It is sad to think that many Christians still face uncertainty when it comes to the power of prayer. Do we really believe in prayer or is it done out of obligation? It seems prayer is often our last resort, as many times we have heard the line, “..the least we can do is pray.” Has prayer really been lowered so much that it is the “least” we can do? I am not down playing the great need for Christians to actually take action in transforming cities and nations, but prayer is equally important! Imagine running into battle without your armor, or jumping off a cliff without a parachute…it is through prayer we are made ready to act.
The Holy Spirit strengthens and guides us through prayer….He opens doors and prepares the way through our prayers! We cannot do it alone, that is why Jesus gave us the Holy Spirit…to be our helper and instructor so that when we do take action we actually make a difference, because lets face it, offering the lost “humanity” never fixes the problem…it’s a spiritual issue that causes most worldly pain and destruction, and though humanity is important to survival, spiritual wellness is important for living. That is why people don’t understand when they see a wealthy man who is depressed or a poor man who is happy, having everything you need physically guarantees only bodily survival, not spiritual fulfillment.
As people of Faith we need to remember that prayer is powerful. And even more specifically..that our words are powerful, as Proverbs 18:21 says, “The tongue has the power of life and death..” Our words can either bring life or death to others. Yikes! This is an essential lesson for us all, especially here in America where we have abused the freedom of speech often by saying whatever we like regardless of who our words sting. Words are so powerful we often write them on our hearts as part of our identity. For example: a child being told he is stupid generally ends up believing he is stupid..carrying that word with him throughout his school career, failing his classes and limiting his dreams to what that word will allow. The words we write upon our hearts are hard to erase, how strange it is, that they leave our mouths quickly with ease, yet torment for years in their wake.
It was by the spoken word of God the world came into existence, and yet we still don’t believe that, being made in God’s image, our words have power. Prayer can do what our hands can’t, and It’s time we recognize its importance in our lives again. I know part of the reason prayer has lost is vigor is because we live in an era that believes the spiritual works of God no longer exist. We read story after story about Jesus’s disciples doing miraculous works, such as healing the sick and raising the dead, and we think, “man…too bad that isn’t possible today.” But where is the biblical proof that it is not possible? Never did the Bible say that the spiritual gifts had died, or would cease in the times to come, in fact there is a prophecy spoken by Joel that supports the latter, “In the last days, God says, I will pour out my spirit on all people. Your sons and daughters will prophesy, your young men will see visions, and your old men will dream dreams.” In other words, God’s not dead and nor are his works.
We place God in a box by our disbelief in his limitless abilities. Teaching people about God rarely ever brings them to salvation, it’s by an experience of God that their hearts are transformed and they are left with a lasting impression of God’s great love for them. If knowledge of God was all there was, then no one would be changed..even the demons know the bible, and notice..it doesn’t change them. That is why the spiritual gifts are so important! they bring about heavenly encounters and reveal the heart of the Father towards His people.
How do we awaken the spiritual gifts in our lives and in the church? I believe that it is through prayer we grow in our relationship with God and receive spiritual gifts like speaking in tongues, healing, and prophecy. It takes trust on both ends, we have to trust God, and God has to trust us and that we are ready for what he gives us. This goes for every blessing we receive in life…if we are not ready for it we may abuse it or take it for granted. With each blessing/gift comes responsibility, like the parable of the three servants in Matthew 15:14-30, when we receive, we must be faithful with what we have been given and it will be multiplied.
Prayer is the key, it is not the last resort. Therefore, we must be, “..Joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer.” (Romans 12:12)
More verses on prayer: 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18, Philippians 4:6-7, Mark 11:24, James 5:16