Last week I met with a group of friends for coffee. As we gathered around a table full of cookies and lattes it was clear that one member of our group was not herself.
We settled in and listened as our friend shared with us her troubles. I can’t share the details of what my friend is going through, but I can attest to the fact that she is in a very serious situation which has left her feeling powerless. As we listened to her story, our hearts became troubled for her and I know that each of us wanted to do something, anything, to help.
But what could we do? In the face of a situation that is out of our control, that is serious and scary, that has heaped the weight of the world on the heart of our friend, what could we do?
After a moment of quiet reflection, one of the girls in our group simply said, “I think we should pray.” Linking hands around the table, we bowed our heads and went to our heavenly Father on behalf of our friend.
In the days that followed, I found myself thinking about my friend and her situation, about the way we prayed for her that night and how we promised to keep praying.
As the weekend approached my husband and I left for an overnight trip to celebrate our anniversary. Choosing the scenic route, we drove along country roads and enjoyed the beauty of fall. I told him about my friend, and I asked him if there is any way we can help. “Jen,” he said. “All we can do, the best thing we can do is pray.”
I have a confession to make: sometimes, in the midst of so much trouble, in the midst of so much pain, prayer doesn’t feel like enough. It doesn’t feel like a real answer. It doesn’t feel like it will help, fix, or change anything.
Everywhere I turn, I see people in need, people who are hurting and sometimes the words, “I’ll pray for you,” seem small and insignificant.
As I looked out my window at the fall landscape passing by, I saw red, yellow, and orange leaves caught in the light of the sun. And suddenly, struck by the awe, by the beauty of God’s creation, my mind and heart grasped the truth about prayer.
Prayer isn’t small; it isn’t insignificant. In our troubles, in our pain, we aren’t powerless.
In truth, prayer is the way we go before God, the God of the universe, the God of power and knowing.
Prayer is the way we go before the God who creates the color in the trees and the light of the sun.
Prayers is the way we share our hearts, our sorrows, our burdens with the Lord of the earth and everything in it. Prayer is the way we partner with him in all things.
In all things. In the serious, in the scary, in the painful and the heartbreaking. In the unsure, in the doubtful, in the things we can’t change, control, or fix.
In the things that leave us powerless, prayer is our power.
If this is the truth of prayer, is it any wonder that Satan would seek to deceive us into thinking that prayer doesn’t work? That he would seek to keep us from that which is truly our most powerful weapon, our most powerful tool?
Friends, we cannot allow ourselves to take this weapon for granted. We cannot allow ourselves to be deceived. To think that prayer is small or insignificant, to think that it isn’t enough, to think that it isn’t the answer, to think that it doesn’t change things, to think that we are powerless is to believe a lie.
And this lie, it keeps us from God. It keeps us from seeing his power and truth in our lives. It keeps us from interceding on the behalf of others, and it keeps us from harnessing that which is rightfully ours: a relationship with the King.
Because in the end, when we pray, our prayers don’t put God on our side, they put us on His side. Prayer may or may not change our situations, but prayer will always change us.
It will change us into warriors that fight with angel armies. It will change us into dearly loved children who know a peace that passes understanding. It will change us, piece by piece, into the likeness of God.
When life leaves us feeling powerless, what can we do? We can pray. We can enter the throne room of King of Kings, and find in Him the power to move heaven and earth.