Stop, you're praying wrong!
That's what God told me one day as I was in some deep prayer. I was currently working part-time at a call center. I had been fairly frustrated that I wasn't able to leave that job so I could work full-time in the church.
That day, I was praying from a place of frustration. "God, oh God, please grow the church! Let the finances increase! Please God!"
That was when, as clear as a bell, I heard God say, "Stop! You're praying wrong!"
What? How could that be? I was praying so hard. As I walked around the 1000 square feet of sanctuary space in the early days of Revolution, I really felt like I was doing well. Didn't God want the church to grow? Didn't He want to provide for our needs?
Then God said something I'll never forget. "You are praying as if I'm resisting you. Don't you realize I put those desires in your heart? Why are you begging me for a desire that I initiated? I gave you the desire in the first place!"
Wow! That ruined my whole perception of what prayer was! I had to think differently.
God then said, "There is one who IS resisting you though. The enemy doesn't want these desires I placed in your heart to come to pass. It is the enemy whom you must fight."
So, I launched into a new dimension of faith filled and violent prayer!
I felt impressed that God wanted me to practice this new revelation he gave me. He told me He wanted me to have more time to pray and initiate revival in the city. He wanted me to quit my job at the call center. I had captured the heart of God and I knew it was my turn to enforce His will. The enemy must move!
"In the powerful name of Jesus Christ, I command you devil to release! Get off of my schedule! I declare the heart of God is for me to quit my job and to advance His kingdom full time in Manitou Springs! How dare you touch the plans of God!"
"Now this is the confidence that we have in Him, that if we ask anything according to His will, He hears us. And if we know that He hears us, whatever we ask, we know that we have the petitions that we have asked of Him" (1 John 5:14-15, NKJV).
I prayed according to His will. He wanted me to work full-time in the ministry. One week later, as a church of about 35 people, we received a check in the Sunday offering for $50,000. The following week we received $25,000.
I was full time two weeks later.
That money was "more than enough" for me to go full-time at the church. We also used it to get into a 27,000 square-foot building. God wanted us to have that all along. The enemy didn't. I was praying wrong. I was praying as if the provision had to be coaxed away from God. In reality, God had already released it and I just had to go get it–and blast through the enemy's resistance on the way.
That's why it's critical to be people of prayer. How else can we know what God wants us to pray for, what to stand on, what not to focus on or what to delay? We must hear Him!
Of course, the primary thrust of this message is hearing the ever-present voice of God. Let me at this point also emphasize the seemingly obvious power of the written Word of God. The revelation of Revelation Driven Prayer has literally changed my life in many realms and dimensions. The above story revealed a process I went through with regard to God's will for that moment of my life. He spoke specifically to me regarding His desires.
Another story, though very short, had an equal impact upon my life. I was once again in a place of 'frustration prayer.' I was crying out for my needs to be met. I was banging on the doors of heaven in passionate prayer for finances, among other things. Once again I heard the voice of God deep within my spirit, "Your prayer is hindering you." What? Did I hear what I thought I heard? God told me that my prayer in that moment was doing more damage than good. I should stop if I planned on continuing in that vein.
He then said, "Without faith it is impossible to please me." He added, "Doubt in prayer will ensure that prayer goes unanswered." OK, He had my attention. I pondered this, and wrestled with these issues. I didn't want to doubt. I wanted more than anything to be a man of faith. I wanted these pieces to fit together so I could arrive at some conclusion. God was telling me not to pray! Yet, I still had unresolved issues that demanded a miracle. Oh how alone I felt!
Then the answer came. God asked me why I was praying for something that was already promised in His Word. He has promised to supply all of my needs according to His riches in glory. The very act of asking God for my needs to be met revealed my lack of faith that it has already been done! Wow! I was attempting to convince God to do something that He already had resolved! My prayer evidenced my doubt that resulted in my prayer being unanswered!
The Bible reveals, as a man thinks in his heart, so is he. Doubt was in my heart. It also reveals that out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks. I was speaking unbelief. Finally, the Bible reveals that the power of life and death are in the tongue. The unbelief in my heart was manifesting as decrees of death over my finances! It would have been better if I didn't pray at all!
"Therefore I say to you, whatever things you ask when you pray, believe that you receive them, and you will have them" (Mark 11:24).
No begging, no coercing, no convincing, no doubting allowed in prayer!
"If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all liberally and without reproach, and it will be given to him. But let him ask in faith, with no doubting, for he who doubts is like a wave of the sea driven and tossed by the wind. For let not that man suppose that he will receive anything from the Lord; he is a double-minded man, unstable in all his ways" (James 1:5-8).
Now, when I pray, I simply remember that prayer rhymes with declare. I don't have an addiction to petition. I hear God and then declare to the atmosphere and my situations how they must conform to His will. It turns us from a position of defeat and passivity to a position of victory and spiritual violence and powerful faith! We change from the afflicted to the afflictor!
This article was excerpted from John Burton's book, Revelation Driven Prayer. Tune in Tuesday for Part 2 of this series.
John Burton has been developing and leading ministries for over 25 years and is a sought out teacher, prophetic messenger and revivalist. John has authored ten books, has appeared on Christian television and radio and directed one of the primary internships at a major international prayer ministry. Additionally, he planted two churches, has initiated two city prayer movements and is currently directing an online prayer and revival focused ministry school called the School of Revival. John also produces prophetic equipping media that can be watched or listened to most every day at www.thefurnace.tv.
He and his beautiful wife Amy have five children and currently live in the Branson, Missouri region. John is available to minister anywhere in the world and can be contacted via his site at www.johnburton.net.
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