For in Christ Jesus neither circumcision nor uncircumcision avails anything, but faith working through love (avails much). (Galatians 5:6) The prayers of a righteous man, avails much (makes much available) (James 5:16).
Understanding the Prayer of Faith
- Faith operates in the context of love (see Gal 5:6 above).
- The overriding principle of the how the Kingdom of God operates is in the context of loving God with the whole heart:
Jesus said to him, “You shall love the LORD your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind. This is the first and great commandment.” (Matthew 22:37-38)
- The prayer of faith cannot be understood rightly unless the first commandment is in first place in our understanding (Gal 5:6 above).
- The prayer of faith cannot be reduced to a set of principles. It must never be taken out of the context of loving God. It is the fire of loving God that ignites our faith, and enables us to live a prayer life from a biblical point of view.
- The prayer of faith will not be alive and vibrant without a turning away from sin and to God. We must turn away from the issues that resist the Holy Spirit’s leadership.
Turning to God with all our Heart
“Now, therefore,” says the LORD, “Turn to Me with all your heart, with fasting, with weeping, and with mourning.” (Joel 2:12)
- Turning to God with all our heart is the precursor to the outpouring of the Holy Spirit in an unprecedented way.
And it shall come to pass afterward that I will pour out My Spirit on all flesh; your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, your old men shall dream dreams, your young men shall see visions. And also on My menservants and on My maidservants I will pour out My Spirit in those days. (Joel 2:28-29)
How do we turn?
Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says. (James 1:22 NIV)
- We must make decisions that stop the actions and attitudes that the Word of God and the Holy Spirit are convicting us about. However, it is not enough to turn away from the wrong things. We must turn to the right things.
- We must turn our actions and attitudes towards servanthood, humility, a spirit of devotion, and using our time and energy in a way that is pleasing to the Lord.
- We must weep and mourn over the areas of compromise that quench the Holy Spirit
- As we grow in fellowship with the Holy Spirit, He will reveal the areas of our heart that are unyielded. The Holy Spirit will express His grief over areas of darkness in our heart, not anger. He is jealous for the nearness that sin prevents. He longs for us to come under the liberty and the dignity of His leadership in a greater way.
- It is the gift of God to reveal the areas in our heart that grieve Him. This type of sorrow is the work of the Holy Spirit. It is the blessing of God.
Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted. (Matthew 5:4)
…the Comforter…I will send him unto you. And when He is come, He will reprove the world of sin, and of righteousness, and of judgment. (John 16:7-8 KJV)
- When we mourn over an area, it gives us zeal to turn away from that area. It makes the area unwanted. We are able to see how it hurts our walk with God, how it diminishes our joy, and hinders our faith.
- Fasting positions us to freely receive God’s tenderizing of our heart. When we fast with a spirit of obedience, the power of revelation on our heart is increased. Fasting helps to loosen the grip that darkness has on us. The power of fasting is in the grace of God, not in the fasting itself.
Rending Our Heart
So rend your heart, and not your garments; return to the LORD your God… (Joel 2:13)
- In the ancient world, tearing the garment was a religious, ritual act during crisis to express grief. Tearing the heart is what moves God. God wants us to deal with those unsettled issues in our lives that stand between us and a life of full obedience.
- We must not be casual in our approach to areas of darkness in our heart. We must be actively confronting these issues, declaring war on them.
- Asking for forgiveness is not sufficient without true repentance. We must turn from the sin that grieves the Holy Spirit in order for the Holy Spirit to cease being grieved. Turning to God and away from sin is the vital step to releasing God’s power in our life.