AMEN: The Life-Changing Power of Prayer
“Therefore, confess your sins to one another and pray for one another, that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person has great power as it is working.”
- James 5:16
“Lord, we pray for healing of Alyssa’s leg and body, but not our will but yours be done.”
This was the end of a prayer that changed my view of God and his power to answer our prayers forever. We were sitting in a hotel lobby in Guatemala, about 25 other high school students and missionaries and I, and the missionaries had been telling us stories of miraculous healing they had seen God do through prayer. Then they offered us the chance to be prayed over if we needed healing. Alyssa, one of my teammates, had one leg that was slightly shorter than the other, and she had been having bad back pain because of it, so she decided she wanted them to pray for her. I remember praying in somewhat half-hearted faith, believing that God does heal people, but not that physical healing would actually happen right then and there. But by the end of the prayer, she said that she felt her leg grow in that moment and also felt something happen in her head. Little did we know at the time, God hadn’t chosen to only heal her leg physically but also healed her of long-term depression she had been battling. It still gives me chills just thinking about that night, as I saw the power of prayer answered immediately.
In the Bible, James tells us that the prayer of a righteous person is powerful, and if we want to see the power of God in action in our lives and ministries, we MUST pray. And, if we want to have a deep, life-giving relationship with God, we MUST pray. Martin Luther, a great reformer of the Christian faith, said:
"To be a Christian without prayer is no more possible than to be alive without breathing."
Prayer is necessary to the Christian faith, as crucial as breathing is to living. Without prayer, which is communication with God, we cannot grow in our relationship with Him. And we certainly are not going to see him changing the lives of those we lead.
If you know me, you’ve likely heard me talk about my time on YouthQuest more than you’d like to hear, but those two years on the traveling youth ministry team grew me in ways I could never fully put into words. I’m convinced one of the biggest reasons we saw life-change in students every single weekend we traveled is because we prayed hard and expectantly for God to move in those students’ lives. We prayed for those who did not know Him to have softened hearts and surrender their life to Him. We prayed for the apathetic, that the Lord would renew their passion for Him. We prayed for the church, the pastors, every aspect of worship, teaching, breakout sessions, traveling, against distractions from the enemy, EVERYTHING. And EVERY SINGLE TIME, we saw God do miraculous things, bringing the dead in Christ to life and the complacent to courageous in faith.
This can happen wherever you are right now, too, if you are faithfully praying for those whom you’re serving. It might not happen this weekend. You may not see breakthrough even by the end of your time as a leader of them, but know that the Lord hears every prayer, and He “is not slow to fulfill his promise as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing that any should perish, but that all should reach repentance. (2 Peter 3:9).
I don’t like to say all this then leave you without resources to get you started in praying for life-change, so here is a weekly prayer guide to help you pray for the ministry you’re serving in: