Ministry Pamphlets >> Prayer
Prayer: Magic or Permission?
Link to Audio on "Prayer".
Link to print version of this pamphlet.
Suggested reading: Jam 4:3,  Joh 14:12-14,
Joh 15:5-8,  PS 106:12-15, PS 37:4, Deu 28, Mat 6:33
Prayer is one of the foundational issues in the Christian walk,  yet many Christians do not understand the nature of prayer. Many in the Christian community sincerely believe that the essence of prayer is a three-step process:
1)  they decide on what they want/need in life,
2)  they find a promise, one of the more than 7000  in the scriptures, that seems to cover it,
3) and then they use that scripture to pester God for it; reminding Him of His promise and His obligation to keep that promise.
This has been termed the “name it and claim it” or  “blab it and grab it” prayer.  “Name it and claim it” prayer  is a form of magic!  It is magic because it attempts  to manipulate unseen realms for a person’s own soulish purposes. An example of “magic prayer” is seen in James 4:3-7  where the person asks wrongly for their own soulish desires.  One of the dangers of  “name it and claim it” prayer is that a person may enter into the spiritual world, but this spiritual  world is not God’s kingdom;  it very well may be Satan’s kingdom..  In pestering God for the perceived want/need, the person begins to enter into and cooperate with the enemy’s kingdom and - if it suits the enemy’s purposes, he may well answer that prayer.  The prayer worked, but be clear, it is not from God; it is from the enemy’s kingdom.  The consequences of this are serious; the enemy uses this type of prayer to separate the person from Father God and to draw that  person into a closer relationship with himself and his kingdom of darkness. 
But wait... doesn’t scripture say that God will give us whatever we ask for?  The suggested reading passages at the beginning of this pamphlet seem to suggest that.  Does that match your experience . . . that whatever you ask for, you get?
The “If - Then” of God
When you read these scriptures you find they say,  “...if you harken unto my voice,” -  “...if you believe, doubting not,” -  “... if you delight yourself in the Lord,” -  “...if you trust me... and keep my commands,” -   “... if you abide in me,” -  “...if you commit your way unto the Lord; trust in Him,” - then He will bring it to pass. Mat 6:33 is an if-then passage also, “  ...(If you) seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness,  (then) all these things shall be added to you.”
In each passage God says, "If you do this, then I will do that."  It is clear that His promises are conditional. What is the condition? A relationship with Himself. He wants us to trust Him and obey Him; that’s Puppyness and Featherness!  (Click on links.)
So... what is the problem with the “name it and claim it” type of prayer?  The short answer is that “magic prayer” comes from the soul of man and not from the heart of God.  
First, seek the heart of God
What is the eternal purpose of God? Rom 8:28f says that God wants to change us into His likeness - that we would take on the nature of His Son, Jesus.  Only Father God knows the life path that changes us from who we are into who He is.  Moment by moment, at every step of our lives, only He knows the “next most needful thing” for our walk.  Only that intimate relationship (Puppyness) with Father God will allow us to  hear His voice and know His heart.
Psa 37:4  says, “Delight yourself in the LORD, and he will give you the desires of your heart.”  This passage is not saying that whatever you want you can have.  It is saying that if you delight yourself in the Lord (Puppyness) then He will put His desires into your heart.  Let me repeat that... He will put His desires into your heart.  You will then know the heart of God for the moment.
The first act of prayer then, is to seek and know the heart of God.
Second, give God permission
So... now you now the heart of God...and you know how much He wants to bless you... yet nothing is happening!  What is it that is shortening the hand of God in your life? 
The nature of God is that He is a gentleman... He does not force you to do anything - including receiving the blessings He so desperately wants to give you.  He awaits your permission.  In my pamphlet “Principals or Guidance” I tell the story of my encounter with the oyster farmer.  I knelt down by his couch in his study and gave God “irrevocable permission to do whatever He needed to do to change me into His likeness.”  That happened more than 40 years ago now, and was the beginning of a life of learning to give God permission.  Over the years I have learned that giving God permission is at the heart of prayer.
First, if you  have not  done so, give God “irrevocable permission to do whatever He needs to do to change you into His likeness.”  Then seek His heart, give Him permission to give you His heart, His desires for your life.  As you come to know His heart, give Him permission to do that in your life.  Rest in Him (puppyness) and move as He moves, in His power and His timing (featherness) and watch Him do wondrous things in your life.
Prayer Is not convincing an unwilling God to do our will; it is  aligning our will with His so we can walk in obedience . Prayer is knowing God’s heart and  giving Him permission to do His heart in our lives.
Willis Larson    978 685-7844
1213 Salem Street - North Andover, MA  01845
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