“The prayer of a righteous person is powerful and effective” (James 5:16).
There’s a story about Ethelfrith, the Saxon king of Northumbria in the 600’s.
He had invaded Wales and was on the verge of battle. The Welsh people who were about to be attacked were Christians. Ethelfrith looked out upon the Welsh as he was about to launch into battle. But he noticed a clump of men who were unarmed. He asked someone who they were and was told they were the Christian monks of Bangor. They were unarmed and praying for the success of the Welsh.
What did Ethelfrith say? He called out: “Attack them first!”*
The Saxon king was morbidly concerned that the prayers of those monks might actually work. If they did, God would grant the Welsh victory and him defeat. In other words, he thought that the praying monks were actually more dangerous to him than the men with physical weapons!
Are we that convinced about the effectiveness of prayer?
How often do we pray as a last resort when we should really be praying as a first resort?
Who do you think is better suited to bring powerful and godly change to something in your life? You and your own cleverness? You and your unparalleled capacity to fret? Or the Lord God the Almighty?
Pray as a first resort.
By Matthew Ruttan
–[Send in pics!] Have you purchased and received your copy of my new book Turbulence in the mail? If so, take a picture of you holding it (you can include your face or not, or up against a background that you like, or not) and send it to me (or post in a comment). I’m putting them all together in a collage to be used on the internet!
–*As told in: Timothy Keller, Prayer: Experiencing Awe and Intimacy with God (New York: Dutton, 2014), 225.