By Bishop David Oyedepo
Prayer is not a play fair; it is a warfare. It is a weapon of war; it is warfare itself. It takes a warfare disposition to prevail in prayers. Prayer is one of the greatest assets of any child of God. It is the communication link you have with God. Unfortunately, many people are not taking advantage of the privilege or they approach it wrongly. No wonder, you hear them say; â€œI have exhausted prayer, yet there is no breakthrough.â€
The Word of God says: “Ye lust, and have not: ye kill, and desire to have, and cannot obtain: ye fight and war, yet ye have not, because ye ask not. Ye ask, and receive not, because ye ask amiss…” (James 4:2-3). Until you know the meaning of prayer and how to pray correctly, you will never win the war. Besides, you will never be free from pressures.
Prayer is not just communication. It is having the correct approach to communicating with God, because it takes praying aright to be heard. The kingdom of God is a kingdom of principles. Everything is expected to be done according to the guidelines of Godâ€™s Word, otherwise, it will yield no profit. That is why Jesus laid down the right principles for effectual and winning prayer in Matthew 6:9-13.
This is the prototype for effectual prayer; it is a failure-proof prayer guide. When you get it right, guess work stops and you are assured of answers, even before you are through with praying. You will never enjoy victory and answers over certain things in life, except through the proper use of your communication privilege with God. Certain doors will never open for you, until you properly engage your communication link with God. There are many things that are rightly yours; but you may never enjoy them until you ask, seek and knock correctly! No wonder, Godâ€™s Word says: “For every one that asketh, receiveth; and he that seeketh findeth; and to him that knocketh it shall be opened.” (Matthew 7:8).
Prayer is not optional for any child of God. This is because it is one of our vital covenant responsibilities. That is why if we must win the war of prayer, we must pray always (Luke 18:1; I Thessalonians 5:17). As I said earlier, prayer is a weapon with which we do battle and contend with the oppositions, in order to possess our possessions in Christ. But it is not just enough to have a weapon in your hand, you must have a sound understanding of how it operates. That way, you wonâ€™t become a victim, but a victor in battle. Let me show you an example of the battle we must fight to prevail in prayers. Our greatest battle in prayer is the war against the spirit of slumber. We must contend with the spirit of slumber, if we must prevail in prayer. There was a time in the ministry of Jesus Christ, when three of His apostles, Peter, James and John, accompanied Him to go and pray. Right there, the spirit of slumber rendered the apostles helpless at the altar of prayers. (Matthew 26:36-43).
They were sleeping, while Jesus was praying. You can see that the foul spirit of slumber is the principal force you must contend with, if you must prevail in prayer.Â The spirit of slumber does not only make you sleep physically; it makes you to sleep spiritually. There are people who can sleep while standing. They just wander away, when it is time for prayer. Their spirit-man is disconnected, just like that! Anybody can become a victim of the spirit of slumber. Why? The devil does not want you to be empowered through prayer, so he can oppress you. When you become his victim, he oppresses you and your spirit-man is disconnected. For instance, when you go to your village with your telephone handset, where there is no service, there wonâ€™t be any connectivity!
Thatâ€™s exactly what happens to you. The spirit of slumber is our greatest enemy in the school of prayer (Romans 11:8). It was this foul spirit that made Peter to deny Jesus thrice (John 18:16-27)! No wonder, Godâ€™s Word cautions us to arise and awake (Ephesians 5:14). A sleepy state is a helpless state. Except you resist the devil, he cannot flee (James 4:7). Wake up! The battle against the spirit of slumber can be won. You can win by engaging your heart and spirit effectively in prayers. Hannah, in the Bible, was an example of one who couldnâ€™t be affected by the spirit of slumber. How? She was barren and she prayed with her spirit that her voice was not heard. She prayed her heart out, and as she was not affected by the spirit of slumber (I Samuel 2:12-17).
Prayer coming from your heart keeps you active at the prayer altar. When your heart is involved, the spirit of slumber is helpless (Jeremiah 29:13). Engaging your heart in your approach to God, at the prayer altar, makes you a victor in the affairs of life. That is one of the ways to win the war of prayer.
Friend, the power to win the war against the spirit of slumber is available, if you are a child of God. You become a child of God by confessing your sins and accepting Jesus as your Lord and Saviour. You can be a child of God now if you have not been, by saying this prayer: “Lord Jesus, I come to You today. I am a sinner. Forgive me my sins. Cleanse me with Your precious blood. Deliver me from sin and Satan, to serve the living God. Today, I accept You as my Lord and Saviour. Thank You Jesus for saving me! Now I know, I am born again!”
Next week, I will continue this teaching. May God bless you!