March 5, 2023
This article is based on Pastor Adrian Rogers' message, The Secret of Effectual Prayer.
The theme of the Bible is the sovereignty of Almighty God.
“For of Him and through Him and to Him are all things, to whom be glory forever. Amen” (emphasis added).
This is also true in prayer.
God is the origin of prayer. It is of Him. The prayer that gets to Heaven is the prayer that starts in Heaven.
Jesus taught us:
“In this manner, therefore, pray: Our Father in heaven, hallowed be Your name. Your kingdom come. Your will be done on earth as it is in heaven.”
Prayer is not man’s way of getting Man’s will done in Heaven; prayer is God’s way of getting Heaven’s will done on Earth.
Why do we pray to God? Why would He want us to ask for what He already knows we need? (See Matthew 6:8.)
God has given us the privilege of working with Him in the administration of the Universe. As Paul said to the Corinthians, we are laborers together with Him. (See 1 Corinthians 3:9.)
God could run this Universe without you. But what a joy it is to have that fellowship!
God does not want you to live your life independent of Him. If He just gave you everything and you never needed to ask, depend on Him, and trust Him, you would not have that bonding.
Have you ever prayed for something, and the prayer was not answered? James writes,
“You ask and do not receive, because you ask amiss, that you may spend it on your pleasures….Do you not know that friendship with the world is enmity with God?”
In prayer, your life is being conformed to the image of Christ. Prayer begins in the heart and mind of God. Therefore, prayer is finding the will of God and getting in on it.
Your flesh has no desire to pray. “There is none who seeks after God” (Romans 3:11b). Your natural instinct is to shy away from God, like Adam and Eve hid from God in the Garden.
But, “You received the Spirit of adoption by whom we cry out, ‘Abba, Father’” (Romans 8:15b). That means it is as natural for a Spirit-filled person to want to pray as for a little child to say, “Daddy!”
“Now this is the confidence that we have in Him, that if we ask anything according to His will, He hears us.”
Sometimes we want things we don’t need. And sometimes we need things we don’t want. Sometimes, we ask God to give us what we already have—like authority over the devil. We thank God for answered prayer, but we ought to thank God for unanswered prayer, too. We would be in the soup if God answered every prayer that we ask.
“Likewise the Spirit also helps in our weaknesses. For we do not know what we should pray for as we ought, but the Spirit Himself makes intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered.”
Find out what God is up to and join Him. See what is happening in Heaven and bring it down to Earth. It is not “name it and claim it.” Pray, “Lord, give me insight into what is going on in Heaven.”
That is what Jesus did—He laid aside His prerogatives as Deity and walked this Earth, praying and depending on God. He modeled how to pray without ceasing.
“Jesus answered and said to them, ‘Most assuredly, I say to you, the Son can do nothing of Himself, but what He sees the Father do; for whatever He does, the Son also does in like manner.’”
Why don't we know what is going on in Heaven? Because we spend very little time there in worship. We rush into the presence of God and say, “Listen, Lord, your servant is speaking,” rather than, “Speak, LORD, for your servant hears.” (See 1 Samuel 3:9.) The secret to knowing the will of God and the power of prayer is worship.
“I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your reasonable service. And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God.”
Worship is presenting yourself to God as a living sacrifice and letting Him consume you. When you place yourself upon the altar, you will be transformed.
Faith is the dynamic of powerful prayer. “Therefore I say to you, whatever things you ask when you pray, believe that you receive them, and you will have them” (Mark 11:24).
You cannot make yourself believe. Did you think faith came out of your poor, carnal heart? Even that faith is the gift of God! And it comes by the Word of God, that is, He speaks to you out of His Word.
“So then faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.”
“For of Him and through Him and to Him are all things, to whom be glory forever. Amen.”
God is in the business of giving glory to Himself. Prayer originates with God, operates through God, and goes back to God to give Him glory.
The reason why many prayers are not answered as we want is because we are not interested in the glory of God. God says,
“For My own sake, for My own sake, I will do it; for how should My name be profaned? And I will not give My glory to another.”
God will not answer selfish prayers.
“And whatever you ask in My name, that I will do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son.”
The secret of effectual prayer is asking in the name of Jesus, that the Father may be glorified.
Asking in the name of Jesus does not mean you have some magic formula, that you can just put Jesus’ name on the end of your prayer. You cannot pray anything in the name of Jesus that is not for the glory of God.
Have you ever thought, “If I pray right now, it will just be a charade. I don’t feel it.”? But later, you get to feeling pretty good. So you say, “I believe it’s time now,” and you have a wonderful prayer time.
Do you think that “feeling good” made you more spiritual? Of course not. God would have heard your prayer before, because it is not how you feel, but Jesus’ name that gets your prayer heard. Don't come to prayer with your emotions and think that will give you power in prayer. Come with both hands filled with the incense of Jesus’ name, that the Father would be glorified.
It’s not about your sweat; it’s about Jesus’ blood. It’s not your performance; it’s His promise. Jesus is the source, the strength, and the subject of an effective prayer life.
Romans 3:11, 8:15,26, 10:17, 11:36, 12:1-2; Matthew 6:8-10; 1 Corinthians 3:9; James 4:3-4; 1 John 5:14; John 5:19, 14:13; 1 Samuel 3:9; Mark 11:24; Isaiah 48:11
And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God; praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, being watchful to this end with all perseverance and supplication for all the saints…
Confess your trespasses to one another, and pray for one another, that you may be healed. The effective, fervent prayer of a righteous man avails much.