The Power of Prayer

I love my school.

There’s a reason I refer to it as my “dream school” here on the blog.

This is the scene I just saw go down. A young woman was walking past our campus chapel, obviously in pain and struggling because of the cumbersome medical boot she was wearing on her left foot. A young man who was walking in the same direction asked her if she needed help, to which she promptly responded, “No, but thank you.” “May I pray for you?” he persisted. I heard her respond with a tentative “okay.” Then he asked her name, knelt down, placed his hand on the boot, and prayed.

“Lord, I pray that Isabella’s foot would be healed and that You would be with her in this process. In Jesus’ name, Amen.”

It wasn’t anything extravagant, but it was remarkable, and for all its uncommon beauty, it blew me away.

It got me thinking too…why don’t I ever do things like that? This year, I’m trying to be more intentional about “praying on the spot” (you can read more about that in my post Goals for The New Year), but still, it never would have crossed my mind to approach a total stranger who looked fine other than the fact that she was wearing a medical boot on one of her legs and ask if I could pray for her. But he did…and it was beautiful.

GOD RULES THE WORLD THROUGH THE PRAYERS OF HIS PEOPLE

Prayer is power. Now that may seem cliché, but it is Scriptural. James 5:16b says, “The prayer of a righteous man is powerful and effective.”

In the past, I struggled a bit with praying for things that seemed relatively trivial to me (like an upcoming test or an injured foot or a minor case of the flu). I used to think that things like that would just run their courses and that God would be with me in the process, but that there wasn’t much use in praying for things like that. I was wrong. Concentration camp survivor, Corrie ten Boom, once said, “Any burden too small to be turned into a prayer is too small to be made into a burden.” Amen to that. God cares about our smallest concerns just as much as He cares about our larger burdens, and we should not neglect the gift of prayer when it comes to either of those categories.

After all, God has ordained to work on behalf of the prayers of His people. We’ve seen that many times before. Psalm 107:28 says, “Then they cried out to the Lord in their trouble, and He brought them out of their distress.” That’s what our God does. The wandering Israelites cried out for food in the desert, and He sent them manna from heaven (Exodus 16). Faithful Hannah prayed for a child, and the Lord gave her a son (1 Samuel 1). God promises to give us wisdom when we ask for it (James 1:5), and an increased measure of the Holy Spirit when we pray for it (Luke 11:13). He promises salvation when we call upon the name of Jesus (Romans 10:13). If God is faithful to hear our prayers about big, eternal things, how much more will He be faithful in hearing and answering our prayers about the smaller things.

PRAYER HELPS US SEE HIS HAND

In his morning and evening devotional, Charles Spurgeon wrote, “Prayer is the forerunner of mercy…God has given you many an unsolicited favor, but still great prayer has always been the prelude of great mercy with you…Prayer is thus connected with blessing to show us the value of it. If we had the blessings without asking for them, we should think them common things; but prayer makes our mercies more precious than diamonds. The things we ask for are precious, but we do not realize their preciousness until we have sought for them earnestly.”

That is such a beautiful truth. Daily, the Lord graces our lives with manifold blessings we hardly think to pray for. But when we do pray, it inspires us to praise Him even for the seemingly mundane things.

For the budding friendship and the healing from a cold…for the touch of a loved one’s hand and the sound of a faithful voice…for the ability to think and comprehend, and for a safe space to rest your weary head. Those things are precious, but if we neglect to pray for them, we will fail to recognize them for the gifts they are.

So lift up your prayers, be them big or small, knowing that He who hears your cares, cares for you (1 Peter 5:7).

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