Power Through Prayer

Bible Book: Isaiah  37 : 14-38
Subject: Prayer
Introduction

Today I am going to speak on Power Praying. Sadly, prayer seems out of place in our modern, scientifically driven age. In fact, schools and government buildings, including some military sites, are places where prayer is discouraged or totally denied. I love a story from the life of the late Senator Sam J. Ervin, Jr., of North Carolina. He tells that a teacher went into her classroom about fifteen minutes before the class was supposed to begin and caught a bunch of boys in a huddle on their knees in the corner of the room. She demanded of them what they were doing, and one of them hollered back, "We are shooting craps." She said, "That's all right. For a moment there I was afraid you were praying." (The Preacher Joke Book, edited by Loyal Jones, pp. 25‑26.)

I think all of us can see what has happened to our schools since we dismissed prayer. If things get much worse, we may have the government calling on us to pray in schools. In fact, it is interesting to me that every time we have a mass shooting or tragedy at a school, they send for the pastors to come and help the students. Wouldn't it be better just to have the Lord involved in the school before the tragedy occurs? In fact, perhaps some of those horrible things would not happen at all, if we simply allowed prayer as part of a child's daily life.

But my subject today is not about praying in public places. I want to speak to you regarding the issue of praying with power. Power is something everyone is interested in. Even a little child desires control or power. He or she will try to take the toy from a sibling or friend in order to have control or power. A fed and dry baby will cry as if something is wrong simply to get mom or dad to come over and pick it up. The baby is seeking power in the relationship.

Power in politics is especially visible, and sometimes it is downright frightening. The desire to control is a mighty force working inside all political systems, sometimes even in those within a church.

Today we see the word power used in unique ways. For example, there is something called a “power tie.” It usually means a necktie that is red or bold in color. It reveals a man’s power, or attempts to show authority.

There is a food product called “Power Bar.” This bar contains ingredients that are mean to give a runner or athlete extra power for a workout, race or game. High in carbs, the Power Bar is used widely by runners as a means of increasing speed and endurance.

Not long ago there was a book on the subject of power words. The book purported to teach speakers the use of words that contain special power over hearers. Certainly one’s vocabulary can influence people, and this book declared that there are specific words to enable one to speak and write in ways that are powerful.

Most phrases which use the word Power do so for the purpose of selling something or making an idea or product sound more potent. Actually, the greatest power in the world is Prayer. What we really need to do these days is practice Power Praying.

I am reminded today of a man who read several books on power thinking and positive thinking. He determine to leave the small town he was in, go to large city and take the place by storm. He packed two small suitcases and rode a bus to New York City. He climbed off that bus, sat down his bags, looked up at the great buildings, and with powerful enthusiasm oozing from his very presence, he opened his mouth and declared, "Look out, New York, I am here to take over." He reached down for his bags and they were gone! He learned a hard lesson; it is not positive thinking but a powerful grip on your possessions that works in most cities today.

But there is something else that works in mighty ways when employed properly and that is prayer. Today I want us to consider the subject, Power Praying as observed in the life of Hezekiah as found in Isaiah 37:14. Let us read a few excerpts from this great incident in the life of one of Judah's greatest kings.

All praying is power praying, if it is proper praying. There are some precepts regarding prayer found in this Old Testament episode which we can grasp and apply.

(See Proverbs 15:8; James 5:16; 1 John 3:21)

At some point in your life, you are going to need powerful prayer. A pilot called into the local airport tower one day and said, “Pilot to tower! Pilot to tower! This is flight 2104 and we are four hundred miles from land, eight hundred feet high and running out of fuel. Please instruct, over."

The tower responded, “Tower to pilot! Tower to pilot! Please repeat after me: ‘Our Father who art in heaven…..’” (Rusty & Linda Wright, _500 Clean Jokes_, p. 24.)

Yes, at some point in your life, you are going to need power praying, so let’s consider some facts about this subject that can help us practice the same in our lives each day.

 You see, Hezekiah was facing a situation that was humanly impossible. A great army was coming against him and there seemed to be little chance of survival, much less victory. But Hezekiah was a man of prayer. He called out to the Lord, as we see in our passage today. Isaiah brought a message to the King Hezekiah and the message was one of great victory from the hand of the Lord. I want you think with me about this prayer and what it involved.

I. Power Praying Proceeds From A Dedicated Person

A. A Love That Is Dedicated

Praying with power begins with a love for God that is powerful. This love must include a love that is fresh and alive. So often I have found people crying out to God for help though they have shown no love toward Him in their lives. Of course, God still cares. And, we can pray at anytime and any circumstance, but loving God places us in a close and affectionate relationship with Jesus. You remember Simon Peter and the night he tried to walk on water. Peter was in a loving, close relationship with the Lord. No, Peter was not perfect; in fact, he was far from it. But, he remained close to Christ and grew in his faith and practice. On that night, Peter began to sink in the Sea of Galilee. At once he cried out, “Lord, save me!” Jesus reached out His hand and lifted the big fisherman up from the water. Peter’s prayer was not sophisticated, nor was it well thought out. But, it was powerful! If you want to prayer powerful prayers, have a dedicated love for Christ.

Hezekiah loved God and was dedicated to Him. His first thought when he knew the enemy was coming, and that he was overwhelming in power was to call upon the Lord. He was dedicated to God in love and faith.

B. A Life That Is Dedicated

Henry Ward Beecher once said, “It is not well for man to pray cream and live skim milk.” In other words, our lives need to match our prayers. Dedication should precede diction. Our walk out to come before our words.

Hezekiah was dedicated to God's name. Note in his prayer that he prayed for victory so that God's name might be known everywhere. It was not just a prayer for his own welfare, but a prayer for the fame and name of the Lord. Hezekiah was dedicated to God's glory.

II. Power Praying Progresses Through A Devoted Practice

Hezekiah was devoted to the Lord and he was devoted to prayer. Isaiah told him that God was going to spare the city because of the faithful prayer he had offered (Isaiah 37:21).

A woman telephoned the manager of a large opera house and told him she had lost a valuable diamond pin the night before at the concert. The man asked her to hold the line. A search was made and the brooch was found; but when he got back to the phone, the woman had hung up. He waited for her to call again and even put a notice in the paper, but he heard nothing further from the woman.

You see, this woman hung up too soon. The brooch was found and ready to be returned to her, but she gave up too quickly. How strange and sad!

When you and I pray, we must “stay on the line.” We must be patient and faithful in our prayers. If we fail to do this, we miss the joy of answered prayer and the blessed reward for having persistent faith.

A. A Devoted Faith

It is difficult to have devoted faith in prayer if we do not have devoted faith in other areas of our lives. God delivers blessings through the conduit of faith. When faith is not attached to our needs and desires, the means of delivering the blessing is cut off.

B. A Devoted Faithfulness

I once heard of a man who was having so much trouble with a toothache that he finally decided to visit the dentist. He asked the dentist, "How much do you charge for extracting a tooth?"

"One-hundred and thirty dollars," the dentist said. "That much for just two minutes work?" the patient gasped. "Well," the dentist replied, "if you insist I could extract it very, very slowly."

Actually, God does work slowly at times. We cannot understand why, but then we don’t know all that God knows. Power Praying involves a devoted faithfulness as we wait for God to bring about His perfect will.

Some years ago I talked with a man about his relationship to the Lord. He declared that he didn’t get involved in worship or church activities any longer. Even though he claimed to be a Christian, he was indifferent to the things of God. When I asked why, he explained that he had prayed about an issue and God never worked it out to his satisfaction. He determined not be work for the Lord any more. How sad! This man not only thought he knew what was best in the matter but he thought he knew exactly how God’s timing ought to work. My friend, if you ever wish to prayer with power, you must have a devoted faithfulness to God and God’s will!

III. Power Praying Points To A Definite Purpose

A. It Asks For Something Specific

Hezekiah asked specifically that the city be spared from Sennacherib, King of Assyria. He was praying for a miracle. He was asking for something that only God could do!

Dr. Helen Roseveare, missionary to Zaire told the following story: A mother at our mission station died after giving birth to a premature baby. We tried to improvise an incubator to keep the infant alive, but the only hot water bottle we had was beyond repair. So during devotions that morning we asked the children to pray for the baby and for her little sister who was now an orphan. One of the girls responded, "Dear God, please send a hot water bottle today. Tomorrow will be too late because by then the baby will be dead. And dear Lord, send a doll for the sister so she won't feel so lonely." That afternoon a large parcel arrived from England. Eagerly the children watched as we opened it. Much to their surprise, under some clothing was a hot water bottle! Immediately the girl who had prayed so earnestly started to delve deeper, exclaiming, "If God sent that, I'm sure He also send at doll." And she was right! The Heavenly Father knew in advance of the child's sincere requests, and 5 months before, He had led a ladies group to include both of those specific articles.

Although many of our prayers are not answered so dramatically, God always sends what is best. Now, you may say, “Well, that water bottle and doll was already on its way long before the girl prayed, so the items were going to be there anyway” Before you deduce too much for your own good, let me share something with you. That shipment could have been stolen before it ever arrived. Indeed, it could have burned up in a building before it was placed on the delivery truck. Many things could have happened to the shipment before it arrived. Don’t try to second guess the Lord – just learn to pray specific prayers that are based upon need and ministry and then praise Him for His loving responses to our needs.

B. It Asks For Something Supernatural

"Men may spurn our appeals, reject our message, oppose our arguments, despise our persons; but they are helpless against our prayers." (Sidlow Baxter ‑ Robert G. Lee, SERMONIC LIBRARY, p. 101.)

Answered prayer reveals the supernatural nature of prayers that are answered by the Lord. But, also, it reveals that God works through those who truly love Him, are devoted to Him, and are not afraid to plead for specific needs.

I read a story some years ago, and it points out what a difference a person can make in the hearts of people when he or she is a person who prays with power. In a little town in southern Wisconsin there lived a blacksmith. Now this man was not known for his ability to speak or deliver great Bible lessons, but he was known as a man of prayer. One night a man got off the train at the small station near that town and started to walk a mile or two toward home. Somehow, during his walk, the man slipped a fell down a hill and unto the rocks below. He was seriously injured and his cries alerted neighbors. They ran to help him. When they got to him, his first words were, “Send for blacksmith who prays!” ("Choice Illustrations -" W.W. Clay p. 56)

In the end, power praying is praying for God to honor His own name. You see, we do not pray to get our will done but to align ourselves with His will. "Thy will be done!" To pray properly is to pray in a way that glorifies God. Hezekiah did not win the victory over his enemy - God won the victory. The power belonged to God, and the prayer was offered by Hezekiah. When we pray as we should, we connect to God's power.

Conclusion

If someone were in trouble today – real trouble – would they send for you or for me to pray for them. Sure, people want everyone praying when trouble comes, but when the world comes crashing down on you, there is a tendency to think of that person or those persons who really know how to reach up and lay hold of God’s best. We want people praying for us who can tap the power and glory of God.

Now, be honest. Is your prayer life powerful? Is mine? Can we pray with more power and faith? We need to make a commitment today to increase our faithfulness in prayer and our faith to see God do what only He can do.

There is one prayer someone in this service today ought to pray. The greatest miracle on earth is salvation. You must call upon the Lord to save you. If you have never trusted the Lord as your Savior and Lord, do that today!