is the power of prayer?
suppose there are many answers to this question. Here's one (or
several strung together) for starters.
believe that the power of prayer is first felt inside of us.
It's a sense of God's assent, somewhat like someone answering
our phone call when the phone has been ringing for a long time
and we're wondering if maybe we should just hang up and try again
another time. Then a voice answers and simply says, "I'm
here. I'm listening to you." Communication has been established!
has assented to our calling. God has assented to be in relationship
with us. God has assented to us—to you, to me, to who we
are and who we hope to be. But why? you might ask. And
why now? Because that is God's deepest desire and what God
has been hoping for all along. I
believe that we experience the power of God when we sense God's
assent to our seeking and even realize that God has been reaching
out for us all along.
power of prayer is the power that comes to us when we realize
that God can be our point of reference in the midst of all the
confusions of our daily lives, the steadfastness of God rather
than the incomplete, fragile inconstancies of ourselves. It's
the power that comes when we're able to be centered, anchored
in a belief and rooted in a Truth, which is stronger and deeper
than the day-to-day truths we struggle with.
think this may have been what the apostle Paul had experienced
when he wrote to the people of Ephesus about God's desire for
us "that we may no longer be children, tossed to and fro
and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the cunning
of people, by their craftiness in deceitful wiles." (Ephesians
4:14) In prayer our hearts and minds can be focused on the eternal
truths of God and not the changing, fickle truths of human knowledge
and human nature.
power of prayer is the constant renewal of perspective. Prayer
opens our eyes. It extends our horizons. It sheds light into
the darkness of our fears and our sorrows, our hopes and joys,
our shame and our pride. It gives us new ways of seeing life
and relationships, of understanding work and the cost of growing.
power of prayer is real and palpable. You can feel it and know
it and depend on it. It comes to us as a gift, but we need to
do our part as well. God calls us to pray and through our prayer,
God empowers us and gives us strength.
Rev. Margaret B. Gunness
believe that our prayer changes God's mind or improves God's disposition.
God will do what God will do. Our basic prayer
is: God, be God. Be the God you have shown yourself to be.
God be something else if we didn't pray? No. Would God hate if we
didn't beg God to love? No. Would God ignore a cancer or marriage
unless we remembered to pray and did so fervently? No. It is God's
nature to love, to show mercy, to forgive, and to redeem. Our prayers
don't modify God's nature.
then, do our prayers do? At one level, they are like a child's cry
for a parent's help. They just burst forth. We see a need, and we
cry to God. We feel a pain, and we cry to God. Our prayers don't
cause events to change, rather they recognize God's presence.
prayers also align us with God, assuming they are prayers that are
true to God's nature, and not prayers that seek wealth or revenge.
What does alignment with God accomplish? You never can tell. It
certainly would put us in a mind to help another. It would ease
the other's burden. It would amend our lives and, thus, amend the
lives of others, in ways we might never see.
positive, radical and transforming impact of one person's choosing
to love another cannot be fully known, but it is sufficient reason
power of prayer is awesome and immeasurable. It brings God close
to us so we can listen. He suggests—we ask—we thank—we
listen. It is a challenging, blissful round robin.
me, the power of prayer depends on the sort of prayer that you
are praying. Oftentimes people become disappointed and disillusioned
when they pray to God to grant a specific outcome or desire and
their "prayer" is not answered. Many people think a
miracle has happened when just such a prayer results in God's
bringing about the desired outcome.
once prayed that a close friend who was sick be made well. His
subsequent death seemed to me not only a failure on God's part
to grant my prayer, but an affront to my sense of right results
and even justice. In reflecting on this event over the last several
come to realize that a miracle occurs as we learn to perceive
the purpose of prayer as something different, something that
changes us and gives meaning to our understanding of the words "thy
will be done"; that is, we understand an
outcome as part of living fully and the total package of the
human experience, both the joyous and the tragic, instead of
perceiving it as upsetting our apple cart. This is not to say
that tragedy is not tragic, but tragedy is not something caused
by God for the purpose of making us suffer or to deny our wish.
While we may not want our friends to die young, death happens
to us all, and it is not God's failure on our behalf when it
fully is so hard to do. In order to achieve it, we have to accept
many conditions, outcomes and events that we wouldn't have chosen
and don't agree with, and even embrace them as a part of life
- our lives - because they are a part of life (and death). Learning
to pray with that more mature understanding helps me experience
God as not so much a parental figure with the power to give me
what I want, but as a potent and ever- present source of connectedness
and strength that helps me to understand those events life inevitably
throws my way.
Prayer is the most personal, intimate aspect of my relationship with God. Sometimes
prayer is my time to prepare for the challenges of life...like the words
of a coach to a player before going into the game. Often prayer
time is when I can hear God speaking to me. It is when I seem
to be able to make sense of how God is leading me through his presence
in my life, like a child asking "why?" and finally beginning
to understand. Prayer time helps me connect the dots. It
is an opportunity to sit with a great teacher to review the homework of
my life...to be better prepared for the next chapter.
is also a time of obedience, for Jesus instructs us to pray.
Prayer is my opportunity to lift up the needs of others to the
Father, especially those for whom life is so complex that prayer
is difficult. Several years ago I began keeping a prayer journal—a
list of the things I want to share with God during our prayer
time. The power of prayer took on a new dimension when I realized
how many prayers had been answered! God's presence in my life
became very real.
power of prayer: To heal physical and spiritual hurts, to bring
insight, to place one's burdens in God's hands, trust them to
God's keeping, to be comforted, to give joyful thanks.