The Power of Prayer – Mark Appel
By: Mark Appel
August 24, 2016
The more I pray, the more I experience the fullness of God’s sovereignty. Prayer is not necessarily about getting what we want or ask for; prayer causes us to realize that God’s power and plan is at work.
We have such a limited perspective of this world. Often times, I don’t even know what to pray or how to pray for the things on my heart, but thankfully God does. The more time I spend in God’s Word, the more my desire is to not list off a bunch of prayer requests to God, but instead to sit and listen to the voice of the Holy Spirit revealed through Scripture. As I’ve grown in my walk with God and increasingly meditate on His Word, my prayers begin to align with what Scripture has to say.
“In the same way, the Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit Himself intercedes for us through wordless groans. And He who searches our hearts knows the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for God’s people in accordance with the will of God.” —Romans 8:26-27
When I think about the power of prayer, I immediately go to the Psalms. As I read through the Psalms, it seems like every Psalm has at least one or two verses in it that I can think, “Yep, I’ve been there.” It’s in these words that we can see that these feelings are real; the heartfelt thoughts and prayers that we see in the Psalms are from real people who had a real relationship with a God who cared for and heard them.
I remember once being encouraged by a pastor to not only read the Psalms, but to pray through them. The Psalms are one of the only places in God’s Word where man is speaking to God. In them we find prayers of adoration, anger, frustration, celebration, mourning, and everything in between. They show us that there are times and places for all of these emotions and we can always bring them before our loving Father.
In the Psalms we see David, grieving and overwhelmed with guilt, crying out to God for mercy and forgiveness. God heard him.
In the pages of God’s Word we can see Job’s heart and how he communicated with God through struggles. He was angry and honest. God heard him.
When I read Scripture, I get to spend time with the Lord and learn about Him, experiencing His character. As I pray, I get to share my heart with Him. In the past, I’ve tried to pray these elaborate prayers with big words, thinking that somehow this would have a greater effect than just a simple, straightforward prayer. But I’ve realized that it’s just about being in communion with Him and being real.
“Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” —Philippians 2:6-7
Sometimes it’s easy to think we can go before the Throne wearing a mask—trying to put on a good face. But God doesn’t desire that of us. He wants us to be real with Him because He already knows our hearts better than we do. Sometimes it’s painful and difficult—it takes time to get to the place of real honesty with ourselves and with God. But when we do, we can find ourselves so overwhelmed with the powerful grace, compassion, and love that God has for us.
Mark Appel is a regular contributor to The Increase, providing monthly articles and opinions.
View Mark’s Increase Profile here: http://theincreasebaseball.com/author/markappel/
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