“Therefore I say to you, whatever things you ask when you pray, believe that you receive them, and you will have them.”
- Mark 11:24
We need to expect more of our prayers in these days. The day and the hour demand it, a lost and dying generation demands it, and—even more than that—the call of God to reach the world demands it. Weak prayers will not win the world. Unbelieving prayers will not shift the course of history. Before the beginning of any great move of God in history, you find a man, woman, or generation praying to God with great faith and expectation.
So how are we praying? Are we expecting answers? Jesus tells us that whatever things we ask for when we pray, if we believe we receive them we will have them. One of the things that the Lord has been revealing to me about prayer is that how we ask greatly matters.
James 4:2-3 says, “You do not have because you do not ask. You ask and do not receive, because you ask amiss.” There is more to this verse, so I am taking it out of context just slightly, but the biblical principle still applies. James identifies that we don’t have what we ask for because 1) we’re not asking at all or 2) we’re not asking out of the right motivation.
One of the things I have begun to change about how I pray is the language that I use. Not in a legalistic way, but I change my words from words of begging to words of faith. It’s simple, yet it’s a profound principle in the way we communicate with God. The language we use reveals the heart and the faith behind our asking.
In the past I have asked God to move on my campus or to move through my life by saying things like, “God, would You please move on my campus? Would You move through my life?” At first glance, there’s nothing really wrong with that, except that in my heart when I was praying I was saying “would you” like there was a chance God might say no. I was pleading and begging God to move.
What I have begun to change is that I now pray as if God has already made up His mind to move on my campus and move through me—because He has! I say, “God, I ask that you would move on my campus! I ask that you would use me!” It’s as simple as changing where we put the word “would” in the sentence. Instead of “would you move?” I say, “I ask that you would!” It changes the end of the sentence from a question mark to an exclamation point!
In no way am I demanding God to do something, but I am also not trying to convince God to do something. I am asking to receive something He has already decided in His heart to do. If your parents ask you to go back their car out of the driveway, and you say, “Can I have the keys?” you are not asking as if they might say no, you are asking in order to receive. You expect it.
Are we asking as if God might say no, or are we asking in order to receive because we expect it? If you are asking because you expect answers, look for them! Be ready for when they come, because they will.
Lastly, I believe one of the most important things I can stress about prayer is that we must seek to be part of the answer to our own prayers. If you’re praying to see a generation rise up and shake the nation for God, rise up! If you’re praying for a move of God on you’re campus, move! If you’re praying for God to move through your life with signs and wonders, start praying for people!
The truth of the matter is this: Our actions are only powerful if they are initiated by prayer, but our prayers are only powerful if they are accompanied with action. I have told this story multiple times in the past, but I was crying out to God in prayer one day saying, “God! Where are all the men and women who will rise up and shake this generation! Where are the men and women who will believe You for mighty sings and wonders in the earth once again! Where are the men and women who will take a stand to see this nation return to You again?” As I was asking God these questions He interrupted me and I heard Him clearly say to me, “Don’t complain that there’s no one… be the one!”
God never reveals a problem or a need to us so that we can complain about it, but so that we can do something about it!
I hope this encouraged you!
"What the Church needs to-day is not more machinery or better, not new organizations or more and novel methods, but men whom the Holy Spirit can use—men of prayer, men mighty in prayer. The Holy Ghost does not flow through methods, but through men. He does not come on machinery, but on men. He does not anoint plans, but men—men of prayer."
- E.M. Bounds