Law-Based Prayer vs. Grace-Based Prayer

by Creflo Dollar | 12 Jun 2019


There are multiple contrasts between the old covenant of the law and the new covenant of grace; one of the most significant differences is in our prayer lives. Under the law, the people had to pray to get God to do something for them. Under grace, our prayers reflect our thanks and praise for what Jesus did for us on the cross. Grace-based prayer is based on the finished works of Jesus Christ. Many of the prayers we have become accustomed to—even the Lord’s Prayer—technically fall under the law. By comparison, New-Testament prayer is basically saying back to God what Christ has already accomplished under the new covenant. Religious, law-based prayer accomplishes nothing; we see results only through prayers uttered in faith, according to what was finished two thousand years ago.

  1. The differences between the law and grace are significant. We must understand them.
    1. For the law was given by Moses, but grace and truth came by Jesus Christ (John 1:17).
      1. There is a contrast between the law and grace; what was true under the law that came by Moses may no longer be true under the grace that came by Jesus.
      2. Other contrasts we must also be aware of include the contrast between servanthood and sonship; between spirit and flesh; between life before the cross and life after the cross; and between the requirements for salvation and for blessings.
      3. For sin shall not have dominion over you: for ye are not under the law, but under grace (Romans 6:14).
    2. If I shut up heaven that there be no rain, or if I command the locusts to devour the land, or if I send pestilence among my people; If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land (2 Chronicles 7:13, 14).
      1. This is a law-based, not a grace-based, prayer. It contains the “if-then” condition that is based on man’s performance, first.
      2. This also says that God will forgive the people’s sins; under grace, we are already forgiven because of what Jesus did.
      3. Before, the people had to pray for healing. Now, healing has already been released.
    3. And I sought for a man among them, that should make up the hedge, and stand in the gap before me for the land, that I should not destroy it: but I found none (Ezekiel 22:30).
      1. This was before Jesus died and shed His blood. When this prayer was prayed, no one could fulfill this requirement. Now, Jesus is the one who stands in the gap.
  1. Jesus is now the mediator between God and man. Jesus is the only way to God.
    1. For he is not a man, as I am, that I should answer him, and we should come together in judgment. Neither is there any daysman betwixt us, that might lay his hand upon us both (Job 9:32, 33).
      1. “Daysman” translates to “mediator.” Before the cross; there was no mediator. After the cross, Jesus is now our mediator.
      2. For there is one God, and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus (1 Timothy 2:5).
    2. And for this cause he is the mediator of the new testament, that by means of death, for the redemption of the transgressions that were under the first testament, they which are called might receive the promise of eternal inheritance (Hebrews 9:15).
      1. “The first testament” refers to the law; Jesus mediates the New Testament.
    3. Jesus is the mediator between God and man; no other religious figure can make that claim. Jesus is also the only path from the old covenant to the new covenant.
      1. But now hath he obtained a more excellent ministry, by how much also he is the mediator of a better covenant, which was established upon better promises (Hebrews 8:6).
      2. Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me (John 14:6).
  1. Our prayers must be based in grace, not in the law. Grace defies worldly traditions.
    1. Let your character or moral disposition be free from love of money [including greed, avarice, lust, and craving for earthly possessions] and be satisfied with your present [circumstances and with what you have]; for He [God] Himself has said, I will not in any way fail you nor give you up nor leave you without support. [I will] not, [I will] not, [I will] not in any degree leave you helpless nor forsake nor let [you] down (relax My hold on you)! [Assuredly not!] (Hebrews 13:5, AMPC).
      1. God will never leave us; we must never forget that. Asking Him not to take His Spirit from us is foolish and based in the law.
      2. Cast me not away from thy presence; and take not thy holy spirit from me (Psalm 51:11).
      3. Whatever we do, we can never run God away from us. He will never allow the things of the world to steal us away from Him; He will fight to maintain His relationship with us.
      4. Another foolish prayer is the prayer asking God to be with us when we meet. That contradicts His Word.
      5. For where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them (Matthew 18:20).
      6. We never have to ask God to come visit us; He lives in us and will never move out.
      7. …And, lo, I am with you always, even unto the end of the world. Amen (Matthew 28:20).
    2. And it was the sabbath day when Jesus made the clay, and opened his eyes. Then again the Pharisees also asked him how he had received his sight. He said unto them, He put clay upon mine eyes, and I washed, and do see. Therefore said some of the Pharisees, This man is not of God, because he keepeth not the sabbath day. Others said, How can a man that is a sinner do such miracles? And there was a division among them. They say unto the blind man again, What sayest thou of him, that he hath opened thine eyes? He said, He is a prophet. But the Jews did not believe concerning him, that he had been blind, and received his sight, until they called the parents of him that had received his sight. And they asked them, saying, Is this your son, who ye say was born blind? how then doth he now see? His parents answered them and said, We know that this is our son, and that he was born blind: But by what means he now seeth, we know not; or who hath opened his eyes, we know not: he is of age; ask him: he shall speak for himself. These words spake his parents, because they feared the Jews: for the Jews had agreed already, that if any man did confess that he was Christ, he should be put out of the synagogue. Therefore said his parents, He is of age; ask him. Then again called they the man that was blind, and said unto him, Give God the praise: we know that this man is a sinner. He answered and said, Whether he be a sinner or no, I know not: one thing I know, that, whereas I was blind, now I see. Then said they to him again, What did he to thee? how opened he thine eyes? He answered them, I have told you already, and ye did not hear: wherefore would ye hear it again? will ye also be his disciples? Then they reviled him, and said, Thou art his disciple; but we are Moses’ disciples. We know that God spake unto Moses: as for this fellow, we know not from whence he is. The man answered and said unto them, Why herein is a marvellous thing, that ye know not from whence he is, and yet he hath opened mine eyes. Now we know that God heareth not sinners: but if any man be a worshipper of God, and doeth his will, him he heareth (John 9:14-31).
      1. This healing took place before the cross; we must rightly divide verse thirty-one and avoid lifting it out of context.
      2. Some of the people tried to label Jesus a sinner because of His actions on the Sabbath. This follows the mindset that says sinning makes us sinners.
      3. Under the old covenant, sinning did make the people sinners, because there was no opportunity to get born again and receive a new nature.
    3. We know that God does not listen to sinners; but if anyone is God-fearing and a worshiper of Him and does His will, He listens to him (John 9:31, AMPC).
      1. Tradition tells us God does not hear sinners; however, tradition is not always right. The man who received his sight reprimanded the crowd and quoted their own traditions against them, pointing out that Jesus could not possibly be the sinner they said He was. God does not work miracles through unbelievers.
      2. If God will not have anything to do with sinners, we would not even have the Bible. He would not have continued dealing with Adam and Eve; He would not have had such a long conversation with Cain and shown him mercy after he killed Abel; He would not have talked to Moses, who was a murderer.
      3. God answers prayers based on whether or not they are prayed according to His will. This is true for the believer and the unbeliever alike.
      4. And this is the confidence that we have in him, that, if we ask any thing according to his will, he heareth us: And if we know that he hear us, whatsoever we ask, we know that we have the petitions that we desired of him (1 John 5:14, 15).
      5. Or despisest thou the riches of his goodness and forbearance and longsuffering; not knowing that the goodness of God leadeth thee to repentance? (Romans 2:4).
      6. What matters more to God is what is in our hearts, not just the words we say. This is illustrated by the parable of the prayers offered by the Pharisee and the publican (Luke 18:9-14).
      7. When the people of Nineveh prayed, God did not destroy their city as He had initially said He would (Jonah 3:5-10).
      8. After Hagar was cast out, she prayed to God; He not only showed her and her son mercy, but He also greatly blessed her son (Genesis 21:14-21).
      9. Jesus cast out a devil from the daughter of a Gentile woman after the woman prayed (Mark 7:24-30).