We are turning into a very significant time of “organizing” our ministry. As in most everything, the one constant is change. Events on the calendar, registration process, effective receipting, helpful website, clarity of mission, unity among staff and team and in all… walking with God. We endeavor to enjoy the very thing we hope to offer… intimacy and connectedness with God and with each other. Again, in most everything, it sounds easier than it is.
There is a reason we have to “work” at all the good things we desire. In this fallen place, we have an enemy and the words Jesus used to summarize “the thief’s” work was steal, kill and destroy (John 10:10a). And so it all makes a little more sense.
The Life we were made for and the Life we long for is violently opposed. So, we pray. We pray to align our hearts with His, to proclaim and declare what is true, to wield an authority in which we were given against our enemy and to announce our hopes and desires for the good things within the Kingdom in which we are now citizens.
It’s a grand story in which we live. It requires the eyes and ears of those who live in it to understand how it works (the context) and live wisely.
There was a time when we used to believe the world was flat. There was a time when I used to pray flat; launch a list of stuff God’s way; usually a monologue of requests where I did all the talking. Some call it a “to do” list or maybe a punch list. “knock out these things God and so my house (my life) would work better.”
How we pray tells a lot about how and what we believe. I’ve caught myself praying differently these past years. I have to confess, I used to pray for so many things I already had, like…
Dear God, give me your grace. (he already has)
Maybe Instead - Dear God, we proclaim and receive your grace again today. We receive all the grace and all the mercy you have made possible for us today through your deep, deep work in the Cross, through the Resurrection and by the Authority in which you reign in Power and Grace. We stand in your grace today.
Lord, we pray for your love to come. (it already has)
Maybe Instead - Lord, we take our place in your Love. Thank you for your Love. It is Life and it is where we find our being, reason and purpose. We declare, we need your love and our hearts find rest and strength in your love today.
Jesus, help me. (he already is)
Maybe Instead - Jesus, we receive your help today. We give you total claim to our lives and give you our hearts, minds and bodies to learn your ways and live your life.
We pray you would be with us. (he already is)
Maybe Instead - We declare your presence Lord of lords, king of Kings, Savior and Shepherd of our lives.
A Warrior prays differently. A Beloved Son or Daughter knows how and prays over, for and against. He or she is declaring, proclaiming, announcing what is true and asks for what he doesn’t yet possess or hasn’t yet been accomplished in his or her life (go back to John 17- the High Priestly Prayer).
In my book, The Heart of a Warrior, there is a quote:
God answers prayer in three ways, Yes, Not Yet or I have a better idea.
I found this from C. S. Lewis…
I pray because I can’t help myself. I pray because I’m helpless. I pray because the need flows out of me all the time- waking and sleeping. It doesn’t change God- it changes me.
How we pray declares where we are in the story and our spiritual development. “Our Father, who art in heaven” is a good place to start, its where Jesus starts all the disciples but I don’t believe we were intended to stay there. Somewhere along the road, we hear Him pray, Like John 17 and we see these are two very different prayers and yet they are very much alike- give them a read, compare away and see what God says, reveals to your heart.
When was the last time you saw an answered prayer? One of the three ways mentioned above? This also is very telling of how we believe what we believe. What does it say about me when I have no answer for the question, “So what is God up to in your life?” This is why I am grateful prayer isn’t a list anymore… it’s a conversation. One in which listening and receiving, have joined the ranks of asking, seeking and knocking in His name.
Bringing the Kingdom is the best way to pray.
Declaring and announcing The Kingdom OVER my life and my domain.
Praying FOR what is true in and of The Kingdom to be true in and of my stuff.
Wielding an authority in prayer AGAINST anything and everything that would raise its head, come against Life and Freedom.
After all, that is what Christ’s Kingdom is all about… putting the work of Christ to work OVER, FOR and AGAINST my life in Him and for Him.
If you want some examples on how we are learning to pray, take a look at our website or, even one better, join the Zoweh Intercessor Team… our BraveHearts that are stepping in and bringing The Kingdom into this place time and time again.
Paul wrote to the Thessalonica church, closing out his first letter to these believers this way…
Be cheerful no matter what; pray all the time; thank God no matter what happens. This is the way God wants you who belong to Christ Jesus to live.
I Thessalonians 5:16-18
This old Warrior is sharing a way to live. Not just pray. I used to believe, praying without ceasing wasn’t possible… not anymore. It would have been (impossible that is) had I held to an old broken system of prayer that my false self and the enemy of my life somehow invented, learned and practiced along some religious path that I was detoured on for close to three decades.
“Thank you Jesus for sharing and showing a better way. A way to live in which prayer was a conversational expression of two hearts walking together in love and for life. You are never a part from me and I am never a part from you… this is the greatest thing about us… you in me and me in you. I pray for eyes to see and ears to hear and a heart that is engaged with yours. I pray your Life and Love over my life and I pray against the enemy, the false self/flesh, the world system and the kingdom of darkness and all their plans set against me in you and you in me. I claim your righteousness, power and authority in and over my life. Bring courage, Holy Spirit to my heart and strength to my will to choose well in all the moments of my life today as I know, every moment matters and that you are in every moment with me and for me. Let it be so Jesus, let it be so.”