Receiving and Releasing His Power in Prayer
I heard about a little boy who went to his dad and said, “I want a little brother.” His dad looked up from his newspaper. “Well, son,” he said, “maybe you ought to pray about that.” So the little guy prayed every night for one month. And nothing happened. He went on praying for two months. Still nothing. He continued to pray for three months, but no brother came, so he finally just quit praying.
Some six months after that, the little boy’s dad took him to the hospital, pulled back the curtain a little bit, and there was a baby brother. “But hold on,” the father said with a smile.
He pulled back the curtain a little bit farther — and there was another baby brother. But he wasn’t finished yet. He pulled it back even farther, and there was a third baby brother!
“Now,” the dad said, “aren’t you glad you prayed?”
“Yes,” the boy replied. “But aren’t you glad I stopped after three months?”
We all go through seasons when we wonder if our prayers are getting through or just ricocheting off the ceiling.
It’s discouraging, isn’t it?
When we don’t see results in our lives or the lives of others, why should we keep praying?
Part of the answer lies in understanding the unimaginable power that God has made available to us as His sons and daughters.
God Has Deposited His Power in Us
This is extremely important to understand. When you finally understand this about prayer, you will become a person of prayer, and it will help you understand how and why we pray — and why we keep praying, even when we don’t yet see results. In Luke 24:49 we read these words from Jesus to His disciples:
Behold, I send the Promise of My Father upon you; but tarry in the city of Jerusalem until you are endued with [or receive] power from on high.
In Acts 1:8, Jesus essentially repeats that promise,
But you shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you.
He is telling the disciples they will have power deposited in them once He leaves the earth.
And that’s only the beginning of the story. Paul expands on that idea in Ephesians 3:20 when he writes:
Now to Him who is able to do exceedingly abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that works [or resides] in us. (emphasis mine)
It’s amazing how the Holy Spirit structured this verse. You have to understand that He could have left out the three adverbs — exceedingly, abundantly, and above — and the verse would have meant basically the same thing:
“God is able to do all that we ask or think.”
But apparently, the Holy Spirit didn’t think that statement described God’s ability adequately, so He put the word above in front of the word all:
God is able to do both all and above all.
But somehow even that description wasn’t enough. So the Holy Spirit added the word abundantly before the words above all.
God is able to do abundantly above all that we ask or think.
But that still didn’t capture it. So God’s Spirit inserted the word exceedingly before the word abundantly.
As a result, the verse extravagantly describes the fulfillment of Jesus’ promise. The power that God has deposited in us is “exceedingly, abundantly, above all we ask or think.”
Is that your experience in your life, in your immediate situation — that God is able to do exceedingly abundantly above all that you can ask or even imagine? Can that actually happen?
Absolutely! Since God’s Word is true, and we know He can’t lie, He certainly is able to do these things.
Then why doesn’t He?
That’s the question, isn’t it? In my life, in my marriage, in my family, in my health, in this situation I’m going through right now… if God is able to make such a difference, then why in the world doesn’t He do it?
That last phrase suggests the answer: “according to the power that works in us.” The word translated as “according to” is the Greek word kata, which can carry a sense of “measuring out” or distribution.
So here is a very simple question.
How much of God’s limitless power are you measuring out into your life? Into your family? Into your job or mission field?
How much of God’s power are you distributing to the situation in which you need God to work right now?
Is it possible that He has already done His part and deposited His power in you and now it is your responsibility to measure it out and distribute it?
Obviously, we are weak human beings, hardly more than microscopic dust specks in God’s vast universe. We pray to God because He is the Source of all power, all wisdom, all authority. Before Him…
the nations are like a drop in the bucket;they are regarded as dust on the scales… He sits enthroned above the circle of the earth, and its people are like grasshoppers.He stretches out the heavens like a canopy, and spreads them out like a tent to live in. — Isaiah 40:15, Isaiah 40:22 NIV
We know these things about the might and authority of our God. He is the power behind every answered prayer anyone has ever prayed.
And yet… God has chosen to distribute His power through our prayers! The question is, will we — in His perfect timing — receive and measure out His might, goodness, and grace into our lives, our families, and our world?
Excerpted with permission from Why Keep Praying When You Don’t See Results? by Robert Morris, copyright Robert Morris.
* * *
Have you quit praying? God is good and God is far more able that we could ever imagine. So, let’s dig back up our buried prayers and begin again trusting that God will bless our faithfulness! Come share with us on our blog. We want to hear from you!