The Power of Prayer

Today I read Exodus 39-40, Psalm 15, and Acts 12. One phrase that is sticking with me this morning was in Acts. James is killed and Peter is taken to prison to eventually be killed after the Passover. Right after these facts are laid out, the passage says, “but the believers were praying (loose paraphrase)...” This was not saying they were hoping something would happen or they prayed as a normal fact of life as a follower of Jesus Christ. It said “but” which means that even though Herod had plans he wanted to execute, prayer was there to foil his plans. Prayer is something that has impact and God works in and through prayer as a way to show his mighty power. In this passage he really showed his power by having an angel show up and walk Peter right out of prison. He goes to the house where the believers are praying and when they are told Peter is at the front door, they don’t believe it.

Several things strike me here. First that prayer has power. There are things that God chooses to do through prayer as we petition Him and seek His face. That means prayer changes things and is something we should do on a regular basis. It should be the first thing we think of when we encounter trials and issues and need wisdom to make decisions. Second, we need to believe that our prayers can actually have an impact and believe that God can and does work through our prayers.

So often I think we don’t really believe that prayer is worthwhile or that it really works. I think many people think prayer is just a way to calm us down and distract us from the thoughts and feelings that flood us when we are in trouble or need help. And even if we believe that prayer has some effect on circumstances, we don’t really believe it will happen for us and our prayers will be answered.

I struggle with prayer in my own life partly due to thinking I don’t have a lot of time and partly because I feel like prayer is about making sure I cover everyone and that can take forever. Now I know that those things are not true. I have time for prayer or more importantly I can and need to make time. I also know that I don’t have to cover everything because God already knows what is going on. But I need to make sure that I am talking with God not only to intercede for myself and others, but also to connect with Him and to hear from Him in ways that reading scripture alone won’t do. As I have said in other places, this journal is a way for me to pray and process what the Holy Spirit is doing in my heart and life. It is such a blessing to have my schedule set in such a way that spending time with God starts my day at least 4 days of my work week.

Lord, help me to see prayer as having the power I need to make it through the day. Help me to have the passion and desire to pray so that I will automatically think of prayer when I am facing the various circumstances of life. Amen.
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