The Victorious Christian Life

A Lesson Series for the Earnest Christian

© 2002 by Thomas W. Finley, 2013 Revised Edition

Lesson Nineteen: Practices of the Overcomer - Prayer

I am sure that the reader is not surprised that prayer is a key practice of the victorious Christian. What might surprise you is the particular kind of prayer that I will stress as the key to overcoming. I don’t believe that the overcomer must be a great prayer warrior who spends two to three hours on his or her knees a day. This intercessory role appears to be the calling of only a very few. Most of us do not have the time, or the spiritual energy, regardless of our dedication, to carry out this type of prayer activity.

Prayer, however, is a vital secret to the victory of the believer. The type of prayer that I believe you will find most prevalent among victorious Christians is prayer that consists of dozens of little prayers to God throughout the day. In addition, the victorious believer will try to maintain a prayerful spirit at every moment, whereby he or she is dependently “looking unto Jesus” (Heb. 12:2, KJV). The best verse to describe this prayer activity would be: “pray without ceasing” (1 Thess. 5:17).

Prayer is the most concrete demonstration of our dependence upon God. And dependence upon God is a key element of a living faith. Prayer is contacting the living God in the Spirit (Eph. 6:18; Heb. 4:16; 10:19-22). It is no wonder, then, that the result of a secret inner prayer life throughout the day is spiritual victory and growth. Let us look at some examples and some verses.

The victorious believer is the one who is very cognizant of his weakness (2 Cor. 12:10; 13:4). Therefore, this saint will often pray little prayers so that they can handle circumstances or people in their lives. Here are some examples: “Lord, I can’t handle these children today. I need You. Lord Jesus, I am trusting You to be my patience with them today.” “Lord, I can’t handle this workload today. Grant me Your grace to do what I need to get done today.”

Upon seeing a difficult person approach, the believer may just pray, “Thank You, Lord, I was crucified with You, and now You are my life.” Thus, the believer is looking unto the Lord to be able to speak to that person with his old life (which may be unfriendly and critical) put away by the cross, and his new life in Christ being manifested.

Actually, as a Christian grows in the grace and knowledge of the Lord, he will realize that Christ is needed even for things that he is capable of “handling” in his own effort. The believer begins to recognize that things done in the energy and ability of the flesh (the natural life) do not glorify God, although our fellow man may see nothing wrong with these efforts. For example, let us say that one is good at his or her job. During the workday such an overcoming Christian may pray, “Lord, I don’t want to do this assignment in myself. I am looking to You for Your life in this work. Be glorified in this, Lord Jesus.”

There are many examples we could give of these little prayers that show such a constant dependence upon the Lord, and a drawing of grace from Him. Consider the matter of human anxieties. We are often anxious for many things. But, the victorious Christian will find himself bringing the smallest of needs to His Lord. This is in accordance with God’s desire for us. “Be anxious in nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God” (Phil. 4:6).

We may pray for ourselves for the smallest of our needs. For example, an anxious mother may pray, “Lord, we don’t have any money to buy Billy some new shoes. You know he needs them, Lord. Oh, Lord, meet this need.” Or, the prayer could be for something even much smaller. “Lord Jesus, strengthen me to get these dishes done quickly and get Billy in the car so that we can get to the doctor’s office on time.”

On the other hand, we may pray for others in small prayers as they come to mind, “Lord, please minister Your grace to Sally today in her difficult family situation. Draw her to Yourself, Lord.” We should realize that God’s Spirit may very well be bringing other saints to mind. There is much spiritual work to be done in the building up of Christ’s body through prayer, including these little prayers for one another. God puts others on our heart so that we can intercede for them.

If we truly prayed for all of our anxieties and concerns, great and small, we would have a busy prayer life during the day. This would give us much contact with God and help us be strengthened spiritually.

Victorious believers make a habit out of bringing their problems to God. They truly look to Him for solutions. Unfortunately, many Christians make only a token effort to come to the Lord with their problems and challenges. Too often they eagerly seek out the advice or the help of pastors or others, instead of first waiting upon God and really seeking Him. God may indeed lead us to ask others for help, but we should all learn the lesson of truly looking to Him as our Good Shepherd for help.

One of the shortest prayers that I believe you will often find in the hearts of overcomers is “Thank You, Lord.” The Bible advises us: “In everything give thanks; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus” (1 Thess. 5:18). We may thank Him for keeping us safe during our drive home. We may thank Him for having a job today. We may thank Him for providing a simple lunch for us. We may thank Him for meeting any small need.

Overcomers also recognize that God is at work in every circumstance in their lives. Moreover, by giving thanks to God in our circumstances we are reminded that God is in control and sovereign, and that He allows problems for the benefit of our growth. This helps us put problems in perspective and helps us trust Him. So, when a brother arrives home from work to find his household in disorder, instead of getting upset, he should thank the Lord. This will help him deal with things in the Spirit.

Let me tell you the story of a sister I knew. She was driving at night and got lost. She turned into a construction site to get reoriented. An overzealous security guard approached her and then shot her in the eye. The first thing she did was thank the Lord for the situation. Surely that helped her be victorious in that unimaginably difficult situation. Fortunately, her husband was following her in another car and they got her to the hospital. Miraculously, although the bullet entered the brain, the only damage done was the loss of her eye.

The attitude of a prayerful spirit, and a readiness to voice a prayer when needed, is also a key to overcoming temptation. When Jesus was in the garden of Gethsemane and facing the prospect of the cross, He faced a decision to choose the cross or to bypass it. He was strengthened to follow God’s path by praying three times to His Father. It was at this time that Jesus instructed His disciples: “Keep watching and praying, that you may not enter into temptation; the spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak” (Matt. 26:41).

Again, let me give some examples of short prayers in this regard. Perhaps a man has to deal with an attractive woman at work. He may pray, “Lord, thank you that my old man was crucified with You on the cross. I have been raised up with You to walk in newness of life.” Or, perhaps a group of coworkers is planning an outing that appeals to your flesh, but you have the sense that God does not want you to be enjoying such an entertainment. You may be strengthened to stand with the Lord’s choice by praying, “The world has been crucified to me, and I to the world” (Gal. 6:14).

Have you been impressed that the verses quoted show that a prayer life should be going on continually in the life of a believer? “Pray without ceasing” (1 Thess. 5:17). “In everything by prayer and supplication” (Phil. 4:6). “In everything give thanks” (1 Thess. 5:18). “Keep watching and praying” (Matt. 26:41). It is the constant looking away unto Jesus with a prayerful spirit, and the many small prayers throughout the day, that give us a strong connection to Jesus, the Vine. Our spiritual life is built up in this way. “But you, beloved, building yourselves up on your most holy faith, praying in the Holy Spirit” (Jude 1:20).

Finally, there is another very short prayer that I have found to be very beneficial. It involves simply calling upon the name of Jesus. It seems that the early Christians practiced calling out loud upon His name. Saul apparently identified believers by this practice, as Ananias stated that “he [Saul] has authority from the chief priests to bind all who call upon Your name” (Acts 9:14).

Also, when Paul wrote to the Corinthians, his letter addressed “the church of God which is at Corinth, to those who have been sanctified in Christ Jesus, saints by calling, with all who in every place call upon the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, their Lord and ours” (1 Cor. 1:2). Later in his epistle Paul stated “no one can say ‘Jesus is Lord,’ except by the Holy Spirit” (1 Cor. 12:3b). In the Greek, this literally reads “no one can say ‘Lord Jesus,’ except in the Holy Spirit.” This means that when we call upon the Lord’s name (in sincerity), we will be in the Holy Spirit.

In his second letter to Timothy, Paul advised him to “pursue righteousness, faith, love and peace, with those who call on the Lord from a pure heart” (2 Tim. 2:22). By turning our hearts to Jesus and calling “Lord Jesus” we are in brought into the Spirit. I have found that I can utter His name in a whispered way during the day and be in touch with Him. I am strengthened in my spirit whenever I do this. If you have not tried this, I recommend that you do so.

Of course, the Bible encourages us to pray in different ways, and even to have seasons devoted to prayer (1 Cor. 7:5). However, in this lesson my burden has been to reveal that the most necessary prayer habit for being victorious is that of a constant prayerful spirit and many little prayers to God throughout our day. I hope this lesson will be an encouragement to you to pray more in this way.

Seekers of Christ Seekers of Christ Seekers of Christ Seekers of Christ Seekers of Christ

And you will seek Me and find Me, when you search for Me with all your heart" (Jer. 29:13, NASB)