We are discussing why it typically requires persevering prayer to receive breakthroughs. Yesterday we looked at the fact that we are spiritual wombs for God’s life, outlets of His power. Spiritual power is released, not only from heaven, but from the church through speaking God’s Word, touching (“laying on of hands” [Hebrews 6:2]), worship, and Spirit-led decrees. At times, when we are waiting for God to answer a prayer, He is waiting on us to release His power. In that post, I shared an example of this from when I needed healing from 45 warts on my hands. If you did not see the post, I believe it would encourage you. Today, I want to address the fact that invisible spiritual forces are measurable and that certain amounts are required for different situations.
We do not typically think of invisible spiritual dynamics, such as power, love, grace, etc., as measurable elements/forces. But just as invisible elements of our natural world are real and can be measured, such as oxygen and other gases, there are unseen spiritual forces, as well, which are no less real and exist in varying measures.
For example, there are measurable levels of faith. Romans 12:3 says, “as God has allotted to each a measure of faith.” The Greek word for “measure” is metron, from which we get the word “meter.” In other words, God has “metered out” to each a portion of faith; from there, it must grow. (The Scriptures do not say we only need faith the size of a mustard seed to move mountains. Some translations say this, but they are paraphrases and interpretations, not true translations. The Bible actually says we need faith like a mustard seed (Matthew 17:20), which begins small but grows into a tree.
There are measurable levels of grace. Second Corinthians 9:8 says, “And God is able to make all grace abound to you.” In Acts 4:33, we are told that “with great power gave the apostles witness of the resurrection of the Lord Jesus, and great grace was upon them all” (KJV). The Greek word for “great” is megas, from which we get “mega.” There is grace, and there is mega grace.
The same verse that speaks of mega grace mentions mega power (see Acts 4:33 KJV). The apostles moved in mega power because they were being given mega grace! My point is simply that the unseen elements or forces of the spirit realm are very real. The anointing is real, faith is real, and power is real. And they are measurable.
Different Situations Require Different Amounts of Power
Just as with natural forces or elements, different levels of spiritual power are required in order to accomplish different things. Just as a different level of power is needed to light a flashlight versus a building, or a building as opposed to a city, the same dynamic is true in the spiritual realm. Different amounts of God’s power are needed to accomplish different things. It requires more power to raise the dead than to heal a headache, for example.
In Mark 6, Jesus desired to heal individuals in His hometown of Nazareth, but “could not” (verse 5). Matthew’s account of this simply says Christ “did not” do so (Matthew 13:58), as though He chose not to. Mark takes it further, however, and says Christ “could not” perform miracles there because of their offense toward Him and their unbelief (Mark 6:3-6). He was only able to “heal a few sick people.” This amazing passage clearly reveals that spiritual power is a measurable force and that different amounts are needed for different things. Enough of Christ’s power was flowing to the people to “heal” a few of them, but not to perform a “miracle.” (The problem wasn’t with Christ. The amount of authority and power He possessed hadn’t changed. Nor had His faith wavered.)
In Matthew 17:14-21, the disciples had been successfully casting out demons and healing the sick, having been given authority and power by Jesus to do so. However, an insane boy was brought to them whom they could not free from the spirit causing his insanity. Jesus arrived and had no problem exorcising the demon. Though the disciples had enough power flowing in their ministries to deal with most demons and diseases, they encountered one that required more faith and power than they currently possessed. Again, the obvious implication is that different measures of power are needed to accomplish different things.
Power Is Often Released Incrementally
At times, the release of this power is incremental. We don’t usually experience breakthroughs after praying or decreeing God’s Word over a situation one time. Usually, we must do so consistently, persevering until we have released enough power to accomplish what is needed. This is also why the prayer of agreement, which multiplies power, is helpful.
Often, when it appears God has finally decided to answer a prayer, or when we think a breakthrough suddenly occurred, the reality is that enough power has now been released through our prayers and decrees to accomplish what is needed.
When the prophet Elijah prayed for a widow’s son who had died, he spread himself out on the corpse, face to face, and prayed three times before the boy was resurrected (see 1 Kings 17:21). Why did this resurrection require three prayers and Spirit-led acts? Was it because the prophet was ineffective the first two times? We are not told the reason, but there is no indication that this was the case. The logical explanation is that he was releasing more power and life out of his spirit each time. It requires a good bit of power to raise the dead!
In 1 Kings 18:1, the Lord said to Elijah, “Go, show yourself to Ahab, and I will send rain on the face of the earth.” God didn’t say, “I might send rain.” Nor did He say, “If you pray hard enough, I’ll do so.” He didn’t say, “I’m thinking about it.” He said, “I’m going to send rain.” Sending rain to end the drought was God’s timing, God’s idea, God’s will, and God’s promise.
YET, we are told at the end of this chapter and in James 5:16-18 that Elijah labored in prayer diligently, seven times, in the posture of a woman delivering a baby, symbolizing travail, before clouds appeared and the rain came. Elijah didn’t pray casually, but with repeated “fervent prayer” (James 5:16-18 KJV).
The question we must ask ourselves regarding this is: Since the rain was God’s will, timing, and idea, why did the prophet have to pray fervently, seven different times until the rain came? It certainly wasn’t to motivate or convince God to send it. The most reasonable explanation is that God works through people and was using Elijah’s persevering travail to produce the rain. When sufficient spiritual power had been released into the heavens, it produced the rain.
It was a game-changer for me when this revelation became clear. I realized that when perseverance in prayer was necessary, it wasn’t to persuade God or overcome His reluctance. Nor was it to “earn” His help through hard work. It was to release more of His power. If what I was praying about was truly God’s will, it would eventually occur if I continued doing my part. Christ’s provision, Holy Spirit’s power, we release it.
Tomorrow we will apply this to praying for people’s salvation and praying for revival.
Pray with me:
Father, it is very important that we learn, not only of Your power, but also Your ways. We must not only know You can, but we must also understand how You desire to work. You have chosen to work on earth through Your family; strengthen us in the area of perseverance and determination. May we never quit before we see the results You promised.
When we have discerned by Your spirit that the opportune time has come for an outpouring of spiritual rain, You said in Zechariah 10:1 to ask for it. We have discerned that it is time and therefore are asking You for the rain of revival. We are appealing for a deluge. Let a mighty outpouring of Holy Spirit come to this nation and other parts of the earth. Pour out Your Spirit as You did in the book of Acts, with great signs, wonders, and miracles. May it be said of us, as it was of them, that our world was turned upside down.
You have also said You were going to restore a righteous government to America. We have some righteous leaders who honor You, but many in our nation’s Capital oppose You and Your ways, blatantly opposing Your Word and mocking You. We boldly ask You to remove them; shake up our government. From the White House, to the Capitol, to the Supreme Court - we ask You to remove those who dishonor and oppose You. Do this in states and cities, also. Give us righteous, wise leaders - men and women of understanding and who honor truth. We will persevere in prayer until we see this take place. We ask all of this in Jesus’ name. Amen.
We decree that God is moving in America to bring righteousness and a mighty revival. And we declare that we will never relent in our prayers until we see this occurring.
Click on the link below to watch the full video.
Portions of today’s post were taken from my book Intercessory Prayer (published by Baker Books).