Have you ever visited the Hoover Dam? I have heard some amazing things about this National Historic Landmark that forms the border between the state of Arizona and Nevada…even though I haven’t personally visited it. Drawing nearly a million visitors a year, Hoover Dam is considered to be the world’s largest dam and an engineering marvel at the time of its construction in the 1930’s. This concrete arch-gravity dam straddles the Colorado River and brings much needed water and power to the Southwest.
What truly amazes me is how this dam has the ability to hold back so much water! Its reservoir holds 9.2 trillion gallons of water and produces 2.8GW of power, roughly as much as 3 nuclear power stations! And then I think, wow! …What if something goes wrong and the dam can’t hold back all this water? (I know…not the most positive mindset!)
Even in our world of modern technology and design, there have been times in our history that various dams throughout the world have been breached. A breach is a breakthrough of a dam caused by various reasons such as erosion, geological instabilities, human error in design, etc. I can’t imagine just how much water pressure is formed and built up just before the breach or breakthrough of water!
Just as the water pressure builds so greatly in a faulty dam, we too can experience this in life as the pressures and challenges of obstacles building in our lives are so great…so great that they may bring us to a point of giving up!
Whatever the obstacles we face…whether we have pressures or struggles in our finances, health, marriage, families, relationships, jobs …don’t we all just want a break sometimes?
We pray, “Lord, just make it stop or go away. I can’t take it anymore!” You may feel tired of hurting…tired of fighting….tired of believing…just flat out exhausted…exhausted mentally, physically, and emotionally!
We have all faced difficult obstacles…and we may be facing one right now and we just want out. We pray and cry out “Lord please take away the stress…please take away the pain…please take away the burden…please remove this obstacle…please make things peaceful!”
Have you ever felt this way?
So do you think God will give you a break? ….Or a breakthrough? …Because there is a difference.
The dictionary defines break as “disruption of the regularity, uniformity, or continuity of, end”
And that is exactly what we sometimes pray for…for our struggle or difficult situation to end. Just make it stop. God just give me a break!
And yes, God can certainly give you a break….I certainly won’t deny His ability to do so! But…
The dictionary defines breakthrough as “an act of surmounting an obstacle, obstruction or restriction” Another definition I found interesting for breakthrough is “an offensive thrust that penetrates and carries beyond a defensive line in warfare.” Keep this one in mind as I will speak on it later.
Now if we look further at the word “surmount” used in the definition of breakthrough, it means “to get over or across, to prevail over or to overcome. To get to or be on top of”
God wants us to get over or across, to prevail over, to overcome our challenges and obstacles in life…not feel defeated and give up. I know…easier said than done! But He wants to give us breakthroughs in our lives…not just a break! Why?
Because He knows that the road to your breakthrough will draw you closer to Him, make you more dependent upon His power and strength, and help you grow in your faith and relationship with Him!
The Lord is known by many names in the Bible and His names reveal His character. In 2 Samuel 5:20, we see that the Lord is a “Lord of Breakthroughs.”
When the Philistines heard that they had anointed David king over Israel, all the Philistines went up to seek out David; and when David heard of it, he went down to the stronghold. Now the Philistines came and spread themselves out in the valley of Rephaim. Then David inquired of the LORD, saying, “Shall I go up against the Philistines? Will You give them into my hand?”
And the LORD said to David, “Go up, for I will certainly give the Philistines into your hand.”
So David came to Baal-perazim and defeated them there; and he said, “The LORD has broken through my enemies before me like the breakthrough of waters.” Therefore he named that place Baal-perazim. 2 Samuel 5:17-20NASB
This battle with the Philistines comes at a critical point for David and marks the moment which Jerusalem became a royal city. David had started his work as king at the age of 30 and had already reigned over Judah seven years and six months from Hebron.
This ‘breakthrough’ marks the beginning of his reign at Jerusalem, where he reigned over all Israel and Judah thirty-three years. David’s move to Jerusalem brought the Philistines against the city, and it was prayer to God which gave David the confidence to fight and win.
And David came to Baal-perazim, and David smote them there; and he said, Jehovah hath broken mine enemies before me, like the breach of waters. Therefore he called the name of that place Baal-perazim. 2 Samuel 5:20 ASV
“Baal-perazim” means “The Lord of breakings through”… “The Lord who bursts through.”
Breakthroughs in life are not necessarily always about God as they are about us…
Yes, God is able to open doors that no man can open…He is able to provide a way out when there seems no out….He is able to do the supernatural when the natural doesn’t look too favorable….Yes, He can do above and beyond what we can ever think or imagine when we face obstacles in life! Yes, God is the “Lord of Breakthroughs!”
But it is before and through our breakthroughs that we draw closer to Him…grow more intimate with Him… develop a stronger relationship with Him. And if God just gave us a “break”…we would not experience this growth and intimacy with Him.
When I say that breakthroughs are about us, I want to refer back to the 2nd definition of the word breakthrough… “an offensive thrust that penetrates and carries beyond a defensive line in warfare.”
There is nothing we could ever do to force God’s hand behind his back and make Him do what we want, however, there are some things that we can do that please God when we are seeking a breakthrough. There are some things that we can actually do “offensively”…and not just sit back and expect God to give us our breakthrough.
Prayer is a powerful “offensive” weapon that we have…not just to ask God what we need…but also to include and accompany our prayers with some very powerful aspects that truly please our God.
In 2 Samuel 5:19, we see that David went to God in prayer which gave him the confidence to fight and win and receive his breakthrough.
So what powerful aspects of prayer lead to our breakthroughs?
1) Prayer and Petition
It is so important to petition God in our prayers when we are trying to overcome obstacles and need breakthroughs in our lives.
The bible says we must “petition” our requests to God… Petition/ supplication (another word for petition) is a form of prayer in which you make a humble or earnest request to God.
Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. Philippians 4:6 NIV
The earnest prayer of a righteous person has great power and produces wonderful results. James 5:16b NLT
2) Prayer and Praise
There is also great power in praising and thanking God! The bible actually says we should enter his gates with thanksgiving and courts with praise.
Enter his gates with thanksgiving and his courts with praise; give thanks to him and praise his name. Psalm 100:4
There is an incredible story in Acts 16:22-26 of how praising God brings breakthrough. Paul and Silas were in prison and chained in stocks. They prayed and praised God singing hymns and suddenly the prison doors flew open and everyone’s body chains were broken! A literal breakthrough! You got to check this one out for yourself!
3) Prayer and Fasting
There is so much power…breakthrough power… in prayer and fasting!
The bible is filled with many individuals who prayed and fasted to receive breakthroughs.
One such example is King Jehoshaphat. With his nation faced with disaster, he prayed and fasted for deliverance from opposing armies. (2 Chronicles 20:1-5)
For more on fasting, check out my blog called “Why Fast?”
4) Prayer in Faith
Praying in faith pleases God and is another component in receiving our much needed breakthroughs. You may have heard the saying… “Prayer is the key, but faith unlocks the door.”
And without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him. Hebrews 11:6 NIV
Therefore I tell you, whatever you ask in prayer, believe that you have received it, and it will be yours. Mark 11.24 ESV
5) Prayer and Patience
Sometimes…many times…our prayers must be accompanied by patience…Because we know that God’s timing isn’t our timing as much as we would like it to be! This can certainly be challenging when we feel that we just can’t wait anymore for a breakthrough.
I wait for the LORD, my soul waits, and in his word I hope; Psalm 130:5 NLT
Yet I am confident I will see the LORD’s goodness while I am here in the land of the living. Wait patiently for the LORD. Be brave and courageous. Yes, wait patiently for the LORD. Psalm 27:13 NLT
So the LORD must wait for you to come to him so he can show you his love and compassion. For the LORD is a faithful God. Blessed are those who wait for his help.Isaiah 30:18 NLT
I know that we can experience great stress and pressures when facing obstacles in life…sometimes more than what we can bear! But be encouraged that just like the pressure that builds so greatly before the breakthrough of a dam, so too it is with us!
The pressure and stress may be increasing but the breakthrough is coming…don’t give up…keep hanging on…keep praying! God is pleased by your breakthrough prayers and will see it through for you!
1) Are you facing any obstacles in your life? Do you feel like giving up?
2) Are you looking for a break? Or a breakthrough?
3) Are you acting on the offensive or just sitting back and expecting God to give you a breakthrough? Are you praying by petition, with praise, with fasting, in faith, and in patience?
1) God doesn’t want you to give up! He may not just give you a “break”, but He will lead to your breakthrough!
2) If your prayers haven’t incorporated the important aspects mentioned above, begin today! What have you got to lose? If you are at the point of giving up, give these aspects of breakthrough prayer a try…It is better than giving up and you will be strengthened and encouraged and God will be pleased!