Understanding the Power of Prayer
by Fr. Dwight Longenecker 01/12/2016 Comments (1)
We’re supposed to pray. In fact the New Testament says we’re supposed to “pray without ceasing.” (I Thess. 5:16-18) How do you do that and what do you mean by ‘prayer’ to start with? If you thought it was asking God for stuff you’re not completely wrong. We’re supposed to ask God for our needs, and I think it’s just fine to ask God for the particular things like, “Dear God, please heal my son.” or “Please God we need money to pay the bills.”
However, these sorts of prayers are really a means to an end rather than an end in themselves. When we pray for specific things we are putting it all into God’s hands. We may say, “Give us this day our daily bread” but we also say, “Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven.” When we do both together we join our will with God’s will and great power can be the result. The power I’m talking about is the power to change the world, and even more miraculous—the power to change ourselves.
Of course, when I say “power to change ourselves” I really mean God’s power is released through prayer for the transformation of our lives. The first thing that is transformed in our lives in this way, is our viewpoint. By prayer we gradually shift from judging everything according to how it impacts us to judging everything according to God’s will.
This step is very important because it is only when this paradigm shift takes place that we can begin to see that some of the stuff in our lives which we find unpleasant or difficult is actually there for a different purpose. Perhaps God is using the difficult situation to teach us a lesson, to show us our faults and to help us get better. It could be that what we perceive as a nuisance and a bother and a difficulty is the way forward, but in a different direction than we had anticipated. When something is taken away from us it could be that God is making way to give us something better. Prayer helps us to see things in this new way and step by step begin living by faith and trust in divine providence.
Before long we start to live within the guidance of God and then, gradually, as we begin seeing things God’s way we start praying for the things that God really wants. Wow! When that happens the power is really unleashed and we begin to see great answers to prayer.
When we pray for God’s will to be done and we understand what God’s will is, then our actions and our prayers—our life and our faith—begin working together in tandem. Faith and works become one faith-full action. Things come together. Life harmonizes. All if provided. All are protected.
Living within this harmonious state is something which is achieved by grace-fueled action.
So Believe. Be. Live. Be alive. Suddenly we start to realize that we are actually living in the state of grace that we longed for.
Suddenly we begin to understand that marvelous and mysterious verse from Scripture, “All things work together for good to those who love God and who are called according to his purpose.”
This is where we should be headed and prayer is the power that gets us there. End quotes