There Is More
An increasing number of believers understand that prayer involves more than simply asking or petitioning God. Making requests of Him is certainly one aspect of prayer: the Lord’s Prayer tells us to “ask for daily bread, the forgiveness of our trespasses, and deliverance from evil” (Matthew 6:11-12), and James said at times we “have not because we ask not” (James 4:2).
But there is more. And the “more” is vitally important. Whether or not we receive the blessings Christ provided, as well as the needed breakthroughs against evil, is determined by more than just our asking and God’s willingness to answer. Because this isn’t understood, people often form wrong assumptions about prayer, and about God. For example, when their prayers go unanswered, many people automatically assume God simply chose not to do so; what they requested must not have been His will. Others assume they must not have enough faith, which is terribly demoralizing and robs them of future motivation. Some believe they haven’t asked God often enough, “importuning” or persisting with God in their praying, as they believe Luke 11:8 teaches. Still others conclude that prayer is simply a futile, religious exercise - God will do what He wants, regardless of whether or not we pray. These are tragic outcomes that hinder our lives, as well as Christ’s cause.
Prayer for peoples’ salvation is far too important to allow our past failures, disappointments, and lack of knowledge to hinder the process; under no circumstances should we grow discouraged and give up. We must grow in our understanding of the “more.” That is what this and the next 2-3 days of posts are about. Today, we’ll look at the fact that our prayers do more than just motivate God to act; they release Holy Spirit’s power to break through!
The Substance of Prayer
Gordon Lindsay, a great man of prayer and the founder of Christ for the Nations, often taught about what he called the “substance” of prayer.(1)The concept is that our prayers do more than simply move God to action; they actually release the power of Holy Spirit from us to accomplish things. Certain types of praying would, of course, do this more than others. For example, praying in the Spirit releases great power. When spiritual opposition is involved, speaking the Word of God becomes a powerful weapon, a spiritual sword, against those powers (see Ephesians 6:17). Spirit-led declarations or commands release the power of Holy Spirit (see Matthew 16:18-19; 17:20; Mark 11:23). The laying on of hands is another scriptural method of imparting power (see Mark 16:18; Hebrews 6:2).
That there is actual power in us, in the person of Holy Spirit, which He desires to release from us, is undeniable truth (Acts 1:8). The power of God that produces life, healing, and wholeness resides in and flows out from us, the church, not just from God’s heavenly throne. He is now also enthroned in our hearts - we are the temple of Holy Spirit (1 Corinthians 3:16 and 6:19). The word translated as temple (naos) in these two verses, was used to refer to “the holy of holies.”(2) We are now the holy of holies, the dwelling place of God and His glory on the earth. When He releases His power into situations, it doesn’t flow only from heaven; it flows from Holy Spirit here on earth, who dwells in us. Whether it be through speaking, touching, laying hands on the sick, decreeing and declaring, praying, or worshipping, God’s power is released on earth through human vessels.
A symbolic picture of this is given in John 7:38, where Jesus said, “He who believes in Me, as the Scripture said, ‘From his innermost being shall flow rivers of living water.’” The innermost being, (or as the KJV says, “belly”) is the word Greek koilia, which literally means “womb.” Translating the verse literally, we would say, “From his womb shall flow rivers of living water.” The word “womb,” of course, speaks of reproduction, of birthing - the bringing forth of life.(3)
After this announcement, verse 39 goes on to say, “But this He spoke of the Spirit.” Of course! The river Christ spoke of as flowing from us is the Spirit of God. He is the source; we are His conduits. Holy Spirit doesn’t lay hands on the sick - we do (see Mark 16:18). As we do so, He, from within us, releases His river of power and life to flow into that person.
We Are the Voice of God
Not only are we Christ’s womb, we’re His mouth. When the Spirit of God wants to release power against His enemies, He uses us to wield “the sword of the Spirit” - the spoken word of God (see Ephesians 6:17). God doesn’t release the decree from heaven, but from His people - up from our spirits, out of our mouths. As we do so, this releases God’s power! Incredibly, we have become the mouthpiece, the voice of God from which His power and life flow.
At the time when God was teaching me this in the mid-80s, I had 45 warts on my hands. Some were quite large and had eaten into my fingernails and cuticles on three fingers, completely replacing them. They had been spreading/multiplying on my hands for 7-8 years. Doctors told me they didn’t want to burn or freeze them off, for fear of mutilating my hands, nails, and cuticles.
Many people prayed for me, with no results. I was in numerous services where “gifts of healing” and “workings of miracles” (1 Corinthians 12:9-10) were occurring, with many people healed - but never me. Finally, Holy Spirit spoke to me very clearly, “Though some are healed through the gifts of My Spirit, others are through the prayers of the elders (James 5:14), and still others through the prayer of agreement (Matthew 18:19) - I will not heal you through any of these methods. You will have to do what I’ve been teaching you - speak My Word over your hands every day (Mark 11:23), numerous times each day, releasing My power to them until the healing comes.”
I determined to obey. Six or seven times each day, maybe more, I spoke God’s Word - which is alive and powerful (Hebrews 4:12) - over my hands, using several Scriptures promising healing and breakthrough. Though I saw no change for two weeks, as God’s power was released and accumulated, the work it was doing became visible - the warts began to shrink. Daily, I watched them become smaller and smaller, and my fingernails and cuticles began re-growing. Once this process began, it took a total of two more weeks for all of the warts to disappear and new nails and cuticles to grow. The entire process took a month.
Although it was most definitely God’s power that dissolved the warts and gave me new skin, nails, and cuticles (with no scars), He did not release it. I had to do so. Christ provided the healing provision, Holy Spirit supplied the power and strategy . . . but I had to release that power and provision by declaring God’s Word.
We must do the same for the lost, releasing Holy Spirit’s power to break strongholds, addictions, and deceptions in prodigals and unbelievers. We petition our Father, but we war against satan and his strongholds. I leave you today with 2 Corinthians 10:3-5 (TLB):
“It is true that I am an ordinary, weak human being, but I don’t use human plans and methods to win my battles. I use God’s mighty weapons, not those made by men, to knock down the devil’s strongholds. These weapons can break down every proud argument against God and every wall that can be built to keep men from finding Him. With these weapons, I can capture rebels and bring them back to God and change them into men whose hearts’ desire is obedience to Christ.”
Tomorrow, we will talk about why, in most situations, the release of this power cannot simply be a one-time prayer.
Pray with me:
Father, we have not fully understood Your amazing power in us. Therefore, we have been impotent in our prayers, asking You to do what You have told us to do. Our ignorance has been costly. But we are awakening to our authority in Christ, and to His river of life - Holy Spirit - that is intended to flow from us.
We ask You to increase our understanding of this even more, as well as multiply the number of those receiving this revelation. Teach us how to more effectively release Your power to those who need it, releasing the flow of Your life into situations where spiritual death is operating. Bring greater boldness to the church and heal people from hope deferred, in order that they may persevere in their intercession. So many have given up.
Father, we ask You to pour out Your Spirit in this nation. And we decree the release of Your great river - flowing from Christ, via Holy Spirit, via the church, and into our world. We declare over our prodigals: Kingdom, come! Will of God, be done! Dry bones, you will live! Addictions, we break your hold! Deception, we release the light of truth to replace and overcome you! Demonic control, we break your control over our family members!
And Father, as we pray and release Your power, we ask You to bring the greatest awakening America and the world have ever experienced. Send revival to our churches, and from there into the nation/s. Transform them. Let Your great river flow into the Middle East. Dethrone the Prince of Persia; we bind his influence in Jesus’ name. Release Your river into all the nations! We agree in our prayers for this, in Christ’s holy name. Amen.
We release the power of Holy Spirit over our prodigals and every city and neighborhood in our nation, in the powerful name of Jesus!
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.
Gordon Lindsay, Prayer That Moves Mountains (Dallas, TX: Christ for the Nations Inc., revised 1994), p. 43.
Joseph Henry Thayer, A Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Book House, 1977), p. 422.
James Strong, The New Strong’s Exhaustive Concordance of the Bible (Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson Publishers, 1990), ref. no. 2836.