I don’t believe there is any power in my prayers. I don’t believe in the power of prayer.
Please don’t worry about my faith or my prayer-life. I just don’t believe the power is in my prayers.
I believe the power is in the One to whom I pray.
Let’s take a look at two Bible references – one Old Testament and one New.
Elijah and the prophets of Baal in 1 Kings 18:16–39; where Elijah challenged the prophets to a pray-off.
Then Elijah said to them, “I am the only prophet of the Lord who is left, but Baal has 450 prophets. Now bring two bulls. The prophets of Baal may choose whichever one they wish and cut it into pieces and lay it on the wood of their altar, but without setting fire to it. I will prepare the other bull and lay it on the wood on the altar, but not set fire to it. Then call on the name of your god, and I will call on the name of the Lord. The god who answers by setting fire to the wood is the true God!” And all the people agreed. v. 22–24
You know the rest. The prophets of Baal shouted, cried, and cut themselves all day and nothing happened. Finally, it was Elijah’s turn:
At the usual time for offering the evening sacrifice, Elijah the prophet walked up to the altar and prayed, “O Lord, God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, prove today that you are God in Israel . . . Immediately the fire of the Lord flashed down from heaven and burned up the young bull, the wood, the stones, and the dust. v. 36, 38
And when all the people saw it, they fell face down on the ground and cried out, “The Lord—He is God! Yes, the Lord is God!” v. 39
The earnest prayer of a righteous person has great power and produces wonderful results James 5:16 (NLT)
Prayers offered by those who have God’s approval are effective. (GW)
The effective prayer of a righteous man can accomplish much. (NASB)
You and I are righteous by God’s grace . . . not because of anything we do or say but because He is loving and forgiving. Because of Jesus.
Because of Christ and our faith in Him, we can now come boldly and confidently into God’s presence. Ephesians 3:12
[Tweet “Any power given to prayer is a gift from God.”]
The Problems with Saying the “Power of Prayer”
The problem is in the communicating—in the danger of misinterpretation. Because:
1. If the power is in the prayer, it doesn’t matter who we pray to . . . God, Allah, Buddha, Ancestors, Saints, the sun, or other idols.
As a follower of Jesus, I want people to know I pray to the Father who hears my prayers because I come to Him in the name of His Son and my Savior, Jesus.
2. If the power is in the prayer, there is a danger of thinking that better prayers give better results.
As a follower of Jesus, I want the Lord to receive all the glory. I don’t want to elevate those who look better, speak eloquently, or are more charismatic.
3. If the power is in the prayer, there is a temptation to fear that an unanswered prayer is the result of weak faith.
As a follower of Jesus, I want to daily trust and grow in faith trusting God’s goodness and love to always answer my prayers with His best.
4. If the power is in the prayer, there is a danger we will take pride in answered prayers.
As a follower of Jesus, I want my daily prayer to be . . . less of me and more of Him. I want to be able to say with humble trust, “Your will be done.”
I know what you mean when we’ve talked about the power of prayer. As followers of Jesus, you want all the same things I want. I just wonder if people who aren’t Jesus followers understand.
My heart’s desire is to proclaim Him. To pray without ceasing to the Father in the name of the Son through the power of the Holy Spirit.
Please come back tomorrow for more on the Holy Spirit and prayer.