We have all said it. We have all heard it said. There is a difficult situation going on and every effort has been made to fix said situation. We are at a loss, so now, “all we can do is pray.” In my 15 years of ministry, I have said it dozens of times. However, recently when I said it, I had a revelation of sorts. Not the kind my Pentecostal friends might think of here, but more of illumination. Saying “All I can do is pray” is to pray from a posture of defeat instead of a posture of strength. When we pray we must remember who we are praying to and who we get to make our petition to. This is no small thing. We get to pray to the Sovereign of the universe who controls all things (Isaiah 45:7). So, when we pray, even when it seems like we have exhausted all other resources, consider these few things first.
Remember the Place of Prayer
Paul wrote these three simple commands to the church in Thessalonica, “Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you” (1 Thessalonians 5:16-18). Paul does not tack prayer on at the end of the list of things for us to do. He exhorts us to make it a place of primacy in our lives. Prayer should be a part of our daily life, not just something we do when all else fails. I know that is not what most people mean when “All we can do is pray” is said, but prayer is not just something that we should be doing when a situation gets bad, but something that should be done before, during, and after every circumstances in life. Prayer is our primary way of communication with the Lord. Go to him consistently and constantly. Don’t wait until things get bad. Go to him when they are good as well. Rejoice . . . pray . . . give thanks. This is our rightful place before God.
Remember the Power of Prayer
Scripture is filled with examples of what the Lord does though prayer. By the prayer of Moses, God brought the plagues upon Egypt and then removed them again (Exodus 7-12). By prayer, the strength of Samson was restored and he pushed down the pagan temple to kill his enemy (Judges 16:28). By the prayer of Hezekiah, God sent an angel and killed in one night 185,000 men that were encamped around His people that were going to attack Israel (II Kings 19:35). The Lord give His people two offensive weapons when fighting spiritual battles (Ephesians 6:10-18). The first is scripture, which is primary. The second is prayer, which is our second most powerful tool in our arsenal. He has given us only two, because those are all that we need. “If God is for us, who can be against us?” Paul asked in his letter to the Romans. The Lord is for us, and nothing or no one can separate us from His love. Prayer is how we speak to the Lord. He answers the pray of the righteous. He fights our battles for us. We stand in a place of victory because our Warrior King was victorious for us as our substitute and head. Prayer is not our final weapon in battle that we toss out on the battle field like our last grenade hoping it finds the target. No, it is more like the mighty trebuchet of old. When it was employed in battle, the enemies tremble. When we employ prayer, our enemy – our adversary – hates it. He trembles at it (Luke 18:7). So again, pray with power.
When we pray we can pray with confidence (Ephesians 3:12-13) that our Lord will hear us and answer us. When we pray, let us remember to pray before, during, and after all situations in our life. Don’t leave it until the end and start praying. Next time you are at the end of your rope or you are trying to encourage a brother or sister in Christ with words consider reminding them that, “We still have prayer,” instead of “All we can do is pray.” I believe it is a different and helpful perspective. I believe it is praying from a posture of strength and victory, instead of one of timid hope. Pray continuously. Pray confidently. Pray as if you are armed with the powerful trebuchet, and leave the results to the Lord.
Soli Deo Gloria
Adam B. Burrell