By Gboyega Omolayo
If you heard the phrase (fall down and die) some thirty some odd years ago, it may not have rung a bell. Hear it today however (mostly among some deliverance fixated crowd), what comes to mind immediately is prayer. It is a phrase today that is synonymous with ‘holy anger’ induced, ‘scream like a wounded lion’ prayer, where the person praying is commanding his or her enemies to fall down and die spiritually. I am still in search of the nexus this has with the word of God on prayer.
It is good though that a lot of people elect to pray more these days, the word of God admonishes and instructs us to pray without ceasing (1 Thessalonians 5:17). Jesus in Luke 18:1 spoke a parable unto us to the end that men ought ALWAYS to pray and not to faint, imagine how Jesus would have survived the Garden of Gethsemane without prayer, He was prayed up till the very end.
The apostle Paul by the Holy Spirit taught us in Colossians 4:2 to Continue in prayer, and watch in the same with thanksgiving. All over the scriptures, we are taught and commanded to always pray, underscoring the necessity for the believer to be prayerful. Jesus prayed exceedingly as we know and He is our example, our Shepherd, Leader and Master. We know also that as His disciples, we are expected to at the least be like Him, for it is written in Matthew 10:25 that It is enough for the disciple that he be as his master, and the servant as his lord.
Now then, to what end must we pray?
To the end that God would answer by granting us what we pray for through the working of His power. In John 15:7, Jesus said If ye abide in me, and my words abide in you, ye shall ask what ye will, and it shall be done unto you. God wants to answer our prayers always and this is God’s way that guarantees answers to our prayers. Take notice that earlier in Jesus’ discourse in this chapter, He had talked about bearing fruits. It is clear from those verses that the fruits Jesus referred to here were prayer fruits. These fruits are God’s answer to the prayers of the saints by which God is glorified (this further accentuates the fact that God always looks forward to answering the saints’ prayers because that is how He is glorified in our lives and in this world – vs 8). Any prayer that will be answered by God must be prayed according to His word (will) for Jesus said if ye abide in me and my word abide in you, then….
Any prayer that is prayed outside God’s word will not be answered by God. Believers must pray according to God’s word, if we expect Him to hear and answer. If we pray outside God’s word He will not hear in the first instance, then answering is out of the question (1 John 5:14).
We know also that prayer to God must be in faith
Prayer to God must be done in faith (James 1:5-7) and faith comes ONLY by one way and one means, hearing God’s word (Romans 10:17). Prayers made according to the word of God are most certainly prayers made in faith, for the word upon which they are based produces the faith and these prayers are guaranteed to be heard and answered by God.
While making answered prayers exclusive to those made according to God’s word is viewed by some condemnation to unanswered prayers (because they see the knowledge of God’s word on issues of this life as unattainable, given only to a few, hard to get, etc) for others who receive the word of God with simplicity (James 1:21), it is the clincher, the assurance that they will get their prayers answered by God at all times because they already have God’s requirements set out clearly. Think about it, how better can one pass an exam than when it is an open book exam? We already have the key, the ‘answers to the questions’ if you will. God says abide in me and let my words abide in you, then ask what you will and it shall be done unto you. Abiding in Him and letting His word abide in you makes Him govern your will and then you always ask right, always following the right path.
What then do you do?
The first question on your lips before proceeding to ‘bombard heaven’ or your enemies with prayer should be “is my intended prayer according to God’s word (His will)”? If it is not or you are not sure, don’t bother wasting your time, except the prayer you want to pray is that of thanksgiving, praise and worship or that of consecration or praying in the spirit, all which we know are according to God’s word (Hebrews 13:5, James 4:17, Jude 1:20), otherwise such a prayer will be an exercise in futility. For whatever you are going to pray, seek God’s word first, be sure you are asking based on His word.
When the Lord Jesus said to watch and pray, He meant just that. Simply because it is called prayer does not mean it is prayer to God the Father, else it will be prayed according to His word (His will). There is only one God the Father, the same way there is only one Jesus Christ. God the Father is the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ (Ephesians 3:13) and if prayer is to Him, it must be prayed according to His word otherwise He is under no obligation to answer because He will not hear in the first instance (1 John 5:14). Part of the watchfulness therefore is to ascertain firstly that we are praying according to God’s word and secondly that we are seeing the fruits (answers) to our prayers as the word of God says, so that God can be glorified in our lives. If you are not seeing the fruits, make the necessary corrections and pray still.
Have you ever wondered why there is so much ‘prayer’ going around today and yet things are not getting better (at least not to the extent to which the prayers are being made)? The answer is not far-fetched (at least not anymore). Dear believer, are we going to once and for all look into the perfect law of liberty (without the veil of man’s opinion), allow the Holy Spirit to teach us God’s word and then continue in what He teaches? I admonish that we do because God wants to glorify Himself in our lives more than what we have going on at the moment. To be Jesus’ disciples indeed we must bear much fruits to God’s glory and this happens only when we pray according to God’s word and He answers (John 15:8).
Meditate upon these things; give thyself wholly to them; that thy profiting may appear to all (1 Timothy 4:15), while you watch out for a sequel to this write up that will take you to yet another level in your prayer life.
Gboyega Omolayo is a writer and minister in Church@Allen, Allen, Texas. You can read more from him at: http://truthfoundations.blogspot.com.