We recently received a comment on our website to this effect:
“Thank you for making prayers available to all in need of deliverance. But I do have questions…
Didn’t Jesus say that God doesn’t like for us to pray repeatedly, for men think they will be heard for there much speaking?
So how do you suggest that one pray these prayers and how often?
Is it until they see deliverance or just once in faith?”
These are excellent thought provoking questions and many, many books have been written on them by more experienced and gifted men and women than ourselves, nevertheless, Jill and I have assembled our thoughts on this, in reply.
Let us look first at the topic in general terms. To start with, it is correct that Jesus did warn against repetitive prayer, and in Matthew 6:7-8 He makes this pretty clear saying:
“But when you pray, do not babble vain words, as the nations (the Gentiles, the non-Jews). For they think that in their much speaking they shall be heard. Therefore do not be like them, for your Father knows what things you have need of, before you ask Him.”
Looking at the “Jamieson, Fausset & Brown Commentary” for Matthew 6:7-8 for explanation we find the following comment:
“‘But when you pray, use not vain repetitions’ — ‘Babble not’ would be a better rendering, both for the form of the word – which in both languages is intended to imitate the sound – and for the sense, which expresses not so much the repetition of the same words as a senseless multiplication of them; as appears from what follows.
‘as the heathen do: for they think that they shall be heard for their much speaking’ — This method of heathen devotion is still observed by Hindu and Mohammedan devotees. With the Jews, says Lightfoot, it was a maxim, that “Everyone who multiplies prayer, is heard.” In the Church of Rome, not only is it carried to a shameless extent, but, as Tholuck justly observes, the very prayer which our Lord gave as an antidote to vain repetitions is the most abused to this superstitious end; the number of times it is repeated counting for so much more merit. Is not this just that characteristic feature of heathen devotion which our Lord here condemns? But praying much, and using at times the same words, is not here condemned, and has the example of our Lord Himself in its favour.”
“Vain” repetitions here means empty repetitions. In other words, we are praying the prayer as part of a hollow empty religious ritual. It is prayed from the lips of duty, not from a heart of Faith, Hope or Love. Without these three spiritual forces, all prayer will be vain and empty.
We can also look to Luke 18:1 where we read “And He also spoke a parable to them to teach it is always right to pray, and not to faint.” Here the wording is quite clear. It is always – at all times, day and night – right to pray – to supplicate, worship, pray earnestly for – and not tire – weaken, fail, grow weary. The “Wesley’s Explanatory Notes” of Luke 18:1 says:
“He spoke a parable to them – This and the following parable warn us against two fatal extremes, with regard to prayer: the former against faintness and weariness, the latter against self confidence.”
“The Life Application Study Bible” says:
“To persist in prayer and not give up does not mean endless repetition or painfully long prayer sessions. Constant prayer means keeping our requests continually before God as we live for him day by day, believing he will answer. When we live by faith, we are not to give up. God may delay answering, but his delays always have good reasons. As we persist in prayer, we grow in character, faith, and hope.”
” All God’s people are praying people. Here earnest steadiness in prayer for spiritual mercies is taught. The widow’s earnestness prevailed even with the unjust judge: she might fear lest it should set him more against her; but our earnest prayer is pleasing to our God. Even to the end there will still be ground for the same complaint of weakness of faith.”
To look toward God and think that we know all about Him, is absurd. Just because God has done something once in one fashion, does not mean that tomorrow He will not employ another way of doing it. There is nothing in God’s will which He cannot to, and in that doing, He is no respecter of men or their position or their theology or their doctrine. God is simply too far above and beyond us, for us to even begin to understand any of Him.
However, this does not mean that we cannot compile a list of experiences, our own and from others, which gives us a better insight into that which God is more likely to do, and less likely to do, when it comes to answering our prayer. Though of course, we have all been given the logos (written) Word of God, the Holy Christian Bible as our guide to life. We also need to use it to pray in accordance with the protocols which God was recorded there for us, for such a time as this, and for such problems as we are now encountering. There is no answer to a human problem which the Bible omits. But God, in His new covenant has also given us the rhéma, the spoken Word of God, through and from His Holy Spirit. We need to avail ourselves of this resource for difficult problems, especially for those with demonic roots, or causes which are unknown, or cannot be uncovered in the natural.
God wrote our laws and He abides absolutely by what he wrote and has covenanted with us. He is honest and true and unchanging, and upon Him we can rely. He is not legalistic.
Satan, on the other hand, is legalistic, for that is the only way, through our sins, that he can have a legitimate claim on us. If we deviate from the God’s ways and sin, Satan can seek to claim us and if and when his claim is established, he effectively puts a barrier between us and God in prayer. Now these barriers are easily removed, but we need to know they are there, in order to remove them.
Throughout the Bible, God has given us many wonderful promises; the trouble is, some of these are conditional. If we do this and that, then God will do such and such. The converse is also true: if we do not do, then neither will God. The most famous of these is from the middle of what is known as The Lord’s Prayer, in Matthew 6:12 which says “forgive us our debts as we also forgive our debtors.” What this means is that no matter how persistent we are in prayer, unless we forgive first, God will not forgive us. Let’s look at one other examples; if we are not living “a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and reverence,” as First Timothy 2:1-4 says, then we have not been praying for the leaders in authority over us. In certain cases, for your prayer to be answered, other prayers must be given.
Continuing in the general theme, we have read many recorded experiences where God has confirmed to his Prophets that for release of certain prayer requests, He requires a certain amount of prayer to secure the release. Likewise, we have read where God has informed the prophetic intercessors that He has already received sufficient prayer, but requires the Prophet to ‘declare’ the thing into existence. From these examples, we see that persistence in prayer is necessary in many cases, but so too is strategic prayer. Strategic as in declaring and proclaiming the prayer into existence. See our post: “Of God, Earth, Mankind, Authority and Prayer” for more on this topic.
Regarding strategic prayer, James A. Wilson in his book “The Holy Spirit in the End Times” points out that as Christians, we are, as Romans 12:14 says, to “Bless those who persecute you; bless, and do not curse”. He says on p114:
“We promised to being an interdenominational team – a prayer vanguard team to bless them on behalf of the whole body of Christ. Prayer Vanguard is walking out, through prayer, the sending our of the 12 to the towns and villages where Jesus had not yet come. It seeks a softening of spiritual ground and atmosphere through blessings, forgiveness, and the strategic celebration of the Lord’s supper in places and among people who want to assume their place in the Body and under her protection.”
Thus, when he and him teams began to bless places and people and the demons there and give respect to the history of the site, before cleaning it out, they became much more effective and the demons left without a battle. This was a technique which God had given to him to prayed over buildings and cities, lands and regions. Prayer strategy does seem to have a part in effective prayer.
As a part of prayer strategy, we recommend you consider reading our post entitled “Personal Prayers to Bind & Loose” and study the personal prayers there which are from “Shattering Your Strongholds” by Liberty Savard. A PDF of the prayers may be downloaded as: “Binding and Loosing Prayers.” In her book, Liberty Savard explains that these strategic prayers produced faster results than she experienced before, as she stemmed any contrary effects from herself, by praying a self-prayer first. She formalises her approach in a more legalistic way against the enemy in her sample prayers.
Increasing effectiveness in prayer can also come from personal repenting and humbling ourselves, which is included in Savard’s self prayers. For God really wants to heal us and restore our lands as He says in Second Chronicles 7:14
“If My people, who are called by My name, shall humble themselves and pray, and seek My face, and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from Heaven and will forgive their sin and will heal their land.”
How to humble ourselves? Fasting, among other ways. As Psalm 69:10 tell us “when I humbled my soul with fasting, it turned to my reproach.” And finally on effective prayer, the reality of this, is that if we pray as one, we only pray with the power of one. But if two or three come together in prayer, the effect is not multiplied by 2x or 3x, but infinitely, because as Jesus promises in Matthew 18:20, He will be there with us in prayer! Now that is real power in prayer! The Word of God has given us tools to enhance our prayer effectiveness, and common sense dictates that we ought to use them all, all the time.
However, the comment above which we received refers in particular to prayers for healing and deliverance. As we understand, Prayers for “healing” and prayers for “healing and deliverance” are two separate things. Prayers for “healing and deliverance” effectively presuppose some form of demonic spiritual element to be present, prayers for healing, do not necessarily.
To pray for healing, as we understand, requires us to have faith and “take our healing”, for First Peter 2:24 clearly says in the past tense: “He Himself bore our sins in His own body on the tree, that dying to sins, we might live to righteousness; by whose stripes you were healed.” Past tense means “we have been healed” and by faith we need to take that healing in prayer. This is reinforced in James 5:14 which instructs: “Is any sick among you? Let him call for the elders of the church, and let them pray over him, anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord.”
To understand what this meant for the early Church and ought to mean for us today, we refer to The People’s New Testament which says:
“In the early church, when miraculous gifts were imparted by the laying on of apostolic hands “as a sign to unbelievers,” one of these was the gift of healing. In most early churches founded by the apostles, some of the elders would have this gift. There is no more reason for the descent of this gift to our times, than of any other miraculous power. This passage, then, describes what was peculiar to the early church. The sick were anointed by the elders with oil, a symbol of the Spirit, which effected the healing, hands were laid, and prayer offered.”
But in praying for healing, we need to be aware of the link between sickness and demonisation. Acts 19:12 brings this into focus saying “that even handkerchiefs or aprons from his skin being brought onto the sick, the diseases were released, and the evil spirits went out of them,” in addition to the healings and casting of demons, which Jesus Himself performed. However, the Apostle Luke in the testimonies of the Acts of the Apostles, here clearly and undeniably he links sickness and demonisation.
Our experiences in, and studies of, healing and deliverance over the years, leads us to believe that self deliverance is quite possible. To this end, one book comes highly recommend to us, “Set Yourself Free! – A Deliverance Manual” by Robert D. Heidler. Following that book as part of a structured manual, means that prayers should only need to be prayed once to be effective. However, typically for the specific healing prayers, they come only after extensive perpetration in the form of prayers of repentance and forgiveness, cutting of ungodly soul ties, cutting of generational curses etc.
For effective deliverance, the root cause of the problem needs to be dealt with. If it is not, deliverance prayers can make the patient worse, for as Jesus in Matthew 12:44-45 warns:
“Then he (the demon) said, I will return into my house from where I came out . And when he has come, he finds it empty, swept, and decorated. Then he goes and takes with him seven other spirits more evil than himself, and they enter in and live there. And the last state of that man is worse than the first.”
For effective deliverance, the participation of a Prophet, who can directly hear from God the root cause of the sickness or manifestation, is to be highly recommended. First, it will short-circuit all the searching. Secondly then, single prayers can be assured as being all that is necessary, for all prayers and supplications are certain to be in the Will of God and focused correctly on the target enemy, the root of the problem. Prayers will no longer be seeking to deal with the symptoms or man perceived causes; they will be based on the rhéma Word of God.
God is unchanging in his mercy. It is an attribute of His very nature. This, our God of love is constantly manifesting in our lives, if we would only but recognise it and accept it. Even in our suffering and distress, we must give thanks and praise the Lord for His unfailing love, kindness and goodness – for He is ultimately in control. By Faith and honour to God, our Father, we give thanks to Him for His gracious love and mercy which endures forever. God offers His favour to the guilty, asking them just to come and accept Jesus and repent, then He will wash away all their sins and forgive them.
Does God demand persistent Prayer? We believe the more important questions is, “How can I pray Effectively?” James 5:16 gives guidance to this saying
“Confess faults to one another, and pray for one another, that you may be healed. The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous one avails much.”
Therefore, in closing, let us prayerfully remember the words of Psalm 107:1-15 which read:
“Give thanks to the LORD, for he is good! His gracious love exists forever.
Let those who have been redeemed by the LORD declare it — those whom he redeemed from the power of the enemy, those whom he gathered from other lands—from the east, west, north, and south.
They wandered in desolate wilderness; they found no road to a city where they could live. Hungry and thirsty, their spirits failed.
Then they cried out to the LORD in their trouble, and he delivered them from their distress. He led them in a straight way to find a city where they could live.
Let them give thanks to the LORD for his gracious love and his awesome deeds for mankind.
He has satisfied the one who thirsts, filling the hungry with what is good.
Some sat in deepest darkness, shackled with cruel iron, because they had rebelled against the command of God, despising the advice of the Most High.
He humbled them through suffering, as they stumbled without a helper. Then they cried out to the LORD in their trouble; he delivered them from their distress.
And he brought them out from darkness and the shadow of death, shattering their chains.
Let them give thanks to the LORD for his gracious love, and for his awesome deeds to mankind.”
Amen and Amen.