The Invincible Power of Prayer
By Joseph Chambers
Our Heavenly Father does nothing in the church or His Kingdom that is not first wrought in travailing prayer. Prayer – interceding, travailing prayer — is God’s first line of spiritual operation. When God is ready to do some marvelous work of eternal consequence, He first prepares human channels of travailing prayer to lay the foundation. Powerful prayer can no more be the work of flesh alone than can preaching, miracles of healing, or the breaking of demon powers. Effective prayer is a work of the Holy Ghost in willing and released human lives.
Prayer that has no divine element and anointing is like the dead letter of the law without the unction of the Holy Ghost. It kills instead of resurrects. Fleshly prayer creates false assurance, deadens those exercised therein and causes the individuals to substitute activity for Spirit. The more a church or an individual is involved in fleshly praying, the more they become centered on soulical and fleshly support for their religious programs. Gimmicks, entertainment, emotionally titillating methods, and all kinds of fleshly operations become master. The church becomes nothing better than the fleshpots of Egypt. Any religion in the world can accomplish everything that this kind of prayer and action can affect in a “Christian” church.
Everything changes when men/women begin to pray in a Spirit-directed fashion. Prayer becomes fellowship and communion with God in the deepest sense. Our entire mindset becomes one of total dependency on God. We learn to hate religious activity and empty speech. Religious sight, sound, and sensation become as annoying to the praying believer as it already is to the Lord Jesus Christ. The soul that becomes inclined to God because of Holy Ghost anointed travail takes on His nature and glory but in a totally dependent fashion. Worldly religion becomes even more obnoxious than worldliness itself. In fact, what most people label as worldliness is less annoying (though certainly to be rejected) than religious self-righteousness, carnal speech and the self-empowered praying that has only human form.
Biblical Promises are Dependent on Prayer
Every promise that God has made to His Saints are yea and amen. Those promises — and there are thousands of them — are always available to every Saint of God but will not be experienced until believing prayer is present. There is not one of those promises that our God will not honor. But, He cannot do it until His Saints take hold of the promise in Spirit-filled prayer. The church world lives like paupers on the outskirts of His kingdom. In our souls we carry the divinely authorized sonship of the Kingdom, but we live like children of poverty. We have royal blood from the kingly line of the eternal God, but we go about life as though our relationship is meaningless. How pathetic this cold world appears to our hurting generation.
As a whole, the church world offers the sick and suffering the same antidote as the secular world. Churches have twelve-step programs, psychologist couches, and a quick prayer. Can you imagine how the devil howls when the modern preacher walks in the hospital room, gives his compassionate gestures, “sometimes” says a prayer, and leaves the patient to the care of a mostly skeptical medical profession? Certainly, many of these men of the cloth and doctors are kind and well-meaning, but helpless to do anything more than console the suffering and prescribe a few pills. Is this the only way a “man of God” can bring the mighty power of the Creator into His world? Absolutely not!
Travailing prayer will bring all of us into a realm where supernatural powers are as natural as God is supernatural. The promises of God cannot be viewed honestly in any different fashion. They are either His promises, absolutely and infallibly available, or God is a big lie. You and I both know better. Isaiah did not mince words when he spoke by the Holy Ghost of why Jesus Christ would come into our world. Listen carefully!
“He is despised and rejected of men; a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief: and we hid as it were our faces from him; he was despised, and we esteemed him not. Surely he hath borne our griefs, and carried our sorrows: yet we did esteem him stricken, smitten of God, and afflicted. But he was wounded for our transgressions; he was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his stripes we are healed” (Isaiah 53:3-5). Argue all day with the truth of God’s Word, but you will only cheat yourself and those who listen to you. The Word of God stands sure and God has not changed.
Healing powers in the church are absent in exactly the same degree that travailing prayer is absent. Jesus has paid the redemptive price for both spiritual and bodily healing and the virtues of His redemptive act is locked away awaiting the unfailing key of importunate prayer. Somebody that knows God and can pray must be the link between the power to heal and the person awaiting the miracle. Many of the present day sicknesses and strange diseases are nothing less than the work of Satan. Satan is the destroyer and comes to mankind “to steal, kill and destroy” (John 10:10a). Jesus gave us this warning, but clearly concluded by promise, “I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly” (John 10:10b). Only travailing prayer can bring us out of our morass of helplessness.