"Power In Prayer?"
A good friend recently expressed a commonly held notion as he testified of God's working in his life. "I believe in the power of prayer!" he said. I smiled, nodded, and rejoiced with him because I knew what he meant, and I knew that he knew what he meant.
That being said, it is important that we realize that no power actually exists in prayer. In and of themselves, our prayers accomplish nothing. We rather seek in our praying to avail ourselves of God's power, provision, protection, and working in our hearts and lives to reveal His glory. Our prayers actually involve our frank acknowledgement that we need the Lord to do for us that which we cannot do for ourselves. I share this with no intention to pick at nits, or to be argumentative. As in the case with my friend mentioned above, I don't challenge anyone who speaks in terms of prayer's power. I've doubtless used the terminology myself, and most believers would readily admit that they do not mean to divert attention from God's working to our asking.
That being said, it is important to rightly and Biblically view prayer and answered prayers. Satan is far from being above the attempt to exalt human flesh regarding the matter of our communion with God. "Beware of the scribes, which... for a presence make long prayers" (Mark 12: 38; 40). A.W. Tozer may have overstated the case a bit when he proposed that one of the worst things that can happen to a believer is that he gain a reputation as being a so-called "prayer warrior". Our brother of old, however, did have a point in raising the possibility that the fact of praying does not assure that the pray-er seeks God with proper motives, intentions, and purposes. Certainly this is why the Lord Jesus Christ mandated much privacy in our prayers: "But thou, when thou prayest, enter into thy closet, and when thou hast shut thy door, pray to thy Father which is in secret" (Matthew 6:6).
My friend did not mean to exalt our human response to God's calling of communion, intercession, and supplication. I felt no need to correct him, not do I write this as a fuss. We do, however, desire accuracy in all that we believe and express about our Lord and His involvement in our lives. We pray to honor the Lord Jesus rather than our praying, an obvious truth when we ponder the matter in terms of Scripture. We do well to think about such things, ensuring that our beliefs, convictions, and communication accord with the reality of Biblical truth.
"After this manner therefore pray ye: Our Father which art in heaven, Hallowed be Thy name."
Weekly Memory Verse
Therefore, my beloved brethren, be ye stedfast, unmoveable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, forasmuch as ye know that your labour is not in vain in the Lord.
(I Corinthians 15:58)