|Posted on March 26, 2015 at 10:50 AM|
OPERATING IN THE SPIRIT OF PRAYER
God is concerned about your prayer life. A healthy, robust, ever growing prayer life is God’s idea of spirituality. This is my testimony and the testimony of servants of God who have been in the prayer ministry for decades. In God’s school of prayer, result is the name of the game. If you are praying and you are getting no corresponding result, then you are playing.
Results in prayer starts from your own personal experience. For your prayers to work for anybody, it has to work for you first. We want to see what prayer has produced in your life. If your prayer cannot deliver you, chances are it cannot deliver anybody, least of all your community. Therefore, your prayer life must benefit you and your family before it can be a blessing to others. Then you can proceed to become a prayer donor to people, to families, to nations, and to the world. Otherwise, you will be a noisemaker in the place of prayer. Today, we have many noisemakers all over the place; they have nothing to show for their so called prayer lives. As the saying goes in the Bible, the physician must heal himself first.
(A) FOUR WAYS OR MODES OF PRAYING
Mechanical praying is like forcing yourself to pray. It is mechanical. I have been to some meetings where people just wanted to weep for the Lord without the Holy Spirit laying any such burden on them. They just lie down and weep mechanically. I found this nauseating and disturbing. If you must lament and weep in the place of prayer, let it be by the agency of the Holy Spirit. Sometimes, we grieve the Holy Spirit because we are doing what he has not asked us to do. When you want to weep or wail in prayer, make sure that the Holy Spirit stimulates it. Do not work it up.
In Obedience to Bible Command
The scripture is replete with verses commanding or encouraging us to pray. Therefore, in obedience, we raise altars and pray. But in these two ways of praying the devil can quench altars. Consequently, you can go through a week or some days without feeling that you have missed your altar. In fact, you may be happy to be released from such yoke of prayer. Praying mechanically and by obedience can be quite uninspiring.
As a Habit
We also pray as a habit. You might have observed our parents in the days gone by; they get you up at 5am, whether you like it or not, the bell for prayer rings and everybody goes to the living room for Morning Prayer. They do this daily as a habit. They may be repeating the same prayer sentences and phrases daily. But they never miss it. The children may not like been woken up daily for such a prayer meeting, but daddy and mummy practice it religiously. They call it Akoko adura in Yoruba language. It has become a habit that they cannot stop. Nevertheless, the enemy can also quench the fire of this altar too.
Praying By the Spirit of Prayer
This mode of prayer is enjoyable and enduring. Satan and his demons are clueless and helpless when we pray in this mode. Even the praying person is helpless under the power of the spirit of prayer. The spirit of prayer may not obey the principle that says ‘the spirit of a prophet is subject to the prophet.’ When the spirit of prayer grips you, you cannot stop praying. Charles Finney and Father Nash had such experiences. Men who are enslaved by the spirit of prayer may sit at a dinner table, about to bless the food, and the spirit of prayer comes upon them. The fire of prayer begins to surge in them. They may say, ‘excuse me for a while,’ and go into an inner room where they may spend another 12 hours in prayer. That is the spirit of prayer in operation. The scripture calls it the spirit of grace and supplication. The spirit of prayer makes you pray in timelessness. You may give yourself one hour to pray, but by the time you are done, you’ve prayed for 5 hours and it feels like 5 minutes. Sometimes, after spending such time in prayer the burden is yet to be discharged, but because you have to attend to some schedules, you go out with a raging volcanic fire inside of you, and until that burden is released, you are helpless, and you are so disconnected. You are so agitated and you cannot do any serious work until that burden is released. This is called the spirit of prayer. If we want to enter such dimension of prayer, we must be ready to pay the price. It is for those who are ready for spiritual enslavement.
(B) THE SPIRIT OF PRAYER
And I will pour upon the house of David, and upon the inhabitants of Jerusalem, the spirit of grace and of supplications: (Zechariah 12:10 KJV).
This passage of scripture is the first place in the Bible that suggests that effective prayer or supplication is enabled by a spirit called the ‘spirit of grace and supplication.’ From this passage, we know that prayer is a spirit. This spirit makes prayer to be inspiring, enjoyable, sustained and result producing.
From Isaiah 6:1-4, we understand that God works through the agency of the Holy Spirit. He empowers men through the Holy Spirit to achieve certain things and do certain things for Him on earth. Therefore, in the Bible, we have the spirit of faith (2Corintians4:13), the spirit of wisdom and revelation (Ephesians 1:17), the spirit of might, the spirit of counsel, the spirit of the fear of the Lord, (Isaiah 11:1-5), and the spirit of prayer (Zechariah 12:10). It is the same Holy Spirit empowering men with these different dimensions of His anointing. Those who have been such empowered are able to operate beyond normal in their areas of grace. People empowered with the spirit of prayer are able to pray far beyond the capacity of ordinary men. In other words, they perform extra-ordinarily and outstandingly. When those who do not have the spirit of prayer are tired of praying, the man with the spirit has just begun. He is a specialist because he is operating by a specialised spirit called the spirit of prayer.
In Isaiah 11, the Bible prophesied that Jesus would operate in the seven spirits of God. This explains why nothing was impossible to him. He could do anything, walk on the water, raise the dead, and cast out devils with a single word, because the seven spirits of God operated in him.
1. The Spirit of Prayer on Moses
And it came to pass at the end of forty days and forty nights, that the Lord gave me the two tables of stone, even the tables of the covenant. And the Lord said unto me, Arise, get thee down quickly from hence; for thy people which thou hast brought forth out of Egypt have corrupted themselves; they are quickly turned aside out of the way which I commanded them; they have made them a molten image. Furthermore the Lord spake unto me, saying, I have seen this people, and, behold, it is a stiffnecked people: Let me alone, that I may destroy them, and blot out their name from under heaven: and I will make of thee a nation mightier and greater than they. So I turned and came down from the mount, and the mount burned with fire: and the two tables of the covenant were in my two hands. And I looked, and, behold, ye had sinned against the Lord your God, and had made you a molten calf: ye had turned aside quickly out of the way which the Lord had commanded you. And I took the two tables, and cast them out of my two hands, and brake them before your eyes. And I fell down before the Lord, as at the first, forty days and forty nights: I did neither eat bread, nor drink water, because of all your sins which ye sinned, in doing wickedly in the sight of the Lord, to provoke him to anger. For I was afraid of the anger and hot displeasure, wherewith the Lord was wroth against you to destroy you. But the Lord hearkened unto me at that time also (Deuteronomy 9:11-19).
It is very unusual for a man to lie before the Lord in prayer for eighty days continually. Moses had been before the Lord for forty days without food and water, to receive the tables of the commandments. On his return from the mountain, he discovered that his people had forsaken the Lord and had given themselves to idolatry by worshipping the calf Aaron erected. In anger, Moses threw the tables of the commandments at the calf, breaking them. He then went before the Lord again for another forty days and forty nights to plead on behalf of the people for mercy. This is not a normal passion. Moses demonstrated an unusual spirit of prayer, which followed him throughout his life. Most times, when he was confronted with rebellion he would lay face down in prayer to God, he would be supplicating and praying even while people were about to stone him. That is the spirit of prayer in operation.
2. The Spirit of prayer on Epaphras
Epaphras, who is one of you, a servant of Christ, saluteth you, always labouring fervently for you in prayers, that ye may stand perfect and complete in all the will of God. For I bear him record, that he hath a great zeal for you, and them that are in Laodicea, and them in Hierapolis (Colossian 4:12-13 KJV).
Epaphras operated as a one-man prayer department for the church at Colossae. The respected apostle Paul testified of his outstanding prayer life. He said, “Epaphras who is one of you, a servant of Christ......he labours fervently for you.” That word labour means to agonise. In the Greek, it is agonosomata. It means to pray with agony, to sigh, to labour in the place of prayer. Epaphras also had only one objective, one focus, and one prayer point. It was that the church at Colossae might stand complete and perfect in the will of God.
Paul himself was a prayer guru; he said in his writings, “I speak in tongues more than you all.” Paul’s comment about Epaphras prayer life is as when a prayer icon like the late Professor Zack Formum testifies of the prayer life of an individual. Epaphras was such a distinguished prayer warrior. The members of the Colossian church might have taken the business of prayer lightly. But Epaphras took the burden upon himself to become a one-man prayer department. He prayed that church into the perfect will of God. That is the operation and manifestation of the spirit of prayer.
3. Other Carriers of the Spirit of Prayer
Moses, Elijah, and Daniel had the spirit of prayer. The Lord Jesus demonstrated the spirit of prayer more than anyone else. He could pray on the mountain, and he could pray in the wilderness for extended periods. Paul the apostle had that spirit too; Epaphras had the spirit; James the half-brother of Jesus had that spirit. According to history, they called Apostle James ‘camel knees’. At the time of his death, while preparing his body for burial, it was discovered that his knees had become calloused like that of a camel due to hours or days of kneeling in prayer. He died praying. Father Nash also carried that spirit; his blazing prayer life was responsible for the revivals in Charles Finney’s ministry. Professor Zack Formum was another man who had the spirit of prayer.
(C) THE WORKINGS OF THIS SPIRIT OF PRAYER
1. It makes prayer and worship easy, vibrant and lively.
2. It eliminates spiritual dryness. Not for a single moment do you experience dryness of any kind. The oil is ever flowing and the river of living water is ever fresh.
3. It makes us to pray when we feel like praying and when we do not feel like praying. With the spirit of prayer, you have no choice; you are helpless. Your lips might be vibrating because of the burning fire on the inside of you.
4. This spirit literally enslaves one in the place of prayer. You are not in control; the spirit is in control. Whenever you try to check it, your heart is in turmoil. This spirit is uncheck-able; otherwise, you just boil and burn inside and nothing going on around interests you.
5. It may not obey the principle of ‘the spirit of the prophet is subject to the prophet,’ particularly, in the closet. In the public, you may try your best to apply some maturity, particularly when you are running a church. But you will pay dearly for it when you’re alone.
6. It makes prayer fervent and fiery.
7. It helps us in prophetic intercession. Prophetic intercession is when you labour in prayer for an unknown subject, just pouring out your heart, maybe in tongues or in your understanding. You keep praying, maybe for a couple of hours and then, the burden suddenly ceases or eases and then you feel light, and you sense a note of victory. Somewhere in the planet, victory has been achieved through your prayer. A life might have been saved, or something spectacular might have happened. Prophetic intercession is labouring for subjects that you do not understand naturally. But the Holy Spirit uses you to pray for such things, such emergencies somewhere, without you even knowing the details. Sometimes, you get to know later on. It is praying for subjects and issues that you do not have understanding of in the natural.
8. It helps us to pray with precision and accuracy, because we are praying by the mind of the Holy Spirit.
(D) HOW TO RECEIVE THE SPIRIT OF PRAYER
1. Absolute Righteousness in Life
The Holy Spirit does the work of praying. He is the engine or the dynamo of prayer. He is called ‘Holy Spirit.’ He hates and abhors filthiness and iniquity. Sin in any form is a fire extinguisher. The fire of prayer will die instantly, if you meddle with sin and do not repent. Living in falsehood and moral pollution will extinguish the fire of prayer. The spirit of prayer and sin are enemies. Wherever you find one, you will not find the other.
2. You Must Become Word Saturated
You must be full of the word of God for prayer direction, divine life, for effective worship, for divine fire (Leviticus 6:12, 13), and for bullets in the place of prayer. For your prayer to carry power, effective killing power, particularly in spiritual warfare, you must be filled with the word of God.
3. No Steps or Ladder to Your Altar (Exodus 20: 24-26)
Raise altars at your level. In the place of prayer, be yourself. Some folks pray to impress. I have listened to some people praying and trying to act like a prayer leader they admire. They are not themselves. They are only acting. In prayer, some people try to use language and grammar to impress. Prayer is not a matter of grammar. Pray to express. Express yourself before the lord, flow like water before your father, and at your own level. Raise altars at your level, and gradually the altar will expand and grow. Otherwise, you will cross to the mechanical mode of praying and the flow will be stopped.
(E) HOW DO YOU RECEIVE THE SPIRIT OF PRAYER?
1. Acknowledge that there is a spirit called the spirit of grace and supplication.
2. Desire and hunger for it.
3. Cry for it as you cry for the baptism of the Holy Spirit.
4. Seek for transference of that spirit.
I met a lady pastor in London who had gone into depression after a failed rape attempt on her. The depression had opened the door for some demons to oppress her repeatedly. It was so bad that she would often stop in the middle of her preaching and rush out of the church to lock herself up and weep. I was invited to run a prayer vigil in their church where I met her. The pastor had given me twelve other pastors including this lady to assist me that night. Before the main service, they had arrived earlier for a time of briefing and prayer with me. After the briefing, we joined our hands together to pray. This lady was standing beside me and holding my hands. According to her testimony, as I began to pray, something like electricity entered into her and her spirit started to burn with fire. Then she ran to the parking lot, took her car, drove to her apartment, and locked herself up. She never returned for the vigil that night. She prayed for 72 hours nonstop. By the time she was done, all the demons oppressing were gone. She came out the third day like an angel; the demonic oppression vanished forever.
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