Prayer is Doing Battle

January 16, 2019

It has been said that worry is a conversation you have with yourself about things you cannot change. Prayer is a conversation you have with God about the things He can change. This signals that prayer is vital. 

Have you heard that prayer can do whatever God can do? Have you ever wondered why your prayers are not answered, or do you feel that they have no effect? That something is missing. There seems to be no breakthrough, and you wonder if prayer is effective.

Daniel 10:12-13 gives us the perspective that prayer is doing battle. That we have an enemy who wants to do everything possible to keep our prayers from being effective. Here’s what is said to Daniel: “Don’t be afraid, Daniel! For from the first day that you set your heart to understand and to humble yourself before your God, your words were heard. I have come because of your words. However, the prince of the kingdom of Persia resisted me for 21 days.”

So, there is someone who wants to stop our prayers from being answered and effective. Matthew records a story about the disciples, who seemed to be experiencing resistance in their prayers: “When they came to the crowd, a man approached Jesus and knelt before him. ‘Lord, have mercy on my son,’ he said. ‘He has seizures and is suffering greatly. He often falls into the fire or into the water. I brought him to your disciples, but they could not heal him’” (Matthew 17:14-16).

Now remember that Jesus had given His disciples the authority to heal. Here is Jesus’ response: “’You unbelieving and perverse generation. How long shall I stay with you? How long shall I put up with you? Bring the boy here to me.’ Jesus rebuked the demon, and it came out of the boy, and he was healed at that moment.”

Jesus shared with them the reason why their prayers were ineffective. First, their unbelief. They were not connected to God. When we are connected to God through the person of Jesus Christ, we have the faith and power needed.

But Jesus goes even further. He says you are perverse. Basically, you are too connected to the world. You have involved yourself in things that are not of me, so you are not connected to Me. You have allowed your relationship with Me to drift.

The good news is that Jesus doesn’t just identify the problem, He gives the solution. Matthew continues: “Then the disciples came to Jesus in private and asked, ‘Why couldn’t we drive it out?’ He replied, “Because you have so little faith. Truly I tell you, if you have faith as small as a mustard seed, you can say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it will move. Nothing will be impossible for you. However, this kind does not go out except by prayer and fasting.” Matthew 17:14-21 NKJV

Remember the problem: 

  • Unbelieving – not connected to Me
  • Perverse – too connected to the world

    The solution is prayer and fasting.
  • Prayer – connects me to God

The more time you spend with God the more your faith will grow. Why? Trust. How do you build trust? With time, transparency, and mutual submission. You won’t trust someone you don’t know.

  • Fasting – disconnects me from things of the world and allows me to focus on my relationship with Jesus.

    So we are taking 21 days to Pray – connect with God; and Fast – disconnect from the world.

    John Wesley said, “You have not done all you can until you have prayed and fasted.”

    Three questions:
  • How close are you to God? How connected to Him are you?
  • What do you need to unplug from or disconnect from so that you can be more intentional and have more time to connect with God?
  • Do you need a breakthrough? It probably won’t happen unless it comes from prayer and fasting.