For the majority of people, turning to a higher power, a divine source, in prayer is a very natural reaction in times of trouble. Research consistently shows that prayer can have numerous benefits—Prayer can be a solid source of self-soothing and self-comfort when one is experiencing pain, coping with loss, or dealing with traumatic circumstances; prayer can also be of benefit as a form of concentrated mental motivation for achieving personal goals; prayer can also help people focus on the well-being of other people.
Whether the need is for comfort or even just to give an in individual a sense that they are actively doing something positive to help their situation or whether there is something deeply innate built within us, rather than prayer just being a learned behaviour over time is open to debate. But, when you know who it is that you are praying to, at particular times of need, then the simple act of prayer can take on a completely different meaning.
I don’t know about you, but at times I find it hard to comprehend the power and creativity of my divine source, God. The Bible tells us that God created light simply by saying, “Let there be light” (Genesis 1:3). It goes on to describe how He created the heavens and the earth in a similar way, and His creation project only took six days!
Think about that for a moment, if that doesn’t blow your mind, I wonder what will?
Now regardless of whether the creation story was completed in six twenty-four-hour-days or whether the six “days” refer to longer units of time, I think it’s safe to say that the body of believers throughout the world would agree that God is a powerful, creative and an awesome God!
The Bible echoes this in Psalm 8: 3-4 “When I look at your heavens, the work of your fingers, the moon and the stars, which you have set in place, what is man that you are mindful of him, and the son of man that you care for him?” (ESV).
Now think about this… If the same power (God) who created the whole universe, the moon, the stars and everything that is perfect and wonderful; is the same God that gives knowledge, skill and abilities to every person; and is the same God who loves mankind sacrificially; then it’s the same God who listens to and answers your prayers and mine.
Again, the Bible teaches us that when we choose to pray to God, He will listen to us. 1 John 5:14 “Now this is the confidence that we have in Him, that if we ask anything according to His will, He hears us.”
So, does prayer change things?
When we act, we do something… when we talk to God in prayer… because He has the power to change circumstances and situations and also the power to influence our reaction to circumstances and situations… Prayer does change things, at an individual level, and collectively when people get together to pray too.
So what has all this got to do with ‘lockdown?’
I think it’s important to note that God does hear all our prayers and He tends to respond to our prayers in one of three ways—with either a ‘Yes’ or ‘No’ or ‘Wait’. However, although God does answer all our prayers, we may not always receive what we ask for, or our prayers may not be answered in the way we want or expect to.
As we live through this Coronavirus pandemic that is currently plaguing the world, like so many people across the globe, I have had family members, friends or friends of people I know personally whose lives have been impacted by the Covid-19 pandemic, other illness or disease. When two participants of the first pilot of the Gifted for Action™ Experience were ill with coronavirus; when a close friend was hospitalised with Covid-19, ventilated and taken to ICU; just before the start of lockdown and into the pandemic, when two friends were diagnosed, one with breast cancer and the other with Acute Myeloid Leukaemia (AML), were operated on or given chemotherapy and I sat and watch them suffer through pain or horrible chemotherapy side effects; when I’ve felt helpless, distressed or so upset, all I could do was pray… hope… and pray some more…
What are some results of the power of prayer?
There may be times, when the answer to our prayers is ‘No’. As disappointing as this may be, it does happen. In those circumstances maybe we don’t see all of the implications of what it is we are asking for—for example, the answer may be ‘No’ if we ask for things that are either not good in or of themselves or not good for us or for others, directly or indirectly, immediately or ultimately.
In terms of other outcomes, if our motives are ‘right’, and what we are asking for is ‘right’, but the answer to our prayers appears not to be forthcoming, maybe God’s answer on this occasion is ‘wait’? If this appears to be the case, then we need to be okay to do just that, wait, trust God and see what happens next.
Thankfully, there are times when God’s answer to prayer requests is a ‘Yes’.
Thinking back to my numerous prayers in recent months, I can report that the two participants on the first pilot of the Gifted for Action™ Experience programme are now well and are back at work serving others; one of my friend’s surgery went very well, the necessary clearance of tumour has been achieved and she has started radiotherapy; my other friend, the one who was diagnosed with AML, well he has confounded the medical team supporting him with how well he is doing and particularly with the rate at which his blood count has recovered following his first two rounds of chemotherapy. I can now report first hand, that he is feeling well in himself and by all medical accounts, it looks like he is facing positive life outcomes for the future.
Finally, a few days ago, I received news that since having a positive result for Covid-19, my dear friend and brother in Christ, although still very ill, he has stabilised, is responding to treatment and importantly, his family is optimistic, living with hope once again and we continue to pray for a complete recovery…
I thought that was as good as it was going to be for now. The absolute ‘icing on the cake’ for me today, and proof to me that prayer is powerful… My dear friend of many years, Dermott Freeman phoned me this evening to tell me personally, that he is off the ventilator, doing well and grateful that he is alive. Thank You Lord!
Dermott asked me to use his full name in this article because, as he says, he is ‘living proof that there is definitely power in prayer during this Covid-19 pandemic and lockdown situation!
I truly believe that prayer is powerful and that circumstances and situation are changed when we pray.
If however, you are in any doubt, then why not try it out for yourself… and see what happens…. And if you want us to pray on your behalf, please send an email to: firstname.lastname@example.org and we would be happy to support you.
Until the next time, stay blessed.
GO A BIT DEEPER…Who should I pray for?
If you have continued reading this article or were intrigued by the opportunity to go a bit deeper, I’d like to offer you a chance to pray.
At this time of unprecedented need across all corners of the globe and in almost every community, what action can you take, and for what or who are you being prompted to pray for?
Firstly, I invite you to take a moment to think about the question, and write down a list of actions you could take to make a positive difference to anyone facing difficulty during this Coronavirus pandemic.
Secondly, why not write a list of specific things, situations or people that come to mind and then be intentional about bringing them to God’s attention in prayer, and see what God is able to do on your behalf, or on behalf of others?
Feel free to let us know how you get on via email to: email@example.com we would love to hear about your prayer experiences.
DEEPER STILL…How can I use prayer to help others?
If you have tried the previous activity and have continued reading then perhaps you are ready for a prayer assignment?
At this particular point in history, maybe we are being encouraged to look outside of ourselves and our circumstances a bit more, to develop a caring attitude towards others and be willing to be more involved in caring about the plight of others. One way to do this is to be actively involved in prayer.
- Select two other people to pray for, but choose your people using the following guidelines:
- Someone you know is having difficulties at home or in the workplace
- Someone you don’t normally associate closely with
- Someone you are having problems relating to in some way
- Pray for them on five different days over the next week
- Make a note of the number of days you actually pray
- You can pray on your own or with a prayer partner
- Don’t make it a one-sentence prayer, try to spend several minutes at it and use some of the ideas below.
Ideas of what to pray about
For others, ask God to:
- Help them to know how great and wide His love is for them.
- Help answer some specific problems you know that they or their family have.
- Change their difficult situation in a lovely way.
- Help them to learn to bring their life difficulties to the Lord for themselves.
- Help them have more success at home or in the workplace.
For you, ask God to:
- Change any bad attitudes you have toward them.
- Give you an understanding heart for those people.
- Change any bad attitudes you have towards prayer.
- Help you to pray in Jesus’ name and ask Him to destroy the plans of the enemy that would stop you from praying for these people.
NUMBER OF DAYS I PRAYED (Please, mark one.):
□ 1 day □ 2 days □ 3 days □ 4 days □ 5 days
If you would like to learn more about prayer; discovering your God-given purpose; or how to develop your leadership potential, then check out the Gifted for Action™ Experience—an interactive and practical Bible-based development programme for the Christian believer. Click here
Oenca is a an author, coach, training and consultant. Specialising in leadership and talent development within the public, private and voluntary sectors. Working with the local authorities and the police service for a number of years, she has been recognised repeatedly for outstanding leadership and professionalism when working with client organisations.