Tap Into the Power of Prayer
The power of prayer should not be underestimated. James 5:16 declares, “…The prayer of a righteous man is powerful and effective.”
Elijah was a man just like us. He prayed earnestly that it would not rain, and it did not rain on the land for three-and-a-half years. Again, he prayed, and the heavens gave rain, and the earth produced its crops (1 Kings 17:1-7, 18:41-44; James 5:17-18).
God most definitely listens to prayers, answers prayers, and moves in response to prayers. But, how do we tap into the power of those prayers, in order to get an answer?
Jesus taught, “I tell you the truth, if you had faith even as small as a mustard seed, you could say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there’ and it would move. Nothing would be impossible,” Matthew 17:20 (NLT). This is a metaphor using a mountain to represent your problems, meaning regardless of the size of your problem, you can move them when you pray, even with just a small amount of faith.
In 2 Corinthians 10:4-5 (NLT), it tells us, “We use God’s mighty weapons, not worldly weapons, to knock down the strongholds of human reasoning and to destroy false arguments. We destroy every proud obstacle that keeps people from knowing God. We capture their rebellious thoughts and teach them to obey Christ.”
The Bible urges us, in Ephesians 6:18-20 (NLT), “Pray in the Spirit at all times and on every occasion. Stay alert and be persistent in your prayers for all believers everywhere. And pray for me, too. Ask God to give me the right words so I can boldly explain God’s mysterious plan that the Good News is for Jews and Gentiles alike. I am in chains now, still preaching this message as God’s ambassador. So pray that I will keep on speaking boldly for him, as I should.”
These are but a few biblical references to help guide us into learning to tap into the power of prayer. However, the power of prayer is not the result of the person praying. Rather, the power resides in the God who is being prayed to.
The Bible also reminds us in 1 John 5:14-15 (NLT) that we can have confidence in approaching God, “that he hears us whenever we ask for anything that pleases him. And since we know he hears us when we make our requests, we also know that he will give us what we ask for.”
When we pray passionately and purposefully, according to God’s will, God responds powerfully!
Many people would tell you that prayer is when you come together for a prayer meeting and you usher in that presence. I would say to you what Paul said, that we are to pray without ceasing (1 Thessalonians 5:17).
Now, it would be hard to pray without ceasing in the manner in which some people consider prayer. What is often paraded as prayer can really be artificial and pretentious.
“Beware of these teachers of religious law! For they like to parade around in flowing robes and love to receive respectful greetings as they walk in the marketplaces. And how they love the seats of honor in the synagogues and the head table at banquets. Yet they shamelessly cheat widows out of their property and then pretend to be pious by. Making long prayers in public. Because of this, they will be severely punished,” Luke 20:46-47 (NLT).
Let me encourage you by saying this: Prayer is not the position of the body but the position of the heart.
In God’s Word, we are encouraged to come boldly to Him, and yet to be humble at the same time. In turn, He promises He will hear us, give us forgiveness, grace and mercy, and also lift us up.
“So let us come boldly to the throne of our gracious God. There we will receive his mercy, and we will find grace to help us when we need it most,” Hebrews 4:16 (NLT).
“So humble yourselves before God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. Come close to God, and God will come close to you… So humble yourselves under the mighty power of God, and at the right time he will lift you up in honor,” James 4:7-8, 1 Peter 5:6 (NLT).
“Then if my people who are called by my name will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, I will hear from heaven and will forgive their sins and restore their land. My eyes will be open and my ears attentive to every prayer made in this place. For I have chosen this Temple and set it apart to be holy – a place where my name will be honored forever. I will always watch over it, for it is dear to my heart,” 2 Chronicles 7:14-16 (NLT).
Can you imagine what would happen if God’s people would begin to pray?
Know to Whom You Are Praying
“For all who are led by the Spirit of God are children of God. So you have not received a spirit that makes you fearful slaves. Instead, you received God’s Spirit when he adopted you as his own children. Now we call him, “Abba, Father,” Romans 8:14-15 (NLT).
I love this verse, because often people want to make God more complex. Yet, Paul says we have received the spirit of adoption, whereby we cry Abba. This is a term in our modern language that is one of the first words a baby learns, Daddy!
We get excited when our child learns to call us Daddy. How often, then, after your child began to call you Dad, did you correct them? Did I ever say, “That’s not really my name. My name is Jason E. McKinnies, son of Michael E. McKinnies, grandson of Cecil E. McKinnies!” No!
To this day, my girls call me Dad, or Daddy. They will continue to call me that because that is the relationship we have. It doesn’t need to get more complex than that.
Why, then, in the spiritual sense, do we feel the need to graduate to the formal when talking with God? We are his children. He is our Father. It doesn’t need to change.
Keep it simple. Enjoy the simplicity of Christ.
“Instead, God chose things the world considers foolish in order to shame those who think they are wise. And he chose things that are powerless to shame those who are powerful. God chose things despised by the world, things counted as nothing at all, and used them to bring to nothing what the world considers important. As a result, no one can ever boast in the presence of God,” 1 Corinthians 1:27-29 (NLT).
How was Eve seduced? Not by being offered a sip or a peek or a puff, but by the potential to be more spiritual. So, too, false teachers came into the Corinthian congregation, saying that Paul’s teaching was too simple, that there was something deeper they needed to explore and experience.
Many people present a picture of prayer as one of coming into God’s presence. Once we are in, or “have ushered in God presence,” we then spend a whole lot of time talking and trying to convince God of so much.
Many folks won’t pray until we have gained access into His presence.
That seems complex and downright tiring. We act as if we have to whip the church into a frenzy before we can pray. Gather the worshipers! Gather the praisers! We are going to usher in the presence of God!
Let me ask you a simple question: If you have to usher in the presence of God, then where have you been living? Outside of His presence!
God’s presence is not a destination, or a place that I go, or something that I have to usher in. God’s presence is where I live. I live in the presence of God. The absence of God would mean that I am separated from Him, and I am not separated from Him.
As a matter of Scripture, we simply are in God’s presence.
“For in him we live and move and exist,” Acts 17:28 (NLT).
As children of God, we are in God’s presence. So speak to Him. Call on Him.
Near the turn of the century, a little boy, walking along the Mississippi River, saw an old man on the bank and began to chat with him. Suddenly, the little boy saw the majestic riverboat, the River Queen, making her way down the river. As the boat drew closer, the little boy stood up and began to shout at the top of his lungs, “Let me ride! Let me ride!”
The old man looked at him, smiled, and said, “Sit down, sonny. That riverboat’s not going to stop for you.” Then, to the old man’s amazement, the mighty River Queen did indeed slow down and pull up to the bank. As the little boy ran up the gangplank into the arms of the awaiting captain, the old man heard him utter two words that explained it all: “Hi, Dad!”
That’s the way it is with us. “God’s not going to answer you,” say the old men in our lives. “He’s too busy. He’s got elections to oversee and famines to figure out.” Not true. Any of us who have little children know that the cry of our children has precedence over anything else we do. The same is true of God.
Know Who it is you’re talking to, praying to. God, your heavenly Dad. And you have access to Him at all times. Therefore, let’s just talk to our Dad, in simple terms. What a blessing to be able to speak to God in that way.
After all, that’s what He wants.
What is Prayer For?
All prayer is for the glory of the Lord.
“Let them all praise the name of the LORD. For his name is very great; his glory towers over the earth and heaven!” Psalm 148:13 (NLT)
Every prayer request and every situation you have ever encountered is a means by which God can reveal His glory. These situations are an opportunity for God to reveal Himself to you. When God answers your prayer request, He is revealing that part of Himself to you. You now know God in that measure. You, yourself, were even created for His glory.
“Bring all who claim me as their God, for I have made them for my glory. It was I who created them.” Isaiah 43:7 (NLT)
The word glory is often used, but in the Hebrew it’s a word that carries great weight. It carries the majesty and importance of God. As you read the Bible, you will see the “glory of the Lord” phrase used often. These are the moments when a glimpse of who God really is, has been revealed. These are also the moments when there is a visible awesomeness, and evidence, of the power of Almighty God.
God has all power and authority. What we are describing is when we encounter a portion, just a miniscule amount of who He is we say, “the glory of the Lord was in that place.”
When we say that God is revealing His glory, we are saying that God is unwrapping, unveiling a measure, or a part, of His holiness, purity, power, or His lovingkindness to us in that moment we pray for a distinct answer.
You come to know Him as Healer (2 Kings 20:5, Hezekiah) when you are sick, have prayed, and God heals.
You come to know Him as Sustainer (Psalm 54:4, David’s prayer of Deliverance) when you feel like you’re falling, and then God lifts you and holds you up.
You come to know Him as Wise (1 Corinthians 1:25) when you need an answer and He provides that answer.
You come to know Him as He is, based on what requests you have made, due to the situations you have encountered. Therefore, to know Him, and to have His glory revealed, comes through the experiences of your life.
I believe that’s the why the old timers would say, “He gets sweeter, as the days go by.” It’s through their lives, and the trials and tribulations of their lives, that God was revealed more and more. The more that was revealed, the more they loved Him.
God reveals Himself in ways that we can handle. We couldn’t handle all His glory, so He reveals Himself in part. God unveils Himself, showing you who He is.
Look at Abraham. God told him to offer his only son Isaac (Gen 22). At this point, Abraham knew God as Creator, as a Guide, and as a Faithful Promise Keeper.
Now, in the request, Abraham is about to have more of God revealed. We have rehearsed, even in the last few days, Abraham’s obedience to God’s request.
In Abraham’s response to His servants, we can see that he had faith that they both would return down the mountain. Abraham, no doubt, trusted that God would resurrect his son of promise (Hebrews 11:9). However, God was revealing something else.
When the Angel of the Lord stopped Abraham from sacrificing his son, and the ram was in the thicket, God revealed Himself as the Provider.
God had kept this part of Himself back from Abraham, but in the perfect moment God shows up and reveals Himself to Abraham in a new way. He is Jehovah Jireh; God, our Provider.
Throughout the trials, prayers, and turbulence of your life, what is God trying to reveal to you?
Maybe the question is, what do you need God to reveal to you?
The prayer is, “Lord, show me Your glory!”
When God answered Abraham, we are shown the proper response to an answered prayer, or God’s glory being revealed: It’s worship.
In Psalm 138:5 (NLT), David instructed us, “Yes, they will sing about the LORD’s ways, for the glory of the LORD is very great.”
The apostle Paul told us, “All of this is for your benefit. And as God’s grave reaches more and more people, there will be great thanksgiving, and God will receive more and more glory” 2 Corinthians 4:15 (NLT).
When God answers prayers, we should not only tell others, we should also worship. In doing so, we not only receive blessings… we also show more of His glory.