June 28, 1787, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
"How has it happened, Sir, that we have not hitherto once thought of humbly applying to the Father of lights ot illuminate our understanding? In the beginning of the contest with Britain... we had daily prayer in this room for Divine protection. Our prayers, Sir, were heard... God governs in the affairs of men. And if a sparrow cannot fall to the ground without His notice, it is improbable that an empire can rise without His aid."
-Benjamin Franklin, at the Constitutional Convention
I have been thinking a lot about prayer. I can remember about 7 years ago, when our family went through a really traumatic experience, feeling really helpless and unsure if my prayers were even being heard. A trusted and Godly family member told me to continue to pray for this situation because, as she put it, "God is moved to act when his people pray." That stuck with me, but I still didn't get it. Do my prayers actually have anything to do with what God does? Who am I to even think that I could have a bearing on whether or not God moves in a situation?
I got into the Word to try to answer this question. My search took me to James 5:16.
--"Confess your faults one to another, and pray one for another, that ye may be healed. The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much."
Wow! My prayers to have power. But why is the God of the universe moved by my requests? My search then took me to John 1:12.
--"As many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become sons of God."
God is moved by our prayers because when we accepted Him as Savior, He immediately regarded us as His children. As children we have access to his throne. OK. This seems to good to be true. It's God's Word, so it is sure to be true. I think that is is absolutely amazing that through Christ's sacrifice, we are seen by the Father as worthy to approach Him with our requests.
I am currenly reading a book co-authored by Jack Hayford and Stormie Omartian, titled The Power of a Praying Church. In this book, Hayford has described the power of prayer in a way that has made the information from the paragraphs above make complete sense to me. I am a word picture guy, so sometimes I need to see God's Word in flanelgraph or on Powerpoint before it registers. I hope this word picture of prayer helps you understand our role in effecting God's will as I have. Hayford compares the power of prayer to the engine of a car. There is very little power in the keys of a car without being put into the ignition. In other words...I don't have the power to go outside and get myself going 60mph, but I have access to a resource that can get me moving at that speed. In Matthew 16:19, Jesus said, "I will give you the keys to the kingdom of heaven." According to Hayford, "keys" means authority, privelege, and access. Some things will not be turned on unless I turn them on. Some things will not be turned loose until I turn them loose. Some things will not be set free unless I set them free. The key doesn't make the power (we are powerless in ourselves), it releases the power of the engine (God's power). Because Jesus has given us the keys to His kingdom, we are given the right and responsibility to come before God in prayer, expecting Him to move. It is an awesome thing to know that through prayer we can move God to act. We are responsible for our part in the partnership with God in prayer. If we don't use the key of prayer, it is likely that nothing will happen. In other words, nothing will be released or unlocked.
About the Chief Outkicker
- Steven W. Skolik
- Dayton, Ohio, United States
- I've accused my friends, Jeff and Jonathan, of reaping more out of life's harvest than they deserve. I joke about this with them, but in reality, I am actually the one who has been blessed way beyond what I deserve. I have a wonderful wife who loves the Lord and who loves me. I have three great kids. I know beyond a shadow of a doubt that God is my great provider. I have done nothing to deserve the good and wonderful gifts I have been given in this life. I am the one who is "outkicking my coverage" daily. Life is good. I am a teacher (18 years and counting), a husband, and a proud father. Most of all, I am a Christ follower. My desire is to follow Him so closely I am covered in the dirt of his sandals. Follow along as I work on allowing the Spirit of God to help me navigate this blessed life He has given to me.