Our message this week is entitled, “Strategic Praying.” Let us start by looking at the word strategy. Strategy is a tactical or skillful planning adopted for achieving success in an endeavour.

PAUL, A PRAYER STRATEGIST

If you were an avid reader of the Acts of apostles, you would discover that one of the greatest strategists in the Bible was a man called Paul. He was always found in strategic places during his missionary journey, for example, market places, shrines etc.  He would wait for people to finish their activities before addressing them. He was always at the right place at the right time, saying the right thing. He went to major cities where God enabled him to plant the seed of the gospel, which in turn spread to every nook and cranny of these cities. He never went to where he was not needed.  There was a situation when he was addressing an audience, which had two religious factions; the Pharisees and the Sadducees. And sensing they might tear him into pieces because of their boiling anger against the gospel, he set them against each other by claiming to be a Pharisee. Knowing fully well that the Pharisees believed in resurrection, angels and spirits, whilst the Sadducees did not, he quickly declared, “Men and brethren, I am a Pharisee. The son of a Pharisee; of the hope and resurrection of the dead I am called in question.”  This statement led Paul off their hook and he escaped being beaten up. At another occasion, he queried his accusers: “Is it lawful for you to scourge a man that is a Roman?” At another time, there was a city where they beat him and put him in prison, but he resisted the attempt of the authority to quietly release him. Paul remained there and brought about a great revival.

Let us look at another strategist in Luke 18: 1-8: “And he spake a parable unto them to this end, that men ought always to pray, and not to faint. Saying, There was in a city a judge, which feared not God, neither regarded man. And there was a widow in that city; and she came unto him, saying, Avenge me of mine adversary. And he would not for a while: but afterward he said within himself, though I fear not God, nor regard man. Yet because this widow troubleth me, I will avenge her, lest by her continual coming she weary me. And the Lord said, Hear what the unjust judge saith. And shall not God avenge his own elect, which cry day and night unto him, though he bear long with them? I tell you that he will avenge them speedily...”

 Here we find a prayer strategist who applied a particular strategy and got her breakthrough. She took her case to a city judge who did not fear God nor regard any man. In other words, it means that this judge was a stubborn person. However, she came unto him hammering on one prayer point: “Avenge me of my adversary.” If the unjust judge could oblige her, how much more God? This widow strategically pressurized that unjust judge and he had no other option but to quickly grant her request. Equally, God appreciates those who pester Him with their prayers.

 

THE POWER OF PRAYER

Prayer is a mystery. It is beyond the level of human reasoning. It is a mixture of simplicity and complexity. Though easy, it can travel any distant only best imagined. Prayer is relevant both to the young and old. Prayer can be in form of an action or attitude. Prayer is a fight of faith. The Bible says, “Fight the good fight of faith,” and prayer is one of such battles.

Prayer can be agonizing like a wrestling bout and forceful, but at the same time very simple and submissive. With prayer, one can lay hold on God and defeat the devil.  What a wonderful weapon it is. God once told Moses, “Please leave me alone and let me destroy these people.” But the prayer of Moses held the hands of God, such that God could not go ahead to go ahead to act. It was also with prayers that Jesus defeated the devil. His disciples did the same. Prayer can work instantly and it may decide to reserve its action. That is, your prayers can be stored up in God’s memory unit like a computer in such a way that the answers to them would be punched out for you at the appropriate moment. This is why you can still receive solutions to certain problems after you have prayed and forgotten about them.

Another wonderful thing about prayer is that it has no respect for opinions or positions. No wonder we say that prayer is a mystery. If you see your stolen coat on somebody and make a frantic effort to retrieve it, you may not be able to succeed. I once felt sorry for a brother whose car was stolen. One day, he discovered that the taxicab he boarded looked similar to his car as he found some familiar marks inside it. He then directed the driver to a police station where he lodged a complaint that the cab was originally his own. The taxicab was therefore impounded and the driver was asked to go and call the so-called owner. Meanwhile the brother was rejoicing that his car had been found at last. But sooner, the driver came back with a huge man who spoke roughly to the brother at the top of his voice saying, “You this idiot, did you say you own this car? Show us your particulars or else I will kill you.” Of a truth, when the police asked the brother to produce his particulars, he said it was stolen along with the car. The whole episode ended there and they warned the brother never to cause such an embarrassment again. Although he struggled to find his missing car, he was denied of it. If he understood the importance of prayer in such matters, he would not have seen the need to go to any police station. He would have known that it would be useless going to a police station before he could retrieve his car. He would have prayed in his room and found it. Instead of someone to begin to struggle to regain his stolen coat from the thief, the thief would rather easily submit the coat, if he says a simple prayer point such as: “Let my stolen coat turn to coals of fire, in the name of Jesus.”

Prayer does not recognize geographical barriers. It does not know whether a place is too far or not for it to work. It is so mysterious that it can focus on a single object and at the same time touch many issues around the world. An insignificant person, who is neither a pastor nor an evangelist could sit in his room and affect the whole world through his prayers.

A PRAYER ADDICT

David Brainerd was a good example of a prayer addict. He prayed until He could no longer stand on his feet while he was working as a missionary in India. He could not understand the language of the people, yet he kept on praying for them and loving them. The first day he got somebody to interpret for him, the fellow was dead drunk and staggering, and Brainerd had to help him to stand on his feet. But as David Brainerd continued to pray persistently for many years, God began to touch the lives of the people and he single-handedly changed the whole of his environment through the power of prayer. 

Prayer can come in the form of confession or adoration. It is a way of acquiring great power. No wonder the Bible says in Romans 8: 26: “Likewise the Spirit also helpeth our infirmities: for we know not what we should pray for as we ought: but the Spirit itself maketh intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered.” Since it is the Spirit that knows the mind of God, He can intercede for us correctly. When prayers become lukewarm, good things will perish. It is not strange beloved that in spite of our conviction and privilege of prayers, most people don’t pray or don’t pray effectively.  Think about it; why is it that many churches and pastors don’t pray even though they know the importance of prayer? Why are the unseen forces working hard to keep people away from prayer? Some people feel at ease and happy during praise worship. But immediately you begin to bind every power of darkness, they feel as if a personality is pestering them.

I gave a woman some prayer points to pray, and she locked herself up in a room and began to pray. Suddenly, she felt a cold hand pressing her on the neck and she heard a voice saying, “Stop.” When she opened her eyes, she saw nobody, and out of fear, she screamed and ran to her husband’s bedroom. The husband said, “I warned you of the consequence when you started this kind of prayer.” You should have just been praying our normal kind of prayers.” What is that cold hand that touched her neck? They were the unseen forces that do not want her to pray. Because they knew that if she continued, she would wreck destruction in their kingdom. Why is it that most people don’t tarry long before God in prayer? Why do people avoid the presence of God in prayer? It is simply because prayer is a hard thing to do. An old saint put it rightly when he gave this eternal counsel: “When you feel most indisposed to pray, yield not to it.” This counsel is still relevant today. When you feel like not praying at all, don’t yield to it, for that would be when danger is knocking at your door. Prayer is the only thing that we do in the house of God, which the devil cannot do, because there is nobody he can pray to.

However, prayer takes time. Time is a commodity given to us by God. It would be a lame excuse for us to complain about lack of time. The truth is that everyone has all the time, but we spend it on wrong priorities. We tend to put first what we think is more important in our lives than prayer. The time you spend in praying will depend on the way you arrange your priorities. If you feel that reading newspapers or watching the news on TV should come before prayer, continue in it. But if you believe that prayer is indispensable, you would definitely create time for it. If you can pray for at least one hour per day, your life will change.

The praying man stands between God and the devil, playing a strategic role in the ongoing warfare between the forces of darkness and light. Jesus did not focus on wicked human beings but the evil powers behind them. He said unto Peter, “Get thee behind me Satan.” Jesus could detect the dangerous hand of Satan in the words of Peter. So, if you have not learnt the secret of prayer on how to bind the strongman, you are looking for trouble. Failure to do it effectively will make the strongman to come back with greater fury to cause a damage to your Christian life.

Satan dreads nothing but prayer. You can sing, teach or preach, and he will still remain unperturbed. Do you know that the devil is the best pastor? He knows the house of every member of the body of Christ. He dreads no other thing but prayer. So, what the church needs today is the traditional Pentecostal, hard praying which characterized the old time religion.

Of a truth, your spiritual level can only be measured by your prayer life. All other things we do in the house of God are easy compared with prayer. It is very easy to hold a meeting where we would be seeking the opinion of the chairman. But when we declare a six-hour hot prayer session, you will find the chairman rising up and down and trafficking to the toilet.

PRAYER IS BATTLE

Prayer is a spiritual warfare. It is the only thing that can turn a battle to our favour.  All prayer warriors and sound military men would tell you that the best defense is attack. The plan of our commander in chief, the Lord Jesus, is that the church should relentlessly attack in the warfront. There is nowhere in the Bible where the church is asked to defend itself. Our weapon, which is the sword of the Spirit, can only work when it is released through prayer. Aggressive prayer based on the word of God would dislocate the enemy.

We find an interesting story in the book of Exodus 17: 8-13: “Then came Amalek, and fought with Israel in Rephidim. And Moses said unto Joshua, Choose us out men, and go out, fight with Amalek: to morrow I will stand on the top of the hill with the rod of God in mine hand. So Joshua did as Moses had said to him, and fought with Amalek: and Moses, Aaron, and Hur went up to the top of the hill. And it came to pass, when Moses held up his hand, that Israel prevailed: and when he let down his hand, Amalek prevailed. But Moses’ hands were heavy; and they took a stone, and put it under him, and he sat thereon; and Aaron and Hur stayed up his hands, the one on the one side, and the other on the other side; and his hands were steady until the going down of the sun. And Joshua discomfited Amalek and his people with the edge of the sword.” Here, we find Moses praying on the mountaintop while Joshua was fighting below. An effective strategy was employed. Action was being taken simultaneously in the physical and the spiritual realms by prayer. No wonder the largest church in the world situated in South Korea was built on prayer. It has membership strength of 1.2 million. No church has really made it in Nigeria. For any church to boast of having arrived, it should possess the strength of 25 million members. With the population of people in Lagos State alone, the church that can boast of success must at least have 1.5 million people. Therefore, as Moses prayed and Joshua fought, God intervened and they prevailed. In Psalm 27:7 it is written, “Hear, O Lord, when I cry with my voice: have mercy also upon me and answer me.”

Why do we ask for God’s mercy? The following illustration will throw light on this: imagine you are about to see an influential person like the head of state of a country. As you get to the secretary who would ask you to fill a visitor’s form, you will definitely begin to meditate on how to approach the big man when he calls you in.  Maybe you wanted to present the problem of your community to him as regards electrification. But the moment you enter, and he asks you what you want him to do for you and you begin to say, “You the government people, I don’t know what is wrong with you, don’t you know there is no light in our city etc.” You cannot get what you want with this approach. You ought to have planned your approach before you get to him. In the same way, as you are going before the Creator of heaven and earth, some things must be sorted out in that secretary’s office for your prayer to be powerful. You must sort out three things at the secretary’s room or screening room:

 1.     SALVATION

To pray a powerful prayer, we must be saved. In other words, we must know Jesus. You may be a churchgoer and as religious as Nicodemus, without being saved, your prayer life cannot make progress. You can be an ardent religious person like Saul of Tarsus coupled with deep knowledge of the scriptures, yet you must be saved to have a powerful and effective prayer life. You may even be searching the scriptures as the Ethiopian eunuch; nevertheless your salvation is necessary and indispensable for a powerful prayer life. Your pious and noble activities can be in the order of Cornelius, but to have answer to your prayers, you must be saved. You can attend a church for 25 years without knowing what is called new birth. The moment you are born again, old things will pass away, and all things will become new. It is pathetic to know that many who claim to be born again do not even have the experience. Needless to say that it is only those who are born again that have their name written in the Book of life.

2.     THE ISSUE OF SIN

Psalm 66: 18 says, “If I regard iniquity in my heart, the Lord will not hear me.” It does not say if you have actually committed iniquity, but mere regard. This means that when you give your heart and time to imagine evil things, the Lord will not hear you when you pray unto Him. They may call you a fanatic, don’t compromise your stand or your will have your name removed from the Book of life. The Bible says that when you come to the altar, and there remembers that you have anything against your brother, first go and settle with him before you give your offering. You cannot be engaging in masturbation and expect the Lord to hear you. Proverbs 28: 9 says, “He that turneth his ears from hearing the law, even his prayer shall be abomination.” This is telling us that if we refuse to obey what the Lord is telling us and insist on doing our own thing, our prayers will turn to abomination.

Isaiah 1:15 says, “And when ye spread forth your hands, I will hide mine eyes from you: yea, when ye make many prayers, I will not hear: your hands are full of blood.” Once it is discovered that your hands are full of iniquity, the Lord will not hear. Also in Isaiah 59: 1-2 it is written, “Behold, the Lord’s hand is not shortened, that it cannot save, neither his ear heavy, that it cannot hear. But your iniquities have separated between you and your God, and your sins have hid his face from you, that he will not hear.” He goes further to cite practical examples of the hands that are full of blood and lips, which speak lies and tongues that utter perverseness.

3. SERVICE TO GOD

This implies the way you use your life. A Christian living the life of disobedience cannot pray effectively. Believers who fashion their lives after Jonah cannot approach the throne of grace. Fearful believers cannot make any headway in prayer because it is the fear that drove them to God. Are you afraid to serve God? Or are you afraid that God cannot provide for you? Does fear grip you when you want to speak to God? Are you captured by fear because of the thought that you might be embarrassed or disgraced when you want to take your stand for God? I counsel you to settle the issue of your service today. How can you be coming to the house of God and yet do nothing to further His course? If you are like that, then you are a selfish person. You do not want to do anything to further His course and you want Him to be helping you. God detests that kind of selfish relationship. You must rise up to do a service for the Lord without further delay. This is the end time; it is not the time to be a spectator but to participate.

At this juncture, let me briefly outline twelve ways of strategic praying:

1. OBSERVE THE LAWS OF PRAYER: Observe the laws of prayer, which are as follows: Pray in the name of Jesus. Prayer must be specific, pick one thing at a time. Prayer should be persistent, keep saying and doing it until something happens. Prayer should be fervent. James 5: 16 says, “…Effectual fervent prayers of the righteous availeth much.” Prayer should be done in faith, faithless prayer would affect nothing. You have to believe that what you asked the Lord to so, He has done it.  Prayer must be according to God’s ill. You must seek the word of God to confirm what you are asking. For example, you would be wasting your time if you pray that God should give you a second or sixth wife. Prayers must be resistant. Whatever is pushing you down must be pushed back with greater force. Don’t wait until you feel like doing it before you start doing it. Prayer should not dictate to God how He should answer. You just pray and leave Him to answer. Don’t be like Naaman who wanted Elisa to lay his hands on him. He did not know that that was not God’s chosen way of healing him. Prayer should be done with the full realization that God’s resources are unlimited. Know that you have a limitless God. Prayer should be based on the promises of God. Prayer should be done with authority. Pray with authority; don’t pray like a servant who would call himself an unworthy servant and miserable sinner. Prayers should be done coupled with praises.

2. DO CREATIVE PRAYING: Romans 4: 17 says, “As it is written, I have made thee a father of many nations before him whom he believed, even God, who quickeneth the dead, and calleth those things which be not as though they were.” Mark 11: 24 says, “Therefore I say unto you, What things soever ye desire, when ye pray, believe that ye received them. And ye shall have them.” What is creative praying? Creative praying is the act of calling non-existing things into existence. This is because it is only prayer that can overrule the laws of nature. God was the first person to start this method. If you read the book of Genesis you will see God in action saying among other things, “Let there be light,” and there was light. So, in other words, creative prayer is the process of exercising creative faith by calling the visible out of invisible.

Sometime ago, a certain man, who had no reproductive organ right from his birth came to a prayer meeting. There was only a small hole where his private part was supposed to be. He had been to a lot of places and the last place he went to, the woman witchdoctor told him that the particular witch who ate it was not in Nigeria. So, all hope was lost. When they brought him to the meeting, the preacher took his message from the book of John chapter 1 verse1 entitled, “In the beginning.” In the beginning was the Word, the Word was with God, and the word was God, all things were created by him.” The man of God said because He created all things, He has human spare parts. This was the only statement that this man absorbed whilst he was eagerly looking forward to prayer time. When they started praying, they were told to call into existence all the desired good things into their lives. As everybody started the exercise including this man, the Lord supplied the missing reproductive organ instantly. That is what we call creative prayer (To be continued)

 

PRAYER POINTS

1.   I will not supply ammunition to my enemy, in the name of Jesus.

2.   Every power speaking impossibility into my life, fall down and die, in the name of Jesus.

3.   Let God arise and my enemies be scattered, in Jesus’ name.

4.   I shall laugh last over my enemies, in the name of Jesus.

5.   Every power constructing coffin against me, enter into your coffin, in Jesus’ name.

6.   Every power of the emptier in my household, fall down            and die, in Jesus’ name.

7.   Every spirit of backwardness, I trample upon your serpent and scorpion, in the name of Jesus.

 


Comments

01/25/2012 22:48

nice post

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01/25/2012 23:18

Fine info bro

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03/24/2012 16:44

Nice post bro

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03/29/2012 01:37

Fine post dude

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09/26/2012 01:46

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Joseph Aidan
www.arielmed.com

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