The Power of Prayer

By Rev. John Kao

“The Prayer of a righteous man is powerful and effective.” Such is the strong challenge issued from God to us through the author of James. The prophet Elijah was a man like us. Yet his prayer was effective, and so should ours! Elijah’s God is also our God. Prayers from Christians are not a curse or supernatural power. Through prayer, Christians communicate with God, magnifying His deeds and power. The requirements of powerful prayers are explained to us in James 5:13-18.

The Effects of Prayer

Prayer Affects the Natural Environment – Elijah’s prayer could affect the falling of rain. Yet very few know that Go’s powerful hand intervenes with nature. Few know that good climate is the work of God. God put faith into the hearts of those servants and maids who feared Him. His own glory would then be magnified through their earnest and faithful prayers. God’s will would be revealed through the prayer of a righteous man.

Prayer Affects Social Environment – Events like the June 4 massacre in Mainland China, the war in the Persian Gulf and the Russian coup in August were so sudden and dramatic. Whatever the outcome, the creator our God who controls human history will “achieve all things according to His predestined will.” (Act 4:28) through our earnest prayers.

Prayer Affects Physical Health- Jesus Christ fed the five thousand with five loaves and two fishes. Yet, he did not abolish occupations like farmers and fishermen. Luke still carried on his work as a physician. However, there are examples from the Bible and from our personal experience that testify that God listens and heals. Would we still need any hospitals or doctors if all diseases were healed through prayer? God would only listen to prayers and heal under very special circumstances.

Prayer Enables the Pardoning of Sinners- Sin damages spiritual health, human relationships and God – man relationships in the same way as viruses attack the human body. But through intercession or self-confessed prayers, men begin to know their sin, acknowledge, repent and are no longer lost. They receive the pardon of god. They restore the Father-son relationship like the return of the lost son. They also restore normal relationships with other men and with themselves. They are freed to lead a free and joyful life!

Prayer Revives Spiritual Life- Jesus Christ came so that men would receive life to its abundance. He Himself is the source of life. We are closely linked to God through continuous prayers in the same way as vines are linked to branches, to be supplied with the juice of life and to bear abundant fruit. However, vines will wither and become useless if the link is broken. Have we not also experienced dryness, emptiness and uneasiness in life due to the lack of intimate prayer? A regular morning devotional life is the secret to spiritual prosperity. How then could we ignore the importance of intimate prayer with God regularly? The prayer of a righteous man is powerful and effective. But what is it like?

The Requirements of Prayer

The Need to Acknowledge Sin in Prayer – A telephone line has to be cleared from interference in order to be functional. God will never answer our prayers if our heart is filled with sin. Hence, when we pray, we should ask God to examine and remind our heart; we should also search ourselves, humble ourselves, confess our sins and ask for cleansing by His precious blood. We ought to believe in the faithfulness and trustworthiness of His promise: “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.” (I John 1:9)

The Need to Praise in Prayer – Praise and thanksgiving should follow forgiveness. Our eyes should be focused on His merciful, graceful and faithful power, knowing that God has blessed us in various ways. Our faith will grow through praise and thanksgiving.

The Need to Believe in Prayer – “…he must believe and not doubt, because he who doubts is like a wave of the sea, blown and tossed by the wind. That man should not think he will receive anything from the Lord; he is a double-minded man, unstable in all he does.” (James 1:6-8) If we pray according to His will, He will not only give, but Hi will enhance our faith, so that we will not give up. He will then accomplish his work in us in due time.

The Need to be Earnest in Prayer – Our prayer should not be expendable or taken lightly. Only when we have exhausted all other means do we pray earnestly to the seemingly only source and hope for His blessings and mercy. We lead such a complacent life in North America. We have too many ideas of our own. Consequently, we lack earnest prayer.

The Need to be United in Prayer- Unity means giving up oneself, not insisting on one’s own ideas, and to have the same attitude as that of Christ Jesus. Even when Christ Jesus prayed in the Garden of Gethsemane. He prayed according to His Father’s will. “…Yet not as I will, but as you will!” (matt 26:39) He willingly submitted to the extent of going to the across. Prayer is to submit to God’s will and to achieve His plan. The disciples of the early churches prayed together earnestly. The work of God was being manifested among them!

The Need to Pray in Christ’s Name- We should end our prayer in the name of our Lord Jesus. It’s like we carry Christ Jesus’s name-tag to see our Father. Since we were sinners, we did not deserve to come to the presence of our Holy Father. Through Christ Jesus’s redemption, we can now enter fearlessly into His presence. Furthermore, since Christ Jesus is God’s beloved son, if we pray in His name, we also place ourselves into the status of sons praying to their heavenly Father.

* translated by Nelly Eng

Last modified on Monday, 01 April 2019 08:49


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