“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.
Praise Jesus for the depth of his redeeming love, which sent him to the cross for you (Gal. 2:20). Thank him for dying on your behalf. Confess any lack of love you feel toward a brother or sister. Commit yourself to remaining in Jesus’ love by keeping his commandments (Jn. 15:10). Ask God to show his love to you in new ways today.
Ask that the redeeming love of God will come gently to an unsaved person you know. Ask God to reveal a glimpse of his unconditional love through you.
“Nothing lies beyond the reach of prayer except that which lies beyond the will of God.” —Anonymous
–Prayer Points taken from Patterns for Prayer by Alvin VanderGriend
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“But in your hearts set apart Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect” (1 Peter 3:15).
Lord, prepare our hearts to tell others about You! There are so many hungry people out there asking questions. Give us boldness to tell others what You have done in our lives. Help us to always be prepared to reach people for Jesus as we celebrate the coming of the Christ Child.
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Connection (Devotions for Everyday Life) © 2013 is published daily by Harvest Prayer Ministries.