“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” (James 5: 16-18).
“Prayer,” said C. Samuel Storms, “in and of itself possesses no power.” I was astounded by that statement, and I didn’t understand it until I read what Storms said next: “Prayer is powerful because God is powerful, and prayer is the means through which that divine power is released and channeled into our lives.” In other words, all the power in prayer is really God’s power, activated by prayer.
When you pray for another person, there is nothing that flows from you to them – no vibes, no force, no energy. Instead, your prayers go heavenward, and the power of God moves from him to the ones you pray for.
When the Bible says “prayer…is powerful and effective,” it means God acts powerfully and effectively through the prayers of his people. Prayer is the instrument by which God has chosen to have his power directed in the universe. Ole Hallesby provides something of a mental picture of how this works: “This power is so rich and so mobile that all we have to do when we pray is to point to the persons or things to which we desire to have this power applied, and He, the Lord of this power, will direct the necessary power to the desired place.” What a surprising arrangement – God partnering with human beings to accomplish his purposes!
R.A. Torrey, enthralled by the enormity of this power, states, “Prayer is the key that unlocks all the storehouses of God’s infinite grace and power. All that God is, and …has, is at the disposal of prayer. Prayer can do anything that God can do, and as God can do anything, prayer is omnipotent.”
Prayer can do what political action cannot, what education cannot, what military might cannot, and what planning committees cannot. All these are impotent by comparison.
Prayer can move mountains. It can change human hearts, families, neighborhoods, cities, and nations. It’s the ultimate source of power, because it is the power of Almighty God. This power is available to the humblest Christian. It was “a man just like us” (Elijah) who prayed “that it would not rain,” and God stopped the rain in Israel for three and a half years. Where will the power of your prayers be felt today?
Father, I give You praise for Your great power by which You move in this world and by which You govern the affairs of all people. Thank You for Your willingness to hear my prayers and direct Your power to places and persons through them. In Jesus’ Name I ask that You would help me to grow in my ability to become a powerful and effective pray-er!
–Adapted from Be Jesus in Your Neighborhood (Developing a Prayer, Care, Share Lifestyle in 30 Days) by Alvin VanderGriend. This book is available at prayershop.org. Use the code CONPSP3 at checkout to receive an additional 10% discount.
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Praise your God, who is the giver of all good gifts (Mt. 7:11). Thank him for his promise to give you “whatever you wish” (Jn. 15:7) if you remain in him. Confess times when you have failed to thank God for his many spiritual and temporal gifts to you. Commit yourself to imitating God’s generosity as you give to others and to God. Ask him to help you freely give as you have freely received (Mt. 10:8).
Pray that parents of small children will give of their time to their children while they are young. Ask that family time will be viewed as a sacred trust and not as a burden.
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