Prevailing Prayer

The singular meaning of prevailing prayer is that it will prevail over any given subject in a manner that is effective. We could pray a one-liner over our city every day and call that prayer. And, indeed it is! But, it may not qualify as prevailing prayer unless we are willing to wait until eternity to possibly see the fruit of it. Prevailing Prayer has its hope in the "now," the "present day" for change to occur. So, in light of that, there are some distinct characteristics that set prevailing prayer apart from ordinary or common prayer. It can predominate and triumph over any situation. Neither will it cease until the answer is obtained, which causes it to be sustained prayer. The one praying stays put in the place of prayer until the answer is obtained. Does that mean that 24 hours a day, day upon day is spent in prayer? Not necessarily! What it does mean is this -- that the "position" of prayer is held before the throne of grace until the answer is received.

How will I know when the answer comes? The burden is relieved. A burst of peace, light, release or lifting will hit your spirit and you will know that the answer is on the way. The feeling of peace that releases into one's spirit when the answer has been obtained is absolutely addictive. There is nothing spiritually that compares to it, except a visitation of God Himself. It is the reward of working with God and praying Him onto the stage of life. The previous scene may have been horrendous but when the Sovereign Lord, by virtue of prayer, enters the next scene -- it turns. Redemption has come!

Intercessors must learn how to hold their positions of prayer before God until help arrives. We turn loose too soon! We give up too early! When endurance has been worked in our spirits, we will become as tenacious as bull dogs who sink their teeth in and hang on for the ride!

For everyone who asks receives, and he who seeks finds, and to him who knocks it will be opened. [Luke 11:10] The verbs used here have continuance. They invite us to demonstrate persistence in prayer. I personally would rather know that I had the answer in hand before I moved on to another prayer subject. I also think the Lord is pleased when we exhibit a faith that will not let go. However, when the Son of man comes will He find persistence in the faith on the earth? [Luke 18:8b Amp.]

God put into your spiritual DNA a desire to prevail in prayer, to see people affected and to see cities and nations turned. Everyone has a dream to be used by God to effect mankind on some level. Even the desire to find your inheritance and have your destiny mapped out is a dream that we all dream. If you don't, you've gotten side tracked into some comfort zone of peace at all cost. Pray at all times-on every occasion, in every season-in the Spirit, with all [manner of] prayer and entreaty. To that end keep alert and watch with strong purpose and perseverance, interceding in behalf of all the saints [God's consecrated people]. [Eph. 6:18 Amp]

There is a remarkable story recorded in the 15th chapter of Matthew about the woman of Canaan who pleaded with Jesus to deliver her daughter from demon possession. He ignored her for a while the disciples tried to send her away but she would not be denied. Then she came and worshipped Him, saying, "Lord, help me!" But He answered and said, "It is not good to take the children's bread and throw it to the little dogs." And she said, "Yes, Lord, yet even the little dogs eat the crumbs which fall from their masters' table." Then Jesus answered and said to her, "O woman, great is your faith! Let it be to you as you desire." And her daughter was healed from that very hour. [Matt. 15:25-28] This is the perfect picture of pressing through every obstacle in urgent solicitation and importunity in order to prevail with the Lord.

There are many examples of prevailing with God in the Bible; Abraham importunes with God over Sodom. [Gen. 18:22] Moses importunes with God over Israel. [Ex. 32:9] There is a quality of praying that waits before the Father with a supplication that will not cease. It releases a quality of praying in us that focuses on only one thing. The Holy Spirit must come and intervene. Jesus teaches that this quality of praying gets through to the answer.

Paul Billheimer writes "that God will do nothing in the realm of human redemption, since its inception, outside of this scheme of prayer and intercession is indicated by God's many pressing invitations to pray in His word. He not only invites, He entreats, He importunes, He urges. He even begs us to exercise this privilege. One translator has paraphrased Matt 7:7 thus: 'Ask, I ask you to ask, seek, I entreat you to seek, knock, I urge you to knock.' Evidently He can do nothing without our prayers. He not only invites and exhorts us to pray. He also commands!"

Andrew Murray said: "God's intense longing to bless seems in some sense, to be graciously limited by His dependence on intercession. God regards intercession as the highest expression of His peoples' readiness to receive and to yield themselves wholly to the working of His almighty power. God rules the world and the church through the prayers of His people. That God should have made the extension of His Kingdom to such a large extent dependent on the faithfulness of His people and prayer is a stupendous mystery and yet an absolute certainty."

We all face situations that are more difficult than others, that require a constant level of prayer. God is ready to "meet" needs, but there are times that He requires desperation on our part. Some answers come easy, while others require more prayer labor. We thank the Lord for the easier ones but are we willing to labor for the more difficult answers. God uses certain situations to build character traits in us that are beneficial in prayer, such as perseverance and tenacity.

As we are praying over others, God is doing a work in us. He is building in us simultaneously as we set our hearts for the work ahead. There are times when the work will be all consuming because the difficulties are immense and the enemy is strongly entrenched. Having a heart for the work and the battle are strong allies for the Intercessor. Next to loving God, I love to pray with hardy, persevering Intercessors who are not fearful of a battle and love to take ground for God regardless of the hardness or difficulty of the situation.

Pat Gastineau