The Power of Prayer

“TO TRAVEL hopefully is a better thing than to arrive” wrote Robert Louis Stevenson.

The religious journey has something of this “feel” about it. It is not that spiritual goals are unimportant, of course, but the great blessing is really to know that you are travelling in the right direction. If this is true for individual pilgrimages, it applies to corporate situations too.

“Where there is no vision, the people perish,” it says in the book of Proverbs. Where there is no sense of direction in events, the same is true. How desperately we all try to see the right direction for the greater peace of what used to be Yugoslavia, but confusion and contumacy reign. In
Ireland over the years of the Troubles, direction has been lost in sectarian feuds and traditional but unquestioned religious hostility.

There was a sense of puzzlement throughout the nation on that Wednesday when interest rates went up and down in rapid but perplexing succession. Had we lost our economic sense of direction?

When we lose our way in both personal and corporate situations, we can experience a lostness and a meaninglessness that is devastating.

There was a time when Mary Magdalene found herself looking in the wrong direction. Her weeping eyes were focused on the tomb and her
missing Lord. Then she turned round and, looking in the other direction, she found herself face to face with the living Lord. This was a turning-point indeed for Mary.

One of the “eternal verities” is the belief that God’s grace and power can completely change the direction of lives.

“I met a man,” said the late and great Dr John White, referring to his encounter with Jesus. That was the secret of his robust conviction. The
vocabulary of faith includes words such as renewal, regeneration, redemption and reconciliation. They testify to the fact that, through grace, everything can change – aims, attitudes reactions, relationships, even indeed our whole philosophy of life.

Change is the action of God, but Jesus encouraged and indeed commanded his followers to contribute to the possibility  of change in people and in situations by importunate prayer.

“The prayer of a good man is powerfully effective,” said James, as is equally the prayer of a good woman.

No wonder St Paul says to the Thessalonians: “Pray without ceasing,” or Tennyson to us all, “More things are wrought by prayer. than this world dreams of.”

(Rev Dr Denis Duncan)

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With many peaceful blessings

Geoffrey

 

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