Excerpt from Prayer, Fasting and Spiritual Warfare by George Akalonu:
Five core factors cohere to make prayers effective. They work together to create the synergy we need to produce desired outcomes:
1. Right Relationship with Yahweh and fellow humans. This is the basis on which we are able to approach Him in the first place. In His mercy, Yahweh can respond and does respond to the needs of people in distress, including sinners. In real terms however, the very first need of those outside His family and Kingdom is to come into right relationship with Him which is offered freely through the blood Shed by Yeshua, Jesus at the Cross of Calvary.
When people claim to be in His family and kingdom, the basic expectation is that conversion and the supply of His grace makes them averse to sin and willing to grow in righteousness. To claim to be saved and still indulge in sin as a habit and lifestyle is to make the grace of God of no effect. Romans 6:1-16. For those who are part of the family of Yahweh, here is what His word says about coming to Him presumptuously:
“18 If I regard iniquity in my heart, the Lord will not hear me” Psalm 66:18
“13 He that covereth his sins shall not prosper: but whoso confesseth and forsaketh them shall have mercy”. Proverbs 28:13
Coming to Yahweh to ask for any blessing that is not based on a right relationship with Him or fellow humans will only produce a religious ritual. This is why Hebrews 12:14 urges us to follow peace with all men and holiness, without which no man shall see the Lord. We may not be able to dictate how fellow human beings will act towards us but the Word enjoins us to do as much as lies within us to live
peaceably with all men.
If they pursue the path of enmity with us, we should diligently guard our hearts and ensure that no root of bitterness takes hold, so that we are not defiled.
“14 Follow peace with all men, and holiness, without which no man shall see the Lord:15 Looking diligently lest any man fail of the grace of God; lest any root of bitterness springing up trouble you, and thereby many be defiled”; Hebrews 12:14-15
“Lord, who shall abide in thy tabernacle? who shall dwell in thy holy hill?2 He that walketh uprightly, and worketh righteousness, and speaketh the truth in his heart.3 He that backbiteth not with his tongue, nor doeth evil to his neighbour, nor taketh up a reproach against his neighbour.4 In whose eyes a vile person is contemned; but he honoureth them that fear the LORD. He that sweareth to his own hurt, and changeth not.5 He that putteth not out his money to usury, nor taketh reward against the innocent. He that doeth these things shall never be moved” Psalm 15:1-5
3 Who shall ascend into the hill of the LORD? or who shall stand in his holy place?4 He that hath clean hands, and a pure heart; who hath not lifted up his soul unto vanity, nor sworn deceitfully.5 He shall receive the blessing from the LORD, and righteousness from the God of his salvation.6 This is the generation of them that seek him, that seek thy face, O Jacob. Selah”. Psalm 24:3-6
“8 Blessed are the pure in heart: for they shall see God”. Matthew 5:8
“12 And forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors”. Matthew 6:12
“32 And be ye kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ's sake hath forgiven you”. Ephesians 4:32
“15 See that none render evil for evil unto any man; but ever follow that which is good, both among yourselves, and to all men” 1 Thessalonians 5:15 .
2. Knowledge of the Will of Yahweh. The will of Yahweh is crucial in prayer because asking outside His will is merely wearying of our souls, tasking our bodies and vexing of our spirits. Yahweh has a personality and will. Therefore, it makes great sense to know His will concerning all that we should ask.
“14 And this is the confidence that we have in him, that, if we ask any thing according to his will, he heareth us:
15 And if we know that he hear us, whatsoever we ask, we know that we have the petitions that we desired of him” 1 John 5:14-15.
Prayer is an instrument of relationship with Yahweh
3. Knowledge of the Word. The Word of Yahweh is a reliable storehouse of His will. The Scriptures are essentially a documentation of His will for mankind generally and the redeemed in particular. Studying and meditating on the Word is an extraordinarily healthy spiritual exercise that provides grounds on which to walk in tandem with Yahweh.
“16 All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness17 That the man of God may be perfect, thoroughly furnished unto all good works”. 2 Timothy 3:16-17
“15 Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth” 2 Timothy 2:15.
4. Faith. Faith is active reliance on the Word of Yahweh. It is the grasping on His Word as true and certain, even when there is nothing physically manifested. The attitude of faith is this “If it is in the Word, then I receive it”. The heroes of faith all had one central thread which ran through their lives: they lived by faith in Yahweh and His word regardless of what their senses suggested. In this, they fulfilled a vital law of the Spirit expressed in this short but powerful passage:
“7 (For we walk by faith, not by sight:)” 2 Corinthians 5:7
“Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.
2 For by it the elders obtained a good report.
3 Through faith we understand that the worlds were framed by the word of God, so that things which are seen were not made of things which do appear.
4 By faith Abel offered unto God a more excellent sacrifice than Cain, by which he obtained witness that he was righteous, God testifying of his gifts: and by it he being dead yet speaketh.
5 By faith Enoch was translated that he should not see death; and was not found, because God had translated him: for before his translation he had this testimony, that he pleased God.
6 But without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him” Hebrews 11:1-6.
Paul the apostle was to clarify this factor as a vital fulcrum on which his incredible ministry was based and for which he suffered incredible opposition and pain:
“16 For which cause we faint not; but though our outward man perish, yet the inward man is renewed day by day.
17 For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, worketh for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory;
18 While we look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen: for the things which are seen are temporal; but the things which are not seen are eternal”. 2 Corinthians 4:16-18
Interestingly, our faith is increased with hearing and studying of the will of Yahweh in His Word.
“17 So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God” Romans 10:17
Faith is not the exercise of mere positive confession. It is rather standing on the sure promises of God as true and reliable.
5. Prayer. Prayer brings all the four factors above together. In prayer therefore, we come with a penitent heart to Yahweh by the way of the Blood, receiving mercy and grace to rely on His sure Word. Standing on His received will, we ask in faith and hang in there before Him in importunity until we receive that which He says is ours!
“19 Having therefore, brethren, boldness to enter into the holiest by the blood of Jesus,
20 By a new and living way, which he hath consecrated for us, through the veil, that is to say, his flesh;
21 And having an high priest over the house of God;
22 Let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled from an evil conscience, and our bodies washed with pure water.
23 Let us hold fast the profession of our faith without wavering; (for he is faithful that promised;)” Hebrews 10:19-23
“7 Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you:
8 For every one that asketh receiveth; and he that seeketh findeth; and to him that knocketh it shall be opened” Matthew 7:7-8.
“22 And Jesus answering saith unto them, Have faith in God.
23 For verily I say unto you, That whosoever shall say unto this mountain, Be thou removed, and be thou cast into the sea; and shall not doubt in his heart, but shall believe that those things which he saith shall come to pass; he shall have whatsoever he saith24 Therefore I say unto you, What things soever ye desire, when ye pray, believe that ye receive them, and ye shall have them.”. Mark 11:22-24
What do you do when you do not know what to do? Just pray, seeking to know what Yahweh is saying in the situation and His will in and through it. This is a very healthy lifestyle which cannot fail as King Jehoshaphat found in 2 Chronicles chapter 20: 1- 30! If we allow the principle in Colossians 3:1-3 to be real in us and get lost in Yahweh, He takes over all our battles and we rest in His divine providence!
“If ye then be risen with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ sitteth on the right hand of God.
2 Set your affection on things above, not on things on the earth.
3 For ye are dead, and your life is hid with Christ in God” Colossians 3:1-3
“15 And he said, Hearken ye, all Judah, and ye inhabitants of Jerusalem, and thou king Jehoshaphat, Thus saith the LORD unto you, Be not afraid nor dismayed by reason of this great multitude; for the battle is not yours, but God's.
16 To morrow go ye down against them: behold, they come up by the cliff of Ziz; and ye shall find them at the end of the brook, before the wilderness of Jeruel.
17 Ye shall not need to fight in this battle: set yourselves, stand ye still, and see the salvation of the LORD with you, O Judah and Jerusalem: fear not, nor be dismayed; tomorrow go out against them: for the LORD will be with you”. 2 Chronicles 20:15-17
THE MODEL PATTERN OF PRAYER – INSIDE THE YESHUA, JESUS SCHOOL OF PRAYER
In the book of Luke 11: 1, the disciples pleaded with Yeshua, Jesus, to teach them how to pray just as John taught His own disciples. Knowing that what they desired of Him was right and proper, He proceeded to lay out a frame work of how saints should pray. He was by no means telling them a ritual to recite or a religious box to be trapped in. The focus of Jesus rather was to show His disciples, by practical illustration, that a man’s life does not consist in the abundance of goods accumulated nor should man live by bread alone.
Thus, it is needful to examine what is now called the Lord’s Prayer in detail to see the point He was making and the way He wanted His saints to think outside the box of cares of this life. To do justice to this prayer, we shall break down and examine all the constituent parts therein from the lenses of the man who was the assigned biographer, Matthew the ex-customs officer.
A Pattern to follow: Let us take note of this vital key that unlocks what Yeshua was saying in Matthew 6: 9: “In this manner therefore pray” –In contemporary language, He was saying ‘Let this be a model or pattern of what to cover in prayer.’