Prayer is the spark for big things. It involves getting close to God, and results with our hearts being touched by him. Prayer unleashes huge potential as God fills us with ideas, guides us as to his will, shows us the issues on his heart and urges us to do something about it.
When we start seeking God’s face in prayer, coming humbly before him (read 2 Chronicles 7:14) with endurance and passion, we’re filled with His Spirit, and the potential for big things is there. Our land could be healed, and the Kingdom of Heaven certainly advanced where we live.
But prayer on its own is not enough. It is not enough to seek God’s guidance and then do nothing about it. It is pointless asking God to be at work in our schools if we’re not prepared to let him use us to do just that. Prayer is not something we do for 10 minutes a day to keep God happy. Prayer is something we do to recharge our ‘spiritual batteries’, to keep ourselves connected to God, to hear from him, to humble ourselves before him and seek his blessing and guidance for our life’s plans. The power of prayer can also be used on behalf of other people or situations. Yet, rather than just asking that God gets someone do something about a situation, we should be asking him to show us what we can do.
Prayer is not like a magic wishing well where we make our wish and then walk away. We shouldn’t approach prayer like this. When we pray, we have to believe that God will hear us, and we should expect an answer (not necessarily the one we want of course!) Here’s what James has to say in his letter “If any of you lacks wisdom, he should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to him. But when he asks, he must believe and not doubt, because he who doubts is like a wave of the sea, blown and tossed by the wind. That man should not think he will receive anything from the Lord;” James 1: 5-7 (NIV)
Prayer sits hand-in-hand with action. When a group of believers gets together to pray with persistence and passion, and then acts upon what they believe God is saying to them, big things will happen. Lives will be changed. Society will have no option but to take notice. Sometimes the impact of prayer and action won’t be outwardly evident in people’s life. It won’t appear to be benefitting others. But people who God knows we’ve been praying for may feel the impact of our prayers. People who felt isolated and alone will benefit if we combine prayer with sensitive actions such as spending time talking to them and building friendships.
Prayer without action can still benefit others, but not to the extent that it could if it also results in action. Of course, there are some things that we pray for that we can’t do much about in a practical way; such as when a friend is seriously ill. Then, it’s only our prayers and the expert actions of others that will bring about change. Action without prayer doesn’t have the same level of spiritual power behind it, and won’t be able to have the impact it otherwise might achieve if we backed it up with prayer. Prayer and action bring huge change; change to our lives, change to others’ lives, and change to society. The question is, are we prepared to take the necessary steps to bring about change?