Do Christians underestimate the strength and power of prayer?
In May of this year, a USA Today article quoted the U.S. Gallup Poll, stating “83% [Americans] say God answers prayers, 57% favor the National Day of Prayer.”
Does any of this information strike you as odd? Certainly, there may be different religions and many other factors that influence these percentages. But, given just this much, what can you gather about the American attitude of the power of prayer?
Lets suppose you have someone close to you who came to visit. She is tired and hungry, and you have nothing to give her for food. So, you call up your good friend Kevin to loan you something to feed her. It’s midnight, Kevin is half asleep, and so is his family. Even though the last thing he desires to do at this hour of the night is make sandwiches for your visitor, he does it anyhow because of your boldness to ask.
Story sound familiar? It’s a parable Jesus conveys to his disciples in Luke 11 about how prayer ought to be approached. The NLT version replaces “boldness” with “shameless persistence.” Because of your friendship with Kevin, he recognizes your courage, and therefore fulfills your request so as not to damage your character/judgment (after all, you did trust that Kevin would be the one to take care of you). In the same way, God should be the one we look to for all our worries, needs, and desires. He asks of us to do this joyfully (1 Thess. 5:16), confidently (1 John 5:14), and with the right motive (James 4:3). As God’s children, He loves us dearly and takes notice of persistent prayer from His faithful servants.
“Ask and it will be given to you” Jesus says (Luke 11:1-13, NIV).
Maybe a National Day of Prayer doesn’t entirely encompass how much a nation prays, or how much they believe in a God, let alone Jesus. But what is important is the notion of how Christians see and use prayer. Daily we are told to lay our petitions at the feet of our Father and “not give up” (Luke 18:1). This can be on behalf of our non-Christian friends, the church, and our brothers and sisters in Christ. Praying before God for the cause of others is known as “intercessory prayer”. The Bible is chalk full of related examples, from Abraham pleading with God to save Sodom (Genesis 18:20), to Jesus’ prayer of protection for the sake of his children right before his death (John 17:6-16). For a majority of these biblical leaders, they interceded with motives that aligned with God’s promises and will for the sake of caring for others and spreading the gospel. This is what we intend to do here at Awakening. From July 14-25, WestGate will send out a team of 20 people to the poverty-stricken country of Haiti; almost half of this group attends Awakening. In an effort to show support and recognize God’s amazing hand in all of this, we will gather for an hour each day that our friends are serving abroad.
There will be sign-up sheets this Sunday for you to pick which day(s) you are available to join us in prayer for how God will bless the Haitians and protect our group during their stay.
For dates 20th-22nd, we will be meeting from 7-8 PM in the “50s Room”.
Every other meeting will be the “Vertical V Room”. (More information will be given on Sunday.)
It will be an exciting opportunity to come together as a family, and devote only an hour or two of our time to see God move in the confidence of our Haitian team.