The Power of Prayer
When we pray to God, it is easy to feel like it is not being heard.
The quiet whispers of our hearts can feel like they are not reaching God’s ears. However, looking at prayer throughout history, and indeed today, and how God has answered them, can encourage us in our prayer lives.
The purpose of prayer
Prayer serves more than one purpose.
The most typically-known function of prayer is to ask God for what we want and need. While this is definitely a major part of prayer and we do not need to feel the slightest bit ashamed of asking God for things (in fact, God instructs us in His Word to ask Him for what we want in John 14), this is certainly not the only function of prayer.
Another well-known purpose of prayer is to give thanks. When God has done something for us or changed a circumstance for our good, we show our thanks to Him in prayer. This is very important. Jesus warns us through a parable to remember to be thankful to God (Luke 17:11-19).
However, prayer serves even more purposes than these two well-known functions.
Prayer is a way for us to remain focused on God and Christ’s sacrifice on the cross, which helps us to endure hardships and challenges that we face in day-to-day life, since prayer is a constant reminder that Christ is stronger than any difficulty we may face.
Prayer also helps us to feel closer to God, since simple prayer can be a frequent reminder of God’s constant presence with us.
The wonderful thing about prayer for a Christian is that it is not a one-way process. Through prayer, we do not just talk to God. The fantastic news is that God also talks to us. In fact, Ecclesiastes 5 teaches us to not start our prayers with talking, but rather approach God with listening, holding our voices back to rather hear from Him.
Prayer throughout history
The Bible is full of stories of prayer and instructions around prayer. Prayer is an integral part of Christian life. The Bible makes it clear that God hears our prayers, that He wants us to pray to Him and that He indeed answers them. He may not always answer them in the way we want Him to, but that is why He is God and we are not. What we can be confident in is that He works all things for the good of those who love Him (Romans 8:28).
Right in the beginning, Adam and Eve walked with God and talked with Him. This is what the heart of prayer is – talking and being with God. When they tried to hide from Him because they were ashamed, He, in His love, found them. Even when they had to leave the garden because of their disobedience, He, in His grace, made clothes for them.
Noah was told through prayer to build a large boat and obeyed, even when it meant he would be mocked by his neighbours.
Hannah prayed for a child when it seemed impossible and God blessed her with six.
David, in prayer, expressed every emotion known in the Psalms.
Jonah cried out to God from inside the large fish and He rescued him.
In the New Testament, several people pray in their hearts, or directly to Jesus, and He answers them. Paul fills his letters with comments about prayer as a means of encouragement, connecting with God and lifting others up.
Even since biblical times, right up to now, there are countless stories of people praying to God and Him answering them. Some of these stories are on national and international levels, others show prayers being answered for entire villages, and some prayers involve God simply responding to the prayer of an individual. Whether on a macro or micro level, each and every prayer to God, through His Son, Jesus Christ, reaches Him and is valued by Him.
We serve an awesome God, Who is so mighty that He created every galaxy in the Universe, and is also so mighty that He hears and cares about every silent prayer that we whisper to Him from the depths of our hearts. Prayer is not about just asking God for what we need, and also not just about thanking Him for giving us what we asked for. It goes so very much deeper than that. It is about connecting with Him, sharing our hearts with Him, staying focused on Him and, probably most important, listening to Him. The history of the world shows the power and beauty of a life lived in prayer to God.
If you are interested in joining an organization with compassionate discipleship at the very center of all we do, check us out at Global Disciples Canada. Jesus said, “Go and make disciples of all nations,” and we’re committed to doing just that.
Global Disciples Canada is a Christian mission organization that trains local leaders living near to reach least-reached communities to multiply disciples for Christ. One-third of our world hasn’t heard the Good News of Jesus. Yet, Global Disciples refers to these as “least-reached” people, and fewer than 10% of all missionaries work among these groups. We live in a time when many of these people are within reach of a local church. Through our simple and effective strategy of training and coaching, believers share the Gospel in their own nations and cultures. Jesus said, “Go and make disciples of all nations,” and we’re committed to doing just that. If you are looking for a Christian mission organization to partner with to become a better disciple and help make disciples, connect with us today!
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