The same power

This past weekend, I sang these words at a men’s retreat:

“The same power that rolled the stone away,
the same power alive in us today”

PowerThese words got under my skin as I thought about them. I agree that they are true, I agree that Jesus has demonstrated that power to us. But singing them brought up some questions in my mind.

Why then, do I often feel so helpless?

Why then, is my prayer life so anemic?

Why then, do I live as if that power does not exist?

On one hand, I want to avoid the presumption that is displayed by the prosperity teachers peering at me with their toothy grins from their best-selling books. God is not a cosmic vending machine that will give me what I want if I put in the request inputs of faith and positive confession. God does not necessarily want me to be materially wealthy or financially successful.

But on the other hand, my actions display the weakness of my faith.

My favorite prayer in the Gospels is recorded in Mark 9:24, where a father cried out, “I believe; help my unbelief!” Perhaps that is the best starting point for a prayer session. For me it is an honest one.

All around me are situations that need the intervention of God for any good result to happen. In my circle of acquaintance, I could list many situations that are hopeless, or nearly hopeless without a miracle.

The one thing that is true about what the prosperity teachers present is that we should be boldly asking God for what we want. Where they go off track is losing sight of who is to get the glory from the granting of the request.

I should be boldly approaching God (Ephesians 3:12) for the needs I see around me. I should not be doing this for my comfort or for my benefit, but I should be doing this so that God gets the glory for what he has done.

I am not helpless.

My prayer life does not need to be anemic.

I can live as though the Creator of the universe remains in control and wants to intervene to bring glory to his name.

Please excuse me as I go to prayer . . .