Now I know that the LORD saves his anointed; he answers him (her) from his holy heaven with the saving power of his right hand. Psalm 20:6
In his book, The Christian Atheist – Believing in God but living as if He doesn’t exist, Craig Groeschel writes about a pastor who asked his church to pray that God would shut down a local bar. The church held a special prayer meeting, and a few weeks later, lightening struck the bar and it burned to the ground.
The bar owner heard about the prayer meeting and sued the church. In court, the owner of the bar pleaded his case – God struck his bar with lightening because of the prayers of this church. Then the pastor stood before the judge and admitted they prayed, but they really didn’t expect anything to happen.
Groeschel writes, when the judge finally spoke he said, “I can’t believe what I’m hearing. Right in front of me is a bar owner who believes in the power of prayer and a pastor who doesn’t.”
That scenario is as old as the early church. When Peter was arrested and in prison, the church was earnestly praying to God for him (Acts 12:5). Yet, when an angel of the Lord miraculously helped Peter escape and he was standing at the front door of the house where the prayer meeting was taking place, Rhoda was initially too surprised to open the door, and the rest of the group was astonished (Acts 12:12-16). Did they not believe in the power of prayer? Do we?
What best describes our prayers – babbling or belief? Don’t babble! “When you pray, do not keep on babbling like pagans, for they think they will be heard because of their many words” (Matthew 6:7). Instead, believe! But when he (she), asks he (she) must believe and not doubt, because he (she) who doubts is like a wave of the sea, blown and tossed by the wind. That man (woman) should not think he (she) will receive anything from the Lord; he (she) is a double-minded man (woman), unstable in all he (she) does (James 1:6-8).
In light of that truth, however great our faith, if we pray something that is contrary to God’s will, He mercifully won’t give it to us. This is the confidence we have in approaching God: that if we ask anything according to his will, he hears us. And if we know that he hears us – whatever we ask – we know that we have what we asked of him (1 John 5:14-15).
Maybe your prayer life is marked by rote or routine, instead of passion and power. Most of us don’t need another devotional about prayer. What’s needed most is the passion to do it – moving from a lukewarm prayer life to a passionate one, and belief in its power – the prayer of the righteous man (woman) is powerful and effective (James 5:16b).
PASSION Step: Pray with passion and belief that the LORD of heaven hears and answers your prayers (Psalm 20:6).
Effective prayer is prayer that attains what it seeks. It is prayer that moves God, affecting its end. Charles Finney