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What is prayer?

Prayer is not something you merely think or talk about. Prayer is something you do—God’s power made available to mankind, a great resource. Yet, for the most part, prayer is not properly used, not properly “exploited.”

Why is that so? Because there is a mystique, a secret, that seems to have placed effective prayer beyond the reach of most believers.

But the power resources of prayer are attainable. Prayer is a force to be used, a tool to be utilized, and a mighty weapon to be deployed. This becomes clear and plain as we read, “Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord [or, in Jehovah] and in the power of His might. Put on the whole armor of God [that’s what prayer will teach you to do], that you may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil” (Eph. 6:10-11).

One little known fact God desires to make plain is that it is possible to stand against the tricks of the devil, but to do so, you must certainly learn the secrets of prayer.

“The weapons of our warfare are not carnal but mighty in God for pulling down strongholds” (2 Cor. 10:4). Our weapons are not physical or mental; they are spiritual. One of our best weapons is prayer.

Untapped Resources

The earth is replete with untapped natural resources. Entire oil fields are as yet undiscovered and, therefore, untapped. The potential power in that oil does no good until it is discovered and utilized. Untapped diamond fields and rich veins of gold represent almost unlimited purchasing power.

While my family and I were living in the Philippines, the Japanese located and raised an old vessel that had been sunk there during World War II. The vessel was still loaded with coal, which the Japanese simply unloaded onto the shores.

In the vessel at the bottom of the harbor, that coal was useless. But when it was brought to the surface and shoveled onto the beaches, it suddenly became a valuable power resource. I watched as hundreds of mothers and children came with baskets and bags and hauled that coal to their homes, where that potential power became actual power as it was used for heating and cooking.

Prayer is an infinitely more effective energy source than coal. It is the key to the greatest supply of untapped power in the universe. But for the most part, that resource of strength and power is not being used.

Prayer Power in Action

On more than one occasion Jesus’ disciples witnessed a demonstration of prayer power. “And when they [the disciples] had prayed, the place where they were assembled together was shaken; and they were all filled with the Holy Spirit, and they spoke the word of God with boldness” (Acts 4:31).

Here are the conditions: the believers assembled together and prayed. Here are the results: the place was shaken; they were filled with the power of the Holy Spirit; then they spoke the Word of God—not with backwardness or fear—with great boldness. First they prayed, then the power came.

If we can get the Church in our land to reach out to God through prayer, we will discover resources of strength, blessing, anointing, goodness, and mercies we never dreamed about. If we can convince the world that it is prayer time in our land, the result will be an anointing of power previously unknown.

There are battles that can be won only when we pray. Victories—even over demonic forces—can be ours through prayer.

Let’s Get Our People to Pray!

Effective prayer is truly a secret to most Christians. Prayer for the majority of believers amounts only to “Good morning, Jesus”; “We thank You for the food”; and, at day’s end, “Good night, Lord”—all done in two minutes or less. This is not what I am talking about.

I am suggesting that we use prayer as it was designed and intended, as a tremendous force, a terrible weapon against the enemy. I am talking of prayer that can exert a world-changing influence. When it is truly understood and faithfully used, prayer is the greatest source of un-tapped energy the world has ever known.

To bring about such prayer requires a change in our thinking and in our praying habits. Such prayer among the people of God can change the church of Jesus Christ in America and all around the world. It matters not if you are reading this book in the United States, or in the Philippines, or in Japan, or in South America. Whoever you are, wherever you live, I am assuring you that by your prayers you can receive and set into motion the power of God. Only through prayer is this possible.

United Prayer Produces United Results

Cornelius learned this when he prayed. Cornelius was “a devout man, and one who feared God with all his household” (Acts 10:2). Praying together as a family multiplies your prayer power. God tells us that one can chase a thousand, and two can put ten thousand to flight (see Deut. 32:30). As Cornelius learned, when you unite your home in prayer, you become like an army ready for battle. Prayer can change a person, but it can also change entire families!

When Cornelius and his family prayed in unity, God performed miracles. He sent for Peter, who was one hundred miles away in the city of Joppa. Peter came and preached to Cornelius, resulting in that man’s entire family receiving the infilling of the Holy Spirit.

None of these things happened haphazardly. They came about through prayer.

Just as prayer changed Cornelius’s life and the lives of his family, prayer can change your life and the lives of those around you. By learning the secrets of prayer, as Cornelius did, you could also be remembered as a person who changed this world and the world to come. Prayer is that powerful!

Prayer Releases Dynamic Energy

You can help others by your prayers. The apostle Paul spoke of this dimension of prayer: “You also helping together in prayer for us, that thanks may be given by many persons on our behalf for the gift granted to us through many” (2 Cor. 1:11).

You see, you can become a prayer partner; you can join with others and become a means of “helping together in prayer.” Cornelius helped his family through prayer. You can do the same. You can bless others; you can help missionaries; you can help your pastor and the people of your church; you can help the people in your community and government. All of this and much, much more can be accomplished through your unselfish praying.

You can literally release prisoners by praying. When Herod imprisoned Peter, “constant prayer was offered to God for him by the church” (Acts 12:5). God responded by sending an angel to release Peter. That’s the kind of power that’s still available to God’s people through their prayers! That’s the same power that you and your prayer group can have.

Prayer Can Bring Healing

Prayer with faith is also a mighty tool God has given to us for physical healing. The Old Testament has many illustrations of God’s healing power. For example, Naaman, the great Syrian soldier, was cured of leprosy (see 2 Kings 5:1-14). Hezekiah, king of Judah, prayed to God on his deathbed, and the Lord granted him fifteen more years of life (see 2 Kings 20:1-11). The New Testament provides even more evidence of God’s healing power. The Gospels are full of Jesus’ healing miracles.

The miracles of healing did not stop with Jesus’ return to heaven, either. The book of Acts is full of them too. What most people don’t realize is that such healings are a part of the fulfillment of the Great Commission. In that famous command, Jesus said, “Go into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature. He who believes and is baptized will be saved; but he who does not believe will be condemned. And these signs will follow those who believe” (Mark 16:15-17). Then follows a list of signs, and included among them is “they will lay hands on the sick, and they will recover” (Mark 16:18).

But most exciting for us today is that God can still heal, and He is willing to do so in re-sponse to prayer. Jesus told His disciples, “Most assuredly, I say to you, he who believes in Me, the works that I do he will do also; and greater works than these he will do, because I go to My Father” (John 14:12). In the area of healing is this passage: “Is anyone among you sick? Let him call for the elders of the church, and let them pray over him, anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord. And the prayer of faith will save the sick, and the Lord will raise him up. And if he has committed sins, he will be forgiven” (James 5:14-15).

I know from experience that God continues to heal in response to prayers offered in faith. I have seen it happen in my own life. And in my ministry over the years, I have seen hundreds healed through prayer. As a result of these experiences, coupled with the teaching of God’s Word, I know that divine healing is both available and effective.

In Whose Name Should We Pray?

God’s Word answers this question for us. Jesus said, “And whatever you ask in My name, that will I do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son” (John 14:13). That means that the scope of our praying is as limitless as the name of Jesus. Jesus has no limitations, no horizons.

The breadth, the extent, of our praying is as large as our asking. God expects us to reach out to the farthest horizons we can imagine, and to use all the strength and all the power that He has made available to us—all of it in Jesus’ name.

So you can see, prayer is not just the mere recitation of words. Prayer is a relationship— with God and with Jesus, His Son. Prayer is the speaking of loving words, a love lyric to our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.

Prayer is a personal connection with God. Prayer is alive. Prayer is inspiring. Prayer is powerful, energizing, and dynamic! Prayer revitalizes the one who prays. But prayer is not just spiritual recreation. As we said earlier, prayer is doing battle with the invisible forces of darkness.

“No man ever prayed without learning something,” Emerson said. And he was right. You learn about yourself when you pray. You learn about your fellow man when you pray. You learn about God when you pray.

Prayer Is a Way of Life

A life that is planned and developed by prayer becomes a great life. Prayer puts an indelible stamp upon every thought and every action of the one who makes it a vital part of his life. The inevitable result of making prayer a way of life is the change of one’s very being, the reshaping of his personality into the shape of God.

The power of prayer is as real as the unseen—but also very real—terrestrial gravity, the force with which everyone contends every hour of the day. No one can deny the existence or power of that force. Prayer is a sort of spiritual gravity, spiritual magnetism. Even as a magnet draws iron particles to itself, so God draws people to Himself. When, through the dynamism of prayer, we turn to God, we find that He responds to us as we respond to Him.

The miraculous power of this spiritual magnetism is evident in every person, in every human body. Dr. Alexis Carrel, a scientist who has seen God’s power at work in his patients, and the famous author of Man, the Unknown, stated in a Reader’s Digest article, “As a physician, I have seen men, after all of the therapy failed, lifted out of disease and melancholy by the serene effort of prayer.”

The power of prayer is nothing short of amazing. It is the only power in the universe that seems to overcome the so-called laws of nature.

Prayer Is Invincible

Prayer is invincible. It cannot be subdued. Nobody can hinder or prevent the operation of prayer power. Rulers of great nations have had their laws and decrees defied and altered by prayer.

The evil leaders in Babylonia influenced King Darius to defy the power of prayer by casting Daniel into the lion’s den (see Dan. 6:10-23). Daniel was unscathed—living proof of the invincible power of prayer.

Wicked Haman learned—too late—the invincible power of prayer. His clever manipulations served only to hang him upon his own gallows, the one he built for his enemy (see Esther 7:10).

It has always been so.

Prayer can destroy enemy powers and evil forces. Prayer can build the kingdom of God.

This has always been God’s intent.

Prayer operates in the lives of those who have provided God with clean, righteous vessels, in which His Holy Spirit dwells, in which egotism and self-sufficiency have been eradicated. It is in such lives—in which material things have faded and the spiritual life is in proper focus—that God chooses to display His unlimited power.

Evil, self-aggrandizing forces rule the world we live in—political and economic forces, power-hungry forces that are humanly irresistible, immovable, indomitable, insurmountable, impregnable, unconquerable, and unyielding. Yet all these forces are but “paper tigers” in the face of anointed prayer.

Before World War II, France believed its Maginot Line was invincible. Germany proved it wrong by simply going around the ends. Germany believed its blitzkrieg manner of warfare was invincible. Yet it was to learn that its “best” would succumb to a superior force.

Our enemy believes himself to be invincible. Yet when you and I discover the secrets of and appropriate the inestimably superior powers of prayer—the truly invincible “whole armor of God” (Eph. 6:13), the defensive and offensive glories of prayer—we will move into prayer against the enemies of God, the enemies of righteousness, with an assurance, with a joyous aban-don, and with an effectiveness we have never known.

When faced with such divine power, all earthly powers are subject to defeat. All earthly powers, whether political, economic, or military, are subject to the power of prayer.

Prayer has no equal. The power of prayer does not change. It stands when all other powers fail. World systems change; ideologies change; balances of world power change; balances of economics change. But the power of prayer that is available to us, the power that streams from the Almighty, the Maker of heaven and earth, will never fail. It cannot be defeated.

My friend, the secrets of prayer can be yours. And when you discover them, they will fill you with living energy. You will indeed be able to “mount up with wings like eagles” and “not faint” (Isa. 40:31).

If you have read this far, the secrets of prayer are already being revealed to you.

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