A few years ago, a public debate erupted around the phrase “I’m sending you thoughts and prayers.” This sentiment, which was popularized by politicians in the wake of national tragedies, came under intense scrutiny.
There were those who rejected someone “sending thoughts and prayers” simply because they did not believe the politicians were being sincere. There were others who rejected the notion because they wanted to see some political or legislative action, not hear about thoughts and prayers. Finally, there were others who simply reject the idea that prayer holds any real power.
It’s to that last group I want to speak here. To wrestle with that idea, we could go around the room and share individual testimonies of times in our lives that the Lord answered prayers. Now, God does not always answer in our timing, and we often do not get our prayers answered in the way we would like. Yet we have countless examples to demonstrate He does answer prayer.
Yet even the starkest example of answered prayer still might be rejected or explained away by someone who has chosen to believe prayer doesn’t help. So let’s take on the idea itself.
C.S. Lewis said, “The efficacy of prayer is, at any rate, no more of a problem that the efficacy of all human acts. i.e., if you say ‘It is useless to pray because Providence already knows what is best and will certainly do it,’ then why is it not equally useless (and for the same reason) to try to alter the course of events in any way whatever?”
Lewis’ point is that if we reject the notion that prayer has a positive impact on anything, then we might as well reject the notion that any personal action can ultimately have a positive impact on anything. If prayer is powerless, then everything is powerless.
The phrase, “How you pray reveals what you believe” rings true. Those who reject prayer altogether are the same people who likely do not pray at all.
Christians, meanwhile, must be a people marked by prayer. We know that He commands us to pray, that He wants us to pray.
The Bible has so much to say about prayer. We believe God hears the prayers of His people and that faith and prayer can even move mountains (Gen. 4:26; 2 Chron. 7:14-15; Mark 11:22-26). Moreover, when we pray, we are following the Lord Jesus’ example, as He wants us to do (Matt. 6; Luke 5:16).
Pastor Adrian Rogers said, “Prayer can do anything God can do, and God can do anything!” In other words, we know that prayer is powerful because God is powerful.
There will always be detractors when it comes to the power of prayer. But Christians must not be dissuaded. Pastor Rogers also said, “Satan can’t keep God from answering our prayers, but he will keep us from asking.”
Whether it’s in your everyday life, or when major tragedy strikes, today let’s lean into the Lord in prayer, knowing that’s what He wants. Knowing that there’s indeed power in prayer.