“Rejoice in hope, be patient in tribulation, be constant in prayer”— Romans 12:12 (ESV).
How often do we find ourselves helpless in a situation, then throw up our hands and give up? Some might say, “All we can do now is pray.” I’ve found myself saying that at times.
Quickly, however, I’m reminded by a holy gentle tap on the shoulder that prayer should be my first response. Not my last. How easily we forget the power of prayer.
A recent reminder in one of Billy Graham’s devotionals stated, “We have learned to harness the power of the atom, but very few of us have learned how to develop fully the power of prayer.”
The Most Powerful Weapon
In the same devotional, Graham added, “We have not yet learned that a person can be more powerful on his or her knees than behind the most powerful weapons ever developed.”
My heart aches with the constant barrage of shootings reported on the news. It’s not just an occasional report but daily, with sometimes multiple accounts of someone being shot or killed with a weapon.
Recently, a gunman walked into a large city library and casually approached an innocent 35-year-old man sitting at a computer, and shot him in the back of the head before fleeing. The gunman then walked into a nearby convenience store where he shot and killed another innocent man.
Our First Line of Defense
In Philippians 4:6, Paul reminds us to “not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God” (NIV).
We can wring our hands in despair with fear for the state of our world or we can follow Paul’s example and let our requests be known to God. As I’ve grown in my walk with God, I’ve learned to give thanks to Him for continually keeping my loved ones safe.
My simple but heartfelt daily prayer follows: “Father, I come to you humbly, giving thanks for your continued hedge of protection around my loved ones. Thank you for keeping them safe from harm and evil, and deadly diseases and illnesses.”
Continue Earnestly in Prayer
Colossians 4:2 is a great reminder about prayer and thanksgiving. Paul writes, “Continue earnestly in prayer, being vigilant in it with thanksgiving” (NKJV).
“Weapons by themselves will not keep us safe or solve the world’s problems,” Graham adds. “Our basic problems are spiritual in nature, and only spiritual solutions will solve them. That is why prayer is so vital, for only God can change the human heart.”
We can’t stop the evil in this world. But, as Christ-followers, we have one of the most powerful weapons at our disposal. The apostle Paul sums it best in 2 Corinthians 10:4: “I use God’s mighty weapons, not those made by men, to knock down the devil’s strongholds” (TLB).
Knocking Down Strongholds
Scripture tells us to pray without ceasing. To come boldly before His throne. To ask, as little children ask, for what we need. God welcomes our prayers. Why then, do we sometimes discount the power of praying, not just in times of trials, but in advance and with thanksgiving?
Isn’t that why we’re urged to put on the armor of God? In Ephesians 6:10-18, Paul shares with his readers what that means: “Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand. Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace.
“In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. Be alert and always keep on praying for all the Lord’s people” (NIV). Let prayer be your first line of defense each day. Prepare for battle, not with mankind’s weapons, but with God’s.
After a 30-year teaching career, Carol Round found redirection as a Christian columnist, author and inspirational speaker. She is the author of nine books, all available at Amazon.com. See her website at www.carolaround.com for more information.