PRAYER: UNDERSTANDING ITS PURPOSE AND POWER
To understand the principle of prayer, it is necessary to understand the mind and purpose of the Creator Himself. Prayer is a result of God’s established authority structure between heaven and earth, as well as a product of His faithfulness to His Word. Prayer is as simple as respecting God’s authority. This is because prayer was born out of God’s arrangements for man’s assignment on earth; it happened when the Creator spoke two works during the creation process: “let them” (rule over he fish of the sea and the birds of the air….Gen. 1:26-27). By these words, the Creator defined the boundaries of His right to legally influence and interfere in the earth realm. This is based on the principle of God’s integrity and His commitment to His Word. Why is this so important? There are four principles: (1) God’s purpose is more important than our plans; (2) God has placed his Word above even Himself; (3) God will never violate or break His word; (4) God’s holiness is the foundation of His integrity and faithfulness. These reveal God’s eternal, uncompromising commitment to His purpose and plans. His purpose is His will and intent, which He Himself will fulfill. However, it is essential to know that His commitment to fulfill His purpose will never be at the expense of violating His spoken or written word. God submits Himself to the dictates of His own Word; any law of God is a law to God.
This applies to God’s initial words at mankind’s creation: “Let them have dominion over….the earth” (Gen. 1:26). With this statement, God created seven primary laws:
- The legal authority to dominate earth was given to mankind only
- God did not include Himself in the legal authority structure over the earth
- Mankind became the legal steward of the earth domain
- Man is a spirit with a physical body; therefore, only spirits with physical bodies can legally function in the earth realm
- Any spirit without a body is illegal on earth
- Any influence or interference from the supernatural realm on earth is only legal through mankind
- God Himself, who is a Spirit without a physical body, made Himself subject to this law
The following are the results of these laws, which were established by God Himself:
- The legal authority on earth is in the hands of mankind
- The Creator, because of His integrity, will not violate the law of His Word
- Nothing will happen in the earth realm without the active or passive permission of man, who is the legal authority
- The Creator and the heavenly beings cannot interfere in the earth realm without the cooperation or permission of mankind
- God must obtain the agreement and cooperation of a person for whatever He desires to do in the earth
What is Prayer? Prayer is mankind giving God the legal right and permission to interfere in earth’s affairs. Further evidence of this is provided in: 2 Chronicles 7:14; Luke 18: 1-2; Ephesians 6:17-18; 1 Thessalonians 5:16-19; Matthew 16:19-20; Matthew 18:18-20.
As John Wesley once said, “God does nothing but in answer to prayer.” Prayer is therefore not an option for mankind but a necessity. If we don’t pray, heaven cannot interfere in earth’s affairs.
God created humanity to reflect His character and personality. We were created to be like Him, having his “image” and “likeness”. Humanity was created out of the essence of God, yet are always dependent on God as our Source. We cannot reveal God’s image and likeness apart from a relationship with Him. We were intended to reflect God’s nature in context of being continually connected to Him in fellowship. God created humanity to carry out His purposes in the earth. This is mankind’s primary vocation. God created mankind with a free will, with the ability to plan and make decisions, and to take action to fulfill those plans, just as God did in creating the world. Amazingly, mankind was created not only to have a relationship with God, but also to share God’s authority. God never desired or intended to rule the earth by Himself. Why? It is because “God is love” (1 John 4:8, 16). Mankind is meant to reflect the loving and creative Spirit of God. God did not originally create mankind for heaven; He created mankind for earth. God is the ruler of heaven, and He made mankind to express His authority on earth. God wants to share His rule on earth. Since mankind is both physical and spiritual in nature, humanity is meant to carry out God’s purposes for the earth, not only in the physical realm, but also in the spiritual realm. In this way, mankind is to spread the nature and character of God throughout the earth. In other words, originally, God wanted the “Garden of Eden” to spread over the entire earth. God doesn’t want mankind to work for Him, but rather with Him – not as “servants”, but as “family”.
God’s plan is for mankind to desire what God desires, to will what God wills, and to ask God to accomplish God’s purposes in the world, so that goodness and truth may reign on the earth rather than evil and darkness. In this sense, prayer is mankind giving God the freedom to intervene in earth’s affairs.
Praying does not mean convincing God to do your will, but doing God’s will through your will. Therefore the key to effective prayer is understanding God’s purpose for your life, God’s reason for your existence.
Prayer is not an option for the believer. It is a necessity to fulfill God’s purposes in the world and in our individual lives. Time spent in prayer is not time wasted but time invested. As we embrace the will of God, as we live before Him in the righteousness of Christ, as we seek to fulfill His purposes, nothing will be able to hinder our prayers, and we will begin to understand Jesus’ saying, “With God all things are possible” (Matthew 19:26).
From a book “Understanding the Purpose and Power of Prayer” by Dr. Myles Munroe