In this post, I would like to share a few ideas about why most of us Christians fail to walk in the supernatural power that God promised to us in the Bible.
I know that many Christians do not aspire to walk in God’s supernatural power*. However, it seems to be withheld even from many of us who do desire it. In this post, I aim to examine the reasons why this is so.
These ideas came to me after I was praying to God and asking for wisdom specifically to understand what was necessary for raising the dead, a topic I looked at in my blog post last week. So I strongly believe that this is from God. However, on reading it I hope you will also agree that it makes simple and basic common sense.
Because these thoughts occurred to me in the context of thinking about raising the dead, I will make lots of references in this post raising the dead. However, it might become clear that increasing the potency of your prayer is most necessary precisely because of big endeavours of supernatural power such as this.
I really hope that someone will read this post, and run with the ideas here – or perhaps build on them, refine them where they are still crude and rough-edged.
Faith is something that is very straightforward in this issue. All faith means is that we believe in the reality of what we are asking for. And if we know deep down that we don’t truly believe, then all we have to do is repeat the word of God to ourselves – that is, relevant passages or verses – until we actually do believe. The Bible says “Faith comes by hearing, and hearing the Word of God” – Romans 10 verse 17. We don’t have to wait for someone to come to say the Word of God to us so that we can hear it. We can declare it to ourselves, and hear it that way!
1. First assertion – every Christian already has the power to raise the dead!
The Bible says that “the Spirit that raised Christ from the dead is living inside us” – Romans 8v11.
This might sound like a very radical assertion, especially since I have already admitted that many Christians fail to demonstrate supernatural power. This is what I mean.
For many years, I have been wondering what makes the difference between prayers that bring down supernatural power, and prayers that don’t. Recently I was wondering whether there was any special understanding I had to grasp about faith, and the mechanics of faith. And this is the answer I believe I have received. There is no difference! So in theory, each of us Christians – each last one of us! – is capable of praying prayers which will heal the sick and raise the dead. However, there is a very good reason why it is not happening.
I believe I now understand that any prayer prayed in faith has the potential to achieve supernatural things. What I now believe is that the difference is in the potency of the person praying. Most of us Christians pray low potency prayers because we are low potency Christians.
An analogy: since we are talking about power, an analogy from electricity might be relevant. As long as we are praying in faith, then it is as if our prayers are producing an electric current. However, many of us might be producing a tiny trickle of electricity, say 1 unit per second. Sometimes, for a huge request like raising the dead, it is as if we need to generate and store up a huge amount of electricity, like say one million units. This is what I mean when I say that “there is no difference” between prayers which raise the dead and other prayers prayed in faith. Each type of electricity unit here is exactly the same, and has exactly the same force. In theory, even if we are producing only one unit of electricity per second, then yes it is possible for us to generate and store up one million units to achieve something huge. In practice, however, doing this would mean that we are there forever, praying one single prayer for days, weeks, months and even years, possibly the rest of our lives, praying for the restoration to life of one single person who has died. Who has time for that?
And in that time, life will of course move on. There will be other urgent requests which will grab our attention, other new prayer needs will present themselves…other people will pass on. In practice, most of us do not have the rest of our lives to pray for a single request, no matter how important. Realistically we might have little more than a few days to devote to just one single request concerning one single person. So we might pray for a little while – a few hours, a few days – then eventually move on, concluding that “it has not worked”.
The difference between Jesus and us
Here is a reason why I believe that many Christians fail to even aspire after supernatural power. In the Bible, where the miracles of Jesus are recorded, Jesus is described as healing people with a single touch, or a word. So we also assume that we too should be able to do the same thing – just use a single word, or touch. When we try that, and nothing appears to happen, or we persist in prayer, sometimes for many days, and there is still no result, we might conclude that we are not called to perform such works, and that such works are meant for spiritual ultra heavy-weights. We also conclude that we are clearly not called to be such heavy-weights in God’s Kingdom.
And yet, here is the real reason I believe that Jesus was different from most of us. As a Man, Jesus was a high potency person! If most of us would be producing a few units of electrical power per second, then Jesus would have produced possibly millions of units per second. This is why Jesus could do things instantly, and move on effortlessly from miracle to miracle, without having to pray whole days, much less weeks and months, to achieve one small thing.
So this is what I believe that we need to do to get to the state where we can also walk in supernatural power, without having to spend our entire lives praying just for one single thing, but aiming to be like Jesus, to move from one demonstration of God’s supernatural power to the next. Simply put, we have to increase the potency of our prayers. To use another analogy which I touched on last week, it is a little bit like money. Each single penny we have has purchasing power, and that in a way corresponds to each prayer that we pray in faith. However, a big prayer that we pray might require the spiritual equivalent of a million pounds. If we only “make” five pounds an hour, then to get to the point where we have saved one million pounds will take us a number of hours which might be technically possible, but practically unrealistic. To realistically raise the necessary million pounds then we have to drastically raise our “earning rate” per hour. To get to the point where we are raising the dead or performing other feats of supernatural power as a matter of course, that is, as if it was normal (as it should be), as Jesus did, as an everyday thing, often several times a day, this will be as if we are going around casually giving out gifts of a million pounds a time to people that we meet. We have to get to the point of spiritually speaking, “earning” millions of pounds per hour.
I believe that this should be accessible to normal Christians. In God’s Kingdom, we are all capable of being heavyweights.
Low Prayer Potency – not enough time to pray!
I am totally included within this whole thing. While yes, I do pray a lot, my prayers are of very low potency. This is why I feel that I never have enough time to pray for everything that I wish. I have to pray so long to achieve results in a tiny number of key areas that I do not then have time to pray for so many other things which are also desperately needed. I have been so frustrated for so long about the long list of needs which I never have time to get around to pray about. However, if I had high prayer potency, then each request would require a shorter amount of time to deal with. Then I could deal with far more issues within the same amount of time. Hopefully I would be able to pray for a full range of necessary issues as well as a few desirable things. However, I can’t do everything by myself. We all need to pray and pursue phenomenal prayer potency with God to make phenomenal impact on earth.
So how do we increase our prayer potency? I cannot categorically say that we have to do this, or that. However, I have a few ideas: firstly, we need to simply ask for greater prayer potency! We need to strive after deeper and deeper communion and intimacy with God. We need to be steeped in the Bible. We also need to pray and fast.
We also have to cultivate utter purity and holiness of heart towards God and other people. This comes from meditating powerfully upon the Word of God. With a greater understanding of prayer potency, I now see that I simply cannot afford to do anything or to cultivate any thought that would lower my own prayer potency. This would cost me in terms of time, and in terms of seeing necessary issues go unprayed for.
I believe that this is a gradual process and that we can keep increasing our prayer potency indefinitely, by asking, “Bibling”, fasting, seeking intimacy with God, until we are at the spiritual equivalent of earning millions of pounds per hour, or generating millions of electrical units per second.
Perhaps Jesus is a bad example to look at in this case, because He is after all God. I think we can safely assume that He had perfect prayer potency. I believe the issue with Jesus is that He was so intimate with God, purity reigned so supremely in His heart, that His prayers were of unlimited power. In each of His prayers He could apply all the resources of Heaven, ‘just like that’. This is like having a debit card linked to a bank account with absolutely no limit. The resources of Heaven are actually unlimited. So Jesus would just wield His “card”, and because of His standing with God and His authority in God’s Kingdom, every purchase would be instantly authorised. This is what we can also aspire to. A level of intimacy with God that is so deep, a standing in His Kingdom that is so pronounced that any “prayer purchase” we would seek to make would also be instantly authorised, without any risk of being declined. In this case it would not be a case of praying to store up power, but rather praying to be a strong and reliable channel of God’s power. And then we actually need to go out and do it. We need to heal the sick, raise the dead and preach the Good News of God’s Kingdom. This after all is the Kingdom that God is inviting us into – a Kingdom marked by powerful demonstrations of all that He is, including His supernatural power.
Flames Image by Junior Libby at http://www.publicdomainpictures.net
*I know that the Christian walk is not only about supernatural power. It is first and foremost about a relationship with God through Jesus, and the promise of eternal life. It is also about becoming more like Jesus in His character, learning to interact with other people out of sincere Christ-like love and integrity.
In addition to these however, the Bible certainly does promise us supernatural power. This might seem highly controversial, but I would personally rather reject the whole faith than try to promote a version of the faith that is devoid of God’s power. When anyone acts in any particular situation, it would be reasonable to find traces of their characteristics in that situation. God happens to be an almighty God. Therefore it would not be remarkable to expect to see evidence of His almighty power in situations where He intervenes. This would be true just by normal deductive thinking. How much more true should it be then, when the Bible itself has explicitly promised us these things?!