More than it will change any one or any thing, persistent prayer will change the one who prayers persistently.
When teaching his disciples how to pray, Jesus began by saying this:
After this manner therefore pray ye: Our Father which art in heaven, Hallowed be thy name.
Notice that Jesus didn’t begin His prayer with a plea to be heard. He did not beg for God’s attention. He did not cry out to be received. He prayed with a confident knowing. Assured of His identity, Jesus prayed with a holy boldness.
The key to praying with boldness is knowing that God is your Father and that you are His child. We find our confidence when we can sincerely pray, “Our Father.”
When the believer is assured of his divine identity, he can pray unhindered by doubt and shame. Doubt and shame are the great destroyers of your prayer life. Doubt tells you that God can’t hear you; shame tells you that God won’t hear you.
And both doubt and shame can be overcome by knowing one simple yet powerful truth. That Truth is found in the book of Hebrews.
For we have not an high priest which cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities; but was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin. Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need.
Because of what Christ accomplished on the cross, because we have a High Priest representing us before the Father, we can approach the throne of God with confidence and boldness.
The disciple of Christ does not doubt God’s existence, but the disciple of Christ does, at times, doubt God’s ability to perform His Word. And it’s not that we imagine that God is powerless. Instead, we imagine that we ourselves are unable to receive. That’s the great hindrance of doubt. In the same way, shame causes us to question whether or not God will hear our prayers.
Shame and doubt go hand-in-hand. Shame and doubt energize one another, and they are rooted in the same lies.
“Your past isn’t forgiven.”
“God is unwilling to hear you.”
“You’ve made too many mistakes.”
“It’s too late for you.”
Shame and doubt can hinder your prayer life, yes. But there is a holy boldness within - a boldness that has the power to destroy the weakening bondages of shame and doubt.
When you begin to pray, start from the place of identity. Maintain a divine audacity. Know to Whom you belong. Know that you are accepted and forgiven. Cry out, “My Father!” Let the Holy Spirit persuade you. Let Him convince you that you belong to God.
The Spirit you received does not make you slaves, so that you live in fear again; rather, the Spirit you received brought about your adoption to sonship. And by him we cry, "Abba, Father."
Trust the voice of the Holy Spirit. Ignore the voices of doubt and shame. When you pray with boldness, you’re not afraid to ask of God. When you pray while free from shame, your confidence in the Lord is renewed.
Imagine how much time you could save while praying if, instead of begging God to hear you, you simply believed that He already did. Imagine how boldly you could approach the throne if you knew the sin that causes you shame was wiped from God’s records. You’re already His. You belong to Him. Remember: we don’t pray to connect with God; we pray from connection with God. Go boldly before God.
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The more I knew of Him, the more I wanted to know. There was a beautiful and energizing grace that compelled my every spiritual act. There was a flow to my prayer and devotion. But then, seemingly out of nowhere, I felt a growing distance between God and myself. The clear image of Jesus, that the eyes of my heart had so clearly beheld, began to fade.
Dear reader, you don’t need to be a “demon expert” to be a threat to hell. Should you know the dynamics of spiritual warfare and demonic activity? Absolutely. But how much more do you really think you need to learn before you begin to exercise your authority over them? The ability to cast out demons and destroy the works of hell is not necessarily about how much you know about demons; it’s about how much demons know about Christ in you.
When I first learned the wonderful truth of the Holy Spirit’s personal nature, I desired to cultivate a friendship with the mysterious third Person of the Trinity. I found everything about His essence to be alluring, magnetic. As I examined the scriptures, I sought for clues and insights to His nature and personality. I wanted to understand His every nuance, familiarize myself with His every quality.
In scripture, when looking at the God’s mighty prophets and anointed ministers, you’ll notice that it was rare for any of them to doubt that they were hearing God. Sure, they sometimes doubted situations, and they were met with many of the same inner struggles that we face today. But those men were confident in their ability to hear God. Compare that confidence with the uncertainty of many of today’s believers, and you’ll be forced to ask yourself this important question: why do believers today struggle to hear God?
You must show faithfulness. And you have to give Him something to bless. You can’t expect God to bless your ministry if the only hard work you do is to keep yourself from hard work. There are no shortcuts in God’s kingdom. Quick works will quickly fail. God gives visions AND plans. The vision is the heart; the plan is the action.