Prayer: It's Not A Last Resort

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“I’ve done everything I can think of. It’s still not fixed. I guess all we can do now is pray.”

Sound familiar? Too often, we only think of prayer after we’ve expended all our other options. Whether this comes from a sense of pride (”I can handle this!”) or a misguided sense of responsibility (”I don’t want to bother God with this”), we always lose out when we leave prayer as a last resort.

Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done.
— Philippians 4:6 (NLT)

“I wish I could help, but all I can do is pray.”

I used to feel this way a lot. I’d hear about situations that friends and loved ones were going through, and there wasn’t anything I could physically do to fix their problems, heal their bodies, resolve their situations. I felt helpless.

And I felt like prayer was such a small thing. A mere gesture of support. “I’ll be praying for you.” What a nice, Christian thing to do.

Prayer Is No Small Thing

Prayer isn’t merely a polite gesture, an admission that someone is beyond your help, or a shot in the dark. Prayer is the entry point for God’s power to flood into earth’s atmosphere and make things happen

Think about it this way: Prayer — your prayer — is how God’s will gets done. Isn’t that how Jesus taught his disciples (and us) to pray?

In this manner, therefore, pray: Our Father in heaven, Hallowed be Your name. Your kingdom come. Your will be done On earth as it is in heaven.
— Jesus, in Matthew 6:9-10 (NKJV)

Wow! This instruction from Jesus should stop us in our tracks.

First, because it tells us something shocking: God’s will is not automatically done on earth. If everything that happens on earth was already according to God’s will, then why would Jesus instruct us to pray for His will to be done?

And second, we should be struck with wonder: you and I have the awesome privilege of partnering with God to see His will be done here on earth. We get to participate in the best things to ever happen to people: healing from pain and sickness, reconciliation between loved ones, miraculous provision when all seems lost, restoration of joy after long struggle, even deliverance from hell and being reborn to eternal life!

The Power of Prayer

Look at what the Bible tells us about the power of prayer:

“I also tell you this: If two of you agree here on earth concerning anything you ask, my Father in heaven will do it for you.” - Jesus, in Matthew 18:19 (NLT)

"And these signs will follow those who believe: …they will lay hands on the sick, and they will recover." - Jesus, in Mark 16:17-18 (NKJV)

And the prayer of faith will save the sick, and the Lord will raise him up. And if he has committed sins, he will be forgiven. - James 5:15 (NKJV)

Confess your trespasses to one another, and pray for one another, that you may be healed. The effective, fervent prayer of a righteous man avails much. Elijah was a man with a nature like ours, and he prayed earnestly that it would not rain; and it did not rain on the land for three years and six months. And he prayed again, and the heaven gave rain, and the earth produced its fruit. - James 5:16-18 (NKJV)

The example of Elijah fills me with so many exciting thoughts that he’s going to get a whole blog post of his own. Keep an eye open for that.

TAKING IT TO HEART: Have you considered prayer a last resort? Felt helpless and uncertain about whether your prayers do any good?

It’s time to renew our minds to the truth: prayer is powerful. It’s not small, and it shouldn’t be the last thing we try.

CHALLENGE: No matter how many times we’ve prayed and felt that it did no good, our experience is not to be trusted more than the Word of God.

Pick a verse in the Bible about the power of prayer and write it out. Put it somewhere you will see it every day. Say it out loud. Imagine it happening to you.