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Engage exists to provide perspective on culture through the eyes of a Biblical worldview, showing how that worldview intersects with culture and engages it.

We are a team of 20-somethings brought together by a common faith in Jesus Christ and employment in our parent organization American Family Association

Effort vs Prayer: Which has the power?

02/12/2019

One morning during a prayer service, the pastor delivered a message of encouragement. He said that prayer is a master key that can unlock any door.

We hold the key, in a sense, because we have the right as children of God to bring every situation to the Lord in prayer. It was a great message that really resonated with me. At that time, I had been waiting to hear back from someone, which would have opened a significant door in my professional life. I was probably stressing out a little and wondering whether this person had forgotten about me.

During the prayer service, I prayed for that door to open. However, I must have forgotten all about that morning’s message because as soon as I left I started knocking on that same door by sending an email to the person I was waiting to hear back from. 

I don’t know that I actually did anything wrong. But later I was wondering if I had opened the door in prayer only to walk out of the service, shut the door again, and then start banging on it. Why do I always feel like I have to take action instead of just relying on the Lord in prayer?

A lesson from Play-Doh

Later that same day, I was feeling fine. I didn’t think I had made any kind of mistake. Then I noticed something interesting going on with Gavin, my three-year-old.

I was in the bedroom working while he sat in the dining room playing with a new Play-Doh kit he was excited about. At one point, he came into my room with one of the Play-Doh containers. He was pretty upset. “Daddy, I can’t open it!”

I said, “No problem,” and gladly opened it for him. A few minutes later, I heard him getting really upset in the other room. I called out, “What’s wrong, little buddy?”

A short time after that, he came into the room again and plopped down beside me on the floor, visibly frustrated. I said, “What’s wrong?”

“I can’t open it,” he said with a pitiful whine.

I responded, “Little man, Daddy can open it for you. Don’t you remember? I can open all of them. Just bring them to me.”

The power of prayer 

The Bible is clear about who has the power and authority to open and shut the doors in our lives.

“I will place on his shoulder the key to the house of David; what he opens no one can shut, and what he shuts no one can open” (Isaiah 22:22).

“I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven; whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven” (Matthew 16:19).

We often forget that we have access to an all-wise and all-powerful God – who is also completely willing to hear and answer the prayers of His children. We shouldn't forget the power of prayer or attempt to take charge with our own efforts, which have no power or effectiveness apart from the Lord's blessing. Let us always remember who has the power to open the doors in our lives, and who has given us the key to those doors in the form of prayer.

 

Chris McKinney

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