Prevailing Prayer – The Need of the Church
By Wesley L. Duewel
The greatest need of God today is for men and women who know how to prevail in prayer – mighty intercessors, tireless prevailers, people who will persevere in prayer battle and prayer conquest until heaven’s powers are released and God’s will is done in the practical situations on earth.
God’s cause creeps forward timidly and slowly when there are more organizers than agonizers, more workers than prevailing prayer warriors. We need prayer warriors who have seen the heart of God, who have experienced the power and glory of the cross, who know the Bible meaning and significance of the day of judgment, heaven and hell. We need prayer warriors who feel the slavery, the absence of any eternal hope, and the doom of the unsaved; who feel the transforming power, joy, and glory from Christ of the saved. We need prayer warriors who pray as though God is God and as though Satan is Satan.
God seeks people to prevail in prayer. It is His ordained means to move the world toward righteousness and the people of the world toward salvation. God seeks people to prevail because He sees earth’s millions in their sin and need, loves them infinitely, and longs to save them from sin, Satan, and hell. The price for their atonement is already paid. Calvary’s work is finished triumphantly, forever. All things are ready, but man is blinded, fettered, and hardened by sin.
God’s only hope for earth’s millions is prevailing prayer. For this reason Jesus is prevailing day and night and needs our prevailing cooperation. God has ordained to save the nations through prayer (Psa. 2:8). It is part of His eternal decree. Therefore Jesus prays, and therefore we must pray.
We Are Failing God
Millions of feeble, careless Christians are failing God’s great heart of love; failing their crucified, resurrected, and enthroned Savior; failing their tender, groaning Intercessor-Spirit. God longs to be gracious (Isa. 30:18), but He is hindered by our failing to fulfill the role for which He created us, saved us, and preserves us alive today.
Churches, missionary organizations, and Christian institutions are highly organized, well staffed, and, on the whole, busy in significant labor. But where are the results? We have not prayed them to pass yet. We have failed to teach our people the role of prevailing prayer. We have failed to model for them powerful lives of prevailing prayer and to lead them in it.
Only a fool fails to pray, but millions of Christians seem almost greater fools. They believe in prayer. They pray rather casually and often ineffectively, but they have never given themselves to the work of spiritual conquest through prevailing prayer. Knowing God’s mighty power is always released through prayer, they nevertheless fail to pray until they prevail.
"Where are the Christian leaders who can teach the modern saints to pray and put them at it?…Where are the apostolic leaders who can put God’s people to praying?" (E. M. Bounds, Power Through Prayer). Only those who prevail in prayer produce a host of followers who know how to prevail. Prevailing apostles produce prayer warriors. Comparatively prayerless pulpits will produce prayerless and powerless congregations. Who will call today’s generation to prayer and teach them to pray? Where are our prayer giants?
God Has Ordained Us To Intercede With Christ
God has ordained Christ to be the great Intercessor. From creation on, He is the Intercessor for humankind, and now having entered the sanctuary of heaven on our behalf, He is and will be our High Priest forever. His high-priestly sacrifice of Himself was once for all, but His intercessory role continues forever. Thus, God the Son, our Lord and Savior, is the great, continuing, and perfect prevailing Intercessor.
God has created us in His image to be Godlike in personality and in character. God has created us to have fellowship with the triune Jehovah. God has ordained us from all creation to have a special relationship to God the Son. We are created spiritually to fellowship with the Son (1 Cor. 1:9) and to be the bride of the Son (Isa. 62:5; John 3:29; Eph. 5:25-26; Rev. 21:9).
We are also created, saved, and called to intercede and thus to prevail until God’s answer appears. Since prevailing intercession is Christ’s great priority today, it must become ours as His representatives here. He has given us the Holy Spirit to enable us to see people and needs from His perspective. He has ordained that the Holy Spirit enable us in our prayer weakness (Rom. 8:26). He has authorized us to use the authority of His name in prayer (John 14:13-14; 15:16; 16:23-24).
He has made us to be priests to God, which certainly includes the intercessory role of all priests (Rev. 1:6). We are to be not only holy priests (1 Pet. 2:5), however, but royal priests (v. 9), appointed to serve our King. In the light of other Scriptures, this responsibility obviously includes our being given a kingly role in our intercession. We become interceding royalty. We, like Jesus, rule and extend Christ’s rule by our prevailing intercession. We are to share Christ’s sovereignty by our prevailing prayer (R.V.G. Tasker, gen.ed., The Tyndale New Testament Commentaries, Vol. 17: The First Epistle General of Peter, by Alan M. Stibbs). He delegates royal authority to us.
"God has voluntarily made Himself dependent also upon our prayer.... In prayer the Church has received power to rule the world." Through our prayers God acts and speaks. While God is ever free and acts in sovereign freedom, yet He seems to have bound Himself, at least to a large degree, to our intercession. Hallesby calls prayer "the conduit through which the power of heaven is brought to earth." He adds that our believing prayer "is unquestionably the means by which God, in the quickest way," will be able to give to our world His saving power through Christ. Calvin also taught that prayer was a means by which the power of Satan can be overthrown and the kingdom of God advanced (O. Hallesby, Prayer).
The Glory Of Prevailing Prayer
The highest glory of Christ upon His sovereign throne today is the glory of His prevailing intercession (Andrew Murray, Ministry Of Intercession). It becomes our most glorious ministry also. There is no more Christlike role than to be a co-intercessor with Christ for the priorities upon His heart. In no other way can a Christian be a greater strength and blessing to Christ’s Church. In no other way can you do more to advance Christ’s kingdom and bring glory to the name of Jesus. Prevailing intercession is your supreme service while on earth.
Prevailing prayer is glorious because it unites you with the heartbeat of Christ. It is glorious because in prevailing prayer you share the vision of Christ, the purpose and holy determination of Christ, and often the costly soul agony and burden of Christ. Prevailing intercession is the most Christly of all labor, as well as the most Spirit-controlled. The Spirit shares with you Christ’s passion until you are convulsed by the same heart-cry as the Son and the same groanings as the Spirit (Rom. 8:26).
It is glory to weep with Christ, love with Christ, and burn with the passionate longing of Christ. It is glory to share with Christ the intercessory battle and triumph. Sometimes you begin to sense the power and joy of the coming age (Heb. 6:5) as your prevailing breaks through to victory. Glory begins as you feel the Spirit’s assurance that your prayer has been heard and answered. The visible results are not always immediately evident, but you know you have prevailed according to the will of God, and you know God’s answer is sure.
All prevailing prayer will receive its final and supreme glory when you reach the glory world, with its unveilings of the rewards of answered prayer. What honor awaits God’s prevailing prayer warriors at the judgment seat of Christ when the honors and rewards of eternity are announced and conferred (1 Cor. 3:11-15; 4:5; 9:25)!
Then you will be amazed to see how your prevailing was united with the prevailing of others of God’s prayer warriors and with the very intercession of Christ, the Son of God. Then you will discover the hidden prevailing saints who over the ages were the secret of God’s mighty working. Then you will see that all holy intercession begins in the heart of God, is shared with you by the Holy Spirit, is "amened" and presented to the Father by the Son, and is aided by God’s holy angels. Then you will see that no prevailing prayer was ever in vain. You will bow before God in wonder, love, and adoring amazement to think that you, unworthy you, have had such strategic partnership with Christ in His throne ministry and eternal victories!
Lord, teach us the privilege, the responsibility, and the glory of prevailing prayer!
– Quoted from Mighty Prevailing Prayer by Wesley L. Duewel. Copyright 1990. Used by permission of the Duewel Literature Trust, Inc., Greenwood, Indiana. Dr. Duewel’s books may be purchased by calling (317) 881-6751 Ext. 361.