Jesus is the perfect Son of God. The Bible gives us examples of Jesus praying.
Matthew 19:13 - Then little children were brought to Jesus for him to place his hands on them and pray for them.
Matthew 26:36 - Then Jesus went with his disciples to a place called Gethsemane, and he said to them, "Sit here while I go over there and pray."
Mark 1:35 - Very early in the morning, while it was still dark, Jesus got up, left the house and went off to a solitary place, where he prayed.
Luke 5:16 - But Jesus often withdrew to lonely places and prayed.
Luke 6:12 - One of those days Jesus went out to a mountainside to pray, and spent the night praying to God.
Jesus was God incarnate, God as man. Because He prayed, we should follow his example. But what could He have been praying about? Jesus could perform miracles himself, so why did He need the power of prayer?
I believe the most important power of prayer is relationship. The God and creator of the universe allows us, lowly sinners, to not only approach him, but to talk with him, to tell him our feelings, our wants, and our needs. He is the perfect parent. Just as we sometimes tell our children no for things they ask for, He too sometimes tells us no.
When God answers no, it doesn’t denote a lack of power or caring, just that God is God. He has wisdom and knowledge of things we don’t know. We must simply just believe the Bible when it says “we know that in all things God work for the good of those who love him." (Romans 8:28)
God loves us so much he allows us to be called his children. He allows us a relationship where we call Him our father. What happens when we enter this relationship sewn in prayer?
I love the answer found in Philippians 4:6-7 in the Message paraphrase of the Bible: “Don't fret or worry. Instead of worrying, pray. Let petitions and praises shape your worries into prayers, letting God know your concerns. Before you know it, a sense of God's wholeness, everything coming together for good, will come and settle you down. It's wonderful what happens when Christ displaces worry at the center of your life.”
Christ displaces the worry in your life. Imagine a life not fraught with worries, but with peace, peace that passes human understanding. This is what the power of prayer can bring.
I remember when my seven-year-old daughter had the flu. As she woke up crying with body aches she called out “Pray for me, mommy!” As I prayed out loud for her pain to go away, she let out a deep sigh, and fell back asleep. Whether the power of the prayer came as a swift answer from God or the peace of a child that knew a relationship with God, either way my prayer was answered.
My friend Julie shared the story of when her son went to serve in Iraq. Julie was understandable overcome with fear. After several weeks consumed with fear and unable to eat, she decided to give it over to God, and praise Him. Her fear was removed, and she said she didn’t have fear anymore for the entire time her son was gone. Her precious son is home now and safe, but God answered her prayer not only by bringing her son home safely, but by giving her the peace of His presence in relationship with her while her son was gone.
Friends in my prayer group often say, “Just knowing you were praying for me gave me peace.” They too know the value of the relationship with God. Even when God says no to our prayers, we are still blessed by the relationship.
The power of prayer is not found in the answer to a particular prayer, but the fact that we may enter the presence of God at all. The power is the relationship. God hears our prayers. He uses them as opportunities to grow our faith in Him.
Spend some time in prayer today, and watch your relationship with God grow, then you’ll feel the power of prayer.