Why do breakthroughs in prayer surprise me?
I’d prayed over this request specifically for over two years, but God’s affirmative answer still shocked me. Maybe desperation holds more sway with God than I realized. In the course of this journey, I learned three powerful lessons regarding desperate prayer that will forever shape my critical intercession.
1) Just because prayer is a battle doesn’t mean I have to accept defeat.
When God gave the Israelites instructions for warfare, He said “When you go out to battle against your enemies and see…people more numerous than you, do not be afraid of them; for the Lord your God…is with you. Do not be afraid, or panic, or tremble before them. For the Lord Your God is the One Who goes with you — to fight for you against your enemies, to save you” (Deuteronomy 20:1, 3-4).
Fear and anxiety often describe my dread of the unknown. But evidently God knows that. “Stop it!” He says. “Don’t even let your mind go there. Look here at Me. I’m not only Your Commander-in-Chief. I’m also Your Father. I’ve got this!”
2) His Word blows away all opposition.
We don’t have to understand how His Word works (Mark 4:27), but the fact of the matter is He does work. When we pray His Word, power explodes. His Word is:
Sharp enough to slice away the competition (Hebrews 4:12)
Surging with Inner Life (Hebrews 4:12)
Far-reaching in effectiveness (Acts 6:7)
Forward advancing (Acts 12:24)
Forceful, potent, and dominant (Acts 19:20)
Constantly strengthened with fresh reinforcements (Colossians 1:6)
Activated to move quickly (2 Thessalonians 3:1)
Our prayers command power in direct proportion to our knowledge of His Truth.
3) When His Word has authority over your life, your life has authority over the enemy.
Under the old covenant, God promised to conquer the enemy of those who fully obeyed the written Law (Joshua 23:6,9). But when Christ came, He repealed that Law (Hebrews 7:12). He set aside all the complicated conditions for victory and gave us only one: faith (John 6:29). Our faith has victory because we believe (not in our own conduct but) in His indestructible life (Hebrews 7:18,16). “Through the obedience of One the many will be made righteous” (Romans 5:19). Not through mine!
Under the new covenant, God promises to conquer the enemy of those who faith Him (1 John 5:4). When we hold up the shield of faith and move offensively with the sword of His Word, our prayers pack a punch. “One of your men puts to flight a thousand, for the Lord your God is He who fights for you, just as He promised you” (Joshua 23:10). “A thousand may fall at your side, and ten thousand at your right hand, but it shall not approach you (Psalms 91:7).
But what about the crafty serpent — the devil, who prowls about like a roaring lion (Genesis 3:1; 1 Peter 5:8)?
“The battle is not yours, but God’s (2 Chronicles 20:15). “You will tread upon the lion and cobra, the young lion and the serpent you will trample down” (Psalm 91:13). “Behold,” says Jesus, “I have given you authority to tread upon serpents and scorpions, and over all the power of the enemy, and nothing shall injure you” (Luke 10:19).
Let’s go to the war room together this week, shall we?
After a physically exhausting day with children or an emotionally exhausting day on the job, I often find myself craving power. I search the Scripture and pray that I, like Paul, will be “strengthened with all power, according to His glorious might” (Colossians 1:11).
Yep. That would just fit the bill for my needs today. Lots of power in God-sized qualities.
But then the Father urges me to re-examine, so that He may keep revealing. “Strengthened with all power, according to His glorious might, for the attaining of all steadfastness and patience.”
I hear His still, small voice: “There are occasions, Kandy, when you will need a mighty surge of supernatural power to achieve a great feat of strength. But most of the time, you are most in need of my power for the acquisition of all faithfulness and fortitude. That’s really where your weakness lies.”
How true. More than power to complete my tasks in record speed, I need the strength to endure a monotonous day with grace. More than energy to keep going until two in the morning, I need the ability to endure long, plodding days without complaining.
What an insight. The Lord is more interested in giving me energy to say “No!” to the thoughts of the evil one than to grant all my healing prayers answered. He knows that giving me power for miracles will just inflate my image of myself.
“Like clay in the potter’s hand, so are you in My Hand,” says the Lord (Jeremiah 18:6). Sometimes His fingerprints come in the form of great fruit bearing and joy. Sometimes, they will seem quite painful and without purpose. Either way, He will “accomplish what concerns me” (Psalm 138:8). My best reaction is with unwavering conviction of His Love for me. I must hold fast with certainty that He will not forsake the clay that lies in His Hands.
The strength He gives most is the strength to wait. In season and out of season He desires my trust. In forming me into the image of His Son, He is molding a person who can endure. Whether the endurance means the fog of the unknown, the indecision or unfairness of others, the lack of fulfilling ministry, or the existence of crippling emotions. He doesn’t remove the world, but reveals that I can be a conquerer while still living here (Romans 8:37).
May it be, Lord. May it be.