Prayer-An Empowering Experience

Prayer is a very vast subject in itself and it is more experiential than academic. Prayer may mean different things to different people but the Biblical point of view is very revealing and challenging.

The Bible records specific prayers of specific people to show us the empowering nature of prayer.

Abraham prayed for the deliverance of his nephew Lot and God send His angel.

God’s people cried for deliverance from bondage and God send them Moses. Moses prayed at the Red Sea and the waters parted. Solomon asked for wisdom and God blessed him with more than wisdom. Elijah prayed for a response from the God of heaven and fire came down. He asked God to hold back the rain and bring it down at his word and God did it. Zacharias asked God for a son and God gave him John the baptizer. A man with leprosy requested Jesus for healing and Jesus healed him. Stephen, while being stoned to death, prayed and saw the heavenly glory of God. Peter and John could pray healing upon a lame man in the temple. Peter prayed and a dead Tabitha got up. Disciples of Jesus prayed and the place they gathered was shaken. The Church prayed and prison doors opened before Peter.

These are all demonstrations of the empowering nature of prayer. Perhaps the greatest example we can find in the Bible is the prayer of Jesus in the garden of Gethsemane. Through that agonizing prayer He was empowered to carry the burden of the whole world’s sin.

Jesus taught His disciples to pray always and gave them a model prayer. We find this in the Gospel of Matthew chapter 6 verses from 9 to 13. It says,

” Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name,
your kingdom come, your will be done on earth as it is in heaven.
Give us today our daily bread.
Forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors.
And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one.”

We may make these words as our own prayer. However, there are some principles that could be learned from this model.

Prayer is as simple as the communication between two people

From this prayer we understand that it is nothing but our talking to God. Communication is a quality that God has given us as a part of being created in His image. God communicates and He wants us to talk to Him as well. Talking to each other is the way to express our feelings, our concerns and our needs. In this prayer, Jesus suggests that we address our communications directly to God. There is no magic in the words of the prayer or in the way that we pray.

Prayer assumes a relationship between God and man as a pre-requisite

We are asked to talk to our Father in Heaven. God is addressed here as the Father. This means a relationship between God and us. When we study the Bible we understand that man lost his ability to communicate with God when he sinned. That is why it says in Romans 3:23 that “For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God”. We lost our relationship with God as a result of sin and became enemies of God. The result was eternal separation from God. But God loved us even then and wanted to restore us to that relationship. Romans 6:23 says, “The wages of sin is death”. We read in Romans 5:8 and 10 that “But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us…For if, when we were God’s enemies, we were reconciled to him through the death of his Son, how much more, having been reconciled, shall we be saved through his life!” John 1:12 says, “But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, even to those who believe in His name.” Thus, through faith in Jesus we can become God’s children and address him ‘Father in Heaven’. It is interesting that even people who are not related to God in this manner also address Him as ‘Father’.

Once, little Johnny was playing with a child in the neighborhood. The child liked Johnny’s toy and asked him whether he can have it. Johnny refused and said, “My daddy gave it to me”. The friend asked him, “Can I ask your daddy to get me also one?” Johnny clarified, “He is my daddy”.

Only those who have God’s life in them are God’s children. Unless we are God’s children we can not call him “Our Father in Heaven”. Those who are not His children can not expect God to give them what they ask.

Prayer is a two-way traffic

When two people talk to each other, we know that both will speak and both will listen. When you talk to somebody on the telephone, if you don’t hear a response, you will doubt whether the other person is listening or not. It is always talking and listening. Talking without listening is rude and just listening without talking is indifference. God wants us to talk to Him and He wants us to listen to what He has to say.

Often we hear God speak to us through His Word, the Bible. God will remind us passages from the scripture in response to our talking to Him. We will be able to experience peace and joy in our hearts as we talk to Him. Prayer always leads us to obedience. As we begin our prayer, it is important that we praise God for who He is. We have to accept His total authority over our lives before we make any requests. When we ask God for whatever we need we must be willing to forgive others.

Prayers are always answered

Prayers of God’s children are always answered, but not always the way they expect. He may say “yes”, He may say “no”, or He may say “hold on”. God’s ways are higher than our imagination. His answers are the best for us. Romans 8:28 says, “And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose.” We need to believe what God is saying and trust in His faithfulness.

Prayer is the means through which we can know God closely. Those who know God closely will be able to trust Him boldly. Those who trust Him will be able to experience His power to deliver in times of trouble. The book of Psalms in the Bible reveals David’s confidence in His God. David knew God intimately through his times of conversations alone with God. All the Bible characters mentioned earlier knew their God enough to trust in Him. Prayer for them was not a ritual but a lively communion with their Heavenly Father. What is prayer to us today? Is it something we do only when we are afraid? Do we pray at all times as the scripture commands us to? Is prayer an empowering experience to us? May the Lord help us to experience His power through our prayer.

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