Summary: Our message this week is entitled, “Strategic praying.” Let us start by looking at the word strategy. Strategy is a tactical or skillful planning adopted for achieving success in an endeavour.
Our message this week is entitled, “Strategic Praying.” Let us start by looking at the word strategy. Strategy is a tactical or skillful planning adopted for achieving success in an endeavour.
PAUL, A PRAYER STRATEGIST
If you were an avid reader of the Acts of apostles, you would discover that one of the greatest strategists in the Bible was a man called Paul. He was always found in strategic places during his missionary journey, for example, market places, shrines etc. He would wait for people to finish their activities before addressing them. He was always at the right place at the right time, saying the right thing. He went to major cities where God enabled him to plant the seed of the gospel, which in turn spread to every nook and cranny of these cities. He never went to where he was not needed. There was a situation when he was addressing an audience, which had two religious factions; the Pharisees and the Sadducees. And sensing they might tear him into pieces because of their boiling anger against the gospel, he set them against each other by claiming to be a Pharisee. Knowing fully well that the Pharisees believed in resurrection, angels and spirits, whilst the Sadducees did not, he quickly declared, “Men and brethren, I am a Pharisee. The son of a Pharisee; of the hope and resurrection of the dead I am called in question.” This statement led Paul off their hook and he escaped being beaten up. At another occasion, he queried his accusers: “Is it lawful for you to scourge a man that is a Roman?” At another time, there was a city where they beat him and put him in prison, but he resisted the attempt of the authority to quietly release him. Paul remained there and brought about a great revival.
Let us look at another strategist in Luke 18: 1-8: “And he spake a parable unto them to this end, that men ought always to pray, and not to faint. Saying, There was in a city a judge, which feared not God, neither regarded man. And there was a widow in that city; and she came unto him, saying, Avenge me of mine adversary. And he would not for a while: but afterward he said within himself, though I fear not God, nor regard man. Yet because this widow troubleth me, I will avenge her, lest by her continual coming she weary me. And the Lord said, Hear what the unjust judge saith. And shall not God avenge his own elect, which cry day and night unto him, though he bear long with them? I tell you that he will avenge them speedily...”
Here we find a prayer strategist who applied a particular strategy and got her breakthrough. She took her case to a city judge who did not fear God nor regard any man. In other words, it means that this judge was a stubborn person. However, she came unto him hammering on one prayer point: “Avenge me of my adversary.” If the unjust judge could oblige her, how much more God? This widow strategically pressurized that unjust judge and he had no other option but to quickly grant her request. Equally, God appreciates those who pester Him with their prayers.
THE POWER OF PRAYER
Prayer is a mystery. It is beyond the level of human reasoning. It is a mixture of simplicity and complexity. Though easy, it can travel any distant only best imagined. Prayer is relevant both to the young and old. Prayer can be in form of an action or attitude. Prayer is a fight of faith. The Bible says, “Fight the good fight of faith,” and prayer is one of such battles.
Prayer can be agonizing like a wrestling bout and forceful, but at the same time very simple and submissive. With prayer, one can lay hold on God and defeat the devil. What a wonderful weapon it is. God once told Moses, “Please leave me alone and let me destroy these people.” But the prayer of Moses held the hands of God, such that God could not go ahead to go ahead to act. It was also with prayers that Jesus defeated the devil. His disciples did the same. Prayer can work instantly and it may decide to reserve its action. That is, your prayers can be stored up in God’s memory unit like a computer in such a way that the answers to them would be punched out for you at the appropriate moment. This is why you can still receive solutions to certain problems after you have prayed and forgotten about them.
Another wonderful thing about prayer is that it has no respect for opinions or positions. No wonder we say that prayer is a mystery. If you see your stolen coat on somebody and make a frantic effort to retrieve it, you may not be able to succeed. I once felt sorry for a brother whose car was stolen. One day, he discovered that the taxicab he boarded looked similar to his car as he found some familiar marks inside it. He then directed the driver to a police station where he lodged a complaint that the cab was originally his own. The taxicab was therefore impounded and the driver was asked to go and call the so-called owner. Meanwhile the brother was rejoicing that his car had been found at last. But sooner, the driver came back with a huge man who spoke roughly to the brother at the top of his voice saying, “You this idiot, did you say you own this car? Show us your particulars or else I will kill you.” Of a truth, when the police asked the brother to produce his particulars, he said it was stolen along with the car. The whole episode ended there and they warned the brother never to cause such an embarrassment again. Although he struggled to find his missing car, he was denied of it. If he understood the importance of prayer in such matters, he would not have seen the need to go to any police station. He would have known that it would be useless going to a police station before he could retrieve his car. He would have prayed in his room and found it. Instead of someone to begin to struggle to regain his stolen coat from the thief, the thief would rather easily submit the coat, if he says a simple prayer point such as: “Let my stolen coat turn to coals of fire, in the name of Jesus.”