Where the Fire on the Altar shall Never go out… Lev. 6:13

Positive Enjoyable Prayer

A Christ-centric Approach to Prayer

I.  WHAT IS INTERCESSION?

A.   INTERCESSION IS INTIMATE PARTNERSHIP AND AGREEMENT WITH GOD.

1.     God desires to share His heart with us so His longings become our longings and we partner with Him through prayer.  It is an exchange of romance.  God speaks to us and moves our hearts. When we speak back to God His heart is moved.  God desires to establish or deepen this romantic relationship with us.  He desires intimacy with us.  He wants us to know His heart and more so, to feel the very emotions of His heart, and then He wants to hear us cry out for the longings of His heart to come to pass.  His longings become our longings.  It’s partnership at the most intimate level possible.
a.     We begin to feel and do what God feels and does.
“For Zion’s sake I WILL NOT HOLD MY PEACE, and for Jerusalem’s sake I WILL NOT REST…”(Isaiah 62:1)
“I have set watchmen on your walls, O Jerusalem; THEY SHALL NEVER HOLD THEIR PEACE day or night. You who make mention of the Lord, do not keep silent, and GIVE HIM NO REST…”(Isaiah 62:6)

2.     Intercession is a partnership; it is the means by which God’s will is established on earth.  God acts through human beings partnering with His heart.  Intercession expresses the bridal identity of the church.  There is nothing more powerful that can provoke God’s heart to move upon the earth than the cry of His bride whose desires reflect His own.

3.     Intercession is agreement with God and what He has promised to do.  When we ask God to do what He desires to do we are declaring that we agree His desires are good and that His desires have become our desires.

B.    INTERCESSION EXPRESSES GOD’S DEFINITION OF THE CHURCH
“…My house shall be called a HOUSE OF PRAYER for all nations.”(Isaiah 56:7)
“…PRAYER ALSO WILL BE MADE FOR HIM (JESUS) CONTINUALLY, and daily
He shall be praised.”(Psalm 72:15)
“PRAY WITHOUT CEASING…”(1 Thessalonians 5:17)

II.  EXPERIENCING ENJOYABLE PRAYER

A.    EXPERIENCE GOD’S BEAUTY
Experiencing God’s beauty and God’s burning desire for us is what makes prayer enjoyable.  The marrying of worship and prayer is the gateway to sustainable prayer.  In worship we focus on the Lord of Glory and see Him enthroned, reigning as the Sovereign Lord over all.  Experiencing God’s beauty and desire is the primary source of power that will fuel the prayer movement.  Encountering the beauty of the Lord and His desire for us is where we most enjoy our primary Reward, which is God Himself.  Our primary reward is not the breakthrough of Revival.  Revival is fantastic, but it is our secondary reward.  Jesus Himself is our primary Reward.

1.     Simply ask God to reveal His beauty to you.
“PLEASE, SHOW ME YOUR GLORY.”(Exodus 33:18)
“That the Father of Glory would GIVE TO YOU A SPIRIT OF WISDOM
AND REVELATION IN THE KNOWLEDGE OF HIM (JESUS), THE
EYES OF YOUR UNDERSTANDING BEING ENLIGHTENED, that you
may know what is the hope of His calling, what are the riches of His
inheritance in the saints, and what is the exceeding greatness of His
power toward us…”(Ephesians 1:17-19)
2.     Read the Word, turning it into dialogue with God.
The Bible is the written Word of God, which Jesus came to reveal in flesh.  He desires to write His Word upon our hearts, not just upon paper.  When we dialogue with God about His Word we invite Him to tell us about Who He is, and we open our hearts to the very nature and beauty of God.
3.     Experience God’s desire.  To experience God’s desire means to discern what God wants do in us, in others and in the events of human history on the earth and into eternity.  When the Holy Spirit reveals this information to us we can actually experience the emotions of God’s heart.  It energizes us and frees us from wrong mindsets when we come into alignment with His heart, and our prayers and worship are fueled by the oil (anointing) of the Holy Spirit.
a.   How do we experience God’s desire?
1.     Pray the prayers of Scripture.  Prayer that comes from God’s heart expresses His desires.  This is the kind of prayer upon which the Holy Spirit releases Divine authority.  This is the kind of prayer that God answers.  Praying the prayers that come from God’s heart enhances the enjoyment of our intimacy with Jesus.
i.      Apostolic prayers are prayers that the apostles prayed.  Of course, the Chief Apostle is Jesus, and along with His own prayers, His apostles have prayers recorded in the New Testament.  We know that the apostolic prayers are prayers inspired by the Holy Spirit, so they are God’s desires.  How do you know you are praying His will?  You are praying the Scriptures.  His Word is His will.
ii.     Prophetic prayers are prayers that the prophets prayed.  We have numerous examples of this in the Old Testament.

B.    Practice praying positive prayers.  When we pray positive prayers we enter into the delight of asking for the things that bring pleasure to God.  This is a gateway into feeling His desire in our inner man.  New Testament Biblical prayers focus on releasing God’s grace instead of hindering or removing negative realities like sin or demons.  There is a positive focus on the impartation of good instead of a negative focus on removing the realities of sin.  The New Testament focus usually flows along themes of joy, thankfulness and victory.
1.     Practical Tips for Praying Positive Prayers:
a.     Pray to God instead of talking to people when you pray corporately.  Focus on “asking” instead of “explaining.”  Speak directly to God – be more conscious that He is watching and listening than that others are watching and listening.  This will prompt you to direct your heart toward Him in love and partnership.
b.     Lift specific promises of Scripture up to God and ask for their fulfillment in our present day context.
c.     Ask for the in-breaking of positive things rather than the removal of negative things.

Examples:
Positive Prayer:  “Father, I ask that Your light and truth would break in upon the church in Easley!”
Negative Prayer: “Father, I ask that You would remove darkness and deception from the church in Easley!”
At KC-IHOP new intercessors are required to abstain from negative prayers altogether for a certain period of time so that they will realize how often they practice them and break this habit.
Note:  God hears, cares about and discerns all prayer, whether positive or negative. Because of our natural human tendency to become weary and discouraged, praying positive prayer allows us to maintain prayer day-in and day-out by helping us engage in joyful supplication rather than trying to bear the emotional weight of negative realities expressed through negative prayer.  This is especially relevant in a House of Prayer ministry that practices night and day prayer.  Due to the Biblical model and human dynamics, we encourage positive prayer.
2.     Paul’s Example:  Ephesus was in a city where the temple of the false “goddess” Diana was set up.  Diana worship prevailed in Ephesus, but when Paul was in Ephesus he didn’t ask the Lord to tear down the demonic stronghold over the city.  He didn’t take other Christians and surround the pagan temple, rebuking the evil spirits and binding principalities and powers over Ephesus.  In fact, there is no such example of this in God’s Word.  Rather, this was his prayer for the Ephesians:
Eph. 3:14  For this cause I bow my knees unto the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ,
15  Of whom the whole family in heaven and earth is named,
16  That He would grant you, according to the riches of His glory, to be strengthened with might by His Spirit in the inner man;
17  That Christ may dwell in your hearts by faith; that ye, being rooted and grounded in love,
Eph. 3:18  May be able to comprehend with all saints what is the breadth, and length, and depth, and height;
19  And to know the love of Christ, which passeth knowledge, that ye might be filled with all the fulness of God.
He prayed for the Church in the city to be rooted and grounded in God’s love that they might be filled with the fullness of God.  A people of habitation will manifest His Glory.  Sinners will naturally be drawn to the brightness of the rising of the people of God when they “arise in Christ,” filled with His fullness.
a.     Bless and curse not!  There is sin in every city.  When you go as an ambassador of Christ to a city you are the carrier of His blessing.
i.      Do not make negative, derogatory remarks about the city.  Honor is found in humility, not in pride.
ii.     Join with God’s heart for the city. Follow the example that Jesus set forth, and let your peace come upon it.
3.     Jesus’ Example:  How should we pray for the lost according to Scripture?  Jesus taught His disciples how they should pray:
Luke 10:2  Therefore said He unto them, The harvest truly is great, but the labourers are few: pray ye therefore the Lord of the harvest, that He would send forth labourers into His harvest.
He didn’t tell us to pray for the harvest; He told us to pray that the Lord of the harvest would send forth His laborers into His harvest.  The Lord knows who is ready, or ripe, unto harvest.  If He is sending forth His laborers, this would imply that He is directing them.  Therefore, maximum potential should be expected.
4.     Paul’s Prayer Request:
II Thes. 3:1  Finally, brethren, pray for us, that the word of the Lord may have free course, and be glorified, even as it is with you:
The NKJV translation says:
II Thes. 3:1  Finally, brethren, pray for us, that the word of the Lord may run swiftly and be glorified, just as it is with you,
This is a prayer request for the Lord’s Word to spread rapidly throughout an area or region, a prayer that God’s Word would be glorified or magnified (exalted).  We find that we have keys in the apostolic prayers of how to pray for the opening of a region to the Gospel of Jesus Christ.  When we pray Scripture we don’t have misunderstandings clouding our prayers.
5.     Let your focus be Christ-centric; He is the One upon Whom we set our gaze and our attention (see Col. 3:1-2; Heb. 12:2).  When we become focused on darkness rather than light and demons rather than Jesus we are off balance.

III.  DEALING WITH EVIL SPIRITS

A.   Prayer is not for addressing the devil nor railing upon evil spirits.
Jude 1:9  Yet Michael the archangel, when contending with the devil he disputed about the body of Moses, durst not bring against him a railing accusation, but said, The Lord rebuke thee.
1.     If this mighty archangel didn’t rail against the devil, we shouldn’t either.  We have no scriptural basis for such practices.B.    Should evil spirits ever be addressed?  Yes, there are two times to address the devil or demons:
1.     When being tempted.  Use the Scriptures to resist the devil.  Do not argue or resort to name-calling.  We have the example of Jesus in Matthew 4:
Mt. 4:3  And when the tempter came to Him, he said, If thou be the Son of God, command that these stones be made bread. 4  But He answered and said, It is written, Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God.
2.     When bringing deliverance to someone from an evil spirit (or spirits). We have the example of Jesus in Lk. 4:
Luke 4:35  And Jesus rebuked him, saying, Hold thy peace, and come out of him.  And when the devil had thrown him in the midst, he came out of him, and hurt him not.
Neither of these examples involves prayer.  Our prayers are to be addressed to the Sovereign Lord, not to the devil.  In the first instance, God’s Word was used to defeat the devil in direct temptation.  In the second instance, Jesus used His authority to command the evil spirit to come out of the man.
C.     How are strongholds torn down?
1.     First, we must identify the scriptural perspective of a stronghold is:
II Cor. 10:4  (For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but mighty through God to the pulling down of strong holds;)
5  Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ;
a.     Strongholds are imaginations (thoughts) that oppose the knowledge of God, and therefore oppose His Word.
2.     These imaginations, or thoughts (mindsets, belief systems, patterns of thinking), must be brought into the obedience of Christ.
a.     Strongholds are demolished by dispelling the darkness that infiltrates the minds of the people with the entrance of the light of truth (the Word of God).  How is this accomplished?
i.      By the proclamation of the Gospel
ii.     By teaching and discipleship
To be spiritually healthy, do not feed from ministries and materials that are darkness-focused and that hunt a devil under every bush!  Focus on Christ and His Word.  Stay Christ-centric.
Author: Linda Simmons

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