How to Pray Powerful Prayers
New Series on Prayer and Praying the Prayers of the Apostles
photo credit ihopkc.org
The early church had it going on, didn’t they? They walked in anointing and power. They knew how to pray powerful prayers. I mean how to pray powerful prayers that shook physical foundations, cast out demons, brought revival, set men and women free…how to pray powerful prayers that caused miracles and healings. These are all needs that we still need (desperately) today in our personal lives, our families, our churches, our cities.
I feel the Bible gave us a model for how to pray powerful prayers. By using the prayers of the apostles, we can dialogue with God with the same confidence and power that the early church had. I was taught a lot about this at an internship on prayer / intercession at the International House of Prayer in Kansas City. This doctrinal training has served me well in my prayer life. I feel it is a great tool in learning how to pray powerful prayers so I felt moved to share this model with those seeking how to pray powerful prayers.
At the bottom of this post, I have a practical prayer journal for the Ephesians 1 apostolic prayer and a resource that reveals in greater detail the treasure to be found within the walls of this great and powerful prayer. Simply print out the free printable prayer journal or printable prayer template. The instructions that I use/ have been taught are at the top.
I find this anointed album to be very helpful as a background or soundtrack to prayer. Music to pray to-Young Oceans Steady the Stars
The notes of the main pastor from this church describe in great detail the apostolic prayer model. Below are the notes from Bickle of IHOP-KC on the value of praying the prayers of the apostles.
A. When I intercede, I almost always use the prayers of the Bible. The prayers that Jesus, Paul, and
Peter prayed are recorded for our benefit. I refer to them as the “apostolic prayers” because they are
the prayers that Jesus prayed as our chief apostle (Heb. 3:1) and that the Spirit gave to the apostles.
Including doxologies, there are about thirty apostolic prayers (see a list of these on mikebickle.org).
B. The apostolic prayers are a valuable gift to the church being the prayers that burned in God’s heart
and give us the language of His heart. He never changes, so be assured they still burn in His heart.
C. These prayers are guaranteed! They are like checks already signed in heaven and waiting only for a
co-signer on the earth to be cashed. They are as relevant today as they were in the early church.
II. APOSTOLIC PRAYERS ARE GOD-CENTERED
A. All the prayers in the New Testament are God-centered prayers; each one is addressed to God.
Not one apostolic prayer is addressed to the devil. God-centered prayer, including spiritual warfare
prayer, is the model set forth in the New Testament. It is the model the early church used in
resisting and dislodging demonic forces and cultural strongholds (Eph. 6:12; 2 Cor. 10:3-5).
B. All the prayers of Jesus that are recorded in the Bible were directed to the Father (Jn. 14:16; 17:5,
11, 15, 25). Jesus taught His disciples to direct their prayers to the Father (Mt. 18:19; Lk. 11:2, 13).
The apostles’ prayers also teach us to address the Father when we pray. In the “warfare epistle ”
Paul wrote to the Ephesians, he addressed all his prayers to the Father (Eph. 1:16–17; 3:14, 16, 20).
III. APOSTOLIC PRAYERS ARE POSITIVE
A. The apostolic prayers are positive prayers asking God for the impartation of positive things instead
of the removal of negative things. For example, Paul prayed for love to abound instead of asking for
the removal of hatred (Phil. 1:9). He prayed for the impartation of unity instead of praying against
division (Rom. 15:5). He asked for peace to increase instead of fear to be removed (Rom. 15:13).
He did not pray against sin but asked for an increase of holiness, purity, and love (1 Thes. 3:12-13).
Even Paul’s requests to be delivered from evil men are positive in focusing on the deliverance of
God’s people rather than on exposing or bringing down the evil men persecuting them (2 Thes. 3:2).
B. I believe that one reason God established “positive prayers” as the norm in the New Testament is to
enhance unity and love in the church. Some pray “negative prayers” that focus on sin in the church
or its leadership; often such prayers feel judgmental and angry. Others in the prayer meeting do not
agree with the view or tone that was expressed in the negative prayer, so the prayer results in
creating an unnecessary division among some of the people at that prayer meeting.
C. The Lord knew that praying for the impartation of positive virtues, instead of focusing on removing
negative characteristics, would unify intercessors and heal some of the negative emotions against
the church in the very people praying for the Church.
D. I noticed change in my life in the early days as I prayed for the church using apostolic prayers with
their positive language. Little by little I became more positive in my emotions and developed more
mercy and kindness in my heart toward weaknesses in the church.
E. The positive focus that comes from using the apostolic prayers can also help us to operate in faith.
The apostolic prayers provide us with good theology for a victorious church. A man once asked me,
“Why do you believe the church will be victorious?” I told him to look at the prayers of Jesus and
the apostles for the church. My theology on a victorious church and revival was formed partially by
praying the New Testament prayers. These prayers were given by the Spirit, so we know they will
be fully answered. The church will walk in great power, purity, and unity before Jesus returns.
F. Positive apostolic prayers facilitate unity, impact our emotions, and build our faith. The Father is
the “Great Psychologist.” He designed these prayers to help human hearts flow well and work
together in unity with a spirit of encouragement and faith.
IV. APOSTOLIC PRAYERS ARE USUALLY FOR THE CHURCH
A. The vast majority of the apostolic prayers are focused on strengthening of the church, not on the lost
or the transformation of society. This does not mean that God is ambivalent about the lost or society
or that we are not to pray for these things. The only prayer in the New Testament that is focused on
the salvation of the lost is Romans 10:1 where Paul prayed for Israel that they might be saved.
B. Why are the vast majority of the apostolic prayers for the strengthening the church? Because God’s
primary plan to reach the lost or to impact a city is by anointing His church with power and love.
When we pray for the whole church in a city to be revived in love and power, the answer to these
prayers will have an immense impact on the lost. Many unbelievers will inevitably come to Jesus
and society will be changed as the church in that city walks in the power of the Spirit.
C. We see this principle at work in the city of Ephesus. The preaching of the Word of God was so
powerfully anointed that its influence “grew mightily and prevailed” across Ephesus (Acts 19:20).
God’s strategy was to raise up a large, anointed church with congregations across the whole city
that would win a great harvest in all Asia. What happened in Ephesus was so powerful that
everyone who lived in Asia “heard the word of the Lord” from Paul and others in this church.
10…so that all who dwelt in Asia heard the word of the Lord Jesus…20So the word of the Lord
grew mightily and prevailed. (Acts 19:10, 20)
D. Considering the limited communication and transportation systems of the day, it seems likely that
for all in Asia to hear the Word, they had to hear it not only from Paul but also from many believers
who were a part of the large church at Ephesus that was inspired by Paul’s anointed preaching.
E. When preachers are anointed and the church is revived, the saints will speak the Word and do the
works of the kingdom with great consistency and a multitude of unbelievers will come to Jesus.
F. We do well to labor in prayer for an increase of the measure of the Spirit’s anointing on the church,
knowing that a harvest will surely result. No power can prevent the lost from coming to Jesus in
great numbers when the church is revived and operating together in the anointing of the Spirit. Full notes can be found here.
Resource specifically on Ephesians 1 and the Spirit of Wisdom and Revelation and here is the Sermon on Ephesians 1 The Spirit of Wisdom and Revelation
Click below for the free, printable prayer guide that I created to guide you specifically through praying Ephesians 1. I pray that it blesses you and that you see great breakthrough from your powerful prayers. It’s in 8 X 11 format and can be hole-punched and put into a notebook as I hope to make free, printable guides for each of the apostolic prayers and maybe even other prayers of the Bible.
Also, here is a printable prayer journal template page that I use for intercession prayer.