Prayer is like swimming in a river; the current of the Spirit’s Presence is powerful and refreshing.
However, many Christians do not experience freedom from the discipline of prayer. For some, it is not as much a privilege but a burden. There are, indeed, some challenging layers to overcome in order to break through into praying in the Spirit. I hope to unpack those layers in the following posts in this series.
The first layer is with the flesh.
Before Jesus was arrested for crucifixion, he went to a place called Gethsemane. He went with His disciples and requested that they pray with Him. While he was troubled and in sorrow, crying out to God with His face to the ground, He later found the disciples asleep. They had succumbed to their flesh.
To this, Jesus says, “Watch and pray so that you will not fall into temptation. The spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak.” (Matthew 26:41).
If you are allowing your flesh to call the shots, you must know this — the flesh is a poor leader. It leads you to earthly pleasures, yes, but it does so while barring you from heavenly joys. The flesh will always persuade you that settling for a decent life on earth is all you would ever want, when, really, it would never fully satisfy.
The flesh is usually the number one complaint most Christians have about what is keeping them from the pleasures of knowing God, the excitement of walking in victory, and the strength of being filled with His love.
“I’m too lazy to open my Bible.” “I couldn’t wake up for service.” “I get too distracted while I pray.” “My addictions always come back to haunt me during the week.”
Jesus’ admonition to the disciples is clear, although slightly comical. Prayer is the key to overcoming your flesh. However, you have to overcome your flesh to choose prayer!
The disciples were clearly tired, not wanting to engage in spiritual warfare. Jesus’ command was powerful because it implies that a choice to pray, even in the midst of this lack of motivation, is effective!
Your choice to say yes to prayer is powerful. If you were ever in a season in your life when prayer is unappetizing, then that is when you need to make this powerful choice the most. It has a similar effect as recharging batteries or refueling your car. Those that value prayer are those that know that refreshing feeling of renewed focus and strength afterwards.
At the start to 2018, our church congregation dedicated the first full week to corporate prayer. Our ministry chose to do this in the evenings, so, every day, for a week, our church family chose to haul their little children, come back from their day jobs, and hold off on their studies to engage in hours of intercession.
It was not easy.
Many were tired, and some were distracted. 8 to 10 p.m. is prime time for Netflix watching and “Me-Time!” But the choice many made in saying “yes” to prayer for that week, allowed more to happen within our church community in the past five to six months than the many years combined in the past. God released new anointings. Spiritual gifts began to manifest in more powerful ways. Career choices were made. Destinies began to unravel. And, I, personally, have experienced the many fruits of that very week even to this very day.
Therefore, all those half-hearted hands that clasped and all the words that were barely whispered, they were powerful because they were the result of obedience.
Although the battle with the flesh can be messy, the choice to pray is simple. And, the reward is ever so worth it!