May 20, 2013
Prayer Unleashes Faith
Mary Southerland

Today’s Truth

Is any one of you in trouble? He should pray. Is any one of you sick? He should call the elders of the church to pray over him. And the prayer offered in faith will make the sick person well; the Lord will raise him up. The prayer of a righteous man is powerful and effective (James 5:13-16, NIV).

Friend to Friend

A small country town was in desperate need of rain. One Sunday morning, the pastor of the local church called for a special prayer meeting to be held that night. “It’s time to pray for rain,” he said. The people gathered with a sense of purpose and excitement, but when the pastor stood to lead the prayer time, his words stunned the waiting crowd.  “Only one of you came in faith,” he announced. Looking down at the first row, the pastor pointed at a little girl who sat quietly, a smile on her face and an umbrella in her hand.  We can pray for rain, but faith brings an umbrella. Prayer invites and expects God to step in and take charge.  Rick Warren, the pastor of Saddleback Church in California and author of “The Purpose Driven Life” was once asked, “Rick, why do you think God blesses your life and this ministry in such powerful ways?” His answer was surprisingly simple, “Because I expect him to.” Prayer shuts out fear and fuels faith.          

Remember when Jesus came to the disciples, walking on the water, between three and six o’clock in the morning, the darkest time of the night? I have often wished I could have been on that boat with the disciples, waiting for Jesus to show up. I imagine the questions and complaints were flying! “Why would Jesus send us out here, knowing the waves were high? And where is He, by the way? Why is He waiting so long to rescue us? Can’t He just calm the waves like He did before? I ministered all day long and this is my reward? Is He really coming? I don’t understand!” Sound familiar? 

When the winds picked up and the waves grew larger, I am sure that every disciple in that rocking boat was praying like crazy! Unfortunately, it often takes a crisis to drive us to our knees in prayer. I think I know why. Until we are utterly helpless, prayer seems like an option instead of our only hope. 

Three ministers were discussing which position produces the most powerful prayer. As they were talking, a telephone repairman was working on the phone system in the background. One minister shared that he felt the key to powerful prayer was in the hands. He always held his hands together and pointed them upward as a form of symbolic worship. The second suggested that real prayer was conducted on the knees while the third minister suggested that they both had it wrong. According to him, the only position worth its salt was to pray while stretched out flat on your face in humility. The phone man couldn’t resist offering his opinion, “I have found that the most powerful prayer I ever prayed was while I was dangling upside down by my heels from a power pole suspended forty feet above the ground.” Helplessness underlines our need for faith and our total dependence upon God, even when the skies are clear and the water is calm.

Answered prayer should be the norm. Prayer should be as natural and constant as breathing. A mother overheard her daughter-in-law talking on the telephone to a friend who had called, asking for prayer. Five-year-old Amy came bouncing into the room, stood still for a moment to listen, and heard her mother praying. "Is that God on the phone, Mom?" Amy interrupted. "I need to talk to Him, too!"

Samuel Chadwick writes, "The one concern of the devil is to keep Christians from praying. He fears nothing from prayer-less studies, prayer-less work and prayer-less religion. He laughs at our toil, mocks at our wisdom, but he trembles when we pray."  The best time for prayer isn't found. It's made. The average Christian spends very little time in prayer – then wonders why they have no faith and experience no power. If we are too busy to pray, we are too busy to experience the power of God. We can be very busy, but not necessarily productive because we lack faith. One of the main reasons we lack faith is because we don’t pray. Consistent prayer builds consistent faith. 

Let’s Pray

Father, Thank You for the gift of prayer. I am constantly amazed by Your love and the fact that You really want to spend time with me in prayer. Help me to become a mighty prayer warrior for You.

In Jesus’ name,

Amen.

Now It’s Your Turn

Pray! You have probably read many devotions and listened to a few sermons on prayer. However, I believe the main problem with our prayer life is simple – we just do not pray. We think we have to be in a certain place, at a certain time going through specific steps in order to pray. Prayer needs to become a habit that takes second place to nothing. Pray about everything. Start praying in the morning when your eyes open and don’t stop until they close in sleep. Create a prayer journal in which you can record prayer requests, prayers and praises. Right now, celebrate the gift of prayer – and pray!

More from the Girlfriends

God’s love is not a shallow love that always rescues easily or quickly. God loves us enough to walk us through the fiery times that make us more like His Son, Jesus Christ. His ways are not our ways and His thoughts are different from our thoughts. He is Holy God! Join me in a new commitment to trust God to work at the right time and in the right way as we seek Him in prayer.

Need help?Check out one of Mary’s E-Bible Studies for practical steps you can take to strengthen your faith and find answers to the problems you face every day. Titles include Anger Management 911, God’s Answer to Stress, Getting a Grip on Fear and more

Join other women across the worldin Mary’s Online Bible Study, Light for the Journey. Power Up With Proverbs is the current series. Connect with Mary on Facebook or through email. She loves hearing what God is doing in your life!

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