Wednesday, December 17, 2008

The Real Power of Prayer

“Give Your servant success today, and have compassion on him in the presence of this man.” (Nehemiah 1:11b CSB)

After days of mourning, fasting, and praying, Nehemiah went in before the king. He was the king’s cupbearer, the one responsible for protecting the king’s life from those who might try to poison him. Nehemiah prayed and asked God to give him success and favor from the king. God answered his prayer and did exactly that, with the ultimate result that the walls of Jerusalem were rebuilt.

Whenever there are major decisions to make, or whenever the needs are greater than anything we might accomplish, we need to bring this before the Lord. What happens is that we see what many of us call “the power of prayer.” We see prayer as the most effective means of achieving what God wants. In fact, books have been written about the power of prayer.

While we recognize the essential truth of this, there is a greater truth that comes from a distinction that has to be made. The only reason prayer is powerful is because the God to whom we pray is all-powerful. Folks sometimes have the notion that when they pray, it produces a power that sets God into motion to get something done. That, however, is not true. The truth is that the real power associated with prayer is the power of God Himself, who hears our prayers and responds according to His will. Any power that is in prayer is not actually in the prayer at all but in the God who is the focus of our prayer. That is an important and actually a huge distinction that needs to be made. We pray, and then God responds in power. God is the One who makes prayer the power that it is.

Lord, All glory and honor to You, for You are the One who has the power to accomplish what we ask. Amen.

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