“Prayer is the key/Prayer is the master key/Jesus started with prayer/And ended with prayer/Prayer is the master key,” sang Prophet T.B. Joshua before giving his sermon last Sunday. Titled “PRAYER IS NOT SAYING WORDS”, the message focused on what it takes to attract God’s attention all the time during prayer. Scriptural references for the homily, including those to be read at viewers’ convenience, were Mark 16:17, John 4:24, Romans 6:16, Acts 19:11-16, Romans 8:26-27, 1 Corinthians 12:3, Matthew 10:19-20, John 16:12-13, 1 Corinthians 2:12-13, John 3:30-34 and John 15:7.
Prophet T.B. Joshua started by describing prayer as “the master key to loose and to bind,” which is not about merely “saying words” or “talking off into space,” given that the degree of effectiveness of our prayer is determined by the reality of our relationship with God and His Word. He said that “acting on the Word makes Jesus vitally real to the believer” and that the activation of God’s power as promised in the Scripture would remain impossible for anybody who does not act on the Word. In his words: “It is acting on the Word that builds faith in the believer. It is not only reading the Bible and committing it to memory, which is valuable, which is good, but it is also letting that Word we are reading become an integral part of our being.”
Addressing the heart’s role in prayer and true worship in Spirit and truth, God’s servant identified the three main types of spirit in the world – God’s Spirit, satan’s spirit and the human spirit. He then observed thus: “We are free moral agents; we can yield ourselves to either God’s Spirit or the other spirits. Whoever we choose to obey, that is whose servant we are” (Romans 6:16). He also pointed out that failure to pray to God in the spirit will lead to acting based on our emotions and intellect, that is, “what we read, what we see, what we hear, how we feel and what our circumstances look like.”
Although the man of God conceded that failing to worship God in the spirit might not actually prevent people from preaching impactfully and quoting the Scriptures effortlessly, he said there would be no corresponding power, authority or legitimacy behind such efforts, as was the case with the seven sons of Sceva (Acts 19:11-16). On how to pray in spirit and truth he said: “We pray in spirit and truth when every purpose and passion of our heart, as well as every act of our worship – singing, dancing, counselling, preaching, teaching, offering, prayer – is guided and regulated by the Word of God.”
He therefore advised viewers to “reverence our Spiritual Head – Jesus – in our prayer, in our worship, in everything we do” and to allow the Spirit of God to teach us not only how to pray but also what to pray for (Romans 8:26-27). The man of God reiterated that prayer is not merely saying words but that “the Spirit of God is the Word on our lips” as well as the Source of our reconciliation with the Father for the renewal of our lives through the virtues of faithfulness, obedience, kindness and humility, even in difficult times. “He is the Word on our lips: Jesus!” said Prophet T.B. Joshua.
Having begun the sermon with a prayerful song, Prophet T.B. Joshua fittingly ended it with prayer:
“Oh Holy Spirit, think through us ’til Your ideas become our ideas, in Jesus’ name! Act in us, oh Holy Spirit, that our work may be holy! Draw our heart that we may love what is holy, in Jesus Christ’s name! Strengthen us that we may defend what is holy, in Jesus Christ’s name! Amen! Guide us that we may remain holy. In Jesus Christ’s name we pray! Amen!”
And the Rain of Prayers Fell upon the World
Prophet T.B. Joshua then prayed for the viewers, assuring them that the prophetic declarations upon their health, relationships and finances were not time-bound. He began by acknowledging the challenges of each day in the lives of humans:
“We enter this day with its challenges. We enter this day with its problems. Direct us, in the name of Jesus Christ! Protect us, Lord, in the name of Jesus Christ! Nurture us, Lord, in the name of Jesus Christ!
Thereafter he prayed against every physical affliction in the lives of God’s children:
“Whatever strange pain in your system, in your organs, in your internal organs, in your bodies – whatever strange pain – cease, in the name of Jesus Christ! Whatever strange pain in your system, whatever strange pain in your internal organs, in your organs, whatever strange pain in your body – cease, in the name of Jesus Christ!
I command that pain right now to leave! Leave, in the name of Jesus Christ! Lord Jesus Christ, touch their bodies! Touch their system! Touch their internal organs! In Jesus Christ’s name we pray! Lord Jesus, touch them with Your healing power! Touch them with Your healing power, in Jesus Christ’s name! Amen!”
The man of God also cast out all demons responsible for spiritual bondage and sickness in the people’s lives:
“Every obstacle holding you down – I loose you, in the name of Jesus Christ! Every obstacle holding you down in the East, South, West, North, every obstacle in your business, every obstacle in your career, every obstacle – be loosed, in the name of Jesus Christ! Every obstacle holding you down in your business, every obstacle holding you down in your family, every obstacle in your finances, every obstacle in your career – be loosed, in the name of Jesus Christ! Amen!
By the mercy of God, I can see you free from the prison of failure, from the prison of career failure, from the prison of setback, from the prison of deadly disease, killer disease – COVID-19, affliction! I can see you free from their prison, in Jesus Christ’s name!
Finally, he declared:
“I pray the Lord fill you with His faithfulness. I pray the Lord fill you with His kindness, obedience, a new direction, a new focus, a new way, in Jesus Christ’s name!”
A Drama Sketch on “Praying Prayer”
In an exciting drama sketch to introduce the message, the Emmanuel TV Team comically demonstrated the challenge many believers face which hinders them from moving forward in their spiritual lives. This is because many times our prayers only entertain men but do not reach God. The drama ended with a thought-provoking word of wisdom from Prophet T.B. Joshua: The power of God comes not in saying words but in praying prayer.
Exhortation on Partnership
In his message on partnership Prophet Racine dwelt on the issue of sowing and reaping, especially in the context of evangelism and divinely ordained charity. In the light of the mistaken notion that evangelistic giving need not be divinely rewarded, Racine stated that the law of sowing and reaping is unchangeable, having been laid down by God right from the beginning. He said, “In the beginning, God laid down a law that shall never be changed,” adding that “while the earth remains, God’s law of seedtime and harvest shall not end.”
He cited Scriptures such as Genesis 8:22, 1 Corinthians 3:6-8, Luke 6:38, and 1 Kings 17:11-16 as some of the instances when the law of sowing and reaping not only changed individual lives but also ultimately impacted the destinies of entire societies in a positive way. According to Racine, sowing into God’s Kingdom and the lives of others is a guaranteed path to personal fulfilment and peace in the Creator. In his words: “There is a God-given command on the inside of each person to become more and to multiply. To know a happy, prosperous and successful life, we must learn how to plant. When we give to others – the needy – and to the Kingdom of God, we are planting seeds.”
Racine also noted that the Christian’s own duty is to sow while God’s duty is to convert the sown seeds into a bountiful harvest of joy, peace of mind and increased finances, etc., since it is God’s unchanging will for the Christian to reap in incredible multiples. However, Racine also stressed the need to plant quality seeds so that high yields will be our portion. Thus, he observed, “Our inability to acknowledge what God has given us to plant is actually responsible for the unsuccessful life many are experiencing today.”
Racine therefore advised Christians to remain concerned about the needs of others irrespective of present circumstances, bearing in mind that God is the Source of all that we have. He also urged Christians to love for God’s sake and be loved, to help for God’s sake and be helped, to be kind and receive kindness and to be merciful and receive mercy. He then concluded: “Weeping must not hinder sowing. When we understand God’s principle of seedtime and harvest, then giving will become as natural as breathing. The seed we sowed yesterday produced the harvest we are reaping now. The seed you plant today can create the future God has promised you.”