Faith Column: An oft-neglected privilege
A church in New York City installed a new organ, a rare and costly instrument that was capable of pouring forth a melody that would stir the human heart. However, as fate would have it, during the inaugural service the electric current required to operate the console was cut off. The organist, though determined, was unable to do anything about it.
An electrician attending the service was summoned to see if he could remedy the situation, which he did. Hurriedly scribbling a note, he handed it to the organist. The note read: "After the prayer there will be power."
Oh, that we might all fully understand that there is power after prayer! Prayer is the greatest privilege of the believer, yet a privilege that is so often neglected. How sad for us because it is a privilege through which we may experience the power of God when exercised, for God does mighty works in answer to prayer.
The New Testament book of Acts is a historical account of the early church. Over and again we read of the power the believers realized in answer to prayer. Consider that the place where they were assembled was shaken, Peter was released from prison, Paul and Silas saw prison doors opened and their jailer and his family saved, and tremendous opportunities for ministry were given to them.
Should it not be obvious to all that God delights in answered prayer? A praying church is a powerful church, having power with God and with men. A praying church is a powerful church, making itself available to God as He works through it to glorify Himself. A church may have many programs, but if there is little prayer, there is little, if any, power!
Dr. A.C. Dixon of Spurgeon's Tabernacle once wrote: "When we rely on organizations, we get what organizations can do; when we rely on education, we get what education can do; when we rely on eloquence, we get what eloquence can do; and so on. I am not disposed to undervalue these things in their proper place, but when we rely upon prayer, we get what God can do!"
The Scriptures speak many times concerning the matter of prayer, but the most precious, the simplest of truths, came from the lips of the Savior. He said, "Ask, and it shall be given you ... for every one that asks receives ...." (Matthew 7:7-8) The one true reason why we do not see the mighty works of God in, for, and through us, is because we do not ask! James, the brother of our Lord, writing his epistle of practical Christianity, said: "You have not, because you ask not." (James 4:2) Why do we not ask when we know that God answers prayer? Could it be that we don't know how to pray? Or, could it be that we are afraid of being turned away?
John, the apostle, wrote to those suffering persecution and reminded them of a precious spiritual truth. "And this is the confidence that we have in Him, that, if we ask anything according to His will, He hears us: and if we know that He hears us, whatsoever we ask, we know that we have the petitions that we desire of Him." (1 John 5:14-15)
May we each have the confidence to come boldly before the throne of grace to call on God, our Father, who delights in answering prayer, for prayer is the power that moves the hand that moves the universe.