The word “prevailing” can be used in many ways. In economics, they speak of the “prevailing wage”. This is the current pay for an employee and could include benefits, depending on the context. God’s economy though is ENTIRELY different than man’s fiscal operations. “Prevailing” in terms of heaven, means something entirely different. The word itself – prevailing – derived from the Latin and means to “have greater power”.
There is a perfect example of prevailing prayer with King Jesus Himself when He told Peter (in Luke 22:31-32a) that “Simon, Simon, behold, Satan has demanded permission to sift you like wheat; but I have prayed for you, that your faith may not fail.“ Now Jesus praying for one of His Creations – Peter – is guaranteed success! He is God, after all! We ain’t!
BUT, the Savior of the World showed us something special here. Basically, the Lord is teaching His prayer warriors to prevail and avail. One of the very potent facets of the type of prayer is expectation by predomination. That may sound like some preacher man made-up phrase.
But look at some of the words uses in these two victory verses, of prayers well answered by Heaven:
- ....(Jesus said) “I have prayed for you”. Jesus has prayed for Peter AND HE HAS PRAYED FOR US! He is a Priest forever according to the order of Melchizedek. Jesus is Prophet, Priest, and King. He is still interceding for us before the Throne of Almighty God the Father. When we pray for someone else or ourselves, the Holy Spirit interprets our prayers with “groanings and more which only the Trinity can comprehend”. Therefore, Satan can slam as sideways every which way from Monday, but the truly born-again have the right as sons and daughters appeal to heaven!
- This is ALL Jesus had to say – “I have prayed for you.” So now, how do we prevail – get the superior answer from Heaven for which we are hoping? Two things: we avail and call on His Name!
All the riches of Heaven (which are not the same as the temporary scratch of this world) are available to the Christian. By the way, it is available to only those who not just profess Jesus is the Savior and Lord, but have had their sins forgiven and accepted Him as Lord of their lives. Anything else is ignoring the Jesus-spoken truth of Mark 1:15.
We have not, as Christians, because we ask not. If what we ask for is not good for us, in the opinion of our Creator, we will not get it. If the timing is not right, according to His plans and purposes, we will receive the correct version of our request when our hearts, minds, and circumstances are aligned to see God’s Perfect Hand in the matter.
The first key to availing ourselves in prayer and supplication is to persevere in our Faith and love for Christ, then to persist (see the previous posting on Persistent Prayer). The second key is to stay in the zone. Each of us has our own piece of the wall, in this life, to which to attend. While most may do this correctly, our attitudes and love for God while building our portion of the wall, will count in towards the outcome of our prayers.
If we start doubting God, by thinking He has turned a deaf ear to us…..and continue in this unbelief, well, sometimes He may answer, sometimes He may not. Everyone has down moments. Even John the Baptist got depressed in Herod’s prison and sent a messenger to ask his own cousin, whom he (John) knew was God, “if he was the Messiah”! Jesus was not offended but sent a word back of encouragement and testimony of miracles.
This is how the Lord rolls. In seasons of doubt and despair, He will not abandon us. It is impossible to recall how many times in the last few decades, that the Lord has sent help, hope, encouragement and more…even before He answers a prayer request. Availing is simple – just trust and be faithful. You will prevail.
The (half) brother of the Lord – James – who was saved after the Resurrection, reminds us that the "effective and fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much”. That is an almost week English translation, as beautiful as the prose is. What James actually said, in the original language is this “much prevails the prayer of a righteous man”!
Now, this is even more significant, because of what goes before this phrase in the same verse, and the very fact that we are availing ourselves of the very power direct from Heaven. The full verse reads “Confess your faults one to another, and pray one for another, that ye may be healed. The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much" (James 5:16).
The word confession here says nothing about going to a priest. It means holding yourself accountable before God and man. This makes the prayer even stronger. The power being this righteousness, keeping short accounts with God and man and praying (communicating) via a direct line with the Almighty is what makes this so strong.
In fact, this is what the word “prevail” means here. It means my prevailing prayer has strength. It means I am able to boldly approach the Throne of Grace and offer my petitions. It means that according to my strong faith and confidence in the Savior, I can pray like Jesus and be successful….even if the answer is no!
The word “confidence” is derived from “con” – meaning with and “fide” – faith.
When we pray with confidence, we pray WITH FAITH.
When we pray as one who is settled up with God and those around us, we pray righteously.
When we pray thus, we pray effectively.
When we pray effectively, we pray in sweet, sweet victory in Jesus, my Savior forever. This is the essence of prevailing prayer.