For those of us who have followed Christ for a long time, it is easy to take for granted the access we have to the greatest power on earth. It is a power that is stronger than any government, army, technology, or nuclear device. It is the power of prayer. We tend to lose sight of how big our God is and pray small prayers. Let’s pause for a moment and consider what makes prayer so effectual and perhaps we will avail ourselves of this power and pray big, bold prayers. We don’t have the space here to explore all the reasons for prayer’s enormous power, but let’s explore five of those reasons using the letters of the word “POWER” to guide our thinking.
Reason #1 – in prayer we enter the PRESENCE of God. This thought should take our breath away and bring us to our knees. In prayer, ordinary, broken people like us have the blessing and privilege of entering the presence of the holy, sovereign, creator God! Old Testament people did not have that privilege. Only one man, the High Priest, was able to enter the Holy of Holies where God dwelt, and he was able to do it only once a year after he made a sacrifice. I often wondered if he was afraid as he stood outside the curtain that separated him from God’s presence. We don’t have to be afraid, because our sacrifice was the Son of God who declared, “It is finished!” and that temple curtain that separated man from God was torn in two from top to bottom, ushering us into God’s presence…what a profound gift of grace!
Reason #2 – prayer is where we can obey the command of Romans 12:1 and OFFER ourselves as living sacrifices. Every morning before we get out of bed, we can prayerfully give ourselves to God to be used in that day. We can ask Him to place people in our path with whom we can share the love and grace of God. We can offer Him our strengths, talents, and spiritual gifts (which are His gifts to us) as well as offer Him our weaknesses. He takes our offerings and uses them to bless others. Then at night, in prayer, we can offer Him praise and thanksgiving for the blessing of being used by Him to make a difference in the kingdom.
Reason #3 – prayer is where we can WRESTLE with God. By that I mean it is the place we can go to when life makes no sense, when we are in difficult circumstances that threaten to overwhelm or situations that are completely unfair. Prayer gives us an outlet to pour out our heart to God – even our anger and doubts – knowing we won’t be judged or pushed away. Rather, our Abba will let us rant and when we are done, He will enfold us in His love and remind us of His promises. In prayer we find a safe place to process that which threatens to crush us while we deal with whatever makes us so weary and discouraged.
Reason #4 – prayer is where we can access the ENABLING GRACE of God. Following Christ is not always easy, and life is not always trouble-free. Sometimes we face situations that seem like an unscalable rock wall or a deep wide chasm we can’t cross. But God assures us that He is able to bless us abundantly so that in all things, we have all we need so we can abound in every good work. Jesus told us that in this world we would have trouble, but He reminded us He has overcome the world and is able to give us the grace we need to not only survive, but to also thrive.
Reason #5 – Prayer is where we can REST in God’s promises. If there is one thing our culture needs, it is rest from the pressures to produce, succeed, or become. One of my favorite prayer practices is to pray scripture – especially when I am weary and not sure how to pray or what to pray for. Praying God’s promises assures us of His faithfulness and reminds us that we are not in control. He is. And He has a perfect plan if we but trust and rest.
May these reminders of what happens when we pray fill you anew with a passion to avail yourself of the greatest power on earth and pray big prayers, knowing you have a big God who loves you more than you will ever be able to comprehend. Remember, He longs to give you every good and perfect gift.
Praying Scripture Over Synod
Synod 2023 will be convening soon and those of us who are not delegates can still have an important part in Synod by praying for those who are in attendance. Scripture reminds us in James 5 that the prayers of a righteous person are powerful and effective. But how do we know what to pray for? One good way to pray when we are not sure what to pray is to pray scripture. Praying scripture is a prayer practice that assures us we are praying in God’s will. Below are suggested scriptures for each day of Synod to guide your prayers. If the Lord brings others scripture passages to your mind, include them in your prayers as well.
Thursday, June 8: Philippians 2:1-2, “Therefore if you have any encouragement from being united with Christ, if any comfort from his love, if any common sharing in the Spirit, if any tenderness and compassion, then make my joy complete by being like-minded, having the same love, being one in spirit and of one mind.”
Friday, June 9: Philippians 2:3-4, “Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others.”
Saturday, June 10: Matthew 20:26-28, “Not so with you. Instead, whoever wants to become great among you must be your servant, and whoever wants to be first must be your slave— just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.”
Sunday, June 11: Ephesians 4:2-3, “Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love. Make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace.”
Monday, June 12: James 1:19-20, “My dear brothers and sisters, take note of this: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry, because human anger does not produce the righteousness that God desires.”
Tuesday, June 13: Colossians 3:12-14, “Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience. Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone. Forgive as the Lord forgave you. And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity.”
Wednesday, June 14: John 13:34-35, “A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples if you love one another.”
Thursday, June 15: 1 John 4:7-8, “Dear friends, let us love one another, for love comes from God. Everyone who loves has been born of God and knows God. Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love.”
May God richly bless you as you bless others through your prayers. To God be the glory!