Power of Prayer
Greetings to you all.
I pray that you each are well and blessed.
I am a homebody. It is nice to get away. But it is also nice to return home. I always wish my vacation was longer, yet as I drive home, I am continually desiring to get home. I am looking forward to getting home. I think most of you understand what I mean by this. Traveling and vacations are nice. But there really is no place like home. Imagine that our homeless friends have no concept of this feeling. Yet there is one feeling that is similar that they can hopefully relate to.
The feeling that I get when I pick up the Bible just to read. I feel this way in the Word of God just the same as I feel heading home from vacation. My prayer is that we can share this comfortable feeling with each other through our fellowship and community together. Maybe pass it on to the homeless that we meet. Anyway, just a thought.
We will continue today, and for just a few more weeks in our study of Dr. M.R. DeHaan’s book The Chemistry of Prayer.
This book has been a blessing to me, as I hope it has for you. We finished up a few weeks back on the Elements of Prayer. Today we will look at the Power of Prayer.
In the beginning of our look into the science of prayer we studied the model prayer that the Lord Jesus gave to his disciples when they asked him, “Lord, teach us to pray”.
Today we will look at the unlimited power of believing prayer. You heard that right, the unlimited power of believing prayer. Your prayer power is equal to your belief. In other words, your faith powers your prayers. Jesus said in Luke 11:9-10,
“So I say to you: Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives; those who seek find, and to those who knock, the door will be opened.”
I am not heading into the name it, claim it realm here. Prayer is not a matter of forcing God, or coercing God, or fooling God into doing things for us. It is rather a coming to God in absolute faith that what we need will be given to us in answer to our prayers. This took me years to learn and understand.
The Lord always answers believing prayer. He never fails when we come in faith to him. However, the Lord does not always answer our prayers in the same way or in the way that we desire or anticipate. In fact, God rarely answers prayers the way I think they should be answered. I now realize that's probably a good thing. I have learned that I do not want God's job. But our faith is the key to the power of our prayer life. Hebrews 11:6,
“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.”
God is infinitely wise and sometimes finds it necessary to answer our petitions in the negative and say to us, “No, my child, what you ask for is not good for you, so I will have to refuse your request”. In heaven, you will understand the reason for this answer.
As parents and grandparents, we all understand the refusing of requests that are not good for our children and grandchildren. We love them too much to let them have anything that might hurt them.
This is how the heavenly Father deals with each of us. He knows what we need and what is best for us. Things that don't match up with His plan for our life, are not a priority as we may feel they are. He sometimes refuses the very thing that we want the most. He makes us weep by his refusal of our petition, just like we make our children weep when we refuse their request. As adults, we don't cry, but many of us whine, bellyache and pout.
I was angry at God for thirty years, because he did not answer my prayer to save my mother from cancer. She died from the cancer within her. It took me thirty years to understand that God didn’t kill her, God didn’t allow her to die, that God was not punishing me by her death, but that ultimately, God healed her. God took her home with him, and as he did, he healed her completely from cancer.
Are you grieving today over an unanswered prayer from God, like I did. Please don’t let this hurt your relationship with God. Believe that his plan is best. Believe that God knows what’s best for you. Remember, that if we ask anything according to His will it shall be given. Then trust him and rest in His decision.
There are three answers to prayer: Yes, no, wait-keep praying.
Over these last few weeks we have looked at the negative and positive elements of prayer. We have looked at some of the things that Jesus taught the disciples NOT to do when they prayed. They were NOT to be like the hypocrites and NOT to follow their example of long, meaningless prayers. In addition, they were not to pray as the heathen do, whose prayers consist of the vain repetition of meaningless phrases and expressions.
Prayer is more than just repeating certain words. Prayer is not magic and we are not casting spells. Prayer is the breath of our soul. Prayer is the vital communication link between our soul and God Himself through our Lord Jesus Christ and His Holy Spirit. James 1:5-7,
“If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you. But when you ask, you must believe and not doubt, because those who doubt are like a wave of the sea, blown and tossed by the wind. That person should not think that they will receive anything from the Lord; they are double-minded, unstable in all they do.”
This is the first hindrance to our prayer life. We do not ask in faith. It was Jesus himself who told the blind and the mute, “According to your faith will it be done to you'' (Matt 9:29).
Herein lies the main reason that our prayers are not answered. It is because we do not expect them to be answered. As soon as we stop praying we continue worrying and fretting about the very thing that we prayed about. Take this word from a believer that used to be a worrier and a fretter, stop it. Pray and believe and get on with your life. James 4:2-3,
“You want something but don’t get it. You kill and covet, but you cannot have what you want. You quarrel and fight. You do not have because you do not ask God. When you ask, you do not receive, because you ask with the wrong motives, that you may spend what you get on your pleasures.”
Stop focusing on self and start focusing on Him and His will for you. The object and purpose of prayer should always be The Glory of God in the will of God. Too often we want our way and not God’s way. This will limit the power of your prayer life to nil. Selfish motives and desires are naturally going to destroy your prayer life. James 5:16,
“Therefore, confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed (of your sinfulness). The prayer of a righteous individual is powerful and effective.”
Here is a novel teaching in today’s world, sin hinders prayer. If you have an unconfessed sin, it will hinder your prayer life. Before there can be an effectual and fervent prayer there must be a confession of faults. It does not have to be public, but it must be to God. I have stated that I believe that this is the biggest need within the Church today. Pastors are not confessing, therefore church communities are not confessing. How little confession that there is among Christians in church. We must learn to say these difficult words: “I have sinned. Please forgive me Lord.”
Is there something in your heart today that is contrary to God’s will? Maybe something that you know that God has been dealing with you about? Stop Praying. You are wasting your time. Get right with the Lord and confess your faults. Then get back to praying.
Another reason why God does not answer some prayers is because God expects us to answer them ourselves. There are some prayers that we are to answer and God will turn a deaf ear to all such petitions. Do not ask God to do anything for you that you can do yourself. Be a good steward of the spiritual gifts and talents that God has given to you.
Finally, 1 Peter 3:7,
"Husbands, in the same way be considerate as you live with your wives, and treat them with respect as the weaker partner and as heirs with you of the gracious gift of life, so that nothing will hinder your prayers.”
This is a hindrance to prayer that has been overlooked by many. Do we even need to discuss the need for harmony in our marriages and harmony in the family? Men need to be responsible for the spiritual foundations of their own homes. Too often, over the last few decades, men have tapped out spiritually from the leadership and relationship building required of a husband and a father. This directly affects the power of a person’s prayer. An inconsistent family life leads to an inconsistent prayer life. Our culture and spiritual maturity as a nation has declined due to the collapse of the family in our society.
The power of our prayer life is directly related to the level of our faith and the quality of our relationship with God. The more in tune we are with God’s will for our lives the more likely we are to ask for the things that will allow us to bear fruit for God’s glory. I cannot encourage you enough to confess your sins daily. Pray for your spouse and family, encourage and bless them.
Then, ask, and it shall be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you.
Do no harm, do good, and stay in love with God.
and Harmony UMC