How Can We Experience God’s Power through Prayer?
“And in the morning, rising up a great while before day, He went out, and departed into a solitary place, and there prayed” (Mark 1:35).
Isn’t it interesting that Jesus (God incarnate, Who demonstrated amazing power to do miracles), spent so much time in prayer? Scripture often records Him waking “a great while” before dawn to go off alone and spend time in prayer. Due to His intense ministry schedule, Jesus began each morning with Father God and powered up in preparation for the day. He consistently prioritized prayer – before the day got away from Him and stole His time to pray.
As the Gospel of Mark records, Jesus’ ministry was cranked up hot. He was training His crew of twelve to have faith to trust God for themselves; He was reassuring friends and family that He had not lost His mind, nor had He been possessed by a devil; He was conducting 8-hour marathon sermons and healing services to spiritually hungry people, clinging to His every word. And He had to deal with His own very real, very human exhaustion.
“Now when they had left the multitude, they took Him along in the boat as He was . . . And a great windstorm arose, and the waves beat into the boat, so that it was already filling. But He was in the stern, asleep on a pillow. And they awoke Him and said to Him, ‘Teacher, do You not care that we are perishing?’ Then He arose and rebuked the wind, and said to the sea, ‘Peace, be still!’ And the wind ceased and there was a great calm” (Mark 4:36-39).
Clearly, He was drained from the demands of ministry, exhausted, physically worn out. Ready to get some rest! He was so tired that He remained deeply asleep, even as a sudden storm threatened to tear their boat apart.
But what does this have to do with Jesus habitually getting up before dawn to pray?
These constant enemy assaults on Jesus and His disciples had to be put down, and He had to be spiritually prepared for the battle – through prayer. Indeed, there were just too many pulls on his life, and too much coming at Him to destroy God’s plan, not to pray!
There were too many rumors to deal with, lost and sick people to deal with, “staffing” problems to deal with, traps to deal with and demonic attacks to deal with . . . not to pray!
In other words, if Jesus had to choose between sleep and prayer – prayer wins. His schedule was simply too busy and too demanding not to pray!
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Why Don’t We Pray?
There are many reasons why we don’t pray like we should – without ceasing (1 Thessalonians 5:17). Perhaps we lean too much on our own strength or understanding; perhaps we don’t think we deserve God’s attention or blessing.
Many of us fall into this trap and suffer from “centurion-itis.” Remember the Roman centurion who said to Jesus “Lord I’m not worthy for You to come under my roof, but only say the word and my servant shall be healed” (Matthew 8:8).
Now in this centurion’s case, his proclamation of not being “worthy” was actually a statement of humility and radical faith; but in many cases, our feelings of not being worthy is anything but faith. Rather it is a demonically-inspired stumbling block that discourages us from spending time with God in prayer.
- Who I am to pray?
- Who am I that God should listen to me?
- Who am I that God would want to spend time with me?
- I’m flawed!
- I am so undeserving. I tell God I won’t, and then I do it again.
- I promise Him I’ll quit, and then I don’t.
- God would never listen to me, I’m just not worthy enough!
Often, we don’t really understand the power that faith-filled prayer has to change things, and so we just forget about it. Or worse, we feel like we just don’t know how, as if there is some unknown prayer template we must use to ensure God will hear us and be forced to respond.
Others understand that we have become children of God, and have been given an incredible spiritual weapon. Their main issue is not one of unworthiness, but simply a lack of self-discipline.
“Some people dig a fork into the pie but are too lazy to raise it to their mouth” (Proverbs 19:24).
We get caught up binge watching Netflix all weekend. We grab the latest novel and read until we drop off into a dreamy afternoon nap. We scroll social media and window shop Amazon until the day is half gone, and we’ve not even begun to tackle our to-do list! We really don’t intend to put it off, but somehow, we just never seem to develop a disciplined prayer life.
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Busy, Busy, Busy
But there is probably one reason for our lack of prayer which is found in the modern Church more so than any other – we are just too busy! In fact, don’t we often look a lot like the busy, busy, busy invited guests in the parable of the Great Supper?
“A man once gave a great banquet and invited many. And at the time for the banquet he sent his servant to say to those who had been invited, 'Come, for everything is now ready.' But they all alike began to make excuses. The first said to him, 'I have bought a field, and I must go out and see it. Please have me excused.' And another said, 'I have bought five yoke of oxen, and I go to examine them. Please have me excused.' And another said, 'I have married a wife, and therefore I cannot come'” (Luke 14:16-20).
We don’t pray because we have investments that are demanding our attention, and work projects are requiring some overtime hours. We don’t pray because the family schedule has blocked off too much of the calendar, the house is a mess, bills have to be paid on time, and anything left over is claimed as “me-time.” It’s just a fact of modern life: we feel too busy to pray!
The Secret Weapon of Success
How many times have you said to yourself, “I just wish I had more hours in the day!” But did you realize that the Bible demonstrates that the key to having more hours in the day is prayer!
“Then Joshua spoke to the Lord in the day when the Lord delivered up the Amorites before the children of Israel, and he said in the sight of Israel: ‘Sun, stand still over Gibeon; And Moon, in the Valley of Aijalon.’ So the sun stood still, and the moon stopped, till the people had revenge upon their enemies” (Joshua 10:12-13).
Now, I can’t promise you that God will cause the sun and moon to stand still for you so you can pray, but I can show you how prayer “stretches” the time we do have in each day and helps us to get much more done in a day than if we didn’t pray.
And I contend that if we would just prioritize prayer before our commitments, we would be less overwhelmed, overrun, beaten down, pushed around and defeated, and experience more of that supernatural abundant and overcoming life of John 10:10.
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Access God’s Speed through Prayer
Through prayer, we tap into the supernatural speed of Almighty God. You might say time itself slows down as we approach the speed of God’s light! Remember, God IS light!
“This then is the message which we have heard of him, and declare unto you, that God is light, and in him is no darkness at all” (1 John 1:5).
Scientists like Albert Einstein theorize that there is a direct relationship between light and time, known as the Theory of Relativity. It has been stated that the only unchangeable constant in the universe is light! God has also stated that He “changes not” (Malachi 3:6, Hebrews 13:8, James 1:17).
When we put these two facts together (that God is light and He is unchanging), we find in the Bible what Einstein became famous for: that light is the only unchangeable constant in the universe.
Furthermore, as Einstein taught, time slows down as we approach the speed of light!
Follow me on this one: light travels at 186,000 miles/second. If you were to travel so fast you would approach that speed, time itself would begin to slow down! If it were possible for a human being to travel faster than the speed of light, or to cross the light barrier, time itself would cease to exist. Einstein didn’t know what to call the other side of the speed of light, so he called it eternity. Exactly what the Bible stated plainly, thousands of years before.
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God Dwells in Eternity
"For thus saith the high and lofty One that inhabits eternity” (Isaiah 57:15).
The point that Einstein was telling us is simply this: the faster you go, and the closer you get to the light, time stretches until it eventually ceases to exist.
“But, beloved, be not ignorant of this one thing, that one day is with the Lord as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day” (2 Peter 3:8).
What does all this mean to us in terms of prayer being the key to having more time in each day? God is light and He dwells in eternity which no mortal man can approach, except through prayer. Said another way, the closer we get to The Light, our heavenly Father who is light, the more time we will have on our hands.
I contend that when we spend our earthly “time” in the presence of our eternal God, we will be able to do more than someone who isn’t spending that time.
Release God’s Supernatural Power
“Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus” (Philippians 4:6-7).
Prayerless people cut themselves off from God’s overcoming power. God will rarely release His power in your life when you put your hands in your pockets and say, “I can handle it on my own.” The result is usually a completely avoidable feeling of being exhausted, hopeless, and always one step behind. That is not God’s desire for any of His children.
If we really understood this powerful spiritual weapon we’ve been given, we would make it a priority in our daily lives. We would strive less in the flesh, worry less about controlling the outcomes of situations and events around us, and spend more time in rest before our Father in prayer. It’s time to put down your calendar, take a deep relaxing breath, and experience the power of God through prayer!
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Frank Santora is Lead Pastor of Faith Church, a multi-site church with locations in Connecticut and New York. Pastor Frank hosts a weekly television show, “Destined to Win,” which airs weekly on the Hillsong Channel and TBN. He has authored thirteen books, including the most recent, Modern Day Psalms and Good Good Father. To learn more about Pastor Frank and this ministry, please visit www.franksantora.cc. Photo by Michele Roman.