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Sunday, January 20, 2013

Visual Prayer

We are told to have faith in God using our hearts to believe and our mouths to speak.
"Have faith in God.
"Truly I say to you, whoever says to this mountain, 'Be taken up and cast into the sea,' and does not doubt in his heart, but believes that what he says is going to happen, it will be granted him.
"Therefore I say to you, all things for which you pray and ask, believe that you have received them, and they will be granted you." [Mark 11:22-24]
This is one of Jesus' most quoted passages, but how do you actually do it? What does it really mean to believe you receive?
Seeing the Unseen
Believing you receive is seeing your request as already accomplished from the minute you ask. By using your God-given gift of imagination, you can see the unseen—the promises of God as already fulfilled in your life. If God said it, you can have it...so go ahead and see it as yours!
The world calls this visualization and many successful people credit its use for their amazing accomplishments. Athletes, musicians and business people alike testify to the power of visualizing their accomplishments as the key to their success—many studies have been done to document the impact of visualization on outcomes of various types.
But what is it, really, and how does it relate to the Christian's desire to live by faith?
Imagination is an innate, God-built-in capability that all men and women have. Children do it naturally, but as we grow we are taught to 'be realistic.' We are told to 'grow up' and 'get real,' and rationality is touted as the only reasonable approach to life.
Unfortunately, rationality limits us to our natural abilities. We can only go as far as we are smart, or beautiful, or talented, or rich, or educated, or strong. Our success is checked by how fast we can run or who we know.
But this is man's way, not God's way and is at the very heart of humanism. God's way is supernatural, spiritual, quantum and infinitely abundant.
The Key
Our imagination is the key to seeing into this other, miraculous realm of abundant blessing.
I think part of the reason that we lay aside this marvelous gift is that we see our children doing it. We see them at play, becoming the play, and we encourage their imagination as part of the learning process. But what we don't understand is that it was not given to us to pretend we are Batman when we are 7...that is simply the training wheels stage of our development!
It is given to us to see the unseen—to believe we receive when we pray. It is the key to using our faith to access the things freely given to us by God. I Corinthians 2:12 says 'Now we have received, not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit Who is from God, so that we may know the things freely given to us by God...'
We know these things—these all things—by the Spirit of God! They are in the spiritual realm, and we access them by faith—by believing in our hearts and speaking with our mouths.
But how do we believe in our hearts? How do we believe we receive?
Be the Ball
It is this amazing ability—the ability to see the unseen, to imagine—that is the key. When we are praying—talking with our Father—we can train ourselves to see the answer from the request. Seeing the end from the beginning, based on the promises of God. Watching it unfold, feeling the joy of accomplishment, living and being in the state of answered prayer from the place of prayer...this is having faith in God and in His Word.
Granted, it may not be easy at first, particularly if you have prided yourself in your own rationality. We tend to get caught up in the 'hows'...how can it be, how will it ever happen, etc. But here's a secret...the Holy Spirit is there, within you, to help you! That's what I Corinthians 2:12 is saying—you don't have to do it alone! In fact, you, as a reborn man or woman, have not only the natural gift of imagination but the supernatural power and help of the indwelling Holy Spirit!
So maybe the first thing you believe is your ability to pray visually. To see yourself at prayer, seeing the unseen, receiving what you desire or need, in accordance with the word of God.
Remember...all the promises of God are 'yes' in Christ! [2 Corinthians 1:20]
Possibilities
This is how "All things are possible to him who believes" [Mark 9:23] takes on real meaning in our lives. Yes, we glibly quote this, usually to others who are struggling, or to ourselves when we face obstacles. But how many are really living examples of this magnificent promise? Unfortunately, to see real people living this way, we need to look to those in the world who have mastered the art of visualization to accomplish great feats. Why is that? Why is that we, spiritual offspring of The Most High God, have to look outside the Kingdom to see people living the promises that belong to us?
I don't really think it is a coincidence. The Church has been hoodwinked, once again, into giving up her power, both collectively and individually. We're beaten down by rationality and political correctness, made to feel stupid when we attempt to live by our faith, jeered at as simple-minded and archaic. Yet these same accusers tout New Age techniques, chief among these being the power of visualization, the channeling of spirits and the quantum theories of parallel universes, the observer effect and the manifestation of physical things! Hello...?? Sound familiar?
The Holy Spirit, writing through Paul, instructs us to lay aside every encumbrance that entangles us [Hebrews 12:1]...to lay aside the old self and be renewed in the spirit of our minds—to put on the new self, created in righteousness and holiness of the truth [Ephesians 4:22-24]. In another passage, He writes 'For this reason it says, "Awake, sleeper, And arise from the dead, And Christ will shine on you."' [Ephesians 5:14]
In other words, wake up and smell the coffee! Stop being robbed! See the possibilities—all of the 'all things' possibilitiesof Kingdom living! Stop listening to the world! Train yourselves to pray visually, believing you receive when you pray. Use the tools you were born with, supernaturally enhanced by the Holy Spirit, to receive the things—the 'all things'—given to you by your Father.
Joy
Jesus explained that joy is the result of answered prayer.
"If you abide in Me, and My words abide in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you...These things I have spoken to you so that My joy may be in you, and that your joy may be made full." [John 15: 7,11]
"Until now you have asked for nothing in My name; ask and you will receive, so that your joy may be made full." [John 16:24]
'Now may the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that you will abound in hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.' [Romans 15:13]
David said 'In Your presence is fullness of joy; in Your right hand there are pleasures forever.' [Psalm 16:11]
Joy is the result of answered prayer—and your prayer is already answered, in Christ. When you can see that, and experience the feeling of the prayer already answered, imagine your joyful response to its manifestation in the natural, you have believed you received. Speak it, thank God for it...it is done!