Have you ever wondered how effective your prayers are? If you haven’t, I’m guessing that you have conditioned yourself to think only in terms of Scripture. The Word says; therefore, I believe. “The effective fervent prayer of the righteous man avails much.” (James 5:16) Of course, the Word is our standard for everything we do.
I remember an incident that happened to a man I knew who was a Bible study teacher and a spirit-filled leader in the church. He was about 60 years old at the time and he called himself a “Word man.” He was invited to join a group of us who were attending Restoring the Foundation, an inner healing ministry. However, he knew the word so well, he considered he had nothing to gain by attending it.
He grudgingly agreed to go and during his one on one time with the counselors, when he was asked a question, he would only respond with scripture. Shortly after the counselors recognized the pattern, they asked him to please stop quoting scripture and answer the questions from his heart. Once he could no longer hide behind the scriptures, his heart was exposed and the great need for healing became apparent. He ended up sobbing on the floor, and ultimately left there with great healing and deliverance. He testified to the power of the cleansing and refreshing he had experienced.
Just how real are we when we pray? Are we so ingrained with a pattern of prayer we have learned and practiced that it has become a matter of habit? Do we follow the same well-worn paths that we have learned over the years from various teachings and from listening to others’ style of praying? Is our “style” of praying our own? another’s? or the Holy Spirit’s?
When I was a young woman, on fire with the desire to pray effectively and with power, I was dismayed when I heard the Lord Jesus say to me one day, “Put on my mantle of Intercession when you pray.” “Wow, what have I been doing?” I asked myself. It is scary to think that we can be on fire for the things of God and not even be in agreement with Him at the same time.
We can be like our friend above, so sure of the proper response that it becomes a habit to pray a certain way and in doing so, block the Holy Spirit from having any influence. Even if we can back it up with scripture, is that what the Spirit is saying now? Are we putting on the mantle of the Lord Jesus Christ? Are we praying in agreement with the Lord?
I know when I have asked the Lord for His wisdom in everyday life, it is often different than what I initially believed it would be. Not surprising. I am human. Whatever the need is, I have a pre-conditioned response. But I don’t want it to end there.
I want to hear my Jesus’ heart. And that usually means when I want justice, He wants mercy first. And when I want to pray for someone to lose their position of authority, He wants them to be transformed to come under His authority. When I am praying from a position of criticism and judgement, He is praying from a position of mercy, forgiveness and grace.
Oh, sweet Lord Jesus, teach us to put on your mantle of intercession. Teach us your ways, oh Dear Lord. Forgive us for praying in ruts, from old habits and from un-renewed minds. Our minds are Yours; Your ways are ours. We choose to pray in response to your leading. And in yielding to your Holy Spirit when we pray, we will never have to wonder again if our prayers are effective again.
May God bless as you lean on the One who is our Intercessor.
Linda Zampieri Field Director | [M]Watch