“I tell you the truth, anyone who has faith in me will do what I have been doing. He will do even greater things than these, because I am going to the Father. And I will do whatever you ask in my name, so that the Son may bring glory to the Father. You may ask me for anything in my name, and I will do it” (John 14:12–14).
I first heard the phrase “when we pray, God works” when I was visiting a “praying” church in Houston, Texas. I had spent the day learning everything I could about that church’s effective prayer ministry. I ended the day by interviewing the pastor and asking him what they were learning about prayer. I will never forget his answer. He said, what we learned is that “when we work, we work; when we pray, God works!”
“When we pray, God works!” What a simple way to describe intercessory prayer and to explain its purpose. Augustine wrote, “Prayer is to intercede for the well-being of others before God.” Prayer is God’s plan. God initiated intercession so He could work on earth in the way He wanted to, in response to prayer. By means of intercessory prayer He invites us to labor with him for the well-being of others.
Prayer did not happen because people wanted things from God and decided to plead with Him for them. Prayer is not a human strategy for acquiring things. Nobody thought it up. Intercessory prayer is God’s way of giving us a stake in His kingdom building work. He takes the initiative but involves us through prayer and our ministry activities. As we do our part—asking in His name and stepping out in ministry—He does His part.
–Adapted from Praying God’s Heart (Prayers that Make a Difference) by Alvin VanderGriend. This brand new resource will be available in the Fall at PrayerShop Bookstore.
Gracious Father, how amazing prayer is! I can’t even begin to comprehend that You desire to have a relationship with me! How humbling it is to know that people’s lives and situations can be changed because of the work You do in and through me. May the ministry I do on this earth be a continual reflection of Your grace and power, in Jesus’ Name!
Praise God for his power to do the miraculous. Give thanks for the miracle of Jesus being “conceived by the Holy Spirit and born of the virgin Mary.” Confess any difficulties in believing that he has done what the Scriptures say he has done. Commit to believing in God’s ability to do the miraculous in your life. Ask God to give you a bigger view of all that He is.
Pray that Christ will be lifted up in your local church, drawing all people to himself. Ask God to call true believers away from any false religious practices and out of false churches.
–Prayer Points taken from Patterns for Prayer by Alvin VanderGriend (Click on the blue title for more information about this resource).