Learning to Pray in a Straight Line

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Acts 3:6–8 (NIV)

Then Peter said, “Silver or gold I do not have, but what I do have I give you. In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, walk.” Taking him by the right hand, he helped him up, and instantly the man’s feet and ankles became strong. He jumped to his feet and began to walk. Then he went with them into the temple courts, walking and jumping, and praising God.

CONSIDER THIS

“The Spirit of Jesus in me greets the Spirit of Jesus in you and brings us together in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, amen.”

Then Peter said, “Silver or gold I do not have, but what I do have I give you. In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, walk.” 

Can we go back to the drawing board today? I want to try and map out prayer as we were doing a few days back and revisit the matter of triangulation prayer and straight line prayer. Here’s how I described it:

Here’s the difference. My prayer happens in a triangle. I am at the left base vertex. The person I am praying for is at the right base vertex. Jesus is at the top vertex. The apostles’ prayer collapses the triangle. Peter and John stand at the left base vertex. The beggar lame from birth sits at the right base vertex. Where is Jesus? He is ascended at the right hand of God, yes. Here’s the big change. On the day after the day of Pentecost, the Holy Spirit brings Jesus Christ of Nazareth into the very physical bodies of his followers—from the upper vertex of the triangle to the ground level base. In other words, the Holy Spirit collapses the triangle.

Look at the prayer of Peter and John here:

Then Peter said, “Silver or gold I do not have, but what I do have I give you. In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, walk.” 

I want to make clear, triangulated prayer—praying to God for others in Jesus’ name—is obviously a great way to pray. I’m just not sure it is the best way. As AP (Apostle Paul) instructed us, “And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests” (Ephesians 6:18).

Think of it this way. Let’s say my dad authorizes me to go to the next county over in Arkansas and buy a thousand-acre farm for him. He knows the farm. The offer has been accepted. I am sent to close the deal, to actually sign the documents in his name. Imagine me at the title company with the documents on the table ready to sign and I pick up my phone and call my dad. “Dad, I really need you to close this deal. I need you to drive over here, or maybe we can fax the documents to you to see if you still want to do this and then you can sign them and send them back.” What might my Dad say back to me? I suppose I should tell you here he is not a cusser. ;0) 

He might say, “John David (that’s what my people call me), I delegated this to you. Don’t delegate it back to me. You are authorized to sign in my name. This is why I sent you. You are me in that room today. Now sign the dang document!” 

What is my point? I am getting at prayer as activity issuing from authorized agency. It is not prayer as a triangle but as a straight line. I am exploring and experimenting with prayer for others as direct action, and less as a delegated request back to God. Here’s an example. We have been praying lately for a member of the Seed Team. Let’s call him G. K. He had a massive widow-making heart attack about a week ago. I mean—it took him down to the mat and aimed to keep him there for the count.

I began praying and calling on others to pray in this fashion—not asking Jesus to do something, but actually doing something in prayer in Jesus’ name—speaking in the power of the Spirit to G. K. as follows: “Wake up G. K. and rise from the dead and Christ will shine on you. In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, receive healing.” Now mind you, I was a thousand miles away from G. K. and yet there is no distance in the kingdom of Jesus. I have this growing faith of how the Holy Spirit can actually take our words spoken in the name of Jesus, in the power of the Spirit, and translate them directly into the spirit and body of another person a thousand miles away. This is what happened in Acts 3, only in close proximity. 

Then Peter said, “Silver or gold I do not have, but what I do have I give you. In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, walk.” 

If it can happen in close proximity can it not happen from a distance? Jesus did and does work from a distance all the time. Final thought: this is not about technique but faith. God is not a God who withholds, waiting on us to get the form right. The Holy Spirit is all about moving us as faith-filled, love-saturated witnesses of Jesus. 

Tomorrow we will take a day trip over to the tomb of Lazarus. I think Jesus has something to teach us about this in retrospect. It’s a lot to look forward to. 

Still day one. 

THE PRAYER

God our Father, who with your son Jesus Messiah, fills us with the Holy Spirit, thank you for the miracle and the mystery of the day of Pentecost. And thank you for today, and that it is only the day after. Holy Spirit, would you awaken me to the love and faith and power of Jesus in prayer. I am your agent, Jesus. Holy Spirit, let’s go! Praying in Jesus’ name, amen. 

THE QUESTION

This manner of prayer I’m talking about is actually a way of training in faith that is at the same time moving and acting in faith. Will you give it a try? Call out to G. K. today in prayer—as I modeled above. Call out to whomever the Spirit might lead you to call out to in this fashion. 

For the Awakening,
J.D. Walt
Sower-in-Chief
seedbed.com

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Farmer. Poet. Theologian. Jurist. Publisher. Seedbed's Sower-in-Chief.

4 COMMENTS

  1. When prayer
    Is Spirit-prompted
    And freely flows
    From deep within people
    Who have been made righteous
    By the blood of Jesus,
    It is effectual
    And fervent
    And accomplishes much.
    A key to powerful prayer
    Is humbly obeying
    The inner,
    Linear leading
    Of Christ in you.

  2. I love the triangle analogy and I agree with the power of direct prayer. But, we must be careful that successful results don’t heighten our pride. We must always beware that direct prayer is of a humble spirit, so Jesus’ Spirit is fluent through us. Jesus told us that we have not because we ask not. Where does asking in prayer end and demonstration of the Holy Spirit’s power begin? When Jesus taught the disciples to pray, He said, “Give us our daily bread, led us not…forgive as we forgive…deliver us from…” are these requests or affirmations?
    Could it be that once we ask, they become affirmations?
    Still learning on day one.

  3. I think J.D. is pushing back against Christians that waffle about what God has told them. But, I react against the tendency to “name it and claim it”. Could it be that there are different kinds of prayer? That Peter and John were acting in direct response to the Holy Spirit in a spectacular fashion that helped the church grow? It certainly took faith. But a prayer for G.K. is of a different kind. There, it is exercising our faith that God is in control and knows best, but we have to leave the outcome in his hands. I’m attracted to the first kind of prayer, but as Doc pointed out – there is a strong temptation toward pride and I suspect it is not God’s typical way of working. My struggle is taking the second kind of prayer as seriously since I don’t see the immediate results and I lose all my sense of control.

    Having said all that, I appreciate the straight line metaphor. Although it can be abused, it helps me to remember I’m no longer a weak beggar checking with the boss on everything (yeah, I mixed the metaphor). I am a child of God, with power to do whatever he leads me to do.

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