The Requirements of Praying and Prayer

by Creflo Dollar | 2 Mar 2020


Biblically, there is a clear difference between before and after Jesus went to the cross; when we pray we need to be aware of that difference. We can detect the contrast when we carefully read the Scriptures. Under the old covenant, the people were commanded to follow the letter of the law and maintain strict obedience first, in order to be blessed. Prayers were structured accordingly. Under the new covenant of grace established by Jesus’ blood, we are already blessed because of our faith in what He did. Under grace we no longer have to beg God to bless us; instead, we can give thanks for the blessings that have been made available. Praying in faith like this gives us results.

  1. In light of what Jesus did on the cross, there is a right way and a wrong way to pray.
    1. And the men turned their faces from thence, and went toward Sodom: but Abraham stood yet before the LORD. And Abraham drew near, and said, Wilt thou also destroy the righteous with the wicked? (Genesis 18:22, 23).
      1. Under the old covenant, Abraham prayed on behalf of the few righteous people in Sodom. By comparison, when Jesus went to the cross, He was the perfect sacrifice for all time for the whole world. He made intercessory prayer to the Father on behalf of all nations, not just one city.
      2. Jesus came for every sinner and every unrighteous person in the world.
      3. Unlike during the old covenant, God does not punish people. When we see natural disasters and evil acts, it is not Him Who is responsible.
    2. Wherefore I also, after I heard of your faith in the Lord Jesus, and love unto all the saints, Cease not to give thanks for you, making mention of you in my prayers; That the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give unto you the spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of him (Ephesians 1:15-17).
      1. Paul prayed for others to receive the spirit of wisdom and the revelation of Jesus Christ.
      2. This Scripture takes into consideration Jesus’ finished works.
    3. I exhort therefore, that, first of all, supplications, prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks, be made for all men; For kings, and for all that are in authority; that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and honesty. For this is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Saviour; Who will have all men to be saved, and to come unto the knowledge of the truth (1 Timothy 2:1-4).
      1. We are to make intercessory prayers and give thanks. We can pray for everyone to be saved, and come to the knowledge of the truth.
  1. Under the new covenant, we are to preach not just the gospel, but Jesus, Himself.
    1. The Great Commission was Jesus’ instructions not just for a few, but for everyone.
      1. When God opens doors for us, we should open our mouths and utter the Word.
      2. Withal praying also for us, that God would open unto us a door of utterance, to speak the mystery of Christ, for which I am also in bonds (Colossians 4:3).
    2. And all things are of God, who hath reconciled us to himself by Jesus Christ, and hath given to us the ministry of reconciliation; To wit, that God was in Christ, reconciling the world unto himself, not imputing their trespasses unto them; and hath committed unto us the word of reconciliation (2 Corinthians 5:18, 19).
      1. Jesus reconciled us to God when He gave us the spirit of reconciliation.
      2. God does not hold our sins against us.
    3. Under the new covenant, Jesus is now the mediator between God and man. We do not need to “stand in the gap” when we offer up intercessory prayer.
      1. For there is one God, and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus (1 Timothy 2:5).
      2. 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).
    4. 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. When God spoke to Solomon after he finished building the house of the Lord, the message was clearly under the old covenant. God used the “if-then” line of reasoning when He specified what the people had to do before they could be forgiven and healed.
      2. Under the new covenant, Jesus has already provided healing and forgiveness.
      3. When we preach the gospel of the cross, Jesus will confirm what we say with signs and wonders.

For more on how grace empowers our prayer lives, click on the link below for the three-message series, Law-Based Prayer vs. Grace-Based Prayer.

Scripture References

Genesis 18:22, 23

Ephesians 1:15-17

1 Timothy 2:1-5

Colossians 4:3

2 Corinthians 5:18, 19

Hebrews 8:6

2 Chronicles 7:13, 14