Successful Praying Conditions
I. HIGH ESTEEM OF PRAYER:
1. Not something just tied on to Christianity, but a bottom line vital necessity.
2. Not a quickie formula to turn on and off as a casual notion or thought appears.
3. God’s pre-determined channel for His supply of the Christian’s requirements.
II. A CONTINUAL SEEKING THE THINGS OF GOD IN CHRIST TO BE REVEALED BY THE HOLY SPIRIT:
1. Matthew 6:33 — “Seek first the kingdom of God” — truths of His kingdom are realize best — Shows wise.
2. Colossians 3:2 — “Set your affection on things above, not on things on the earth.” — Right evaluation.
III. ABSOLUTE ABIDING: John 15:7, “If ye abide (dwell, stay, remain) in me, and my words abide in you, ye shall ask what ye will, and it shall be done unto you.”
— That commitment to faithfulness that enables the Holy Spirit to be able to strengthen, encourage, and guide you.
IV. UNDERSTANDING THE REAL AND BEST BLESSING IS NOT WHAT YOU GET THROUGH PRAYER, BUT THE FACT THAT YOUR FATHER HEARD AND MOVED IN YOUR BEHALF.
V. A LIFE TO BACK UP THE LIPS: Talk is cheap.
— Prayer words with no life to support is foolish.
Successful Praying Conditions
by Rev. Elbert Willis
There is a lot of praying that doesn’t get you anything, but tired. It’s not just prayer that God answers, it’s the prayer of faith. He says in Matthew 21:22, “All things you shall ask in prayer, BELIEVE and you shall receive.” It doesn’t say all things you shall ask in prayer, you shall receive. He says, “All things you shall ask in prayer, BELIEVING, you shall receive.” In Mark 11:24 He says, “What things soever you desire, when you pray you shall receive them”? Nope, He says, “What things soever you desire, when you pray, BELIEVE, believe, and you shall receive.”
Romans 12 tells us He has given you and me the measure of faith so we CAN believe.
We have teachings on preparing to pray. We talk about how you need to prepare yourself to pray, and now we’re going to talk about the conditions for successful praying. As we talk about conditions to pray, I’m not going to be dealing with a lot of them that you might normally think of. Conditions for SUCCESSFUL prayer.
I. HIGH ESTEEM OF PRAYER. This is one of the main mistakes that Christians make when they come to the Lord. They don’t have a high esteem of prayer. They don’t realize that any principle that God establishes is tremendous. So we need to have a high esteem of prayer.
1. Prayer is not something just tied on to Christianity, but a bottom line vital necessity. So many times, you see, if you don’t have a high esteem of prayer, you’ll just get down any old time and pray and not really mean it. You’ll be hypocritical about your praying, if you don’t have a high esteem of prayer. You’ll be a hypocrite in your praying. You’ll just pray a prayer and really not expect to get an answer. It’s just a good religious, pious thing to do. So if you don’t have a high esteem of prayer, you’ll often do this.
2. A high esteem of prayer, not a quickie formula to turn on and off as a casual notion or thought appears to your mind. Now we don’t have to get down and pray long prayers; we can pray short prayers. But we need to pray them sincerely. We need to pray them with a high esteem of what we’re doing. So many times when we get down to pray we’re just kinda nonchalant. We get down, “Well, I’m going to pray.” “Well, let’s get together and pray.” We don’t have a high esteem; we don’t realize what we’re saying we’re fixing to do.
3. We need to realize that prayer is God’s predetermined channel for His supply of the Christian’s requirements. Prayer is the channel that God has determined and set up and established for you and me to receive whatever we need, spiritually, physically, mentally or financially.
So the number one condition, I believe, that’s causing more people today not getting answers to their prayers, the condition they’re not meeting, is they don’t have a high esteem of prayer. They don’t value prayer. They don’t realize that God says, “ALL things you shall ask in prayer believing, you shall receive.” They haven’t taken prayer and given it its rightful place. Prayer is just something they kinda do off-the-cuff as a duty. Are you still with me? Do you understand what I’m saying? You see, praying is serious business, because you’re wanting to touch glory. Amen. So you know when you want to touch glory and get God to do something for you, you need to get serious about it.
Therefore you need to recognize that since you’re going to ask God to do something for you, then you need to have a high esteem and a valuation of prayer. You’ll begin to recognize the real benefits of prayer. It will cause you to BE a prayer warrior. I think every Christian should be a prayer warrior. That means every Christian should be the man and woman that’s always praying, and not just necessarily praying for things, but praying in the Spirit; and praising the Lord because they realize that prayer is communion with God.
So it’s not something just tied onto Christianity, but a bottom line that’s vitally necessary.
It’s not a quickie formula to turn on and off as a casual notion or thought appears in your mind, and say, “Well, I’m going to ask the Father for that.” This is why so many times this condition is not being met, God doesn’t pay it any mind. The next thing we know we come to the place where we become irreverent about prayer. We don’t recognize that this is one of the principles of God, that God has established prayer for you and me to commune with Him and fellowship with Him.
It’s God’s predetermined channel for His supply, for Him to supply yours and my needs.
II. A CONTINUAL SEEKING THE THINGS OF GOD IN CHRIST TO BE REVEALED BY THE HOLY SPIRIT. Many times you see, if you’re not continually seeking the things of God, in Christ, to be revealed to you by the Holy Spirit…if you’re not continually seeking truths in the Word of God, in prayer and supplication, then you’re not staying in that fellowship with God that you need.
1. Matthew 6:33 says to seek first the kingdom of God, seek the truths of His kingdom. As you realize His best, it shows you’re wise. You see, a man or woman who is continually seeking the things of God, that shows he’s wise. That shows he’s committed to the Lord Jesus Christ. That shows he’s dedicated, because he’s continually seeking the things of God. That shows that he realizes what Christianity is; that shows that he realizes what the best things in life are.
And, oh, brothers and sisters, let me tell you: if the best things in this life had been the best, then they would be the things we could have over there, but they’re not. They’re going to be left behind. So if they are not the best over there, they’re not the best for you here. If the things of the world are not the best for you over there, they’re not the best for you here. Do you all hear what I’m saying?
When He says, “Seek ye first the kingdom of God,” seek first the truths of God, because God says, “My spiritual truths are the best for you, now and forever.” These natural things that man seeks for here, saints, if they’d been the best they’d be over there. So we need to come to realize more and more, we need to seek first the kingdom of God.
2. Colossians 3:2 says, “Set your affections…,” and this literally means set your mind on the things above, not on the things of earth. Have a right evaluation of things of earth. We’re just pilgrims passing through. Cars will come and go, houses will come and go, buildings will come and go — everything in this world, it comes and it goes, brothers and sisters. It’s really foolish for a man to spend his life wrapped up in things he’s going to lose, because you came in with nothing and you’ll leave out with nothing. You came in with nothing in the world and you’ll leave out with nothing in the world.
But so many times, you see, because of the drawing power of the world, people set their affections on the things of the world. “Oh, but Brother Willis, I need those things.” God tells you how to get them. He says, “Seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness,” and He says, “I’ll ADD all those things to you.” He says, “I know that you need houses and lands and cars.” He said, “If you want them, then seek Me first.” Get your priorities straight, get your affections straight; know what are the best things in life.
Brothers and sisters, if the things in this world had been the best in life, America would be a happy world, it would be a happy country. Don’t get caught up in it, because I’ll tell you what — unless you’re continually seeking the things of God in Christ, you’ll not be a successful pray-er. Because, you see, you’re not showing wisdom; you’re not showing that you recognize the Word of God as best for you.
In other words, God says, “Seek first the things of God,” and you say, “Aw, I don’t think it’s really necessary.” But then when you get down to pray you want God to answer your prayers for you. And God says, “Wait a minute now; I mean, you won’t even obey My Word. You don’t think that the things that I want you to have are the best, but yet you want Me to give you the best.” In other words, “you want to seek your own things and do your own thing and live your own life; then every now and then jump up there and ask Me to do something for you.” He says, “I want your whole life.” He says, “I’m not interested in your leftovers.”
Boy, I remember years ago this thing was made so real to me. A little article I was reading that said, “You know what most people are like? Like somebody smoking a cigarette. They smoke it right down to the butt, just right down…right there, and then they give it to God.”
Most people use their life to do what they want to, burn up all their life, burn up their strength, burn up their energy, burn up their thoughts all the time. Then after while, give God the butt. Give Him a teensy-weensy bit of their time, a teensy-weensy bit of their strength. Give the most of their strength, most of their mind, most of their thinking, to getting along in this world. Hello? And God says, “Listen, get wise; get wise, saints.” God’s ways are best for you. Now that you’re a child of God, now you have a new inheritance incorruptible, now you have new power, new authority, new victory, new prosperity, new everything. It’s better for you than you’ve ever had before. But you’ll have to do what? Meet the conditions.
Now let me say something before I go on to number III. In Colossians 3:2, “Set your affections…” this word “set” means in a fixed, immovable position. And God knows, God knows. He said, “You set your affections, your mind, on ME, and not on the things of the earth, but on things above.” How are you going to find the things above? Right here in the Word of God. Not, NOT, NOT on the things of the earth. And listen, saints, that’s not an easy thing to do.
You see, every day we’re faced with the things of the world, to live, to exist — our families. It takes really trusting in the LORD, for a man or woman to be able to pull their mind away from those things and put it on the King of kings and Lord of glory. It takes a holy desire within them to do that, to please the Master, to please the Father. I want to tell you, brothers and sisters, He’s the One who strengthens us. He’s the One who saved us, He’s the One who fills us. He’s the One who lives in us, He’s the One who’s going to carry us through the rivers and waters and fires. He is the One who we need to be having in mind first of all.
III. There must be an ABSOLUTE ABIDING. John 15:7 says, “If you abide in me…” in other words, if you dwell and stay and remain in me. That means it has to be an absolute abiding and dwelling and staying and remaining in fellowship with God. Listen, saints, this needs to be your heart’s desire. You’ll have to be on guard, because the devil is always out to keep you from being in fellowship with God. He’s always out to bring sin and distress, everything he can to break that relationship between you and the Lord, you see.
“If you abide in Me and My words abide in you, ye shall ask what you will, and it SHALL be done unto you.” As you and I learn more and more to abide and dwell and remain and stay in that right relationship with God, we’ll ask what we will and it shall be done. Therefore, we need to realize, if we’re not getting the prayers answered it’s because the abiding is not being done as it should be. It’s an in and out abiding; it’s an in and out setting our affections. It’s an in and out seeking, sometimes we’re gung-ho and the next time we’re cool, cool cucumbers.
Sometimes, man, we’re hot as fireballs for the Lord. Sometimes just as cold as icicles. Listen, saints — God knows. Thank God for God’s grace and God’s love, but I’ll tell you what — God is raising Him up an army of men and women that’s steady, Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday. They don’t go by their feelings, but they’re steady and persistent in the things of God. They’re diligent in the things of God. And this is what God wants from you and me.
Absolute abiding — that commitment to faithfulness that enables the Holy Spirit to be able to strengthen you and encourage you and guide you. You see, only as we’re committed to be faithful to God, can the Holy Spirit strengthen us and guide us. Only can He teach us. But so many times, our faithfulness is for a season, so He can only deal with us for a season. He can only strengthen us for a season. He can only encourage us for a season. But it has to be that continual abiding in the Lord, so that He can continually encourage us. And you have to have it.
I was doing some studying one afternoon on the Holy Spirit. The word “comforter” means to stand by and to strengthen, and Jesus said, “I’ve got to go away but the Holy Spirit will come.” So what Jesus was telling the disciples, He said, “Now when I was here I stood by you and I strengthened you; but now I’m leaving, and I’m sending the Holy Spirit and He’ll stand by you to strengthen you,” praise God. Amen? This is why we need to abide in the Lord. This is why we need to stay in fellowship with Him, because He’s standing by you and me to strengthen us. Thank God that we can abide in Him.
IV. YOU MUST UNDERSTAND THE REAL AND BEST BLESSING IS NOT WHAT YOU GET THROUGH PRAYER, BUT THE FACT THAT YOUR FATHER HEARD AND MOVED ON YOUR BEHALF. Let me say that again; we’re talking about conditions for successful praying. You must understand the real and best blessing is not what you GET through prayer, but the fact that your Father heard and moved on your behalf.
Let me just give you an example. When I came back from Honduras and the enemy attacked my body. I had stood, and one day I just made the confession: “I want you to know, devil, I’m healed. If my body hurts all the rest of my life, I’m healed. My body hurting has nothing to do with my healing. I’m healed because the Word says so.” All at once it left my body. Listen, saints, I thank God that the pain left my body; but I’ll tell you where the real blessing was — I prayed, and God really heard me and did it. Hello?
Listen, many times when I speak the Word and people are healed, pain leaves people’s bodies, I thank God for that, but you know where the real blessing is? God heard. I have prayed for cars, for example. I have prayed for money for suits and shoes and clothes, etc., etc. I thank God for them, but the real blessing wasn’t the suit. The real blessing wasn’t that we were able to eat better. The real blessing was that as I began to pray in faith and serve God, God moved out there on my behalf to bless me. That’s where the real blessing was.
I was in communion and fellowship with God. I was coming to a place where I could say, “Father, in the name of Jesus I ask You for this.” And that was a real blessing, because you see, that never runs out, saints. You see, by staying in a right relationship with God, by abiding in Him, by properly esteeming prayer, by being faithful to Him, then that blessing of being able to pray the prayer of faith, you can operate it anywhere, anywhere you are.
I’ve seen times when the children were sick, and I thank God that the disease and the pain and the fever left their bodies; but I’ll tell you what — the real blessing was I prayed in the name of Jesus and came against that fever and the fever left their bodies, but the real blessing was I prayed and the God of glory heard my prayer and answered it. Heaven came down in the presence of a miracle. Heaven came down in the presence of finances. That was the real blessing, that I was able to touch glory, I was able to touch God with the prayer of faith. ALL things you shall ask in prayer, believing, you shall receive!
So one of the conditions for successful praying is, you must understand the REAL and BEST blessing is not what you GET. I can remember in 1975 we had a 98 Oldsmobile, a new one, it was only about 60 days old; and had a ‘72 Ford wagon paid for. And I was in the healing school in Reserve, Louisiana and God spoke to me and said, “Son, I want you to buy a Cadillac.” I said, “God, I don’t want no Cadillac.” And God said, “You’re scared of what people will say about you.” And I said, “Lord, I am.” And I prayed, and I said, “Father, in the name of Jesus, I claim $10,000 right now.” I claimed $10,000, and in six weeks God miraculously manifested $10,000 in money, and I went and bought that Cadillac. And when I drove that Cadillac out the Lord said, “How long does the new last,” and I said, “Lord you can’t really tell.” He said, “That’s the value of it.” That’s the value of it.
I studied this out, the world values Cadillacs — God doesn’t. The world values these big buildings — God doesn’t. You know what God values? The man or woman who will serve Him. God values men and women who will commit their lives to the Lord Jesus Christ, to be vessels of honor unto Him. God values a man or woman that so serves Him they can pray the prayer of faith, because you see, that’s what we’re going to need. There’ll come a time, saints, nothing in the world will do you any good. One time we were talking about praying. About some of the wealthy people of the world, they’re worth billions. I mentioned the Shah of Iran, the billions he’s worth. He died sick; couldn’t get that cancer out of the lymph glands. We could go on and on. Listen, it won’t get you that, saints.
Let me tell you what — faith in God will get you to heaven. Faith in God will take care of you when nothing else will. Put your faith in the right things. Make your commitment to the right things, make your commitment to walk faithful before the Lord Jesus Christ all the days of your life, and therein is victory.
Therein it is, because, saints, I want to tell you what — when I made my commitment to walk with the Lord Jesus Christ we didn’t have anything. I mean nothing. Our family was a mess. Me and the wife, we’d been going through tough times; I mean separation every time we turned around. Our life was a mess. My kids, they were a mess. They were frustrated and confused. Our marriage was on the rocks. We were living in a two room house, not a two bedroom house but a two room house. We had no future.
But I want to tell you what — I found that man named Jesus. I made contact with Him, and I found out right then that was the best thing for me. And I’ve been faithful to Him all these years. He adds all those other things, because of that faithfulness; and you can GET what you need, because of that faithfulness you can get those healings. You can get those finances; you can get those loved ones saved. But, brothers and sisters, without those conditions of abiding and being faithful and realizing the real blessing in prayer, then God can’t answer you. Unless you have a high esteem and evaluation of prayer.
You need to begin to recognize, say, “Lord, I thank You for the privilege of praying. I thank You, Father God, that You love me so much that You established the principle of prayer, so that whenever I need anything, spiritually, physically, mentally or financially, I have a channel whereby I can contact You and tap Your glory, that You might help me down here. Oh, I thank You that I can pray for strength, and You’ll give me strength; that You’ll encourage me, that You’ll lift me up. I thank You, Lord.”
Have you ever prayed and asked Him to encourage you? When you were going through a tough, depressed time, did you ever say, “Father, in the name of Jesus, I ask You to break this depression. Break this oppression in Jesus’ name. I claim it in the name of Jesus, I’m free from it”? I’ll tell you, when I learned my authority I’ve prayed it many times, when the oppression of the enemy would come upon me. And God began to teach me my authority, and teach me my rights. Now whenever the devil gets near me, I use my authority, I use my rights that God has given me. But I thank Him for the privilege of prayer. Amen. Because without that, you and I don’t have anything.
How did you get saved? Whosoever shall CALL upon the name of the Lord shall be saved. How did you get saved? Through the channel of prayer. Is it valuable? You wouldn’t have been saved. How did you get baptized in the Holy Spirit? Through prayer — you asked Him for it. We had ten or fifteen people at the altar one morning, and every one of them except two or three manifested the baptism of the Holy Spirit — through PRAYER! Heaven is ours — all ours, saints. It’s a great honor and blessing in being able to pray the prayer of faith, and knowing that God’s established for you. Thank God He’s given you the measure of faith to believe Him with! Thank God He’s established prayer, thank God He’s told you HOW to pray. He says whatsoever you ask the Father in the name of Jesus, John 16:23,24. He tells you HOW to pray — “Father, in Jesus’ name.” When you’re saying, “Father,” you’re humbling yourself before Him and asking Him for it, be it spiritual, physical, mental or financial. We’re talking about conditions for a successful prayer life.
V. A LIFE TO BACK UP THE LIPS: Talk is cheap. Prayer words with no life to support is foolish. Listen to me, brothers and sisters. What was the first point? The high esteem of prayer. You see, if you don’t have a high esteem of prayer, you’ll live like the devil and try to get God to answer your prayers. You see, if you don’t have a life to back up your lips, what are you praying for? You see, because people don’t have a high esteem of prayer, they’ll do everything in the world, get angry, bitter, resentful, and everything else, but still say, “I’m going to pray and God will answer me.” NO!!! You serve Him whenever you want to, but yet when I get ready to pray…God, You’d better turn on, Boy! When I quote that formula, You’d better bring it down! If you don’t, I’ll get it myself. I can go to a doctor, or go to the bank; I can take care of it myself if You don’t do it.
I’ll tell you what — a high esteem of prayer, you’ll not be as quick to pray, because you’ll say, “Lord, am I being a hypocrite?” You’ll start to get down and pray, ask God something, and next thing you know you’ll say, “Hey, am I trying to pull His leg? Or am I fixing to really believe?” If you ain’t fixing to really believe, you’d better get back and say, “Lord forgive me; I better make my life right and get back in the Word. Then I’ll come before You.”
Oh, but Brother Willis, I’m just going to pop Him off a quickie whenever I need it. So many people are popping off quickies, but they ain’t getting much. Do you all understand what I’m saying?
So you see, a life to back up the lips — talk is cheap. Prayer words with no life to support is foolish. Oh listen, brothers and sisters, if you’re not careful, you can even hear the faith message, and be coming here and hear me talk about how God answers my prayers, and we can become just like the Baptists.
The reason I use the Baptists, I came out of the Baptist background. We used to pray and pray and pray, and get nothing. And many Charismatics today will pray and pray and pray and get nothing. They’re getting right back in the same old boat. We got to the place where we thought prayer was just a physical exercise. Honestly! I mean, we didn’t really think God was going to do anything, so therefore it was just a physical pious exercise — we’d kneel and pray to Almighty God. “We ask you to bless the missionaries all the way around the world. Save John, Aunt Susie, and Uncle Bob. Amen.”
We didn’t think God was going to do anything; just got down like a bunch of hypocrites. We didn’t think God was going to do anything. You know what that’s like? Walking up and asking somebody, “Hey, give me a thousand dollars;” and you don’t have any idea in your mind they’re going to give it to you. You think that’s hypocritical? So we need to have a high esteem of prayer.
You need to have a high esteem of the value of speaking in tongues, like we deal with in our teachings. Listen, saints, speaking in tongues is of great value — it edifies you. It’s great value — I need to be edified. Listen, with the pressure that the devil tries to bring against me…You say, “Brother Willis, YOU?” Listen, saints, the more you learn, the more pressure he brings; but the better you’re able to handle it. But it still comes. Listen, saints, if the devil came and tempted Jesus, you KNOW he’ll come to Elbert Willis. Hello? You don’t get excluded from it. But our value is praying in the Spirit.
And the Lord just impressed me one day that I need to be more diligent about my confession of my faith about protection for Lynn Willis. It’s easy to just kind of get in a little routine of it. And the Lord just said to me: “I want you to begin to be more diligent about your confessions of faith for your son, Lynn.” I said, “Yes Sir, Lord; I repent.” Because, you see, he’s not able to stay in there and protect himself; but I can. So I’ll tell you what — I jumped up my confessions of faith about him, about claiming protection for him. Amen.
God’s used him to teach me many things. You ask any of the ministers around here if they’ve learned anything from him. Man, you’ll learn quick from him. He’s kind of like God; He gets his way. Like a long time ago, Miss Flo one time, when she was here, she got on Lynn because he did something wrong. She got on him because he did something, you know, he wasn’t supposed to be doing, and she felt like a dirty dog for getting onto him and she had to go look him up and ask him to forgive her for getting on him, when she was right and he was wrong. It’s hard to do a guy like that wrong. You do him wrong any way in the world, and you feel like a dirty dog. Yes, the Lord, He got on ME about it, and I said, “Lord, I’m gonna get with it.” But, praise God, we’re gonna have a high esteem of prayer. Amen?
And listen, I’m going to tell you something else you need to have a high esteem of — praise. The Bible says God inhabits the praises of His people. Oh, you need to have a high esteem, to know that when you begin to praise God that God lives in that. You want to call God on the scene? You want to have Him all the way around you? “Oh hallelujah, praise the Lord, glory hallelujah, thank You, Jesus! I magnify Your name, O Lord, I magnify Your name.” He says He inhabits the praises of His people. You want to know that God’s right there with you? That is, if you believe the Bible, then start praising… “I bless Your holy name…” etc.
You know I have people up and down the country get our tapes, you know, and they say, “Brother Willis, I hear you praising there sometimes, man, it just rolls out of you.” I say, “I have a high esteem of praise, and evaluation of it, and I know that GOD is there.” When I begin to praise God, I mean business. I’m not trying to put on a show; all that gets you is in trouble. Amen. But it’s good to enter His courts with thanksgiving; it’s good to come before the Lord with praises. It’s good to have a high esteem of prayer, the first thing we talked about. Not something just tied on to Christianity.
It’s good to do what? Number two — continually seek the things of God, of Christ, to be revealed by the Holy Spirit. Brothers and sisters, we’re in the last days, and God is going to reveal His Word to you and me like we never, never had revelation of before. I’m convinced of it. I’ll tell you, I’ve been studying on something for quite a while, God’s been dealing with me about it for a year or so. I can know faith changed my life, healing changed my life, prosperity changed my life, the way of love changed my life; but I’m going to tell you want — I’m studying the ministry of the Holy Spirit. God’s been dealing with me about it, and I’ve been accumulating books and Scriptures, and the first thing I did — you know He says faith comes by hearing and hearing by the Word of God. I got me a bunch of Scripture cards on the Holy Spirit, and I’ve been meditating them and confessing them, for God to bring this thing up inside of me, as I begin to study on the Holy Spirit.
But I believe that we’re coming to where the Holy Spirit is going to move as He’s never moved before. We’re going to begin to comprehend who He is, that He is part of the Godhead. He’s not just a figment of the imagination; He’s REAL. He’s the One that did the regenerating work. Jesus died at Calvary; He did His part. God shows us. Jesus did the redemption work; Jesus did the atonement. But Jesus left and went away, and now the Holy Spirit is here — the Comforter, the One who stands by us and strengthens us and keeps us and guides us in all truth. I believe we’re going to understand some great things about it; but I believe we’ll have to continue seeking the things of God.
I know that God showed me signs and wonders and miracles, arms growing on, legs growing on — miracle after miracle. I know it will have to come by the power of the Holy Spirit; and I don’t know enough about the Holy Spirit. I don’t understand His function as I should. But, I’ll tell you what, I’m naive about it, but I’m not staying naive. I’m understanding more about it all the time. I’m meditating those Scriptures. I’m continually seeking the things of God; I’m continually seeking how the Holy Spirit moves. I want to be led by Him; I want to be guided by Him. There’s more truth out there, and I believe in that area right there of the Holy Spirit, we’re going to tap into some things we’ve never tapped into before. And I praise God for it.
There has to be absolute abiding. “If you abide, if you dwell, and remain in Me” — that means staying faithful, sticking in there with God, being diligent about the things of God. Well, Brother Willis, suppose I fail? Be quick to repent. Praise God for the grace of God. Praise God for I John 1:9: “If we confess our sins, he is just and faithful to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” If we do what? CONFESS. But we have to be quick to confess. So we have to do that abiding.
Understand the real and best blessing is not what you GET, but I prayed and the God of the universe heard me. Amen? I’ve laid my hands on a lot of people and prayed, and all at once pain would be gone from their body. It blesses me. Command as I pray, and next thing pain’s gone from their body, and I say, “Just imagine! Me, a man, I prayed; I asked God to heal them, and the pain left their body.” Mind blowing! I say, “Glory to God.” And listen, saints, God is going to teach us how to tap it, for our spiritual, physical, mental and financial benefit, so we can be proper representatives of the Lord Jesus Christ.
And number five: a life to back up the lips. Talk is cheap. Prayer words — notice I said, prayer words — prayer words with no life to support it, is foolish.
So I want you in the days and weeks ahead, if you’re not ready to get down and pray and really mean business, you know what you’d better do? Pray in tongues; amen, just pray in tongues. Listen to me, saints, I’ve seen times when I needed to pray and claim something from God, that I knew I was in no position to do it. I was having some battles with some things, and I needed to make sure that my heart was right. I didn’t get down and pray. Hello? I didn’t get down and pray. But I’ll tell you what — it got so tough on me a few times about that, I began to make it my business to walk closer to Him, because you know what? If somebody is about to die, you don’t have time to get right.
But I began to notice this, you see, and whenever I would detect that there was something there that MAY get in the way, I’ll tell you what — I’ve seen times I started to get down and pray, and the Holy Spirit said, “Are you ready?” And I put my hands back down, and said, “I’m going to get ready.” Sure I would. I said, “Father, in the name of Jesus, I believe I’ve got victory in that area, but I’m going to take a good long look at it right now to make sure.” Amen? And I just began to pray in the Spirit. A lot of times I just get my Scriptures in certain areas and begin to build my faith in that area before I go to pray.
I’ve seen times I needed to believe God for things. I knew things were coming up, and I didn’t know if I could believe Him for it. Boy, I’ll tell you what — I began to walk more diligent, more humble, more honest before Him. I began to seek His face more, because I know that all things I ask in prayer, believing, I shall receive. I know that He’s given me the measure of faith; He’s given it to YOU. But I want to have that high esteem of prayer; I want to have the proper evaluation of prayer. I want to understand it, amen?
I want you to confess this with me: “Father, in Jesus’ name, I confess that the Holy Spirit is birthing in me a high esteem of prayer, a HIGH esteem of it. Father, in Jesus’ name, I claim this, that a high esteem of prayer is coming forth in me; an honesty in my prayers will begin to be seen in my life. And Father, I know, as I hold myself before You and pray right, and seek Your face, that You’ll hear me and You’ll answer those prayers. Amen.”
Let me tell you something — I’ve seen times where I’ve prayed for things and I realized later when I prayed I wouldn’t mean the business I prayed; it was off-the-cuff quickie. Hello? “What did you do, Brother Willis?” I repented. I said, “Father, forgive me for that off-the-cuff quickie, hypocritical prayer I prayed.” Yeah, I may as well — He knew it anyway. I wasn’t fooling Him. “You mean, Brother Willis, you’d tell Him that?” Well, sure; He knew it anyway. I’d just say, “Father, forgive me for that off-the-cuff quickie, hypocritical prayer I prayed. You know, Lord, I just got in a hurry, and jumped down and was going to pray and claim that thing because I knew so much about it and take on off.” So I’d just say, “Lord, forgive me.” Amen?
And I’d just pray in the Spirit for a while, pray in the Spirit. Pray in the Spirit, and after a while I’d say, “Father, in Jesus’ name, I’m meaning business about this thing. Your Word says all things in Matthew 21:22, all things I ask in prayer, believe, and I shall receive. Father, in Jesus’ name, Your Word says in Mark 11:24 that whatsoever I ask You, Father, in the name of Jesus, whatsoever I desire when I pray, believe that I receive it, and I shall have it.” I say, “Father God, Your Word says in John 16:23 and 24, whatsoever I ask the Father in the name of Jesus, you’ll give it to me that my joy might be filled. Father God, I believe Your Word to be the truth, and Lord, I claim that my heart is right. I claim that my confessions have been made, so right now, Father, based upon those Scriptures I ask You, Father, in Jesus’ name, for this. And right now by faith I receive, in the name of Jesus.”
Listen to me, have you ever noticed how many times you’ve prayed for a lot of things and you’d forget all about them and couldn’t really hold to them? I’ll tell you what — a lot of times it was because when you prayed you really didn’t mean business. You didn’t have a high esteem of prayer, and that’s why it wasn’t really meaningful to you. But when you make it meaningful…listen, it don’t take very many prayers to wrap everything up. But it takes the prayer of faith to do it. Amen?
And we’ll look at the causes and we’ll deal with some of the nitty-gritty things as we talk about the causes for prayer failure. You need to know what they are, you need to recognize them. Because I want your prayers to be answered, and I want to know more about it. Amen. I’ve got some prayers that I’ve received answers to, I want to see manifested. I’ve put my faith out for some things that I don’t have manifested. I believe I’ve received it, amen? “Well, Brother Willis, you mean you continually seek the face of God about praying?” You bet your boots, I do. If you don’t you’ll go down the boob-tube; it won’t work for you. But as you begin to stay before Him, and be honest and diligent before Him, I’ll tell you what — God begins to answer those prayers, amen?
So when you finish reading this book, you quit spitting off those quickie prayers, because you’ve learned the formula. Amen. You humble yourself before the Lord, and say, “Lord, I’m getting ready to pray for something. And I’m going to check my temperature before I pray. Lord, I’m going to check things out here, Lord, before I get down here and pray. Lord, I’m going to talk with You a little bit, and Father, I ask You in Jesus’ name if there’s anything wrong, You show it to me, because Lord, before I get down here, I mean I’m getting down for business.”
And I’ll tell you something, saints, it’s good to do — it’s a good thing when you’re going to pray for something, set a specific time for it, and get down. I mean, you can just run it off — “Father, in the name of Jesus, I’ve done it.” I’ll tell you what — I’ve learned more and more and more, when I really mean business and I begin to seek His face about it, you know…Boy, I’ll tell you what — I just get off by myself and I’ll get me a time when I go get down there on my knees and I’m saying, “Father God, I’ve been meditating on this thing. I’ve been seeking You about it, Lord. I’ve been checking to make sure everything is right. And Your Word says all things I ask in prayer believing, I shall receive. Father, I’m fixing to pray. I’m going to pray believing; I’m going to pray the prayer of faith; I’m going to claim this thing, Lord, and I’m going to stick to it, Lord. I’m going to hold fast, and I’m going to receive it, Lord, and I’ll never let it go until I get it.” And I’ll tell you what — when you take time to MAKE your prayers that way, I’ll tell you what — you’ll be meaning business about it.
You see, when you take that time to start getting down that way, I’ll tell you what, it’ll give the Holy Ghost time to say something to you. Amen? If something needs to be made right, you know. Then you can just get up and walk around and say, “Father, in the name of Jesus, You just showed that to me, and I ask You to forgive me, Lord. I receive my forgiveness right now in the name of Jesus.” Ping! It hits you again. “Well, glory to God, thank You, Father. In the name of Jesus.”
It’s good to do a little waiting. Be honest — say, “Lord, listen, search me and try me. Lord, if there’s anything to interfere with my prayer, Lord, then why pray?” Huh? Say, “Lord I want to KNOW.” Then I wait before Him a while. I say, “Lord, You haven’t showed me anything so I’m claiming everything is all right, because, Lord, I want to know, because Lord, if it’s there, I repent of it, quick.” It don’t take me all night to repent, saints. You’ve heard me say it many times. Two reasons God has blessed me, I’ve been quick to repent, and I’m of a thankful heart. I’m quick to repent — and go on. I repent and it’s gone, too. I forget about it and go right on down the road. I’m not carrying a bunch of dead weight around. It’ll get you down, amen?
But a high esteem of prayer. Praise God, amen. I just feel like while I ministered this the Holy Ghost has just kind of quickened you about some of the things you’ve prayed for, that you just kinda gave a little quickie deal. Hello? I think some of you, you need to go home on some of those things and say, “Father, sometime in the next day or so me and You are going to get aside, because You know, Lord, some of those things I prayed for, Lord, I got in a pretty big hurry. I put the rush act on You; didn’t take time to see if I was really going to be honest before You or not.” Are you all with me?
What are we talking about? Conditions for what kind of prayer? Successful prayer. God wants our prayers to be successful. “How do you know?” He wouldn’t have said, “All things you ask in prayer believing you shall receive” — amen? He wouldn’t have said, “Ask and you shall receive,” if He didn’t want to answer our prayers. God is willing to answer our prayers, but we need to learn some things about meeting the conditions.