It does not matter merely that you pray.
It matters to Whom you are praying.
In law, a suit ends with a “prayer for relief.” This prayer or pleading (as it’s called) may be very sincere, but will be wholly ineffectual if the person prayed to does not have authority either to hear the matter or to intervene with a decision.
Many Christians remember only the second part of the Great Commission. But the whole is so important:
And Jesus came and spoke to them, saying, “All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth. Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.” Amen. (Matthew 28:18-20)
We can confidently teach, make disciples, and spread the Gospel and GO as Jesus commands. Why? Because all authority is His.
And when we pray for relief, it matters that we pray to the One True God who has all authority in heaven and on earth. We can plead with Him for intervention and resolution, according not to the law, which He ordained, but according to His perfect will. Thus:
“Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.” (Philippians 4:6)
Notice the legal language here? Prayer and petition. Presenting our requests before the Righteous Judge. If we pray to the One with all authority, then “the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus” (v.7).
Like the psalmist, I love the law because it shows us our need for a Savior and how ultimately the One with all authority also loves us so much He sacrificed Himself for us and in resurrection conquered sin and all of the things of the world we pray for relief from.
“Open my eyes, that I may see wondrous things from Your law.” (Psalm 119:18)
This truth of resurrection power is what we celebrate in Easter and every day. This is why we pray. We can do directly to Him who has all power. Our thoughts and prayers are not empty—we appeal to a genuine authority. When the Bible speaks of the power of God, it’s not like fireworks or an engine. It’s the power of authority.
“For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind. Therefore do not be ashamed of the testimony of our Lord, nor of me His prisoner, but share with me in the sufferings for the gospel according to the power of God.” (1 Timothy 1:7-8)
This is what I’m abiding in this weekend, over Saturday coffee and Sunday zoom church, and wondering what next week holds for America. Be anxious for nothing. Be in prayer. We have hope because He has power and love. Prayer has power because He has power. Abide in God and pray for relief, knowing He has all authority in heaven and earth.
“Fight the good fight of faith, lay hold on eternal life, to which you were also called and have confessed the good confession in the presence of many witnesses.” (1 Timothy 6:12)