The Power of Prayer

Disclaimer: This post is from the archives, and may not represent the current views of the author. It also may not be at all interesting to read. Continue at your own peril!

I’m not sure what to write about today. I already talked about what I did yesterday in the last entry, so I’m fresh out of days about which to write. I mean, that doesn’t mean I can’t write about anything, but it cuts down on the number of options I have. Work last night was alright; it was fairly busy, and I saw lots of people I knew. There was a group of losers from Central there (I say they’re losers because they’re friends with me), as well as Lars and I think Mark by themselves, though they’re from Central as well. I also saw Jenelle, who used to work at Quizno’s when I did, and we talked for a few seconds – I couldn’t talk for long just because it was busy. She told me about the Quizno’s party that I missed, and I said that Kim had told me. But apparently they’re having another one, so perhaps I can come to that one. The only thing that I’d have a problem with is if there’s drinking there. However, since they all liked me when I was there, I think they’d respect me enough to not try to shove it in my face or something stupid like that.

It was raining yesterday; quite windy as well. I was watching TV when suddenly the signal started breaking up. It was really annoying. Eventually it just cut out entirely, so I turned it off and went upstairs. I’m glad I did, though. I’ve been reading through Every Young Man’s Battle again lately. We read it in homeroom at school last year, but since it was stretched out over the entire year, it didn’t have the same effect. It’s a good book, and really helpful, so I decided a while ago to read through it again, highlighting and underlining where necessary as well. I prayed for a little while as well, after reading a chapter or two and mulling it over in my mind. I have to go out and buy Wild at Heart soon, but since I’ll likely read that along with the rest of the guys in the Bible study so it’s fresh in my mind to talk about, I’ll still have a chance to finish off Every Young Man’s Battle as well.

A funny habit that I’ve started lately is to pray while in the shower. The reason for it is quite simple, actually. This summer, I’ve made sure to keep my daily devotions going. I’ve just moved them to being the first thing in the morning once I get up. I wake up whenever I feel like it, turn on the light and stretch a little, then start the day off right – with God. The best part about waking up isn’t Folgers in my cup anymore, it’s God by my side teaching me something new. Lately I’ve been reading through The Seven Checkpoints, which I’ve mentioned before. I just finished that today, and now I think I’m going to head into the book of Job. There’s lots of things to learn there. Anyways, after my devotions, I usually head to the shower. Since I’m still thinking about what I just learned, that mood follows me into the shower and continues. That’s why I’ve picked up the habit of praying and showering at the same time. It’s a great time to just think and pray, because what else is there to do in the shower? I suppose some people sing, but unless you’re singing worship songs, I think praying is a better way to spend the time anyways. Yesterday I went through all my friends and just prayed for each of them individually. Of course, I wasn’t finished by the time I was done my shower, but since it’s quite easy to pray and change at the same time as well, I just continued on praying until I was done.

I must admit that I don’t pray for my friends nearly enough. I usually will remember them in prayer if they have a special need or situation which needs prayer, but we all need prayer no matter what kind of situation we’re in. Just like I can’t limit my prayer life to only when my situations are bad, I can’t limit my prayers for others to just when they’re going through something. What and who you pray for shows what and who is most important to you. If your only prayers are for yourself and God’s help for your life, that’s what’s most important to you. So I’ve made a habit of remembering my family and friends in prayer instead of just myself. I mean, I know I need help as well, so I can’t ignore prayer for myself, but I don’t make it the focal point of my prayer. Another thing I’ve learned that’s important is to pray for God’s kingdom and His will. I was alerted to this from a book called Spiritual Warfare. It’s an amazingly powerful book, and within it, it tells the reader about the awesome power that Christians have in Christ. Our prayers can help push back the forces of darkness at work around us, and if we pray for God’s kingdom to come to this earth, we pray incredible devastation on evil. God’s kingdom is on earth right now in each and every Christian – we share a part of His inheritance – so if we pray for His kingdom to come, we are praying for salvation for those who do not yet know Him.

Similarly, if we pray for God’s will to be done, we can unleash incredible power onto the earth. If, as part of the Lord’s Prayer, Jesus prayed for “Thy kingdom come, Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven,” and that prayer was an example for us to follow, then we should also be praying for God’s kingdom and God’s will to be done. God’s will is incredibly amazing, and since His will is what is best for us, we need to be praying for it to be done on earth here. It’s like someone coming up to you and saying, “Hey, I’ll give you $100 if you want. All you have to do is ask for it.” He walks away, and you now have a choice: you can either ask him for the $100 and get it, or you can let him walk away and not get anything. It’s not rocket science here to see what the best choice would be.

Now, some people like saying wimpy things such as praying for healing, then adding, “If it’s Your will.” And while that’s all well and good, God’s given us the power to cast out demons and heal the sick. So instead of praying for God’s will in a specific situation like that, it’s best to believe in His power over the situation and pray for healing, trusting that He will be faithful to heal. After all, His will just may be that He would use you to heal that person. But if all you do is shrink away and say, “Well, heal him if it’s Your will, God,” that’s not being a willing servant of Him. Praying for healing and trusting that God can and will use you gives God the option of being able to use you to heal that person.

Sure, I’m not the best at this sort of thing. I just sort of worked that out in my head right now, actually. But I’ve always cringed when I’ve heard someone pray for something to happen, then added “if it’s Your will” at the end. It’s like they don’t actually expect it to happen. They don’t want to “limit” God, as if they even could. I know I’ve prayed the same thing before, but then I’ve stopped myself afterward to think about it. I mean, God’s will (as far as I know) has three aspects to it. One is to bring those who don’t know Him into a relationship with Him. Another is to make those who do have a relationship with Him more like His Son. The third is to use those people to impact the world for good and have them serve others. So if something you’re praying for is going to have one of those effects, chances are that you’re in line with His will. We don’t have to say, “Bring this person to know You, God, if it’s Your will,” because we already know it is! For one thing, it’s bringing someone who doesn’t know Him into a relationship with Him. But another thing is that He can use you and others around this person to bring them to Him – thus using the third aspect of His will.

The point to remember is that while God is concerned with individuals, He also sees the big picture. We see a situation that needs help – someone is sick or needs salvation. He sees an opportunity – a chance to fulfill His will and bring things together for the good of those who love Him and who are called according to His purpose (Romans 8:28). So the idea is not to pray for a situation, but for His will to be done. I know I said not to say “if it’s Your will,” but there’s a difference. If we pray saying “heal this person if it’s Your will,” that’s limiting God from using you to help the situation. If instead we pray that God would use us to heal them, lay hands on them, and pray for God’s healing power, that allows God to use His willing servants. You see, instead of trying to line up a specific situation with God’s will, if we line ourselves up with His will instead, He will use us in the situation. If God wants to teach us to be more like His Son and also to use us to serve others, then He will use us in the specific situations which are around us and brought to our attention. God’s more concerned that lessons are learned than the situations being fixed. That’s not to say that He doesn’t want people to be healed or anything. But if He can use someone’s sickness to help teach a lesson to someone else, then it’s worth it in His eyes. I mean, He could heal the person Himself and that would be all well and good, but if He can heal the person through one of His servants and also teach that servant a lesson in humility and servanthood, then He’s killed two birds with one stone.

Forgive me for rambling today. I was just figuring that out myself actually, so I can’t say that I’m any better than anyone else at this – after all, I just learned it. All I can say is that God’s given us great power, and our job is to use that power wisely. God can do anything He wants, but He’d much rather do it through us if He can. I mean, He could have just sent down an angel or had one massive burning bush to lead the Israelites out of captivity – after all, He’s God, right? He can do anything He wants. But instead, He came down and got one of His servants, Moses, to do His bidding. He wants to use people to help people, because then He accomplishes much more – He gets what He wants done, but also teaches a lesson in someone’s heart as well. Helping others teaches us to put others before ourselves, so if God uses us to help other people, we get a lesson as the other people get helped. God’s just such a great multi-tasker, you know? Anyways, with that said, I’ll leave it off here. Leave a comment with your thoughts on this matter, if you like. Discussions are always good…

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