Many times when listening to Pastor Harris’s past teachings I am hit with this feeling that maybe I have bitten off more than I can chew on this one, or maybe this one is too deep for my understanding. This definitely happened when I dove into the third installment of the Nehemiah series while producing the episode. But it became very clear that this specific message is very important, Pastor Harris plows through so many key factors for effective fervent prayer that I felt they needed to be noted for reference. I hope the below takeaways provided in this post provide an easy reference, help reinforce, and really drive home this message as we all continue to learn more from Nehemiah about effective prayer.
First, I like to start with the easy stuff. In this message Pastor Harris jumps right into the 11 different prayers of intercession in the book of Nehemiah. He also continually references fervent prayers. Let’s break down a few definitions that helped me start with the basics.
Intercession – An earnest request, or plea in favor of another, especially a prayer or petition to God in behalf of another. In Ecclesiastical Terms, the act of interceding or offering petitionary prayer to God on behalf of others.
Fervent – Having or showing great emotion or zeal.
Next I wanted to break down and compartmentalize some highlights from this episode and list the key takeaways we can focus on regarding prayers.
Two Types of Prayer
Prayer can fall into two categories. Concerns we know how to pray, and concerns which we do NOT know how to pray.
Times we know how to pray: We know how to pray for a person’s salvation because God’s word tells us how. We also know how to pray when someone is ill because God’s word tells us how.
Times we do NOT know how to pray: This is the time when we must allow the Holy Spirit to pray through us and for us.
NOTE: The Holy Spirit will always pray the perfect will of the Father so his prayers are always acceptable to God.
Our Advocate the Holy Spirit
When we are broken we are defenseless, that is the time when we are the most vulnerable. When we are the most vulnerable our only sure defense is the prayer ministry of the Holy Spirit.
Any time that an effective fervent prayer is vocalized, the answer to that prayer is instantly provided. It is at that moment a completed work. Any petition from a born again child of God that is coupled with dynamic faith will move the heart of God to actions. And as prayers become more effective and faith becomes more focused God is moved even more forcibly.
Two general requirements for effective prayer:
- Our commands must be spoken audibly.
- Our prayers most totally align with God’s word.
NOTE: Visible answers to our effectual fervent prayers may not appear instantly on the earth as we pray. Often answers do not appear for months or years.
The timing of answered prayer always belongs exclusively to God. That is not in our realm. In the time lapse between the faithful offering of our prayers and the physical appearance of the answers, our faith must be maintained. We must not waver in doubt and unbelief.
Watch out for Doubt and unbelief. They are destructive thought forms that will continue to assail our souls if we allow them to do so. When the will of the soul submits itself to an attitude of doubt and unbelief, faith will be defeated and the promises will be negated. God cannot honor unbelief and still be faithful to his word. That is a principal. We must speak of the answer in the mind of God as it is true physically. We must practice the discipline of believing what we say. God’s word commands us to do so.
All effective prayer starts with a word of exaltation and adoration. This is how Nehemiah began his prayer. Nehemiah also stated to God the base on which he dared to approach the divine presence. Nehemiah reminded God of the covenant agreement.
A part of answered prayer is a relationship with God. If you have no relationship you will have no answers. Love and obedience are the basic requirement of coming before the throne of God. These qualities simply imply a relationship.
Heirs of God
Before we can accept the blessings of God, we must be recognized as heirs of God and before we can be recognized as heirs of God we must first become a son of God. Being a son of God required a second birth and being born again.
Natural birth brings with it the curse, the curse of a sinful fallen nature. A natural father can give us many things, but they cannot give us a regenerated spirit or a relationship with the almighty.
How do we receive a regenerated spirit? How do we become heirs of God?
That which is born of spirit is spirit. Beyond the natural birth there is a spiritual birth. By the collision of Grace with Faith in our lives we are born of God and become the sons of God. This birth provides certain hereditary traits from our new father, we inherit his nature. Only a person that shares God’s nature can accept his inheritance.
The new birth does fulfill the love requirement, but it does not fulfill the requirement for obedience. According to Paul, once a relationship with God is established, obedience usually follows.
NOTE: Pastor Harris is not preaching “Works Righteousness” here. What God does, when Christ occupies the throne of our regenerated spirit he enables our obedience. We do not need to toil and struggle.
Confession is a part of every effective fervent prayer. It is a problem from our end, not God’s end. Unconfessed sin blocks our access to God. The only prayer that God ever hears from the lips of a sinful man or woman is the prayer of confession and repentance.
The Word of God
Pray the Word of God. The most effective type of prayer you can bring before God contains the verbalization of God’s own Word. Such prayer holds God’s own promises before him.