ODJ: The Power of Prayer

November 15, 2016 

READ: James 5:13-18 

The earnest prayer of a righteous person has great power and produces wonderful results (v.16).

Evangelist George Mueller was on a ship when a thick fog settled over the ocean. It was Wednesday, and Mueller told the captain he had to be to his destination by Saturday. “Impossible,” he said. Mueller then bowed in prayer. When he stood up, the captain asked if he too could pray. “No,” Mueller said. “First, you do not believe He will answer; and second, I believe He has. And there is no need whatever for you to pray about it. . . . Get up, captain, and open the door, and you will find the fog gone.” Indeed, it had vanished.

Many believers—including pastors—say prayer changes us more than it changes circumstances. Prayer transforms us. But it can have real-world effects. Prayer can change people and circumstances according to God’s will. Not all prayers lead to spectacular results such as George Mueller experienced, but as James wrote, “The earnest prayer of a righteous person has great power and produces wonderful results” (5:16).

Moses and Daniel, among others in Scripture, found this to be true. After the Israelites worshiped the golden calf while Moses was on the mountain speaking to God, He threatened to destroy the Israelite nation (Exodus 32:5-10). But after Moses pleaded with God, He chose not to do so (v.14). In another account, an angel appeared to the prophet Daniel in a vision and said, “Don’t be afraid, Daniel. Since the first day you began to pray for understanding and to humble yourself before your God, your request has been heard in heaven. I have come in answer to your prayer” (Daniel 10:12).

Yes, within God’s grace and sovereignty, prayer can change things—but He will decide what’s best. Bring your prayers about hardships, requested healing, dealing with sin, and more to Him today (James 5:13-16). He’s listening!

—Marlena Graves

365-day plan: Acts 26:1-32

Read 1 Kings 18:41-46 and note how Elijah persisted in prayer. 
Sometimes the Lord’s answer is “No.” Why is it important for that answer to not keep us from praying about other needs and concerns?