September 27, 2020 | Bill Johnson, Pastor at Bethel Church
“Let joy be your continual feast. Make your life a prayer. And in the midst of everything be always giving thanks, for this is God’s perfect plan for you in Christ Jesus.” (1 Thessalonians 5:16-18; TPT)
We were designed for prayer, and equally important, we were designed to get answers to our prayers. God doesn’t command us to pray with the intention of ignoring our requests. Rather, He brings us into a co-laboring relationship with Him and then makes outlandish promises that almost sound too good to be true. He says, “And whatever you ask in my name shall be done for you” (John 14:14). Tragically, when answers are rare, we find ourselves having to become encouraged from the discipline of prayer rather than the answers. That is not God’s design.
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Instead He states that we are to ask and receive, “that our joy may be full” (John 16:24). Fullness of joy encourages and replenishes strength in us. And that joy is to be the fruit of the answers we receive. Enjoying answered prayers is a thousand times better than trying to squeeze out encouragement simply from the discipline of having prayed. If this is true, then how are we supposed to get constant answers to prayer? The secret is in the abiding presence of God.
Those who have given themselves to a life of worship have a great advantage in this regard. They live more aware of the presence of God than others: “If you abide in Me, and My words abide in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you” (John 15:7). This passage gives us the beautiful picture of the ongoing communion with the Spirit of God and the full impact of His Word on our inner world.
Here’s a simple pattern to follow:
1. If I have an hour to pray, I’ll usually worship for close to 45 minutes. If I have ten minutes to pray, I’ll usually worship for six or seven minutes. You can pray for many things in the time left. The point is, becoming aware of Him and His heart is more important than the length of the prayer.
2. Find out what is on God’s heart and pray accordingly. Lay down personal agendas and opinions as much as is possible. Then pray with authority, as you are praying with the heart of the almighty God.
3. Bring your personal requests and desires to Him. When we seek first His kingdom, which is His will, the other things are added to our lives.
This is kingdom protocol.
This pattern is a good way to start a life of answered prayer, the kind of co-laboring that God intended for us from the beginning.
By Bill Johnson
Senior Pastor, Bethel Church
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