Thursday, July 14, 2011
“The prayer of a righteous man ...
is powerful and effective” (James 5:16).
Every weekday, I rise at 5:20 am, to the bathroom light shining in my eyes. My feet “hit the ground running” as I dash about the kitchen cooking eggs and bacon, packing lunchboxes, checking the day’s events on my Outlook calendar, and putting away the previous night’s pots and pans. In a fog, my husband and I eat together and at 5:50 sharp, he heads off to work. I grab my steaming mug of tea, Bible, BSF questions (when in session), and head straight for my thinking/praying spot on the couch. Ahhhh. Stillness. Quiet. Peace. There is yet an hour before I will hear the first alarm sound in my kid’s rooms, or the phone rings about work. A golden hour of solitude and prayer stretches out before me. It is my favorite time of day!
Early morning prayer is medicine for the soul. God has graciously carved out this time for me each day, so I pray because I can. It is a gift He’s given me of connection, thanksgiving, praise, repentance and correction, off-loading of fears, and petition to the throne. It is this petition that I want to mention now. Have you ever considered what an awesome privilege it is to intercede for another?
God hears the Christian’s prayer (1 Peter 3:12). Does He hear the unbeliever’s prayer? The Bible says that sin separates man from God, “so that He will not hear” (Is 59:2). But through Christ, believers are forgiven of sin and thus, free to converse with our Creator (Col 1:22). In fact, Hebrews 4:16 encourages believers to approach the throne of grace with confidence. But what about the unbeliever? John 14:6 says that no one comes to the Father except through Jesus. Is 59.2 and Ps 66:18 both say that the Lord does not hear/listen to a person when unresolved sin is involved. I am forced to conclude: No, God does not hear the unbeliever’s prayer. At least, not in the same way He hears our prayers.
You can see, then, what a huge opportunity and responsibility we have to pray for the unbelievers in our lives. We know that God hears our prayers. Now the question arises, “What affect do those prayers have on a sovereign God?” Since God is omniscient and omnipotent, he knows and controls future events. James 1:17b says He is unchanging. Do my prayers make a difference? Can I presume to change God’s mind? To answer this, we need to look again to the Bible. We are commanded us to pray (Col 4:2). Jesus himself engaged in prayer on many occasions (Luke 5:16). Further, we see situations when prayer DID have an effect on God’s plan. Consider Moses’ plea for God’s mercy, when the Israelites chose to worship the golden calf. God planned to destroy the whole rotten bunch of them. But Moses intervened on their behalf. Ex 32:14 states, “Then the LORD relented and did not bring on His people the disaster He had threatened.” Moses’ intercession for the people brought about a change in the outcome. Without a doubt, prayer works!
It is my highest privilege to pray for my loved one’s salvation– because I can. Because God hears. And because my prayers work! God has ordained the prayers of His people as a means to His end. Let’s exercise our God-given right to speak into our Father’s ear, and bring those we love before His feet. I leave with you with a quote from my earthly dad: “Nothing lies outside the reach of prayer except those things outside the will of God.” The sky’s the limit!