Power Hungry

5 WAYS TO GET POWER HUNGRY

by Trevor DeVage

All of us are more powerless than we want to admit. But in this time of quarantine, with daily reports of death and disease, we may feel more helpless than ever.

In these challenging days I’ve been thinking afresh about prayer. And I’ve come to believe what I’m beginning to experience: Prayer brings power. And the power that comes with prayer is unlike anything else we can imagine or create. Here’s what I mean.

1. PRAYER IS OUR POWER

Too often we put all our best laid plans and strategies out there, and when they don’t work, we say, “We should pray about it.” Prayer is the last-ditch decision that comes after we’ve tried everything else. Someone will say, “At least I can pray for you.” No, prayer is the MOST you can do! Our sentences begin, “I’ll pray for you, but . . . .” when we could be saying, “I’ll pray for you, and . . . .” Too often we expect to be let down by God, and then we rush back to what we think we can accomplish by ourselves. We forget that prayer is the only true source of power that exists.

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2. PRAYER PRECEDES PROGRESS

I preached about this Sunday in a sermon that looked at Nehemiah’s task to rebuild the walls around Jerusalem. Before he took one step toward solving the problem, Nehemiah prayed (Nehemiah 1). Before he told the Babylonian king he wanted to return to Jerusalem, he prayed (2:4, 5). He prayed throughout his mission (5:19) and when some opposed him (4:4; 6:9). As a result, his enemies “were afraid and lost their self-confidence because they realized that this work had been done with the help of our God” (6:16). The celebration of the rebuilt wall was accompanied by praise (8:6) and confession of sin (chapter 9). Nehemiah’s book ends as it began, with prayer (13:14, 22, 29).

We must follow Nehemiah’s example today. If we want to see progress for God in our world, we must first pray. I don’t think God’s kingdom will advance till we go to our knees before him.”

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3. PRAYER BRINGS PROTECTION

Pete Greig, founder and leader of 24-7 Prayer, tells about one day when a friend felt an overwhelming push to walk a new way to work in London. This was about six months after a tragic sidewalk terror attack in the city. As he walked the new route, he decided to pray for the neighborhood around him. He prayed for each house. He prayed for the people living there. Without knowing what had drawn him to that decision, he prayed. Finally he stopped at a coffee shop where a TV was playing the news. And shortly there came a report that a van had driven onto a sidewalk in an effort to kill pedestrians, just as had happened earlier in the city. The van veered off the road at exactly the spot where he had been praying. Later reports revealed that the van driver had driven in circles for hours, trying to decide where to attack and didn’t realize that an ambulance was following just before he struck. The medical team in that ambulance helped the wounded, and no one died.

The man’s wife called him when she saw the news. She told him she had prayed for his protection that day, a prayer that wasn’t part of her normal routine.

Today’s church, her mission, and her leaders all need armor against Satan’s persistent efforts to damage and destroy and distract (1 Peter 5:8). Prayer will bring that protection.

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4. PRAYER INSTILLS PEACE

We’re living in a time of mental upset and emotional anxiety. But I can honestly say I’ve had peace. I think this is because I began to pray fervently about what we’re going through, from the time we first started hearing about the pandemic. I’ve experienced an overwhelming calm, unlike anything I’ve ever known before. This came not from some great combination of planning and strategy or any other effort on my part. I know it came from God because I prayed.

5. PRAYER NEEDS PROTAGONISTS

But here’s the thing about prayer. For prayer to be effective, someone must pray! God is waiting to answer, especially when we’re praying for what he’s already said is his will. Now is the time to persistently pound the doors of Heaven on behalf of people God wants to help today and save for eternity.

Scripture shows us that prayers can change the mind of God. (See the story in Exodus 32 of God’s threat to wipe out the Israelites who disobeyed him and worshipped a golden calf. Moses pleaded on their behalf, reminding God of his plan to keep his covenant through this people. God relented and did not destroy them.)

God gives us free will to speak with him about his plan for the world today. When our will aligns with God’s in our prayers, we see remarkable answers. The issue is molding our will to his. Are we willing to force our hand into his desire for brokenness to be healed, for lives to change, for marriages to be mended, for disease to be defeated, for unbelievers to turn to him?

I believe there’s unlimited potential in hunger for the only kind of power that matters—not a power hunger for money or for accolades or for getting the credit. No, I’m becoming hungry for the power of God to be present through prayer. When more and more of us become this kind of power hungry, God’s power will be seen as never before.

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