I just googled “power in prayer” and got about forty thousand responses. I’m guessing I might be in the minority here.
But I think if you consider it, you’ll agree that there’s no more power in prayer than there is in a cry for help. Let’s say you’re drowning in the middle of the ocean. You can cry out for rescue at the top of your lungs. But neither your crying nor your flailing will accomplish anything. All the actual power comes from the one who swoops down to save you.
Let’s say you’re making a request before the King of the Universe. You enter His throne room with the utmost respect (without fear, though, because you’re a member of his family). You make your request, perhaps with tears. But the tears notwithstanding, how much power is there in those words to accomplish the thing you’re asking for? Basically none. All the power lies in the hands of the One who can do or deny what you ask.
Let’s say you’re engaged in major warfare. You feel that you’re being overwhelmed by enemy forces. You cry out for reinforcements, or maybe to be airlifted out of the area. How much power is there in that cry for deliverance, that searching of the skies? None. All the power, all the power lies with the Rescuer, the Deliverer, the Accomplisher.
If there is no power in prayer, why do people want to think that there is? Every Christian I’ve met, without exception, will acknowledge that prayer is important. In spite of this, though, many Christians don’t take prayer as seriously as they might, perhaps seeing God as more their teammate than their Only Hope.
The concept of “power in prayer” seems to be meant to be an impetus. After all, if you’re going to move the Hand that moves the world, that’s pretty powerful stuff. So let’s get praying. And then when God does something, we can say to each other, “I felt your prayers.” Pat your back. Praise you.
But the fact is that outside the power of Jesus Christ, I’m really utterly helpless. My arms are far too weak even to budge the Hand that moves the world.
So does this inability deter me from prayer? Far from it! It actually has become perhaps my greatest motivation for prayer. Since understanding the truth of my desperate dependence, I run to my Savior far more often, with far greater fervency, even asking far bigger things than before. Because all the power is in Him—none in me or in anything I do, even praying.
This is a great comfort, a great joy. Because the Rescuer, the Accomplisher, the Deliverer—the One I call out to many times a day—is unutterably Good, delighting to do mighty works for His glory. Our constant dependence on Him, in the power of His Holy Spirit, to deliver us moment by moment, and to accomplish great things—even through us!—serves as our constant reminder that to Him be all the glory and praise both now and forever. Amen.