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The Mighty Power of Prayer

James A. Watkins is an entrepreneur, musician, and a writer with four non-fiction books and hundreds of magazine articles read by millions.

Praying Hands

Praying Hands

Let Us Pray

Jesus loved to pray. He always prayed, sometimes all night, often by himself. There is no record of him praying with his eyes closed. Jesus usually began his prayers with "Father . . ."

Prayer is fellowship with God. Our prayers should offer thanks for the many blessings we have received, sorrowful confession of the things we have done wrong, asking Him to forgive us. We should pray to God for those whom we know need His help, as well as to act on our behalf when we are in need.

The primary purpose of prayer is then to communicate with God. Its focus, besides thanksgiving, repentance, and forgiveness, is to change reality. The life we lead, the amount of faith we have, how persistent we are, and how many pray together in agreeance, all contribute to the efficacy of our prayers.

Jesus said we must pray. Paul said we should pray all the time. What can prayer do? According to the Bible, it can save a nation, move God to bless you, and to bless others for you, persuade God to change His mind, heal the sick, drive out demons, and even add years to someone's life.

Ask in prayer for spiritual, physical, and material blessings. Pray to the Father in Jesus’ Name. No good thing will be withheld if it is asked in faith and obedience, from right motives, for something that God knows will be good for you.

Christ in Gethsemane

Christ in Gethsemane

Orans Prayer Position

Orans Prayer Position

The Benefits of Prayer

Twenty-eight percent of Americans believe in faith healers. Seventy-seven percent believe that God sometimes performs miracles to save otherwise dying persons. Eighty-two percent believe that personal prayer can bring physical healing to their own body. Eighty-six percent of Americans believe that prayer is effective in helping to heal other sick people, even if they are a thousand miles away—a belief shared by ninety-nine percent of family doctors.

Researchers have found that people who pray regularly report higher satisfaction with their lives. Individuals who pray are less likely to smoke, to have symptoms of depression, to use illicit drugs, to be sexually promiscuous, have sexually transmitted infections, cheat on their spouse, commit spousal abuse, or commit a crime. Prayer can powerfully affect physical, health, mental health, happiness, and overall wellbeing. They were also better parents, neighbors, and citizens.

Yes Lord!

Yes Lord!

The Cosmic Battle

There is something wrong with the world. There is something wrong with humankind. The reality that demons drive men out of their right minds is witnessed daily on earth. The only defense is prayer, the Holy Spirit, the Bible, and the Name of Jesus. Individuals, families, churches, and nations fight the good fight against Satan, his demons, the people who serve them, and the evil they do, wherever we find them.

Angels hear prayers, which they take to the Father above. They also bring blessings, hope, and courage to the children of men. Good and evil spirits—angels and demons—seek to carry out the will of their masters—God and Lucifer. Through the power of prayer, there is deliverance from demons through Christ Jesus, and by the authority that He delegated to His genuine believers.

Pray for Each Other

Pray for Each Other

Laying on of Hands

Laying on of Hands

One of Many Famous Healings

Igor Stravinsky was one of the greatest composers of the 20th century. In 1925, he developed an abscess on his finger, which was very painful. Stravinsky was about to cancel a scheduled piano concerto when he surprised himself by going to church, getting down on his knees, and asking God to heal him.

The finger continued to fester, but Stravinsky went ahead with the gig, starting by addressing the audience to tell them he was going to give a poor performance that night, for which he apologized in advance. As the maestro sat down at the piano, the pain suddenly ceased. He removed his bandage, and the finger was miraculously wholly healed. He gave a great concert. From that night on would write on the top of all his compositions, "To the Glory of God.”

Prayers of Thanksgiving for our Manifold Blessings

Prayers of Thanksgiving for our Manifold Blessings

A Personal Experience

When I was a boy, my cousin Kenny and I had the same prescription for our glasses, both of us being nearsighted. At church one Sunday morning, the preacher suddenly came up to Kenny’s mother, my Aunt Cherry, and said, “The Lord just spoke to me and told me He is going to heal your son’s eyes today.”

I had never heard about such a thing. Aunt Cherry took her boy to the altar, where a group of elders formed a circle around him, with their hands on him. After they prayed, the preacher said, "His eyes are healed," and proceeded to throw his glasses in the trashcan! Strange days indeed.

But it worked, and it was real. Kenny never wore glasses again until he was in his 50s. Now the next Sunday, I stepped forward and asked the church to pray for my eyes to be healed. They did. But it did not work in my case.

Congregational Prayer is Important

Congregational Prayer is Important

A Father Teaches his Children to Pray

A Father Teaches his Children to Pray

As Usual, C. S. Lewis Said It Best

C.S. Lewis explains prayer beautifully:

“Prayer is request. The essence of request, as distinct from compulsion, is that it may or may not be granted. And if an infinitely wise Being listens to the requests of finite and foolish creatures, of course, He will sometimes grant and sometimes refuse them.

“Invariable ‘success’ in prayer would not prove the Christian doctrine at all. It would prove something much more like magic—a power in certain human beings to control, or compel, the course of nature. Simply to say prayers is not to pray; otherwise, a team of properly trained parrots would serve as well as men.”

He continues, “We make requests of our fellow creatures as well as of God: we ask for the salt, we ask for a raise in pay, we ask a friend to feed the cat while we are on our holidays, we ask a woman to marry us. Sometimes we get what we ask for and sometimes not.

“The very question ‘Does prayer work?’ puts us in the wrong frame of mind from the outset. ‘Work,’ as if it were magic, or a machine—something that functions automatically. Prayer in the sense of petition, asking for things, is a small part of it; confession and penitence are its thresholds, adoration its sanctuary, the presence and vision and enjoyment of God its bread and wine."

Lewis concludes, "It would be even worse to think of those who get what they pray for as a sort of court favorites, people who have influence with the throne. The refused prayer of Christ in Gethsemane is answer enough to that. I have seen many striking answers to prayer, but they usually come at the beginning: before conversion, or soon after it. As the Christian life proceeds, they tend to be rarer. The refusals, too, are not only more frequent; they become more unmistakable, more emphatic.

“Does God then forsake just those who serve Him best? Well, He who served Him best of all said, near His tortured death, ‘Why hast thou forsaken me?’ There is a mystery here, which, even if I had the power, I might not have the courage to explore. If we were stronger, we might be less tenderly treated. If we were braver, we might be sent, with far less help, to defend far more desperate posts in the great battle.”

Comments

James A Watkins (author) from Chicago on August 15, 2020:

thoughtsprocess ~ Thank you for taking the time to check out my article. I am so glad you liked it.

thoughtsprocess from Navsari (India) on August 15, 2020:

Superbly penned. Yes, prayers purify our hearts and souls.

James A Watkins (author) from Chicago on June 08, 2020:

Devika Primić from Dubrovnik ~ It is always such a pleasure to hear from you. I love your message here. Thank you for reading my work.

Devika Primić from Dubrovnik, Croatia on June 08, 2020:

Prayer heals from within and makes you feel less pressured into life. I do pray to feel my strengths

James A Watkins (author) from Chicago on June 06, 2020:

KC McGee ~ Thank you for reading my work. I appreciate your gracious compliments, and I agree wholeheartedly with your comments.

James A Watkins (author) from Chicago on June 06, 2020:

A B Williams ~ Yes, I feel the same way. We can far more easily stay on an even keel if we are in prayer regularly. Brother Lawrence wrote a beautiful book called, ‘The Practice of the Presence of God’ that I highly recommend if you haven’t read it.

KC McGee from Where I belong on June 05, 2020:

Praying is the most important communication between you and are Father in heaven.

Great article.

A B Williams from Central Florida on June 05, 2020:

*privilege (ugh, typos!!)

Just a little more of that imperfection that we all have in common. ;)

A B Williams from Central Florida on June 05, 2020:

There is much wisdom in this article and in the comments.

North Wind, you wrote about the privelege of talking and praying to God each day.

It is so easy to get caught up in the day to day and to feel overwhelmed by it all.

When that happens to me...and it does, often, it is when I have neglected to take time to make time for God.

James A Watkins (author) from Chicago on June 05, 2020:

North Wind ~ Thank you for reading my work. I so enjoyed your thoughtful insights, with which I fully agree. I don’t think I’ve ever heard anyone say, “Prayer is a privilege,” before. It makes sense. It expresses a profound truth.

Your close is magnificent: “Prayer has a lot to do with faith and the funny thing is, in order to build your faith, you need to pray more.” Amen.

May the Lord bless you and keep you. It has been a pleasure to hear from you again.

James

James A Watkins (author) from Chicago on June 04, 2020:

Oh and A B, my heart also hurts over what is happening in our beloved Country.

James A Watkins (author) from Chicago on June 04, 2020:

A B Williams ~ Thank you for reading my piece. And you are welcome. I appreciate you sharing your story with me. It is amazing, and it warmed my heart to hear how blessed you were to feel the touch of God in your hour of need. May God continue to bless you and keep you A B.

Faithfully Yours,

James

James A Watkins (author) from Chicago on June 04, 2020:

Nikhil Sharma ~ You are most welcome. Thank you for reading it. I once had a friend named Vijay Sharma, a jet pilot. I know Sharma is a very common name, though. I appreciate this visit from you and I enjoyed your comments.

North Wind from The World (for now) on June 04, 2020:

Whether the statistics are in favour of prayer or not, I need prayer to survive. If I did not pray and talk to God each day, then I know that I would be stuck in a pit of despair. Prayer is a privilege that I try to make the most of and often wish that I could do better.

God hears the prayers of His people but I think He answers every prayer. It is just not always in the way the person wills it to be. That is why Jesus said, 'Thy will be done.' The one who prays should always understand and want that which will be done to glorify God.

Of course, sometimes as a Christian it is hard to see how God will use a situation but we have to believe that His name will be glorified and we have to be for the glorification of His name.

I have seen countless answers to prayer and I have read about them as well. God healed Hezekiah after he prayed and He delivered Israel after Hezekiah took that letter and laid down and prayed about it.

Prayer has a lot to do with faith and the funny thing is, in order to build your faith, you need to pray more.

James A Watkins (author) from Chicago on June 04, 2020:

Eric Dierker ~ It seems to me to be a mixed bag. I am sure there are many prayers that do not seem to be answered because we cannot see the answers. I did give two examples, one personal and one famous, of being able to see the immediate power of prayer.

James A Watkins (author) from Chicago on June 04, 2020:

Pamela Oglesby ~ Thank you for taking the time to come over and read my article. I surely appreciate your gracious compliments and blessings. I too pray every day, many times a day. It is always a pleasure to hear from you.

James

A B Williams from Central Florida on June 04, 2020:

....and now I am crying and I can't stop! My heart hurts over what is happening in our beloved Country.

The grace of God is our only hope.

A B Williams from Central Florida on June 04, 2020:

Thanks for this James, I needed this reminder.

I've shared this story, here at HP, before. I was facing an experimental and very dangerous surgery years ago, I was terrified that I would not make it through and that my children would grow up without me.

The night before the surgery, I sat down in my room and I prayed a simple prayer for peace of mind. The Holy Spirit embraced and enveloped me with such love, peace of mind and calmness, which surpasses all understanding and I have never been able to find the adequate adjectives to describe it.

I knew everything was going to be okay and it was!

To this day, when I pray; I pray for the individual, family, Nation, whatever, wherever the need, to experience what I experienced that night.

All believers need to be in prayer for peace of mind, calmness and a healing of this Nation and this world, which will surpass all understanding.

Nikhil Sharma from India on June 04, 2020:

The power of prayer can not be underestimated at any cost. When we come together as a family and pray for a positive cause, we attract cosmic energies. And these energies in turn will bring out unbelievable results in some form. Thanks for this enlightening hub, Mr. James.

Eric Dierker from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A. on June 03, 2020:

James I just scanned this. It begs a threshold question. How in Bo Jingles do you know what a prayer accomplished. Wonderful things happen when I pray, but to claim to know the nexus between prayer and good seems only Angel capable.

Pamela Oglesby from Sunny Florida on June 03, 2020:

This is a very good article about prayer. As a Christian I pray every day and I get much satisfaction from that prayer. I enjoyed your article and I thought it was very good. God bless you, James.

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