“How many times have we heard people talk about the power of prayer? That is a mistake. Prayer has absolutely no power.”
These are not the words of an atheist, infidel, or unbeliever, but of a gospel preacher, Edwin Crozier. But before you dismiss this as ridiculous and quit reading, hear Edwin’s explanation.
“Too often we have treated prayer as if it were some kind of magic spell that, if worded properly or chanted correctly, will shine forth power. That is not prayer. Prayer is not powerful,” Edwin opined in a sermon I heard several ago.
“God is powerful,” he forcefully proclaimed. Then he offered this wonderful illustration, which I will never forget.
“Consider a common table lamp. Does the lamp shine because of inherent power? Does the lamp shine because of the power in the electrical cord attached to it? No. The lamp shines because the cord is plugged into the power supply.”
“We are a lamp. God is the power supply. Prayer is the cord that connects the two allowing God’s power to shine through us. Prayer is the means by which our will aligns with God and we invite Him to work through us. When we are in God, we cannot lose (Romans 8:31-39). We must not believe in the power of prayer. Rather, we must believe in the power of God and, therefore, pray.”
This year my preaching and writing theme is “Reaching Forward” inspired by Dr. David Jeremiah’s book, “Forward.” The book is built and based on 10 steps, each encapsulated in a single word, that we initiated last week with the word “dream.” Today’s word is “pray.”
While Dr. Jeremiah does make the “mistake” that Edwin describes a couple times in his book, he does offer this illuminating and challenging thought. “Prayer is the divine energy that brings the power of God into the plans He gives us, but you must learn to pray with fervor, persistence, and faith.”
One of my favorite passages is Ephesians 3:20 that extols God’s power and offers insight into His ability to work His will in our lives. “Now to Him who is able to do exceedingly abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that works in us.”
God’s power works in us when we obey the Gospel, “the power of God unto salvation” (Rom. 1:16). As a result, God’s power provides spiritual strength (Col. 1:11), the capacity to overcome infirmities (2Cor 12:9), the ability to minister my God-given gifts (Eph. 3:7), and the tools with which to fight and defeat the devil (Eph. 6:10-18).
Interestingly, when Paul concludes his description of the Christian armor we must put on to engage in spiritual warfare against Satan, he offers this admonition: “Praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, being watchful to this end with all perseverance and supplication.” Prayer aids in being alert, watchful, and aware of the Devil’s devices.
…connects us to the Creator of the universe.
…provides a means of communication with our Father.
…sustains our communion with Christ.
…heightens our spiritual fellowship.
…emboldens us in the face of fear.
…reminds us of our dependence upon God.
…humbles us as we surrender to His will.
…encourages us with the Holy Spirit’s intercession.
…reminds us of our insufficiency and finite nature.
…accesses Divine wisdom for our decisions.
…empowers us when we feel weak.
…affords intercession for family, friends, and brethren.
…procures heavenly pardon for our sins.
…fixates our focus on our eternal goal.
You can’t reach forward spiritually apart from prayer.
“We are all weak, finite, simple human beings, standing in the need of prayer,” reminds author Harold Cooke Philipps. “None need it so much as those who think they are strong, those who know it not but are deluded by self-sufficiency.”
–Ken Weliever, The Preacherman