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{January 1, 2009}   Chapter 9: Unlocking Discernment with Prayer…..edited

I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven.

-Matthew 16:19

This chapter starts off very powerful.  It reminds us of the most power secret; prayer invites angels into the war zone of our experiences rather into our lives.

This chapter uses examples out of the Word to give illustration of how powerful prayer is.  When Peter was imprisoned, but due to the prayers of believers he was set free. 

Acts 12:5 “Peter was therefore kept in prison, but constant prayer was offered to God for him by the church.”

Another version says:  Acts 12:5 “So Peter was kept in the prison, but prayer for him was being made fervently by the church to God.”

Later in this passage you read that an angel of the Lord appeared to Peter and walked him out of the prison and beyond the iron gates that leads into the city.  Peter ends up at the house where many were gathered praying, the house of Mary the mother of John.

The word fervent means having or showing great warmth or intensity of spirit, feeling, a fervent admirer, hot, burning, glowing, enthusiasm, ardent, or rather with passionate fervor.  The word ardent, it means having, expressive of, or characterized by intense feeling; passionate; intensely devoted, eager, or enthusiastic; zealous, burning, fiery, or hot. Now the word fervor means great warmth and earnestness of feeling: to speak with great fervor, or intense heat.

The word constant means not changing or varying, uniform, regular, invariable, or continuing without pause or letup, unceasing like a constant noise, being persistent, faithful, unswerving in love, devotion, steadfast, firm in mind or purpose, having a certainty.

So when we pray, God does release or dispatch His angels.

When Jesus prayed in the garden of Gethsemane, angels came and ministered to Him (Luke 22:43)

Paul prayed in the midst of a storm, out in the middle of an ocean, and God sent an angel to stand by him. (Acts 27:23)

Pastor Franklin says, “The greatest people on earth are those who pray.”  I will have to agree.  He goes on to stress he does not mean people who talk about prayer, nor people who believe in prayer, nor even those who can explain prayer beautifully.   He ensures the reader knows it is those who put in the time to pray.  Now he uses the phrase ‘on their knees’, but I pray a lot, not always on my knees.  Yes I pray for myself, but there are times I pray for others and I am not always on my knees physically.  I can be lying in my bed when the Holy Spirit prompts me to pray for another individual.  Sometimes I am in the shower, driving down the road, in my kitchen or laundry room, and even while sitting in my living room.  I will be prompted to stop what I am doing and pray.  I hope Pastor Franklin did not mean my prayers were not worthy because I am not on my knees physically, and I do not think he does.  There is a different experience when you get on your knees to bow down before the Lord.  Not only does it give honor to God, a showing of Adonai (a showing of the reverence of God).  But it humbles you, even if you are alone in your living room or bedroom.  At first you may think of yourself being silly.   When people are around, at first you feel embarrassment for like 1 second, then you remember it does not matter what the world thinks of you, but what God thinks of you.  Then the day comes, you no longer feel silly or embarrassed, because you have an assurance of your relationship with the Lord God Almighty, I AM.

It is a sacrifice to make time to pray, especially if you are not a custom to it and are new at praying.  Once you become comfortable praying to God through Jesus Christ, you will find yourself becoming a prayer warrior if you allow God to use you.  His Spirit will prompt you of what to pray and for whom.  As it is stated by many not just in this book, “God is not looking for ability, but for who is available.”  He has given us each the free will to decide whether to follow Him or not.  To believe in Him or not.  To accept Him and receive salvation.  To merely stop and simply knowing Him or to grow in having a relationship with Him.  To be a baby spiritually or a mature believer, His vessel to be used as His servant to glorify God.  We are after all created simply for the glory of the Lord God Almighty.

“The prevailing prayer of faith is the power on earth that employs the power of heaven,” written by Pastor Franklin.  He states, “Prayer has brought hearing to the deaf, sight to the blind, life to the dead, salvation to the lost, and healing to the sick."  I must say I have things to verify this.  In my church there is a man who was deaf in his right ear, I believe it was his right ear, but now can hear.  He answered an altar call one service, he being a baby in Christ (this does not reflect his actual physical age mind you) having faith as a child all of sudden could hear in both of his ears.  He has medical reports to verify his claim.  Also another young believer had a lump on her chest, mysteriously it disappeared.  She also has medical reports to verify.  Basically this tells me, I must learn to revert back to the faith I had as a child before the enemy could use the five D’s to interfere.  You remember the five D’s don’t you?  Well just in case, I will remind you.  Also remember as we mature, it is a spiritual battle, HIS battle.  We must always seek HIM and ask for His strength, guidance, discernment, and His encouragement.

The Five D’s the enemy uses to cause us to sin:

Doubt- makes you question God’s Word and His goodness or purpose.

Discouragement- makes you look at your own problems rather then focusing on God, trusting Him to handle the problems.

Diversion- makes the wrong things seem attractive, so that you will want them more than what is right (righteous).

Delay- makes you put off doing something, so that God’s will never gets done.

Defeat- makes you feel like a failure, so that you don’t even try.

When you are feeling as though one of these or a few of these is affecting your life, STOP and PRAY to God for encouragement and to reveal the truth, His truth.  He never leaves our side.  Then say this to the devil (the enemy) “Get the behind me Satan! You do not have power over me.  I belong to the Father, Yahweh.  Christ is in me, with me."  Then you may continue to pray,  "Abba Father through Jesus I ask that you forgive me for the doubt, the discouragement, for allowing diversion to distract me, for delaying that which you have asked me to do, and to forgive me for allowing the feeling of defeat to be upon me.  Fill me with your presence, your glory, your truth, and give me your strength to continue down this path toward you.  Help me to remain on that narrow path that leads to you and to remain steadfast towards the upward call.”  Some of you may need to ask God to help you to find the narrow path, but only you know how to pray for yourself. This is just a suggestion. 

Getting back to this chapter, prayer is everything.  If the church, you are the church, will not pray, God will not act. For Jesus said, “I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven…” (Matthew 16:19)

Prevailing prayer does not mean to only pray when there is a crisis (a problem or need), pray always.  Giving thanks and praises, repenting, asking for guidance, knowledge, wisdom (an understanding), and discernment (insight).  Mostly pray to know His will and purpose for you during all aspects of your life.  Aspects of your life, like relationships (with Christ, friends, family, children, spouse, or future spouse), love, finances, serving, giving, education, and experiences. Etcetera.  You do get it, right?  IN all things REJOICE for the glory of GOD, In all things turn to HIM in prayer, SEEK Him in His Word, and to know Him.  His Light will shine via you to the world.  Making all the darkness around you disappear, that is the main purpose we are all called to do.  Spread His Word, allowing the whole world to know who He is.

Paul said, “Therefore I exhort first of all that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks be made for all men.” (1Timothy 2:1)

In James 5:16 we see the protracted prayer, fasting prayer, weeping prayer, effectual prayer, and fervent prayer of the righteous that avails much. 

Characteristics of Prevailing Prayer:

The word protracted means to draw out or lengthen in time, to prolong or extend. 

The word fasting means abstain from food or eat very little or abstain from certain foods for a period of time, especially as a religious discipline.

The word weeping means expressing grief, sorrow, or any overwhelming emotion by shedding tears.

The word effectual means producing or capable of producing an intended effect; adequate, valid, or binding, as an agreement or document.

The word fervent has been defined above at the beginning of this blog.

In this chapter, examples of people who displayed prevailing prayers were given.  To list a few of the examples briefly:  Elijah the prophet influencing the weather with his prayers, Esther in saving her nation the Jews, and Rizpah who did not allow her sons to be eaten by the wild beasts and sought proper burial for them.

As Pastor Franklin says, “Prevailing prayer is having the tenacity to hold on until something happens.”  He goes on to say, “One of the greatest weaknesses of this generation is a lack of commitment for the long haul.”  I must say I can see this surrounding us everywhere.  If you think about the divorce rate increasing and companies letting go or closing down, and the abortion count increase. God wants us to have the heart of an eagle not a cheetah. 

Isaiah 40:31 “Those who wait on the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles, they shall run and not be weary.” 

There are a few things in my life at this very moment, I am having to not loose hope in or allow my heart to be weary.  What keeps me going is the truth.  Things do not look or appear as though good things are headed my way, but the knowledge He has given and my trust in Him my hope is strengthened.   "’But then I will come and do for you all the good things I have promised, and I will bring you home again. For I know the plans I have for you.’ says the Lord.  ‘They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope. In those days when you pray, I will listen. If you look for me in earnest, you will find me when you seek me. I will be found by you,’ says the Lord. ‘I will END your captivity and restore your fortunes…’" Found in Jeremiah 29: 11-14. I know if I remain steadfast focused, He in the end will shine through me receiving all the glory and those things will come forth (answered prayers).  Those things I speak of I will share briefly.  One is my new position, a position that will sustain me and my boys providing more, so He can use it to minister to a group of youth through me.  Second is the sale of this home, receiving a price that will lead to a profit allowing my current church to benefit as well as restore my Storehouse and pay a few things off, reducing my debt.  Third is to prepare a way to move providing all that is needed to make the move.  Fourth bring my house in order providing me a new husband as the head of my home to love my boys as his own.  Fifth having all my children under one roof right now I only have two boys, but wouldn’t mind more with my new husband.  When my oldest goes off to college, he will come home to visit and share his life with me.  Also that the bond between my youngest and I will continue to grow and he will never want to leave me.  To be honest, at this moment, I feel as though I know the position that will be given to me and I stand in faith, claiming it as mine through Him who has prepared me for it.  I also know who my future husband will be for it is HE who put the love and desire in my heart for this man.  I must be like the eagle not the cheetah in this area.  God is working on him and on me preparing us both for the union He will bind together.  I hope to soon enter into a dating or courtship type of relationship allowing us both to know eachother better and grow spiritually together.  You see, I believe sharing HIS love, our relationship with HIM will make us a stronger tool for HIS purpose in serving HIM.  I do not know the buyer of this house, but I know one will come.  I do not know what kind of offer the buyer will make, but I know the value of this home.  I do not know where in the city I will find my new home, but trust God to lead me there revealing the location in due time.  HIS Timing!!!!

Okay getting back on track for the message in this chapter.  Revelation 5:8 says, “Golden bowls full of incense, which are the prayers of the saints.”  Revelation 8:4-5 says, “The smoke of the incense, with the prayers of the saints, ascended before God…. Then the angel took the censer, filled it with fire from the altar, and threw it to the earth.”  Pastor Franklin claims, “What marvelous images!”  I must agree this is a wonderful or as he said marvelous image.  He goes on to say when we pray we are filling up those prayer bowls in heaven.  In God’s perfect timing, prayers are mixed with the fire of God (His power) and cast back down to earth to change our situation.   Our prayers are like incense before the throne of God.

Prayer and discernment go hand in hand!!!!!!!!!!  Pastor Franklin gives an example of a pilot having been pulled out of a plane due to an open door.  The copilot returning back to land, radioed back for a rescue team to begin searching.  A wonderful story and I won’t ruin it by quoting the story for you hear.

God is in need of men and women who will stand in the gap and become prevailing prayer warriors, otherwise known as intercessory prayer.

Pastor Franklin goes on to say Prayer is an Insatiable Hunger for Change.  Proverbs 30:15-16 “The horseleech hath two daughters, crying, Give, give. There are three things that are never satisfied, yea, four things saith not, it is enough.  The grave; the barren womb; the earth that is not filled with water; and the fire that saith not, it is enough. "(KJV)  Franklin gives great illustration of this to explain.  He ends with this, “The miraculous works of God were the result of insatiable hunger for change.”  

The word insatiable means incapable of being satisfied.

The apostles knew that ministry without prayer was powerless.  We are to do both serve and pray!  Not to mention (not to forget) stay in His Word.

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