Revelatory Prayer


by Greg Manalli

The apostle Paul prayed more than he preached. I conclude this from his own confession that he “ceased not” to make mention of the Ephesians in his prayers. This is the same man who exhorted us to pray without ceasing, 1Thes 2:13, 5:17, 2Tim 1:3 with Eph. 6:18. He wouldn’t ask what he didn’t do himself.

Why so much prayer when he had so much revelation? He was an excellent teacher despite what some thought. No one had his revelations. They form the cornerstones of New Testament doctrine. One would think that the teachings themselves would have such weight of influence that they would automatically accomplish what they revealed. They didn’t and they couldn’t and he knew it. He knew that something more must be added to what he taught in order to drive in the truth.

This something more was prayer and specific prayer. Not just any prayer would do, but prayer aimed at penetrating the inward man to reveal something that would ultimately take over the believer. He knew that what one beholds is what one is conformed to or better, transformed into.

We can say that without seeing something it is very difficult to comprehend or grasp ideas. We say in our vernacular “do you see what I am saying?” and “do you see what I mean?” We often fail with mere words, as powerful as they are, to get across the point we wish to make. We need something more.

That something more is prayer for the working of the Holy Spirit, who after all is the teacher of the church in the same manner that Jesus was a teacher while on the earth. Our gifts beloved have a powerful, yet limited role. Even by the Spirit they do not take the place of the Spirit. He must take over after we have done our thing and then do His thing.

The specifics I wish to address have to do with Paul’s prayer in Eph. 1:16-19. “ I have not stopped giving thanks for you, remembering you in my prayers. I keep asking that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the glorious Father, may give you the Spirit of wisdom and revelation, so that you may know him better. I pray also that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened in order that you may know the hope to which he has called you, the riches of his glorious inheritance in the saints, and his incomparably great power for us who believe.” The prayer goes on, but I must stop here and focus on the aspect of revelation.

Paul’s specific request of the Father is for the Holy Spirit to give wisdom and revelation (enlightenment). The specific wisdom and revelation is about knowing God better. This is not book learning and bible teaching, but Spirit to spirit impartation. Why would such a great communicator beg for the Spirit to do what we would perhaps think could be done with super oratory skills? Super oratory skills fall short when attempting to convey this kind of revelation. Paul did not receive his revelations through some bible course.

There were two times that Paul had enlightenment from God about God. The first was on the road to Damascus, Acts 9:3-6. Jesus appeared to him and though he couldn’t see the Lord physically, he heard Him and knew He was present in a blinding LIGHT. Such light was itself significant of revelation and enlightenment. The experience was beyond a moment of teaching. Paul was blinded to the old and enlightened to the new.

The second reference of enlightenment of God is in Gal. 1:16. He states that it was a pleasure of God to reveal His son in him. This obviously was the beginning of the formation of the doctrine of the Indwelling Christ. The revelation was inward in the inner man and Paul could desire no less for the new Christian. He knew that what God had done for him He would do for them, if he asked. Therefore he was not confident in his preaching alone as a means of conveying this revelation. Since he had received it by the Spirit, he knew others would have to receive it the same way.

The solution was prayer. The solution is still prayer. I confess, we take too much pride in speaking. We must learn to speak and pray with equal emphasis. No, pray even more than speak. We have the example right in front of us. If Paul who had first hand revelation conceded it was necessary for prayer in order to transmit the vision, then who are we?

And his prayer was ceaseless. In other words, he prayed more than he preached and I think had more confidence in prayer to God the Father that the Holy Spirit would accomplish what preaching alone would not. We must pray, all of us for the same revelations.

To begin with we must have a powerful revelation of God our Father and the Lord Himself. Without that we are limited in scope of knowledge. Our Lord must be revealed in us the same way He was to Paul. We must know the indwelling Christ. Further without knowing our Father, how can we know the love of the Father? How can we have faith? Just who is our faith in if not the person(s) of God and the Son. Surely we are not to have faith in ourselves, as if we could just believe in our ability to believe and make all things possible.

To get this revelation, we too must pray and without ceasing. We cannot leave it to others to do what we should. I for one am praying more and more for the church, its leaders and myself. It is clear that I am to encourage pastors and other five-fold ministry to pray the same revelations. Tell me what ministry and what believer and what church can go on without them? I consider this an apostolic mandate for any apostle.

The first need of having a revelation of our God is primary to all the others. Everything else flows from the knowledge of Him. He is our ground, the Lord himself the foundation of the church. The further requests of the prayer in Eph.1: 16-23, include our enlightenment for knowing the hope of our calling, the tremendous inheritance that is within us and the extraordinary power that is at work in us who believe. All these are Spirit impartations to the heart or inner man. Illumination comes to the darkened soul void of understanding and unable to comprehend any other way except Spirit to spirit, 1Cor 2:13-15.

It is clear by the order that Paul places the desired revelations, that knowing God our Father and the Lord personally by the Spirit, precedes all the rest of the enlightenment. So it is to that that we are in this present time called and commissioned. To be bankrupt of the deep spiritual understanding of our God is to make us not much better than heathens worshipping dumb idols. It shall not be so.

Let us be as clear and precise as possible. We must pray exactly like Paul prayed and then in the Holy Spirit with personal requests to know Him more and more. As He is revealed inwardly and we see Him, we become changed into what we behold. Then as Paul, we preach who is revealed inwardly. We no longer talk about the Lord as if we had some information of Him. We express Him as the One we intimately know. It is this that will make the believer strong. “The people that do know their god shall be strong and do exploits” Dan. 11:32.

And when do we stop? When is the job finished? That is the way we think isn’t it? The answer by now should be easy. We don’t stop this side of eternity. How much God can you know? We will know as much of Him as we pray for. It will only get better and better. We will be changed more and more and His power will become more and more available to the people who know their God.

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