You see a lot of interesting bumper stickers on American cars.
It’s one of the ways people can make a public statement about things that
matter to them. Bumper stickers can be clever, or cute, or even profound. Some
of them are just for fun. But sometimes, like anything else, they can be
misleading. Take for example the bumper sticker that tells us to Believe in the
Power of Prayer.
On the surface, it sounds good.
But if we think about it, it’s misleading. It’s misleading simply because
it isn’t prayer that has power. It’s God. Which means it’s not the power of prayer
we need to believe in; it’s God we need to believe in.
Prayer has no power on its own. God does. Prayer just means talking
to God. We pray to God and trust him for the faith to accept and live with his
answers, whatever those answers might be.
God knows what we need before we even ask. And he knows what is
good for us and what isn’t. We trust God to answer our prayers according to
what is the right and good thing to do, not according to what we might want or
what we might think is best.
God is not our Super Butler, waiting obediently to do whatever self-centered
thing we ask. God is love, and he hears us and responds to us only in love.
In fact, our prayers aren’t even our own. That’s because we are in
Jesus, and Jesus is in us. Jesus said in John 14:20, “On that day you will realize that I am in my Father, and you are in
me, and I am in you.”
When we pray, it’s Jesus praying in us, with and for us. Jesus
takes our not so great prayers and redeems them and perfects them, making them
his own, and brings them to the Father in our place and on our behalf. That’s
God’s love and power at work. The Holy Spirit, our Comforter, moves us to pray,
and Jesus, our Brother, takes up our prayers, redeems them and presents them to
the Father, whose beloved children we are in Jesus.
It isn’t the power of prayer we need to believe in. It’s the love,
grace and power of God we need to believe in. Maybe instead of “Believe in the
Power of Prayer,” the bumper sticker should read, “Believe in the love, grace
and power of God.” And how exciting that belief becomes as we begin to learn who
God really is for us and who we really are to God.
I’m Joseph Tkach, speaking of LIFE.