Title: Why should we pray?
Plot: Prayer is our most effective weapon against our enemy
Listen to "Why should we pray?" on Spreaker.
Hey, welcome back!
I would imagine some of you are thinking: I don't need to be sold on prayer; it's obvious why we should pray, that's how we get stuff! I just clicked on this message out of curiosity.
While others are thinking: I've been there, done that, man! I've prayed and it does not work! I've tried hard! So why should I pray? If that's you and you feel that way about prayer, then this message is for you! Prayer is powerful! It is written: the effective fervent prayers of a righteous man availeth much.
I have come to understand, and I will back this up with Scripture: that prayer is the primary way we keep ourselves alive. Huh, that almost makes it sound important, doesn't it? And yet our churches are strangely silent on that. Prayer is also how we war against our enemy.
I'll share Psalm chapter 22 verse 29 with you:
All the prosperous of the earth eat and worship; before him [meaning God] shall bow all who go down to the dust, even the one who could not keep himself alive.
That makes it sound like it's our responsibility to keep ourselves alive.
So in answer to the question, why should we pray?
- It is so we can get stuff.
- And it's also a big form of worship for God, particularly when we generously thank him for all that we have.
- But it is the way that we wage war against our enemy, the devil and the principalities and powers in heavenly places. And if we fail to understand that, it can get us killed. Because
- Prayer is how we keep ourselves alive and defeat our enemy.
Hosea 4:6 says, My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge.
Meaning we are at risk of dying when we don't know enough. I'm not making these things up. I'm not distorting Scripture. This is what it says! If your churches are failing to give you these warnings, you should ask them why. I can't answer that.
I suspect that prayerlessness is a condition associated with believing those in authority while failing to do our homework. Because when you do your homework you will discover, I'm not making this stuff up. God wrote it down and so when we read things like, "Oh Lord I love your law! I meditate on it day and night!" Suddenly, that makes more sense. When we consider the possibility that lack of knowledge is life threatening and weak inadequate prayer is downright dangerous. Well then I can kind of see why someone might say that. If you saved your life through prayer, you would feel the same way.
I'll suggest a useful prayer: ask God to reveal all that you need to know to keep yourself alive. That's a reasonsable request. Scripture says my people are destroyed for lack of knowledge so we can remedy that by saying, "Holy Spirit, what do I need to know to keep myself alive? Please teach me in the best order and so that I will remember the lessons."
I was raised to view prayer like the letters one might write to Santa Clause. My prayers were not war prayers, they were light and fluffy, self-interested and short-sighted prayers. And in the beginning my results were terrible.
Over the years I've learned incredibly valuable prayer lessons some of which I'm about to share with you now.
I'll ask you some questions, first: have you ever prayed to God and said, "God I need a thousand dollars desperately to pay my mortgage (or some bill)!" Maybe you fasted and maybe you actually got the money, but by the time it arrived you also received a bill for a thousand dollars that you did not expect. Or maybe it was worse. Maybe the bill was even bigger! And so it was as if you received no help from God at all. Maybe you were incensed that he would do such a thing. It's like he got your hopes up only to dash them to pieces. Is he trying to crush your spirit? No! That's what the devil does! And so if you feel like you prayed and you received answers to prayer, but your spirit simultaneously crushed in the process. Then now you understand this Scripture:
John 10:10 says,
The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have life and have it abundantly.
If you feel your spirit was crushed, meaning someone stole your hope or your joy, then you were on the receiving end of an attack from the devil. The devil is the prince of the power of the air. And the way that we know a hurricane rolled through town is not because we saw the invisible air, but rather because we saw the damage left behind through its wake.
Therefore, if you can relate to any of this, then you experienced what I refer to as a prayer interception or fumble.
Meaning we have an enemy. And so while you're busy praying to God for help, he's busy trying to screw up your results. He wants to convince you that God doesn't hear your prayers; that he doesn't answer or care about you. And so if you're struggling with prayer, it implies you are undersestimating the lengths that your enemy is willing to go to, to make you miserable; to end your relationship with God; and the ways he will try to block and undermine your prayers. Because prayer is your extremely powerful nuclear weapon, and he doesn't want you using it!
In football, receiving the ball is like a blessing, but you will notice that it also makes you a target, and so holding onto it becomes a responsibility. Prayer is that way, too! The devil doesn't want you honing your prayer skills because that's how he loses. So being subtle and crafty he has figured out deceptive ways to discourage you so you'll stop praying. His greatest victories comes from silencing you. And so consider all of the shenanigans that we see in football and recognize that the devil employs those same tactics to assualt your prayer life.
When the ball is snapped, and the runners go their assigned routs there are blockers whose entire job is to hold you back and push you off course. If you get away, they chase you. They remain on your heals to bat the ball away should you be on the receiving end of a potential pass. And they try to intercept it and if you catch it, they try to knock you down or strip the ball from your hands. Or potentially they might make you pay. Meaning after you catch the ball you may be hit by the broad side of an oncoming locomotive. So that all you rember is catching the ball and later waking up in the locker room.
I remember the first time a kid stripped the ball from my hands. I was so angry. I thought... I thought it was illegal. I couldn't believe it was legal. It seemed so wrong!
Prayer is our form of warfare. You may recall that King David was a mighty warrior. And he wrote most of the Psalms and most of those prayers are for victory over his enemies. The thing David had going for him, was that he was a fighter who thought and fought like a warrior. The Bible says that David was a man after God's own heart. And we see evidence of his tremendous prayer life that reminds us of Jesus on Gethsemene. As a result, his prayer life served him incredibly well. He anticipated the blocks, the locomotives, the unsportsmanlike conduct and he prayed against it all. All of his prayers benefited from his prayer style and his warrior mindset. He didn't just ask for stuff, he needed God to help him keep it after he got it. Just ask Ziklag... right? In that situation he had to take his stuff back. And he considered the ways his enemy would undermine his results and warred against it through prayer in advance. He was blesed by the way he thought. He approached prayer from the perspective of war. But he wasn't raised in the army. He was raised tending his father's sheep. So... so how did that happen? Did his prayers transform after he defeated Goliath? Or did he defeat Goliath because of his violent prayer life? I suggest to you that the answer is both, but...
I submit to you that David defeated Goliath long before he met him because he understood this important principle: that we don't war against flesh and blood, but against principalities and powers. Meaning that coming from his sheep tending background his war prayers were unusual! Why would a shepherd prayer such violent prayers? People eventually wrote songs about how Saul slayed thousands and David slayed tens of thousands. And I submit to you that the difference between them was their prayers.
We can see that all of this was intentional because when David was running toward Goliath he only uttered a few phrases, yet they were well placed for maximum impact. Do you remember what he said?
1 Samuel 17:45-47 says
“You come to me with a sword and with a spear and with a javelin, but I come to you in the name of the Lord of hosts, the God of the armies of Israel, whom you have defied. 46 This day the Lord will deliver you into my hand, and I will strike you down and cut off your head. And I will give the dead bodies of the host of the Philistines this day to the birds of the air and to the wild beasts of the earth, that all the earth may know that there is a God in Israel, 47 and that all this assembly may know that the Lord saves not with sword and spear. For the battle is the Lord's, and he will give you into our hand.”
I submit to you ladies and gentlemen that is a prayer! And a powerful one! That statement is packed with power! If it were possible to make a power sandwich, then that's it! That's a power footlong! With lettuce and tomato and ranch dressing and... what was I talking about? Oh yeah, and jalapenos and siracha sauce and turkey on white breat with those little delicate little seeds or grains, maybe Italian bread. Toasted with pepperjack cheese...
Maybe you don't write your prayers, but I'm confident that your enemy writes your prayers. He's the great accuser who looks for ways to accuse you. I suspect that our enemy takes careful notes when we pray.
If you are praying rock solid prayers, then your enemy can't touch you. But if your prayers are sloppy and thoughtless, then it's like a high school football team going up against a pro team. They could get metaphorically killed! They'll walk away in disgrace, their helmets handed to them... they might even go home with a note.
The difference between a pro team and a high school football team, is preparation, training, discipline, planning, learning, growing, experience dedication. And I can see my own growth simply by creating a new written prayer each month and then comparing newer ones with older ones.
I'll let you listen to the opening of a prayer I prayed in November of 2011. See if you can tell the difference between this one and a new one. A more recent one:
Prayer opening from November of 2011
Dear God, I thank you God for the number of times I go to church and you bless me with a message that I need to hear. That is pretty incredible! God I am sorry for putting a barrier between you and I; my sin is a barrier; it makes me not want to have a relationship with you. Please forgive my sins Lord. I am sorry. I had a difficult week; temptations were increased and I did not handle it well. But I am here. I did not give up or give in. I did give way, I did stumble, but I did not lose my faith and I don't want to backslide anymore. And I don't want to displease you anymore, either.
That was a prayer from November of 2011, the very opening. And here is a recent one from May of 2020:
Prayer opening nine years later
To the one who is, who was, and who is to come: to The awesome, All Mighty, All Powerful God and Creator of all who is full of love and grace and mercy, and understanding and wisdom and power and kindness:
I love you Lord. I worship you!
Now the first prayer wasn't bad, but if you were on the receiving end of those two prayers, which one would you prefer?
Now none of this is our fault! We were all raised by people who were raised by people that failed to teach crucial Bible truths. I grew up among a generation of kids who approach prayer like the letters they write Santa. And I was one of them. But our prayers should be like David's.
I write my prayers. That is a crucial part of making improvements to them. Great men from history wrote theirs, that's why I tried it: men like George Washington, the puritans who settled this country and if you search for prayer books you will be amazed at how many you find. But it is also Biblical! The entire book of Psalms are David's written prayers. He wrote his prayers because he intended to repeat them and refine and improve them. Which is far more difficult when you don't write them down. And yet even when I offer an unwritten prayer it benefits from the disciplines that I cultivate because I write and read so many of my written prayers.
Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death is the kind of prayer that comes from writing and revising and cultivating and refining, which you can't effectively do apart from writing them down. I have had many people argue with me that reading a written prayer every night is insincere. But it is because I write my prayers that I can tell you this: when I first began writing them I would see answers coming in about twice a week. In time, the frequency increased. I noted and calculated that I had answered prayers every 1.75 days and I wondered if it was even possible that I could improve the speed. And now I'm getting answers in minutes and seconds in some cases. If that's the kind of prayer results you have, then keep doing what you're doing, but if not, try this.
I've heard people argue about this Scripturally, but the way to cut through all the crap is to just try it and see what happens. Meaing you can sit and quote Scriptures to your heart's content, but I've been told written prayers are wrong. And yet my results tell me otherwise. With you your words you can quote Scripture, but with my results I experience truth.
If you are here, if you are listening to this message because you want to improve your prayer life, then humble yourself. Try it! Write your prayers! Refusing to write your prayers is a pride problem. It suggests that you know the answer even though you haven't tried. I know that if you're not writing your prayers, you haven't tried. It's too effective, you won't stop doing it when you get in the habit of it.
It is because I write my prayers that I am able to share this next revelation with you: this insight that would have been virtually impossible otherwise.
I prayed a prayer and I noticed a victory the next day. But the day after it was followed by a defeat. Normally that would have caused me to believe that my prayer failed. But not this time. This time I altered my prayer which led to another victory, but again the day after another defeat. I came to realize that my enemy was reacting to my prayers by making adjustments. In this case, the scenario unfolded eight times. My enemy made adjustments to my adjustments eight times until I finally routed him in such a way that I neutralized his attack completely. I became impervious to attacks because I left no opening. For the sake of privacy I can't reveal the actual situation. So instead, I tell you a parable:
A man had a castle with servants. Like the servants, the castle responded to his commands. One day he noticed possessions were missing. Realizing he had been robbed he commanded all doors and windows be locked every night promptly at 9:00 PM only to be re-opened the next morning at 7:00 AM, and the castle complied. That night there was no problem. The next morning he looked for evidence of tampering and found some and thankfully was able to confirm that he had defeated his enemy. Meaning the enemy attempted to attack him, but his security measures prevailed. Believing he resolved the issue completely he again issued the command in the same way, the next night, but the next day, woke and found evidence of theft. After a thorough inspection he realized the problem with his command and so he made an adjustment to it. This time he said, let all the windows and doors first be shut, and then be locked beginning at 9:00 PM. Because he had found an open locked door, and though it was locked, that didn't make it secure or effective. It had to be shut first to be effective.
When you pray a prayer that blocks your enemies attacks, you should expect him to react with adjustments. And so if he prevails again, you, too, should make adjustments. If you do this, this will seal up your prayer life in such a way that you become bulletproof. I can't tell you how many times I would pray a prayer, see a victory, then see a defeat and conclude the prayer just didn't work. That wasn't the problem. The old prayer worked fine and it still worked, but the enemy was doing a new thing and the way to combat him was to update the prayer accordingly. Something that is very difficult to do if you can't go back and examine what you might have said that was wrong. Which is all too easy with a written prayer.
In my situation. The next thing the enemy tried was to send pastors and decons to me to inform me that my written prayers were wrong and I should stop praying them. Sadly, I complied and for a week all was well, but slowly and subtly the enemy expanded his foothold because my prayer covering was gone, it weakened. Meaning he will use close friends and authority figures to get you to stop good behaviors so he can exploit you. Don't fall for that! I don't care if the pope, or your favorite bishop or pastor tells you written prayers are bad, the results speak for themselves.
Romans 12:2 says
Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect
He didn't say you would discern the will of God by arguing or debating or thinking, but rather by testing.
Our enemy is clever. When we pray prayers seeking blessing we would do well to make our petition known to God, but to consider how our enemy could respond to that request. What might he do to steal our blessing, destroy or joy or kill our spirit?
If you pray for a thousand dollars to pay your mortgage and receive it, what would kill your joy? Well, a bill for two thousand dollars would suck the enjoyment right out of that blessing, wouldn't it?
When you recieve blessings always give thanks, even if some other unforseen attack occured. Because God did bless you. And then make note of the attack and consider how and why it worked and how you block it in the future through prayer.
When football players catch passes all of bad the things I described earlier can happen to you. But don't forget that you also have a team. Your team has blockers, too, and various other useful positions. You are the quarterback of your life. While you run, you can point and make blocking assignments. You can pass, run, lateral, and if you really get desperate, you can even kick or go out of bounds. Don't let the opposing team rip the football out of your hands!
Of course all of this hinges on the notion that you are praying to the right God. There is only one God who loves you and wants to bless you. The one who created you. All other gods, and make no mistake the Bible is clear on the matter, that there are other gods... all other gods want to exploit you. If they bless you at all, it's because they seek to subjugate you and they will require some form of reciprocation. And trust me when I tell you. That will go downhill quickly.
If you're not sure you're praying to the right God, then I suggest you subscribe to this channel or visit my other channels. I've left links at the bottom of the Full Transcripts for this message on my website.
As always, thank you for listening! Y'all come back now! Ya hear?