October 26, 2011

What does prayer DO?

Prayer Pointers from Paul to the Philippians

In Philippians we find Paul chained in a Roman prison and in the first chapter it is evident that he doesn’t know if he is to be executed by the Roman Guard in the coming days.  But even in his imprisonment he believed that prayer “did something” and so he prayed.  In fact, most of Paul’s writings begin with prayer…for the believers of the first century and also for us in the 21st century.
This ancient prayer in Philippians 1 addresses the question “What does prayer do?” 
As you take the time to read through you will discover that prayer is not only for the immediate but it looks to the future: “Being confident of this very thing, that He who has begun a good work in you will complete it until the day of Jesus Christ.” (vs. 6)

 It focuses on what the Christian life is all about:  “And this I pray, that your love may abound still more and more in knowledge and all discernment.” (vs. 9)

It turns situations around for good:  “But I want you to know, brethren, that the things which happened to me have actually turned out for the furtherance of the gospel.” (vs. 12)

It changes things: “For I know that this will turn out for my deliverance through your prayer..” (vs. 19)

It looks to the needs of others:  “I thank my God upon every remembrance of you, always in every prayer of mine making requests for you all with joy.”  (vs. 3,4)

Prayer is choosing to let the word of God shape us and not the circumstances: “Only let your conduct be worthy of the gospel of Christ.” (vs. 27) Which Paul demonstrates by praying, with joy, even when chained in prison.

Prayer realizes that the word of God is not bound.  God will perform His word.  God is faithful and He will do what He has promised.  So soak your prayer with God’s word, His promises.

Later in the chapter (Philippians 4:6) Paul explicitly invites the reader to make their requests known to God.  He encourages them to come to Him and to “ask”.

Paul wasn’t backwards in sharing his prayer requests.  He understood the importance of prayer and the role it played, not only in personal lives but in the furtherance of God’s kingdom. 

Personal Pointers

Please believe me when I say that I do not consider myself a prayer warrior and I still find it difficult asking for personal prayer.  However, God is taking me on a journey of prayer and I am beginning to see a paradigm shift from believing in “the power of prayer” to praying because I believe in “the power of God.”   There is power in prayer ONLY because there is an Almighty God who hears and responds to our prayers.

One thing I have learned over the many years of being a Christian is that God can work in mere days or He chooses to work over months, sometimes years and for deeper works, over the decades.  But He IS at work.

Another point is that God will work through our faith and He also works when we feel we have no faith.   

Like Paul stated, He simply requires that we come to Him to ask.

Prayer brings me into the presence of God where I find myself so dependent upon Him.  It humbles me as I sense the privilege Christ has given for us to come and touch the heart of the Father; and in that touching, I also am touched.

No comments: