Today we continue to teach on our overall theme for the year: “GREAT FREEDOM.” Within this series, we have been honing in on the importance of your words. For the last few messages, I made the connection between your words and prayer. When you speak words of faith from a believing heart, it is a form of prayer. This is what happened when Jesus spoke to a fig tree. Jesus spoke a few words, He believed what He said, He walked away like it was already done, and the fig tree did what He said. Later Jesus made a connection between that statement and prayer. We will look at an example from the prophet Elijah today.
(2 Corinthians 4:13 NIV)
It is written: “I believed; therefore I have spoken.” Since we have that same spirit of faith, we also believe and therefore speak.
(James 5:16-18 NIV)
The prayer of a righteous man is powerful and effective. Elijah was a man just like us. He prayed earnestly that it would not rain, and it did not rain on the land for three and a half years. Again he prayed, and the heavens gave rain, and the earth produced its crops.
The Apostle James teaches us about the importance of prayer. He said that the prayer of a believer who is in right standing with God can be both powerful and effective. By now I am sure you are convinced that the Father wants us to pray. When we pray we cooperate with God’s kingdom plans and purposes for the earth. A great example of this is something Elijah did in 1 Kings 17 and 18. If you read 1 and 2 Kings and 1 and 2 Chronicles, you will see a series of righteous and unrighteous leaders. Whenever Israel had a righteous leader, the nation prospered. When it did not, the nation suffered. In 1 Kings 17, Israel had a leader (king Ahab) who had allowed his wife (Jezebel) to pollute his heart with idolatry. The Lord used Elijah to pronounce judgment over the king and the nation. Elijah confronted the king and said, “As surely as the LORD, the God of Israel, lives—the God I serve—there will be no dew or rain during the next few years until I give the word!” (1 Kings 17:1). He was basically saying, “It will not rain until I say it rains!” Elijah was led of God to say this. He said it, OUT LOUD, from a believing heart, in front of the king, and he walked away like it was already done. This is just like Jesus did with the fig tree. Elijah boldly declared what God led him to say, and sure enough, it did not rain for 42 months.
After the three and half years the Lord told Elijah to go back to Ahab. This was very dangerous. King Ahab had a bounty on his head. But Elijah trusted God. His confidence in God was greater than his fear of Ahab. So he went back to the king and let the king know that it was time for the rain to come back.
Before Elijah pronounced “RAIN,” he had the famous “showdown on Mount Carmel” with the prophets of Baal. In this showdown, Elijah made an open display of God’s power and he publicly humiliated the false prophets and their false gods. By doing so, he was restoring righteousness to Israel.
After the showdown, Elijah prayed for rain. But this time Elijah got down on the ground, with his face between his knees, and prayed for the rain to come back. Elijah told his servant to “Go and look toward the sea,” to see if he could see the rain coming. The servant came back and said, “There is nothing there.” Elijah and his servant repeated this seven more times. The first seven times the servant did not see anything. But on the last one (the eighth), the servant said, “I see a cloud as small as a man’s hand and it is rising from the sea.” That was all Elijah needed to hear. Elijah said, “Go and tell Ahab, ‘Hitch up your chariot and go down before the rain stops you.’” Sure enough, a mighty rain fell.
In this story, we see two examples of prayer from the same person. The first example, that James calls an earnest prayer, was simply a statement. The second example is more like what most people think about when they picture someone praying. In both cases, Elijah spoke words of faith from a believing heart and he was not moved by what he was seeing in the natural. He was only moved by what God was speaking to him in his heart.
So what does this mean for you today? A few things.
1. Making a faith-filled statement is a form of prayer.
a) Jesus spoke to a fig tree. He spoke a few words, from a believing heart, and when the fig tree did what He said, Jesus took this as an opportunity to teach His disciples about prayer. Making a simple statement may not seem like a prayer, but when the words of the statement came from the UNSEEN realm, and you are speaking them from a believing heart, it is most certainly a form of prayer.
b) Elijah made a simple statement that it would not rain until he said so. He said these words because he was being led by God to do so. He spoke them from a believing heart. In the New Testament, James calls this an earnest prayer. When you speak what God is leading you to say, and you do so from a believing heart, fully believing that God will perform what you are saying, you are praying! It may not seem like prayer to you, but it is a form of prayer.
c) When we close out each “Today’s Word” with a declaration of faith, if you speak the words from a believing heart, it is a form of prayer.
2. Your physical posture does not matter when you are praying.
a) Some people are so traditional, or flat-out religious, that they feel as though they have to get down on their knees to pray. Or maybe even put their hands in a certain posture. When Elijah was praying for the rain to come, he got down on his knees and put his face to the grown. But when he prayed for the rain to stop he stood upright and simply made a statement to King Ahab. Both were prayers. You can make the argument that the first one when he was NOT on his knees, was more effective. But to be clear, Elijah’s physical posture had nothing to do with it.
b) You can pray on your knees, standing up, in church, at home, in your office, in your car, over the phone, face to face, all alone, or surrounded by people. Prayer simply boils down to the condition of your heart. If you believe what you are praying, and you are alignment with God’s will, then how you are doing it means little. God looks at your heart.
c) If speaking words you truly believe is a form of prayer (and it is), then you should carefully consider everything you say. When you speak words of fear, doubt, and unbelief — things like, “This is going to fail,” or “This sickness is never going away,” — and you truly believe what you are saying, you are actually praying. But you are praying in the wrong direction. You are praying for satan’s will to come to pass and not God’s. If you truly understand the power of words, you would STOP saying anything that is not pleasing in God’s sight.
3. When you pray, you are declaring what you believe from the UNSEEN realm and you cannot allow yourself to be moved by the SEEN realm.
a) Jesus spoke to a fig tree for it to die. Initially, the tree did nothing. But Jesus was not moved by what He saw with His physical eyes. He was only moved by what God said in His heart. We are called to live the same way.
b) Elijah declared that it would not rain until he said so. He believed what he said. But he had no way of validating it with his senses. He had to wait to see what happened. Guess what? It did not rain for 42 months. When he came back and prayed for rain, he sent his servant out to see if the rain was coming. The servant came back with a negative report. Elijah sent the young man out eight times because he was convinced rain was coming. On the eighth time, the servant saw a little cloud. That little cloud quickly became a downpour. Why? Because Elijah was persistent. He saw rain in his heart and he was not moved by what his servant was seeing in the natural. When what God is saying to you in your heart does not line up with what you are seeing in the natural, keep praying, keep believing, rain is coming, your breakthrough is only a matter of time. Just don’t allow what you see to cause you to change what you are praying!
Declaration of Faith:
Father, I thank You for the examples of Jesus and Elijah. I live with an attitude of prayer. I can pray in my designated place in the morning, but I can also live out my day with a posture of prayer. When I say something in faith, as I am living out my day, it is a form of prayer and it can be just as powerful and effective as the prayer I prayed in the morning. I don’t have to be in a certain place, at a certain time, using any particular style of words, and I don’t even need to raise my voice. I can speak the language of faith, from a believing heart, and my words of faith will tap into Your power, just like any other prayer. Thank You, Father, for walking with me today. I look forward to communing with You all day long as I pray without ceasing! I declare this by faith! In Jesus’ name. Amen!
This is Today’s Word. Apply it and prosper!