I love the story where the disciples were trying to cast out a demon but weren’t able to. As a result, the disciples were having a squabble with the teachers of the Law. Jesus, just coming off a prayer retreat, walks onto the scene and immediately casts the demon out.
A bit confused, the disciples asked Jesus why He was able to do it while they, on the other hand, looked like impotent dorks. Christ’s reply is quite profound, “This kind can come out only by prayer” (Mark 9:29). In other words, “If you want authority over tough spiritual situations, like this demon, you’ve got to live a lifestyle of prayer”.
Theological squabbling is a common byproduct of spiritual impotence, but this isn’t the only passage that shows miraculous favor upon those who pray more often. Daniel, an important Old Testament character, was a man of prayer and fasting. An angel even told him, “As soon as you began to pray, an answer was given, which I have come to tell you, for you are highly esteemed” (Dan. 9:23).
The Bible certainly isn’t implying that God loves certain people more than others; however, the Bible is clear that everyone does not get the same results. So, once again, we could infer that there is a connection between prayer and miracles in Scripture.
In fact, right now there are many of you with problems that you feel unable to conquer. Perhaps, like the disciples, you’ve invoked all the right formulas from Scripture; yet, your problem still seems to flop around and scream at you. I don’t want to oversimplify things, but what if, like the disciples, your lifestyle of prayer and fasting has something to be desired? What if you intentionally took your prayer life to a new level? What IF your miracle is coming in proportion to your persistence in prayer? If you find yourself in a difficult situation (or needing some miraculous supernatural power), it’s time to employ a new technique into your prayer life: meditation.
One of the most powerful types of prayer is meditation. Most people think of prayer as asking God for things (aka supplication), but Jesus taught that too much supplication is a sign of dysfunction (Matt. 6:7–8). Healthy prayer, however, requires listening to God as well; and, one of the greatest ways God speaks is through His Word. That’s why if we want to get to know God, we’ve got to spend a substantial amount of time memorizing, meditating, and praying His Word (Josh. 1:8; Ps. 1).
Not surprisingly, when Jesus prayed and fasted, He said, “Man doesn’t live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God” (Matt. 4:4). Listening to God is foundational. If you don’t know what meditation is, let me explain.
Meditation is basically thinking deeply on every word in the promises of God. It’s literally the process of dwelling upon each and every word of the Bible. In fact, a good sermon is essentially a corporate meditation on a specific Scripture verse or passage. And when you get good at meditating, a rather profound process ensues.
For every problem we could have, God has a promise to answer it. But knowing God’s Word isn’t enough—believing that it is true is what counts. And that is exactly what meditation does. Meditation is the process of converting truth into spiritual fuel. It turns head knowledge into heart knowledge. Or, as Hebrews 4:2 puts it, God’s word must be “combined with faith” before it will achieve its supernatural results.
Recently, a friend of mine was going through a rough spot financially. He tithed regularly, but one week was particularly rough. He calculated his tithe to be $350, yet he wanted every dollar to stay in his savings. So he wrestled through it by asking, “Should I give it to the church? Should I hold onto it?”
At church that morning I happened to be teaching on Proverbs 3:9–10, which says, “Honor the Lord with your wealth, with the firstfruits of all your crops; then your barns will be filled to overflowing, and your vats will brim over with new wine.” I was reminding the church that there’s an incredible cause and effect that God is daring us to participate in.
In many ways, we were corporately meditating on this Scripture. And, like a lot of people, my friend felt faith rise in his heart. He decided to write out his tithe check for $350. And get this, that very month he brought in the largest commission he had ever gotten, almost exactly one hundred times his tithe check! Do the math. That’s a lot of money to make in one month. In fact, he set a new company record for the biggest week ever. But even more amazing, none of these sales leads had been in his pipeline. They came straight out of nowhere. You can’t tell me that’s a coincidence!
Prayer-filled meditation is what causes us to stay faithful while the miraculous is incubating. Thus, even if we don’t feel like a spiritual superman, or we’re afraid that we lack the authority of someone like Daniel or even Jesus, Christ still bids us that we can be delivered when we are faithful and obedient in prayer and fasting. What if, in the next week, you tried incorporating meditation into your prayer life? What if your miracle is on the other side of your persistent prayers? Remember, our natural efforts, combined with God’s power, become supernatural efforts. Let God’s power infuse your natural (yet faithful) prayer life, and see what miracles occur!
Excerpted from my book, Pharisectomy. Order it here !