When scrolling through news articles on your phone, you will occasionally see an article listing the top 10 most beautiful places to live in the world. The places listed as usually exotic tropical paradises where you can swim with turtles in hidden lagoons…or something equally as blissful. You may also come across articles naming the Top 10 worst places to live. In case you were wondering, currently the top two worst places to live in the world are Damascus, Syria and Lagos, Nigeria.
While we all obviously live in a physical location, we also each live in a spiritual location, or spiritual position. A thought bubbled up in my mind this week— “What is one of the worst places to live for a Christian?” A location that is one of the most dangerous, most vulnerable, oppressed places in which to live. I believe the answer to this question for Christians is to live in the place called “Prayerless”.
Prayerless is one of the most dangerous places to live. Prayerless is one of the most vulnerable places to live. Prayerless is one of the most disgruntled places to live. Prayerless is one of the most oppressed places to live. Prayerless Christians live knowing the truth but never get around to actually doing or acting on it.
Have you ever wondered why God wants us to pray? I believe the first reason is to establish who our trust is really in. Prayer expresses our trust in God and is a means whereby our trust in him can increase. As children look to their fathers to provide for them, so God expects us to look to Him in prayer. Since God is our Father, we should ask in faith. “And whatever you ask in prayer, you will receive, if you have faith” (Matthew 21:22). Humble, trusting people pray. Self-reliant people do not.
Another reason we pray is because we have been created for fellowship with the Lord. Prayer brings us into deeper fellowship with God, where we realize He loves and delights in us. We also pray realizing that it is God’s desire to involve us in His plans. In prayer God allows us to be involved in activities that are eternally important. When we pray, the work of the Kingdom is advanced. In this way, prayer gives us an opportunity to be involved in a significant way in the work of the Kingdom and thus gives expression to our greatness as creatures made in God’s image.
Prayer is powerful! Have you ever wondered, why should I keep praying when I don’t see results? Or if God has all power, why don’t I see more of it? Think about this: For God to release that power, do we need to pray? Let me give you three thoughts that have increased my desire and conviction to pray.
1. Invested power. God has deposited His power in us. This is extremely important to understand. When you understand this deposit of power and its link to prayer, you will become a person of prayer. Acts 1:8 says, “You will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you, and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.” We receive invested power at salvation to be God’s witnesses to the ends of the earth. There are also more fillings of the Spirit that take place, not for an experiential moment of relief, but to be empowered to be a gospel carrier.
In Ephesians, Paul expounds on the power that has been deposited in us. Ephesians 3:20–21 says, “Now to him who is able to do far more abundantly than all that we ask or think, according to the power at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, forever and ever. Amen.” It is amazing how the Holy Spirit structured this verse. He could have left out all three adverbs. The Holy Spirit uses these descriptive words because it adequately shows the Father and His heart.
Question: is the Lord able to do exceedingly and abundantly more than we can ask or imagine? Yes. Then why doesn’t He? Notice that Paul says “according to the power at work within us.” This word according means measurement, or measure out, distribute. God has invested his power within us to distribute and give out. Similarly, the Lord gives us finances to distribute His way. We are in the shipping and receiving business. We have received to then give away according to God’s plan. Consider your spiritual gifts. The Lord has invested His spiritual gifts in us to minister to others: “But the manifestation of the Spirit is given to each one for the profit of all” (1 Corinthians 12:7).
How much of God’s power are you measuring out to your family? How much of God’s power are you distributing to the situation that you need God to work in right now? Is it possible that God has done His part and now we must distribute this power out? God has all power, but His unlimited power is limited in our lives by our prayerlessness. Are you going to distribute it? Are you going to measure it out to your situation?
2. We release the power of God through prayer. Imagine an owner in front of their house lamenting the condition of their yard. The grass is brown and crunching under your feet. The plants are drooping, holding on for dear life. The yard just looks thirsty. If you were walking by this house and the man asked you what he should do, I imagine you would tell him to turn on the faucet and water his lawn for an extended period of time and repeat the process every day. In a matter of a few days that dry and thirsty land would become a revived emerald green. What is the condition of the yard of your life? Your friends, coworkers, family members. Do they need watering?
Elijah prayed seven times for something God already said He was going to
3. God answers prayer. From Genesis to Revelation, the Bible is an unbroken series of supernatural interventions. Almost every page in the Bible pulsates with evidence of God’s involvement in the affairs of mankind. Clearly, He is eager to be an active participant in our daily lives. The Bible calls the Lord “the God who answers” (1 Kings 18:24). He answers prayer because that’s just who He is. We talk. He talks back. He likes to talk back.
Isaiah the prophet visited Hezekiah with a word from the Lord: “Thus says the Lord, ‘Set your house in order, for you shall die; you shall not recover’” (2 Kings 20:1). Hezekiah responds in prayer and contending before God. Before Isaiah had gone out of the middle court the Lord sends a new word.“Turn back, and say to Hezekiah the leader of my people, Thus says the Lord, the God of David your father: I have heard your prayer; I have seen your tears. Behold, I will heal you. On the third day you shall go up to the house of the Lord, and I will add fifteen years to your life” (2 Kings 20:5). Hezekiah seeking the Lord in prayer gave him 15 more years to live.
Hannah was unable to become pregnant and through
God answers prayer! If we believe this, we will pray more. We will tap into the invested power of God in our lives and distribute it through prayer generously. Take time now and water the landscape of your life in prayer.
-Chris Hippe, Lead Pastor
Chris (M.Div., Faith Evangelical Seminary) serves as the Lead Pastor of City Central Church and is deeply committed to seeing the Church empowered and restored. His call as a pastor and teacher is the training, equipping, and restoration of the saints. In addition, Chris serves as the director of Freedom Immersion trainings, which has taken him around the country and around the globe. Chris resides in Tacoma with his wife, Jena, and their four children.