Communication is key to any relationship. It’s how we connect, we share, and learn. That is why prayer is so important. Prayer is the foundation of our faith because it builds our personal relationship with Jesus. Because it’s such an essential part to growing with God, the next series will discuss three core principles of prayer.
1 Prayer is Personal
2 Prayer is Powerful
3 Prayer is Persistant
Photo credit: Runar Eilertsen via VisualHunt / CC BY-NC-ND
Prayer is Powerful
We call on the Lord, and he answers. How much credit do we give God, the all powerful Creator of the Universe? Do we only pray for the small trivial things in life, secretly admitting if it’s not answered we won’t be too upset? Do you approach God with doubt? As you know Him through personal prayer you will come closer to knowing the Power of the Holy Spirit. Pray for the big things, put your faith in God.
In the Old Testament the Nation of Israel came together to call on God in the face of existential evil. In 2 Chronicles 20 we see the power of God when called on by a collective people. Three armies massed against Isreal, and the God-fearing King Jehoshaphat knew he could not win on his own power. The situation seemed hopeless, but he was faithful. His faith in God was bigger than his fear of man. King Jehoshaphat called the people together to pray and worship God, seeking his divine intervention and God gave his words through one of the priests.
1 After this the Moabites and Ammonites, and with them some of the Meunites, came against Jehoshaphat for battle. 2 Some men came and told Jehoshaphat, “A great multitude is coming against you from Edom, from beyond the sea; and, behold, they are in Hazazon-tamar” (that is, Engedi). 3 Then Jehoshaphat was afraid and set his face to seek the LORD, and proclaimed a fast throughout all Judah. 4 And Judah assembled to seek help from the LORD; from all the cities of Judah they came to seek the LORD.
14 And the Spirit of the LORD came upon Jahaziel the son of Zechariah, son of Benaiah, son of Jeiel, son of Mattaniah, a Levite of the sons of Asaph, in the midst of the assembly. 15 And he said, “Listen, all Judah and inhabitants of Jerusalem and King Jehoshaphat: Thus says the LORD to you, ‘Do not be afraid and do not be dismayed at this great horde, for the battle is not yours but God’s. 16 Tomorrow go down against them. Behold, they will come up by the ascent of Ziz. You will find them at the end of the valley, east of the wilderness of Jeruel. 17 You will not need to fight in this battle. Stand firm, hold your position, and see the salvation of the LORD on your behalf, O Judah and Jerusalem.’Do not be afraid and do not be dismayed. Tomorrow go out against them, and the LORD will be with you.”
– 2 Chron 20:1-4, 14-17
To receive the power of God they had to turn to Him earnestly and honestly. God promised to deliver them, but he also required obedience on their part. They were to march into battle led by worship. In the greatest call for humility and reliance on God, the Jewish people marched towards vicious enemies with the band in the lead praising God.
21 And when [Jehoshaphat] had taken counsel with the people, he appointed those who were to sing to the LORD and praise him in holy attire, as they went before the army, and say, “Give thanks to the LORD, for his steadfast love endures forever.” 22 And when they began to sing and praise, the LORD set an ambush against the men of Ammon, Moab, and Mount Seir, who had come against Judah, so that they were routed. 23 For the men of Ammon and Moab rose against the inhabitants of Mount Seir, devoting them to destruction, and when they had made an end of the inhabitants of Seir, they all helped to destroy one another.
— 2 Chron 20: 21-23
And their faith was rewarded. How often do we fully place our faith in God? Do we hear his voice, and obey? Jehoshaphat did not have a backup plan, he did not doubt God’s Word, or God’s power to deliver them. When called by God its too common to follow him without releasing all doubt, to truly put all your energy into God’s plan without reserving time and energy for your plan.
In the New Testament Jesus displayed the power of prayer, calling on his Father and healing all those who came to him. Yet the greatest miracle and display of powerful prayer came with the healing of Jesus’ friend Lazarus. Lazarus was dead over 4 days, and his own sisters protested that the body would be rotting by the time Jesus arrived at the tomb.
17 Now when Jesus came, he found that Lazarus had already been in the tomb four days. 18 Bethany was near Jerusalem, about two miles off, 19 and many of the Jews had come to Martha and Mary to console them concerning their brother. 20 So when Martha heard that Jesus was coming, she went and met him, but Mary remained seated in the house. 21 Martha said to Jesus, “Lord, if you had been here, my brother would not have died. 22 But even now I know that whatever you ask from God, God will give you.” 23 Jesus said to her, “Your brother will rise again.” 24 Martha said to him, “I know that he will rise again in the resurrection on the last day.” 25 Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life. Whoever believes in me, though he die, yet shall he live, 26 and everyone who lives and believes in me shall never die. Do you believe this?” 27 She said to him, “Yes, Lord; I believe that you are the Christ, the Son of God, who is coming into the world.”
38 Then Jesus, deeply moved again, came to the tomb. It was a cave, and a stone lay against it. 39 Jesus said, “Take away the stone.” Martha, the sister of the dead man, said to him, “Lord, by this time there will be an odor, for he has been dead four days.”
41 So they took away the stone. And Jesus lifted up his eyes and said, “Father, I thank you that you have heard me. 42 I knew that you always hear me, but I said this on account of the people standing around, that they may believe that you sent me.” 43 When he had said these things, he cried out with a loud voice, “Lazarus, come out.” 44 The man who had died came out, his hands and feet bound with linen strips, and his face wrapped with a cloth. Jesus said to them, “Unbind him, and let him go.
– John 11:17-29, 38-39, 41-44
Jesus called unto God, letting the people gathered know that God was greater than any illness, evil, or circumstance. What men considered impossible, Jesus achieved with God. To make his point clear he called out to His Father in prayer. Jesus gives us the example to follow when things seem hopeless – when we know we can’t, we must turn to God and believe He can. We call unto the power of the Holy Spirit in prayer and anything is possible, yet all things we seek must be in accordance with the will of the Father.