HIS Power for Life and Godliness:
“Little prayer, little power, much prayer much power.” - EM Bounds.
Power for life and Godliness – we all need it. It is to be our starting point, to propel us forward for growth and to know the goodness of God in our lives. Yet, how can we have these power packed prayers?
As we approach on the calendar this weekend of “Pentecost” - the time ending the season when Christ ascended to heaven; when the disciples were told by Jesus to wait for the great promise; what a better time to start with the topic of ‘power in prayer’ – where it all began.
Christ, when He commissioned both the disciples in their mission as well as a promise was clear: “But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you...” Acts 1:8. The Bible dictionary defines it. Power: dutomus: The Greek dunamis is used 120 times in the New Testament. Loosely, the word refers to “strength, power, or ability.” It is the root word of our English words dynamite, dynamo, and dynamic.
The disciples knew they were not ready to be left alone, their actions after Jesus died on the cross proved they had far less strength, ability, and power when they were living by their own strength; and certainly they fell short of any definition of being dynamic or a dynamo. They positively needed supply for what would become not just their next chapter, but rather unknowingly, the beginning of The Church and a revolution that would wrap the globe. And so upon waiting, seeking, and praying, this Church was birthed when they allowed their hearts to be revived. And because of it, we need never be the same.
A revived heart does not pray from obligation to do, a revived heart prays from the revelation of knowing. Knowing as in a verb- I call it, passion. It is the micro-moment when the Lord strikes the match to bring the spark of revelation to awaken our soul…to infuse this passion for our love for Him and then in turn, others. Every time we pray it is an opportunity for revelation –to encounter Him.
So prayer doesn’t need to be an activity, it can be a lifestyle.
But how can we walk in this to have power-packed prayers?
No worries, His Word proves all can have this. He made us all with that fuse intact.
People want power in their life, but they don’t want to pray. That’s like wanting fireworks but just throwing the rockets up into the sky – you need the match.
I remember when I was ignited. There is no better word to explain it. I was in 5th grade and my 17 year old brother prayed with me. He explained, “It’s not a big deal, God has all you need, just pray.” When I did, the fear that came with the news of my family’s divorce, which had powder kegged me, began to fade, and the shame that covered me like mud, washed free from my face.
This teenager who was but a baby as a Christian himself, taught me it wasn’t about fluffy prayers stuffed with vocabulary and eloquence of spiritual ascent. It wasn’t about prayers that were required to out-do, not at all; prayer was about the igniting of my heart to the fiery love of the Lord. Subsequently, this made the prayers simply pour out with ease. “For out of the mouth of babes…you have perfected praise.” Matthew 21:16
Even the tiniest whisper from one with faith faltering, when whispered in sincerity of heart– is heard in heaven like a trumpet. Why? When we surrender all to Him He comes and can stay. – Pretty simple.
Purity of heart brings power.
I will never forget the shock I had when unknowingly I applied the simplicity of this principle and was jolted with the knowledge of His presence; to discover that He was as real as I was. All the prayers I had heard up to that point were wrapped in a white color band around a neck in a black suit. There was a talking head – but I couldn’t understand what it was saying. But now, I was plugged-in and it was a direct line.
Not knowing anything as a 5th grader about prayer or faith supposedly being difficult, I remember lying in bed staring at my digital alarm clock one night before I fell asleep.
I asked the Lord, “If you want me to spend time with you, will you wake me up before school at 5am?” -Why do kids say what they say?! I have no idea why this was my request. I was one of those pre-teens who couldn’t be put to bed and never wanted to get up. Yet how exciting it was for this sleepy-headed child the next morning to be sparked from slumber with blinking eyes facing the silent alarm clock to read exactly “5:00 AM”; and this continued for many weeks, if not months.
Never had I seen a sunrise before; I would sit peering out the dining room window and simply talk to God. I never thought of it as “Praying”; just simply sitting and talking to my new found Lord. It was here I was engulfed in the knowledge of His presence and supply. As I read His Word (I was only told it was God’s love-letter to me by my brother), I found there the most basic of all human needs: Safety, security, and guidance. How grand for a child whose family was going through the tremors of transition that divorce brought. Good news for a 5th grader, and greater news for me now.
There in the darkened stillness, before the sun and the birds call to the morning, is where I first also understood relinquishment of soul and self. This gave me the desire to live a life that is dedicated to know and endeavor to do- God’s plan for my life; because His love was so present. I discovered, that this communication, connection, dedication, and devotion; that this is the deepest form of worship and praise. Over any crescendo of worship like singing, clapping, giving offerings, I learned true worship (Relinquishment); because it is not about the "doing" as much as it is about the "BE-coming."
It was here I learned that without God’s presence, I am powerless.
“Praise is the devil’s death kneel.” – God Calling, 1932. When I rise up- by bowing down in prayer, whether I realize it or not, I am engaging in a war older than the ages. John 10:10 tells me that “The enemy is out to steal, kill, and destroy.” Certainly God as the Creator of creativity created family, - so of course the enemy wanted to take away what God had supplied for me, and what better way to side-track my life than to try to take out my support system. My family. This is why I now say that “Worship is warfare.”
Why we need to employ prayer
For there is truly a battle for your soul. And this is of course why we also need to employ prayer. Just like the cartoons we watched as little kids, an angel is on one shoulder and the devil on the other, tugging for our attention. Yes, I know not the literal devil. He is definitely real, just not omnipresent. But we know his forces are real and at work -and we all know it as we sense it: The tug and pull of the temptations that our selfish will entertains; and how there is a constant tension contending between our single selfish will verses our spirit; which wishes to know and do God’s pleasing and perfect will.
The secret to win the battle
But we can win the battle our will faces with a secret weapon – Repentance.
The fuse-line is found here: 2 Chronicles 7:14 Many of us have heard it before and I shared it in part one on prayer but it bears repeating: “If my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then will I hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and will heal their land.” Amazing how repentance gives us that direct line, “I will hear from heaven.” A direct line, just like a fuse that is ignited. If I give something to God to light – He will. Just as Peter at Pentecost said with power: “Repent and be baptized for the remission of sin and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit”. A charge to become charged, and infused with an incredible promise. This was the very moment the church lit fire, and became the firestorm which spread across lines of latitude and longitude. Yet beyond that, it went to continue for generations to come with “…a promise to you, and to your children, and to all that are afar off, even as many as the Lord our God shall call.” Acts 2:38, 39
So just like me, exactly when the enemy wants to powder-keg your destiny, you can diffuse that by allowing God to ignite fiery passion for the love of God in you- through repentance; and perhaps the needed power of forgiveness. There is no greater power. Why Forgiveness? The most powerful weapon against hate is not merely love; it is forgiveness. As I am forgiven, now I can forgive.
This is your powder-keg.
Because the most powerful act of love in the history of the world was proven when Christ, through compassion and obedience, hung on the cross in our place to be the sacrifice for our sin when He said, “forgive them, for they know not what they do.” Luke 23:34
So in turn, when we receive forgiveness then also extend forgiveness to others, this is our greatest act of faith; because it is the greatest act of that supernatural love extended just like His outstretched arms. This "radical obedience" like what Jesus patterned for us, positions us for power in the heavenly realms, found when we use God’s secret weapons of the power that erupts when repentance and forgiveness are released (Insert shooting cannon sound here).
“Prayer + Faith = Power, Power + Obedience = a changed world.” The next sequential step.
Shown through the disciples after Pentecost, they not only received boldness for their witness, they received the supply for the ability to walk out this love in obedience.
Obedience for the long-haul
The story of the disciples at the first Pentecost in the second chapter of Acts, tells how through prayer and obedience they were ignited to a love so radical, all were in awe of the display. Many think of it as fiery blasts of color like a fireworks show; but it was better than that, as it would never fizzle-out. Because of their obedience to “wait and pray” as Christ instructed, they now had the power of the LORD; the Holy Spirit, to see this through and to be effective disciples. Now they had the full supply of all they needed "for life and Godliness." 2 Peter 1:3 “His divine power has given us everything we need for a godly life through our knowledge of Him who called us by His own glory and goodness.”
Now dynamos, their head-knowledge became heart-knowing. The divine intersection of the theology in their head supernaturally connected with their heart; as if they had been jolted with a defibrillator for a weak beating heart to be revived.
You can’t be effective without having both head-knowledge/theology and a revival of the heart/revelation. The one does not go without the other (At least effectively that is). "Theology" in its most simple form stated, is all the rightly aligned truth we know. And from what I have learned, experience without head-knowledge (Theology) will fizzle like fireworks. You may "ooh" and "ah-h" at the display, but the blasts of color will quickly fizzle and fall like ash to darkness, gone and forgotten. Revelation without understanding and accountability has little lasting value. In the same way, a head full of knowledge but no heart-connection and experience to know the Lord, only brings the same.
Both bring balance for fire to be used without getting burned. This is why this band of brothers was so effective and God could use them so powerfully. This fire-storm that burst into flames that day would create a ripple-effect reaching not only throughout Jerusalem, Judea, Samaria, and to the ends of the earth, but even beyond…through the generations; for US, “that are afar off.”
Merely a conduit
The secret to this power station is understanding that it is always ready, we only need to keep that line of prayer, once a fuse to be ignited like dynamite- now plugged in. This reveals the secret to spiritual growth: Consistency through obedience. The stronger the obedience, the stronger the amperage; and I am merely a conduit. Like a line of voltage, it is the continued current: obedience for the long haul that allows HIM to do what He does best. I’m so glad it is not up to my own "will-power," because my frail and fragile flesh often zaps my ability to be strong and faithful on my own. I am grateful for His promise: “My grace is sufficient for you, for My power is made perfect in weakness. …Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses.” 2 Corinthians 12:9
I truly am just a simple conduit. People may think I am the one to blast a “prayer of power” and stand - not true. To be honest, the secret power that I do have that has made me ready when required, is the knowledge of my weakness and trusting His power and supply will be there (like any good power tool when you need it). It is in my private times of prayer that I lay down all my insufficiencies, sin, and ask for forgiveness –this taps me into the current.
The world needs the current power of God.
And this is what the world needs exactly – the current power of God. Because that is what they want to see in the Church (Both ‘Big C’, the Body of Christ and ‘little c’ our own churches): as authentic, pure, and powerful. Not put-on, manufactured, or as a display. And the reason is, because they don’t want to see it, they want to KNOW IT and to use it themselves.
So on the eve of this Pentecost Sunday weekend which marks the end of the “wait” for the disciples for their Pentecost, you too may be waiting for God to move in your circumstances to bring the strength and supply needed. Maybe boldness to go beyond yourself; or even, perhaps a jolt of hope.
This can be a "sacred season" for you, in these days on the calendar before the mark of Pentecost; to seek, to know and finally, to discover. This is the time to embrace grace, that your "head-knowledge" would become "heart-knowing."
And prayer is the place to start.
“…According to His power that is at work within us…” –
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Please help others here - Have you ever been intimidated by the concept of prayer?
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