|Tuesday, March 5, 2019|
Toronto, Ontario, Canada
welcome you with joy to this month of March, our month of prevailing prayers. People of God, the need of the hour is powerful, persistent, passionate, prevailing prayer. The need is far greater than most of God's people realize. The good news is that prayer works. Whatever you are going through, whatever our nation is going though, whatever your family is going through, whatever the church is going through, the bible says it is "common". "There hath no temptation taken you but such as is common to man: but God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear it." 1 Cor 10:13.
God is saying don't despair. Prayer is a way of escape from life struggles and frustration. Prayer is the route to peace, progress and prosperity. Dear brothers and sisters, if you remember nothing else from this month, please remember this: "When prayer fails, Satan prevails." The demons of Hell rejoice when the child of God is prayerless. Satan knows well that prayerless Christians are powerless Christians. Prevailing prayer is about PUSH. Pray Until Something Happens. As you pray this month expect good things to happen to you. Our God is faithful. The call this month is for you to pray.
What is prevailing prayer?
Our youngest daughter teaches a class of the children Sunday school. Their classroom is adjacent to my office. One day she came and asked "Daddy the children want to know if they can repeat their prayers." I said she should go back and ask the children "if they want 'burger or any meal' from their parents do they repeat their demand until they get their request?" Prevailing prayer is asking till you receive. Prevailing prayer requires that you prevail over any given subject in a manner that is effective. We could pray a one-line, one sentence prayer over our city every day and call that prayer. And, indeed it is! But, it may not qualify as prevailing prayer unless we are willing to wait until eternity to possibly see the fruit of it. Prevailing prayer like faith has its hope in the "now," the "present day" for change to occur. So, in the light of that, there are some distinct characteristics that set prevailing prayer apart from other kinds of prayer. It can predominate and triumph over any situation. It does not cease until the answer is obtained, which causes it to be sustained prayer.
Many prayer warriors have written about prevailing prayer. Leonard Ravenhill said "No man is greater than his prayer life. The pastor who is not praying is playing; the people who are not praying are straying. We have many organizers, but few agonizers; many players and payers, few pray-ers; many singers, few clingers; lots of pastors, few wrestlers; many fears, few tears; much fashion, little passion; many interferers, few intercessors; many writers, but few fighters. Failing here, we fail everywhere." Warren Wiersbe in his commentary said "Prayer is the energy that enables the Christian soldier to wear the armor and to wield the sword. We cannot fight the battle in our own power no matter how strong or talented we may think we are. Prayer is the power for victory but not just any kind of prayer."
What is the purpose of prevailing prayer?
When a purpose is unknown abuse is inevitable. The church is praying but are we praying prevailing prayers? What is the purpose of prevailing prayer? "Now about that time Herod the king stretched forth his bands to vex certain of the church. And he killed James the brother of John with the sword. And because he saw it pleased the Jews, he proceeded further to take Peter also." Acts 12:1-2. James was the first apostle who became a martyr for Christ. Stephen had previously been stoned, but he was not an apostle. Herod had captured and imprisoned Peter. Now Peter, indeed, seemed to be at death's gate; but the Lord said, "Thus far shall thou go, and no farther." This we have to keep before us, that Satan, though he hates us, can go no farther than the Lord gives him liberty. But God will not just stop Satan if you fail to do your part -pray!
The purpose of prevailing prayer is to keep Satan at bay. Satan hates us. Satan does not want you to succeed. Satan wants people to live in abject poverty and misery. Satan does not want your children to go to school. For example, Nigeria like many other nations is facing political cum religious and ethnic quagmires, that is causing many Christian to loose their faith, may I submit to you that the solution is prevailing prayer. Pray that the government will get it right and that evil will no more prevail. My father did not go to school, he faced financial battles to send me to school. Satan does not want your marriage to succeed, and that is why divorce rates are increasing. Satan does not want you or anybody to be saved. Only one third of the world has embraced Christianity in one form or the other (, Catholics, Mainline, Evangelicals and Pentecostals etc). The antidote for the onslaught of Satan is not just glorified prayer, not just praying for praying sake but praying to get results.
Our church will embark on 21 days praying and fasting from March 1-21, 2019 but I made it clear that it is not just to fulfill a task. It is to secure your position in destiny. It is to liberate your nation. Nigeria has started her general election last month, to finish this month, the only solution to realize the dreams of our land is prevailing prayer. Canada will have general elections in the fall, only prayer can help. When Daniel prayed he prayed a prevailing prayer. He prayed for 21 days. His prayers were answered on the first day and he did not get the result because the prince of Persia arrested the angel that brought the answer. Daniel could have hurriedly concluded that God was not interested in his affairs or the affairs of the nation of Israel he was praying for, but he knew about prevailing prayers, he knew the tricks of Satan, so he was resolute, in spirit, stubborn, persistent, endured, travailed, stood his ground until he got results. He knew the result was the liberation of his people from 70 years of bondage. The purpose of your prayer is to come out of satanic bondage, and captivity irrespective of the years whether for yourself, family, church, community nation or religion. "And it came to pass in the process of time, that the king of Egypt died: and the children of Israel sighed by reason of the bondage, and they cried, and their cry came up unto God by reason of the bondage.24 And God heard their groaning, and God remembered his covenant with Abraham, with Isaac, and with Jacob.25 And God looked upon the children of Israel, and God had respect unto them Ex 2:23-25. I pray that God will hear your prayers and my prayers!
Conditions for Prevailing Prayer
Charles Finney in his sermon on 'Power from on High' gave the following conditions for prevailing prayer.
How do we pray prevailing prayers?
Again, Leonard Ravenhill helps us "A man may study because his brain is hungry for knowledge, even Bible knowledge. But he prays because his soul is hungry for God." We pray prevailing prayer by being hungry for God as the solution to our needs, be it political, material, social, financial or physical. Let me give you three examples from scripture:
The story of The Syrophoenician woman. This is a remarkable story recorded in the 15th chapter of Matthew about the woman of Canaan who pleaded with Jesus to deliver her daughter from demon possession. Jesus ignored her for a while, the disciples tried to send her away but she would not be denied. Then she came and worshipped Him, saying, "Lord, help me!" But He answered and said, "It is not good to take the children's bread and throw it to the little dogs." And she said, "Yes, Lord, yet even the little dogs eat the crumbs which fall from their masters' table." Then Jesus answered and said to her, "O woman, great is your faith! Let it be to you as you desire." And her daughter was healed from that very hour. (Matt. 15:25-28) This is the perfect picture of pressing through every obstacle in urgent solicitation and importunity in order to prevail with the Lord. It is about great faith, persistence and focus.
The second story is similar, it is of a widow. "Now He was telling them a parable to show that at all times they ought to pray and not to lose heart, 2 saying, "In a certain city there was a judge who did not fear God and did not respect man. 3 There was a widow in that city, and she kept coming to him, saying, '[a]Give me legal protection from my opponent.' 4 For a while he was unwilling; but afterward he said to himself, 'Even though I do not fear God nor respect man, 5 yet because this widow bothers me, I will [b]give her legal protection, otherwise by continually coming she will [c]wear me out. 6 And the Lord said, "Hear what the unrighteous judge said; 7 now, will not God bring about justice for His elect who cry to Him day and night, [d]and will He delay long over them? 8 I tell you that He will bring about justice for them quickly. However, when the Son of Man comes, will He find [e]faith on the earth?" Lk 18:1-8.Again we see a hard hearted man, a no nonsense man who bowed to a prayer of importunity, prevailing prayer.
The third story was narrated by James about Elijah and gave us key factors about prevailing prayer which we shall discuss next. "Make this your common practice: Confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you can live together whole and healed. The prayer of a person living right with God is something powerful to be reckoned with. Elijah, for instance, human just like us, prayed hard that it wouldn't rain, and it didn't-not a drop for three and a half years. Then he prayed that it would rain, and it did. The showers came and everything started growing again. My dear friends, if you know people who have wandered off from God's truth, don't write them off. Go after them. Get them back and you would have rescued precious lives from destruction and prevented an epidemic of wandering away from God. Jas 5:16-18 Messages (MSG). James is saying you can do it!
I like what Pat Gastineau said "God put into your spiritual DNA a desire to prevail in prayer, to see people effected and to see cities and nations turned. Everyone has a dream to be used by God to affect mankind on some level. Even the desire to find your inheritance and have your destiny mapped out is a dream that we all dream. If you don't, you've gotten side tracked into some comfort zone of peace at all cost." Pray at all times-on every occasion, in every season-in the Spirit, with all [manner of] prayer and entreaty. To that end keep alert and watch with strong purpose and perseverance, interceding in behalf of all the saints [God's consecrated people]. (Eph. 6:18 Amp)
I will not have space to guide you on your prayer content. But I need to say, let the Holy Spirit lead you. Pray according to biblical principles. For instance, In Matt 5, Jesus encourages us to pray for our enemies and those that persecute us. What type of prayer, simple prayer of salvation, pray that their evil machinations will not come to pass. Paul says we should pray for our leaders to embrace peace. Pray for their salvation. Pray that the people of other faith will have their spiritual eyes opened and be saved. Pray for the church leaders and all Christians to lead in Jesuslization of nations. Pray against Jihadist and Islamization agenda. The Pray for the peace of Jerusalem as a nation and your own nation as your Jerusalem. Pray for kingdom advancement. Pray for your family, relations, church members that you may be prosperous, spiritually, physically, materially, academically, and financially.
Let us pray!
As I conclude and urge you to pray let me remind you that our enemy, the devil, pulls out a new trick each day in order to keep us from prayer. Often we succumb without the least bit of resistance or discernment as to what is taking place. Most days he doesn't even have to find a new trick. The same one he used yesteryears still works to keep us from praying today. Beloved, when was the last time you spent thirty minutes in prayer? When was the last time you spent thirty minutes watching TV? Some years ago when Facebook celebrated 10 years of existence, someone wrote in Charisma magazine that Christians now prefer Facebook to bible. The social media is good, it has its purpose but it shouldn't replace the place of prayer. If we want to win the war against the onslaught of Satan against the church in this generation, small write ups, funny or not so funny video clips will not help us, we must look at the cross; we must bend our knees. The place and priority of prayer in our lives must be quickly established or re-established. I pray continually throughout the day, as I'm sure you do as well, but this is no excuse for not setting apart time just for prayer. God will not do for us what He would not do for Jesus - exempt us from the need to pray!
If our Redeemer - the One who spoke this world into existence, the Lion of Judah, the Lamb slain before the foundation of the world - found prayer necessary in God's economy, then who are we to try to live by any other standard? Who are we to think that we can attempt to live without prevailing prayer? One of the places that attracted my attention when I visited Israel a couple of years ago that I cannot forget in a hurry was the garden of Gethsemane. I just imagine how Jesus was agonizing and the disciples were sleeping. No wonder Jesus said, "Watch and pray, that ye enter not into temptation: the spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak." Matt 26:41.
When I look at websites of churches in Canada and most churches in the Western world and see -Night vigil First Friday or Last Friday of the month and it lasts for two hours I can only pray that God will help this generation of Christians!
Paul echoed the same sentiments in Eph 2:10-18 when he said paraphrased "How do you live out these Gospel blessings and responsibilities, how do you prevail against all these wicked and vicious arrows of the enemy? You need to be strong in the Lord, strong in God's strength. You know you can't live the Christian life on your own. You're saved by Christ and you live by Christ. You're saved by grace and you live by grace. You're saved by faith and you must live by faith. You received Christ and that's how you walk in Him." Let us put on that Gospel armor, the defensive but more than that, the offensive. Notice that in the armor Paul described there is nothing to cover the back, and so we cannot afford to be turning our backs to the devil, we have to take Satan on with full force of power and prevailing prayer. That's how we can get the victory over the enemy which is the purpose of prevailing prayer! Let us receive fresh power of the Holy Ghost and pray through this month and beyond. May the good Lord answer your prayers in Jesus' name.
This month join us in 21 days of prayer, from March 1 -21, 2019, at Christ Apostolic Church Bethel Toronto if you are in the Greater Toronto Area. We are located at 94 Kenhar Drive Suite 22, North York, Ontario, M9L 1N2. We shall meet every day at 7:30pm, Fridays only 10pm-12am.