Believing in the Power of Prayer
Acts 4:31-35 (NIV)
After they prayed, the place where they were meeting was shaken. And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and spoke the word of God boldly. All the believers were one in heart and mind. No one claimed that any of their possessions was their own, but they shared everything they had. With great power the apostles continued to testify to the resurrection of the Lord Jesus. And God’s grace was so powerfully at work in them all that there were no needy persons among them. For from time to time those who owned land or houses sold them, brought the money from the sales and put it at the apostles’ feet, and it was distributed to anyone who had need.
My father-in-law Bruce surprises people. On occasion when a person shares that they are going through a difficult time he will respond, “May I pray for you?” If the person says, “Yes, would you?” To their surprise Bruce will immediately take up their hand and pray for them on the spot! This is a practice I hope to employ. Too often we tell someone we will “hold them in prayer,” but forget. I think Bruce does this to bless people, not forget, and back his words with immediate faith-filled action. Furthermore, and most importantly, Bruce believes in prayer! Kudos to him.
You see, prayer is not stagnant; prayer moves inward in the present time faith and outward to real time commitment, meaning prayer should grow into action, deepen faith and rush to commitment. Prayer should transform environments, assume change, stir hearts and witness to the power of God. Do you believe in the power of prayer? The early church witnessed amazing supernatural experience immediately following their prayers. They prayed and their surroundings were shaken! Then spoke God’s word boldly, they came into oneness, were gracious and met the physical needs of those around them. They believed in prayer!
There is a humorous story about a church’s encounter with a bar and its owner. A bar called Drummond’s (in Mt Vernon, Texas) began construction on an expansion of their building, hoping to “grow” their business. In response, the local Southern Baptist Church started a campaign to block the bar from expanding – petitions, prayers, etc. About a week before the bar’s grand re-opening, a bolt of lightning struck the bar and burned it to the ground! Afterward, the church folks were rather smug – bragging about “the power of prayer”. The angry bar owner eventually sued the church on grounds that the church … “was ultimately responsible for the demise of his building, through direct actions or indirect means.” Of course, the church vehemently denied all responsibility or any connection to the building’s demise. The judge read carefully through the plaintiff’s complaint and the defendant’s reply. He then opened the hearing by saying: “I don’t know how I’m going to decide this, but it appears from the paperwork that what we have here is a bar owner who now believes in the power of prayer, and an entire church congregation that does not.” Let me ask you again, “Do you believe in the power of prayer?” If you do, then let’s stand behind it and put it into action.