Do you ever feel as if your prayers are powerless? Maybe you prayed and believed God for something, but it didn’t happen. Or you wanted to pray with passion, but you didn’t know the right words to say.
I want to encourage you today not to give up on God. We all have times when we feel our prayers aren’t working, or we honestly don’t know how to pray. And those times that we really believed God but ended up disappointed–those really sting. Such times leave us wounded and afraid to trust again.
Praying with Power
It’s hard to reconcile Scriptures that tell us that if we have faith, our prayers will be answered with our experience that sometimes, they’re not.
What we can hold onto today is the veracity of God’s Word. His Word is true and can be trusted. So we can learn how to pray with power and trust God with the results, but how?
Prayer is not a magic formula for getting what we want. Prayer is a way to communicate with God to seek His will and to further His kingdom. The problem is that sometimes our desires are in conflict with His will, and that’s when we struggle with our faith.
I really do believe that God cares about us personally. He created us in His image, to reflect His nature, and part of that nature is that He fills us with hopes and dreams. Sometimes those hopes and dreams mingle with our flesh and we can get out of balance in seeking what brings Him glory. Regardless, He loves us and only wants His best for us.
So, when we pray, we have to keep in mind the bigger picture–that God has a plan for us and we can trust Him with that plan. I’m always reminded of David because he had such a heart for God. He wanted to do God’s will, and he was honest in his struggle.
So many times we see David praying and trusting God even when God wasn’t answering (Psalm 13). At times David was discouraged (Psalm 42). Sometimes he questioned if God was with him (Psalm 22). But he never stopped believing. Never.
Psalm 138 is such a great example of praying with power.
“I give you thanks, O LORD, with my whole heart; before the gods I sing your praise; I bow down toward your holy temple and give thanks to your name for your steadfast love and your faithfulness, for you have exalted above all things your name and your word” (1-2, ESV).
David began this prayer by acknowledging God’s love and faithfulness toward him. David recognized that God’s name and God’s Word are so powerful that God has exalted them above all things.
Pray in Jesus’ name.
When we pray in Jesus’ name, we are exalting who He is above what we want.
“Whatever you ask in my name, this will I do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son. If you ask me anything in my name, I will do it” (John 14:13-14).
Jesus spoke these words to his followers, preparing them for His departure. He was teaching them to trust that He is truly God and that they could call on Him as they continued to do great works for Him. He wasn’t sharing a formula for accomplishing our will but for furthering His kingdom on earth.
There’s nothing He can’t do, so we can call on His name in full assurance of faith, while trusting His will in every situation because He is good. His name is the name that is above every name (Philippians 2:9).
Pray the Word.
Likewise, when we pray God’s Word, we are calling on the faithfulness of God to keep His Word.
“On the day I called, you answered me; my strength of soul you increased. All the kings of the earth shall give you thanks, O LORD, for they have heard the words of your mouth, and they shall sing of the ways of the LORD, for great is the glory of the LORD” (3-5).
God will answer our prayers in the way that best brings Him glory. And even when His plans don’t make sense to us at the time, He can increase our strength to bear it.
The Israelites often remembered God’s works in the past. They would recall His promises to them as they went into battle. Even other nations of the earth heard of the God of the Israelites and His power on behalf of His people.
We, too, can call on God’s Word in prayer, remembering His promises to us. We can pray God’s Words back to Him, not in a demanding way but humbly recalling His truth and His faithfulness.
“For though the LORD is on high, he regards the lowly, but the haughty he knows from afar” (6).
David had come to understand that when he wanted his will above God’s will, he was walking in pride. If God answered all of our prayers the way we wanted, we would rule the world instead of Him. But God calls us to come in humility and lowliness of spirit. And He brings all of His love and faithfulness to bear in our lives.
“Though I walk in the midst of trouble, you preserve my life; you stretch out your hand against the wrath of my enemies, and your right hand delivers me” (7).
Pray God’s Will.
Even “in the midst of trouble” David experienced the deliverance of God, and we can too. David had learned the secret of powerful prayer: trusting God to fulfill His plan above David’s own desires for his life.
“The LORD will fulfill his purpose for me; your steadfast love, O LORD, endures forever. Do not forsake the work of your hands” (8).
We can follow David’s formula for powerful prayer by coming to God in humility and praise, praying in the name of Jesus, calling on the promises of God to us in His Word, and trusting that His purpose for us will be fulfilled because of His steadfast love.
When life seems to plunge you in the midst of trouble, take heart! The One who loves you has overcome the world (John 16:33). And He has promised to never forsake you (Hebrews 13:5).