Dear Prayo – By Popoola Oluwatobi

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When you hear the Bible say that Jesus prayed so fervently that his sweat was like droplets of blood, if you didn’t know any better, you’d think Jesus was praying against the evil altar, demonic foundation, and the witches and wizards of his father’s house. I mean, what else can make a man pray like that? What else can make a man involve the totality of his person in prayer but for warfare against family stronghold?

But alas, Jesus prayed so passionately and fervently, in bringing himself into alignment with God’s plan for His life at that crucial phase.
But that doesn’t make sense. Does it?
Ordinary God’s plan? And he was praying with so much energy? Isn’t that the kind of prayer you pray with your two hands in your pockets, mumbling in tongues as your mind wanders from coast to coast?

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When you hear the Bible say that the apostles prayed so much that the place where they gathered was shaken, if you didn’t know any better, you’d think they were praying for money, promotion, or business breakthrough. After all, if we come this life, we no make money, wetin we gain? Right? What else can stir such fervency in prayer?

But alas, they prayed so fervently that they may stay bold, and that healings and miracles may abound through them?

Does that even make sense?
Boldness to preach? And you are praying so fervently that the facility was shaken together? What kind of misinvestment of energy is that? Isn’t that the kind of prayer you should pray, looking at your wristwatch time and time again, so the prayer meeting can end and you can finally go home?

You know, so much redefinition has been forced upon the sacred art of prayer, that many today who reckon themselves to be prayer warriors and are so perceived, would fail the Bible test of a sound prayer life.

In some quarters today, when you hear the roar of prayers quake the environment and the sound take over the neighborhood, you can almost predict what the prayer point is. It’s either it is about household wickedness, generation curse, ancestral stronghold, evil foundation, or the almighty money. Raise prayers of consecration or for missionaries, and it’d almost be as quiet as the graveyard.

Where did we get this training in prayer from?
Who taught us?
Jesus? Peter? Paul? John?
Certainly not!

Dear Prayo, what kind of prayer draws out sweat from your body? What kind of prayer draws out roars out of you? What kind of prayer draws tears from your eyes?

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Dear Prayo #002

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You probably have heard of the term, catching a prayer burden. It is used to describe those moments in prayer when we are totally “out of control”. The prayee becomes consumed, as it were, with the prayer. Those are moments that come with diverse demonstrations. It’s either the individual is hitting is fist on the wall, or stamping his feet hard on the ground, or he bends down, or kneels, with his limbs in disorganized motions and many times, his veins protruding out of his flesh. Sometimes, it brings us to that place where there’s no more words, and there’s only wailings and heavy, deep intermittent sighs. Oh, such precious moments. But for grammatical correctness, you could almost say that in such moments, the prayer is praying the prayee. You see, such moments are not to be experienced only once in a blue moon. We should have regular moments in prayer, when all our hearts and our minds are totally immersed in the praying till it takes over our whole being.

Such was the kind of moment Jesus had in Gethsemane. The writer of Hebrews says He prayed with strong cryings and tears. Luke was more lucid.

Luke 22:44 KJVS
And being in an agony he prayed more earnestly: and his sweat was as it were great drops of blood falling down to the ground.

And what was he praying for?
He was at a very crucial phase of the reason He came. And there was the strong temptation to turn back. The pains…the sufferings…the agony was all ahead waiting for him. Yet all of God’s plan from the very beginning depended on His obedience.

Oh, Jesus went to pray. And he stayed in prayer until strength and focus was renewed. He prayed away everything beclouding his sight. With much agony. When it was time to obey, the hesitation was all gone.

You know…he told Peter, James and John to also pray…so they don’t enter into temptation. But they didn’t heed. They thought obeying God is something that’s very easy. They thought staying true to God’s plan is something determination can make happen. They learned the hard way. Much later in Acts, when they were bullied and threatened to stop preaching and abandon God’s plan, they knew exactly what to do…they went to pray!

You see, the man who struggles with God’s plan is usually the man not given to prayers. If you find compromise appealing, something’s wrong. You can’t obey God outside a sound prayer life.

You are already being tempted to turn your back on God’s plan for your life?
The “successful” life of that your friend with whom you graduated is already making it look like you are stupid for obeying God?
Fear, hesitation and struggles seem to be on the climb when God tells you to do something?

My brother, get away from everything.
Lock yourself up somewhere…and PRAY.
I mean…PRAAAAAAAY.
Not some tushed prayer o.
Not the don’t-disturb-your-neighbour kind of prayer. Get far away. Go into a bush if you like. And pray the prayer.
That kind that comes with a heart thoroughly torn and turned inside out.
Pray your senses into obedience. Pray fear away. Pray away everything not making you see as clearly as you ought.

Get into prayer and stay there.
Obeying God is difficult. Prayer is what makes it easy. It gives us a divine perspective. Every odd thing becomes even in our eyes. We begin to see straight paths in a road filled with contours. We receive new eyes, so to speak.

The man who will fulfill God’s plan for His life can’t depend on strategy and determination.
Strategy will fail and determination will let you down. Peter was determined never to betray Jesus, but when the rubber met the road, he didn’t have to try too hard to betray Him.

Prayer is the strategy. That’s what strengthens our will to stand strong and stay true till the very end.

The praying man will not be distracted, and the distracted men will not pray.

Have you been finding it difficult obeying God?
Do it the Jesus way.
Get into your Gethsemane.
Let it all loose
In prayer.

You’ll return with strengthened resolve and and an undistracted focus.

 

Dear Prayo #003

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Earlier this year, two of our men went to inquire about a facility we want to start using for our monthly retreat. The man they met asked for the purpose and the duration of the meeting and they told him. He retorted: why will young people like you gather to pray for that long? What’s the problem? What kind of battles are you facing? And he went on and on. Well, they tried to educate him on the practice of prayer but he just couldn’t accept why prayers should be prayed for that long if it isn’t for battles and problems.

It’s not the first time I’ve heard people talk like that.
It appears that there are some who are yet to come to terms with the fact that praying is actually service. When Paul talked about our reasonable service, seen in the things we yield ourselves to, prayer was on his list.

Romans 12:1-2, 11-12 KJVS
I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service. [2] And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God. [11] Not slothful in business; fervent in spirit; serving the Lord; [12] Rejoicing in hope; patient in tribulation; continuing instant in prayer;

Note what he said. Continuing instant in prayers. If prayer was all about our needs, why would he tell us to continue instant in prayer? If it was just about your need, then the moment your needs are met, there’s no more reason to pray. Right? But you see, prayers is principally for others, and there’ll always be somebody who needs help…help that the power in our praying can make available.

He tells the Ephesians to pray always.

Ephesians 6:18 KJVS
Praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, and watching thereunto with all perseverance and supplication for all saints.

Again observe, pray ALWAYS…for all saints.

Same in the letter to the church in Colosse.

Colossians 4:2-4 KJVS
Continue in prayer, and watch in the same with thanksgiving; [3] Withal praying also for us, that God would open unto us a door of utterance, to speak the mystery of Christ, for which I am also in bonds: [4] That I may make it manifest, as I ought to speak.

CONTINUE in prayer.
What for? That we may have utterance in preaching.

When James instructed fervency in prayer, he was also talking about praying for others.

James 5:16 KJVS
Confess your faults one to another, and pray one for another, that ye may be healed. The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much.

James’ use of the words, effectual fervent, is to describe something that has power in it. It describes a working activity. It’s not passive. And he uses Elijah’s prayer as an illustration of this. He prayed earnestly to withhold rain, and he prayed again to release rain. Whilst the account in 1Kings does not tell us exactly how Elijah prayed to withhold the rain, it shows us how he prayed to get the rain showering again.

1 Kings 18:42 KJVS
So Ahab went up to eat and to drink. And Elijah went up to the top of Carmel; and he cast himself down upon the earth, and put his face between his knees,

He cast himself down upon the earth with his face between his knees. That’s not a joky posture. He meant business.

There’s more.

1 Kings 18:43-44 KJVS
And said to his servant, Go up now, look toward the sea. And he went up, and looked, and said, There is nothing. And he said, Go again seven times. [44] And it came to pass at the seventh time, that he said, Behold, there ariseth a little cloud out of the sea, like a man’s hand. And he said, Go up, say unto Ahab, Prepare thy chariot , and get thee down, that the rain stop thee not.

He stayed there until the rain fell.
That’s what James described as effectual fervent praying. And he is not saying we should mimic his posture, but rather, we ought to imitate his perseverance and fervency in prayers. Elijah wasn’t praying for his needs; in fact, his own needs was being taken care of in Zarephath. Yet, he left his own comfort, and stood in prayers for rain over the land. That’s an Old Testament man.

So you see, something is fundamentally wrong, when you’re only fervent in prayers when praying for material things. Note that I haven’t said you shouldn’t pray for material things. But if those needs now become the pillar of your prayer life, then you’re following neither the example of Jesus nor the apostles.

You shouldn’t be the kind of Believer that gets uninterested in prayer meetings where your material needs are not the subject. Our fervency must be seen much more in our praying for things of eternal consequences. As we pray for the furtherance of the gospel; the stability of the saints; utterance for ministers; etc, all of our being must be invested in it. Our heart must be poured into it. Every cell in our body must be aware that something is going on. And yes, something is going on…we are birthing forth and straightening things out in the spirit. Because the church has been given the authority to enforce God’s will on the earth; divine interventions are subject to the church’s supplications.

What we pray, is what we get.
Prayer is service, and given its repeated mentions and emphasis in the epistles, I’d say it is one of the very key and cardinal form of service. You should review your prayer list today. Study Jesus and the apostles. Read the beginning of Paul’s letters. See what they prayed for. And begin to pray likewise.

Let it be said and known, that much is being done in the Body of Christ because of your praying.

Blessed.

 

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The above message was approved to be published and permitted by The Author, Popoola Oluwatobi. He can be reached by that same name on Facebook.