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The Power of Prayer

The effective, fervent prayer of a righteous man avails much. James 5:16 (NKJV)

Have you ever stopped praying for someone because your prayers didn't seem to be working?  I think each of us has done this at some point.  We pray for others but eventually we can become discouraged, and give up—turning them over to God.  We might even believe our prayers lack power.  And although this can be true when we have unconfessed sin in our life (cf. Ps. 66:18), it can also be a lie from the enemy to keep us from using the most powerful weapon we possess.

In his book, Prayer, Our Glorious Privilege, Pastor Chuck Smith shares an amazing testimony of the power of prayer.  The story was about a man who was a Missouri state Senator—he was a brilliant attorney, but he was also an avowed atheist.  Now his wife was a godly woman and a devoted Christian. Not surprisingly, their relationship suffered from this great spiritual divide.  So she decided to do something about it; she began to pray.

One Tuesday, when the Senator’s wife gathered with three of her friends for their weekly prayer meeting, she requested the others to make a covenant with her to pray for her husband's salvation. Every morning at ten o'clock, each would pray for her husband asking "God, please take hold of his heart and turn him toward Jesus Christ." Each agreed, and prayed faithfully for the Senator from that morning on. The Senator left for Congress knowing he was facing a particularly heavy session. Many important issues would come before the Senator during that session, several of which he had authored himself.

When the first day of the new session had ended, he felt tired, but as he explained later, he also felt something odd. He couldn't put his finger on what had changed, but he felt like something unusual was happening. Something was different. That "something" made a difference. That particular session was so hectic; the Senator barely had time to call home. But when he returned home during the congressional recess, he surprised his wife by suggesting—for the first time ever—they go to church together.

His wife, of course, was delighted. But the greatest surprise of all was yet to come. When the invitation was given at church that Sunday morning, the woman saw her prayers realized, as her husband went forward to receive Christ as his Lord and Savior. Life changed dramatically after that—though married many years, the couple found a new beginning as one in Christ.

Thrilled at what God had done, the woman shared with her husband the covenant that she had made with her friends to pray each morning for his salvation. "When did you start doing that?" he asked. "Well, let me see." she said, thinking. "I know it was on a Tuesday, because that is the day we meet for prayer." Checking the calendar, she found the date. “Here it is," she said. "This was when we started praying for you." Her husband looked at the date and then, his eyes gleaming with excitement, said, "Let me show you something." He opened his diary to the same date and pointed to a notation at 11 o'clock in the morning—exactly 10 a.m. in Missouri—where he had written, "I have suddenly come to a tremendous consciousness and awareness of my need for God. I don't understand what this is all about..."

What an amazing power we have in prayer. Our prayer is the tool to release the power of God to softening hearts and lead people into an amazing relationship with Jesus.  We don't always see the effects of our prayers immediately, or sometimes at all.  But we should know if they're God's will then they will be done in His perfect timing (1 John 5:14-15). The person you have been praying for might not be responding to the call of the Holy Spirit outwardly but God is still working on, and in them. 

Now this is the confidence that we have in Him, that if we ask anything according to His will, He hears us. And if we know that He hears us, whatever we ask, we know that we have the petitions that we have asked of Him. 1 John 5:14-15 (NKJV)

STUDY QUESTION: According to James 5:16 what can we learn about prayer?

PERSONAL INVENTORY: Have you found yourself discouraged or frustrated because it appears that God is not answering a sincere prayer for someone in your life?

PRACTICAL APPLICATION: Be faithful to pray for those who the Lord has brought into your life.

PRAYER: Father, thank You for this testimony about this man, and about the faithful prayer of his wife and friends.  Show me today, the people You would have me pray for, and what I am to pray for.  In Jesus' precious name, amen...


Be Blessed, Pastor Scott


Copyright ©2017 by Pastor Scott Wright.
Unless otherwise indicated, Scripture taken from the New King James Version. Copyright 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved. Bible text from the New King James Version is not to be reproduced in copies or otherwise by any means except as permitted in writing by Thomas Nelson, Inc., Attn: Bible Rights and Permissions, P.O. Box 141000, Nashville, TN 37214-1000