THE POWER AND THE PRAYER
Mark 11:24 (NASB)
I was talking with a Christian friend the other day and the subject of prayer came up. "I want you to know," my friend said, "I believe in the power of prayer." I know exactly what he meant to say, and I agree with what he meant. I do not agree, however, that there is power in prayer. I also know that many of you are now scratching your heads. "What kind of pastor doesn't believe in prayer!!?" Please, put the torches and pitchforks away. Let me explain.
Sure, there is power associated with prayer. The power is not resident in the words we speak, however; the power is resident in the one to whom we pray. When prayers are answered --and they are-- it is because of the power of God, not because of any virtue in the prayer itself, or even in the one who prays. If prayer itself, the act of praying I mean, was the source of power, then it would make no difference to whom the prayer was directed. One could pray to their refrigerator and expect results. As foolish as this sounds, I can tell you that even as you read these words there are countless prayers being offered to objects as lifeless and unresponsive as your refrigerator. Yes, there are still idols in the world and there are still people who pray to them; devout, but spiritually empty and useless prayers. Consider Ps. 115:1-8.
True prayers are an expression of one's faith in God and in His ability to keep His promises. When we cry out in prayer, whether it be in praise or in desperation, we are reaching out to a true and living God who hears and cares and powerfully responds. If this were not so, prayer would be useless. Praise God that He has given us — unworthy though we may be — access to His throne of grace through Christ, our Savior!
Consider the following steps to effective and biblical prayer:
· Abide in Christ and let His Word abide in you. (Jn. 15:4, 7)
· Pray according to God's will. (Matt. 6:9-10)
· Let the Holy Spirit direct your prayers. (Eph. 6:18a; Rom. 8:26-27)
· Have faith in the faithfulness and power of God. (Matt. 21:21-22; Mk. 11:22-23)
· Be persistent in prayer--don't give up! (Lk. 11:5-10)
· Be bold in prayer. (Heb. 4:14-16)
· Be a doer of the Word so you can pray in obedience. (1 Jn. 3:21-22)
· Pray in Jesus' name--by His authority. (Jn. 14:12-14)
Pastor Keith Andrews