be open and Your ears be attentive to hear Your servant’s prayer that I now pray to You day and night for Your servants, the Israelites. I confess the sins we have committed against You. Both I and my father’s house have sinned. 7 We have acted corruptly toward You and have not kept the commands, statutes, and ordinances You gave Your servant Moses.8 Please remember what You commanded Your servant Moses: “If you are unfaithful, I will scatter you among the peoples. 9 But if you return to Me and carefully observe My commands, even though your exiles were banished to the ends of the earth, I will gather them from there and bring them to the place where I chose to have My name dwell.” 10 They are Your servants and Your people. You redeemed them by Your great power and strong hand.11 Please, Lord, let Your ear be attentive to the prayer of Your servant and to that of Your servants who delight to revere Your name. Give Your servant success today, and have compassion on him in the presence of this man.
4 Key Thoughts About Powerful Prayer
Here’s 4 key thoughts about powerful prayer:
1. Connect your prayer to the Character of God.
Notice how Nehemiah started the prayer: Yahweh, the God of Heaven, the great and awe-inspiring God. Powerful prayer focuses on the greatness of God, not just on our needs.
2. Confess your sins to God.
One of the most difficult things to do is to get honest with God, especially with our own personal sin. Don’t excuse it and don’t overlook it. What sin is it in your life that hinders your prayer life?
3. Claim the promises of God.
We don’t repeat God’s promises because God has forgotten them. We claim God’s promises as a reminder to us of the faithfulness of God. God has promised in His Word to return Israel to the Promised Land. The word promise appears more than 100 times in the English Bible. There’s actually no word for promise in Hebrew. Instead, the Old Testament uses words like say, speak, and to live to describe God’s promises. In the New Testament, the primary word is actually a legal term that means a summons. W.E. Vines says that it signifies a gift graciously bestowed, not a pledge secured by negotiation. Therefore, we receive God’s promises based on His grace. Everett Storms has calculated that there are 8810 promises it the Bible, with 7487 of these promises being made by God to humanity. Be reminded that God is faithful, and He will fulfill the promises that He has made to us. Pray with His promises in mind.
4. Commit to be obedient to God.
As Nehemiah prayed, he was reminded that he (and God’s people) needed to be obedient to God. A part of seeing God’s promises fulfilled was being obedient to His commands. Nehemiah could pray with confidence and even ask for God to make him successful in this endeavor, especially as he approached the King, because he was committed to obedience. Powerful prayer is prayer that is grounded in an obedience to God’s Word.
Jesus and Prayer
Did you know that Jesus connected prayer with His work here on earth? As the example of the perfectly Spirit-filled man, the Scripture provides 4 times that He prayed while performing a miracle.
Matthew 17: when He cast out a demon
Mark 7: the healing of the deaf man
Luke 9: the feeding of the 5000
John 11: the raising of Lazarus
Take heart. Prayer does matter. If we are going to be filled with God’s Spirit in order to live a victorious Christian life, it demands that we become people of prayer.