The Formative Power of Prayer

Yesterday I voted. Last night I watched election results. Tonight I will pray with the people of God at our Wednesday evening night of prayer and worship (7:30 to 9:00). And it’s a good thing that I am. Tonight will remind me Who is really on the throne and Whose agenda really matters, but it does more than remind. As believers, whether we are happy with the results, or disappointed, prayer forms us into a people who march to the beat of a different drummer.

Prayer forms us into a people who march to the beat of a different drummer.

Praying for our leaders doesn’t just remind us Who is really in charge, it forms us into a people who trust God because prayer is an act of trust. As an act of trust, it forms the habit of trusting. Praying for those who persecute the church is an act of love toward our enemies (Matthew 5:44). Therefore, praying for our enemies forms us into a people who love their enemies. Indeed, we cannot love our enemies without praying for them.

Praying for our enemies forms us into a people who love their enemies

In Philippians 2:5-8, we are told to have the same way of thinking as that of Christ Jesus, who in His self-emptying made Himself a slave, and became obedient to the Father all the way until the point of death. If we’ve studied the life of Jesus in the gospels, we know that Jesus’ obedience did not begin on the cross, it began in prayer. Not only are we told about Jesus’ regular habit of rising early to pray, but in Gethsemane it becomes clear that Jesus’ obedience began in prayer as He submitted to the Father’s will.

Likewise, when we pray, “Your kingdom come, your will be done in earth as it is in heaven,” we are being formed into a people who seek first His kingdom and righteousness, submitting our will to His. If we aren’t formed into a submissive people to God in prayer first, we will not achieve submissive obedience to God in the rest of life.

When we pray, “Your kingdom come, your will be done in earth as it is in heaven,” we are being formed into a people who seek first His kingdom and righteousness, submitting our will to His.

Prayer is commonly set against action in Christian conversation. “We’ve got to put feet to our prayers,” it is said. But the reality is, prayer is an act; it is the first act. It is the act from which all other acts must grow if they are actions worth taking at all. To pray is putting feet to our prayers.

After I voted yesterday, they gave me an “I voted!” sticker. I was told by my daughter that Bandit Coffee here in St. Petersburg was giving a free coffee to anyone who came in with that sticker. So I went there feeling like a kid again at the bank drive through window with the teller sending dum-dums out to the car for me and my siblings. If you come to prayer tonight and join with the church in crying out to God together, no one will give you a sticker that says, “I prayed!” And no one will offer you a free coffee the next morning because you were there. But you will be formed into the holy people whom God calls you, and calls you to be.

Love the Gospel, Live the Gospel, Advance the Gospel,

Jerry

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  • David Penley says:

    Great word. I needed this reminder of truth from God’s Word. I’ll be joining you guys and praying tonight with my brother and sisters in Christ here at our church in Texas. By the way – one of our faithful men always makes sure we have coffee on Wednesday evenings, and it’s free. Blessings.

    • Jerry Cisar says:

      Thank you. LOL… I should come there sometime so I can feel like a kid again! We will meet before the throne this evening!

  • Susan Trail says:

    Amen, Pastor Jerry!
    Your wisdom from the Lord is always a blessing for my soul! It’s easy to get drawn down into the negativity of politics and worldly opinions and ways. But when we are seeking the Lord first and soaking in His strength and peace, we will keep the Lord in His rightful position and reside with Him above the clamor that discourages us. Thanks for being a blessing!

  • Tom Pickering says:

    Dear Jerry,
    Feeling sad these many days with the bitter divisiveness of the people in our country. I’m hesitant to say or admit, I find it difficult to have much optimism. In my daily routine and travels, with the exception of my brothers/sisters at GCCC, I don’t see much evidence of folks turning to God. I know the reliance in God has to begin in small pieces which includes our prayers tonight, but sometimes our part feels so small. I pray: “Oh God, I believe, but help me trust in You more!”
    Your brother in Christ,
    Tom

    • Jerry Cisar says:

      I understand your feeling. We do indeed need to declare the truth of God’s reign and we demonstrate it in prayer. As one father of a young son put it to Jesus, I believe Lord help my unbelief.

  • Robert Lemp says:

    Thank you Jerry,

    I have never heard this before but it definitely rings true in my heart and encourages me in my Prayer.

    • Jerry Cisar says:

      You’re welcome. The ideas are not original with me, but they just came to me with clarity as I was contemplating them the other night.
      Grace to you.

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