Authority And Ammunition: How To Pray Effectively

how to pray effectively

On a two-week speaking tour in England, my husband Clayton welcomed a day of rest. It was the middle of February with gray skies and daily downpours; a day off gave him a rest from his travels across London. 

“Not sure why,” he told me later, “but early that morning I sensed an urge to fast and pray. I trusted God would reveal the reason why.” 

How To Pray Effectively

pray effectively

At four o’clock that afternoon, his phone rang. A young man introduced himself as someone who had been in one of the meetings.

“My name is Oliver. My mother, Lois, is in ICU at the Sherwood Forest Hospital. I am wondering if you would be willing to pray for her?”

Clayton asked, “Do you believe God can heal her?”

“Yes, I do, which is what prompted me to contact you.” Clayton agreed to meet with Oliver at 7 PM which gave him time to ask God how to specifically pray in this situation.

But he did not receive any direction. Nothing. No inspiration. 

As the two of them drove across the city, Oliver explained his mother’s condition. 

“My mom had surgery this week. When they opened her up and saw the extent of cancer in her esophagus, they stitched her back up and said she had three days to live, if that.”

Sometimes it feels like God is too late, but that is untrue.

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“Three days to live?” Clayton thought. “What did I get myself into? I don’t know how to specifically pray for this. Lord, you have not given me any clear direction.”

The more Oliver talked; the more hopeless Clayton was feeling. He heard the desperation in Oliver’s voice and knew God was able but the battle in his mind would not cease.

Clayton wanted to know how to pray effectively. He was depending on hearing from God to direct him and felt ill-equipped until he walked through the doors of the hospital. 

Sometimes it feels like God is too late, but that is untrue.

Take The Authority

take the authority

As the doors opened the voice in Clayton’s spirit resounded with clarity. “Take authority against the spirit of infirmity and the spirit of death.”

That was it. 

Clayton was acutely aware of the authority the Word gave him and the anointing that dwelled in his spirit. Now, God had given him the ammunition. 

As he stepped into the intensive care unit, he saw a mere shell of a woman. She was emaciated. Her skin color was gray. Several tubes were giving her life support but she was unconscious and lifeless.

Clayton stood at the foot of Lois’ bed and spoke softly but firmly. “In the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, I take authority against the spirit of death and the spirit of infirmity that are trying to destroy this woman. You have no legal territory here and you must leave.”

Oliver, his father, and his brother looked at Clayton in shock. “Is that it? Is that all you’re going to pray?”

“Yes, that’s what God told me to do.”

God Fights The Battle And Never Loses

god fights the battle

Clayton glanced back at Lois and a tear was running down her cheek. He did not know if anything had changed but he knew he had been obedient. The tear made him realize that she heard the prayer.

A few days later Clayton flew back to the United States but had not heard any more from Oliver.

God fights the battle and He never loses.

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Although we are obedient when God asks us to pray for someone, there are times we never hear the results of our prayers. It is not unusual to want answers on our schedule but we have to trust God to perform what He has promised.

In 2 Chronicles 20:12, it says, “Do not be afraid nor dismayed because of this great multitude, for the battle is not yours, but God’s.” We need to leave it there. We did our part. God fights the battle and He never loses.

Months later Clayton received a phone call. “Hi. You don’t know me but we attended the conference you spoke at in London. We need to discuss something with you. Would you be able to meet us near the airport?”

Intrigued, we both met with them at a restaurant near the airport.

“We were going to tell you this on the phone but felt it would be better to tell you in person. Besides, we wanted to see the look on your faces.”

Their faces did not indicate if they had good news or if they needed prayer. But their demeanor changed as they began their story.

“Do you remember the lady who you prayed for in London who was dying?”

“Yes, of course.”

“The morning after you prayed for her she woke up from her coma, sat up in bed, and asked for something to eat.”

They both had huge smiles and enjoyed every second as they shared the details of this miracle.

No One Could Deny It Was A Miracle...

it was a miracle

“When Lois sat up in bed, pulling the tubes from her mouth, the attending nurse looked perturbed and was adamant. ‘You may be hungry but remember, you can’t swallow. Please lie back down and I will get someone to put the tube back into your mouth.’”

“I couldn’t talk before but I can now. Look! I’m swallowing just fine.”

Both Clayton and I had tears welling up as they continued.

When God performs a miracle, there are no loose ends. When He performs the supernatural, nothing is left undone.

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“The doctors insisted she stay in the hospital for a few more days to run tests and try to figure out what happened. They had no answer but couldn’t deny it was a miracle. Lois knew we were going on vacation to Canada and asked that we look you up and tell you that after you prayed, she was healed. She went home within a week and is living life as though she never had cancer.”

When God performs a miracle, there are no loose ends. When He performs the supernatural, nothing is left undone.  

Intercession Has No Distance Limitations

intercession has no distance

And when His work is completed, we need to believe we receive and pray according to the Word. It’s precisely the Word that gives us the authority to use the name of Jesus to stand against any giant.

And when facing those giants or encountering any difficulty, we might not know how to pray. That’s when we remain still and wait, in faith, to hear from Him. He will reveal to us how to pray.

As He did with Clayton we can be assured God will guide us.

And He shows us how and why in Romans 8:26: “Likewise the Spirit also helps in our weaknesses. For we do not know what we should pray for as we ought, but the Spirit Himself makes intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered. Now He who searches the hearts knows what the mind of the Spirit is, because He makes intercession for the saints according to the will of God.”

And that intersession has no distance limitations.


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