As Christians, we have two central ways in which to grow in our faith and communication with God: reading the scriptures and prayer. There are distinct differences in the roles they serve in our lives -- however, we must participate in both activities in order to have a fulfilling relationship with God. In the book of 1 Chronicles, it tells us to, "Look to the Lord and his strength; seek his face always." One of the best ways to do this it find his presence in prayer.
The Bible has everything we need to know about Christ, salvation, history, the church, faith, and laws. Prayer is an exercise of faith and a way we can all grow closer to God at any point of the day, a way to give ourselves strength and resolve, and way to seek miracles from the Lord. In the Bible, we can see scriptural evidence of the power of prayer and the amazing benefits of talking to the Lord on a daily basis. Below are some of my favorite displays of the power of prayer!
1. Hannah is infertile, and prays to God for a son.
Hannah was ridiculed for years for not being able to give Elkanah a son, and I can not imagine her utter despair and sadness. Instead of giving up hope and becoming bitter towards the people around her, Hannah turned to God and pleaded for him to give her a son. "O Lord Almighty, if you will only look upon your servant's misery and remember me, and not forget your servant but give her a son, then I will give him to the Lord for all the days of his life." (1 Samuel 1:11). God answered her prayers, and she gave birth to Samuel, who turned out to be one of the greatest Prophets to live!
2. The Church prays for Peter's release from prison.
In the early beginnings of the Christian Church, Peter was arrested by King Herod for his preaching of the Gospel. The church prayed for Peter's release, "So Peter was kept in prison, but the church was earnestly praying to God for him." (Acts 12:5). Miraculously, God sent an angel to help release him!
3. Daniel is saved from the lion's den.
Daniel was a faithful servant to the Lord, and it is actually his habit of praying that gets him into trouble with the pagan rulers of his time. When he is found praying to God, officials have him thrown into a lion's den to be killed and consumed by the beasts. However, because of his servitude to God and his prayers, the Lord saves him from such a fate! "My God sent his angel, and he shut the mouths of the lions. They have not hurt me, because I was found innocent in his sight." (Daniel 6:22). Never doubt the Lord's dedication and mercy to his servants, even if you find yourself in a situation such as Daniel. Although I doubt many of us will find ourselves in a den full of hungry lions.
4. David prays for forgiveness.
Sometimes praying isn't talking to God about the easy stuff. Sometimes we have to come to God to ask for forgiveness like David had to do. After committing adultery with Bathsheba, David was racked with regret and guilt. He came to God with these feelings and asked for mercy, "Have mercy on me, O God, according to your steadfast love; according to your abundant mercy blot out my transgressions. Wash me thoroughly from my iniquity, and cleanse me from my sin!" (Psalm 51). Surely enough, God answered David's prayers and forgave him of his transgression, just as he will with all of us if we come to him with a repentant heart.
5. Christians today worldwide
Through the power of prayer, millions of people around the world today find their prayers being answered and God's grace shining into their lives. Likewise, God has answered all of our prayers by sending his Son to die for us and allowing us to become new beings in him!
Sometimes we may feel discouraged when we think God has not answered our prayers how we want. But it is important to remember that the Lord's timing is perfect and his understanding is greater than our own. As long as we have faith, all things will work out for his glory in the end. As Romans 12:2 urges us, "Do not conform to the pattern of this world but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God's will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will."