by Pastor Roy Esposito
Last week – I said that God would have us be persistent in prayer.
I encouraged us all to ask God for a larger dose of the spiritual gift of “Long-Suffering.”
Long-suffering is the ability to “hang in there” – not to suffer for a long time. — Makrothumia – FORTITUDE.
“Cheetah Approach” – quick bursts – no endurance.
Ask for a “Bigger Heart” concerning prayer.
A Bigger heart – Is not just a desire to pray more but to attain a greater capacity to trust God’s faithfulness.
It’s the ability to sustain a level of prayer fervency, even if it should take years for a resolution.
Luke 11:5-13 – A guy gets out of bed to give bread to his friend not because he was nagged – but because of their relationship.
Hebrews 4:16 – “Come boldly to the throne of grace….” We can come because of our relationship as sons and daughters of God.
Luke 11:13 – “Earthly fathers know how to give good gifts to their children – how much more will our heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to those who would ask.”
The Prayer of Persistence is not about being a “scutch” (sig) – but about asking the Father, boldly and shamelessly, for more of the Holy Spirit’s fullness.
James 5:16b – “The effective, fervent prayer of a righteous man avails much….”
Romans 3:21-26 – if any questions remain regarding your righteousness.
Effective Prayer – Contains the power to bind the “strong man” – the negative force that propels or sustains a circumstance.
Fervent – A passionate intensity – a blazing torrent of glowing hot resolve.
Visualize: An ugly demon supporting a disease – You take a hot fireball of faith-filled prayer power and release it – and it explodes as it unleashes a spiritual netting over him that renders him powerless.
I would bet that not many pray like that — YET!
I believe we are all “working out” in the gym of the Spirit right now – getting our hearts larger and stronger for more endurance.
Romans 12:3 – God has given each of us a “measure of faith.”
Hebrews 11:1 – ”Faith is a substance…” of spiritual composition – but still a substance.
This substance has power and will be effective in whatever we apply.
Eventually, if we “stay with it,” enough power will be released to get the job done.
Remember – 1 Corinthians 3:16 – We are the temple – the NAOS of God. The “Holy of Holies” – The dwelling place of His Spirit.
John 7:38 – Out of the “Kolia” – the womb of our inner being will flow fountains of “Living Water.”
John 4:1-42 – Jesus tells the Samaritan woman at the well that He is the “living water” – the “Water” that gives and sustains life.
Christ, Himself, flows out of our inner being to give life to all He touches.
God has put “Living Water” power in us so that our prayers become more than just devices to get the Father to do something for us.
Our prayers are releasing the power of the “Living Water” over a given situation to accomplish His will and purpose.
Psalm 115:16(TPT) – “The heavens belong to our God; they are His alone, but He has given us the earth and put us in charge.”
Revelation 22:1-2 – John sees a Throne and, from beneath it, a River flowing.
Our faith-filled prayers open the floodgates allowing the River to flow.
Faith-filled prayers – speak not of what we muster up in our souls – but the increasing faith and trust we’re developing in the faithfulness of God.
This is the River of God, so it requires the pray-er to be in sync with the heart of God in order to be able to turn the water on and release its power.
In Sync – It is knowing, understanding, and applying the principles and ways of God.
I believe this is the place in God we are at right now – We are LEARNING.
If we remain persistent, the layers of understanding and faith will build upon themselves and allow the “River” to go from a trickle to a roar.
Ezekiel 47:1-12 – Gives a perfect example of what I’m saying:
- Ezekiel is shown the Temple with water flowing
- An angel measures 1000 cubits – water is ankle deep
- Measures again – water is now at the knees
- Again – At the waist
- Again – Start swimming, dude!
You could surmise that each measurement delineates an increase in faith.
Personal testimony – bladder cancer – originally quarter-sized – Pastor Marie prayed – God said I’d have to walk through it. It was reduced to dime-sized at the time of the procedure.
Pastor Marie released spiritual power from her inner being that accomplished something physical in me.
Ephilippeans 3:20-21(NKJ) – “Now to Him who is able to do exceedingly, abundantly above all that we ask or think – according to the power that works IN US – To Him be the glory, in the church, by Christ Jesus to all generations, forever and ever, amen.”
Exceedingly abundant – (Greek) – Huper Perissos – Super-abundant with even more added!
Romans 5:20 – the same word used for the supply of Grace God released to cover our sins. As sin increases, GRACE abounds even more!
- God will do “superabundantly” in relation to the measure of faith-power that’s currently working in us.
- His GLORY is shown in the Church – the called ones who’ve responded to it.
- The incarnate God’s work didn’t cease operations when Jesus ascended to heaven – it’s to “ALL generations.”
OK – so I think we’ve established that there is power available to us.
Matthew 7:7 – Jesus says that the power is accessible simply by Seeking – Asking – Knocking. “Everyone who asks – receives; Seeks – finds; Knocks – doors open; no question about it.
So, if that is true – why doesn’t it always work?
Many times we ask – and nothing seems to happen; We seek – but still remain lost; We knock – but the door remains firmly shut. WHY?
One thing for certain – the power source is not the problem.
Ephesians 3:20 – “…according to the power that works in us….”
Wuest Translation – “…in the measure of power which is OPERATIVE in us….”
So, it is not the LATENT power – it is the OPERATIVE power.
This power is not just the POTENTIAL power, but the power that is USED.
Measure – (Kata) – Connotes not just the AMOUNT of power but also the DISTRIBUTION of that power.
The scripture actually says – “God will do superabundant stuff tied to the measure of faith possessed by us, in the measure we are able and willing to distribute it.”
– PR Translation
Why does He do it this way? Why doesn’t He just answer our prayers when we pray them?
CS Lewis – “We will spend eternity thanking God for the prayers He didn’t answer.”
Proverbs 14:12 – “There is a way that seems right to a man, but its end is the way to death.”
I think there is wisdom in considering that God answers the intention of our prayers – but does it in another way. BUT…
I believe there’s something a bit deeper and more profound to consider.
Unlike any other religion, Christianity’s truth is centered on what is called The Incarnation – where God takes on human flesh and deals with us in a visible and tangible way.
As humans, we are present in the world through our five senses.
Jesus could be seen, touched, and heard.
1 Corinthians 12:27 – We are “the Body of Christ.” – The Incarnate Christ is still ongoing.
The Body of Christ is not a metaphor or an exaggeration – not a representation or a mystical body.
Scripture simply states, “We are Christ’s body.” – In an organic way.
The Word, who became flesh, continues to dwell among us.
We have been taught to pray “In Jesus’ name” or THROUGH Jesus’ name.
This is more than a formality. When we pray “Through Christ,” we are also praying through the Body of Christ – which we are as believers.
So, in reality, not only is God in heaven being asked to act – we are also charging ourselves to act.
To pray as a Christian demands a concrete involvement in trying to bring about what is being asked.
Example: If my mother is sick and I pray for healing but don’t drive her to the Dr. – I have prayed only as a theist but not as a Christian.
I have not put any “incarnational skin” to my prayer.
Our prayers need flesh to back them up because God won’t be texting people from heaven anytime soon – It’s my voice and my heart that needs to be heard.
If we are serious about being more effective in prayer, we need to ask ourselves some questions:
- Am I acting in a manner that faithfully distributes the measure of power given to me?
- Is the RIVER flowing from my inner being? What may be blocking it?
I must be intentional in prayer – casual, sporadic prayers won’t accomplish the miraculous.
James 5:16(Wuest) – “A prayer of a righteous person is able to do much as it OPERATES.”
It doesn’t say, “It causes GOD to operate.” “IT” itself – operates.
How? The same power that went into the depths of the earth and took back the Keys of Life from the kingdom of darkness – IS IN US!
It is our responsibility to RELEASE IT.
“Father, please lift the veil from our eyes today regarding The RIVER of Life. Remind us to come boldly to your throne, where we will find the mercy and the grace we need in this time of awakening and be able to let the River flow out to the world.
In Jesus’ name.