Prayer allows you to
1. Make a difference
2. Grow in Relationship with God
Bible examples of making a difference through prayer:
-James 5: 13-18 (healing, salvation, altering weather conditions)
"Is any among you afflicted? let him pray. Is any merry? let him sing psalms. Is any sick among you? let him call for the elders of the church; and let them pray over him, anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord: And the prayer of faith shall save the sick, and the Lord shall raise him up; and if he have committed sins, they shall be forgiven him.Confess your faults one to another, and pray one for another, that ye may be healed. The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much. Elias was a man subject to like passions as we are, and he prayed earnestly that it might not rain: and it rained not on the earth by the space of three years and six months. And he prayed again, and the heaven gave rain, and the earth brought forth her fruit."
-1 Timothy 2:1-4 (makes a difference in government, lends peace and fruitfulness to the church, saves people, gives understanding of the truth) "I exhort therefore, that, first of all, supplications, prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks, be made for all men. For kings, and for all that are in authority; that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and honesty.For this is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Saviour;Who will have all men to be saved, and to come unto the knowledge of the truth."
-Acts 8: 15-17 (gives believers the Holy Ghost) "Who, when they were come down, prayed for them, that they might receive the Holy Ghost: (For as yet he was fallen upon none of them: only they were baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus.) Then laid they their hands on them, and they received the Holy Ghost."
The second thing prayer does, is Prayer helps you grow in relationship with God.
Jude 1:20 "But ye, beloved, building up yourselves on your most holy faith, praying in the Holy Ghost,"
So how can we describe prayer?
See prayer as a hot air balloon
Your hot air balloon of prayer includes all parts of who you are.
* body (what you do)
* mind (what you think)
* your spirit (faith and feelings)
***Your body is what is physically engaged in prayer.
--Your body is the place of creative DOING
-----going and praying at the schools
-----laying hands on a prayer cloth
-----claiming God’s promises over newspaper headlines.
***Your mind links your body and your spirit together in prayer.
-your thoughts help you perceive a need
-your thoughts help you see/visualize
-------visualize Jesus, whom you are praying to (Where are you in proximity to the one you’re talking to? What does he look like when you approach him?)
-your thoughts allow you to take a mental journey to the situation you are praying for. (You leave your living room and travel to Syria to pray for the young girls who have been deceived by ISSIS militants. You go to states where extreme weather conditions have negatively impacted the economy. You see a loved one sitting head-in-hand- in distress.)
-Your brain doesn't take a vacation when your hot air balloon of prayer is soaring.
1 Corinthians 14: 14-15. "What is it then? I will pray with the spirit, and I will pray with the understanding also:"
***Your spirit takes prayer to the level of God’s Spirit.
-Your faith and feelings give prayer its momentum. Because it involves faith and emotions, it is your spirit which prompts you to pray in desperation and approach God with confidence.
*Because prayer needs faith, you use the Word of God when you are in prayer. Romans 10:17 “So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.”
Ephesians 6: 17-18 "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,"
***Just as a hot air balloon could carry you nowhere if it is sitting on the ground, so your prayer must reach the realm of the HOLY SPIRIT if it is to (1) make a difference and (2) benefit your relationship with God.
-God is eager to work with you in prayer.
1 Peter 3:12 "For the eyes of the Lord are over the righteous, and his ears are open unto their prayers:"
-When you pray in the spirit you can know that we have connected with the Holy Spirit.
-When you connect with the Holy Spirit,
-the Spirit of God begins to influence your spirit by increasing your faith and touching your feelings.
-He influences your thoughts because suddenly you can see something happening (angels riding to the school with you and being dispatched to the classrooms, Jesus walking to your alcoholic family member, laying his hand on him, the alcoholic falling to his knees, hands lifted, …)
-God’s Spirit influences your body. You may be moved to lay hands on someone, you may weep, or you may speak boldly in tongues.
***Although you may not grasp EVERYTHING God does, when your prayers connect with God's Spirit, there are some things that don't happen. For example, when your hot air balloon has risen to spiritual heights, your mind doesn't go shopping at Walmart. Your body doesn't sit down and eat a bag of chips and flip through TV channels. Your emotions aren't consumed with the latest love of your life or overtaken with how angry you are with someone. However, these are distractions you can expect to encounter when you attempt to pray. The very elements that are designed for you to use to soar in prayer are the avenues through which the enemy tries to hinder your prayers. Your body grows tired; your mind is distracted; your emotions are disconnected. But if you insist on praying, God's Spirit will make a difference. His strength will help your weaknesses.
Romans 8: 26-27 "Likewise the Spirit also helpeth our infirmities: for we know not what we should pray for as we ought: but the Spirit itself maketh intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered. And he that searcheth the hearts knoweth what is the mind of the Spirit, because he maketh intercession for the saints according to the will of God."
There are some things that are inexplicable when prayers reach the God realm,but when you pray, God does the work
Acts 12:5,7 "Peter therefore was kept in prison: but prayer was made without ceasing of the church unto God for him.And, behold, the angel of the Lord came upon him, and a light shined in the prison: and he smote Peter on the side, and raised him up, saying, Arise up quickly. And his chains fell off from his hands."
Where will the hot air balloon of prayer take you today?
Tip/Tidbit: Challenge your mind or your body to do something new in prayer today.