Roger Kahn is one of America’s greatest sportswriters. Some might say the greatest. Robert Frost was one of American’s greatest poets. Some might say the greatest. Since poetry is more important than sports, Frost was literary royalty. So it was special when the poet invited the sportswriter to visit him. After the visit, as Kahn was leaving, Frost called out, “Come back again if you care to.”
Kahn never visited Frost again.
Think of this. The greatest poet of his time—maybe the greatest American poet ever—gives you an open invitation to visit him. And you don’t take advantage of it!
When We Pray God Works
The point of this isn’t to throw stones at Roger Kahn for failing to take advantage of Frost’s invitation. The point’s that we (Christians) do something similar. In fact, worse. Through the blood of His beloved Son, the God of the Universe throws open the door to His throne and invites us to visit Him again and again by praying.
Through the blood of His beloved Son, the God of the Universe throws open the door to His throne and invites us to visit Him by praying.
Yet many of us don’t pray much.
Why not? I think one reason may be this: we don’t realize how important our prayers are. How important are they? This important: when we pray God works.
Here’s something you’ll find hard to believe but it’s as true as the gospel itself. You have more power than Donald Trump. You have more power than Nancy Pelosi. You have more power than Mitch McConnell. Their power is horizontal. It brings into a situation what people can do. Your power is vertical. It brings into a situation what God can do.
When we pray God works.
God Himself is the One Who says this in James 5:16. The NIV translation captures the point: “The prayer of a righteous man is powerful and effective.”
Keep in mind that “man” in the verse is gender inclusive (Genesis 1:27). And keep in mind that we are “righteous” (forgiven and accepted by God through Jesus, Romans 5:22). So, the verse is talking about Christians. You. Me.
James 5:16 is assuring us that when we pray God works. The Bible illustrates this truth time after time.
When we pray God works. When Elijah prayed God worked. Elijah prayed for drought. And the land became as dry as a sponge that’s lain in the Sahara for eight days. Then Elijah prayed that it would rain. And rain came like it does in a hurricane (1 Kings 17 & 18).
When we pray God works. When Abraham prayed for Lot God delivered him from Sodom’s destruction (Genesis 18:16-32; 19:29).
When we pray God works. When Moses prayed for Joshua God gave him victory in battle (Exodus 17:8-15).
When we pray God works. When Elisha prayed for his servant God opened his eyes to see the legions of angels there to protect them (2 Kings 6:8-22).
When we pray God works. When the church prayed for imprisoned Peter he was miraculously set free by an angel (Acts 12:1-19).
When we pray God works. When Jesus prayed for Peter the apostle was kept from Judas-like despair after denying his Lord (Luke 22:31-32).
I know, I know. This doesn’t mean God always answers our prayers the way we want. But don’t allow that fact to make you treat this truth like a perfectionist father treats his son’s report card by focusing on the one “C” and ignoring the five “A’s.”
Yes, God sometimes says “No.” But more often than not He says “Yes.”
At least, that’s what Jesus says: “Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives, and the one who seeks finds, and to the one who knocks it will be opened” (Matthew 7:7-8).
Jesus says, when we pray God works.
You Have God’s Ear
Christian, you have God’s ear the way Elijah did. You have God’s ear the way Abraham did. You have God’s ear the way Moses did. You have God’s ear the way Elisha did. You have God’s ear the way the early church did. You have God’s ear the way Jesus did.
Every day, all day long, God says to us what Robert Frost said to Roger Kahn. “Come back again if you care to.”
When we pray God works.