The Power of Prayer
The power of prayer is one of those things that is very difficult to write about. There is so much that can be said about it. Do we begin retelling the testimony that we have witnessed as a ministry? Do we tell you of wonderful things that the Lord is doing across the world?
“Good prayers never come weeping home. I am sure I shall either receive what I asked—or what I should have been asking for in the first place.” – Joseph Hall
The bible is filled with stories that highlight the incredible power of prayer! There are many more such tales in church history. The same God whose hand was seen then is still in business today! He is a miracle-working God! He has never stopped!
Theoretically as well as in reality, the power of prayer is that it calls heavenly intervention on matters that concern you earthly. Prayer facilitates a conversation with God, to tell him what is on our minds. It gives us a path by which to express gratitude to the Lord.
We are surrounded by a cloud of witnesses, as Hebrews 11 reminds. Rees Howells walked in the full might of the power of prayer. The Great Welsh Revivals were a testament to the power of prayer. Church history spanning the last few centuries is filled with testimonies of results that have come from prayer.
Our weapons are not carnal: Power of Prayer
2 Corinthians 10:3-4 King James Version (KJV)
3 For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war after the flesh:
4 (For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but mighty through God to the pulling down of strong holds;)
Although we reside in the physical realm, we are spiritual beings. A lot of what affects us happens in a realm that is not natural to us. It happens in a realm that we cannot see with our natural eyes. Our war is not in flesh. The strongholds and rulers that we battle are not in the physical, but spiritual realm. This is where prayer becomes a tool of battle. We fight in the spiritual realm through prayer.
Although our weapons are not carnal, we also know that they are MIGHTY and that they PULL DOWN STRONGHOLDS. A stronghold is a defensible place; fortress. It is a major centre or area of predominance.[Collins] In this context, a stronghold is something that is stubbornly standing firm against you and yours.
For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.
Ephesians 6:12 further illustrates this point. We fight against (RULERS, AUTHORITIES, POWERS OF THIS DARK WORLD and SPIRITUAL FORCES OF EVIL).
The power of prayer is that it gives us influence in both physical and spiritual realms. Whatever you are fighting against, whatever the foe is, prayer is a weapon!
Matthew 18:19 Again I say unto you, That if two of you shall agree on earth as touching anything that they shall ask, it shall be done for them of my Father which is in heaven.
We also understand that when we come together in agreement, in prayer, we influence heaven. When we agree on earth or bind on earth, heaven grants.
Prayer Grants us an audience with heaven
“A praying man can never be miserable because he has the ear of God.”- William Bridges
1 Peter 5:7 King James Version (KJV)
7 Casting all your care upon him; for he careth for you.
Matthew 11:28-30 New International Version (NIV)
28 “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. 29 Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. 30 For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.”
God encourages us to bring to him things that concern us. He is a caring father, who takes joy in intervening and changing situations in our favour. Scripture tells us that some of our lack is a result of not asking of the Lord.
James 4:2 Ye lust, and have not: ye kill, and desire to have, and cannot obtain: ye fight and war, yet ye have not, because ye ask not.
Again we are encouraged to ask, through prayer. To bring our needs to our God who is a provider.
The Role of Faith
11 Now faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see.
According to Hebrews 11, faith is “confidence”. It gives us assurance, that that which we do not yet see, but are hoping (believing God for, praying for) will come to pass.
Faith is always an essential component of walking in victory in the Lord. It is what caused Abram to leave his people and all that he had, to go to a promised land, that God had promised. The result of that faith was him becoming the father of what we know to be the Christian faith today. God made him a father of nations, kings descended from him. He had to step out in faith. He had to believe that, what he could not see would come to pass.
Hebrews 11 has more and more examples that you can refer to. Moses walked in faith. Samuel walked in faith! The prophet and the apostles of old walked in faith. This is what caused them to turn the world upside down. We know that, without faith, it is impossible to please the Lord!
Hebrews 11:6 And without faith it is impossible to please God…
Prayer sent the angel
“The angel fetched Peter out of prison, but it was PRAYER that fetched the angel.” – Thomas Watson
7 And, behold, the angel of the Lord came upon him, and a light shined in the prison: and he smote Peter on the side, and raised him up, saying, Arise up quickly. And his chains fell off from his hands.
The story behind this is that Peter had been arrested for preaching the gospel. While he was locked up, we don’t know what he was doing. His friends PRAYED. The result of their prayer was that God dispatched an angel to pull him out of that impossible situation.
As a result, prayer broke chains by means of the angel that God sent. Prayer brought freedom to a man who lay in prison. Imagine the upliftment of Peter’s friends when they saw the result of their prayers. Faith is then strengthened as we see these results.
Prayer set Paul & Silas free
24 Who, having received such a charge, thrust them into the inner prison, and made their feet fast in the stocks.
25 And at midnight Paul and Silas prayed, and sang praises unto God: and the prisoners heard them.
26 And suddenly there was a great earthquake, so that the foundations of the prison were shaken: and immediately all the doors were opened, and every one’s bands were loosed.
The power of prayer was also evident when the apostle Paul was in prison with Silas. We know that they had been at it again, turning the world upside down for Jesus. They ended up being locked up. As the prayed and sang songs of praise at midnight, there was an earthquake. It shook the prison and opened the doors.
- Prayer shakes things up.
- Prayer opens doors.
- Prayer was an evangelical tool in this case as well. The other prisoners, as well as the guards, saw the power of prayer firsthand.
Prayer brings Healing
James 5:14-15 King James Version (KJV)
14 Is any sick among you? let him call for the elders of the church; and let them pray over him, anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord:
15 And the prayer of faith shall save the sick, and the Lord shall raise him up; and if he have committed sins, they shall be forgiven him.
Prayer has been known to bring healing. We are encouraged to pray over the sick, anointing them with oil in the name of Jesus. Prayer, when paired with faith, will bring healing to the sick. Many of God’s generals used this arm of prayer to show the love of God as they shared his word. It is hard to argue about God when the evidence is there for all to see.
The apostle Paul affirms that in 1 Corinthians 2 “And my speech and my preaching was not with enticing words of man’s wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power: That your faith should not stand in the wisdom of men, but in the power of God.”
Prayer breaks chains
Chains are not necessarily the ones in the physical. Chains refer to anything that holds us back. Prayer is a breaker of chains. Scripture bears testimony to this.
When a storm presented a chain to hold the disciples back:
Mark 4:39 King James Version (KJV)
39 And he arose, and rebuked the wind, and said unto the sea, Peace, be still. And the wind ceased, and there was a great calm.
When chains of demonic possession held Legion back:
15 And they come to Jesus, and see him that was possessed with the devil, and had the legion, sitting, and clothed, and in his right mind: and they were afraid.
Prayer Gives Comfort and Strength
We know that Jesus spent time in prayer. We understand that when faced with the most difficult of time, he turned to prayer. Prayer is a source of comfort.
Matthew 26:36-38 King James Version (KJV)
36 Then cometh Jesus with them unto a place called Gethsemane, and saith unto the disciples, Sit ye here, while I go and pray yonder.
37 And he took with him Peter and the two sons of Zebedee, and began to be sorrowful and very heavy.
38 Then saith he unto them, My soul is exceeding sorrowful, even unto death: tarry ye here, and watch with me.
When faced with death, Jesus turned to prayer. Communication with God is a source of comfort and strength. This is what propelled Jesus as he went through the hardest part of his life.
Prayer as a tool for extending grace & forgiveness
Luke 23:34 New International Version (NIV)
34 Jesus said, “Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing.” And they divided up his clothes by casting lots.
Prayer allows us to stretch grace onto the ones that have wronged us. We are forgiven as we forgive. Grace is an amazing gift! Prayer allows us to also give it to others, just as we have received.
How to tap into the power of prayer
There are two things that we can do to tap into the incredible power of prayer:
To tap into the power of prayer, we ought to believe in the power of prayer. Beyond that, we also ought to believe in the God that we are praying to, in his ample ability to do things. We also ought to believe in God’s desire to give us what we ask of him.
To tap into the power of prayer, we also need to exercise our faith.
“You can do more than pray after you’ve prayed, but you cannot do more than pray until you have prayed.” – John Bunyan
Phillips also recognised this, “Prayer is not conquering God’s reluctance, but taking hold of God’s willingness.”
We are to make prayer the bedrock of everything that we build. This is how we unleash the unimaginable power of prayer. What if his people prayed? What if we all took God at his word and really pressed in? We will undoubtedly see the hand of God!