Jerry Edmon Ministries

Interview with Dr. Ted Estes

By Ted Estes on July 07, 2009 2 Comments

Dr. Ted Estes is a Professor of Theology at Oral Roberts University in Tulsa, Oklahoma and the Senior Pastor of Lifechanger church in Claremore, Oklahoma. He can be reached at:

I questioned Dr. Estes why it seems that we have more knowledge about prayer today than probably any other generation in history. There is no telling how many books have been written on prayer in the last hundred years, yet in most lives, I’m not seeing the fruit. Either people aren’t praying or God isn’t answering. He explained:

In recent days, I have been considering the subject of prayer.  In the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus makes it clear that His followers would be people of prayer.  The prayer life of the believer in Christ is not to be rote prayers of repetitious words spoken to a distant God.  Rather, Jesus says that in contrast to the prayers of the Pharisee’s, our prayers flow from a close relationship with the heavenly Father who meets us in the secret place and who knows and cares about our needs.

Later in the same passage in Matthew, Jesus admonishes us to ask and keep asking, to seek and keep seeking, to knock and keep knocking because God is good and He is the giver of good gifts.  In Luke 18, Jesus encourages the disciples to continue in prayer and to persevere.  Then, of course, we have the model pattern of prayer that Jesus taught, the Lord’s Prayer.

Many more things could be said about prayer.  We could talk about prayer and fasting, all night prayer and praying in the Spirit.  We could list the kinds of prayer: petition, supplication, intercession, declaration, etc.  However, in the end there is one self-evident conclusion that encompasses and supports all aspects of prayer – the most important thing about prayer is to DO IT!

The lethal deception that renders prayer impotent is when we act as if knowing about prayer, teaching about prayer, talking about prayer or thinking about prayer is equivalent to actually praying.

You see, we do not study and meditate in the Word of God simply to know what it says.  We study and meditate in God’s Word so we can DO IT.  It is in the doing of the Word that we prosper and have good success.  The DOER of the Word was the one whose house withstood the storm.  It is the one who hears the Word and is a doer of the Word who is blessed.  In fact, the forgetful hearer has deceived himself.

The lethal deception that knowledge alone is sufficient will cripple our prayer lives.  To know about prayer is not enough.  We must pray.  To know about the power of prayer is not enough.  We must pray.  To know the authority of Jesus name is not enough.  We must pray and exercise the authority of His name.  To know the promises of prayer is not enough.  We must pray.

I want to encourage you to pray.  Spend time and make your request known to the Father.  Reap the benefits of answered prayer.  See the power of God released on your behalf.  Experience the change and transformation that prayer can bring.

What do you think?
1)  Do you agree with Dr Estes that the problem is that people are talking about praying but aren’t praying?

2)  Can you name some examples illustrating his perspective?

Comments (Add New Comment)

Don's avatar


September 15, 2009 at 9:16pm | Permalink

Well I suppose it is easy to blame Christians for not praying as the cause for the apparent lack of God moving in the world. If they know how to pray and have correct knowledge about prayer, then why would Christians not pray? I find it hard to believe that God is waiting around for Christians to put the right words together and work up enough "faith" before he will stop the genocide in Africa. Asking God to move in my life or in the life of another requires the belief in several bogus assumptions like...

1. I can correctly determine what in any given situation, the "right" action should be.

2. I can correctly determine what God would want in any situation.

3. God will not do what is best for me unless I ask him to.

4. I can correctly judge whether a situation is "good" or "bad"

5. I should have all of my desires and wants- even the "spiritual" ones.

6. God wants me to ask him for stuff so he becomes my spiritual secretary.

7. I can correctly determine what is best for me and what I truly need in any given moment.

8. That "God's will" will not happen unless I ask him to do it.

9. That God will not do what is best for humankind unless someone specifically asks him to. Or in the case of really big things like preventing slaughter or genocide, lots of people need to really ramp up the faith machine in a chorus of begging.

Does the following sound like a familiar prayer life?

1. Open with a period of flattery. Tell God how wonderful and great and holy he is. Tell him all the things about himself that he obviously knows.

2. Tell him about whatever issue I am having and the perfect solution that he should do for me.

3. Tell him about all the terrible things that I don't like in the world and exactly what he should do about it.

4. Thank him for sending Jesus as the example of the sinless life and the possibility of living the same.

5. Assure God that I only want to do what he wants and I really want his will to be done so he can really disregard all that begging I just did if he has other wishes.

6. Close with period of self deprecation and ask forgiveness for my never ending string of mistakes. Then quote the Bible to God and remind him that he really does need to do what I ask because he has promised me he would do what I asked for in faith.


Is this how we would treat someone who we wanted a "relationship" with? This type of anxiety filled prayer is a waste of time. We need to be ok with "waiting on God." If we do not know the will of God in any given moment, then why waste time praying what we THINK should happen? We all see "through a glass darkly." We have muddy vision unless we can determine the mind of Christ- which comes by mindful waiting, not by mindless begging and striving. God is not moved by our anxiety. Prayer is for us, not for God. God does not need us to pray. We need to pray because prayer is a window into the mind of Christ. Do I withhold love and protection from my children unless they repeatedly ask for it? Of course not. Neither does God. No one sees with perfect spiritual vision. Prayer does not move the hand of God, it moves the hand of people. If I am concerned by an area of suffering in life. My quest is to find the mind of Christ here. And then DO something about it. Knowing the mind of Christ is key.

So if Ted is saying that God is not moving or working because Christians are not praying enough or saying the right words, that seems to be extremely short sighted. Perhaps he could clarify what he means. Begging God to do what WE think is right is a waste of time. I have witnessed Christians in Africa starve and I knew the food I brought them would only prolong their suffering. The prayers were long and sincere, and desperate. We need something deeper than "God is not moving because we are not praying." That is too easy...and wrong.


Bisharat's avatar


June 18, 2013 at 4:25am | Permalink

Dear Sir,
I am translator my name is Bisharat George from Pakistan? I visited your website and I found that all your material is full of knowledge concerning development of religious faith of the souls. I have an idea for you to get this material translated into other languages. For that I present my services to translate your material into Urdu and Punjabi languages. These are the languages that I am born in and will bring many blessing for the people who are known to them. I will be looking forward for your response on this my request.
“There is nothing more precious than to hear the Word of God in your own language.”
Bisharat George

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