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The Power of Prayer

11 Oct

Hello again!

This is what God gave me today in his word:

Behold, we consider those blessed who remained steadfast. You have heard of the steadfastness of Job, and you have seen the purpose of the Lord, how the Lord is compassionate and merciful. But above all, my brothers, do not swear, either by heaven or by earth or by any other oath, but let your “yes” be yes and your “no” be no, so that you may not fall under condemnation. Is anyone among you suffering? Let him pray. Is anyone cheerful? Let him sing praise. Is anyone among you sick? Let him call for the elders of the church, and let them pray over him, anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord. And the prayer of faith will save the one who is sick, and the Lord will raise him up. And if he has committed sins, he will be forgiven. Therefore, confess your sins to one another and pray for one another, that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person has great power as it is working. (James 5:11-16)

Prayer is powerful. If someone has sinned, pray for him and he will be forgiven. If someone is sick, pray for him. James even outright says it, The prayer of a righteous person has great power as it is working.” Jesus prayed before he was, umm, “put on trail”. Jesus also prayed on the cross for God to forgive his crucifiers.

Abraham’s servant prayed and look at that! Practically out of thin air appears Issac’s wife, Rebekah. – The Israelites prayed to God and bam, Moses shows up to free them (alright maybe not quite like that, but you get the point). Jesus thought prayer was important enough to teach to his disciples. Everywhere, old and new Testament, we see men and women praying and God answering them. Why is this? Why would God include so many occurrences of people talking with him?

Is prayer important? … I mean, what is it really? Mumbling words into thin air? Mumbling a few words to God?

Elijah was a man with a nature like ours, and he prayed fervently that it might not rain, and for three years and six months it did not rain on the earth. Then he prayed again, and heaven gave rain, and the earth bore its fruit. (James 5:17-18)

 No, prayer isn’t mumbling a few words into empty air… Unless you pray wrongly, but even then God does still hear you, it’s just his answer is no. – Prayer is where we talk with God. Imagine this for a moment: you love your wife/husband greatly, yet neither of you ever speaks to one another. A month later your wife/husband files for divorce. You may love him/her, but if you don’t communicate that love, it’s as if it never existed. Of course, the example I gave above is ludicrous, but is it really? After all, this is what several confessing, “Christians” do with God. They claim to love him, but never talk with him. This is a very dangerous situation! Your Spiritual life literally, requires you to have a personal relationship with God. How is a lone gun-man supposed to hold a hoard of warships without reinforcements? How are the reinforcements supposed to know the gunman needs help unless they talk with each other? – How are we, a lone solider in among hoards of enemies, supposed to keep from Spiritual death? By having reinforcements (named Jesus) flood in to help. Yet if we don’t ask, we won’t receive. If we don’t pray for help, we’re doomed before we even start our race.

Jesus is the way to God, how about we get walking? – Praying, “in the name of Jesus” is probably as important as praying. We need to pray. But we also need to pray the right way. Likewise we should ask for things, God is Abba, our Dada and Father. We should, in fact, need to ask him for things. But, we need to ask in the right way, for the right things. So then, what is the correct way to pray? What is it that we should ask for? Jesus tells us when he teaches his disciples how to pray:

1 One day Jesus was praying in a certain place. When he finished, one of his disciples said to him, “Lord, teach us to pray, just as John taught his disciples.”

 2 He said to them, “When you pray, say:

   “‘Father,[a] 
hallowed be your name, 
your kingdom come.[b] 
3 Give us each day our daily bread. 
4 Forgive us our sins, 
   for we also forgive everyone who sins against us.[c] 
And lead us not into temptation.[d]’” (Luke 11:1-4)

“Your will be done” The correct thing to ask for, is that God’s will would be done. As for the correct way to pray: through Jesus. – There isn’t, per se, a wrong or right way to pray to God, except to do it through Jesus. “Through Jesus” meaning that we come before God, not asking for him to forgive us, because after all just look at all the things we’ve done for him! But instead it means to come before him meekly, washed head to toe, not in our own arrogance, but in the atoning blood of Jesus Christ.

Imagine a convicted run-away-criminal whose under the death penalty, going to a judge or police officer to have a chat. It probably wouldn’t work out so well for the criminal. This would be us, minus Jesus, coming before God in prayer. Now imagine someone has taken the place of the criminal and died instead, completely allowing the former-crook to make social calls to judge and jury (again, pardon my bad example). This would be us coming before God in Jesus. – If we’re going to come before God, we better know we’re forgiven. God is a just judge, one who can’t be bribed. The only way we’re able to pass his inspection of the heart, is because Jesus through his death and Resurrection, has cleansed our hearts.

You are Loved!

Joshua Cleveland

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