One of his devotions on prayer caught my imagination when I read this statement, "Prayer does not give you spiritual power."
What? Prayer does not give you spiritual power? But prayer is so powerful. Elijah used it to call fire from heaven. Hezekiah prayed, and God extended his life. Throughout the Bible, we see prayer as a precursor for significant events. So what does Blackaby mean by "prayer does not give you spiritual power?"
He said, "Prayer aligns your life with God so that He chooses to demonstrate His power through you."
Prayer aligns your life?
I got to thinking about the times when my life was not aligned with God, when I was fearful, uncertain, or worried. Prayer definitely brought me back to a better perspective. I know prayer removed my fears and concerns, causing me to put my focus back on God's ability.
Then, Blackaby said, "The purpose of prayer is not to convince God to change your circumstances but to prepare you to be involved in God's activity. The fervent prayer of the people at Pentecost did not induce the Holy Spirit to come upon them. Prayer brought them to a place where they were ready to participate in the mighty work God had already planned."
Wow! "The fervent prayer of the people at Pentecost did not induce the Holy Spirit to come upon them."
How many times have we been guilty of thinking we could pray hard enough to make things happen? Have we ever thought that we could "induce" the Spirit of God to act by the strength of our prayers? That seems rather presumptuous, doesn't it? That we could pray and make God do stuff?
Blackaby explains that prayer actually brings us, as he said, into alignment with God. Prayer changes us and helps us see and cooperate with God's already designed outcome. It chops away the hindrances and questions, solidifying our faith in God.
Blackaby then recounts the events that led to the Pentecost. Jesus had told the disciples to remain in Jerusalem, and they obeyed, waiting for God's next instruction. While they waited, we read of them using prayer to discern the addition of Matthias as the new apostle. When we come to Pentecost in chapter 2 of Acts, we see they are "all with one accord in one place." "Prayer," Blackaby says, "prepared the disciples for their obedient response."
As I thought more about that first statement: "Prayer does not give you spiritual power," I realized that prayer did not cause Pentecost. It was a mighty act of God. But God used prayer to prepare the disciples for what was about to happen and through prayer, they were guided into God's will.
Blackaby is right. Prayer doesn't give me some mystical power, but God uses it to prepare my heart for what He is about to do. Prayer changes my outlook, installs faith and willingness, and gives me hope and expectation to look for God's mighty acts in my life.
How about you? Are you trying to pray hard enough to make things happen? Do you believe your prayer aren't answered because you haven't prayed with enough faith? Or can you see, as I did, that prayer aligns us with God's plan? How much more power would be in our prayer life if we began seeing it as preparation for our obedient response?