Something I’ve been learning about recently is prayer.
I remember a quote I read from Charles Spurgeon, about prayer being like lightening, cutting through things with power.
“I do believe there is as much reality in a Christian’s prayer as in a lightning flash; and the utility and excellency of the prayer of a Christian may be just as sensibly known as the power of the lightning flash when it strikes the tree, breaks off its branches, and splits it to the very root.”
Spurgeon, C. (1993). The Power of Prayer in a Believer’s Life. ed. Lynwood, Washington: Emerald Books, p.69
And I believe that the power of prayer is greatly increased when you start to believe it really works, and you start making use of it in faith… and expecting God to answer.
I’ve heard a preacher say that Mary Queen of Scots was more afraid of John Knox’s prayers than the armies of her enemies.
And she was right.
Because prayer is more powerful than any army.
It’s like in 2 Kings 6:
’16 So he answered, “Do not fear, for those who are with us are more than those who are with them.” 17 And Elisha prayed, and said, “Lord, I pray, open his eyes that he may see.” Then the Lord opened the eyes of the young man, and he saw. And behold, the mountain was full of horses and chariots of fire all around Elisha. 18 So when the Syrians came down to him, Elisha prayed to the Lord, and said, “Strike this people, I pray, with blindness.” And He struck them with blindness according to the word of Elisha.
19 Now Elisha said to them, “This is not the way, nor is this the city. Follow me, and I will bring you to the man whom you seek.” But he led them to Samaria.’ 2 Kings 6:14-19
The enemies could not touch the people of Israel, because they were depending on their God for help. God’s people were surrounded by the army of Heaven: far more powerful than the forces of their enemies. And God defeated their enemies in a way that was amazing!
And, if we are following Jesus, we too have incredible protection on our side.
If only we could see.
There are some powerful, powerful promises about prayer in the Bible.
And we can so easily water them down; reason them away.
But they are ours, not to be watered down, but to taken and used and claimed.
Sure, our hearts need to be in line with God’s will.
Sure, He gets the final say on how He acts.
Sure, we need to be surrendered to God’s plan and way of doing things.
But let’s not lose the power of the blank cheque we have been given.
Let’s think about some examples we have been given about what happened in answer to prayer.
God stopped the sun.
God stood up the sea.
God defeated huge armies.
God intervened in incredible, astounding ways.
Spurgeon also said this to believers in Jesus who pray with faith:
“You have power in prayer, and you stand today among the most potent ministers in the universe that God has made. You have power over angels, they will fly at your command. You have power over fire, and water, and the elements of the earth. You have power to make your voice heard beyond the stars; where the thunders die out in silence, your voice will wake the echoes of eternity. The ear of God himself will listen and the hand of God himself will yield to your will. He commands you pray, “Your will be done,” and your will, will be done. When you can plead his promise then your will is his will.”
Spurgeon, C. (1993). The Power of Prayer in a Believer’s Life. ed. Lynwood, Washington: Emerald Books, p.67
I found myself thinking last night what my life would be like if I could not pray; did not know how. I couldn’t imagine it. It would be too awful for words! Not to have the joy; the freedom; the relief of being able to lift my burdens up to my Father, and know He will act on my behalf. Life would be so very, very different.
It made me long for others to know this reality, too: the joy of bringing our hearts and burdens to God.
Maybe you already know Him too. Let’s make more use of this unlimited gift He has given us! I know I need to!
Maybe you have never prayed before. Oh, dear friend, you are missing out! God is waiting right where you are, waiting to hear you speak to Him… in your own words… from your own heart… because He wants to meet with you, and to answer.
This same God, Who did incredible things in the past, is waiting to do incredible things for us today.
Okay, so we need to do things His way. We all mess up. That’s why we need the blood of Jesus for forgiveness. That’s why we need to turn from the things that offend Him and follow Him His way. Sin blocks things up and gets in the way of what God wants to do for us.
But God is calling us to speak to Him: the One Who did incredible things in the past, Who does not change, and ask Him for whatever we want, so long as our hearts are surrendered to Him. Whatever we want.
‘The effective, fervent prayer of a righteous man avails much. 17 Elijah was a man with a nature like ours, and he prayed earnestly that it would not rain; and it did not rain on the land for three years and six months. 18 And he prayed again, and the heaven gave rain, and the earth produced its fruit.’ James 5:16b-19
So why do we limit God?
Why do we hold back from asking?
Sometimes I sense Him asking me, “What do you want Me to do for you?”
Well, I think He’s always asking it. But, sometimes, I’m more aware of it.
I guess He’s asking me right now.
I guess He’s asking you right now, too.
What do you want Him to do for you? For those you love? For the nations? In your wildest dreams?
Yes, we need to surrender to Him and His ways. Yes, we need to align our hearts with His. Yes, we need to allow Him to be God in the way and the timing He answers. But let’s not lose the power of this very, very powerful and effective blank cheque that God is holding out to us.
What do you want Him to do for you?
‘Delight yourself also in the Lord,
And He shall give you the desires of your heart.’ Psalm 37:4
Without reasoning it away, holding back or limiting what He can do.
What would I like Him to? What would you like Him to do?
Why not ask Him now?
He’s waiting for you. 😉
(The most important prayer we all need to pray is the one that opens the door to knowing God as our loving Heavenly Father: when we surrender to Jesus as our Saviour and Lord. Although we have all rebelled against Him, He loves us and longs to restore that relationship with Him. He gave His Son so that we can be forgiven from the judgement we all deserve and have the hope of living forever in His Heaven, when we come to Him, receive His forgiveness and surrender our lives to follow Him. He longs to meet with us, hear us and answer our prayers. He longs to give Himself to us).
Scripture taken from the New King James Version®. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson. Used by permission. All rights reserved.