Prayer Thought: Strength in Our Prayers
The concept of strength, in all its various forms, has been a strange bedfellow for me for many years. I was fortunate enough to have a dad who was the Executive Directive of one of the largest and top-of-the-line YMCA’s in Illinois…maybe even in the country. There was a main gym and auxiliary gym, an Olympic sized swimming pool, racquetball courts, batting cages, men’s and women’s full fitness centers, tennis courts at one time, and a lower level with a full track and every piece of weight lifting equipment you could ever think of or want. Plus, we had soccer fields on the property as well. So, it will come as no surprise that I was involved in sports and referring sports from a very early age. Sports and fitness were and still are, to some extent, a major portion of my life.
By the time I was 13 years old I began to lift weights in hopes of not being a scrawny, skinny little kid for the rest of my life. I don’t know if all of you guys know this, but I’m not necessarily the biggest guy in the world. I had been around weight lifting and the world of fitness and so forth for quite a while, so it was a pretty natural thing for me to start lifting weights. I saw so many huge weightlifters making gains and adding size. It was a tangible outcome that really interested me.
Fast forward to college and that’s when I surprisingly started seeing some results. And playing soccer, golf, and lifting weights were always really fun for me. I was working out 6 days a week and worked out with people that were excited/exciting and pushed and encouraged each other. However, physical strength, though it takes a while to make gains and see results, can be lost much more quickly. There have been times I had to take full weeks off of training, and even in college it took a while to regain the strength and momentum I had lost. Recovery times ebb and flow with the passing of time…and health.
And yet, physical strength is only one type of strength. There’s also strength of character, mental strength or fortitude, emotional strength, spiritual strength, strength that comes from difficult trials, and most importantly, strength that comes from the Lord. But why should we talk about strength when we discuss matters of prayer? What part does strength play in the realm of prayer? How is strength walked out when we pray? Is strength a necessary component to prayer?
Think through this with me for a moment. Any and all strength we receive for ANY task comes straight from the sovereign Hand of the Lord Himself. He’s the One who created you. He’s the One that set His seal of approval on you. He’s the One who numbers your days. He’s the One who calls you into fellowship with Himself. Therefore, He is most certainly the One who gives you/us the strength to speak His Word, the Gospel, to an unbelieving world. What’s more, He’s the One who gives you/us the strength to persevere in prayer! I think it takes more endurance and fortitude to persevere in prayer than a lot of people realize. We must cling to, be focused on, set our hearts to the strength that comes from the Lord through the Holy Spirit within us, in order to succeed in prayer.
As certain as working out muscles in the body over time produces stronger muscles, the discipline of prayer follows a very similar path. We have so much more strength when we have a consistent and persistent life of prayer. Why? Because cultivating a lifestyle of prayer means we are looking to the Lord for our life…depending on Him, looking to Him for answers instead of things in this world. We are also genuinely focused on loving others and taking care of their needs above our own, and receiving encouragement from them as well, which is certainly a form of strength (Pr. 27:17; Heb. 3:13). I know for a fact that we believe that prayer changes things. I also know that the more we are determined to find strength from the Lord in our praying, the more potent and powerful our prayers will continue to be!
This week during your time of devotion through studying Scripture and praying, take some time to look up some of these passages (2-3/day) and many others related to strength. Once again, a number of these will be on God’s character. But many others focus on our need for Him, how to have strength in trials, being focused on eternal purposes as we continue to develop a heart for others, and how to persevere in life and in prayer. Ask the Lord to give you strength each day to keep fighting for boldness and strength in your prayers. And as you do, watch how He changes your heart, mind, attitude, and focus through HOW He answers your prayers.
Phil. 4:13; 1 Cor. 16:13; 2 Cor. 12:8-10; Is. 12:2; Is. 40:29; Is. 41:10; Eph. 3:18-19; Eph. 6:10; Mk. 12:30; Ps. 16:8; Ps. 18:29; Ps. 18:32; Ps. 27:1; Ps. 27:14; Ps. 28:7; Ps. 29:11; Ps. 46:1; Ps. 59:16-17; Ps. 73:26; Ps. 105:4; Ps 119:28; 1 Chron. 16:11; 2 Sam. 22:33; Josh. 1:9; Rom. 5:1-5; Hab. 3:19; 2 Thess. 3:3; Deut. 31:8; Col. 1:13…
Clayton J. Elliott, Kontaktmission USA
Director of Pastoral Ministries and Prayer