In Scripture we continually see that prayer precedes power.
But not just any kind of prayer. Prayer that moves the heart and hand of God is heartfelt and fervent. It is meaningful and passionate. It is not lukewarm or filled with doubt. When the authorities commanded Peter and John to stop speaking about Jesus and acting in His Name, the church responded with fervent prayer (Acts 4).
In response to that prayer, the Spirit came in such a way that the building was shaken and those praying were filled with boldness. That prayer continued to be answered as the Apostles moved in great signs and wonders (Acts 5:12). Fervency in prayer is the landing strip of the Holy Spirit. James observes, “The effective, fervent prayer of a righteous man avails much.” (James 5:16b, NKJV) The Greek word translated “effective, fervent” here is “energeo” meaning to be at work and to put forth power.
Fervency is not about eloquence. Hannah’s prayer was incoherent, but fervent (1 Sam 1:12-13). Her prayer birthed a prophet—Samuel, whose ministry brought a nation to revival.
Fervency is not about volume. A prayer that helped propel Nehemiah into leadership and resulted in the rebuilding of Jerusalem’s walls was fervent (Neh 2:4). It was also the momentary cry of his heart to God as he was going about his daily work. You can pray fervently and yet quietly—fervency is not about volume. You may whisper in the Spirit, but there is a shout in the spiritual realm!
God uses ordinary people who are fervent in prayer. James goes on to say, “Elijah was a man with a nature like ours, and he prayed earnestly that it would not rain; and it did not rain on the land for three years and six months. And he prayed again, and the heaven gave rain, and the earth produced its fruit.” (James 5:17-18) Elijah prayed earnestly. The Greek reads, “prayed praying.” He prayed through prayer and the earnestness of that prayer released the power of God.
Fervency in prayer is so significant that we should encourage it, nurture it and guard it. Here are 6 things that can help foster fervency in prayer:
- Passion for a cause
It was the cause of the Gospel that propelled the church in Acts to cry out to God for boldness, liberty and the release of God’s power (Acts 4:17-18). Is your heart moved by a cause, or a vision from God? Let that fervency stir you to pray.
- Fervent leadership
Peter and John returned the church after being threatened by the Jewish leaders. The Apostles’ report ignited the church in prayer (Acts 4:23-24). Listen to the things that are on the heart of your leaders. Catch their fervency and pray with them. If you are a leader, recognize that you have a stewardship given by God—a responsibility to stir the hearts of your people to pray.
- Recognizing when we are lukewarm.
In Revelation 3:15-16 Jesus addresses the church of Laodicea, “I know your deeds, that you are neither cold nor hot. I wish you were either one or the other!” Our English word “fervent” comes from a Latin word “fervere,” meaning to boil, or to glow. And the word is apt. When we realize that we have lost our fire and fervency, we can take Jesus’ prescription, which is to “…be earnest and repent.” (Rev 3:19b)
- The fervency of the Holy Spirit
“In the same way, the Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us through wordless groans. And he who searches our hearts knows the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for God’s people in accordance with the will of God.” (Rom 8:26-27) When we don’t know what to pray, the Holy Spirit can pray through us. At any moment, the fervency of the Spirit is available for us to tap into.
- Spiritual hunger.
Spiritual hunger—a sense of urgent need for God—moves us to pray fervently. The Psalmist cries, “As the deer pants for streams of water, so my soul pants for you, my God.” (Ps 42:1) Hunger for God is resulting in fervent prayer. Stir up your hunger for God and it will overflow into your prayer life.
- Seeing Reality as Heaven sees
At Gethsemane Jesus cried out to God in fervent, heartfelt prayer. But, His disciples could not stay awake. “Then he returned to his disciples and found them sleeping. ‘Simon,’ he said to Peter, ‘are you asleep? Couldn’t you keep watch for one hour? Watch and pray so that you will not fall into temptation. The spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak.’” (Mark 14:37-38) A short while later, faced with Jesus’ arrest, Peter was wide awake and wielding his sword (John 18:10)! What made the difference? The reality of the situation was now manifesting to Peter. But he could have seen it earlier.
Let us see reality as heaven sees. Let us see the condition of the lost and hurting from a Kingdom perspective. Let’s believe that what the Bible says is true. For when our eyes are opened and we see what the Father sees and know His heart—then, fervency will stir us to pray.
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