In Scripture, we find examples of people who prayed with spiritual authority. Elijah boldly challenged the prophets of the false god Baal because he knew the Lord would hear and answer. King Jehoshaphat heard that a great army was coming against Israel, so he sought God for direction and strength—and called upon the nation to do the same.
These examples can teach us important lessons about praying powerfully:
Dependence on God. The petitions of both men showed their deep reliance upon the Lord. Knowing that victory over Israel’s enemies was beyond their own abilities, they asked the Lord to intervene.
A Focus on His plan. The prophet did things God’s way against tremendous odds and at great personal risk (1 Kings 19:1-2). The king called for the nation to fast as he sought to discover the Lord’s strategy.
Purity of motive. Both leaders had God-centered intentions with a goal of furthering His purposes. They were not trying to gain anything for themselves.
Confidence in the Lord’s faithfulness. Neither man hesitated to ask publicly for divine help. Elijah told the plan to the 450 enemy prophets, and Jehoshaphat called upon all of Israel to join him in prayer.
If your prayers seem to be having little impact, ask yourself, Have I been relying upon my own strength to resolve matters? Is there a selfish basis for my request? Am I lacking confidence in God (James 1:5-7)? If so, turn to God, confess, and seek to follow the example of the prophet and the king.
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