We fight for others, and for ourselves, through the miraculous power of prayer.
When you think of God’s power, what do you think of?
For most, the first things that come to mind are miracles: God splitting the Red Sea, flooding the earth, and rising from the dead. We think of these huge, monumental, earth-shattering events that changed the course of history.
Do you pray like you believe God’s that powerful?
Most of us would say God is powerful, yet we use prayer as a last resort. We talk to God out of desperation when we feel we have nowhere else to go. We often ask God for help when it’s a last-ditch effort. But the reality is that we are talking to someone who has the power to change anything and everything at the snap of His fingers. The power to do all of these miracles and more. If someone that big and that powerful loves you, why would you not turn to Him first with every problem you have?
Ephesians 6:12 tells us that “...we are not fighting against flesh-and-blood enemies, but against evil rulers and authorities of the unseen world, against mighty powers in this dark world, and against evil spirits in the heavenly places.” We are fighting, and there is a real and present enemy who is ready to devour. Prayer is the most powerful and effective weapon we have!
If prayer is a weapon, why wouldn’t you want an army fighting for you - and why wouldn’t you want to fight on behalf of someone who might not be able to fight for themselves? That’s where community comes in. We were not made to be solo Christians. We were made to pray for and support each other. That means you need to be someone who asks for prayer, but that also means you need to be someone who is fighting for other people through prayer. If you love people, the best thing you can do is fight for them in prayer.
In Luke 5, we see the story of a paralyzed man. His friends wanted to get him to Jesus, but Jesus was inside of a house and couldn’t reach him because of the crowds. So the friends climbed on the roof - still carrying this man on a mat - and cut a hole in the ceiling. They lowered him down in front of Jesus. His friends knew they were helpless to heal him; how many times have you been in a similar situation, feeling helpless but so desperately wanting to help and heal the people you care about? The friends then brought him to the feet of the only one who could change things. They did whatever was necessary and used drastic measures to lay their friend down in front of Jesus. They knew Jesus was their friend’s only hope. Today, we can do the same thing, laying others at the feet of Jesus. We don’t have to cut any holes in roofs, though; we do this by prayer.
We’ve all been in situations where we felt helpless to save the people we care about, but we’ve also all at times been like the man in this story. We’ve all been through a time when we’ve been paralyzed by something; maybe it’s our own mistakes. Maybe it’s our fear, anxiety, or depression. Maybe it’s a divorce or death in the family. Maybe it’s shame. Whatever it is, we’ve all been in a situation where we could not save ourselves. The only way to change it is to lay it down at the feet of Jesus. To lay ourselves at the feet of Jesus.
When I think about prayer, I think about this story I heard a few years ago. I serve at our Oconee Campus, and there’s an older gentleman there who has been at the church long before it was a part of Bethlehem. Our campus pastor once told me that the man offered to come by the pastor's house to plant some fruit trees for his kids. The man dug a hole in the ground, put the seed in, covered it, watered it, and then got quiet. He put his hands on the ground and bowed his head. When asked what he was doing, he replied, “I’ve done my part; now I’m asking God to do His.” Prayer is our seed. We do what we can do, hand it over to God, and trust that He is faithful to grow something exponentially more incredible, powerful, and fruitful from it. He can do more with one tiny seed than we could ever do on our own.
What could God do with your seed of obedience in prayer?