What every believer should know about prayer
By Apostle Frederick K.C. Price

Every Christian should know the basic ingredients in how to pray. It is not true to blanketly say that the Bible says we do not know how to pray. The Bible does not say that. However, it does say, relative to intercessory prayer, we do not always know what to pray for.

Romans 8:26-27:
Likewise the Spirit also helps in our weaknesses. For we do not know what we should pray for as we ought, but the Spirit Himself makes intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered.

Now He who searches the hearts knows what the mind of the Spirit is, because He makes intercession for the saints according to the will of God.

Again, Paul does not say in these verses that you do not know how to pray. He says, For we do not know what we should pray for as we ought. I can know how to start a car, but I may not know what to do with it once I get it started. That is an important distinction.

In Romans 8:26-27, the Holy Spirit is not talking about petition prayer. Many people think that praying is praying, but there are different kinds of prayer. There are petition prayers – what you pray when you ask God to do something or give you something. There are prayers of thanksgiving, when all you do is praise and thank the Lord for His goodness. There are also prayers of worship. Another kind of prayer is the prayer of agreement, when two or more people are agreeing together for something. Finally, there is intercessory prayer, when you are praying for someone else, and your whole prayer is geared toward that other person.

The word weaknesses in Romans 8:26 means "weakness or inability to understand or know something." How can you intelligently and accurately pray for someone's needs when you don’t know what his needs are? Ordinarily, a million dollars is a great blessing, but if a person is dying, money cannot change his circumstances. However, I can intercede for him in the Spirit as the Holy Spirit gives me the utterance. The Holy Spirit knows what this man's needs are, and will feed my spirit the information that is necessary to intercede on this man's behalf.

Jesus very plainly tells us how to pray in chapters 13 through 17 of John's Gospel. In those chapters, Jesus is teaching His disciples about His soon departure at Jerusalem, and about all that will be involved in His offering Himself up as the Lamb of God to take away the sin of the world.

John 16:23:
"And in that day you will ask Me nothing. Most assuredly, I say to you, whatever you ask the Father in My name He will give you."

Gone from their presence

"In that day" is the day when Jesus has physically gone from their presence, and the Holy Spirit has come into the earth realm as their – and our – comforter. "That day" is the day of the New Testament, which was about to come but could not come until after Jesus' death, burial, resurrection and ascension to the Father.

The disciples had never asked anything in Jesus' name while Jesus was there. They did not have to. He was with them. They would say, "Master, we have some people here, and they are hungry. What are we going to do?" or "There is a man here who collects taxes. What shall we do?" Anything they needed, they asked Him. They also did not have to ask the Father for anything. They had God manifested in the flesh right in front of them. That is why Jesus was called Emmanuel – "God with us" – at His birth.

When Jesus ascended into heaven, He gave the Church the power of attorney. That is when you delegate someone else to act on your behalf legally. That person has the right to sign your name on documents, and to take care of business on your behalf in your absence. Because Jesus has given us this power of attorney, " . . . whatever you ask the Father in My name He will give you."The Father will give it to you, but the only way the Father will do it is if you ask Him in the name of Jesus.

The name of Jesus is the only name that has authority in heaven and in the earth. It is not just some sentimental something to say, or a simple religious monotone that we use. It is not some kind of spiritual epitaph. When we say, "In Jesus' name," we are doing kingdom business for the King in His name in the earth realm.

Jesus says in John 16:24:

“Until now you have asked nothing in My name. Ask, and you will receive, that your joy may be full. "

God wants your joy to be full. If your joy is not full, you are not asking God properly. You can have a thousand dollars in the bank and write out a check for one dollar, but if you fail to sign your name on the check, the bank will not cash the check. The bank requires that the check be made out properly.

Prayer is the "check" that you write on the Bank of Heaven.

God has made a deposit for us in Jesus Christ. He has given us the blessing of Abraham, and He has put it on deposit in the Bank of Heaven. If your name is not in the Lamb's Book, you do not have any legal right to cash any checks in the Bank of Heaven. At the same time, if you ask the Father for something or to do something, your prayer "checks" must be countersigned "in Jesus' name." Your account is held in trust. It is not in your name, but in the name of Jesus. If your check is not countersigned, "In Jesus' name," the Bank of Heaven will not cash it, and you will not get what you asked for.

No prayer unanswered

Since I found out how to pray in line with the Word of God, I have not had one single prayer that went unanswered. If you did not get what you prayed for, you did not get your answer. If the Lord is going to give me what He wants me to have, I do not need to pray for it. Jesus says, "Most assuredly, I say to you, whatever you ask the Father in My name He will give you."

Someone may say, "But suppose you ask for the wrong thing?"

Why would you do that? Are you a Christian filled with the Holy Spirit, sanctified? Why would you want something that is wrong? God gives you the privilege to ask because He has faith in you. He has confidence in you that you are not going to ask for something that will hurt the kingdom, that will discredit the name of Jesus. You should know what you are asking for. If you don’t know what you are asking for, then you should not ask until you do know. Before I came into knowledge of the things of God, I thought that it was a mark of humility to end a prayer with, "Lord, if it be Your will." The fact that I said, "If it be," meant that I did not know what God's will was.

If you don’t know God's will, you are not praying in faith. If you are not praying in faith, your prayer is not going to be answered. God's will is in His Word. If you put, "If it be," on the end of a petition prayer, it won’t be answered.

Christians need to know and understand the ingredients of prayer, because many have the idea that prayer is simply a perfunctory recital they go through. Prayer is a communication between the believer and his God. When I pray, I’m not just speaking a few words into the air. I’m speaking words of faith to my heavenly Father.

A passage of scripture that has traditionally been associated with prayer is John 14:10-14. However, if you read it carefully and keep in mind what we just read in John 16:23, you will find that it does not refer to prayer at all. In John 14:10-14, Jesus says the following:

"Do you not believe that I am in the Father, and the Father in Me? The words that I speak to you I do not speak on My own authority; but the Father who dwells in Me does the works.

"Believe Me that I am in the Father and the Father in Me, or else believe Me for the sake of the works themselves.

"Most assuredly, I say to you, he who believes in Me, the works that I do he will do also; and greater works than these he will do, because I go to My Father.”

"And whatever you ask in My name, that I will do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son.
"If you ask anything in My name, I will do it."

Jesus says in John 16:23 that the Father will give it, but here He says, "I will do it." Jesus is talking in John 14 about doing the works of Christ. He is not referring to prayer at all. If Jesus were referring to prayer in John 14, He would be contradicting what He says in John 16. God does not contradict Himself because, as Paul says in 1 Corinthians 14:33, He is not the author of confusion.

Acting on Christ’s behalf

Jesus says in John 14:13, " . . . whatever you ask [or demand of the devil] in My name, that I will do." When we command a demon spirit to leave in the name of Jesus, it is as though Jesus was standing there doing it. It is not God whom we are demanding it from, but the forces of darkness. As the Body of Christ, we are acting on Christ's behalf.

Acts 3:1-8:

Now Peter and John went up together to the temple at the hour of prayer, the ninth hour.

And a certain man lame from his mother's womb was carried, whom they laid daily at the gate of the temple which is called Beautiful, to ask alms from those who entered the temple;

who, seeing Peter and John about to go into the temple, asked for alms.

And fixing his eyes on him, with John, Peter said, "Look at us."

So he gave them his attention, expecting to receive something from them.

Then Peter said, "Silver and gold I do not have, but what I do have I give you: In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, rise up and walk."

And he took him by the right hand and lifted him up, and immediately his feet and ankle bones received strength.

So he, leaping up, stood and walked and entered the temple with them; walking, leaping, and praising God.

Peter did not pray, but demanded in the name of Jesus that certain things be done.

Jesus' Body is the Church, and Jesus has empowered and commissioned His Body with His authority and the power of the Holy Spirit. That is why He says in Matthew 18:18:

" . . .  whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven."

Why? Because we are acting on His authority and His desire.
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