UNDERSTANDING THE CONCEPT OF PRAYER
In my previous book on prayer, I mentioned that prayer is one of the most taught subjects in the Christendom because of its importance. However, it is perhaps the most misunderstood. More work has been done on the need to pray than on how to pray. Most of us know we need prayer and we can give many reasons why we have to pray. The major problem Christians are facing today is the proper understanding of the how-to of prayer. To produce better results through prayer, you have to know the techniques that work.
Apart from understanding the how-to of prayer, it is very important that we understand how pray came about, the principles on which it is established, and the laws that govern it. To do this, we must return to the book of Genesis where everything started.
Genesis1:1-25, recounts how God created all the beautiful things we see in the world today. The passage also points out that God saw the things he had created and that they were good. In verse 26, God said, “Let us make man in our image, after our likeness. And let them have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the heavens and over the livestock and over all the earth and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth.”
We notice in the passage that when God created everything, he took part in the work, but when it comes to the management of earth affairs, he handed it over to humans and removed himself in the dominion mandate. He said, “Let them have dominion…” By this, God made the earth human’s domain, territory or jurisdiction and made human race the governor and manager of the earth.
The heavens belong to the Lord, but he has given the earth to all humanity.
Although, God made the earth human’s domain, puts mankind in charge of earth affairs, gave us the right to act on earth, and excluded himself from the mandate, he remains the visionary. Genesis2:15 says he took the man and put him in the Garden of Eden to work it and take care for it. For God to achieve his plan on earth, he has to work through humans who he gave the right to do things on earth.
He determines the number of the stars and calls them each by name.
Lift your eyes and look to the heavens: Who created all these? He who brings out the starry host one by one, and calls them each by name. Because of his great power and mighty strength, not one of them is missing.
The two scriptures above highlight the divine principle of naming things as a means of identification. The first says God counts the stars and calls every one of them by name, while the later declares that he created the stars, brings them out one after another, calling each of them by name, because of his great power. This suggests that when the Lord created the things in heaven, he gave them names as way of identification.
Nonetheless, when he formed all the wild animals and the birds of the earth from the ground, the Bible says he brought them to the man he gave the right to do things on earth to see what he would call them, and whatever name Adam gave to the living creatures remain their names till today.
So out of the ground the Lord God formed every beast of the field and every bird of the heavens and brought them to the man to see what he would call them. And whatever the man called every living creature, that was its name. The man gave names to all livestock and to the birds of the heavens and to every beast of the field. But for Adam there was not found a helper fit for him.
Why would God bring the animals he formed from the earth to the man to name them? Why couldn’t he name them by himself as he did to the stars he created in heavens? Why would he seek permission from the man? The simple answer to these questions is that God gave the right to act on earth to humans, and he won’t do anything in the earth realm without the cooperation or permission of human being.
Otherwise, he would violate his word and the principles he established in the beginning. He made the heavens his dwelling and the earth human’s territory. God has both the ability to do things (power), and the right to act (authority) in heaven, he gave the right to act (authority) on earth to humans when he made us governors of the earth and he won’t violate the order.
In other words, God has the power to do things, but the right to exercise it on earth belongs to humankind. This means God won’t do anything in the world without humans giving him the authorization. And since he remains the visionary, he devised a means that he could use to obtain the right to act legally in the world from mankind. So that, through this medium, he can interfere and work on earth legally.
This medium is what we call “Prayer.” That is to say, prayer is the only means by which humans give spirit beings, whether the living God or demons, the right to act in the earth realm; through the authority God conferred on humankind in the beginning when he made us the governor of the earth.
Prayer becomes the spiritual bridge that connects the spirit world and the earth. It is the only means by which God’s ability to do things connects with the right of humans to act on earth to effect changes amongst mankind. Prayer is the only weapon that connects the heaven, and the earth. God has the ability (power) to do things, but humankind retains the right (authority) to act on earth. Prayer connects God’s power with the authority of human to change things in the world.
It came about as a result of the structure and order that God established in the beginning between the heavens, and the earth. The heavens is God’s habitation, while the earth is man’s territory. The order is that no spirit can act on earth without the cooperation or permission of humans who God put in charge of the earth realm.
The Lord retains both the ability to do things and the right to act in heaven. He doesn’t need anyone’s approval or permission to work in heaven. But on earth, he needs the invitation or authorization of humans to do things. This is why heaven needs our prayers.
Anytime there is a call for prayer, know that God is seeking the right to do things amongst humans, and he can only obtain it through the prayer of the church. No spirit being can interfere with earth affairs or act in the earth realm without the prayers of humans that give them the right to do things in the world. This is why prayer cuts across all boundaries, be it religion, language, culture, race, geographical location, social ranks, and so on.
I like the way Dr. Myles puts it, “The president of the United States does it, the Prime Minister of Israel does it, the Chairman of the Palestinian People does it, and the Queen of England does it. Jews do it, Muslims do it, Hindus do it, Buddhists do it, pagans do it, heathens do it, Christians do it, everyone does it. Few are sure it works, and even less believe it is necessary. What is it? Prayer!”
Everybody prays, regardless of whom they pray to. Few are sure prayer works, while some don’t believe it is necessary. In the end, almost everyone prays to something. And the spirit a nation, people or region prays to controls that territory, because through prayer, the legal right to act on earth that God gave to humans is given to spirit beings.
I like using some analogies when teaching about the concept of prayer. One of the examples I think people easily identify with is that of a parent who knocks at the door of their teenager, and wait till the child opens the door before entering their room. You will notice that even though the parents own the house and everything in it, from the very moment they gave their son or daughter the little room, they have to knock anytime they want to enter their child’s room, especially when the child attains a certain age.
Whenever you knock at your son or daughter’s door, you are seeking their authorization or permission to enter their space. If you fail or forget to knock before entering, your child may look at you and say something like, “Dad, or Mom, you didn’t knock!” What they are indirectly saying is that you didn’t seek their authorization before entering their room. The reason is that, though you own the house, the little room you gave them, becomes their space, domain, territory or jurisdiction.
No matter what happens in the room, if your child doesn’t call your attention to it, you won’t act or intervene. And anytime your child calls your attention for something in the room, he gives you the right to act within his space or jurisdiction. There could be an instance when you notice something that need to be fixed in the room, what majority do is to discuss it with their child before taking any action. We do all these for them to give us the right to act in their territory, through the authority we gave them when we made the room their domain. In other words, you knock to get the permission to enter their space.
The same principle applies to the earth. In that, God created everything, he gave the earth to humans and excluded himself in the dominion mandate. From the moment the Lord gave the authority over the earth to humans, he won’t intervene in earth affairs without the cooperation of humans. No matter what happens on earth, the Lord will not step-in unless somebody calls his attention through prayer. If he ever steps-in without the permission of humankind, he would violate his principles and the order he established between the heavens and earth. We pray to call his attention to earth affairs and give him the right to act on earth through the authority he gave to humans in the beginning.
Another good example is a rented apartment. When you sign a contract and pay all that the house owner demands, the apartment becomes your domain. Once you start living in it, the house owner loses the right to do things in the apartment without your permission. No matter what happens in the apartment, the house owner cannot do anything without your invitation. Just as it is with the house owner and the rented apartment, that is how it is with God and the earth. The Lord created the earth and gave it to humans. He won’t act in the world without the cooperation of humankind.
The last example I would like to use is that of a boss and their employees. Why would the person who builds his company, employs you, gives you an office and pays your salary, knock at your door anytime he or she is coming into your office? It is simply because your office is your space and only you retain the right to act in it. As long as it remains your personal office, anyone coming in have to seek your permission to do things within your space. Your boss has the power but you retain the right to act within your jurisdiction regardless of the size of your office.
Whenever God calls for prayer, he is seeking our permission to act on earth. Prayer is the only means or medium through which God’s ability to do things connects with the right of man to act in the world to produce the miraculous and effect changes in the world. Prayer is you giving God the right to manifest his power in your life. It is necessary for divine intervention on earth.
Let me say here that God knows what you are going through, he knows that things are not going on well with you, he knows the enemies are trying to mess-up your marriage, relationship, career, children, health, finance, business, destiny, project, education etc., but there is nothing he can do unless you pray.
You may say, but God is sovereign! And sovereignty implies independent or freedom from external influence. Why would he wait till I pray before he moves on my behalf when he can do whatever he chooses to do at any time? It is true that God is sovereign. However, the Lord is as sovereign as his word. Psalm138:2b says, “You have magnified your word above all your name.” This means that when God speaks, he submit himself to his word.
While speaking on the Purpose for Prayer, Dr. Myles says, “God is as sovereign as his word, he is limited by his word, and he will never violate his word.” He adds, “Whenever God speaks, whatever God says becomes law. Not only to creation but it becomes law also to God. God is sovereign until he speaks.”
From the moment God said in Genesis1:26, “Let them have dominion…” the word became law, and it established the boundary that limits God’s activities in the earth realm. By reason of this word, the right to act on earth belongs to humans (spirit with body). All spirit beings must be authorized by humans to act legally on earth. The only way we authorize spirit beings to act in the earth realm is through prayer.
Excerpted from "The Origin and Purpose of Prayer" by Caesar Benedo. Copyright © 2017 by Caesar Benedo. Excerpted by permission. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher. Excerpts are provided solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.