The Power of Prayer
I desire then that in every place the men should pray,
lifting holy hands without anger or quarreling
1 Tim 2:8
Frequently in the Scriptures we see Jesus going off by himself to a desolate place to pray (Mk 1:35). Often, he would even take his disciples with him to join. What is it about prayer that Jesus places so much emphasis? What is it about prayer that Jesus would get up early, climb a mountain and meet with the Father alone? There must be something that happens in prayer.
When taking a deeper look, we can address those questions. Prayer changes a person. In prayer, a person surrenders their will in humility. Humility under God is to place our full hope and belief in him, believing firmly that he can handle whatever is going on in my life. This sounds like an over simplistic statement but it is very true: Prayer changes me when I pray.
Prayer changes the bent of my flesh submitting to the Holy Spirit growing me. Charles Spurgeon said about prayer, “As well could you expect a plant to grow without air and water as to expect your heart to grow without prayer and faith.” Being that my flesh leads me astray and brought me great anxieties through its desires, prayer changes my focus to not be overcome by my flesh or my situation, rather to be overwhelmed by God. During prayer, we surrender. The call of a wise man is, “I can’t do it Lord!”
We begin with prayer, as seen by Jesus teaching in Matthew 6, coming to the Father setting him above all things. In my experience when I ascribe God’s worth, attributes, and what Scripture says about God it does wonders for my prayer time. A small view of God or a big view of my problems will never result in prayer that transforms. God knows our needs, but our soul, mind, and flesh needs to know and speak the vastness and awesomeness of God. A high value of God in prayer lead to a high value in trusting God in prayer.
As I call to the Lord the worthiness due his name I begin to rightly place the condition of my sin, situation, soul, and every other aspect of life through the lens of God’s greatness. Praying through the filter of me and my life leads to big me and small God. If I just come before God and gush out all that I want him to do I leave no room for God’s will or desire. That is why Paul in this verse says, “lifting up holy hands.” Lifting up holy hands is a picture of surrender. It’s a picture of God you are great and I trust you because you are all-knowing, all-powerful, all-good, and perfect. Prayer that works is prayer that looks to the works of God and says, “That’s my God and he’s got this!”