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2 Keys to Taking the Limits Off Our Prayer Life

"Yes, again and again they tempted God, and limited the Holy One of Israel."Psalm 78:41 (NKJV)

Have you ever blamed God for unanswered prayer? or for being not fair? or have you tried to link your behavior to the answer and so when you really wanted something from Him you were on your best behavior, just hoping he would approve of you and give you your desires? Have you ever bartered with God saying something like, “if You do this for me, I’ll do that for You?”

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Of course you have! Let’s be honest, we all have. But what if this thinking was actually limiting us - especially in our prayer life? Wouldn’t you want to remove that limitation and open the door for more answered prayer and more spiritual authority?

There's a story in the Bible that I believe could really help us remove these limitations and allow us freedom and give us more answered prayers and miracles!

2 Kings 4:1(NASB) 1 Now a certain woman of the wives of the sons of the prophets cried out to Elisha, “Your servant my husband is dead, and you know that your servant feared the LORD; and the creditor has come to take my two children to be his slaves.”

Elisha was a prophet of God who is most famous for being the apprentice of the great prophet Elijah. However, Elisha is credited for twice as many miracles in his life time as Elijah and became the most respected and feared prophet in his day.

The woman in this story was the wife of one of the prophet’s sons whom Elisha knew, so the chances are good that he was familiar with her and she with him.

2 Kings 4:2 (NASB) 2 Elisha said to her, “What shall I do for you? Tell me, what do you have in the house?”

Elisha knew her problem and yet he asked two very strange questions, “What do you want?” and “What do you have?” These questions are weird because EVERYBODY knew what she needed and what she wanted and yet Elisha still asked. Why? I believe he was testing her. He wanted to know if SHE KNEW what she wanted and if she was bold enough to say it. James, the brother of Jesus, made this statement in regards to prayer in James 4:2,

"You do not have, because you do not ask.

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The second question Elisha asked is "What do you have?" This is a key question as well, because she didn’t have anything. That’s why she needed a miracle, but yet he asked anyways. Why? Let's keep reading to find the answer.

2 Kings 4:2-4 (NASB) And she said, “Your maidservant has nothing in the house except a jar of oil.” 3 Then he said, “Go, borrow vessels at large for yourself from all your neighbors, even empty vessels; do not get a few. 4 And you shall go in and shut the door behind you and your sons, and pour out into all these vessels, and you shall set aside what is full.”

Notice, he didn’t just do a miracle and leave. He gave her a task, a responsibility to fulfill. The size of the miracle was really determined by the level of action she applied to her faith. Notice Elisha instructed her not to limit the miracle. He said, "don't get a few."

2 Kings 4:5-7 (NASB) 5 So she went from him and shut the door behind her and her sons; they were bringing the vessels to her and she poured. 6 When the vessels were full, she said to her son, “Bring me another vessel.” And he said to her, “There is not one vessel more.” And the oil stopped. 7 Then she came and told the man of God. And he said, “Go, sell the oil and pay your debt, and you and your sons can live on the rest.”

There are two important lessons to learn.

  1. God will use what you have - so ask...what do I have?

 Some people lack because they don’t release the common things to God.
 God asked Moses in Exodus 4:2 "what is in your hand?" Moses replied, "a rod." God used what was in his hand as a foundation for most of the miracles he did through him. He used the rod to turn into a snake; to turn the Nile River into blood; to part the Red Sea; to get water from a rock and many more! What's in your hand?
  2. You need to know what you need - pray specific prayers.

 My mentor and Spiritual hero, Dr. George Hill says, “Nothing becomes dynamic until it becomes specific.” 

Pray specific prayers. Your vision determines the size of your miracle! If you can see it, you can seize it!

Question: Do you know what you have? What is in your hand? What are your strengths? your opportunities? and have you been specific with God? Do you know what you want? What are you specifically asking for? believing for?

The Power of the Ask

Every single Sunday I provide an opportunity for people to give their hearts to Jesus. Yes, every Sunday! Regardless of the topic I speak on or the type of service we have planned, a salvation call is an automatic part of our service. Why?

There are a couple of reasons to do a salvation call every Sunday:

  1. You have not because you ask not. Do you wish your church could see people saved on a regular basis? James, the brother of Jesus said in James 4, "you have not because you ask not." This statement is especially true when it comes to leading people to Jesus. If you do not ask people to make a decision to accept Christ, they won't. Many people are looking for God and they are visiting our churches to find Him. They simply have no idea what to say or to do in order to connect with God, so we must provide an opportunity for them to do what their soul craves. In the past, I have made the wrong assumption that people will only come to Jesus after I've done a thorough job of explaining salvation to them in a full sermon dedicated at making the Gospel clear. The problem is, hurting people who are searching for Jesus often don't know when you are preaching that sermon and will show up in their time of need, at their convenience, not according to your planned schedule. So I decided, I would not let one opportunity pass and would set aside time in every service to provide the opportunity for people to come to Jesus. And the results have been staggering. We might have 1 or 2 services a year that someone doesn't make a decision to give their hearts to Christ. I can teach on anything - money, marriage, sex, Leviticus - and hands will go up for salvation at the end of the service. It amazes me and our team every single time!
  2. It creates expectation in your people. I often hear from our regular attenders that their favorite part of the service is hearing me say, "thank you, thank you, thank you..." as I thank the people for letting me know they've accepted Christ by raising their hands. We never tire of seeing people come to Christ and it builds an excitement and anticipation in the church. It also encourages our people to invite their not-yet-saved family, friends, and co-workers to church because they know and anticipate that this Sunday there will be an opportunity given for those they invited to accept Christ.

What does our Salvation Call look like?

I'm often asked how we do our ask. Here's a brief explanation:

  1. Explain what salvation is. I often quote Romans 10:9-10 which says, "that if you confess with your mouth Jesus as Lord, and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved; 10 for with the heart a person believes, resulting in righteousness, and with the mouth he confesses, resulting in salvation." Salvation, therefore, is confessing with your mouth the deity of Christ and if you believe what you say in your heart, you can have a relationship with God and be saved.
  2. I ask the entire congregation to repeat after me a simple prayer of salvation. This prayer is virtually the same every single Sunday. I do this for one main reason. If our people hear a prayer repeated Sunday after Sunday they will have that prayer memorized in short order. Once the prayer is memorized they will have more confidence to lead someone else through the same prayer when they have the opportunity to.
  3. I ask everyone to keep their heads bowed and their eyes closed and then ask those who prayed this prayer for the first time to raise their hands. I do it this way because I don't want a brand new believer to feel embarrassed, ashamed, or too intimidated to make the decision for Christ because they are in a room full of strangers. This relationship is between them and God, not between them and 500 other strangers.
  4. I ask those who have made the decision for Christ to see me right after the service so that I can give them a New Believer's Bible. The New Believer's Bible is a great resource for people unfamiliar with the Word of God. By giving them a Bible, I am equipped them to begin pursuing God on their own and to feed their spiritual hunger with a Bible they can personally own.

Click on this link for a video example of me leading the salvation prayer:

[youtube=http://youtu.be/5tOf-ZPOYj0]

Question: Do you know Jesus personally? If not, I'd encourage you to watch the above video. Do you know someone who needs Jesus? Have them watch the video above and watch how easy it is to lead them to Christ. Please let me know if you accepted Christ below in the "Leave a Reply" box.