Friday, July 12, 2019

The Power of Prayer

Ephesians 6:18 "And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the Lord's people."
Prayer is something that is so simple to do, and yet we find it so hard. It is described by the online dictionary as "a solemn request for help or expression of thanks addressed to God or another deity." 
We are told to pray on ALL occasions and with ALL kinds of prayers and requests. So, for everything!
Some people pray aloud, some people pray silently in their hearts and thoughts, some put their hands together and some open their hands and hold them out. Some people pray every morning or every evening, and some only pray occasionally as a last resort. There isn't a right or wrong way to pray, though i'm sure most of us don't pray anywhere near as much as we should.
So why is prayer so important?
According to the NIV Exhaustive Concordance, the word pray is used 121 times in the bible, not including the various conjugations of the verb. After pray, you have prayed at 68 times, prayer at 106 times, prayers at 32 times, praying at 36 times and prays at 12 times, for a total of 375 times ( The bible is God-breathed, written through man by the Spirit, so God must have felt it was extremely important to drum this into us, using examples of what amazing things can happen as a result of prayer. It is so drilled into us that even non-Christians pray! They "send prayers" to people in need of prayer, they say things like "God help me", they put their hands together, eyes closed and say "please please please" when they are waiting for an answer to something important...we've all seen examples of this. Prayer is hard-wired into our souls.
The early Christians show us throughout the bible that prayer is central to their faith.
Jesus Himself prayed and told us to pray. He gave us The Lord's Prayer when asked how we should pray, just to simplify this for us.
I, like many others, struggle to pray aloud in public. I think this stems more from what other people would think of my prayer rather than what God would think. Capturing the requests of the people present can be tricky and it's easy to feel worried that you will miss something important. Prayer can be quite personal, and the thought of people listening in on mine is nerve wracking! Am I using the right words? Is my prayer long and elaborate enough? Truth is, God doesn't care about what words we use, and He tells us that we should pray in private as well as with others. He knows what we are trying to say, He just wants to hear us say it.
I was told that prayer is "just talking to God", and that's so true. It's a conversation; we talk to Him and He replies. 
One of the most important parts of prayer is listening to His answers. It could come as a thought; your mind could wander through your prayer and you will find you know the answer before you have finished! Sometimes it takes a lot longer, in God's perfect timing, to recognise the answers. Answers could come from anywhere, from a sermon, scripture, music lyrics, other's hard to know where to look sometimes, but when God wants to talk to you, He will find a way! Keeping a prayer journal can be handy to remember those past prayers that we have forgotten about, but have been answered without us even realising or remembering!
Through prayer, God gets to know us better. You may be thinking "but God knows what's in our hearts! He already knows us!" and you would be right...but what we choose to put before God, what problems we prioritise probably shows Him a much clearer picture.
Do we pray for ourselves more than others? Do we pray for towns and countries other than our own? Do we say thank you and sorry, or just please? I think this tells US alot about ourselves too. We have this direct line to God, who can do literally anything! Jesus suffered so immensely on that cross so that we could come before God in prayer! So what do we use this amazing privalige for?? We can move mountains through our Faith and our prayers. Our God can do anything and He wants to know what He can do for YOU! We can help so many people through our prayers, if it is His will, people who are sick can be prayed for and healed, people who are sad can be prayed for and filled with His joy and His peace. We have been given a powerful tool and so we have a duty to use it! "Be alert and always keep on praying for all the Lord's people".
Prayer isn't a one sided conversation, God uses our prayers to talk to us and to speak to the people around us.
When God answers our prayers He is giving us an amazing gift, He is showing Himself to us. If we told people what we were praying for, they too could see our answered prayers and be encouraged. If we pray for and on behalf of someone else then we should tell them, so that they can see God at work in their own lives and encourage them to pray themselves! 
A great example of God speaking to others through our own answered prayers is 1 Kings 18:36-39 "At the time of sacrifice, the prophet Elijah stepped forward and prayed: “Lord, the God of Abraham, Isaac and Israel, let it be knowntoday that you are God in Israel and that I am your servant and have done all these things at your command. Answer me, Lord, answer me, so these people will know that you, Lord, are God, and that you are turning their hearts back again.” Then the fire of the Lord fell and burned up the sacrifice, the wood, the stones and the soil, and also licked up the water in the trench. When all the people saw this, they fell prostrate and cried, “The Lord—he is God! The Lord—he is God!”
God uses answered prayers for His Glory, though we often forget to give that to Him by keeping our prayers to ourselves. Through Elijah's prayer, many people were brought to God! I think we should be telling people what we are praying for more often, or even better,  praying with others more often so that other people can see God working in our lives. It's great to give our testimonies, they are so encouraging, but how much more encouraging would it be to have others witness first hand the power and love of God? What an awesome way to bring others to letting them see His love for us all themselves. 
Prayer keeps us dependant on God. By letting Him into our lives fully, by handing over all of our worries and fears, and letting Him guide us and strengthen us, we are opening up our lives for God to use for His Glory. We weren't designed to battle through life alone, which is why we find life so hard sometimes. By leaving our problems in God's hands we un-burdon ourselves and are set free from our troubles. If something is not God's Will then we can rest assured that it wasn't meant to be for us, and not be brought down with feelings of our own failings.
So as you can see, prayer is essential to Christian life, for reassurance, for peace and for testimonies of God's power. 
Next time YOU pray, remember to tell someone about your prayers and share God's love and power with others. Share revelations that God gives you, share stories of how He has helped you in your life. You may pray silently in thought, but don't be silent about what or who you have prayed for, so that ALL people can see God's awesome work! 
Just a little note here, thank you all so much for your support and for reading these posts! It means so much to me that you are enjoying reading these! Please feel free to connect with me through comments on here, through my Facebook page "The Bible Lover" and through Twitter @thebiblelover1. I love to hear other people's opinions and faith stories so do come and say hi! Tiff x

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