During these hot days of summer we are thankful for power to run our fans and air conditioners. Without an energy source our fans wouldn’t run. Of course it is possible to have the energy source right in your home, but if the fan wasn’t “plugged in,” it still wouldn’t run.
Kay Arthur, a well-known and well-meaning Christian spoke of “harnessing the power of God.” Somehow this just doesn’t set right. Her thought was that as we read the Word of God we “harness” the power of God. Certainly our faith is strengthened in the reading of God’s Word, but she made it sound as if there is some type of formula we can follow to get God to do stuff for us.
You know the line... if you pray enough, believe enough, give enough, do enough... God must do for you.
Back in 2013 Pastor Rick Warren wrote a book enthusiastically received by the Christian community called, “The Purpose Driven Life.” I read the book and came away less enthused than most. The emphasis of the book was on the individual; in essence, pray, do good for God and He will do good for you. His emphasis on prayer as a means to find God’s will took away from God’s means of Grace, namely His Word.
How easy to forget that God is God and it is idolatry to think He is ever beholden to us. “Oh, the depth of the riches of the wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable His judgments, and His paths beyond tracing out! "Who has known the mind of the Lord? Or who has been His counselor?" "Who has ever given to God, that God should repay him?" For from Him and through Him and to Him are all things. To Him be the glory forever! Amen. Romans 11:33-36
It is enough as the Apostle Paul said, “Walk in the Spirit” (Galatians 5) or in the words of Jesus as branches abide in Him. For it is in walking with God or, in the words of our Lord Jesus, abiding in Him that empowers us. It is the energy of the Vine that flows through the branch. John 15: 1 ff.
I am so thankful that God’s power is not “harnessed” at all but is offered freely to those who least expect it or deserve it.
Remember the father who approached Jesus concerning his son who was demon possessed? Look at it again in Mark 9: 21-24. The father wasn’t strong in faith and he wasn’t what some would call a prayer-warrior. His prayer lacked in confidence and courage and eloquence! His prayer wasn’t destined for the local hymnal. Nor would we suggest his prayer was a formula to be prayed as a way to “harness” God’s power.
Jesus had reason to disregard this man’s prayer. If you take a closer look at the account in the Gospel of Mark, where is a fervent faith exhibited? The disciples failed, the scribes are amused, the demon is victorious, and the father is doubting.”
There is only one prayer in the story. It’s not much, but it is honest. And since God is more moved by our humility than our eloquence, He responded to the man’s prayer. That’s what fathers do.
We don’t “harness the power of God” by what we do or don’t do. God is not some type of machine we can turn on or off by our behavior. To presume that through some formula we can harness the power of God on our behalf is of the same mind set of those who buy Indulgences to gain God’s favor.
When all is said and done... God is God! And we are His people who can approach Him not with forms or formulas for gaining His power, but as His own children through Jesus Christ. We can approach Him knowing that He in His own time and way will do that which is in our best interests. He will accomplish His purposes in our life and in the life of others. Ultimately, I don’t want a God I can manipulate. I want a God I can trust.
Our prayers may be awkward. Our attempts may be feeble. But since the power of prayer is on the One who hears it and not on the one who prays it, our prayers do make a difference. As I said and will say again, we do not harness the power of God.... God in is His grace offers it to us in love through His Son.
IT IS NOT THE POWER OF PRAYER BUT THE POWER OF THE ONE TO WHOM WE PRAY
In the love of Christ,