The Bible says a lot about prayer. There are verses upon verses about how to pray, when to pray, why we pray, etc. This is why one of our core values at Wesley is to pray big. We’re called to ask for things. We’re expected to pray and believe that our prayers will come to pass. But what I really want to focus on today is the truth in James 5:16b. Among all the other scriptures about prayer, this one is has been the loudest.
“The prayer of a righteous person is powerful and effective.”
I recently asked my Freshley small group leaders what God taught them this year. One of them shared about her experience with prayer, and how praying is much more enjoyable and fun because of the shift in perspective that God gave her. Throughout the year, she began to believe more in the power of prayer, and that her prayers really do make a difference. She shared a testimony of her and her co-leader saying a simple prayer one Monday afternoon, and God showing up that same night in small group the exact way that they asked Him to. These small group leaders didn’t HAVE to say that prayer. They didn’t HAVE to ask God for anything. God is good regardless of whether or not we press into that truth. But their prayer and partnership with God and His heart increased their awareness of His goodness and increased their faith because they saw Him come through. God responded to their prayer. He chose to honor their request because it was for the good of the Kingdom.
Yes, God is sovereign, and He is omnipotent. Yes, He knows all. He knows the outcome of situations before we do. But He’s also omnipresent. Being everywhere, all the time, means He’s ready and eager to listen to our prayers.
Praying big means trusting big. Praying big means you believe that God is powerful and that He wants to hear from you. There is a relationship that is built between you and God when you pray big. John Mark Comer, an author and pastor of a church in Oregon, said this in his book, God Has a Name:
“We are not merely passive set pieces in a prearranged cosmic drama, but we are active participants with God in the writing, directing, design, and act that unfolds. Prayer, therefore, is much more than asking God for this or that outcome. It is drawing into communion with him and therefore taking up our privileged role as his people.”
If we are God’s children, we are righteous. And if we’re righteous, our prayers are powerful and effective. James 5:16 says so. Prayer is much more about our heart than it is about the result of our prayer. When we pray, we are communicating with the most beautiful and good thing in all of existence. I should want to draw into communion with Him and pursue a relationship with Him.
Now, praying big also means that you are willing to risk disappointment if the answer to your prayer is no. Praying big means that you have the hope and expectancy that God will honor your requests because you are a righteous son or daughter of Him. We should be praying the biggest prayers if we believe God is good. While there is risk in asking for big things, I think it honors God so much when we actually believe He will do something that would line up with His heart. I was reading of my friend’s blog posts about disappointment, and she said this:
“I think telling us to lower our expectations is unfair, because we serve a big God who has the power to not only meet, but exceed those expectations. So you can expect but you must then also understand that we are simply not in control.”
She is validating disappointment, here. It’s okay to be disappointed if God’s answers to our prayers are not what we hoped for. This simply means that He has something better. When we understand that the Lord’s way are always better, we will welcome disappointment amidst our big prayers. Ephesians 3:20 says,
“To him who is able to do immeasurably more than we could ever ask or imagine, to Him be the glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen.”
God’s inviting us to pray big, and to press into our desires with a hopeful expectancy. He wants to give us immeasurable more. Let’s believe that our prayers are powerful. Let’s risk disappointment. Let’s ask God to align our desires with His heart. Let’s pray big, people.
Hey God, thank you for always being present and for always listening. Thank you for making me righteous and for giving me authority when I pray. Lord, I ask for the courage to pray big prayers, and for strength and encouragement in the waiting. Thank you for wanting relationship with me. Love you! Amen.