Power of Prayer
Creation began with speaking. As humans created in the image of the God who speaks, and whose Son is “the Word”, it is natural that humankind be speakers and communicate to the Creator by speaking to Him. Using the definition of prayer as “personal communication with God” there are four ways that the role of prayer is part of the Christian life. Firstly it demonstrates allegiance, it builds faith, it is for worship, and lastly it moves the hand of God.
One role of prayer is to demonstrate allegiance to God. All throughout scripture the key defining feature of belonging to God’s people is being loyal, or faithful to Him. One does not call on a god to whom they have no commitment or trust. We only call on a divine being that we expect to be able to hear and respond. Daniel is an excellent example of this; he being faithful to YHWH prays to Him in continued loyalty despite the opposition. For the antediluvian believer, they were defined by their prayer; “At that time people began to call upon the name of the Lord” (Ge 4:26). In these days, it is the same but through Jesus: “if you confess with your mouth … that God raised [Jesus] from the dead, you will be saved” (Ro 10:9). The Christian demonstrates his allegiance to the one true God by confessing he is Saviour and calling on him for that salvation.
Prayer also builds faith. As one brings their praises to God, they are reminded of who He is and why they trust Him. If a wife is not reminded of her husband’s vows, his profession of love, and his loving nature, she will quickly grow cold toward him and distrust him. So it is with the believer who by praise is reminding themselves of God’s person and activities and through petition is acknowledging reliance on God with assurance of his ability to bring about what’s requested.
Somewhat obviously, prayer is a part of worship. It can be said that many forms of worship are prayer; singing (prayers put to music), reading confession of faith (prayers by wrote), reading scripture (prayer by acknowledging God’s person and activities), and so on. Worship is both the natural and demanded response to God’s person and work. As the Christian lives a worshipful life, responding in thankfulness and praise, “prayer” encapsulates the heart and minds reply to compliment the body’s “living sacrifice” (Ro 12:1).
Our high appreciation for the sovereignty of God can lead us to wonder if prayer is ineffectual, after all if God has planned everything how can my prayers affect what happens? However, scripture is clear that prayer is a method by which God acts in space and time. For the believer, the role of prayer in the Christian life is one that moves God to bring about his purposes. From the petition of Moses, to the cry of Jonah, to the despair of Nehemiah, God responds to their prayers and by doing so He brings to fruition His plan for His people. We are assured by Christ “Whatever you ask in my name, this I will do.” (Jn 14:13).
The roles of prayer in the believer’s life are to demonstrate loyalty to the true God, to worship him, to have their faith built up and to move the hand of God to act on their behalf.