“The earnest prayer of a righteous person has great power and wonderful
results. Elijah was a human as we are, and yet when he prayed
earnestly that no rain would fall, none fell for the next three and a half years! (See 1 Kings 17:1-7 for this account.) Then he prayed for rain, and down it poured. The grass turned green and the crops began to grow again.” (James 5:16-18)
What do you believe about prayer?
God has established a really cool device called prayer for us to communicate with
him. And although the etymology of the word prayer means to beg or ask earnestly, prayer today is more accurately
described as simply talking to God.
And as vast as communication is between two people, that is as far reaching as your prayers
can be with your Heavenly Father, with your amazing Savior Jesus, and with the ultimate Comforter, the Holy
Do you pray yourself? Have you seen God answer
your prayers? While I have heard of people who don’t pray, I have
yet to meet someone who has prayed to God who hasn’t seen him answer prayer in some way. Even the prayer of the unbeliever is answered when that prayer is, “Help me
know you,” or “Please forgive me.” The thief who hung next to Jesus
on the cross asked/prayed that he would be remembered in King Jesus’ kingdom, and Jesus promised that that very
day the man would be in paradise with him.
Yet often we don’t always pray in faith, believing that God will do the impossible for
us. Maybe your prayers are half-hearted – either fairly certain
that God will say “no”, or unsure if he even cares about the issues in your life. Or perhaps you pray, believing in your own strength more than
God’s. Does the account of Elijah’s praying above strike you as an
inspiring but likely improbable story? If so, I want to encourage
you to get your praying in line with the Bible! There were some
mighty pray-ers in scripture, and they can inspire all of us to pray with more fervency and conviction:
Solomon asked for wisdom and became the wisest man on earth (1 Kings 3:6-9)
Paul prayed and raised a woman from the dead (Acts. 9:40)
Peter prayed and prison chains were broken and he was freed (Acts. 12:5-11)
Esther prayed and the Jewish people received the King’s favor (Esther 4:12, 7:2)
Daniel prayed and was able to interpret dreams (Daniel 2:17-18)
King Hezekiah prayed and his health was restored (2 Kings 20:3)
…and the list goes on and on.
If prayer is only a weak, insipid attempt at reaching a God who is less than interested, we
may as well not pray at all. But if prayer is truly a divine method
of petitioning a loving and highly involved personal God who encourages us to ask, and ask boldly because he
loves to respond, then prayer is a powerful tool that too often is being left in our discipleship toolbox.
Remember this: God raised Jesus from the
dead! And Jesus is the author of our eternal
salvation! Do you believe this – I mean, do you really believe
in and trust this for your life?! If so, then why should you not
trust in the power of prayer? What part of the Bible are you
willing to approach with scissors, and cut out as if to say “God really didn’t mean this”?!
To the contrary, 1 Thessalonians 5:17 tells us to “pray without stopping!” In other words, we
are to have ongoing, unbroken communication with God about everything and anything. We are specifically told us
to ask our Father for what we want and need with confidence, knowing that “with God nothing is impossible.” In
fact, prayer is so important to God that the Holy Spirit prays on our behalf (Romans 8:26) and Jesus lives
evermore to intercede for us (Hebrews 7:25).
So let’s put our prayer power into action. Maybe
you are feeling the impact of the economic downturn and are questioning whether God can bring you through this
flood to the other shore. Perhaps you have heard devastating news
from a doctor or friend and wonder where God is in the midst of pain. Or, it’s possible that right now you need, more than ever, to hear God’s will
and direction for your life. Even if you are not searching for an
answer but have thankfulness and joy to express, prayer is a perfect response. In all of these situations, there is a loving, listening Lord who longs for
you to turn to him and talk!
If it’s been a while since you’ve prayed really believing that God would answer you, then now
is the time to change that attitude and belief and start really sharing your heart with the Lord who loves
you. And when you do, I believe you will see him
respond. You can bet I’m praying for it!
P.S. I’d love to hear about your prayer life and
any mighty moves of God you’d like to share. And if you need
prayer, I’m always here.