Prayer’s True Power

It is not the power of prayer –
The strength of my needy requests –
Upon which I place my hope.
For what are my prayers
If not an appeal
To the mercy,
Power, and
Love of

When someone tells me that they believe in the power of prayer, I am pretty sure I know what they mean, and I do, too. But not exactly. In this little poem, I offer a gentle reminder that it is not our prayers that are powerful – it is the One to whom we are praying. And, yes, I remember what the Letter of James says:

The prayer of the righteous is powerful and effective.

James 5:16

But, is it really the prayer that is powerful? A better translation might be in the King James Version – “The effective, fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much.” Fervent prayers availeth much, because they appeal to our loving God. In fact, I suspect that to God, the most powerful prayers are lifted up by the most helpless people of faith. It is as Ole Hallesby puts it in his classic book, “Prayer”:

Helplessness is your best prayer. It calls from your heart to the heart of God with greater effect than all your uttered pleas.

So, let’s believe in the power of prayer, because we believe in the mercy, power, and love of God. And let’s keep appealing to God, trusting that God wants to hear from us, and never more so than when we turn to God with helpless faith.

9 thoughts on “Prayer’s True Power

  1. Thank you! Love you thoughts- one thing that has bothered me lately has been the practice of using the internet to crowd source prayers. Seems contrary to the nature of prayer as a humble appeal to a personal God

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yes, it seems that at times our prayer requests can bend to works righteousness, thinking that the quantity of our prayers is what matters. In this post, I have tried to address that, using Emily Dickinson’s wisdom to “tell it slant.” Thanks for the comment, and blessings to you.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Amen! Your nonet beautifully captures in form the message you put so well here: “I offer a gentle reminder that it is not our prayers that are powerful – it is the One to whom we are praying.” I love how the poem opens with the longest line about the “power of prayer” and then ends with the simplest line, the nugget in essence, “God.” If I have to work up a prayer that’s powerful enough, I’m utterly lost and doomed. Amen and amen!

    Liked by 1 person

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