Contrary to popular opinion, the most important part of prayer is not you talking to God, but God talking to you. Powerful prayer is divinely initiated. It begins with us hearing God, not God hearing us.
Unbeknownst to many a present-day prayer, prayer is a dialog, not a monolog. It’s not just us talking to God, but God talking to us. In fact, until we hear from God concerning His will we cannot partner with Him in our prayers in the carrying out of His plans and purposes.
How can we pray the prayer of faith if we’re uncertain of God’s will? According to the Scripture, faith comes “by hearing, and hearing by the word of God” (Romans 10:17). The Greek word used here for “word” means “spoken word,” not “written word.” Faith doesn’t come from our reading of the Scripture, but from the Spirit speaking it personally to our hearts.
Once the Spirit speaks personally to our hearts, revealing to us God’s will, we will be enabled to pray the prayer of faith (James 5:15). We will, as the Apostle John teaches, be able to pray with “confidence,” knowing “that [God] hears us” and “that we have the requests that we have asked of him” (1 John 5:14-15 ESV).
If, like me, you’ve been in church for years, you’ve probably heard those old-timers talking about “praying through.” They simply meant that God had revealed His will to them in prayer. Afterward, they prayed for His revealed will to be done and confidently waited on it to be realized in God’s time. No longer burdened to pray, they ceased from praying and patiently waited for the manifestation of a spiritually assured possession.
The story is told of an old saint who finally “prayed through” for the soul of her son. Afterward, much to the chagrin of her carousing son, she spread the news far and wide of his salvation. He, in turn, assured everyone who spoke to him about it that his mother was sorely mistaken. Furthermore, he insisted that he had no intention of ever turning from sin to the Savior.
After some considerable time had passed, the man found himself mysteriously drawn one evening to a tent revival. When the invitation was given the unthinkable happened, he walked the sawdust trail and gave his life to Christ. When he returned home that night, he proudly announced to his saintly mother, “I’m saved!” She simply responded, “I’ve been trying to tell you that for weeks.”