"Pray without ceasing." 1 Thessalonians 5:17
Recently I was asked if I would speak to a group on the subject of prayer. I told the caller I was honored to be asked, but needed time to pray before I agreed. I am passionate about prayer, and welcome the opportunity to share on the subject, but I would be careless to agree to speak on it without first spending time in prayer.
Several years ago I spoke at a youth retreat on the subject. It is the power tool of Christianity, yet we often use it carelessly or incorrectly. So much bad press has come from the "name it claim it" attitude on prayer. We need to remember God is NOT the drive through window where we simply pull up and order what we want. He is the Creator of all things and Omnipotent, knowing what is best for all. To have the cavalier attitude of telling Him what He should give us is careless. Many years ago He revealed my careless attitude as I was praying for something I wanted. In my minds eye I saw myself as the gum chomping teenager popping into her Father's sutdy, demanding what I thought I was due. Just as my own dad would look over the top of his glasses when I was pushing the limits, I saw my heavenly Father gaze at me with deep love, but eyes that cautioned I should remember who I was addressing. It was a humbling moment for which I've been deeply grateful to have experienced.
Prayer is power. It is the tool that empowers us to connect to the resources of the Most High God, and reap the benefits of His power and might. It is something that shouldn't be regarded lightly or used carelessly. I love the account in 2 Chronicles 20 when King Jehosophat was told that "a great multitude" was coming against his people. He was afraid, yet "set himslf to seek the LORD." He knew he was powerless against the armies coming against Judah, but also recognized the greater power of turning to God for help. As the record shows, God intervened and the armies coming against Judah destroyed one another.
Fast forward to Acts 12 when Peter was imprisoned in a Roman prison, chained between two guards. Yet "constant prayer was offered to God for him by the church." (Acts 12:5) An angel of the Lord stood by him and told him to "Arise quickly" and the chains fell off his hands. Although Peter thought he was seeing a vision, he followed the angel past the first and second guard posts to the iron gate that lead to the city "which opened to them of its own accord" where they went out and the angel departed from him. Coming to himself, Peter realized the Lord had sent His angel to deliver him. Once he realized he was out of prison he went to the house of Mary "where many were gathered together praying."
I have seen God answer prayer countless times beyond my limited thinking. He has demonstrated a faithfulness that captures my soul with love, even when the answer for my request has been "no".
As I prepare to speak on the subject, I am once again awed at the magnitude of His Omnipotence and grace. To think that He loves each of us who are called His children to endow us with the power of heaven, is more than my finite mind can grasp. And yet, it is there for me to use if I am courageous enough to learn at His feet.
Indeed.. prayer is power. It enables all who are willing to enter into a place of intamacy with God that is beyond human comprehension but a transforming blessing to our souls.
Enter into His presence with awe and wonder. You will never be the same once you have been touched by His power and grace.