Tuesday, April 26, 2011

great power in prayer

Therefore, confess your sins to one another and pray for one another, that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person has great power as it is working.
James 5:16

I think of what this verse is teaching and I realize it is so paradoxical. Prayer does not always "feel" like it is powerful. We even have a phrase: "simply pray". But James is convinced that there is nothing simple about prayer. It is our human tendency to want to take control and do something for ourselves that makes us think that prayer is not as effective as our own work on our own behalf.

This truth comes in a corporate context. It involves a degree of accountability and transparency in which the Body of Christ acknowledges and confesses sin. The church prays for one another. This is powerful because what we tend to want to do is talk about our sins, judge others, and turn that into an opportunity to exalt our own sense of righteousness. But truly confessing sin and praying for one another is powerful because together we acknowledge our great need for God. And in that direction lie healing, forgiveness, strength, and renewal!

Prayer has great power because it is surrendering to God. It is not about a magical incantation. It is not about a mystical process. It is about turning to God, confessing our own inability and brokenness, and finding that He meets us with forgiving grace and overwhelming ability not only to meet our need but to exceed it! That is a wonderful experience almost beyond my ability to describe it.

I will guard my soul from thinking little thoughts of prayer. To do so is to deny God the glory He deserves. I will make much of God by making much of my prayer. This involves a confession of my sin, accountability with others, and commitment to seeing God do great work in my life in the context of mutual reliance upon Him.

- Prepare your minds for action.
1 Peter 1:13

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