Monday, 18 November 2013

THE POWER OF PRAYER


Call unto me, and I will answer thee, and shew thee great and mighty things, which thou knowest not (Jeremiah 33:3)
“Call unto me, and I will answer thee….” This is a guaranteed promise. God says when you pray He will answer you. Have you prayed? Have you called on God? Have you petitioned Him?
Image courtesy wwcconline.org
Prayer is a means by which we access the power of God. It is also a means by which we express our trust and dependence on God. E.M Bounds, a great man of prayer said in his book Power Through Prayer that “praying gives sense, brings wisdom, and broadens and strengthens the mind.” Truly, the impact of prayer is enormous. Prayer gives us access into the throne room of grace. Throughout Christian history, nothing significant has happened without people first praying. Prayer changes situations. God came down to deliver Israel from bondage after He heard their cry (Exodus 3:7). Hannah eventually had a child when she prayed (1Samuel 1:13-21). Daniel, faced with the threat of death, requested for prayer on his behalf (Daniel 2:17). In Acts 12:5, prayer was employed thereby saving Peter from Herod’s sword of execution. One of the classic examples of the effect of prayer is recorded in 1 Kings 17:1.
And Elijah the Tishbite, who was of the inhabitants of Gilead, said unto Ahab, As the LORD God of Israel liveth, before whom I stand, there shall not be dew nor rain these years, but according to my word.
After many generations, James captured this event again to encourage us to know the power available to us through prayer. He wrote:
 Confess your faults one to another, and pray one for another, that ye may be healed. The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much. Elias was a man subject to like passions as we are, and he prayed earnestly that it might not rain: and it rained not on the earth by the space of three years and six months. And he prayed again, and the heaven gave rain, and the earth brought forth her fruit (James 5:16-18).
“Elias [Elijah] was a man subject to like passions as we are…” This statement is very crucial for consideration because it makes us understand that Elijah was human just like us —with weaknesses and shortcomings—yet he mightily used the power of prayer. The power of prayer is available to all. In contemporary Christian history, many of the revivals that have occurred were revivals birthed in prayer. The importance of prayer is also clearly evident in the fact that Jesus actually taught about it. Jesus in one of His prayer sessions was approached by a disciple who asked He teaches them how to pray (Luke 11:1-2). I believe this disciple has been observing Jesus praying. He has seen how when Jesus comes down from the mountains after every prayer session, He comes down with power; healing the sick, rebuking devils and raising the dead. He saw the difference in the life of Jesus compared to the other religious leaders who were religious, self-righteous and highly judgemental.

Prayer however, is not a magic wand that gets us everything (regardless of God’s will) we need. I can confidently state that God answers every prayer the believer prays, but not always according to what we think an answered prayer is. God’s answers to prayers I believe comes in three ways: Yes, No and Wait. This is where the conflict begins. Many of us approach God in prayer with a predetermined answer to our prayers at the back of our minds. In our prayers, we already have in our minds how our prayer should be answered. We want the answer to our prayer in our pattern. God, however, answers our prayers in His sovereignty according to His will not our wishes. Sometimes when we want to hear yes; God rather says no or wait. Other times when we want to hear no, He says yes. When God says yes to our prayers, He grants our specific request (Matthew 8:2-3).

When God says No; He means to tell us “I know what is best for you than you are asking.” God’s no is not denial. It is only a means by which God provides us with an alternative for our desires—the best and most perfect alternative. (2 Corinthians 12:7-9).When He says Wait, He intends to show His glory in our circumstance and to mature us in the process. “Delay is not denial”. (See John 11:1-6). Have faith, believe God for answered prayers and keep fervent in prayer. But understand that no matter how passionate, fervent and effectual you are in prayer; there are some things that are tied into the sovereignty of God, even prayer won’t change them. “…Our God is in the heaven; he does whatever pleases him” (Psalm 115:3 NIV).

After prayer, don’t struggle unnecessarily. Leave everything into God’s hands and let His sovereignty take care of your prayer. You are not the one to answer your prayer. Neither can you help God in answering your prayers. Yours is only to pray and keep believing. God is ready to hear you pray to Him and express your trust. Only call on Him and leave the how and results to Him.

God bless you!