The Power of Prayer
The event I describe below occurred at the beginning of last year. This experience radically altered my perspective of my prayer life. Since then, my belief continues to increase in the power of prayer. Prayer is indeed one of the most powerful things we can do.
Malcolm and Sophie are two of my cherished treasures. God uses these Ragdoll felines to teach me many lessons, but . . . I have to seek those lessons. About a month and a half after they moved in, Sophie started sneezing. When it continued to progress to mucus flying out her nose, I took her to the vet and discovered it was an upper respiratory infection. On antibiotics, she immediately started getting better. After being off them for a couple of days, it came back and continued to get worse. We went through another around of antibiotics. Again, she got better, but after a couple of days it returned. Poor thing! I hated putting all these antibiotics in her because I was sure it would have long term affects on her little immune system. Once more, back to the vet. He took some cultures so in a couple of days we would know exactly what bacteria was the culprit. The next day she was sneezing up a storm, which was common because getting the cultures irritated her little nose. But at that point I had enough! I’d been praying for God to heal her, but it dawned on me I hadn’t sought for the lesson in all this. God, what are you trying to teach me? Obviously it wasn’t a lesson for Sophie, it must be for me.
Thankfully, God quickly replied. It had to do with the power of prayer for others. Here’s what I learned. I love Sophie more than you would think a human could love a cat. God loves me and all that concerns me is His concern. He cares for Sophie but also because of my love for her. When we care deeply about someone, God not only desires to help that person for her sake but also because of His care for us. His concern is heightened because of our concern – that is the nature of love. Heart-felt prayer spoken in faith shows we believe in God’s love for us. It’s critical that we believe God loves us because it affects our prayers. This is another reason we need to understand our value, last week’s blog. We need to have a sense of value of ourselves to be able to accept and believe God’s love for us so we can pray with the conviction that our prayers matter.
God needed me to understand this truth so I would pray for those He laid on my heart with the confidence that my prayers made an impact. I needed to believe that my prayers influenced Him because of His love for me, which then could affect the lives of others. Otherwise, my lack of belief drained the power of my prayers. See, my belief in the power of prayer had started to wane. I had started to think my prayers didn’t have THAT much impact. This mindset crept in as I was seeking to understand His sovereignty. He is in control and His will prevails so how much impact do my prayers really have? Not much was my thought until this situation. I didn’t realize how strongly I was holding this false belief until this lesson. I knew prayer was important, but I didn’t understand how much of an impact it had, especially mine. Now I know that my concern and love enhances His concern because that is love. This is the power of prayer of God’s children in numbers. If you had one child concerned about a pet – how much that would affect your heart. What if you had five children concerned – how much more would that affect your heart?
But it isn’t just about numbers, but about the state of the heart. There is power manifested when we intercede for another out of love. This is why our love needs to be with sincerity. Love is an extremely powerful force in our lives. It changes others. It moves the heart of God. This is why it is important to seek the love of God to replace our corrupted version of it so that we can truly love others because if affects our prayers for them. If we are just saying the words and our hearts are distant, then the power of prayer is sapped. That’s why vain repetitions are a waste of time. Matthew 6:7 But if we pray with conviction because we truly care it has a considerable impact. This is why sometimes God “lays” someone on our heart. We have a strong pull to pray for them, because the heart matters.
When I realized this insight about the power of prayer wrapped in love and sincerity, Sophie stopped sneezing that night. The cultures came back revealing a certain bacterium, but she was better. Isn’t God good? Glad I asked. She was going through what she did to teach me. I never would have stopped and sought if she wasn’t sick. And my seeking brought me to a very important lesson about the significance of heart-felt prayer.
God loves His children beyond what we can imagine. His heart for us is mighty and what concerns us concerns Him. Prayer is to teach us many things and one is how much He loves us. Even if He doesn’t seem to be healing a child or delivering them from an unhealthy lifestyle or friendship – know that He cares more so for that child because He cares for their life and that is amplified because of your care for them and His care for you. We can’t see the big picture. We don’t know what they may need to go through to learn what they need to learn. But God is listening if you are rightly related to Him through Christ. Proverbs 15:29 We have certain expectations about how things should play out, but God holds everything in His hands. If I hadn’t gone through the tough times I did as a kid, ones I’m sure my mom wished I avoided, then perhaps I wouldn’t have drawn near to God like I have. From those experiences, I learned my need for Him and the extent of His love for me. In the end, her prayers were answered, but it wasn’t a path she expected, but that path I needed to travel. We need to be careful of our expectations and make sure they are in God. If we are God’s and praying with the right heart and motive about a matter, we need to trust that God is working things out as they should be. We have expectations about what the best path or answer to that prayer would be, but we haven’t a clue. We need to trust in His divine wisdom to work it out to everyone’s best.
James 4:3 You ask and do not receive, because you ask amiss, that you may spend it on your pleasures.
1 Peter 3:12 For the eyes of the Lord are on the righteous, And His ears are open to their prayers; But the face of the Lord is against those who do evil.”
James 5:16 Confess your trespasses to one another, and pray for one another, that you may be healed. The effective, fervent prayer of a righteous man avails much.
Proverbs 15:8 The sacrifice of the wicked is an abomination to the Lord, But the prayer of the upright is His delight.
Needless to say, my prayer life totally changed. Our faith is everything. Our belief affects the power our prayer holds. John 14:12-13 I needed and am thankful for this lesson to increase my faith in the power of prayer. And I’m very glad Sophie is no longer sneezing!!
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