Tony Evans - The Prayer For Spiritual Power
We're talking about "Igniting Kingdom Prayer". We're talking about having heaven's power and authority operating in your life and in our realm. It is the divinely authorized methodology, the divinely authorized methodology to access heavenly authority for earthly intervention. Kingdom prayer is the divinely authorized methodology to access heavenly authority for earthly intervention. God established prayer as the means, the primary means, to draw down from heaven into history. One of the great prayers in the Bible about this subject of what I'm calling kingdom prayer is found in the familiar passage of Ephesians chapter 3, beginning with verse 14.
I want to walk us through this prayer for power. This applies to all who hear who need power, want power, and you want heavenly authority for earthly intervention. Paul says in verse 14, "For this reason, I bow my knees before the Father". So, he enters into the humble posture of prayer. For what reason? Well, verse 13, he tells us he doesn't want them to lose heart. To lose heart means to become discouraged. To lose heart means to throw in the towel. To lose heart means to wanna quit, give up. The person that lives in a perpetual state of depression has lost heart. The person who goes to artificial means of surviving, drugs, alcohol, something deeper is going on. They have lost heart. And a myriad other ways of losing heart, becoming addicted to discouragement. That's what it means to lose heart.
I wonder if there's anyone here this morning whose heart has been lost. Perhaps it's the marriage, perhaps it's the singlehood, but you've lost heart. He says, "For this reason, because I don't want you to lose heart, I bow my knee to the Father. I enter into a humble posture of prayer". He says, "And I do this from whom every family in heaven and on earth derives its name". So, if God is your Father, you are a Christian, this truth applies to you. If you're a believer and God is your Spiritual Father, then Paul says, "My prayer you can pray".
So, this is not just for Paul the Apostle, it's for Joe Blow Christian who needs power, who is battling with losing heart, discouragement, wanting to quit, tired. He gives three principles here for experiencing heavenly power, heavenly authority through kingdom prayer, this heavenly authority for earthly intervention. The first principle is that if you want heaven's power, you must be cultivating spiritual intimacy. He says in verse 16 that he would grant you according to the riches of his glory to be strengthen with power through the spirit in the inner man so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith.
He says if you're going to experience this power, there has to be an inner connection. If you're not connected intimately, then the flow of power can't get to you. If you are a believer, you don't have a power problem, but you could have a connection problem. And if the connection is not there, the power that you possess can't flow through. He says, "I pray that you will be strengthened with power, but it is in the inner man". It must happen in the inner man. In other words, most of the time we pray for stuff we need out there when God says it starts with what you need in here, the inner man. It is the degree to which the spiritual is connected with God that the flow of power from God gets transferred to you.
So, no matter how much power you possess, if the connection is not right, the power that you possess won't flow in you and then through you to the circumstances you're in. He says it is the job of the Holy Spirit in the inner man to produce the power. He goes deeper to explain this. He says, "That Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith". That Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith. The Greek word for "dwell," because you say, "Well, Christ is already in my heart. I'm already saved". No, that's not quite what that means.
The Greek word "dwell" means to make oneself at home. To make oneself at home. So, if you put that phrase in the meaning of "dwell," the word becomes more alive. If you want power in the inner man, then Christ must dwell. That is, not only be in you, but be at home inside of you. Jesus is inside every believer's house, but he doesn't necessarily feel welcome there. In order for you to have power, Christ must be at home, meaning the freedom to go into any room of your life that he chooses. The Holy Spirit will never be free to move if Christ can't be at home. That means that he must be welcomed into every room of your life and be free to take a tour whenever he wants to. Make yourself at home.
But you say, "How can I ask Jesus to make himself at home with a dirty closet or a chaotic garage"? That's why he wants you to make himself at home there, so he can help you clean it up. Don't lock him out, invite him in so that he can straighten things out and transfer power in the inner man. If he becomes the one you are dealing with as a lifestyle, not as an event, you will have opened yourself up to power when you pray.
So, the first thing is, you must pray with the priority of spiritual intimacy. You must be drawing near. Scripture says, "Draw near to me and I will draw near to you". So, forget power and heavenly authority if you're not pursuing intimacy. But if you are pursuing intimacy, that leads to the second thing that will give you heavenly authority while you're living on earth, as you do kingdom prayer. He says, "As you being," second half of verse 17, "rooted and grounded in love, may be able to comprehend with all the saints what is the breadth, the length, the height, the depth to know the love of Christ which surpasses knowledge, that you may be filled to all the fullness of God".
The first thing is spiritual intimacy, but the second thing is expanded spiritual capacity. That you might be filled to the fullness of God, so that you will experience more of God. Having God is one thing, experiencing him is another. So, he wants you to be filled with the fullness of God. He wants you to experience more of what you already have. He says that this experience comes in a context, being rooted and grounded in love. The Bible says that God is love. He is loved by nature. There is no such thing as love without having an object to love. In other words, love has to go somewhere. Because God is a triune being, three persons who are distinct in personality, yet one in essence, the Godhead, Father, Son, Holy Spirit, God has always had someone to love.
God has never been alone because of his triune nature. So, he's always had somebody to love and it's built within his nature. This is why the Christian God is unlike other so-called deities called god. So, when we are operating in a context of love, we're operating in a context of God, 'cause God is love. That is why God always wants you in a context, that's why he's gonna end this prayer with, "God be glory in the church," because one of the reasons God expects every believer to be part of a local church is to be in a context of expressing love within his family. So, God just doesn't want you to come here for you, he wants you to come here for you and for others. So, that's why, if you want to be blessed but are unwilling to be a blessing, you can't be rooted and grounded in love. And if you're not rooted and grounded in love, you're not expanding your capacity.
So, the first thing is to be intimate. The second thing is to expand your capacity for God to do more for you and in you. The principle is simply this. God will only give you as much of God as you can handle. God is not going to give you what you can't handle. So, if there's no spiritual intimacy and expanded spiritual capacity, then no matter how much you pray, it'll stop. So, the first principle is, you must prioritize spiritual intimacy. You must make time for God. Make time for his Word. Make time for prayer. Then there must be expanded capacity. That's why sharing God's love, sharing God's Word, praying for others is key to expanding the capacity. If it's only about you, you're not being rooted and grounded in love. When you begin praying for spiritual intimacy, and when you get expanded in spiritual capacity, now you're ready to experience spiritual power.
Notice the most popular verse in the book, "Now to him who is able to do far more abundantly beyond all that we ask or think according to the power that works in us". Here is one of the most potent statements about God's power in the Bible. Let me say a few things about this power. First of all, his power is personal, "Now unto him". This is personal power, because God is a person. He wants to be related to personally. He's not the force. He's not this impersonal thing that people talk about. He is a personal God. You see, the whole Trinity is in this passage. He talks about the Father, he talks about dwelling in Jesus Christ, and he talks about the Holy Spirit and the inner man. So, he's got the whole Trinity in this passage. "Now unto him". This is what we call a doxology. A doxology is a praise, a concluding praise. Power is tied to a person. It is relationally driven. His power is potent. It's personal, but it's potent. Notice the superlatives. "Now unto him who's able".
Now, I know we like to say, "Ain't he able"? This refers to his ability, because of course we're talking about supernatural power. We're not just talking about what earth can do, although much of what earth does depends on the power of God, but we're talking about what he's able to do. There are many verses that talk about Jesus asked a blind man one day, "Do you believe I'm able to heal you"? The book of Hebrews says, "He's able to save to the uttermost". "Now unto him who is able," but he's able to do. He's functionally able, not theoretically able. He has the ability to perform his ability. But then it gets gooder because of the word "far more". Somebody say, "Far more".
He's not only filled with capacity and ability, he is filled with capacity and ability that can perform. And when his capacity and ability performs, it is far more abundant beyond all, that says, "In excess," of what you ask. So, he assumes you ask, 'cause we talking about kingdom prayer. Jesus says, and maybe we'll get into this in one of the other sermons, "You have not because you ask not". He says God is able to do far beyond what you ask. "Now unto him who is able to do more than you can ask or think," but then he gives you a condition, "according to the power that works within us".
Ah, he didn't do it just 'cause you ask, he checked what was happening on the inside before he did something on the outside. See, if he's not prioritized in your life, if you just visit him, give him a weekly visit, he's not roaming the rooms of your life, there is no capacity. It's according to the power inside that determines how much is happening outside. Many people want God to do the supernatural when there is nothing inside. There is no kingdom priority, kingdom orientation.
So, I'll close with an event I've shared a number of times, but it makes the point, one time when we went to Niagara Falls for vacation. Many years ago, we went and I drove all the way from Dallas to Niagara Falls. I don't advise you do that, but we went all the way to Niagara Falls. Niagara falls has two sides, an American side and a Canadian side. Our hotel was on the Canadian side. We got there late at night. When we got into the hotel room, I opened the curtain and way out in the distance you could see the Falls, 'cause it's lit at night, and it was a spectacle to behold. I mean, it was just awe-inspiring. It was way out there, couldn't hear it. Could see it enough that it was impressive. So, I was impressed by it.
The next morning, we went to the Falls. On the Canadian side of the Falls is a park. We stood in the park on the Canadian side of the Falls. Oh, but this was different than the hotel room, 'cause I can hear it, the thunder of the roar of the water going over the Falls and hitting the basin of the Falls. And so, it hit with such force that the wind would blow up little drops of water, even across the street to the park, and you would feel little drops of water every now and then. So, in the hotel room I was impressed by it, but in the park I got a little feel of it, 'cause I was close enough to hear it, and every now and then I got a drop of water on me 'cause I was now in the vicinity. But now there's another way you can see the Falls. It's called, "The Maid of the Mist". These are boats down in the basin of the Falls.
Now, if you go to the boat in the basin of the Falls, they going to give you a raincoat and an umbrella, 'cause now you getting ready to get drenched 'cause you're down there in the basin of the Falls, so you're gonna be overwhelmed with the power. See, some Christians relate to Jesus from the hotel room of their lives. They're impressed by him at a distance. They don't ever hear anything. God never speaks to them. The supernatural is rare if ever, but they'll go to church 'cause they're impressed with Jesus. Some Christians relate to Jesus from the park. They're a lot closer than the hotel room, and every now and again, they'll get a drop here and a drop there.
But there are those few who are not satisfied with the hotel room. There are those few who are not satisfied with the park, because they wanna get drenched. They want a raincoat and an umbrella, 'cause they gonna take the risk of getting close. So, the question on the floor today is, how much God do you want? Because he will only give you as much of God that you can handle. Spiritual intimacy should lead to expanded spiritual capacity. Spiritual capacity brings on more spiritual power, so that God gets glory as he blows your mind with the supernatural. So, I invite you to ignite kingdom prayer in your life so that you can give testimony that he's real. He's real, 'cause I've seen him with my own eyes.
Our spiritual power is directly related to the level of our spiritual intimacy. We cannot experience the authority of God operating in, to, and through our lives if we have a long distance relationship. You know, just like when we're driving a car and you get too far away from the signal, things get choppy. There's a lot of static on the line and you don't pick up things clearly. When we get too far from God, what he wants to do, that exceedingly great power that he wants to demonstrate in our lives, we don't see it. We don't pick up the signal. There's a lot of static on the line. If you really want to experience God's power, increase your passionate pursuit of intimacy. Then you won't have to look for his power — his power will look at you.