Billy Sunday once said, “If you are strangers to prayer you are strangers to power.”
I confess that I have struggled with the importance of prayer in my Christian walk. I’m an action guy and I am driven to engage physically in whatever needs to be done. My struggle has been with the reality that I can accomplish more from my knees than from anywhere else. I struggle with this because my natural instincts tell me that being on my knees makes me weak, and to depend on God’s power is a gamble.
Even for the mature Christian, it can be difficult to grasp the fullness of God’s power. We say that He is omnipotent, which means “all-powerful,” but we limit Him to our own understanding.
Unfortunately, when we do this, we miss out on the blessings that God desires to pour out into this world—blessings that reflect His glory and love for His creation. When we don’t have confidence in God’s power, it is impossible to believe that He can really help, and so we just seek it elsewhere. But the Bible reveals a great deal about the reality of God’s power.
We know from the Genesis account that God spoke and creation leapt into existence. His Word is so powerful that even the uncreated obeys it and becomes creation. His love is so powerful that He answers the cries of His people. In Exodus, God demonstrated His power through Moses to bring the Hebrews out of Egypt and through the wilderness. God promised to send a Messiah to become the salvation to the world, and now, through Jesus, we find His promises have power as well.
Having the power to handle life is important to every one of us. We all have demons—literally or metaphorically—that create problems in our lives or in the lives of those we love. These demons may come in the form of poverty, sickness, addiction, depression, fear, abuse, confusion, and so many others that can cripple us. Some of these demons seem so powerful that we wonder if even God can do anything about them. When a son was possessed by the demon that would try to kill him, the father asked Jesus, “If you can do anything, take pity on us and help us” (Mark 9:22 NIV). I dare say many of us can relate to the doubt shown by the statement, “If you can.”
“If you can?” said Jesus. “Everything is possible for him who believes” Mark 9:23 (NIV). And then Jesus rebuked the Spirit saying, “You deaf and mute spirit, I command you, come out of him and never enter him again” (Mark 9:25), and the spirit immediately left. There was no argument, there was no debate, and there was no scene like anything we know from the movie The Exorcist. There was simply Jesus commanding—even to a spirit that was deaf—and the spirit obeying.
When the disciples thought they were going to die in the storm at sea, they called Jesus to save them and He simply said to the wind and the waves, “Quiet! Be still,” and they obeyed. There was no screaming from the deck and the weather trying to overpower Him; He spoke and nature obeyed.
Arguably the most intimidating demon presented in the gospels is the one who called himself Legion “because we are many” (Mark 5:9). This demon did not stand up to the Son of God, he did not put up a fight, and he certainly didn’t pretend to have any ability what-so-ever against Jesus. In fact the only thing he did was beg.
It is important that we realize that God’s power is not comparable to anything. It is infinite and limitless. And when we begin to grasp that, we can finally find comfort in Him. It is then that we can know that He does have power over even the darkest demons in our lives. And no matter how intimidating they may seem to us, they have no power against Him.
It was only when I began to understand this that I finally found comfort in prayer. It was then that I realized that prayer is the most powerful tool that God has given me. After all, it is from my knees that I cry out to the only one who really is all powerful.
Please come join us as we fix our eyes on Jesus. We meet Sundays at 9 a.m. for Sunday school and 10 a.m. for worship. Everyone is welcome!