September 21, 2013
The Power of Prayer
Prayer is extremely important to one’s spiritual life, and to all other aspects of their lives too. In the bible, we are told to pray continually, on every occasion, for everyone, and earnestly (with a sincere heart). God wants to hear from us even though he already knows everything that is going on in our lives, because he wants to know we trust him to change things about ourselves, our loved ones, our lives, and the lives of others enough to pray in faith that he will make the changes that need to be made. Ephesians 6:18 says, “Pray in the Spirit at all times and on every occasion. Stay alert and be persistent in your prayers for all believers everywhere.” Now this particular verse tells us to pray for all believers everywhere, but we should pray for everyone, including non-believers because you never know, your prayer could help turn their life around for the better and bring them to the Lord and then they could become a believer. Prayer really works! Never underestimate the power of a sincere prayer asked in faith.
Prayer is for our benefit, because when we pray we are telling God, “I have a big problem, but I know you are bigger than it and I am trusting you to take care of it for me and to work things out in my favor,” or in the favor of whoever you are praying for. When we give God our worries, he promises in return to give us peace of mind. Philippians 4:6-7 says, “Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done. Then you will experience God’s peace, which exceeds anything we can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus.” When we pray earnestly, we have the power help change a situation from bad to good because we are releasing our faith, and the power God has given us through speech. Our words have power. When we use our words to pray for a situation to get better, and we believe that it will get better and we sincerely want it to happen, then that gives God the green light he needs to go to work on our behalf to actually turn the situation around. The Apostle James tells us in James 5:16, “Confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The earnest prayer of a righteous person has great power and produces wonderful results.” The key is to pray with a sincere heart, and in faith that you have received what you prayed for (Mark 11:24) and to make sure that what you are praying for does not go against God’s character or his will. For example, say you have a friend who has fallen ill and you pray from your heart that they get better and you believe God will do it because you believe he can and that he wants to do it, then you could help heal your sick friend because of your faith and sincerity.
Is there someone you know of, and maybe even care about, struggling with a drug problem? Is a loved one sick (whether it be with the flu or terminally ill)? Know someone struggling with finances, or in a relationship? Are you the one struggling with a problem? Pray to God about it, whether the prayer is for something going on in your life or in someone else’s. If you will pray with the amount of faith as small as a mustard seed, and you genuinely want what your praying for to happen and believe it will happen, then as soon as you first pray to God about the situation that needs changing, he will go to work to bring about the positive changes that you are praying for.
Whatever you are going through, don’t give up. If it is a friend or loved one going through a difficult time, don’t give up on them and encourage them not to give up on themselves or on God. Remind yourself, your friends, and your loved ones that God is in control and will work things out in your favor (or theirs) if you (or they) stand firm in faith. If you are praying for a non-believer, you can still encourage them not to give up hope and still pray for them and for their situation. Just remember, when you pray for a non-believer and their situation to include the prayer that they will turn to the Lord so they may be saved and have eternal life. Miracles happen when you believe and refuse to lose hope and refuse to waver in your faith in God no matter how hopeless the situation appears to be. God may answer you right away, or he may answer at a later point in time. You need to trust his timing and keep believing that the situation you are praying for will change for the better. This is why we are told to be persistent in our prayers. However, you must also believe that God started going to work to turn the situation you are praying for around from the moment you first started praying a particular prayer for a specific situation you want or need to see changed, whether it be in your life or someone else’s.
Remember that Jesus healed many who were sick, demon-possessed, had leprosy, were blind, mute, deaf – Jesus healed them all no matter what they needed healing from. And Jesus used that same mighty power to raise Lazarus from the dead in John 11. God also raised Jesus from the dead 3 days after he was crucified on the cross, which Jesus willingly did to save us all from our sins and Jesus raised him from the dead so we could have a right relationship with God through him. And this same power that healed many when Jesus was here in human form, and the same power that raised him from the dead can heal you, your loved ones, and all situations no matter how hopeless it looks. Jesus died for us because he loved us and he still loves us today, so when we bring our problems to him today in earnest prayer, then we are unleashing his power on the situations that need changing and he will faithfully do what we pray for using his name, as long as you don’t pray for him to do something that goes against his nature or God’s will. When you are praying, speak from your heart and God will understand and he will help you or the person you are praying for who needs the help. Don’t ever believe the situation you want to see changed is beyond help because that is the enemy lying to you. The truth is that God wants all of his children to live long, happy, healthy, prosperous lives. When something isn’t right in his child’s world, he wants to fix it but he can’t turn the situation around without permission. When you pray, you are giving God permission to go to work to change the situation for the better. While you are waiting for God to answer your prayers, think what you can learn from the situation. God only allowed you or the person you are praying for to go through the situation that needs changing because he wanted to test and purify your faith and give you a chance to grow and give you a strong character who can withstand trials and tribulations without falling apart and wavering in faith. Everyone has moments of weakness, but the important thing is that you get back up again and believe that God is still by your side and that he will work things out in yours or your loved ones’ favor. When you are weak, remember God is your strength and lean on him. Remind the people in your life who are also believers of this too so that they don’t give up and throw in the towel. Prayer really does work! There is power in earnest prayers asked in faith. Remember prayers you prayed to God in the past that he answered. Your best days are not behind you, they are ahead of you and the same is true of your friends and loved ones and for everyone else in your life too. Surely God brought victory to you in the past, and now he is going to give you even greater victory in your future. He will do more than you could ask for or imagine (Ephesians 3:20), when you stay in faith, refuse to give up, and persevere.
When you are done praying for whatever you or the person you are praying for needs, remember to thank God for all he has already done and thank him that he is working behind the scenes to change the situation you are currently praying for as if he has already brought the change to pass. This will please God because you are giving him praise and you are telling him you have faith in his power and in his promises. Praising God when you pray reminds you that God is Awesome and has already done amazing things for you and it also brings honor and glory to him when you remember what he has already done for you and believe he will continue to help you and to bless you and honor your prayers and answer in the affirmative. Your prayers can turn someone else’s life around and it can turn your life around when you need it. When God has answered your prayer, remember to thank him for it and to give him the glory and honor he deserves, and tell others about it. Tell others of the mighty things he has done for you so that he can receive even more glory and honor, and so that you can spread hope that God does still perform miracles today when you believe and don’t give up hope, pray sincerely, and stand firm in your faith.