As a born-again believer in Jesus, his resurrection life resides in you, where his life and power are at work. You have within you a power working greater than anything! Jesus is the source of your new life, of faith, and of prevailing prayer.
Have you ever stopped to think about this reality? The same resurrection power that rose Jesus from the dead lives and dwells within you! (See Eph. 1:18-20)
This understanding will transform your prayer life!
Your prayers are not “feeble attempts” to get God’s attention; rather, your prayers have “resurrection life” attached to them because the greater one within is releasing his presence and power through you. You see, “greater is He who is in you than he who is in the world!” (1 John 4:4 NASB)
When Carolyn and I were newly married, God began to “fast track” us to a deeper understanding of the reality of Christ within. One day during this season, Carolyn came home from work with excruciating pain in her left ear. I said to her, “Let me pray for your ear,” to which she happily agreed. I prayed a short commanding prayer, telling the pain to go, for infection to leave, and for the ear to function as normal—in Jesus name. No sooner than I finished praying, she said, “Bob, all the pain is gone!” I was so new to this, I said, “Are you sure?!” She said, “Yes, I’m sure, all the pain is gone, and my ear feels normal!” We both rejoiced and thanked God for her healing. His resurrection life was at work through me, despite my inexperience and weak faith for healing ministry.
This week I want to continue the teaching on prevailing faith and prayer. I’ll start again with the story in Mark’s gospel of Jesus and the withered fig tree, as this story teaches us the importance of prevailing faith and prayer.
So Jesus answered and said to them, “Have faith in God. For assuredly, I say to you, whoever says to this mountain, ‘Be removed and be cast into the sea,’ and does not doubt in his heart, but believes that those things he says will be done, he will have whatever he says. Therefore I say to you, whatever things you ask when you pray, believe that you receive them, and you will have them.” Mark 11:22-24 NKJV
Notice that faith and prayer are linked. God’s faith causes confident prayer.
Understand that just as grace and faith are connected, so are faith and prayer. God extends grace that we can believe in Christ; the Spirit then empowers us to be people of faith who become people of prayer. You can’t earn grace through works, but grace invites you to participate in becoming Christ-like and doing the very works of Christ. (see Eph. 2:8-10)
But this grace is more than just your conversion experience. God imparts faith when you and I need it most, often when we least deserve it. God’s faith, imparted to your heart, causes mountains to move and prayers to be answered—it’s by his grace!
Faith, at its basic level, is belief in God and his promises. Faith counts the promise as done because of the One who has made the promise. God’s faith is imparted to us from him. We have a responsibility to use the measure of faith given and grow in faith, but faith (like grace) is from God (See Rom. 12:3).
But as I’ve shared recently, Jesus is the originator of our faith, and therefore the Holy Spirit, who dwells within us, is the originator of our prayers (see Rom. 8:26-27). Learning how to “tune in” to the promptings and leadings of the Spirit is important to pray more confidently and effectively.
Jesus is the author and finisher of our faith (Heb. 12:2), and he promised that the fullness of God would dwell in the heart of the one who believes. Look at what both Jesus and Paul said about God dwelling in and with us:
Jesus answered, “Whoever loves me will keep my word. My Father will love them, and we will come to them and make our home with them.” John 14:23 CEB
All the fullness of deity lives in Christ’s body. And you have been filled by him, who is the head of every ruler and authority.” Col 2:9-10 CEB
Jesus is the fullness of God and we, the Church, are the fullness of Christ! Jesus resides in us, and he is the fullness of every spiritual blessing. All that pertains to life and godliness are found in him. In Christ, begin to understand how wonderful you are in God, dependent upon him, not of yourself. His very resurrection life and power are working in and through you if you will only believe!
Jesus, by telling the disciples to “speak to mountains,” prepared them for situations in which they would find it necessary to take His authority in the Spiritual realm to impact things in the natural (see Matt. 28:18-19).
You have been given God’s faith, God’s Spirit, God’s promises, and God’s authority! Expect impossible situations to change as you prevail in prayer. When you have God’s faith on a matter, you begin to pray and speak with a confidence that the promise is received now and is on its way.
Remember, the fullness of God dwells within you as a follower of Christ; therefore, as you commune with God, from your inner being, spirit to Spirit, know that God is at work in and through you to answer prayer and change situations.
Jesus Expects You and Me to Petition Him in Prayer
Remember what Jesus said regarding the withered fig tree,
“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 NKJV
In Matthew’s gospel, Jesus was teaching the disciples a model for prayer (the Lord’s prayer), and then begins to give them further principles about petitionary prayer:
Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives, and he who seeks finds, and to him who knocks it will be opened… How much more will your Father who is in Heaven give good things to those who ask Him!” Matt. 7:7-8,11 NKJV
These verbs ask, seek, and knock in the Greek mean a continual asking, seeking, and knocking. Pray until you see the answer, or until the Holy Spirit indicates to stop praying. Prayer is primarily communion with God. From this place of relationship and communion, God expects us to petition him in prayer. In other words, don’t be afraid to ask God! (see Heb. 4:16) Sure, he already knows what you have need of before you ask of him, but he invites you and me to petition and partner with him in prayer.
However, to have assurance that your petitions will be answered, certain conditions must be met.
Here are seven conditions to consider:
1. You must ask in FAITH.
Simply asking God for things will not assure you of a positive response.
And all things, whatsoever you ask in prayer, believing, you shall receive.” Matt. 21:22 NKJV
…but believes that those things he says will be done…whatever things you ask when you pray, believe that you receive them, and you will have them.” Mark 11:23-24 NKJV
This type of faith and belief only comes from your relationship with Jesus. You simply won’t have faith to believe, free of doubt, apart from abiding in Christ and knowing who you are in Christ.
Again, where is the source of this mountain moving power? Is it out there? No, it’s Christ within you! To see the exceedingly abundantly of all that you ask or think, know that it’s according to his power at work in you! (see Eph. 3:20 NKJV)
2. Ask in the NAME OF JESUS and the authority of His name
And whatever you ask in My name, that I will do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son. If you ask anything in My name, I will do it. John 14:13-14 NKJV
You did not choose Me, but I chose you and appointed you that you should go and bear fruit, and that your fruit should remain, that whatever you ask the Father in My name He may give you.” John 15:16 NKJV
We are living from his ascension victory, given the authority of his name, and reigning with him in this life. Consider what Paul wrote about our reigning with Christ:
“… those who receive the abundance of grace and of the gift of righteousness will reign in life through the One, Jesus Christ.” Rom. 5:17 NASB
As I shared last week, don’t allow a religious spirit to try and question your authority in Christ. Remember, all authority belongs to Jesus, and he has commissioned you and me to go in the authority of his command and name! (See Matt. 28:18-19)
He has “deputized” us, we are ambassadors of his New Covenant, empowered by him to set captives free and impact our world with his! To prevail in faith and prayer, know your position and authority in Christ, remain confident in him amid contradiction.
3. You must ABIDE in Christ.
You are united with Christ through the power of his resurrection and the indwelling of Holy Spirit. Learn to live out of this reality and of his presence. As you daily abide with him in prayer, his Word and your daily walk—his desires become yours—faith increases, and your prayers become more confident!
If you abide in Me, and my words abide in you, you will ask what you desire, and it shall be done for you.” John 15:7 NKJV
Our confidence in life, prayer, and ministry is not in ourselves, but in God. Consider what Paul said to the Corinthians:
Such confidence we have through Christ toward God. Not that we are adequate in ourselves to consider anything as coming from ourselves, but our adequacy is from God, who also made us adequate as servants of a new covenant, not of the letter but of the Spirit; for the letter kills, but the Spirit gives life.” Prevailing faith and prayer originate from our confidence of God’s empowerment and commission worked by Holy Spirit within us.” 2 Cor. 3:4-6 NASB
Through our new life in Christ and the indwelling of the Holy Spirit, we have become adequate, or able, as servants of a new covenant!
Twentieth-century evangelist Smith Wigglesworth said in his sermon titled, “Life in the Spirit,” “…for the life within me is a thousand times bigger than I am on the outside. There must be a tremendous expansion…this life can’t be understood in the natural.” What life within—it’s Jesus! He must increase, there must be a tremendous expansion of his operative work within and through us.
Just prior to going on a mission trip to Romania in 1993, God spoke a truth to me that I often remind myself and others. The Lord said to me during prayer that day, “Bob, one man or woman full of faith and the Holy Spirit can shake a nation.” I never shook the nation of Romania, but God was teaching me something about faith and life in the Spirit before that trip.
Do you remember the story of Stephen in Acts 6-7, how he was chosen to help serve the people? It was said of him,
And Stephen, full of faith and power, did great wonders and signs among the people.” Acts 6:8 NKJV
Stephen understood that abiding with Jesus released his resurrection life through him to impact others. Your assignment is to bring the very resurrection life of Jesus to people and situations that need God’s love and power!
4. Walk RIGHTEOUSLY with God
Dear friends, if we don’t feel guilty, we can come to God with bold confidence. And we will receive from him whatever we ask because we obey him and do the things that please him.” 1 John 3:21-22 NLT
Righteous living, combined with a clean conscience, gives you confidence in prayer. Don’t allow the enemy to bring you into compromise and weaken your confidence in Christ and in prayer.
5. Live in FORGIVENESS with Others
And whenever you stand praying, if you have anything against anyone, forgive him, that your Father in heaven may also forgive you your trespasses. But if you do not forgive, neither will your Father in heaven forgive your trespasses.” Mark 11:25-26 NKJV
Jesus, in discussing faith and prayer in the story of the withered fig tree also connected the importance of living in forgiveness. A condition of prevailing prayer is a forgiving spirit. You can’t walk in the fullness of grace holding onto unforgiveness. The power of faith and prayer is linked to your ability to flow in the Spirit, unhindered by offense and unforgiveness.
6. Be properly MOTIVATED
You ask and do not receive, because you ask amiss, that you may spend it on your pleasures.” James 4:3 NKJV
God desires to give us good things, but many requests are selfish! God desires that what we ask for should be to the end that he may be glorified, and others reached with the gospel. When you heart motive is to “seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness” (Matt. 6:33 NKJV), then you can be assured that every need to complete your assignment will be given by God.
7. Ask in ACCORDANCE with the will of God.
When we ask for something God has already promised in his Word, we can ask in confidence knowing that we are praying in his will.
This is the confidence that we have in our relationship with God: If we ask for anything in agreement with his will, he listens to us. If we know that he listens to whatever we ask, we know that we have received what we asked from him.” 1 John 5:14-15 CEB
Abiding in Christ, praying in Jesus’ name (His character and nature), being full of faith and righteousness will incline us to pray according to His will. There are times you may need to ask God, “What is your will in this situation?” Expect God to give understanding as you continue to abide with him through sincere relationship.
Often our sociological and economic conditions dictate our faith level. We need to understand that “with God, nothing is impossible!”
No matter who you are, you can make a difference! Your life of faith can impact others, cities, and nations if you know the secret of prevailing faith and prayer!
For a more in-depth look at this topic, watch the Passion Church message “Prevailing Faith, Part 2“