Okay, I know what you’re thinking: this is going to be a long blog about me telling you to pray more… Well, not so! Instead of me telling you to pray more, I’m going to encourage you to maintain an open line of communication with our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ- not just because He desires it, but because He’s we need it! As imperfect human beings (born in sin and shaped in iniquity) we ALL need prayer. And contrary to popular belief, prayer does not have to be this long, drawn out dissertation to God. It can be an honest, open conversation with a combination of thanks, gratitude, petition, questions, concerns, and just general dialogue with the Him. Prayer is so powerful because it gives us the unique opportunity to commune with the Most High God Himself. And as Christians, prayer is one of the most powerful weapons we can use against the Devil *period*.
You know the scripture in Ephesians that talks about putting on the spiritual Armor of God, right? Paul eloquently explains that we are not fighting a physical battle. We are fighting principalities, powers, and rulers of darkness in high places (Ephesians 6:12). So he tells them to put on the “whole armor of God”:
- Belt of Truth
- Breastplate of Justice
- Shoes to spread the Gospel of Peace
- Shield of Faith
- Helmet of Salvation
All of these are powerful spiritual weapons to fight the enemy, but after all of that armor is applied, Paul ends by telling the people to PRAY! He says “Offer prayers and petitions in the Spirit all the time. Stay alert by hanging in there and praying for all believers” (Ephesians 6:18 CEB). So if you’ll let me encourage you for a minute, I’ll explain a few things that prayer does:
- It connects you directly to God (*drops mic*)
- It exposes the enemy (Satan and his devices) and reveals the Truth about all things
- It builds your faith, purifies your heart, and strengthens your relationship with God
So how does prayer connect you directly to God? Well, Jesus discusses it briefly in John 16. He tells His disciples that although He is leaving to return to the Father, they can and should now pray directly to the Father in His name. Jesus, the sinless Lamb, tore the veil and bridged the gap between us and our Father in Heaven. So whenever we pray, declare, speak, or decree a thing in the Name of Jesus Christ (our Ultimate Intercessor), the Father Himself hears, responds, and acts. And there is no situation too big or small to bring before God in prayer. Whether we have sinned or are in the midst of sin- when we humble our hearts and pray to God with sincerity and submission, He indeed hears and forgives. King David put it like this:
“This poor man cried, and the Lord heard him, and saved him out of all his troubles.”Psalm 34:6
Prayer is also powerful because it exposes Satan’s tactics and tricks. This is what the Apostle Paul meant when he said we’re in a spiritual fight. The Devil will use anything and anybody to get you out from under the safety of God. Remember when Satan came to Jesus in the wilderness (Matthew 4) and tried to tempt Jesus by manipulating the scriptures? Jesus immediately and decisively rebuked him because He saw the Devil for who he was. He even rebuked Satan in Peter because He saw the the Devil’s influence on Peter (Matthew 16:23). Staying connected and in-tune with God keeps a light on the schemes of Satan. It keeps the ball in your court and keeps God in control of the game. We have to remember that Satan is playing from a defeated position, so he will stop at nothing to destroy us. Harsh, right? But glory be unto God for His unfailing love! The word reminds us that His ears do not grow weary of hearing (Isaiah 59:1), so He hears us every time we call and communes with us when we invite Him in.
“In my distress I called upon the Lord, and cried unto my God: he heard my voice out of his temple, and my cry came before him, even into his ears.”Psalms 18:6 KV
As I became more intentional with my prayer time and as I grew in my own prayer language, I started to see the world around me in a different light; I even started seeing myself differently. (And this is just an aside, but having a prayer language is a whole different level of power, I promise.) When I decided to be consistent and pray conscious, serious, and honest prayers, God immediately began healing my heart. From past hurts to buried traumas, He started exposing those hidden areas and I felt myself gaining the power of authority over them. He also sent me amazing prayer warriors and accountability partners to walk with me on this genuine path of righteousness. And this is another aside: I really started growing when I began praying for my enemies as much as I prayed for my friends! If you really want to see God change your spirit, start praying for the people that hate you! I cannot begin to tell you how many times I have prayed for somebody that wronged me, and God immediately changed my heart towards them. I wouldn’t even want revenge because I had freedom instead! THAT is how powerful prayer is! Before, I was busy trying to get people back, but God was busy trying to grow me up! And the more I talk to Him, the better I become.
“Confess your faults one to another, and pray for one another, that ye may be healed. The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much.”James 5:16 KJV
I could seriously write a book about prayer because that’s how personal it is to me, but ultimately friends, please, keep praying. Start praying. Don’t stop praying. God is listening. I have to pray every single day because I cannot make it without Jesus. I pray when I am afraid, when my anxiety is through the roof, when I’m confused, sad, sick, frustrated, or just downright exhausted. I also pray on my good days, when I feel great and everything is going well. I purposefully maintain an open line of communication with my Father. Every morning when I get up, I first go down on my knees in prayer- just as my spiritual leaders have taught me. And I must admit, my days are truly sweeter when I start them with Jesus.