THE PRAYER OF POWER
For this reason, ever since I heard about your faith in the Lord Jesus Christ and your love for all God’s people, I have not stopped giving thanks for you, remembering you in my prayers. I keep asking that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the glorious Father, may give you the Spirit of wisdom and revelation, so that you may know Him better (Eph. 1: 15-17).
Much is spoken and written about the power of prayer, but what about the prayer of power? Paul knew how to pray the prayer of power.
If you were in his shoes, what would you have prayed for these infant Ephesian believers? They had been steeped in superstition, witchcraft and idolatry. They had believed and faithfully adhered to the myths and legends surrounding their beloved Diana, and worshipped her with the fervour of religious devotees.
Suddenly, their world was transformed. When they heard the message of Jesus, which was no myth but the truth, based on historical fact. His life and death had happened within their lifetime, and they embraced the message willingly. But what were they to do with the religious “junk” that had filled their minds from birth?
It was a wonder to Paul that they had believed his message and turned away from their belief in idols and their horrible lifestyle, to worship God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. He could not stop thanking God for the miracle. Wouldn’t you? But how would they stand up to the pressure of the Roman government? They were the targets of terrible cruelty because they refused to acknowledge Caesar as Lord. How could they, not even to save their lives, because they had confessed Jesus as Lord.
Paul could have pleaded with God to protect them from their persecutors, to keep them safe and to “be with them” wherever they were. These are familiar words, aren’t they? We have prayed prayers like this for our friends and family, haven’t we? How powerful is this kind of prayers? The Apostle John wrote:
This is the confidence we have in approaching God: that if we ask anything according to His will, He hears us. And if we know that He hears us – whatever we ask – we know that we have what we asked of Him (1 John 5: 14-15).
In their circumstances, what do you think God’s will for them would be? To save them from being persecuted? If that were so, why were so many of them put to death, and by cruel, horrible torture?
Why did He not stop the persecution and deal with the bloodthirsty Nero who ordered it? Is it not possible that God had a plan, even when man’s plan was to exterminate the believers? A quote from one of the church fathers confirms that persecution did not get rid of the problem but fuelled the flames of evangelism and faith.
The prayer of power does not focus on the comfort or safety of the ones for who we pray. It centres on God and what He desires through the trials we endure. What does He want for His people? Jesus summed up the Father’s desire in His high priestly prayer recorded in John 17.
Now this is eternal life, that they know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom you have sent (John 17: 3).
Do you think God would answer a prayer like that? Of course He would because He wants us to know Him and His Son, Jesus. He longs for us to experience Him, His love and His mercy, in the fullest way possible. We can only know Him when we open our hearts to Him and allow Him to reveal Himself to us in and through the circumstances of our daily lives.
Unfortunately, we interpret God through our circumstances, and end up accusing Him of not loving us, of being indifferent or even punishing us for something we may have said or done. He wants us to understand our circumstances through Him and to respond in faith in Him not matter what happens, because He has promised that He will make everything that happens to us work for our good.
When we really know God, when we are willing to trust Him when everything seems dark, when we are convinced that He loves us, no matter what happens, then the trials we face can never destroy us because He has promised that nothing can separate us from His love in Christ Jesus.
Scripture is taken from THE HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION®, NIV® Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.
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ISBN: Softcover – 978-1-4828-0512-3, eBook 978-4828-0511-6
My second book, Learning to be a Disciple – The Way of the Master (Copyright © 2015, Partridge Publishing), a companion volume to Learning to be a Son – The Way to the Father’s Heart, has been released in paperback and digital format on www.amazon.com.
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