There is little doubt that prayer is a powerful thing. On the other hand, prayer may be the most powerful and yet most neglected endeavor Jesus invites us into. Why is that?
I include myself in this question. Why is it I can proclaim the power of prayer but then forsake it due to busyness and the assurance that "God knows what is going on?" That response is like having the cure to a disease I am fighting, but never applying the treatment.
Instead, The writer of Hebrews calls us to boldly share our hearts in prayer because Jesus understands and intercedes for us. check this out:
“Therefore, since we have a great high priest who has ascended into heaven, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold firmly to the faith we profess. For we do not have a high priest who is unable to empathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are—yet he did not sin. Let us then approach God’s throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.” (Hebrews 4:14–16, NIV)
And then there are moments like the one I experienced today after church. A sweet teenage girl and her father asked the elders and I to pray with them. The girl saw that there were some areas of her life where she was struggling and sought God's divine intervention. Not only that, she did so by following God's direction on inviting our Elders to pray over us in times of need!
“Is anyone among you sick? Let them call the elders of the church to pray over them and anoint them with oil in the name of the Lord. And the prayer offered in faith will make the sick person well; the Lord will raise them up. If they have sinned, they will be forgiven. Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person is powerful and effective.” (James 5:14–16, NIV)
While it seems to be implied that James was writing about physical illness, there is nothing precluding this passage to apply to emotional or psychological illness. It is clear that it deals with Spiritual struggles as sin is addressed. No, i believe that every aspect of our lives is worth praying about. Prayer allows our faith to deepen as we invite those who are called to care for us to do so in the areas we struggle most. Such humility and vulnerability reveals a heart ready for the movement of God.
So what the girl and her father were asking for us to do was more than simply pray. No, they were calling on us to believe that God will be true to his word and answer our prayers. She was asking us to join her in valuing God's answer above all others, and to speak in faith that the Holy Spirit will move in response to the chorus of our prayers. And that is what we did together.
When we left the room, there were a few items I felt assured of:
God is true to his word!
God delights when we pray and ask others to intercede for us!
God uses prayers to unite us in ways simply doing other activities never can.
God delights when the shepherds of the church tend his sheep with careful, prayerful attention
God began answering these prayers in the faith of the father and daughter, even before we began our prayer.
I do not pray nearly enough!
I love serving Jesus in ministry, and I am thankful for experiences like this one where Christ shared with me how much he loves these times of prayer that share our life with him and others.
Today's events, and specifically the faith of this father and daughter, inspired me today. How about you? Do you feel a nudge to go pray something? I do.
How can I pray for you?