- Religion and Philosophy
The power of prayer
What is prayer anyway?
Prayer is a gift, given to humanity by God so that they can communicate with Him. People pray to the Lord for the following five reasons:
1) To give Him thanks (Psalm 136:26).
2) To praise His mighty works (Psalm 75:1).
3) To present a petition before the Lord (Phil.4:6).
4) To seek help in times of trouble (Psalm 50:15).
5) To ask for healing when sick (James 5:14).
Christians are taught to pray about everything regardless how big or how small their request may seem (Phil.4:6). The Lord said in times of trouble call on the Lord (Psalm 50:15). Jesus said men ought to always pray and not lose heart (Lk.18:1). The Lord promised to always hear His people when they cry out in prayer (Psalm 34:15).
Do people really believe in prayer?
Most everyone believes in prayer, but, do these same Christians think prayer has the power to change someone’s situation, no matter how drastically the problem may seem? In the Bible, you can find thousands of eyewitnesses who will testify on God’s behalf, that prayer does change a person's circumstances. Unfortunately, not everyone is going to believe that God hears the prayers of the afflicted and intervenes, thus changing their situation. For the individuals who doubt the power of prayer, God gives us a powerful example in the book Acts, how prayer changed Peter’s predicament.
King Herod believed in prayer
King Herod had first-hand knowledge that prayer has the power not only to change lives, but it could also influence, and change the outcome of people’s situations. While examining the apostle Paul, King Agrippa, along with Fetus heard the apostles Paul’s testimony, how Jesus had appeared to him on the road to Damascus, knocking him off his horse and blinding him. The apostle Paul also said to those sitting on the council that he heard the voice of Jesus speaking to Him. Paul said to King Agrippa; I was not disobedient to the heavenly vision. Therefore, I did the things spoken of by Jesus (Acts 26:1-32).
Is there power in prayer?
The king thought there was power in prayer, or at least he acted like he did, after all, why after throwing Peter in prison the king would take so many precautions to be assured Peter could not escape from his prison cell. Not only was Peter thrown In prison king Herod had assigned four squads of soldiers to keep watch over Peter so he could not escape the king's wrath. And if this was not enough security, the king had Peter bound with two chains and placed him between two guards, one guard standing on Peters left, and one on his right; and the king had also set guards at the door to the entrance of Peter's cell.
Faith as a mustard seed
Now while the king was securing the prison to prevent Peter from escaping, Peter’s followers were on their knees praying and petitioning the Lord, for Peter’s release from the hand of King Herod. The King put his trust in human’s hands, to keep Peter contained, but, the Christians praying for Peter’s release, put their faith and trust in the living God, with whom nothing is impossible. Jesus said if you have faith as a mustard seed, you can tell this mountain move, and it will obey you.
Is God’s ears attentive to our cries?
God heard the prayers of the congregation as they prayed for Peter’s freedom, and He sent His angel to intervene, and free Peter from his cell. God’s angels can go places, and do things, which human hands are unable.
As the angel stood in the prison doorway, his brilliance illuminated the entire prison, and the guards were like dead men, not moving because of the angel's brightness. And the angel touched Peter’s side and beckoned to him saying, get up quickly! As soon as Peter jumped up, his chains fell off his hands and hitting the floor, they made a loud noise, and the angel shouted to Peter saying, put your clothes on and follow me.
Are angels real?
Peter did not know if the angel was real or if he was dreaming or seeing a vision. But the angel took Peter's hand and led him safely past the first and second guard posts, as both Peter and the angel are gazing at the Iron Gate which stands between him and freedom, suddenly! The gate supernaturally opened and as Peter reached the street, the angel left him.
God’s angel freed Peter
Peter stood on the walkway looking up and down the street. Suddenly! Peter realized God sent His angel to free him from his shackles. Peter was not dreaming, like he imagined. As Peter thought about his ordeal he realized God had to perform a miracle to free him from the guards who were ordered to guard him (Acts.12:6),
Peter, a living testimony
When Peter came to his senses, he walked to Mary’s house where his friends were praying to God on his behalf. Even while Christians are praying for God to perform a miracle, in the back of their mind doubt is lurking because the circumstances seem hopeless. There was no way humanly possible to free Peter from prison without shedding blood, but God’s angel released Peter without disturbing any of the guards, even the guards chained to Peter. Peter’s friends who had been praying for his freedom could not believe it was him, knocking on the door. But here is Peter, a living testimony, that God does answer prayer.
When we pray to the Father
When we pray, it’s important to remember that we are not praying to some strange God, but to our heavenly father. What loving father, will not respond to the cries of his children? Or what Dad does not what the best for his kids? Likewise, God want’s the very best life has to offer for His sons and daughters, so, remember this when we pray to our Father in Heaven.
© 2017 Rev Dennis L Johnson