Ladies of Brake 5, I have asked a long time friend, Joe Miller, to share on the power of prayer. Joe and his wife Karina, are a living testament of what he shares below. I encourage you to embrace this message and seek God earnestly and with purpose.
Joe Miller is the founder of PrayforPensacola.com. Every January, for the past six years, he has hosted “40 days” of prayer and fasting for the city of Pensacola. Each year, local believers join together to pray and fast for their community. He is also the Florida director of the National Day of Prayer Task Force. He is directly responsible for over 200 different prayer events that happen annually on the National Day of Prayer within the state.
Prayer is synonymous with change.
Richard Foster, in his book “Celebration of Disciplines”, states that prayer is change. This is important information to know because change must always be expected when we enter into our prayer closet. God wants to initiate change on this earth. He directs us to bring His will down from heaven to earth in the Lord’s Prayer. His earthly mission was “To preach good tidings to the poor; He has sent Me to heal the brokenhearted, To proclaim liberty to the captives, And the opening of the prison to those who are bound”(Luke 4:18) Healing the broken, proclaiming liberty, and opening prison doors all bring about change.
Interestingly enough, one of God’s attributes is that he is immutable. That is the fancy, theological term that means He never changes. He is the same yesterday, today, and forever. But here is the kicker. While God never changes, He also never shows up without bringing change with Him. In every church service, in every prayer meeting, and in every place that He is invited He brings change. If you are lost, God wants you saved. If you are sick, God wants you healed. If you have a difficult situation, God has a way out. Every time we pray with purpose, God will bring change to the circumstance. I will repeat, EVERY time we pray with purpose God will show up to bring change.
Why is this important? Because if we don’t know that prayer and change are synonymous we will enter our prayer closet without expectations. We will just sit and hope instead of declare and administrate. God has transferred His mission to us. He has given us the command to preach, heal, proclaim, and open. He has given us the command, the ability, and ultimately He has given us the responsibility. Christians were created to pray.
As director of www.PrayforPensacola.com I try to pray for my city everyday. There are a couple of things that I have learned over the past few years as I have focused on praying for change in my city. Firstly, I always put a target on my prayers. I always enter in prayer with a purpose in mind. I know that God has an agenda for my city and I work hard to align my prayers with His agenda. Secondly, we must not be afraid to ask for change.
I like to create city-wide targets. To do that, we publish a Pensacola prayer calendar at http://www.prayforpensacola.com/calendar.html. Every day we target an area on our city that needs prayer. Even though we do this as a city it can be done in our personal prayer life as well. Some common examples of targets are friends that are sick, local leaders that need wisdom, or an event that will soon be taking place. We focus on the target and begin to pray. Do not remove the target from your list until the prayer has been answered. This is called perseverance.
Secondly, you need to know the importance of asking. Jesus told us this story in Luke 11:
“Suppose you have a friend, and you go to him at midnight and say, ‘Friend, lend me three loaves of bread; a friend of mine on a journey has come to me, and I have no food to offer him.’ 7 And suppose the one inside answers, ‘Don’t bother me. The door is already locked, and my children and I are in bed. I can’t get up and give you anything.’ I tell you; even though he will not get up and give you the bread because of friendship, yet because of your shameless audacity he will surely get up and give you as much as you need. “So I say to you: Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives; the one who seeks finds; and to the one who knocks, the door will be opened.
There is power in the asking. If we do not ask then nothing will happen. If we don’t knock there is no open door. Someone has to initiate change. That is the way God designed it to work. I have heard some tell me that they don’t like to ask God for anything. They don’t like to bother Him for small and insignificant things, but that contradicts His direct word to us. He says ASK! Listen to the words of the Father to His son Jesus in Psalm 2:
The LORD has said to Me, ‘You are My Son, Today I have begotten You. Ask of Me, and I will give You The nations for Your inheritance, And the ends of the earth for Your possession.
The Father required His own Son Jesus to ask. He did this on purpose. God wanted us to understand how the kingdom works. It works by asking. Jesus will have the nations as His inheritance. It will happen because He is asking and we are joining together to ask also.
The bottom line? Prayer is synonymous with change. When you pray, target your prayers, ask the Father to answer your prayers, and expect that something will happen.