If God is all-powerful, does he need our prayers to change this world? And is it even worth praying if we can’t see the results? In this sermon, Greg addresses these questions as we begin a new series on prayer.
In our culture, we are conditioned to attach value to things we can see. Exercising is valuable because we can see how it affects our bodies. Working is valuable because we can see the results of our labor. However, prayer doesn’t usually operate this way.
Prayer is something that is very powerful, yet we don’t always see the results of it. No one but God knows how much or little we pray, so prayer can look like a waste of time.
Add this cultural conditioning to the idea that God is all powerful, and some people begin to develop a theology that prayer isn’t useful. Understanding why we should pray is important. We pray because God invites us to partner with him in changing this world. God wants to partner with us to heal afflictions, deliver people from ailments, repair broken relationships, and change the world.
The truth is there are more if/then statements in Scripture associated with prayer than any other human activity. If/then statements typically follow the “If we do something, then something will happen”. If we jump off a cliff, then we’ll fall to the ground. God says that if we pray, then things will happen. Things really hang in the balance on whether or not we pray.
In James, the author uses the word energeo to describe the way we are to pray and to describe what prayer does. From energeo we get the word energy. James was saying that if we pray with energy, it energizes creation. The energy we expend in prayer releases energy into the world and accomplishes things. Energy put into prayer is never wasted, and it takes faith to continue praying even when we can’t see the difference it makes.
Kingdom people know that the hope of the world doesn’t lie in politics, laws, guns, or bombs. It doesn’t lie in the things we can only see and know. It lays with the King of Kings and Lord of Lords, Jesus Christ. And this King is asking us to partner with him in prayer because that is primary way that we shape this world.
God is all-powerful, but that doesn’t mean God uses his power the way that people of this world do. God defines his power. And God chooses to share all he is with others. This was shown right from the start in the Garden, on the cross, and it continues to show through prayer. As we continue to manifest the image of God, we are to pray and partner with God’s work.
The goal is, and always has been, for God to have a corporate bride who reigns with him on the throne. We are not merely characters in a story that God wrote all by himself before the world began. Rather, God created, redeemed, and has empowered us to be his image on this Earth. And, while we have the opportunity to exercise our God-given say-so in this physical world, prayer allows us to exercise this say-so in the spiritual realm. God is clearly not above needing our help in this world, and by embracing prayer, we can join in God’s work.
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