Many times I find myself saying and thinking things like, “I wish I could do something more than just pray.” That statement makes prayer seem like an impotent afterthought. But that’s not how the Bible portrays it, not by a long shot.
In Ephesians 6, Paul says to put on the whole armor of God and concludes that section by exhorting us to “pray at all times in the Spirit, with all prayer and supplication.” Prayer is an indispensable and integral piece of our spiritual armor.
In Philippians 4 he tells us to be anxious for nothing, but to pray about everything. Prayer with thanksgiving is the pathway to peace.
In 2 Corinthians 1, Paul details the afflictions he’s endured, some of which brought him near to death. Then he says, “You also must help us by prayer, so that many will give thanks on our behalf for the blessing granted us through the prayers of many.” The prayers of the saints bring real help and blessing resulting in much thanksgiving to God.
In Colossians 4, Paul asks for prayer that God “would open to us a door for the word, to declare the mystery of Christ…” He then describes Epaphras as a servant of Christ “always struggling on your behalf in his prayers, that you may stand mature and fully assured in all the will of God.” Prayer opens doors to the gospel and moves God to build steadfastness and maturity in those who receive and believe it.
In James 5, James exhorts the believers to pray for all kinds of things. Pray for those who are sick. Pray and confess your sins to one another. Then he says, “The prayer of a righteous person has great power as it is working.” He further encourages them to engage in prayer by speaking of Elijah and saying that he was a man just like they are, and Elijah’s prayers effected a drought. Prayer can do much more than we can imagine.
The next time I’m tempted to think of prayer as a last resort I need to remember how powerfully Scripture speaks of it. Dwell on the incredible privilege and opportunity to intercede, asking Almighty God to act.
“The most important lesson we can learn is how to pray.” EM Bounds