I just have a couple of thoughts on prayer. When I was younger I remember a friend saying that she was a Bible person and I was a prayer person…. My prayer life at that time was non-existent minus the few times when things got so bad that I would actually spend more than a few minutes asking for help.
Now this was not because I did not believe in prayer, but because I really did not have any broader experience of prayer. Then I read a book by Jim Cymbala which posited prayer as the answer to most of the churches problems. Next thing, I started attending prayer meetings, because I thought that was where the action was. Now in that context I did learn to pray some, but it was still very much an experience of asking. About the same time people taught me about “confessing” so I would get loud, speak in tongues and “confess” God’s truth over people and my situation. Now I will say that that had some effect for me, and certainly helped keep me encouraged. But I still would not call that a prayer life per se.
When I really developed a prayer life was when I was in a terrible work situation. It was so bad that I just needed the Lord’s peace by lunch time, and so at lunch I would sneak off to a quiet part of the building and just allow the Lord to touch me and empty out all of the pain. This was the first experience I had of a truly “two way” prayer relationship. I had looked before for God to “speak to me” but I just was not looking for the right thing or properly equipped to do this. I was looking for something much more transactional and rational than I think the Lord really brings.
So I would have times where I felt the “touch” of the Lord, which I will just describe as a warm peaceful feeling, yes feeling, and then times where I did not really experience anything at all. I wasn’t really unhappy though because this was a huge step forward from what I had before. And then at least my experience matched the kind of thing I had heard people like Mike Bickle talk about– what he calls “unanointed prayer.” However that never really sat that well with me. Sometimes God just did not want me to experience His “presence” or be close to Him, and yet often these times were effective in prayer?
It was after that that the teaching of Curry Blake began to impact me further.. I started to realize that if something was between me and God it was not God! It was either something in me or something in the spiritual atmosphere, and if I sought Him more deeply He was “not far from each one of us” as Paul says. I began to “press through” in prayer until I knew God was with me, and there was a real breakthrough that came. I believe that when the enemy knows that everytime tries to stop you, he will only be defeated, the game is over. Now whenever I turn my heart toward God, I know that He is near and I experience His nearness… perhaps not always to the same degree, but it is never dry. If it’s dry, it’s not God.
This I believe says a lot about prayer in general. Somehow we believe that intercession is a practice of essentially begging God to do something, which is really absurd when you think about it. When He sent Jesus, He did it all. When we beg it’s almost like we think we are better than God. He’s not good enough to give us what we need (to do His will), but somehow we are good enough to want it so badly to beg extensively for it. Because of Jesus, we can experience the continual kindness and love of the Father towards us even in correction. There is nothing you are going to add to that.
All you can do is begin to come into a place of believing in Him and His character so much that things in you and your surroundings, the Earth, and in the spiritual atmosphere begin to change and you experience the “breakthrough” We don’t beg God, we believe God.