Recently we sent out a call for prayer. We asked the people who truly follow Shulamite Ministries if they wanted to be involved in what the Lord is doing here by praying for us. We were real excited with the influx of people who responded saying that they wanted to stand with us for Christ to reveal Himself through this ministry.
So I started to send out updates and the responses and scriptures that have been sent back to us have been amazing. I don’t know if you knew this, but the message that God gave Martha for the Triumph of the Lamb conference was entirely supported by a group of people who were committed to fast and pray while Martha sought the Lord. They each did a Daniel fast and the fruit was overwhelming. This is just one example of prayer over a message (and eventually that message will be turned into a book).
Personal ROI on My Prayer Investment
This morning I had a revelation about prayer being an investment with a major ROI (return on investment). It isn’t as if the ROI has to be the motivation for us to pray, but it is certainly the reward for praying. God showed me that when we pray, we are investing into our own lives. I don’t know why but this was shocking to me. Sure, when I prayed for someone else there was an increase of the Kingdom of God. I knew that those I prayed for would receive spiritual fruit. What I hadn’t taken into account is that I would personally benefit from my investment of prayer. But here is the spiritual reality that proves this: it is impossible to sow into the spirit and not reap from the Spirit.
This is such amazing news! And of course this would be the case, but I personally have never considered it. I know we can have people ask us to pray and we agree, but do we always earnestly seek the Lord? Or do we give it a halfhearted pass of effort? We are human and life happens. I might have the best intentions but I can have the attention span of a golden retriever sometimes. And Jesus knows that more likely than not our motivation is “What’s in it for me?” Again, this is human. But here’s the amazing news, God gives us the incentive of sowing and reaping. My investments in prayer will reap a spiritual harvest, not just for the one I pray for but for me personally.
Prayer in the Flesh vs. Prayer by the Spirit
Now there is one catch here. We must sow in the spirit to reap from the Spirit. If we sow by the flesh, we will reap only the flesh. This means I have to pursue the Holy Spirit and the Life of Christ even in prayer. I can’t logic my prayers. It can’t be, “This is what is needed, please give it, Lord.” I must go in prayer listening, hearing, and speaking what the Spirit gives.
I have been to countless prayer meetings where the agenda was to present a list to get it filled. Kind of like a heavenly grocery store. And unfortunately a lot of the prayer I have heard wasn’t even sent heavenward; it was a presentation of demands for man to hear. I don’t say this with condemnation; it is just the reality. Most prayer is soulish prayer.
Here is one of the main reasons this is tragic. Soulish prayers are prayers presented while missing the relationship with the Spirit. These prayers are robbed of interaction and relationship with the Answer. That is tragic to me. Even if God would answer the request, the union would be lost. Besides this, soulish prayers are from the soul, which brings death. This means that the enemy can maliciously use even the most well-intentioned words.
The Fruit of My Prayer Life
I don’t say this to frighten you from praying, because prayer is precious. But I am saying let’s not miss the enjoyment of Life in failing to pray by listening. Hearing prayer is eternal because it comes from the heart and mind of God. Prayer is a divine investment, one that reaps eternal dividends and earthly reward. If I sow in true prayer, I will reap in real Life. And not just for the life of the one I am praying for, but also back upon myself.
I sent an update to this prayer list and I was so excited to convey with joy that their flow of prayer being sent up for Shulamite Ministries was going to bring them a return on their investment. What I actually saw was something like a spillway cascading back upon these lives with richness and blessing. They weren’t just sending out prayer; those prayers were boomeranging back into the pray-er’s life. Oh, I thank Jesus that He knows us and works within us to bless us. I look forward to seeing how He will shower these prayer investors with Himself!
Sowing and Reaping
Don’t be under any illusion: you cannot make a fool of God! A man’s harvest in life will depend entirely on what he sows. If he sows for his own lower nature his harvest will be the decay and death of his own nature. But if he sows for the Spirit he will reap the harvest of everlasting life by that Spirit.
Galatians 6:7-8 Philips