It was a scene that we have seen a few times before if we watch sporting events. A player goes down and everyone is immediately concerned for the athlete’s safety. Fellow athletes, coaches, trainers, and fans are drawn into the power of prayer. It is also common to see players and coaches from rival teams join together and pray.
What is it about situations like this that bring people to their knees? To begin with, it is an acknowledgement of a Higher Power. There are times in our lives where we are – once again – reminded of just how weak we are. We can sometimes get lost in our own self-sufficiency. When that happens, we can be guilty of forgetting about God “days without number” (Jer. 2:32). Then, without warning, an event brings us back to reality. Immediately a flood of prayers is offered. These prayers are offered to a God who has infinite power. The question is asked: “Is anything too hard for the Lord?” (Gen. 18:14). It is comforting and reassuring to know that our God has power without limits.
Times like this also is an acknowledgement of the power of prayer. I suspect that there are some who got on their knees thinking, “this is worthless. There is no one listening.” Few things are more tragic than a person without faith! In addition, were there some who believe in the power of prayer but for various reasons (none of them good) just do not pray? I wonder if, among all those prayers, are many “unfamiliar voices” to God. God does not want to be “my emergency God” who I call upon only when things are at their worst. What God desires is that we have daily conversations with Him (Mt. 6:11; 1 Thess. 5:17).
It is also a good time to acknowledge the purpose of prayer. God is not our genie in a bottle that is ready to answer our beckoned call. Prayer should be that which is primarily focused on what is important to God. He is concerned for the souls of men and desires that all should be saved (1 Tim. 2:4; 2 Pet. 3:9). Indeed, this is why He gave up His only begotten Son (John 3:16; 1 Tim. 1:15). Prayers offered that do not consider God’s will are not going to be answered, according to 1 John 5:14-15. Yet that same passage offers us confidence that if we are asking according to His will, He hears us! What a wonderful promise!
How is your prayer life? Notice, prayer “life.” Hopefully our life is defined with many daily prayers. It is also a good time to study what Jesus taught about prayer in Matthew 6:5-18.