Sadly, some believe in prayer as a principle but not as a power. They have never seen it work, and they do not think it ever will. They can recite and repeat the prayer “formula” without forethought. They can say the right words, in the right way, without using too much time. Brethren, I fear that prayer has been pushed aside, rushed and even removed from its proper place. In our age of fast food and drive-through windows, many are not willing to put the needed time into their prayer life (1 Thess. 5:17). It is viewed as a mere inconvenience that slows one down from getting to sleep or eating a meal. If we are not experiencing the power of prayer, maybe we are not giving the right answers to the following questions.
Are we asking God in hope of getting an answer? “If ye abide in me, and my words abide in you, ye shall ask what ye will, and it shall be done unto you” (John 15:7). If we turn on our wireless devise and it does not work, we do not declare that there are no such things as wireless signals in the air. We assume something is wrong, something we can find and correct. We check the battery, switch and settings until we discover what is blocking the flow of this powerful energy that transmits the data. How many wireless signals are in the room wherein we sit? Why do they fail to connect? Sometimes we are not picking up the signals because when we pray, we are not tuned to God’s answer. We must be looking for and be ready and willing to receive whatever data God sends.
Are we treating prayer as transformational?
False witnesses did rise up; they laid to my charge things that I knew not. They rewarded me evil for good to the spoiling of my soul. But as for me, when they were sick, my clothing was sackcloth: I humbled my soul with fasting; and my prayer returned into mine own bosom. I behaved myself as though he had been my friend or brother: I bowed down heavily, as one that mourneth for his mother. (Ps. 35:11-14)
How do we bless your enemies? How do we rejoice in persecution? Pray! Prayer is the central avenue God uses to transform. It helps us look sinners in the face and see their soul. It bridles our carnal man and allows our spiritual man to flourish. To pray is to change!
Are we “bold” when we pray? “Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need” (Heb. 4:16). One of the most astonishing characteristics of Jesus’ prayers is that when praying for others, He never concluded by saying “…if it be thy will.” The apostles never prayed, “If it be thy will” when praying for others. The prophets never prayed, “If it be thy will” when praying for others. One author wrote, “Their prayers were so positive that they often took the form of an authoritative command….” When supplicating on behalf of others, there is no room for indecisive, tentative, and half-hoping, “Lord, help sister _______ overcome this terrible illness, if that is what you want.” Prayer is what we deeply desire and therefore we should beg, beseech and be bold before our Father.
Are we using prayer as a defense against temptation? The psalmist prayed, “Remove from me the way of lying: and grant me thy law graciously” (Ps. 119:29). When struggling with sin, do we fight it or pray about it? Do we use will power or prayer power? Prayer is one of the most powerful weapons against seduction and sin. I sincerely ask, “Do we ever ask God to remove a temptation from before us?” Jesus did! “Watch and pray, that ye enter not into temptation: the spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak” (Matt. 26:41).
These are just a few examples of how we can access the power of prayer. Perhaps we can go to heaven without mastering every Christian tool, but in my humble opinion, no one will ever reach heaven without learning how to use the power of prayer! Prayer is to religion what deep research is to science; it is a deep learning about God and about our own spirit. It is both a privilege and a power for New Testament Christians.