These are notes on the sermon, How To Pray And See Results, preached by Pastor Joseph Prince on Sunday, 4 November 2018, at The Star Performing Arts Centre, Singapore. We hope these sermon notes will be an encouragement to you!
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Think great prayers look like clasping your hands, being on your knees, and desperately begging God to bless you? Then be encouraged as you discover in this sermon how it’s nothing like that at all!
We hope these notes will help you understand how:
In this sermon, Pastor Prince unveils what are earnest prayers that get results, from the life of prophet Elijah in the Bible. See your Abba Father’s lavish heart to bless you and learn how to pray these prayers that bear great results!
Pastor Prince shares about his new 28-day devotional, Anchored: Finding Peace In The Storms Of Life.
It’s a book that brings you into real contact with Jesus, and that’s when great things happen: You receive your miracle, your body is healed, your mind receives peace.
Every time you come to church, God deposits something new in you too. You leave stronger, freer, healthier, more joyful.
Pastor Prince shares a testimony from a lady in Virginia, United States whose husband was healed of Alzheimer’s (an incurable disease till today) through standing on God’s Word and regularly partaking of the Holy Communion after hearing messages from this ministry on it.
Pastor Prince encourages the people to receive God’s Word for themselves every day, just like the couple in the testimony did. This is as we face fresh battles daily that have to be met with fresh manna from heaven daily, too. That’s why Jesus said, "Give us this day our daily bread" (Matt. 6:11), not weekly/monthly bread.
God can heal you of diseases like Alzheimer’s and dementia. He can even reverse aging.
Pastor Prince shares about how God once corrected his idea of Him as a bearded old man. God said, "Growing old is part of the curse after Adam’s fall. In heaven, nobody is old."
God is forever young. And if we learn to walk with him, we can defy the aging that our natural bodies are subject to as well. We can enjoy the blessings of Psalm 92, which is read by Jews worldwide on the Sabbath:
The righteous shall flourish like the palm tree: he shall grow like a cedar in Lebanon. Those that be planted in the house of the Lord shall flourish in the courts of our God. They shall still bring forth fruit in old age; they shall be fat and flourishing. — Psalm 92:12–14 KJV
"the palm tree" — Palm trees grow straight and stalwart, every part of them is useful even in their old age, and they are evergreen. We're like that.
"a cedar in Leb" — Cedar trees are attractive and evergreen too.
"Those that be planted in the house of the Lord shall flourish in the courts of our God" — You will succeed in the world when you’re first rooted in church.
"They shall still bring forth fruit in old age" — The Hebrew word for "old age" here is seybah, which means old age, gray hairs. But even then, you can still bring forth fruit, i.e. be physically and mentally healthy.
"Fat and flourishing" — "Fat" in the Hebrew means "full of sap," and "flourishing" means "green."
"Elias was a man subject to like passions as we are, and he prayed earnestly that it might not rain: and it rained not on the earth by the space of three years and six months. And he prayed again, and the heaven gave rain, and the earth brought forth her fruit."
— James 5:17–18 KJV
"Elias" here refers to Elijah, the prophet of the hour when Israel was ruled by the corrupt King Ahab and his wicked wife Jezebel. The whole nation was in rebellion against God: They’d forgotten how He previously delivered them from their Egyptian slave masters and led them through the wilderness into the Promised Land. They were now worshipping the idol Baal. And so Elijah prayed this prayer.
These two verses tell us that there’s a prayer all of us can pray that will affect heaven and earth. This prayer is not just for a select few, because Elijah was "a man subject to like passions as we are," meaning that he was like any of us.
We pray not to soothe our emotions, but to bring heaven to earth and get results.
In Elijah’s case, his prayer literally affected the atmosphere: There was no rain for 3.5 years.
"He prayed earnestly," and Elijah’s earnest prayer is found here:
"And Elijah the Tishbite, of the inhabitants of Gilead, said to Ahab, 'As the LORD God of Israel lives, before whom I stand, there shall not be dew nor rain these years, except at my word.'" — 1 Kings 17:1 NKJV
"As the LORD God of Israel lives, before whom I stand" — Elijah wasn’t afraid of King Ahab because Elijah lived his life before God. Neither will you fear man’s opinions or their criticism when God becomes your primary source of encouragement and strength.
Your prayers have results when you know your influence with God
God is delighted when you know you have influence with Him, and Jacob in the Bible was one such man who knew. He told God, after wrestling with Him from night till daybreak, "I will not let You go unless You bless me!" (Gen. 32:26). Jacob’s heart was in the right place.
Then, the Lord changed his name from Jacob (which means grabber, deceiver, manipulator) to Israel (which means "prince of God").
"And he said, Thy name shall be called no more Jacob, but Israel: for as a prince hast thou power with God" — Gen. 32:28 KJV
When did Jacob have power with God, and get his prayer for God to bless him answered? When God touched the socket of Jacob’s hip and he became helpless. When Jacob was struggling with his human strength, God wanted to leave. But the moment he was helpless, God could not leave.
God doesn’t help those who help themselves; He helps those who are helpless.
He helps you when you say, "I can’t overcome this e.g. addiction to pornography, smoking, temper problem...but You can. I’m looking to You."
Don’t be like the world where everyone’s looking to their own smarts and abilities. The faster you stop trusting in that, the faster you have influence with God and take on your identity in Him—like Jacob did.
"And Elijah the Tishbite, of the inhabitants of Gilead, said to Ahab, 'As the LORD God of Israel lives, before whom I stand, there shall not be dew nor rain these years, except at my word.'"
— 1 Kings 17:1 NKJV
Notice how God calls Elijah’s bold declaration above "earnest prayer" (in James 5:17—18)? It doesn’t fit our traditional ideas of prayer, which usually involves a person with eyes closed, hands folded, and on his/her knees.
Rather, the second time Elijah prayed (on his knees) in James 5:18, the word "earnestly" is not there. We’re going to see why.
By this time, there has not been dew nor rain for 3.5 years. Not a blade of green grass was in sight. The land was parched, and it was difficult for the people to get water from the mountains. King Ahab was looking for deliverance.
Elijah issues a challenge to Baal and his prophets to turn the Israelites’ hearts back to God (1 Kings 18:21). Both he and Baal’s prophets would kill a bull, cut it in pieces, and lay it on wood. Baal’s prophets would call on him, while Elijah would call upon God. The One who answered by fire would be the true God (1 Kings 18:24). Baal didn’t answer, but God answered with fire on the sacrifice, and in so doing, forgave the Israelites for their rebellion. Now, God could righteously bring showers of blessings upon Israel, because He has judged their sins in the sacrificial bull.
In fact, the fires of judgment falling on the sacrifice—not the rebellious Israelites—was a foreshadowing of how our Lord Jesus would bear the judgment for our sins on the cross.
Although God has to judge sin, He is love.
"Then Elijah said to Ahab, 'Go up, eat and drink; for there is the sound of abundance of rain.' So Ahab went up to eat and drink. And Elijah went up to the top of Carmel; then he bowed down on the ground, and put his face between his knees, and said to his servant, 'Go up now, look toward the sea.' So he went up and looked, and said, 'There is nothing.' And seven times he said, 'Go again.' Then it came to pass the seventh time, that he said, 'There is a cloud, as small as a man’s hand, rising out of the sea!' So he said, 'Go up, say to Ahab, 'Prepare your chariot, and go down before the rain stops you.'' Now it happened in the meantime that the sky became black with clouds and wind, and there was a heavy rain. So Ahab rode away and went to Jezreel. Then the hand of the Lord came upon Elijah; and he girded up his loins and ran ahead of Ahab to the entrance of Jezreel."
— 1 Kings 18:41–46 NKJV
"bowed down on the ground, and put his face between his knees" — We think Elijah’s prayer here is more earnest, but God just said he prayed again in James 5:18.
This is because when we declare God’s goodness, we’re partnering with Him. We’re agreeing that Jesus has already borne the curse (of diseases, pains, etc.) at the cross, and given us all His blessings. In other words, praying pleading prayers (e.g. "Oh God, please heal my child") negates the truth of Christ’s finished work, and gives the false impression that God still needs to be persuaded to bless us. And since the Holy Spirit is the Spirit of truth, He cannot bear witness with that kind of prayer, and we don’t see results.
What declaring and decreeing looks like:
e.g. "In the name of Jesus, you foul spirit of depression, let this person go!" — You’re declaring that it’s not the Lord, but the powers of darkness that’s holding this person back. You’re declaring that He’s not the problem, but the solution.
Elijah prayed the way he did because he was living under the Old Covenant before Jesus came, where it was far easier to come under God’s judgment than His blessings. Although God promised to bless His people when they kept all 10 Commandments, they only had to break one to be cursed (see Deut. 11:26—28).
That’s why it was far easier for Elijah to pronounce judgment in the form of no dew/rain for Israel, but far more difficult for him to pray for rain.
But Jesus’ finished work at the cross has changed everything. Now, blessings come easily because they aren’t contingent upon our perfect obedience to God’s law, but upon Christ’s one obedience to God in dying on the cross for our sins and making us righteous (see Rom. 5:19). And blessings crown the head of the righteous.
God never meant for us to earn His blessings by keeping His law. God gave the law so that we’d come to the end of ourselves and receive Him as our righteousness instead. And receiving His righteousness produces righteous fruits, right living, and holiness before God and men.
It’s God’s goodness that leads us to repentance. And not only do we end up fulfilling the law, but exceeding it by the power of His grace.
But God was so good that He answered Elijah’s prayer anyway and sent rain. Let’s come back to the story:
"Go up, eat and drink" — While Elijah told King Ahab to do that, the prophet went up to the top of Carmel; then he bowed down on the ground, and put his face between his knees (1 Kings 18:42).
Like Elijah, remember to give glory to God when He blesses you and delivers you from trouble. Let’s also thank Him for all the blessings and protection we aren’t even aware of.
"there is the sound of abundance of rain" (1 Kings 18:41) — Pastor Prince declares that he hears the sound of abundance of rain for us in 2019: Of abundance of favor, shalom peace, family blessings, etc. Just as Elijah heard the sound of rain before it actually poured, Pastor hears this in the Spirit for us.
It pays to follow God, who lives outside time. He’s already seen your 2019 and He says it’s great. And He’ll come back, take your hand, and lead you through it.
"There is a cloud, as small as a man’s hand, rising out of the sea" (1 Kings 18:44) — Little with God always becomes much: A small cloud with God in it brings torrential rains.
"Then the hand of the Lord came upon Elijah; and he girded up his loins and ran ahead of Ahab" (1 Kings 18:46) — When God’s power comes upon you, you’ll have supernatural strength like Elijah, who outran Ahab’s chariot.
Pastor Prince shares about how he meditated on Isa. 40:31 during a run in the army, and experienced a second wind so much that he was disappointed when they were told to rest!
It was the same for the Gadarene demoniac, who evangelized to ten cities (Decapolis) after Jesus delivered him (see Mark 5:1–20). When God’s Spirit comes upon you, you have supernatural results.
It’s vital that we know that we’re living in the age/dispensation of grace, where it’s easy to pray and see results. Not the dispensation of law in Elijah’s time, nor of the coming day of vengeance where every sin will be dealt with (even then, as believers, Christ has borne all the judgment for our sins. We’ll be in our glorified bodies in which we cannot sin).
We’re living in the acceptable year of the Lord, as our Lord Jesus once read from the book of Isaiah. The Hebrew word for "acceptable" here is "ratsown," a very rich word which means that God’s free favors are profusely abounding. We see this in Luke 4:17–20:
"And He was handed the book of the prophet Isaiah. And when He had opened the book, He found the place where it was written: 'The Spirit of the Lord is upon Me, Because He has anointed Me To preach the gospel to the poor; He has sent Me to heal the brokenhearted, To proclaim liberty to the captives And recovery of sight to the blind, To set at liberty those who are oppressed; To proclaim the acceptable year of the Lord' Then He closed the book, and gave it back to the attendant and sat down. And the eyes of all who were in the synagogue were fixed on Him."
Compare this to the original passage of Scripture that Jesus was reading:
"To proclaim the acceptable year of the Lord,
And the day of vengeance of our God."
— Isaiah 61:2 NKJV
Jesus didn’t continue reading to "the day of vengeance of our God" because it’s not yet come. We’re still living in the acceptable year of the Lord, and it’s been 2,000 years now. God is patiently waiting as He wants as many people to be saved as possible. He is "longsuffering toward us, not willing that any should perish but that all should come to repentance." (2 Peter 3:9).
God’s free favors are so profusely abounding in this age of grace that we can even pray for non-believers and see results. In fact, not one of the many people Jesus healed in the New Testament (before this age of grace) were saved, because He hadn’t died on the cross!
You can pray for non-believers and trust God’s goodness to lead them to repentance (see Rom. 2:4)—meaning that they stop thinking He’s an angry God, start seeing Him as a loving Father, and come to church.
Pastor Prince shares how he prayed for a non-believer to be free from panic attacks, the heavy medication he was under, and the accompanying inability to leave home. When he met him again, the man said he was 85% healed and his doctor said he doesn’t need medication anymore! He also shared that he spends time with God every morning.
No amount of arguing or politicking will change people, but sharing the gospel of grace and a Savior who loves them will transform them from the inside out.
Pray from a position of sonship, completeness, and victory.
See God as a Father, who Jesus came to reveal Him as. There is protection in seeing God as Father, as seen in John 17:11 below. He isn’t far away, but so close to you.
"Holy Father, keep through Your name those whom You have given Me"
— John 17:11
It’s not about the strength of our prayer, but who we’re praying to. Long before we pray, we see that God wants to bless people. He doesn’t need to be begged.
Since Jesus has carried our diseases, we can declare, "Fever, go in the name of Jesus! Goiter, die in Jesus’ name!"
If you’ve declared once but haven’t seen results, don’t give up and keep on declaring, no matter how small you feel your faith is!
When the apostles asked Jesus to increase their faith, He responded:
"And the apostles said to the Lord, 'Increase our faith.' So the Lord said, 'If you have faith as a mustard seed, you can say to this mulberry tree, 'Be pulled up by the roots and be planted in the sea,' and it would obey you."
— Luke 17:5–6 NKJV
"faith as a mustard seed" — The mustard seed is very small, and yet Jesus says faith of that size can uproot a mulberry tree, whose roots go very deep.
"you can say to this mulberry tree" — The word "say" here is in the imperfect tense in the original Greek, which implies a continuous action, i.e. keep on declaring.
Pastor Prince shares about how he used to have a skin condition on his back. Every time he bathed, he would say, "Skin condition, be plucked up by your roots and thrown into the sea!" He kept doing it for some weeks, and one day God prompted him to look for it and he saw it was gone.
God wants us to declare/decree, because as believers, He has made us kings and priests who are seated with Christ in heavenly places where we’re above all principality and power (see Rev. 1:6, Eph. 2:6, Eph. 1:19–21). It’s customary for kings to make decrees.
Don’t ask God to deal with the problem. Just own the authority He’s given you over it, and declare!
Just like God told Moses not to cry to Him when the Israelites complained that Moses had taken them away to die in the wilderness, but to lift up his rod, stretch his hand over the Red Sea and divide it (see Exo. 14:15–16).
Moses’ authority was found in his rod, and our authority today is found in the name of Jesus.
Just as army officers use their authority to direct tanks. They don’t have to call HQ. You can use your God-given authority and declare over your situation.
God answering Elijah and sending fire down upon the sacrificial bull—not the Israelites—is a foreshadowing of how Christ would bear the judgment for our sins. His finished work then becomes the firm foundation upon which we can pray and see results.
We're going to see how even back then, God was so good that He successfully won the people's hearts and judged their sin in the sacrifice. How much more loving will He be to you and I as believers today?
"Now Elijah said to the prophets of Baal, 'Choose one bull for yourselves and prepare it first, for you are many; and call on the name of your god, but put no fire under it.' So they took the bull which was given them, and they prepared it, and called on the name of Baal from morning even till noon, saying, 'O Baal, hear us!' But there was no voice; no one answered. Then they leaped about the altar which they had made. And so it was, at noon, that Elijah mocked them and said, 'Cry aloud, for he is a god; either he is meditating, or he is busy, or he is on a journey, or perhaps he is sleeping and must be awakened.' So they cried aloud, and cut themselves, as was their custom, with knives and lances, until the blood gushed out on them. And when midday was past, they prophesied until the time of the offering of the evening sacrifice. But there was no voice; no one answered, no one paid attention.
Then Elijah said to all the people, 'Come near to me.' So all the people came near to him. And he repaired the altar of the Lord that was broken down. And Elijah took twelve stones, according to the number of the tribes of the sons of Jacob, to whom the word of the Lord had come, saying, 'Israel shall be your name.' Then with the stones he built an altar in the name of the Lord; and he made a trench around the altar large enough to hold two seahs of seed. And he put the wood in order, cut the bull in pieces, and laid it on the wood, and said, 'Fill four waterpots with water, and pour it on the burnt sacrifice and on the wood.' Then he said, 'Do it a second time,' and they did it a second time; and he said, 'Do it a third time,' and they did it a third time. So the water ran all around the altar; and he also filled the trench with water.
And it came to pass, at the time of the offering of the evening sacrifice, that Elijah the prophet came near and said, 'Lord God of Abraham, Isaac, and Israel, let it be known this day that You are God in Israel and I am Your servant, and that I have done all these things at Your word. Hear me, O Lord, hear me, that this people may know that You are the Lord God, and that You have turned their hearts back to You again.'
Then the fire of the Lord fell and consumed the burnt sacrifice, and the wood and the stones and the dust, and it licked up the water that was in the trench. Now when all the people saw it, they fell on their faces; and they said, 'The Lord, He is God! The Lord, He is God!'"
— 1 Kings 18:25–39 NKJV
Elijah "repaired the altar of the Lord that was broken down" — Today, the altar represents the cross of Jesus, a symbol of God's love for the world. Let's share Jesus' love with people and they'll come to believe in Him.
"twelve stones" — They represent the nation of Israel, that God loved from old. Israel was one in God’s eyes even though they were naturally divided (10 tribes in the North, 2 in the South). Today, God sees the body of Christ as one as well: United in the Spirit. We might not agree on all doctrine, but we can unite around the person of Jesus.
"...endeavoring to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace. There is one body and one Spirit, just as you were called in one hope of your calling;" — Ephesians 4:3–4
Elijah told the people to "fill four waterpots with water, and pour it on the burnt sacrifice and on the wood," three times. It was as if he was deliberately making it difficult for God to call down fire. Today, this represents God’s relentless love for us: No matter how we try to pour cold water on it and suppress it, like Israel turned away from Him back then, God won’t stop pursuing us. As Song of Solomon 8:7, which speaks of His love for us, says:
"Many waters cannot quench love, Nor can the floods drown it."
"at the time of the offering of the evening sacrifice" — It was at that time when Elijah prayed to God to send fire down. Israel offers two daily animal sacrifices—in the morning (9am) and the evening (3pm). It’s also said that Jesus was nailed to the cross at 9am, and exhausted all our sins, judgment, crying. "It is finished!" at 3pm. Now we can pray to God anytime and He’ll hear us, because of Jesus’ finished work.
"Then the fire of the Lord fell and consumed the burnt sacrifice, and the wood and the stones and the dust, and it licked up the water that was in the trench" — During Elijah’s time at Mt Carmel, God’s fire consumed the sacrifice completely. But at Calvary, Jesus, our perfect sacrifice, consumed the judgment. He rose from the dead and is still alive today!
The sacrifice is now greater than the judgment. Jesus’ resurrection is why we can be assured that all our sins are forgiven. We can come boldly to God’s throne of grace, pray prayers and see results!
"Now when all the people saw it, they fell on their faces; and they said, 'The Lord, He is God! The Lord, He is God!'" — Not only was the righteousness of God satisfied, but God won the heart of Israel. He’s still winning hearts today.
Have an inward posture of seeing your prayers having results, even before you pray! Don’t pray to have influence with God, pray because you already have influence with Him. Don’t pray to pry blessings from God’s hand, but proclaim His blessings that are already yours.
"You will also declare a thing,
And it will be established for you;
So light will shine on your ways
When they cast you down, and you say,
'Exaltation will come!'
Then He will save the humble person."
— Job 22:28–29
"You will also declare a thing, and it will be established for you" — Declare God’s promises when you don’t know what to do, and His light will shine in your situation.
"When they cast you down, and you say, 'Exaltation will come!' Then He will save the humble person." — True humility is declaring God’s promises when you’re cast down, not wallowing in self-pity.
If you see strife in your relationships, you can declare, "You foul spirit of strife, I command you to cease in your maneuvers. Be gone from my family in Jesus’name!" Use His name. Today, we don’t pray judgment on our enemies like David did. We love our human enemies; our real enemies are the powers of darkness.
Even our salvation in Christ is gotten by declaring (confessing) that Jesus is Lord, and believing in our heart that God has raised Him from the dead (Rom. 10:9). Not begging Him to save us.
Pastor Prince prayed this prayer over the people:
"The Lord bless you and your families this coming week. May you be drenched with His blessings. May God make showers of blessings to fall on you and your loved ones throughout this week. May you experience tangibly the blessings of God that will manifest this coming week. The Lord smile on you, be favorable to you, and the Lord Himself keep you. In the name of Jesus, I declare the Lord preserves you from all evil throughout this week—from all harm, from danger, from every infection, from every power of darkness through the blood of His Son, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ. The Lord smiles on you and grants you his shalom peace, wholeness, and well-being in every part of your being. In every part of your body. In Jesus’Name, amen."
We hope these sermon notes blessed you! If they did, we encourage you to get the sermon and allow the Lord to speak to you personally as you watch or listen to it.
© Copyright JosephPrince.com 2018
These sermon notes were taken by volunteers during the service. They are not a verbatim representation of the sermon.
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