Thursday, November 11, 2010


"It is a wonder and a mystery that God allows His glory to be placed in our hands – being such frail, foolish, unfaithful creatures as we are."( - Understanding Prayer in the Light of God's Kingdom.)

Do we believe in prayer? Do we believe it makes a difference? Do we pray like we do?

I know I don't. My prayer focus is scrambley, full of holes and scraggly at best. But WHY??? There is so much I am fervent about, care about. Desperately want God to move on. So WHY don't I pray like it?

I don't know.

I think part of it maybe is that I do not understand prayer. How it works. I know there are tons of books and articles on it, and I think I am going to start reading some. I will share some of my learnings over the coming weeks....

But for right now, it is a mystery. We ask for something that every ounce of our reasoning would suggest is within God's will, and it seems he does not grant our petition. I don't mean a close parking spot or a good hair day, but protection of a child, or healing of a momma with children desperately needing her, or that job that this person needs to provide for his family.

I know God's ways are higher than our ways and often a bad and sad event in a life will be turned to good in a life, in God's kingdom. (Read the tuk-tuk story). I also know, God's word says that he works all things together for the good of those who love the Lord (Rom 8:28) So I know the hard, and tragic can be used for good in lives. I get that.

But since is seems to me that often very visible, desperate pleas are not answered in the way we pray, and then it seems some (few??? I don't know???) are; we (I) have a practical tendency (even if I do not mentally admit it) to discount the effectiveness of prayer.

That must be the case, or I would pray more.

God's word is full of admonitions to pray. Pray without ceasing. You have not because you ask not. Ask in my will and you will receive. And Jesus modeled praying all the time. Paul was always praying for the saints. Even this moment in heaven, Jesus is at the right hand of the Father interceeding for us.

So you know, with that much word space in God's breath focused in praying, that it must be a BIG DEAL.

One of my cherished verses that I don't understand, yet keep telling myself is James 5: 16 Here it is in context: Jame 5;13-16

"13 Is anyone among you in trouble? Let them pray. Is anyone happy? Let them sing songs of praise. 14 Is anyone among you sick? Let them call the elders of the church to pray over them and anoint them with oil in the name of the Lord. 15 And the prayer offered in faith will make the sick person well; the Lord will raise them up. If they have sinned, they will be forgiven. 16 Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person is powerful and effective. " (NIV)

In the message version:
"The prayer of a person living right with God is something powerful to be reckoned with."

In the amplified version:
"The earnest (heartfelt, continued) prayer of a righteous man makes tremendous power available [dynamic in its working]. "

In the King James:
"The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much "

I do not understand HOW it works, but if I say I believe God's word, then I must believe that it does work. that it is powerful, effective, and availeth much.

Martin Luther stated that, “Prayer is not overcoming God’s reluctance, but laying hold of His willingness”.

Although I do not understand it, and plan to spend time studying and reading on it, I am not going to put off starting a more fervent, consistent and focused prayer practice. I have often thought, if we could really grasp the effects of prayer, we would realize what we hold in our thoughts, in our whispers, in our hands. The words Will you pray for me...would not be such a weak and often hopeless phrase, but something of real and powerful intent. And accepting that request and saying "I will pray for you" would not just be a polite phrase, like "have a good day", but a commitment to wield power on behalf of another.

I have thought how those shut-in or with limited ability to physically go out and DO something, would truly hold the greater and more powerful effect for God's kingdom through prayer. Rather than the thought of "well all we can do now is pray", our thoughts would be always, Let's start with prayer, let's continue with prayer, let's finish with prayer.

Prayer does not fit us for the greater work; prayer is the greater work.” -Oswald Chambers

I will let you know what I learn as I go....but I plan to trust and do, even without knowing.

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