Praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit….
There are different kinds of prayer, just as there are different games in sports, each with its own set of rules. Rules that apply to baseball do not apply to football. If you tried to use the same rules, you would get confused.
Similarly, there are rules or spiritual laws that govern certain kinds of prayer, but do not apply to other kinds of prayer. We make a mistake by lumping together all kinds of prayer, because if we take the rules that govern one kind of prayer and try to apply them to another kind of prayer, we won’t see the desired results.
As we look in God’s Word to discover the kind of prayer that gets results, notice again our text, Ephesians 6:18. Moffatt’s translation reads, “… praying … with all manner of prayer. …”
Still another translation says, “Praying with all kinds of prayer. …”
For example, some people think every prayer should end with the words, “If it be Thy will.” They say this is the way Jesus prayed. But Jesus did not pray this way every time. When Jesus prayed at Lazarus’ tomb, He didn’t pray, “If it be Thy will.” He said, “… Father, I thank thee that thou hast heard me” (John
11:41). He then commanded Lazarus to come forth, and Lazarus came forth.
This prayer was one to change circumstances. When you pray to receive something or to change circumstances, never pray “if.” If you do, you’re using the wrong rule and it won’t work.
The only kind of prayer in which Jesus included an “if” was a prayer of consecration and dedication. In the Garden of Gethsemane He prayed, “Father, if thou be willing, remove this cup from me: nevertheless not my will, but thine, be done” (Luke 22:42). Jesus wasn’t praying to change something. He was praying a prayer of consecration and dedication. And in this prayer, we should put an “if” because we want to be ready to do what Jesus wants us to do.
When it comes to believing God for something, we should not pray, “If it be thy will.” We already have God’s promise in His Word. It is His will that our needs be met. We read in Mark
11:24, “What things soever ye desire, when ye pray, believe that ye receive them, and ye shall have them.” We should realize it is God’s will that all our needs be met—spiritual, physical, and material.
Although we don’t live under the Old Covenant, we can better understand the nature of God by studying the Old Testament. There we find that God promised His people more than spiritual blessings. He also promised they would prosper financially and materially. He promised He would take sickness away from them, and the number of their days He would fulfill (Exod. 23:25,26).
In Psalm 105:37 we read that when the Israelites were delivered from Egypt, there was not a feeble one among them— although there were some two million people!
God is interested in everything that touches our lives, and He has made provision for us. He promised the Old Testament saints if they would keep His commandments, they would eat the good of the land. This implies we are to prosper materially. The New Testament essentially says the same thing: “Beloved, I wish
above all things that thou mayest prosper and be in health, even as thy soul prospereth” (3 John 2).
Jesus said He would give good gifts to His children because He is concerned about us. He is talking about the desires of our hearts, and He tells us how to get them. Let’s go according to the rules!
The Scripture that says, ‘What things soever ye desire, when ye pray, believe that ye receive them, and ye shall have them” (Mark 11:24) is talking about the prayer of faith. This primarily is an individual situation. It pertains to your desires. It is you praying; not someone else praying with you. It’s not someone else agreeing with you. When you pray, you believe that you receive. If you’ll do that, you’ll have “what things soever ye desire.” You’ll get results!
I can make this work for myself, but I can’t always make it work for you. Your will is involved. One person’s unbelief can nullify another person’s prayer of faith. Baby Christians usually can be carried on a mature Christian’s faith, but after a certain period of time God expects them to develop their own prayer life and their own faith.
I’ve seen this demonstrated many times during my years in the field ministry. In those church meetings, I would teach mainly on faith and healing. Toward the end of the meetings, we would allow time for questions and answers. One question asked repeatedly was: “Why is it when I first got saved, I got my healing every time I was prayed for, but now I don’t ever get healed?”
I would answer by saying that new Christians are like babies. No one is born a full-grown Christian. God wants us to grow and to mature. We feel pity for those who are physically deformed and who never have developed fully. We ought to have the same compassion for those who do not grow spiritually.
When you were first saved, you were a baby. Naturally, the pastor could carry you on his faith. There were Christians praying for you who would carry you, and their faith would work for you. But after a while, God knew that you had had the opportunity to grow, whether you grew or not. He said, “It’s time to put that big baby down and let him walk.” We really had a cry baby on our hands then. A lot of people still would rather be carried.
As a pastor, I noticed there were people who would get healed primarily on my faith. It was the easiest thing in the world for new converts or people who were babies on the subject of divine healing to get healed. Those who had been Christians the longest were the hardest ones to get healed.
After World War II, there was a revival of divine healing in America. It began about 1947 and lasted 10 years. I talked to various evangelists who were in the healing ministry, and every one of them said the same thing: You never would get people healed until you got past the Full Gospel Christians in the prayer line!
About six weeks after a meeting conducted by a leading evangelist in the early 1950s, a survey was sent to several thousand persons asking two questions: Did you receive healing when this man laid hands on you and prayed? Are you still healed?
Approximately 6,000 cards were returned, and out of that number only 3 percent of the Full Gospel people said they got healed. But 70 percent of the denominational people were healed, and 70 percent said they still had their healing six weeks later.
What made the difference? God expected more from those who had been taught. God expects people who know the full Gospel to operate their own faith. Yet many times they want to remain babies.
In one church my wife and I pastored, we had a healing service every Saturday night. One of our members was a woman who had arthritis. Her body was stiff as a board. If you took her out of the wheelchair and stood her on the floor, it would look like she was sitting down; her body was that stiff.
Although she was confined to a wheelchair, she was able to cook her meals and do her housework. If she caught the flu or had any minor ailment, we could pray for her, and she would get healed.
Finally, one day we went to her house to pray, determined to see her delivered from that wheelchair. As we prayed, the power of God came on her and lifted her out of that chair—into the air —out in front of the chair! “Oh, oh, oh” she began to say as she reached back with those little, crippled hands and pulled that chair up under her. She fell down in the chair.
I pointed my finger at her and said, “Sister, you don’t have an ounce of faith, do you?” (She was saved and baptized with the Holy Spirit, but I meant she didn’t have faith for her healing.) Without thinking, she blurted out, “No, Brother Hagin, I don’t! I don’t believe I’ll ever be healed. I’ll go to my grave from this chair.” She said it, and she did it.
We weren’t to blame. We had prayed the healing power of God down on that woman. If she had believed and received that power, it would have loosed her and healed every joint in her body. That’s the reason we have seminars and other meetings— to teach people so they can grow in faith.
Years ago, I learned that my sister had cancer. I went to the Lord in prayer on her behalf. I battled with the devil for her life.
The Lord told me she would live and not die. The cancer was curtailed, and she had no more symptoms. Five years passed, and then she developed an entirely different form of cancer in another part of her body. There was no relation to the first cancer; it was of a different type.
My sister got down to 79 pounds. The Lord kept telling me that she was going to die. I kept asking the Lord why I couldn’t change the outcome. He told me she had had five years in which she could have studied the Word and built up her faith (she was saved), but she hadn’t done it.
He told me she was going to die, and she did. This is a sad example, but it’s so true.
If the church is growing, there will continue to be new babies in Christ. But if everybody in the church stayed babies, who would care for these new ones? An evangelist primarily is interested in winning the lost. But if everyone were an evangelist, the people who get saved always would be babies.
God saw these babies needed a shepherd and He set pastors in the church. He wanted the sheep to be fed. He also put teachers in the church to help people grow in faith and the knowledge of the Word.
My son, who is more than 40 years old, is an ordained minister. For the first 15 years of his life, I carried him on my faith and did his praying for him. He always received his healing. But when Ken was 15 years old, He got a severe ear infection. His ear was really hurting him and he wanted to go to the doctor. The doctor said he had an incurable fungus condition in one ear which he probably got from swimming.
Ken kept having to go back to the doctor to have his ear cleaned. The doctor said he probably would lose his hearing in that ear, and it would cause him trouble all his life.
The Lord told me that He expected my boy to walk in the light of what he knew because he knew the way. The Lord said my praying wouldn’t work for him anymore.
At Christmas time, I had to take Ken back to the doctor to have the fungus cleaned out of his ear again. The doctors said he couldn’t go swimming anymore because the more he was around water, the faster the fungus would grow. I told my son what the Lord had told me. I told him he would have to believe God for himself.
Ken looked at me, still wanting to use my faith for his healing. I told him that while I would kneel with him when he prayed, I wasn’t going to pray at all; he had to pray for himself.
He prayed and got his healing. Years have passed and the fungus never reappeared.
If people follow their natural inclinations, they want to remain babies and let someone else carry them. But you can pray the prayer of faith for yourself; quit saying you can’t.
Everywhere it says “you” in the following Scripture, insert your name: “Therefore, I say unto YOU, what things soever YOU desire, when you pray, believe that YOU receive them, and YOU shall have them” (Mark 11:24).
That’s what my son did when he prayed. When we got up off our knees, he didn’t have any evidence of healing. But when I asked him if he was healed, he said, ‘Yes!” He said he was healed because the Bible said so.
You have to profess and believe God even though the things you desire in prayer haven’t manifested yet. You have to stand your ground. If someone questions you, say you believe God heard you. Tell them you don’t care what the devil says, because you believe God and His Word.
Then you’ll see results!