What You Need to Know Before You Take Prayer to the Next Level?
Next Level Prayer – Part 1
The idea of this theme is to provide others with a practical step by step approach to having a prayer life that’s not like a traditional or ordinary prayer life. We call it “Next Level Prayer”. Keep in mind that my style is one of extremities. If normal is dead center, then I’ll either take a thought, idea, or concept and go as far left or right as I possibly can. In this way, it leaves a lasting impact that will hopefully push, drive, nudge, and encourage you to go beyond what’s natural, ordinary, average, and normally accepted.
In these series of messages our goal is to help you take your current prayer life level (for lack of a better term) from where it is to a higher level. Think of it like this. I often say to our prayer teams, if the results we currently see today are a direct reflection of the limited, effortless, lacking energy prayers we’ve been praying [to be extreme], what would happen if we took our prayers to a new level, a higher level? What results could we possibly experience? How will our world be impacted? How many others would then join us in becoming pray-ers (people who pray)?
With that said, here’s what we want you to do, and think over as you read and take to heart this material.
- Throw out what you already know about prayer; it’s probably incomplete.
- Make prayer a habit and not just an impulse.
- Don’t be afraid to add structure to your prayers; God doesn’t frown upon you having notes.
- Use the “stepping stone” approach to getting more answered prayers.
- Learn that what we call “prayer” isn’t a means to an end; it’s a conversation with our closest companion.
- Lastly, let’s go from only receiving 10% answered & 90% unanswered prayers to 90% answered & 10% unanswered prayers.
Next Level Prayer Disclaimers
I’d like to, instead of starting with an introduction, begin with a set of disclaimers that you should keep in mind as you continue.
- Disclaimer #1: We will have questions.
We should have questions about prayer. This content is not intended to answer all your questions on prayer, but rather make sure you have questions about prayer. What I mean by that is, prayer as it is viewed today is very limited. Having questions means:
1) you want to grow and
2) you won’t remain the same.
When you ask questions, you grow. Since we’re talking about prayer, what’s your prayer growth plan? Have you ever considered that growing in prayer is no different than growing in leadership or any other important skill?
Asking questions ensures you’ll never remain the same. When you ask questions and seek answers, you can’t undo the learning nor the growth you experience.
What I’ve discovered is that prayer is 1) misunderstood and 2) is so vast that no one individual will ever be able to have all the answers on this subject. I also know that there’s really only one place where you can get all the details and answers on the topic of prayer. With that said allow me to give you four more disclaimers to prepare you for what could possibly happen should you choose to continue in this content.
- Disclaimer #2: We will learn to take prayer to the next level.
This content is not going to give you common, ordinary prayer practices even though we will use such examples with the purpose of seeing how we might take them to the next level. This is “next level prayer” because I believe that anything that is healthy grows. Therefore if you have a healthy understanding of “prayer” then you will grow in this area. For far too long, many have settled with doing “prayer” like they saw their grandmother do “prayer.”
While there is absolutely nothing wrong with modeling grandma, have you ever considered that your grandmother improved her exercise in “prayer” beyond what she was given by her grandmother? When you know better you do better. When you know more you can achieve more.
When we get to Heaven and see our grandmother, do you think she’ll be proud of the fact that we never went further in life than she did? You see, I’m anticipating the day when I get to see Lula M. Clark, my grandmother, in Heaven because I want to see how proud she is of me for taking what she taught me, to the next level. Don’t you think she would expect you to have a better prayer-life than she had? That’s why we call this “next level prayer”.
The Principle of Going to The Next Level
I often hear people reference the ten commandments as the ultimate behavior check or sin indicator. What’s interesting is that many disregard it as they believe Jesus died so that we don’t have to receive the penalties for our misconduct. While there is truth to that, they miss this one concept that Jesus taught. I’ll call it “going to the next level.” Here are three examples:
1) We must take our behavior to the next level.
You know the commandment that says “thou shalt not kill.” Well Jesus takes this commandment to the next level by saying not only should you not kill, but “you can’t even get angry with someone.” How about that? We’re talking about going to the next level.
2) We must take our relational conduct to the next level.
Moses records that we must not commit adultery, but Jesus said, taking it to the next level, “anyone who even looks at a woman with lust has already committed adultery with her in his heart.” So committing the act, has now been increased to just thinking about it; that’s next level.
3) We must take our interactions with our enemies to the next level.
The Bible says that one should love one’s neighbor and hate one’s enemy. However, Jesus says that we’re not going to stop at normal, we’re going to take it to the next level, instead we will “love our enemies and pray for those who persecute us!”
- Disclaimer #3: We will be enlightened about prayer.
When Pamela and I created the outline which I’ll share with you later, we were enlightened and even surprised by some of the topics discovered. We found that there are some prayer practices that we have that have no scriptural support. We discovered that even the word “prayer” itself is a word we didn’t understand based on what the Bible says and illustrates what prayer is. What if you thought you were praying but you were not? What if some of your prayers were prayers to the devil as opposed to God? You will be enlightened because this is next level prayer.
- Disclaimer #4: We will be energized with prayer.
Energized and the word prayer rarely goes together today. In fact, if you invite someone to a prayer meeting, they will probably find something else to do. Prayer can be boring at times, mundane, and even awkward, if we tell the truth. Why is that? Does it have to be that way? If we believe that prayer works as we say we do, why then are very few people excited about the exercise of prayer? If prayer works then why do the majority (51% or more) settle for 10% answered prayers when 90% or better answered prayers are available? Wouldn’t that change your excitement level and bring more energy to it? You will be energized because this is next level prayer.
- Disclaimer #5: We will have our belief system shaken as it relates to prayer.
With all of the pluses I’ve mentioned, I need to give you a negative impact of continuing in this content. Because this is next level prayer, it’s not common, everyday prayer. Therefore it’s a shift in your philosophy, your belief system. There are very few people who like to have their belief structure shaken and even demolished. This content will challenge you to let go of what you thought prayer was for the truth of what God says prayer is. It’s just that simple. You’ll have to leave some old thinking behind to go to the next level. Going to the next level means you have to shake off the old belief system for something new. You will have your belief system shaken because this is next level prayer.
Let me apologize up front.
Let me apologize. There might be a little friction. Anytime change comes, there comes resistance. It’s a part of life. In order for iron to sharpen iron, sparks must fly. Also, for a dull piece of iron to be sharpened it must come in contact with a sharper and stronger piece of iron. The same happens when friends sharpen or make their friends better. I want to be that friend, your friend, who helps you to become better.
Here’s some advice when I go into a situation where I’m about to be intentionally sharpened. I start with a blank page. I leave any of my previous thoughts behind so that I can hear, listen, and evaluate the new information I’m receiving. Start with a blank page.
With that thinking, let’s agree going forward that God’s Word is always the final authority. Prepare yourself for “next level prayer.”
Question: are you ready to take prayer to the next level?
Reference #1: Matthew 5:21-22 NLT, Bible.com, accessed April 27, 2021, https://bible.com/116/mat.5.21-22.nlt
Reference #2: Matthew 5:27-28 NLT, Bible.com, accessed April 27, 2021, https://bible.com/116/mat.5.27-28.nlt
Reference #3: Matthew 5:43-44 NLT, Bible.com, accessed April 27, 2021, https://bible.com/116/mat.5.43-44.nlt
Reference #4: Proverbs 27:17 NKJV, Bible.com, accessed April 27, 2021, https://www.bible.com/114/pro.27.17.nkjv
All Scripture references used by permission, see our Scripture copyrights.