You may have heard of the "power of prayer" but what does that really mean and what is the power?
I asked the Lord the same thing...
"Lord, I have heard this expression, Lord, I have heard you say that we need to be praying and fasting, but what does it all mean...
...what am I missing?"
The Lord impressed me with a great story in the scriptures that not only depicted the power of prayer but also what the lack of prayer can do.
Prayer will save your soul and the lack of prayer just might cost you your soul. That may sound like a bold statement but keep reading and decide for yourself. Look at this example below and see if prayer carries that kind of power. It's so easy to dismiss it and shrug it off because the term "prayer" carries little value in society's eyes. Even the long attending church-goer may look at prayer as something we "should do" but not "necessary."
Some may have this attitude...
"If I get around to praying then great but if not, no big deal."
"If I forget to pray today, it's not the end of the world. The world keeps spinning and life goes on just as it did the day before."
"I woke up and guess what, I didn't say one word to God the day before and I'm still here. In fact, I haven't communed with God all week and I'm still here."
Keep reading and decide if prayer is an absolute must! Decide if prayer is as necessary as the oxygen we breathe.
Put no value in prayer, say that it is "not important" then I wouldn't expect your prayer to amount to anything. In other words, pray without faith and you should not expect anything from God (James 1:5-8).
When we start putting value in prayer, we will start seeing the difference in our life. Do you want the cloud of fear that hangs over your life to go away? Pray. Do you want guidance in midst of chaos? Pray. You want strength when the weight of the world is on your shoulders? Pray. It is that simple, and Jesus made it that simple for a reason. He didn't make a long laundry list of things to do in order to have peace, He simply said PRAY.
The Power of Prayer in the Garden of Gethsemane
36 Then cometh Jesus with them unto a place called Gethsemane, and saith unto the disciples, Sit ye here, while I go and pray yonder.
37 And he took with him Peter and the two sons of Zebedee, and began to be sorrowful and very heavy.
38 Then saith he unto them, My soul is exceeding sorrowful, even unto death: tarry ye here, and watch with me.
39 And he went a little farther, and fell on his face, and prayed, saying, O my Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me: nevertheless not as I will, but as thou wilt.
40 And he cometh unto the disciples, and findeth them asleep, and saith unto Peter, What, could ye not watch with me one hour?
41 Watch and pray, that ye enter not into temptation: the spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak.
42 He went away again the second time, and prayed, saying, O my Father, if this cup may not pass away from me, except I drink it, thy will be done.
43 And he came and found them asleep again: for their eyes were heavy.
44 And he left them, and went away again, and prayed the third time, saying the same words.
45 Then cometh he to his disciples, and saith unto them, Sleep on now, and take your rest: behold, the hour is at hand, and the Son of man is betrayed into the hands of sinners.
46 Rise, let us be going: behold, he is at hand that doth betray me.
39 And he came out, and went, as he was wont, to the mount of Olives; and his disciples also followed him.
40 And when he was at the place, he said unto them, Pray that ye enter not into temptation.
41 And he was withdrawn from them about a stone's cast, and kneeled down, and prayed,
42 Saying, Father, if thou be willing, remove this cup from me: nevertheless not my will, but thine, be done.
43 And there appeared an angel unto him from heaven, strengthening him.
44 And being in an agony he prayed more earnestly: and his sweat was as it were great drops of blood falling down to the ground.
45 And when he rose up from prayer, and was come to his disciples, he found them sleeping for sorrow,
46 And said unto them, Why sleep ye? rise and pray, lest ye enter into temptation.
Jesus told His disciples, particularly Peter, James and John, to watch and pray. But what did Jesus need them to watch for? Did Jesus need guards on the lookout for Judas?
Jesus was telling the disciples that when you watch and see calamity or confusing situations transpire....
...you watch me be arrested
...you watch me be accused falsely
...you watch me be whipped, flesh torn from my body
...you watch me endure the agony and pain of the cross
…when you watch these things, PRAY.
Because if you don't, you WILL be overcome with temptation.
Peter wasn't praying when he saw them coming to arrest Jesus. That's why he cut off Malchus' ear. Peter was tempted to not rely on God's will, but instead relied on his own understanding and ultimately denied he knew Jesus, 3 times.
God is telling us to pray, pray and pray. He's not telling us to only pray for others that are in need (you notice Jesus didn't ask the disples to pray for Him) but, pray that YOU don't fall into temptation. God desires to keep you from being tempted when you SEE/WATCH things transpire...
- In this world
- In your country
- In your state
- In your city
- In your neighborhood
- In your extended family
- In your neighbor's life
- In your spouse's life
- In your children's life
- In your life
The temptation is to rely on your own understanding, to let your own emotions and fear encompass you.
When Jesus prayed, isn't that exactly what he was doing? Wasn't Jesus checking in with the Father for his perfect will? Wasn't Jesus, through prayer, gaining the full understanding of the Father's will and not relying on His own (fleshly) will because Jesus was fully man as well as fully God. He was gaining the strength to SEE/WATCH the betrayal of His children and endure it.
Why were the disciples sleeping?
And when he rose up from prayer, and was come to his disciples, he found them sleeping for sorrowLuke 22:45
And he came and found them asleep again: for their eyes were heavy.Matthew 26:43
The scriptures say they were sleeping because of sorrow or heaviness. These are not different interpretations of the scripture because both words mean the same thing.
They were sleeping because the weight, stress, "heaviness", "sorrow", grief that they were WATCHING transpire with their Master, Jesus, was a lot to handle. In fact, it was too much for them to handle. They were confused about what happened and what was said during the last supper and they were grieved by watching Jesus be full of sorrow "even unto death."
Have you ever had so much grief, sorrow, sadness, despair in your life and felt the heaviness?
When you feel this way, pray. The disciples were not praying and therefore they were overtaken with the heaviness.
But the thing is, if they would have prayed if they would have called out to God to seek His will, which is what Jesus was telling them, then they could have continued to watch what they were seeing transpire in their life. Then they could have watched the ultimate death of Jesus, their dearest friend. Then they would have found reassurance in God's understanding and God's will.
The heaviness of the last days will tempt you and me to deny we know Jesus.
The heaviness of the mark of the beast will tempt you and me to deny our faith in Jesus.
The heaviness of the persecution of the saints will tempt you and me to turn away from Jesus.
...except we PRAY, right now.
We should not take prayer lightly
3 times Jesus did ask! During the most life-changing moment in history for all mankind, Jesus sweating blood from the stress and weight of what He was about to endure, got up from His communion with the Father to tell the disciples that they should be praying because it was merely a good idea? ...a nice thought? ...or something they should consider?
I think not!
Jesus doesn't want anyone to deny or forsake Him but how many more times can He tell you and I to pray? Thank God there was still time for Peter to ask for forgiveness after Jesus rose from the dead.
Will we be fortunate enough to have the time to ask God for forgiveness if we do as Peter did and turn our back on the Lord and say we never knew Him?
How many times will Jesus ask you and me?
...we will begin to pray, now, and be "moved into" the strength of God's will, just like when the angel touched Jesus. Then, when we pray, it will be effectual, it we be fervent and that's the kind of praying that benefits much.
You may think you are strong enough
I may think I'm strong enough.
Peter said …"I will never deny you..." during the last supper.
Peter told Jesus that they will never take you and you will never suffer these things and then Jesus rebuked him.
Jesus told the disciple 3 times to pray because we are fleshly, carnal, humans that should not fool ourselves into thinking we are strong enough.
That is why Jesus said, "The spirit is willing but the flesh is weak."
The spirit of Peter was willing, he wanted to do anything and everything he could for the Lord, deep down he felt that he would never say or do anything to betray or deny the Lord.
But when the heaviness came, he could not control his flesh, his emotions, and he was weak.
If only he had prayed.
The power of prayer will save you!
There may come a time when the opportunity to pray will run out
"I can always pray."
True, but will you be praying before or after the fullness of your tragedy, hardship, or suffering befalls you, others around you or this world?
Will you be praying before or after you started to rely on your own will and understanding?
Jesus, told his disciples the 3rd time, "sleep on."
Because it's too late to pray and enter into the will and understanding of God because what you are about to watch...
…it is already here!
Don't wait to pray. We need to enter into the understanding of God's will, NOW, before we WATCH/SEE what comes down the road.
Prayer didn't deliver Jesus out of His Suffering…it delivered Him through it
So often we pray to be delivered out of our suffering and if that is God's will, so be it.
But as Jesus said, "Nevertheless not my will, thine be done…"
Don't be discouraged if your prayer didn't deliver you or someone out of their suffering. Prayer will deliver you and them through it! Not only "through it" but through it with the right attitude, through it with faith, through it with hope, through it with peace and understanding.
The prayer of Jesus, delivered Him through what He was about to face.
The lack of prayer of the disciples didn't deliver them through what they watched happen in their lives and those around them.
Take the time, right now, and PRAY and you will enter into God's will and understanding and in doing so the heaviness will leave you and you will be able to endure whatever comes your way, all the while maintaining a right attitude towards God.
That is the power of prayer.