The power of prayer.
We all know about this. We’ve heard sermons and stories about it, and read verses and books on it. We’ve sung songs about it; a song my church sometimes sings at Bible Club says “Ev’ry prayer’s a powerful weapon” (from “We Want to See Jesus Lifted High”) and we place our hands in the praying position then swing them down like a sword slicing through the air. We’ve witnessed the power of prayer–the wonderful, answered prayers–in others’ lives, and even in our own.
But it’s so, so, so very easy to forget. To get tired of praying for the same request over and over and seeing no results. To be distracted and have your mind wander all over the place while praying. To slack off on praying. To feel like you’re talking to a wall. To wonder if your prayers matter or are even heard.
At least, it’s that way for me.
But y’all. Y’all, y’all, y’all. (Do I have your attention?)
Prayer. Is. Powerful.
If you have taken on the name of Christ, you have clout with the most powerful being in the universe. When you speak, God listens. …Max Lucado, “Your Prayers Have Power,” Unshakable Hope: Building Our Lives on the Promises of God
Your prayers impact the actions of God.
… “When a believing person prays, great things happen. Elijah was a human being just like us. He prayed that it would not rain, and it not rain on the land for three and a half years! Then Elijah prayed again, and the rain came down from the sky, and the land produced crops again” (James 5:16-18 NCV).
“Your prayers impact the actions of God.” I wonder if this means we can change God’s mind. Like, was He planning on keeping it from raining for three and a half years (in the story of Elijah), or did He decide to do that because Elijah prayed? I mean, God knows everything ahead of time; He has a plan, and things will go according to His will. But did He decide He was going to send a drought if Elijah prayed for it (while knowing he would)? I don’t know; my little brain can’t quite comprehend that.
But if it is like that. . . Could you imagine? Someone being healed from cancer because you prayed? Someone, whom nobody expects to become a Christian, comes to Jesus because you prayed? Someone doesn’t die in a terrible car accident because you prayed? Someone is able to witness to hundreds because you prayed? Someone finally becomes a parent because you prayed? Wow.
Prayer is how we fight against Satan. One of my friends recently shared a quote with me that she had gotten from a sermon (it’s actually part of what made me decide to do this post); it says, “Satan laughs at our wisdom and works but he shakes when we pray.” Our wisdom, the things we know, doesn’t scare Satan a bit. Our works–all the good things we do, all the rules we obey, all the times we please God–don’t really matter to the devil. But when we pray? When we talk to God? When we praise Him for this and ask Him for that and lift so-and-so up to Him? That scares Satan so much he shakes! He knows the power of prayer–perhaps more than we do–and he fears! Prayer limits Satan; it can cause him to have to back off and leave.
And the prayer of faith shall save the sick, and the Lord shall raise him up; and if he have committed sins, they shall be forgiven him. Confess your faults one to another, and pray for one another, that ye may be healed. The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much.James 5:15-16 (KJV)
James 5:13-16 is a very familiar passage, at least to me and my church. It tells us that prayer brings healing. “Anoint the sick, and pray over them. Confess your faults and sins, and pray for each other. That. You. May. Be. Healed.” This is talking about healing from physical and spiritual sickness, but I think it can perhaps apply to emotional and mental sicknesses as well.
Prayer provides protection. We pray that God will keep us safe as we go throughout our day, and that He’ll guard so-and-so, and that He’ll send His angels to surround this person. . . God hears those prayers and answers, perhaps in ways we don’t know about or expect.
When we pray, God listens. Heaven takes notice. The angels prepare to carry out God’s command. The forces of hell tremble. Things (and people) begin to move and change and be touched.
Why? Why do our prayers matter?
You’ll have to wait for the next post. 😉