Summary: One of God's promises that gives us great hope is that our prayers have power. Our God promises to hear and answer our prayers.
A. One day three preachers sat discussing the best positions for prayer while a telephone repairman worked nearby.
1. One of the preachers said, “Kneeling is definitely best and most effective position for prayer.”
2. “Not so,” another preacher contended, “I get the best results in prayer by standing with my hands outstretched toward Heaven.”
3. “You’re both wrong,” the third preacher insisted, “The most effective prayer position is lying prostrate, face down on the floor.”
4. The telephone repairman who had been listening decided to interject his opinion, “Excuse me, fellas, but the best praying I ever did was hanging upside down from a telephone pole.”
B. Although the best position for effective prayer may be debatable, I think we all can agree that prayer is important and that prayer is powerful.
1. And this is one of the promises of God that gives us hope – Your prayers, and my prayers, have power!
2. And this is an especially important promise that leads to victory in the spiritual battles we are engaged in.
3. On Wednesday nights this quarter we have been studying Ephesians 6 and the spiritual armor that we need to be able to take our stand in the battle against Satan.
4. That section of Ephesians 6 about the armor of God ends with a command to pray: Pray at all times in the Spirit with every prayer and request, and stay alert with all perseverance and intercession for all the saints (Eph. 6:18).
5. Why do we need to pray? Because our prayers have power.
6. Why do our prayers have power? Because God hears and answers our prayers.
C. This is God’s promise to us – He hears and answers our prayers.
1. Jesus told us so – in Matthew 18:19-20, Jesus said: “Again, truly I tell you, if two of you on earth agree about any matter that you pray for, it will be done for you by my Father in heaven. For where two or three are gathered together in my name, I am there among them.” ”
2. Just let those words of promise sink in.
3. When we pray together in Jesus name, heaven takes note.
4. When we pray together in Jesus name, God the Father listens.
5. And God not only listens, our prayers impact the actions of God.
D. The Bible is full of examples of God responding to the prayers of His people.
1. In 1 Samuel 1, we read about Hannah who had been unable to have children and for a long time she prayed earnestly for a son whom she could devote to the Lord, and God granted her request.
2. Hezekiah, the King of Judah, prayed after being told that he was going to die, and the Lord heard his prayer and added 15 years to his life (2 Kings 20:2-6).
3. Nehemiah prayed about the devastated city of Jerusalem, and the Lord used him to lead the people in rebuilding the walls of Jerusalem.
4. Jonah, after disobeying God found himself in the belly of a big fish, but he prayed to God even from that place of predictament, and God rescued him.
E. These are all great examples of the fact that our prayers have power, but perhaps the greatest example of prayer power is the example of Elijah the prophet.
1. When James wrote his letter to the church and wanted to teach about the importance of prayer and the power of prayer, he held up Elijah as exhibit A.
2. James wrote: The prayer of a righteous person is very powerful in its effect. 17 Elijah was a human being as we are, and he prayed earnestly that it would not rain, and for three years and six months it did not rain on the land. 18 Then he prayed again, and the sky gave rain and the land produced its fruit (James 5:16b-18).
3. Elijah lived 8 centuries before the birth of Jesus and he prophesied to the Northern Kingdom of Israel.
a. The Northern Kingdom of Israel had 20 kings and all of them were evil.
b. But the evilest of them all was King Ahab.
c. Scripture gives this sad commentary on his life: 25 Still, there was no one like Ahab, who devoted himself to do what was evil in the Lord’s sight, because his wife Jezebel incited him. 26 He committed the most detestable acts by following idols as the Amorites had, whom the Lord had dispossessed before the Israelites (1 Kings 21:25-26).
4. This was a dark a time as we ever read about in the history of Israel, and against the backdrop of one of the most dark and evil kings, came the bright light of Elijah the prophet.
a. The name “Elijah” means “My God is Jehovah,” and Elijah certainly lived up to his name.