|WIN OR LOSE?
Eddie and Alice Smith
I AM REVEALED
Jan 22 2012
Prayer does not mean that I am to bring God down to my thoughts and my purposes and bend His government
according to my foolish, silly and sometimes sinful notions. Prayer means that I am to be raised up into feeling, into
union and design with Him; that I am to enter into His counsel and carry out His purpose fully.
Dwight L. Moody
Gene Stallings tells of an incident when he was defensive backfield coach of the Dallas Cowboys football team. Two all-
pro players, Charlie Waters and Cliff Harris, were sitting in front of their lockers after playing a tough game against the
Washington Redskins. They were still in their uniforms, and their heads were bowed in exhaustion. Waters said to
Harris, "By the way, Cliff, what was the final score?"
As these men show, excellence isn't determined by comparing our score to someone else's. Excellence comes from
giving our best, no matter the score! And there are several things that can make the difference between winning and
losing our cases in court. The most important issue is to approach our case with a spirit of excellence.
KEYS TO WINNING OUR CASE
Here are some keys to use to insure winning our case.
Although there is no right way to do the wrong thing, there are a myriad of wrong ways to do the right thing. Most
frequently, the wrong way to do the right thing is to do it at the wrong time!
To argue a case in prayer successfully and win a decision, we must learn the significance of God's timing. Timing is
everything! With most things, there is a window of opportunity. As they say, "If you snooze, you lose!" In war, firepower
is wasted if unleashed in the wrong time sequence.
Of David's military might, perhaps no other group was as important as the "men of Issachar, who understood the times
and knew what Israel should do" (I Chronicles 12:32). May we become "men of Issachar" who understand the times and
seasons of God. As intimates of God, we can be trusted with His secrets: "The LORD confides in those who fear him;
he makes his covenant known to them" (Psalm 25:14).
Many years ago while in prayer, the Lord told us that we could have as much of Him as we wanted. If we are willing to
sacrifice the time in prayer, we can have more of God. This will increase our ability to hear His voice and know His
ways. This will improve our ability to plead our cases according to the right timing. As in times of war, our intercessory
prayers can be timed as effectively as a nuclear warhead hitting the target.
Dwight L. Moody once said, "Some people think God does not like to be troubled with our constant coming and asking.
The way to trouble God is not to come at all."
We must learn persistence. God tells us, "Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will
be opened to you" (Matthew 7:7). The three words ask, seek, and knock (in the original Greek) all carry the idea of
continuance. We don't ask, seek, or knock once. How long do you strive? Prepare to return to the courtroom (the
place of prayer) again and again to submit your case until the Judge decides in your favor or until Jesus Christ, your
lead attorney, releases you from this case. You know you've been released from an assignment when the burden, the
desire, the excitement, or the faith to continue is gone.
Sometimes the Lord is monitoring our tenacity and our persistence in prayer. So an appeal to God might be in order if
the expected verdict was not achieved. In legal terms, an appeal is when the case has been reviewed, restructured,
and then reheard by the judge with a stronger intention for vindication.
Satan, our adversary, doesn't quit easily either. He will usually appeal any case he loses. He is a master of
intimidation. Even after you have won a case, he may challenge your victory again and again, so be ready for a
counterattack. Don't give in to his schemes!
However, when we strive too long about an issue, we can easily move from persistence to presumption. Usually our
spirit-man is uncomfortable praying for these matters. God keeps His assignments alive in our hearts until we have won
the victory in the heavenlies. When the victory is realized, faith is complete in us. Our inner man is rested, the battle is
over, and our confidence is secure.
Hebrews 11:1-2 reminds us that faith is an unseen activity where our heart and God's heart have made a covenant of
victory. Colossians 3:15 says, "Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts..." The word rule is the Greek word brabeuo,
which means "to umpire, arbitrate, direct, or govern."
In our American game of baseball, the umpire watches a runner slide carefully into home place, attempting to score.
There are times when it is obvious that the runner is safe at home. The umpire bellows loudly, "SAFE!" On other
occasions, the umpire declares to the runner and all those watching that he is "OUT!" No score given! The Holy Spirit
is our umpire who will govern our spirit. He will confirm or reject the ongoing need to pray about an issue. We can trust
Him - He is our built-in umpire! Or as the tribal wisdom of the Dakota Indians puts it: "When the horse dies, dismount!"
To be successful in the courtroom as well as in prayer, we must learn to be specific. Praying in vague generalities
produces little or nothing. As James wrote, "You do not have, because you do not ask God. When you ask, you do not
receive, because you ask with wrong motives, that you may spend what you get on your pleasures" (James 4:2-3).
Some of us ask so generally that if God were to answer our prayer specifically, we wouldn't recognize it! For example,
when we are faced with a need for five thousand dollars, we pray for God to bless us. And He does! No, we don't get
the five thousand dollars, but we are blessed with beautiful children, good health, and a great job. By the world's
standards, we have an abundance of food to eat. But where's the five thousand dollars? We never really specifically
Some ask, "Since God knows that we need five thousand dollars, why must we ask?"
We ask because He commands us to ask. We ask in order to proclaim Him as our direct supplier.
Once I was asked where the money comes from that enables us to operate the ministry of the U.S. Prayer Center.
"Eddie, do you know where the money comes from?" a man asked.
"Of course I know where it comes from," I answered. Pointing upward I continued, "It always comes from the same
place. He just uses many different routes to get it here!"
A serious problem in the church today is not asking God for anything, only talking to Him. If you want breakthrough,
don't beat around the bush. Don't just converse with the Lord about your situation. Ask Him directly for what you need
or want! And expect an answer! Don't be like the church members who prayed for rain but showed up for the next
service without umbrellas!
One often-overlooked key to answered prayer is the issue of fervency. There is little fervency because of our failure to
be specific. Fervency requires specificity! We can't be passionate about that which is uncertain. It is time for passion
to permeate our intercession. One of the most passionate, fervent prayers ever prayed was the prayer Moses prayed
for the children of Israel. He argued as a defense attorney in the court of God, and he won the case!
An example of an advocate fervently pleading and winning a case was Elijah atop Mount Carmel. After defeating the
four hundred fifty prophets of Baal, Elijah didn't leave the mountaintop. Why? It's simple - Elijah had not come there
simply to kill Baal's prophets. He had climbed that mountain to see rain end a three-year drought.
Elijah had them brought down to the Kishon Valley and slaughtered there.
drink, but Elijah climbed to the top of Carmel, bent down to the ground and put his face between his knees.
said. Seven times Elijah said, "Go back." The seventh time the servant reported, "A cloud as small as a man's
hand is rising from the sea." So Elijah said, "Go and tell Ahab, 'Hitch up your chariot and go down before the rain
stops you.'" Meanwhile, the sky grew black with clouds, the wind rose, a heavy rain came on and Ahab rode off to
Jezreel. (I Kings 18:40-45)
Elijah was acting upon a promise he had received from God in the first verse. "After a long time, in the third year, the
word of the LORD came to Elijah: 'Go and present yourself to Ahab, and I will send rain on the land'" (I Kings 18:1). We
must learn God's promises, hear His promises, and act upon them in fervent faith.
BUILDING THE ALTAR
James wrote, "The prayer of a righteous man is powerful and effective. Elijah was a man just like us. He prayed
earnestly that it would not rain, and it did not rain on the land for three and a half years. Again he prayed, and the
heavens gave rain, and the earth produced its crops" (James 5:16-18). Who wouldn't want to have a prayer life like
Let's take another a closer look at Elijah's prayer, or more specifically, his preparation!
In the eighteenth chapter of I Kings, which we looked at in the preceding section, Elijah watched the prophets of Baal
pray and cry out to their false god until the time for the evening sacrifice. But there was no response - no one
answered, no one paid attention.
Then Elijah built an altar of twelve stones, one stone for each of the tribes of Jacob, and a dug a large trench around it.
Next, he arranged firewood on the altar, cut a bull into pieces, and laid the parts on the wood. Then Elijah had servants
fill four large jars with water and instructed them to pour it on the offering and on the wood three times! The water ran
down around the altar and filled the trench. At the time of sacrifice, the prophet Elijah stepped forward and prayed:
servant and have done all these things at your command. Answer me, O LORD, answer me, so these people will
know that you, O LORD, are God, and that you are turning their hearts back again.
At that moment the fire of the Lord fell and burned up the sacrifice, the wood, the stones, and the soil and licked up the
water in the trench as well. When the people saw this miracle, they fell down and cried, "THE LORD - he is God!" (verse
Notice the words Elijah prayed. "[I] have done all these things at your command" (verse 36). All what things? Elijah
followed the Lord's instructions to prepare. The fire of God didn't fall until the stones were in place, the wood
assembled, the sacrifice ready, and the water poured out. Water is representative of the Word of God (Ephesians 5:
26). Only then did God answer! When we get into the Word and get the Word into us, we can begin to pray more
effectively and expect God to answer! Isaiah 55:11 says, "So shall my word be that goeth forth out of my mouth: it shall
not return unto me void, but it shall accomplish that which I please, and it shall prosper in the thing whereto I sent it"
(KJV). God's Word simply cannot fail.
God doesn't show up until the stage is set. We must stop long enough to build the altar and cover it with water if we
expect to see the fire fall! Our victories will be in question until we first prepare our altar and ourselves. If you are one
who is always in search of someone to pray for you, it could be a sign that you are a Wordless warrior. You have not
stopped long enough to collect the stones to build your own altar. Unfortunately, some of us live our lives leaning on
the altars of others instead of building our own altars of sacrifice. You want fire from heaven? Then present an
acceptable sacrifice to God (Genesis 4:2-7; I Samuel 2:27-36).
THE POWER OF AN ADVOCATE'S INTERCESSORY PRAYER
It is reported that George Müller was a man who understood the price of intercession. In his diary, this mighty man of
prayer had recorded over fifty thousand answers to his prayers at the time of his death. But one answer to prayer was
yet to come.
Müller said this: "The great point is never to give up until the answer comes, I have been praying for sixty-three years
and eight months for one man's conversion. He is not saved yet, but he will be. How can it be otherwise...I am praying."
The day came when Müller’s friend received Christ. It did not come until Müller's casket was lowered in the ground.
There, near an open grave, this friend gave his heart to God. Prayers of perseverance had won another battle.
Müller's success may be summarized in four powerful words: He did not quit.
Stories like this inspire and encourage us to keep praying. God does hear and answer His praying people.
One of the boldest prayers anyone ever prayed is Jabez's prayer, contained in a single verse:
me, and keep me from harm so that I will be free from pain." And God granted his request.
God granted his request! The Hebrew name Jabez means "sorrow or pain." This man mentioned in the Bible was
without a family connection, but we know his mother bore him in sorrow. She might have delivered Jabez out of wedlock
or as a widow, or she may have even died in childbirth. Scripture does not say. The important thing about this man
Jabez is that he cried out to God, and God heard and answered him. Look at the four things Jabez asked of God.
"Enlarge my territory" (increased sphere of influence).
"Let your hand be with me" (increased anointing and authority).
"Keep me from harm" (protection from the schemes of the enemy).
Jabez, and we have every right to believe that He hears the cry of our hearts as well.
ANSWERS TO SINCERE PRAYERS
We are heartened to know that our gracious God even hears the prayers of sincere seekers! Dr. Luke wrote:
all his family were devout and God-fearing; he gave generously to those in need and prayed to God regularly.
One day at about three in the afternoon he had a vision. He distinctly saw an angel of God, who came to him and
said, "Cornelius!" Cornelius stared at him in fear. "What is it, Lord?" he asked. The angel answered, "Your
prayers and gifts to the poor have come up as a memorial offering before God."
prayers of this humble man.
Experts tell us that the 911-emergency system is state-of-the-art technology. All you need do is dial those numbers,
and you will almost instantly be connected to a dispatcher. The computer monitor in front of the dispatcher will display
your telephone number, your address, and the name by which that telephone number is listed at that address.
A caller might not be able to state specifically what the problem is. Perhaps a woman's husband has just suffered a
heart attack, and she is so out of control that all she can do is hysterically scream into the telephone. But the
dispatcher doesn't need her to say anything. He knows where the call is coming from. Help is already on the way.
There come times in our lives when, in our desperation and pain, we dial 911 prayers. Sometimes we're hysterical.
Sometimes we don't know the words to speak. But God hears. He knows our name and our circumstance. Help is on
the way; God has already begun to bring the remedy.
Jesus heard and answered last-minute prayers even when He was dying:
other criminal rebuked him. "Don't you fear God," he said, "since you are under the same sentence? We are
punished justly, for we are getting what our deeds deserve. But this man has done nothing wrong." Then he
said, "Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom." Jesus answered him, "I tell you the truth, today
you will be with me in paradise." (Luke 23:39-43)
When we complain to God in prayer about Satan's treatment, and heaven is silent, it may be that we have not effectively
stated our case, presented our evidence, and pointed out the law that has been or is being violated in order to bring
charges against the perpetrator! All the while, as we gripe and moan about our circumstances, God is saying, "Review
the past for me, let us argue the matter together; state the case for your innocence" (Isaiah 43:26).
The Lord is not as moved by our tears as He is moved by our faith when it is based on His Word (Romans 10:17, KJV).
It's not that we shouldn't be emotional, but the foundation of our prayer should be God's truth, not our feelings! Faith is
our greatest advantage in prayer (Hebrews 11:6).
It stands to reason that God's answers would not be forthcoming to those who don't believe that He exists. But we are
amazed at how many Christians believe that God is, but doubt that He loves them enough to give them what they
Without proper preparation no lawyer can expect to win his case. Remember, he will make a fool of himself before the
judge, his client, his adversary, and the gallery! Many of us do not receive the answers we want when we pray simply
because we have not properly prepared to pray.
In John 11 Jesus was informed of His friend Lazarus' impending death. You may recall that Jesus stayed where He was
for two more days after He was told of Lazarus' illness. Why? Because He knew that Lazarus needed a resurrection!
Jesus also knew that He had to win the victory in heaven's courtroom before it would be manifested in the streets. He
stayed to prepare His case, present it before Judge Jehovah, and win the decision.
When Jesus arrived at Bethany, He found that Lazarus had already been in the tomb for four days. He asked, "Where
have you laid him?" (John 11:34).
"Come and see, Lord," they replied. Verse 35, the shortest verse in the bible, tells us that Jesus wept when He stood
before His friend's tomb.
Then Jesus instructed the servants to take away the stone. He looked up into heaven and said, "Father, I thank you
that you have heard me" (verse 41).
"You have heard me?" What did Jesus say? What was He talking about? When did the Father hear Him? We believe
the Father heard Jesus during the two days that Jesus waited before He came to Bethany. During those two days, He
presented His case before the Judge, was assured of victory in His heart, and won the case. The work had been done
before Jesus arrived on the scene. The transaction had taken place on the altar of preparation. The only thing left to
do was to read the verdict, decree it done, and witness the manifestation!
So Jesus called in a loud voice, "Lazarus, come out!" And Lazarus came out, his hands and feet wrapped with strips of
linen and a cloth around his face. Jesus then said to them, "Take of the grave clothes and let him go." And it says that
many of the Jews who had seen what Jesus did believed on Him (verses 43-45).
Like an attorney, we have building blocks or tools that we can use to develop the cases we will plead in court. Because
an attorney knows that his presentation in court will either establish or reduce his credibility, he will spend far more time
in preparation than he spends in presentation. Believe it! Satan our adversary knows whether or not we are credible
when we stand as an advocate before the court of heaven.
WHEN LAWS COLLIDE
Almost every week we board an airplane to travel to some part of the world on a teaching assignment. Countless times
we have experienced the collision of two of God's laws - the law of gravity and the law of aerodynamics. As the plane
taxis down the runway, it reaches a speed at which these two laws collide. The result? The higher law takes over.
Because the law of aerodynamics is higher, the plane defies the law of gravity and takes flight. It never ceases to
Many of us today are more familiar with God's deeds than we are His ways. In Psalm 103:7 we read, "He [God] made
known his ways to Moses, his deeds to the people of Israel." One of the more misunderstood ways of God has to do
with His glory. We mistakenly believe that God puts our well-being above all things. Not so! Although our well-being is
near to our Father's heart, it is definitely secondary to the glory of His name. Whenever there is a collision between His
supplying a need we have and His own glory, God glorifies His name!
This is reflected in Paul's personal experience. He recalls, "To keep me from becoming conceited because of these
surpassingly great revelations, there was given me a thorn in my flesh, a messenger of Satan, to torment me. Three
times I pleaded with the Lord to take it away from me. But he said to me, 'My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is
made perfect in weakness.' Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ's power may
rest on me" (II Corinthians 12:7-9).
It is true that God desires for each one of us to be free. "Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free"
(John 8:32). However, Paul was not granted his freedom though he prayed persistently ("three times") and passionately
("I pleaded with the Lord"). Although God didn't set Paul free from this messenger of Satan, He did extend to him
sufficient grace so that the greater law was actually fulfilled in Paul's weakness!
If we don't know how to pray, we might actually pray for someone to be set free from a God-ordained circumstance.
That's why we must seek to discern the facts before we take action on more serious prayer issues. We never want to
pray contrary to God's will.
THINGS ARE NOT ALWAYS WHAT THEY SEEM
Does it bring greater glory to God when God saves a committed Christian from an agonizing execution or when God
allows that person's martyrdom? In Acts 7, Stephen faced execution. One could have prayed for Stephen's safety, but
in Stephen's case, his martyrdom rather than his safety was judged to bring the higher glory to God. Stephen's death
was not a matter of his being in the wrong place at the wrong time. It was not due to his unbelief - or even as a result of
unconfessed sin. At times these things do keep our prayers from being answered. Yet Stephen simply died for the
sake of Christ's glory. "Precious in the sight of the LORD is the death of his saints" (Psalm 116:15).
To appeal a case is to ask the judge to overturn a former court decision. Throughout Scripture many successful
appeals were made. The widow woman had no advantages with money, influence, or favor. Yet, she was tenacious in
her pursuit of justice. In Luke 18:1-8, we read how God honored her appeal:
certain town there was a judge who neither feared God nor cared about men. And there was a widow in that town
who kept coming to him with the plea, 'Grant me justice against my adversary.'
because this widow keeps bothering me, I will see that she gets justice, so that she won't eventually wear me out
with her coming!'"
And the Lord said, "Listen to what the unjust judge says. And will not God bring about justice for his chosen ones, who
cry out to him day and night? Will he keep putting them off? I tell you, he will see that they get justice, and quickly."
You may have been taught that to make the same request twice in prayer is unbelief. That simply isn't the case. In fact,
Jesus teaches us here that God's decisions in our favor sometimes rest on our willingness to persevere in prayer.
David Bryant writes in The Lighthouse Devotional:
things eternal. The second is kneeling with hands clasped and arms outstretched toward heaven. The third
figure stands erect, with shield and sword, ready to do battle. They represent the three key aspects of prayer:
solidarity, advocacy, and pursuit.
wants, and then desire it with Him - solidarity with God. The kneeling figure represents our pleading with the
Father on behalf of situations or people where others will not or cannot pray - advocating for them to God. The
third figure represents God calling us into battle to press His purposes forward with unflagging zeal until we see
accomplished what He has burdened us to pray for. This is where pursuing prayer takes over.
wanting it with Him; "seeking," when, like a lawyer, we seek God's best on behalf of others; and "knocking" -
clearly the most aggressive and the most demanding of the three - when we're in pursuit of answers."
bread, because a friend of mine on a journey has come to me, and I have nothing to set before him."
I can't get up and give you anything." I tell you, though he will not get up and give him the bread because he is
his friend, yet because of the man's boldness he will get up and give him as much as he needs.
For everyone who asks receives; he who seeks finds; and to him who knocks, the door will be opened. (Luke 11:
Our heavenly Father sometimes waits to see the determination in our heart, our perseverance, and tenacity before
rendering a decision in our favor. But how do we know when we have heard His final answer? This is a difficult issue to
decide. The best answer is to "let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts" (Colossians 3:15). In John 16:13, Jesus
teaches that "when he, the Spirit of truth, comes, he will guide you into all truth." If the Holy Spirit lives in you, and you
are listening to Him, it will be clear to your spirit that you have permission to keep pleading your case. If, when you pray
for the same request, there is ever a sense of violation in your heart, then it is time to stop.
SCRIPTURE: THE LANGUAGE OF THE COURT
The following scriptures may help you state your case before the Lord. We are not trying to develop a ritual or
standard that suggests that the Lord won't hear us otherwise. We do believe that Scripture clearly teaches us to
prepare and to pray with purpose, as one would argue a case in court.
His children are far from safety, crushed in court without a defender. (Job 5:4)
Prayer is the easiest and hardest of all things; the simplest and the sublimest; the weakest and the most powerful; its
results lie outside the range of human possibilities; they are limited only by the omnipotence of God.
SPIRITUAL ADVOCATES, by Eddie & Alice Smith, Copyright 2008, Charisma House.
|LIFE IN JESUS-MINISTRIES