Monday, January 20, 2014

Portraits of Prayer - Week Six

This past summer, I wrote a 7-week prayer guide entitled Portraits of Prayer. As I began investigating prayer ministry more deeply this past summer, I realized that over the years, God has already given me an abundance of insight on the subject of prayer. As I reread these insights from past blogs, I was struck at how the progression of insight fell right into place--as if it were a study guide of sorts. Taking those blogs with some additions and rewriting, I wrote Portraits of Prayer and I am happy to share it with you here over the next eight weeks. Wait, I said 7-week prayer guide didn't I? Why eight weeks then? Well, I thought it appropriate to take a short break during the week of Christmas so that we may focus on the coming of the Savior. Enjoy!


The Power of Prayer

Young Man praying

digitally altered in Photoshop
Prayer is the most powerful and pervasive tool and weapon on earth. There is no place prayer cannot go and no limit to God's power. There is no radar or tracking system that can detect it and the enemy has no defense against it. 

And yet, too often we don't think to use it because, well, it's just prayer. It's not like we are actually doing anything when we pray, right?! It's not like we're giving money towards solving the problem or using our skills to fix the situation with our own hands. Somewhere along the line of human history, we began to believe the enemy's lie that words are just words and they hold no power—like "sticks and stones can break my bones but words can never hurt me." As one who has overcome decades of verbal abuse and having some experience with physical abuse, I can tell you—I would've preferred to be hit by sticks and stones. Those wounds and bruises would've healed in a few weeks. The wounds and bruises from "mere" words festered inside of me, eating away at me like a cancer, for forty years. 

Words hurt and words can heal. With a word, God created light, the world, and all that lives and breathes. Words are powerful and we need to be more careful how we use them. When we use them in prayer, we are asking our Heavenly Father to utter words of healing, protection, wisdom, truth, and grace. And God will not deny our requests. I'm not saying that God doesn't call us to be good stewards of his riches by monetarily supporting the causes he’s put on our hearts or by using the skills he’s enabled us with to help those around us. I'm saying that prayer is just as active a response and even more necessary than our gifts of money, time, talents and skills to live our lives as God wants us to live—in communion with him according to his will and in godly relationship with those around us.

“Truly I tell you, if you have faith as small as a mustard seed, you can say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it will move. Nothing will be impossible for you.” —Matthew 17:20 (NIV)

[Jesus] replied, “If you have faith as small as a mustard seed, you can say to this mulberry tree, ‘Be uprooted and planted in the sea,’ and it will obey you. —Luke 17:6 (NIV)

Prayer is the easiest and hardest of all things; the simplest and the sublimest; the weakest and the most powerful; its results lie outside the range of human possibilities—they are limited only by the omnipotence of God. —E.M. Bounds

If you woke up tomorrow with absolutely no doubt whatsoever that prayer was the best and most powerful solution to every situation you will encounter, how would your prayer life differ?  If your first impulse would be to pray and listen and then act on God’s revealed will—how would that affect your day?  Take some time to pray as if the actual words of your prayer were miraculously being transformed into action as they leave your mouth on their way to God and don’t forget to thank him for answering your prayer even though you cannot yet fully perceive or understand his answer.

No comments: