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!!
Other blog on Prayer Mountain Moving Prayer
January 12, 2010 at 1:30 am
“I needed to believe that my prayers influenced Him because of His love for me, which then could affect the lives of others.”
Great truth. Thanks for writing.
January 12, 2010 at 4:29 pm
Kevin, thank you for stopping by and commenting 😉
January 13, 2010 at 3:23 am
The awareness that you describe requires reflection and patience. Your learning example offers an excellent example of a Believer having these two qualities.
I can think of times where I am too busy with my own concerns to consider the full impact that prayer can have. Your entry is insightful–thanks for posting.
January 13, 2010 at 4:46 pm
Slamdunk – thanks for sharing your insight about reflection and patience – our lives are so busy that we don’t allow room to reflect and I think we suffer on many accounts with our level of busyiness. God has been teaching for some time now about balance in my life – it is so important but it can be a challenge to maintain.
January 13, 2010 at 9:40 am
We thank God for the power of prayers..Very motivational story ….thanks for sharing …God bless you
January 13, 2010 at 4:44 pm
Fatibony – thanks for your comment.
January 13, 2010 at 11:50 pm
This subject has been rolling around the back of my mind, without ever building into anything. But of course I don’t have a cat!
I’m glad you got it out into the open as a lesson for us all.
Bless that little ragdoll cat!
January 14, 2010 at 5:08 pm
Nathan – thanks! and your missing out on not having cats lol 😉
January 14, 2010 at 10:18 am
loved your post! i work at the humane society here in mn. with cats. i’m so grateful that God is concerned with the little (but huge to us) and the big things in life that concerns our hearts. thanks for sharing rachel. jane
January 14, 2010 at 5:10 pm
Jane – what tremendous work – helping those little guys who are so dependent upon us. Thanks for your comment 🙂
January 14, 2010 at 3:29 pm
Pretty cats. I have two myself. So, I read on that link you sent me that you believe in Universalism? Thats wild. I have never personally met anyone that believed that save for some New Age folks.
January 14, 2010 at 5:23 pm
John – I wasn’t taught that belief system as a child or through the church system. Growing up I held the Calvinsim belief. But when I started seeking and reading in God’s word myself – it seemed there was much more to the plan than what I had been taught by others. All sorts of questions started popping up. In fact, until I read that blog I didn’t realize its official title- but its description fit what I feel like God is teaching me. Not that everything fits exactly and I still have many questions – but it comes the closest to what I read. I try not to confine my beliefs in a man-made category but according to the Word of God. Most people I know believe one of the other two ways, Calvinism or Arminianism – but there is so much for us to learn and we are all on that path of learning and growing. In seems the more I read the more I realize I need to learn. The Word is amazingly deep and complex.
January 14, 2010 at 4:41 pm
A FORMER WORD OF FAITH PASTOR
Thursday, January 14, 2010
How To Memorize Scripture Without Trying To (So Easy A Caveman Can Do It)
Most people I know have a desire to memorize Scriptures in the Bible, but they don’t think that they can. Some people try by writing out their favorite verse on a note card and then carrying it around all week reciting It like they would their multiplication tables.
It is very important to memorize as much of the Bible as possible, and you can if you follow my easy instructions. You need to memorize Scriptures so that you can witness to people and defend the Faith without sounding like you don’t know what you are talking about.If you cannot lead some one to salvation with memorized Scripture, then you are a slacker. Nothing worse than not knowing what you are talking about.
Another reason to memorize Scripture is because there may be coming a time when the United States Government outlaws Christianity and the Bible. That is where we are headed, I promise you that. They will outlaw Church before it’s all over. I guarantee it.
OK, so this is how you do it. Go out and buy a virgin Bible that has never been written in. While you are at it, buy a high lighter. Get a translation that you can understand. Most people do not speak in King James anymore. The New Living Translation is my personal favorite.
When you get home, look up two or three important Scriptures about salvation and high light them.
Then, look those Scriptures up every day and just read them out loud. Do not try to memorize them. Just read them OUT LOUD. Be sure to read the high lighted Scripture every day OUT LOUD. Every day, out loud. Get it?
Every week, add two or three more Scriptures. High light them like you did the first ones, and then read ALL of the high lighted Scriptures out loud.
After a few months it will take you about 30-45 minutes to read all of them out loud, but you need to be reading the Word any how. Better for you than reading Sports Illustarted or People magazine. ( I read both, but I make sure I read the Word)
This time next year, you will have perfectly memorized anywhere from 52 to 150 Scriptures. You will know them by heart. They will flow out of your mouth all day. Then when you need to minister to someone, or defend the Faith, the Scriptures will come right out. Nothing is more impressive to the listener.
I have done this over the years. I even got to the point to where I could preach with out my Bible. I know longer preach anymore, but I still know them. I can pop off Mark 11:24 and James 5:14 like I can my name.
Now I’m going back and memorizing a lot of the Sovereignty of God Scriptures. There
January 14, 2010 at 5:25 pm
John – thanks so much for posting this!! It is very helpful!
January 17, 2010 at 3:44 am
Re: “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.”
That is excellent, Rachel. So important.
I just read in this thread that you are a universalist? Does this mean that you believe that ultimately every person is reconciled to God?
January 18, 2010 at 5:53 pm
This was my response to someone else who was asking . . . perhaps the thread you read . . . I’m not saying I’m a universalist – because I don’t know all they believe and there is probably a huge variance in what they believe as a group as with most groups – one reason I don’t like being stuck into a category. But there are aspects of what they say – that resonate with my understanding of the end at this point in time. From what I have been reading in the entire Word and I fully admit I have much to learn- it seems there is more to the plan. Its like there are pieces of a puzzle before me – and they aren’t all put together so I can’t see the whole – if that makes sense. But it is my heart to search and learn.
January 17, 2010 at 2:00 pm
Here’s a few links on universalism. I don’t mind if you don’t want to post them here, no probs.
January 18, 2010 at 5:54 pm
Thanks Ian. I appreciate your sharing.
January 19, 2010 at 11:17 pm
I can very well appreciate that you don’t want to be categorized, same here. And i believe that identifying with an “ism” is less than the perfect will of God, bcos if our understanding of the Bible centers around a dude who came along centuries after the Apostles then we dishonor Him by dishonoring the power of His Word, which is truth. It implies that the inspired Word is somehow incomplete if add ons are compulsory.
Actually, we have no business seeking to understand “the whole” if we are still at a place of not accepting what Jesus said.
The childlike faith, by which only one can enter the Kingdom, accepts plain statements at face value whether they can be comprehended or not.
Bcos far more important than understanding everything is the matter that we accept all that Jesus has said. If i don’t accept what Jesus said, even one thing, then i’m insinuating that He is a liar or a fool, mocking Him.
So this issue is not intellectual, it is a moral one.
So, when Jesus says that He will separate out of His Kingdom the wicked forever, it is plain to the person with child like faith.
See what i mean? We don’t need to have to search for the magic formula, the holy grail of understanding everything, we only need to believe everything Jesus said.
Or else we are in this category:
For of this sort are they who creep into houses, and lead captive silly women laden with sins, led away with various lusts, Ever learning, and never able to come to the knowledge of the truth.
January 20, 2010 at 5:40 pm
Ian – well put about categories . . . I appreciate what you are saying about faith and trust. But I think having a desire and heart to seek out truth in His Word doesn’t negate believing in God’s Word. I believe the Word of God is God’s inspired Word I believe it all to be true. That’s way I spend time there each day. I want it to be written on my heart. I believe everything is in it for a reason and it all fits together in absolute perfection as God has shown me over and over as I sought. I also know it is written with many parables, symbolism, layer up layer, precept upon precept, and that we are called to rightly divide the Word. It can only be discerned by the Spirit not by the carnal mind. I see it as a huge puzzle that the Spirit puts together as we seek and ask to know. For example, most initally come to God with a image of who He is – often we lay upon Him a framework similar to what we had with our earthly fathers. But as we abide and seek to know Him with all our heart, soul and mind He teaches us who He truly is. Learning and growing in Him is a process. As we abide in His Word, our understanding grows, which we are instructed to get wisdom and understanding Proverbs 4:7 “Wisdom is the principal thing; Therefore get wisdom. And in all your getting, get understanding.”
I have been blessed by so much truth and understanding that has changed my life by seeking God and His kingdom. But I also realize how much I don’t know or I have believed because that is what I was taught by man. I want to dig in and learn and know what is true from the Word – not man’s instruction. And if I don’t understand I keep seeking – because I find that in time the Spirit reveals the truth – and I realize it took time because there were other things I had to learn first. It is a passion and joy to dive into His truth and see it come together. And for the things that aren’t clear I know that in time He will bring it all together. He always does. Its tremendous. I go to the scriptures and seek understanding and how it fits into all I am learning. I find that when I do this then God’s truth becomes mine and written on my heart.
I believe what Jesus said is true. You have to read the entire Word of God because it all fits together and as you do the Spirit helps you to rightly divide it and shows you the layer up layer. We have seen many times how people pull verses out of context and twist them to fit their paradigms. I don’t want to do that.
Psalm 138:2 “I will worship toward Your holy temple, And praise Your name For Your lovingkindness and Your truth; For You have magnified Your word above all Your name.”
January 28, 2010 at 6:12 pm
That cat looks just like mine except mine has long hair. Siamese cats make the best cats.
January 29, 2010 at 5:10 pm
David – Sophie is a Ragdoll – but many tell me she looks very similar to their Siamese. Aren’t they amazing creations?
April 20, 2010 at 1:58 pm
thanks rachel for victory begins in the mind it’s where i’m at and it’s really difficult dealing with your thoughts especially when you were just accustom goin along with those thoughts not recognizing how much it’s impacting upon your life and the lives of others. I also appreciate your thoughts on the power of prayer. keep doing what you’re doing and may God continue to reveal his truths in your heart. arva
April 20, 2010 at 4:09 pm
Arva – thanks so much for sharing your thoughts. God has been impressing upon me lately how truly powerful prayer is and so often we doubt its power. This morning I read Psalm 65 – and verse 2 says “O You who hear prayer, To You all flesh will come. ” – His love is truly tremendous.
April 23, 2010 at 4:31 am
blessed is the man you choose and cause to approach you, that he may dwell in your courts. we shall be satisfied with the goodness of your house, of your holy temple. ps 65; 4,what a priviledge we have rachel to come into the presence of the lord and how he longs for us to come and dwell in his secret place it is so amazing. your sharing has truly inspire me when i was in a low place, your encouragement to seek God first has really bless me amd i’m encourage to share with others the same. Thank you.
April 23, 2010 at 5:20 pm
Arva – I’ve been blessed that you were encouraged. It is an AMAZING previlage to be able to come into His presence anytime and anywhere. His love for us is tremendous.