What happens when you're up against a situation that seems insurmountable? How do you cope when life suddenly turns upside down? Or when it feels like you're never going to get where you want to be? Maybe you're struggling to get debt-free, recover your health, or overcome the ravages of a bad relationship or loss of a loved one.
Do you rant and rave at the unfairness of it all? Do you throw up your hands, sigh and 'accept the inevitable'? Maybe you sit down and sob, expending your valuable energy on a pity party for yourself.
I'd like to offer you a different option. Effective prayer.
The effectual, fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much (James 5:16). The Amplified Bible says it this way: The (heartfelt, continued) prayer of a righteous man makes tremendous power available [dynamic in its working].
A dynamo is a generator, creating great power. It also means forceful and energetic. Wouldn't you like to have dynamic power working for you in those situations? Well, you can.
I'd like to share four action steps that you can use to move those negative circumstances out of your way.
Preparation: Everything in life requires preparation. You can't fix a meal without first assembling the right ingredients and utensils. You can't drive a car if it's not fuelled up and ready. Faith is the same way. You can't use it effectively unless you are prepared to use it properly. Yet, preparation - developing your faith - is usually the most neglected part of a Christian's life because it takes t-i-m-e.
The Bible says 'faith comes by hearing' (Rom. 10:17). Hearing The Word, studying and meditating on it, building your unwavering trust in it is the 'fuel' that makes the engine of faith work. If there's nothing in your faith tank, your prayer will be weak. If you can't believe that what you are asking for is possible (remember, 'with God, nothing is impossible'! - Luke 1:37), you won't ignite the spiritual power you need to override your present circumstances.
Prayer: If preparation is the fuel, prayer is your ignition switch. Prayer says 'GO'. Your words, spoken in faith, give your High Priest, Jesus, something to administer. He is the author and finisher of your faith. Prayer alerts the angels to go to work on your behalf (see Hebrews 1:14). It starts the process of transferring blessing, healing, abundance - whatever you need - from spiritual promise to physical manifestation.
Effective prayer mimics God's promises, repeating back to Him what He has already promised you. It sets you in agreement with His Word. If you stay in agreement with Him without waivering or doubting, He can confirm your words, causing them to be effective. Remember, a double-minded man (see-sawing between faith and doubt or fear) cannot expect to receive anything (James 1:7-8).
Patience: Transferring blessings from the spiritual realm into the natural usually takes time. Make up your mind to go the distance. Patience is your cruise control. Let patience have her perfect work, that you may be perfect and entire, wanting nothing. (James 1:4) Set your faith and don't waver. It may seem to take 'forever', but as long as you are believing, God is moving you and your circumstances toward your final destination. If you stay on the road, you'll eventually get where you want to go!
Avoid the pot holes and detours of doubt, fear, frustration, unforgiveness, regret and envy. Keep your words positive and focused, supported by actions that demonstrate and support your faith goals. Patience is not resignation - "Oh well, maybe someday it will happen." It is a powerful partner to faith, determined to 'go the distance' until you actually have what you believed.
Persistence: Persistence becomes your itinerary, your plan or goal. It goes hand in hand with patience. When we were travelling cross-country, we didn't waiver or wonder if we should change our plans or give up and stay home. We knew what we want to see and do - and what it would take in time and money. We were committed.
We actually started planning months in advance (preparation). We stayed focused on the plan. We didn't get sidetracked by spending our trip money on other goodies. We didn't book hotels on the east coast when we were headed for the Rockies. We thought, spoke and acted according to our plan. We persisted to the end of the trip. Persistence keeps you standing in faith, making positive confessions and working toward the results you want.
Now, here's the fuel additive - gratitude. Thank God in advance for the thing you believe. Believe that you have what you say, and you shall have what you said you believe. (See Mark 11:24) If you truly BELIEVE when you pray, you can praise God for it before you see the result. Gratitude and praise keep your faith running smoothly toward your goal.
These four steps are the action formula for answered prayer. If you combine your fuel, ignition, direction and action in the proper mixture (preparation, prayer, patience and persistence), and pour on plenty of gratitude and praise, you will get where you want to be. You will never be 'under the circumstances' again. Instead, you'll be on the road to victory and blessing.