• Rev. Dr. Craig Stephans

Praying Powerfully and Effectively

My son Jack had a dream that he shared with me the other day, and it led to a discussion about overcoming challenges in life through faith. I think that what evolved in our spiritual exploration is a healthy pattern for facing challenges in life and pursuing our own earnest desires and endeavors. The following is a pattern for prayer for a positive pursuit or desire that also deals with a negative confrontation by the spiritual forces of evil or our own doubts and fears. I think it can be applied helpfully to the PRC ministry.

I will use of saving the lives of babies in the womb to convey the pattern of praying. This is the work God has called us to. We know it is his desire and in accord with his will. We also know that the spiritual forces of evil vehemently oppose the sanctity of life in the womb and do all they can to bring about abortion. They work against us by their lies, oppression and tactics of destruction. The spiritual forces of evil instigate fears and images of failure, because they don’t want any of us to become bold in the PRC ministry successful fulfilling God’s purposes. So evil spirits oppose our expression of God’s calling and gifts. They will try to make us afraid by saying we will fail, that we are no good at our ministry, that people will reject us or that we have no business trying to save lives. The spiritual forces of evil also mock us and try to convince us they are winning and will always win. These accusations and fear mongering, of course, exacerbate our own vulnerabilities to shut us down.

I hope you can imagine how you might apply this to your own prayer concerns and challenges in life. This pattern of God’s call versus Satan’s opposition plays out over and over in Christians’ lives. Where demons’ confront us with lies and oppression often reveals the very place that God is working for us. The devils say “You can’t minister and counsel. Nobody will listen to you. Who do you think you are?!” We can take it to the bank that God is for sure calling us to minister and counsel and giving us an anointing to do it, and will give us favor with people. The evil spirits themselves often reveal God’s promises in our lives! For example, if the devil says that you will always be poor and will never have enough money, that reveals God’s promises that he will provide for all of our needs and if we have faith he will prosper us. We need to have faith and exert our faith. That’s what I want to show you how to do.

So back to example of saving lives in the womb. The first step is to Praise God. We approach God in worship and praise because he is the Holy One and is the Lord Almighty who is worthy of all praise and honor. So I might begin my conversation with God like this:

“Father, You are great and high above all powers and might, because you created all things. You reign over heaven and earth. Nothing is impossible for you. You are seated on your throne in glory, and Jesus you are at the right hand of the Father and are the King of kings and Lord of lords. Your Holy Spirit is with me and has all power in the earth. I praise you that you hear my prayers and love me more than I can imagine and desire to do good for me and for all those who are created from the time of conception. All of us are fearfully and wonderfully made.”

The second step is to Make Your Request to God in prayer. It is important that we ask God specifically for the desire of our heart and his help in the endeavor of our pursuit. What is the thing the enemy is telling us we cannot do or have? What are we afraid of doing? What is the negative experience of our foreboding? We need to ask God for the positive ability, for specific success and for help in the action. We need to ask God to give us the courage, boldness, joy, vision, inspiration and power that would overcome the negative we are imagining or experiencing. Of course, we can also ask God for something in our life we want or need. Our prayer might be like this:

“Father you are good and your promises to me are good and true. You have called us into the ministry of life and to strive to show mothers and fathers the way of life. Father please help us in the PRC ministry. Help us to lead mothers and fathers to choose life for their babies. Fill us with the Holy Spirit and enable us and empower us in this ministry. Give us favor and open doors for ministry with all of the clients you bring to us. We pray also that you open the minds and hearts of our clients to know the hope that they have in Christ and to see their babies as blessings and to choose life for them. Silence the lies they hear and let them hear your words of life.”

Now that we have offered our prayerful requests to God, we receive his answers and demonstrate our faith by Giving Thanks to Him. Giving thanks to God is an expression of our belief that God has heard us and that he will in his goodness answer our prayer, especially because we are praying in accord with his call and purpose and against the spiritual forces of evil. We must believe that God is answering our prayer. I would pray like this regarding the prayer above:

“Father, I thank you that have heard my prayer through Jesus Christ. I know that you are good and have all power to do what I have asked you based on how the Holy Spirit has inspired me. I thank you that you are loving and kind to me. I thank you Father that you are making me a successful and effective minister to pregnant mothers and their families. I thank you that I have nothing to fear, because you are with me to give me favor and success in all situations. Thank you Lord that I will continue to improve in my ministry and will be fruitful. I also am grateful that you have given me a desire to fulfill your calling and have made me joyful in the pursuit and accomplishment of it. I also praise and thank you that you have overcome the spiritual forces of evil that oppose life and the work of the PRC that is your ministry. Thank you for working with us and through us to save babies from abortion.”

The next thing we do is boldly and confidently, with great faith, Declare the Truth of who we are and what we are doing in the Name of Jesus. This is a matter of expressing the truth of what God is doing in and through us and speaking life to ourselves and our circumstances. At this point, our words are inspired by the Holy Spirit, and they are words of power and authority that serve to accomplish their purpose. In the speaking of the present reality of our request, our faith and boldness grows. And this is a statement of faith:

“I declare in the Name of Jesus that we are effective in saving the lives of babies in the womb through the Holy Spirit. I declare in Jesus’ Name that mothers and fathers are choosing life through this ministry that has great favor in our community. I declare that our ministry is effective and well received. I declare that the Holy Spirit is with us to help us and inspire our words that he applies with power and conviction for greater impact. I declare that no enemy of life can stand against us.”

The final act is to Rebuke the Enemy of life, of our souls and God’s kingdom. Our battle is against the spiritual forces of evil that oppose the goodness of God and all that God is trying to bring about in the world. As God’s children and ministers, the spiritual forces of evil oppose us. They try to steal, kill and destroy. They lie and accuse. They oppress and depress as much as they are able. So after we submit to God, we resist the devil and all demons who would oppose and come against our prayer request and work of faith. Something like this we speak to the spiritual forces of evil:

“In the Name of Jesus and by the power of his shed blood and resurrection, I bind the spirit of abortion, oppression, fear and every lying spirit from interacting with me and our clients in any way. I command you spirits of fear, oppression and lies to leave this PRC and our clients in the Name of Jesus and go to where Jesus sends you and do not return. I bring the blood of the Lord Jesus Christ between us as our protection and rebuke you from interfering with work in any way. Spirits of abortion we bind you and cast you away from us and our clients in the Name of Jesus. I belong to the Lord Jesus Christ, and you have no place in me, so be removed from me now and forever.”

After this you might want to continue to praise the Lord and to follow the above pattern as he leads you. The above prayers and statements can be as brief as one or two sentences. It all depends on the time and intensity of the situation. This is a pattern that you can always use to pray for yourself and over other people or groups of people.

Now one more encouragement, as Ralph Waldo Emerson wrote in his essay “Compensation,” “Do the thing and you shall have the power; but they who do not the thing have not the power.” After all is said and done, we must walk by faith in taking one step or leap of faith after another. So press on and go forward in faith with courage and boldness.

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