Everyone wants his or her prayers to be answered, but not everyone is willing to walk in love. Many people will love their friends and those who are kind to them, but few are willing to love their enemies. However, we must learn to love the way God loves for our prayers to be successful.
And to know the love of Christ, which passeth knowledge, that ye might be filled with all the fulness of God. — Ephesians 3:19
Love—the God-kind of love, “agape”—is the first prerequisite for a successful prayer life. And if you are a child of God, you have this kind of love.
” . . . the love [agape] of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Ghost which is given unto us.”
When you were born again, God became your Father. You are born of God, and God is love (1 John 4:8), so you are born of love. The nature of God is in you. And the nature of God is love. You are a love child of a love God!
Ours is a love family. Everyone in the family of God has God’s love shed abroad in his or her heart, or else that person is not in the family. He or she may not be exercising that love. He or she may be like the one-talent man who wrapped his talent in a napkin and buried it (Matthew 25:14-30). But the Bible declares that the Holy Ghost has shed the love of God abroad in our heart. That means the God-kind of love has been shed abroad in our spirit.
This is a love family. Love is the basis for all the activity of the Body of Christ in the earth.
1 THESSALONIANS 4:9- But as touching brotherly love ye need not that I write unto you: for ye yourselves are taught of God to love one another.
The love law of the family of God is expressed in the following verse.
JOHN 13:34- A new commandment I give unto you, That ye love one another; as I have loved you, that ye also love one another.
We are also commanded to love our enemies:
MATTHEW 5:44–45- But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you; 45 That ye may be the children of your Father which is in heaven: for he maketh his sun to rise on the evil and on the good, and sendeth rain on the just and on the unjust.
The reason we can do this—love our enemies, bless them that curse us, do good to them that hate us, and pray for them which despitefully use us and persecute us—is because of the manner of love the Father has bestowed upon us.
1 JOHN 3:1 – Behold, what manner of love the Father hath bestowed upon us, that we should be called the sons of God. . . .
This agape love—this God-kind of love—involves the choice of your will. That love is inside your spirit if you are born again. But you are the one who must will to put it into practice. You have to choose to let that love loose from within you.
We can choose to love all people—even our enemies. Almost anyone can love those who love them, but the Bible tells us to love our enemies.
God loved us while we were yet sinners and sent Christ to die for us (Rom. 5:8). We are to love the same way. John 15:13 says, “Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends.” Jesus gave His life for us, and we are to give our life for others.
One of the ways we give our life for others is by giving ourselves to prayer. Prayer involves sacrifice. It involves laying down our own desires for the benefit of mankind. There is sacrifice in giving up your own will and time to pray for others.
To sacrifice and give of one’s self requires compassion. How do we know this is so? Because God so loved the world that He gave Jesus. And Jesus so loved us that He gave Himself for us. And in Jesus’ earthly ministry, again and again we see compassion.
As we look at that wonderful truth, remember that Jesus said, “. . . he that hath seen me hath seen the Father . . .” (John 14:9). If you want to see God, look at Jesus. Jesus is the will of God in action. Jesus is the love of God in action. And in His earthly ministry, Jesus was moved with compassion.
MATTHEW 9:36–38 – But when he saw the multitudes, he was moved with compassion on them, because they fainted, and were scattered abroad, as sheep having no shepherd. 37 Then saith he unto his disciples, The harvest truly is plenteous, but the labourers are few. 38 Pray ye therefore the Lord of the harvest, that he will send forth labourers into his harvest.
Jesus asked us to share His compassion for people by praying that laborers would be sent into the harvest field.
Jesus’ compassion also moved Him to heal the sick:
MATTHEW 14:14 – And Jesus went forth, and saw a great multitude, and was moved with compassion toward them, and he healed their sick.
Jesus’ compassion led to the feeding of the four thousand:
MATTHEW 15:32 – Then Jesus called his disciples unto him, and said, I have compassion on the multitude, because they continue with me now three days, and have nothing to eat: and I will not send them away fasting, lest they faint in the way.
In His compassion, Jesus healed the blind:
MATTHEW 20:34 – So Jesus had compassion on them, and touched their eyes: and immediately their eyes received sight, and they followed him.
Compassion led to the healing of the leper in Mark chapter 7.
MARK 1:40–41 – And there came a leper to him, beseeching him, and kneeling down to him, and saying unto him, If thou wilt, thou canst make me clean. 41 And Jesus, moved with compassion, put forth his hand, and touched him, and saith unto him, I will; be thou clean.
In His compassion, Jesus healed every one who came to Him and asked to be healed.
Jesus’ compassion also led Him to grieve with those who were grieving. Sympathy says, “I’m sorry you feel how you feel.” But compassion says, “I feel how you feel.” Compassion also brings deliverance to the hurting.
33 When Jesus therefore saw her [Mary] weeping, and the Jews also weeping which came with her, he groaned in the spirit, and was troubled. . . .
35 Jesus wept.
But Jesus didn’t just weep with Mary; His compassion caused Him to act. He delivered Mary and Martha from their sorrow by raising their brother Lazarus from the dead.
Jesus’ compassion brought deliverance. If we have the divine compassion of Jesus, there will be deliverance. But I think too much of the time we’ve tried to bring deliverance without God’s divine compassion. That’s where prayer and intercession come in.
Weeping by unction of the Holy Spirit with them who weep brings deliverance (Rom. 12:15).
Dr. John G. Lake is known for his ministry that was well marked with apostolic ideals. He did an amazing work in South Africa just after the turn of the century.
So many healings took place in his tabernacle in Johannesburg, report of them reached the leaders of the nation. Some of the top government people sought him for help on behalf of the wife of a certain government official.
When Lake went to her home, he found her bedridden with terminal cancer. He determined that she was a Christian. Then he began to give her Scripture to teach her about divine healing and to get her faith activated.
She made a decision to trust God for her healing. The doctors had given her up to die and were only giving her pain relievers to keep her comfortable. But she decided to stop all drugs.
She said, “If I am going to trust God for my healing, and I am, then I’m going to throw myself completely over on His mercy.”
“This woman was in so much pain,” Lake said, “that one of the ministers of the church and I stayed at her bedside around the clock, praying. As we prayed, she would get relief.”
One morning, after having prayed all night, Lake went home just long enough to bathe and shave. Then he started back.
“When I came within two blocks of the house,” Lake said, “I heard the woman screaming in pain. At the sound of those screams, somehow I seemed to enter into a divine compassion. . . .”
Lake entered into the sufferings of Jesus. He began to feel just like Jesus feels. For Jesus can be touched with the feelings of our infirmities (Heb. 4:15).
Lake said, “I found myself running those last two blocks without even thinking what I was doing. Without thinking, I rushed into the room, sat down on the edge of the bed, picked up that emaciated body in my arms like I would a baby, and began to weep. While I was weeping, she was perfectly healed.”
Somehow, the compassion of Jesus, the love of God, was able to permeate Lake’s heart, his spirit.
Dedicated believers can enter into that area of compassion one way—and you will not get there any other way—and it is by fellowship with God. You cannot fellowship with God, you cannot sit in the Presence of the great God of this universe without His love permeating your being, and without His compassion flowing into you. And it is when you can get into this place that you will be able to do as Jesus said in John chapter 14.
JOHN 14:12 – Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that believeth on me, the works that I do shall he do also; and greater works than these shall he do; because I go unto my Father.
The works that Jesus did were born out of love and compassion. The works that believers shall do, including prayer, are products of sharing in Jesus’ ministry of love and compassion.
To intercede effectively, you must know the great love God has for all humanity. Since the love of God is in us, and the love of God has been shed abroad in our hearts, we are to be kind as God is kind—even to the unthankful and to the evil (Luke 6:35).
Jesus has canceled out the sins of the unsaved. That’s how God is kind to the unthankful and to the evil. And He has given us that message, that word of reconciliation (2 Cor. 5:19).
Yet we have preached, “God is going to get you if you don’t watch out. He’s after you.”
People have trained their children, saying, “Don’t do that. Jesus won’t love you if you do that.”
That’s a lie. Jesus may not want them to do it, but He will still love them even if they do.
Telling children, “God won’t love you if you do that,” causes them to grow up with their minds blinded to the light of His love. And it’s very difficult to get that kind of teaching out of people.
God has given us the ministry of reconciliation. When we can get people to see God as He really is, they will want to love Him. It is our responsibility to love people the way that God loves them, to be kind to the unthankful and the evil, to pray for those who persecute us, and to move with compassion in all that we do. Then our prayers will be successful, and we will do the works of Jesus in the earth!