The Power of Prayer

Focus 40  Day 39

Confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The earnest prayer of a righteous
person has great power and produces wonderful results.
—James 5:16 NLT

We believe prayer unleashes God’s power. Over the years, I have seen amazing things happen when
people pray. I could tell you stories from my own life and family of answered prayers—incredible
works of God’s power in physical healings, physical protection, God’s provision in incredible ways
that show how big God really is. Recently, my brother and sister-in-law were praying for a little girl
who was dead for a few minutes and who came back to life. God is incredible. I could tell you of
times when I have seen God do incredible things in ministry settings, of life changes that only God
could do. Something happens when we pray. E. M Bounds said it best: “All I know is when I pray
coincidences happen and when I don’t pray coincidences don’t happen”.

On the other hand, if we are honest, sometimes we pray and nothing happens. We pray for
God to heal or to help in a particular situation, and it seems like God is so far away. A few years
back, I prayed and prayed for a godly young mother with young kids to be healed from cancer, yet
she died. This really shook me, and honestly, I still have trouble understanding. Some people who
don’t experience a miracle from God stop praying, feeling that God doesn’t listen. It is a great
deception of the enemy to have us believe that if God is sovereign, then whatever is going to
happen is going to happen, so don’t bother praying. That reasoning is usually the result of
frustration. I have been there. But prayer often times is more about what God does to our hearts
when we pray than about God’s answering our requests the way we think they ought to be
answered. It is about God shaping us, not us shaping God.

A while back, I really wanted to dive down deep into what God said about prayer. I spent
some time in the library trying to find all the scriptures that mention prayer. What does the Bible
really say? I found numerous scriptures on prayer and found that prayer is a major part of our
relationship with God. It is more about our dependence, listening, investment, yieldedness, and
openness to God than about what God can give us. God often protects us from our own prayers.
Had God answered some prayers according to my plans, I would have settled for less than God’s
best for me.

Remember that prayer is a journey with God that often has twists and turns that we don’t
understand, but God sees the whole journey. Often, we can see only a few feet in front of us. Be
encouraged on your journey, God sees the whole picture.

Lord, thank you for the power of prayer that guides us in all the twists and turns of our journey through life. Thank
you for answering our prayers in ways you know are best for us, and not always as we think they should be. Thank
you for shaping us according to your awesome plans for us and for the wonderful results they bring. Amen.

– Dr. Andy Stephenson, Leader of Youth and Family Ministries, Church of God Ministries

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