It’s clear from Scripture that prayer makes a difference. When Moses stood on a hillside and prayed for Joshua and the armies of Israel, prayer made the difference between victory and defeat (Exodus 17:8-16). When Elijah prayed on Mount Carmel, prayer made the difference between drought and rain (1 Kings 18:41-45; James 5:17-18). Prayer is the means by which believers are able to accomplish great works for God (John 14:12-14). Prayer is the means by which God’s power is released in this world (James 5:16). Yes! Prayer makes a difference.
Prayer was the key factor in building the church, too. The first disciples “all joined together constantly in prayer” (Acts 1:14) as the foundations of the church were laid. Paul later instructed believers, “Devote yourselves to prayer” (Colossians 4:2). And in the face of the devil’s schemes, he pleaded that they “pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests” (Ephesians 6:18).
Prayer is the foundational factor in bringing the blessing to our world and bringing people to Christ. “I urge, then, first of all,” commands Paul, “that requests, prayers, intercession and thanksgiving be made for everyone.” The result is transformation of society—people living “peaceful and quiet lives”—and salvation of the lost—persons “saved and [coming] to a knowledge of the truth” (1 Timothy 2:1-4).
Why isn’t payer making a greater difference in North America today? Perhaps it’s because so few of us really understand the importance of prayer. We do not see prayer as the key factor in building the church or changing the world. We are so self-confident and “sufficient in ourselves” that we neglect prayer and attempt to do things for God in our own way and in our own strength. Of course, we’d like God to bless our efforts, so we add a little prayer, seeking his support. But that isn’t God’s way. His way involves earnest, constant, devoted, striving, powerful prayer. That’s what makes a real difference in the world around us.
All-Powerful King Jesus, how Your heart must be grieved that Your people in this nation have not given themselves fully to seeking Your face! We look to our own strength, find answers in other places and allow ourselves to be satisfied with less than all that You are! Forgive us, Lord! Draw us close and return our hearts to the truth of Your Word and the power that lies in You alone. Protect us from the false idols that we have set up without even realizing how they lead us into weakness rather than into Your strength and power. Open our blinded eyes to see You more fully so that our lives can be transformed into Christlikeness! May we gain a fresh understanding of the power that brings blessing into our world and leads people to You!
–Adapted from Shine His Light: A Simple Way to Pray, Care and Share Jesus in Your Neighborhood 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 the prayer-hearing God that his ear is attentive to your prayers. Give thanks for the privilege of coming into God’s presence and conversing with him through prayer. Confess any personal failure in your prayer life that you are aware of. Commit yourself to being a faithful intercessor. Ask that God will strengthen your prayer life and help you to pray in the Spirit with all kinds of prayer, on all occasions, for all God’s people (Eph. 6:18).
Pray that your church’s leaders—pastors, elders, deacons, and others— may be filled with the Spirit and be effective in the ministries to which they are called.
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