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,