Measurable Levels of Power
We are discussing why it typically takes persevering prayer to receive the answer to most prayers. Yesterday we looked at the fact that we are a reservoir for God’s power. We are His instruments and outlets of His life. I think you’ll find today’s post enlightening, as well.
We do not typically think of spiritual dynamics such as power, love, grace, etc., as measurable substances. But just as invisible elements of our natural world can be measured, such as oxygen or carbon dioxide, there are unseen spiritual substances, as well, which are no less real and exist in varying degrees or 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 “measure” here 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. Some translations do but they are paraphrases - opinions - not true translations. The Bible says we need faith like a mustard seed (Matthew 17:20), small but grows into a tree.
There are also measurable degrees of righteousness and sin. In Genesis 15:16, God told Abraham He was going to give the land to his descendants in four generations. The reason He could not give it to him yet was because “the iniquity of the Amorite is not yet complete.” The Hebrew word for complete means whole or full.
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, there is mega grace and there is all grace!
There are measurable degrees of love. John 15:13 speaks of greater love. Matthew 24:12 talks of a love that has grown cold. Philippians 1:9 refers to love abounding more and more.
The same verse that speaks of “mega” grace mentions “mega” power (see Acts 4:33 KJV). The apostles had mega power because they had mega grace! My point is that the elements of the spirit realm are very real. The anointing is real. Power is real. We do not see them but they are there. Measurable, cumulative amounts exist in the realm of the spirit.
Logically, just as with natural elements, certain amounts of the above-mentioned spiritual forces must be released in the realm of the spirit to accomplish certain things. Different levels are required for different situations. Just as in the natural you need different levels of power to light a flashlight versus a building, or a building as opposed to a city, the same dynamic is true in the spirit 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.
In Mark 6, Jesus could not get enough power to people in Nazareth to affect a miracle, although enough was reaching them to produce some healings. That is so revealing: sufficient power was reaching the people to produce a few healings, but not enough to work miracles. This certainly proves that differing amounts are needed for different situations. The problem wasn’t with Christ, by the way. The amount of authority and power He possessed hadn’t changed. Nor had His faith wavered. Yet, only enough power reached the people to get a few healings; not enough - because of their unbelief - to work a miracle. That’s remarkable. It is also somewhat sobering, informing us that the corporate faith level when we gather affects what Holy Spirit can accomplish.
In Matthew 17:14-21, the disciples had been casting out demons and healing the sick; Jesus had given them authority and power to do so. An insane boy was brought to them, however, and they couldn’t deliver him of the spirit of insanity. Jesus came and it was no problem for Him to exorcise the demon. Though the disciples had enough power flowing in their ministry to deal with most demons and diseases, they encountered one that required more power than they possessed. Again, the obvious implication is that different, measurable levels of power are needed to accomplish different things.
Yesterday, we mentioned the reality that we are those through whom God intends to release this power. We do so through the laying on of hands, decreeing His word and promises, and faith-filled praying. Typically, it does not occur simply by asking Him to do something. As God’s partners and conduits of His power, He needs us to release it into situations.
Often, the release of this power is a process. We don’t typically pray or command once and experience breakthroughs. Usually, we must do so consistently, persevering until enough power has been released to accomplish what is needed. It is also why the prayer of agreement, which multiplies power, is often needed.
When it appears God has finally “gotten around to it,” or when we think a breakthrough suddenly happened, the reality is usually that enough power has finally been released through our prayers to accomplish what is needed.
When the prophet Elijah came to 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 it take three times? Because the man of God wasn’t at the level he needed to be spiritually? Because he didn’t have enough faith? Because he didn’t do it right the first two times?
We are not told the reason, but it is not insinuated that any of those things are true. The logical explanation is that he was releasing more life out of his spiritual womb or spirit each time. It takes a good bit of life (or 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.” Nor did He say, “If you pray hard enough.” He didn’t say, “I’m thinking about it.” He said, “I’m going to do it.” It was God’s timing, God’s idea, God’s will, and God’s promise.
Yet, we are told at the end of this chapter that Elijah labored in prayer diligently - seven times - in the posture of a woman in travail, before clouds appeared and the rain came. He didn’t casually pray, “Lord, send the rain.” That certainly would not qualify as the “effectual, fervent prayer” James 5:16-18 (KJV) tells us Elijah engaged in to first stop, then restart the rain.
The question we must ask ourselves regarding Elijah’s prayer is: If it was God’s will, timing, and idea, why did he have to pray fervently, seven different times, until the rain came? The most reasonable explanation is that it was necessary to persevere until his intercession released enough power into the heavens to produce rain.
Why did it require Daniel 21 days of praying to receive his angelic visitation? God sent the angel to him the first day he began praying? I would think if God wanted to send an angelic messenger, He could get the angel through immediately. He has enough power, doesn’t He? Then why was this angel successfully detained by demonic forces for 21 days? Because Daniel’s faithful praying was required to consistently release power into the realm of the spirit to influence the warfare. Not until enough power was released to break through the demonic opposition could the angel - with Michael, the archangel’s help - break through with the answer!
Please understand, I am not limiting God’s power. I am fully aware that one word from God could rout every demon in hell. What must be factored in is God’s decision to work on the earth through humans. It seems reasonable to me that if a man’s prayers were responsible for the angel being dispatched, they would also be the key to breaking through with the message. As the great writer on prayer, Paul Billheimer said, “Although the answer to his prayer was granted and already on the way, if Daniel had given up it presumably would never have arrived.”1
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. It was to release more of His power. I realized that if what I was praying about was truly God’s will, it would eventually occur - IF I continued doing my part. Tomorrow, we will discuss how long we must persevere.
Pray with me:
Father, it is very important that we learn, not only of Your power, but Your ways. We must not only know You can, we must understand how You desire to work. Due to the fact that, generally speaking, You accomplish this on earth through we, Your people, 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 it is time for an outpouring of spiritual rain, You said in Zechariah 10:1 to ask for it. We have discerned it is time and therefore are asking You for the rain. We are appealing for a deluge. Let a mighty, 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.
And You have said You were going to restore a righteous government to America. We have some righteous leaders who honor You, but the majority in our nation’s Capital oppose You and Your ways. They blatantly oppose Your word and mock You in many ways. 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. 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 forth righteousness and a mighty revival. And we declare that we will never relent in our prayers until we see this occurring.
Portions of today’s post were taken from my book Intercessory Prayer.
1 Paul E. Billheimer, Destined for the Throne (Fort Washington, PA: Christian Literature Crusade, 1975), p107.