Tag Archives: Power of Prayer

Why We Find it Hard to Pray

Pray card with a beautiful dayI haven’t prayed yet today. Not really.

I’m sitting in our home at my second office. I have a fine study at the church, which I really appreciate, but since my son went to college a couple of years ago, I was granted another option for a study space – his room. That’s where I am now. I keep my “happy light” here for the winter days, and sometimes use this place for time with God and other things.

Anyway, when I got up this morning, I had a thousand things to do. I’m going to a conference next week with the elders and our wives, and I have a couple of things I want to get done before that (like four blogs for Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday so I don’t have to think about them then); and Elisabeth’s birthday is this Saturday, which means I’ll need to have the sermon done earlier than usual this week. I have a lunch appointment today and tomorrow, not to mention a standing breakfast appointment on Thursday mornings. Oh yeah, and I never got around to taking the garbage out last night. That’s done now.

And all this is to say, I haven’t prayed yet today.

Some days it takes me longer to come to prayer. And there are, of course, days that I don’t come to it much at all. I like to think that such days are much less frequent than at earlier times in my life, but they still come around: My head hits the pillow at night and I think, “Uh oh.”

I find it hard to pray sometimes because there is a fight going on inside my heart. The fight is with a little nagging voice from in the corner of my mind somewhere saying, “You don’t think you’re really accomplishing anything with this, do you?” So moved by this voice, I sit down to pray and I think, “There are so many things I need to do. Do I really need to do this? What is it accomplishing?” That one thought, probably more than any other, is responsible for keeping me from prayer.

And then, like this morning, I turn to God’s word and I am absolutely refreshed in my thinking about prayer:

I appeal to you, brothers, by our Lord Jesus Christ and by the love of the Spirit, to strive together with me in your prayers to God on my behalf, that I may be delivered from the unbelievers in Judea, and that my service for Jerusalem may be acceptable to the saints, so that by God’s will I may come to you with joy and be refreshed in your company. Romans 15:30-32 (ESV)

Paul really believed (and the Holy Spirit taught through him!) that the Roman church could come along side him and help him, that is “strive together with” him in prayer.  I find this absolutely glorious.

I’m not on the mission field, but I can be on the mission field “with” our church’s missionaries, striving with them in prayer.  I’m not with my sweet wife Diane all day, but I can be with her, striving with her in her multitudinous responsibilities.  I’m not with my son at college or my daughters at school, but I can strive with them for the hard things going on in their lives. The staff of Edgewood is going a thousand different directions all week long, but, glory to God, I can go with them and strive together with them in prayer.

And it does something! Paul believed the prayers coming from the believers in Rome would deliver him from the unbelievers in Judea, make his service acceptable, and even eventually get him to Rome…with joy. Talk about accomplishing – the teaching of Scripture again and again and again is that prayer gets things done…because God answers prayer!  Amen!

Well, thanks for reading today, but I had better put the computer away for now.

I’ve got something really important I need to do.


Tomorrow: April 10th: Romans 16


Posted by on April 9, 2015 in Uncategorized


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The Power of Prayer When Two or More Agree

ImageIn the last two days, I wrote first here and then here about praying with someone else, and I have always been encouraged by two verses in chapter 18 of Matthew about the power of prayer when two agree together.  It says:

“Again I say to you that if two of you agree on earth about anything that they may ask, it shall be done for them by my Father in heaven.  For where two or three have gathered together in my name, there I am in their midst.”

– Matthew 18:19 (NASB)

What an encouraging passage!  I have claimed this verse many times in my life, praying with a friend, and understanding that there was a special connection with the Lord because two of us were agreeing together to petition the Father.

But then I started hearing from different sources that I was taking the verses out of context.  In reality, the joy stealers told me, these verses are about church discipline, not prayer in general.

Well, I always want to have my theology straightened out or my understanding of God’s Word corrected, even if it means my personal disappointment.  However, on a straightforward reading, these verses do seem to be talking about prayer, even if the previous context is also about church discipline.

Well, if you’ve ever wondered about this, you would be encouraged by this little note I found recently in Wayne Grudem’s book, Systematic Theology.  Dr. Grudem’s teaching supports my earlier understanding of this verse and even says this: “Praying with others, then, is also right and often increases our faith and the effectiveness of our prayers.”  He footnotes his section on praying with others with this thought:

“Although the previous four verses (vv.15–18) have to do with church discipline, the word “again” at the beginning of v. 19 signals a slight change in subject, and it is not inappropriate to take vv. 19–20 as a broader statement about prayer in general in the context of the church.”

So there you are – an encouragement to find a buddy and agree with him or her in prayer.  The verse means just what it looks like it means: there is power in prayer, and apparently a special power when two or more agree together.



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Posted by on January 31, 2012 in Uncategorized


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