Covid 19: Can our prayers for others really be “powerful and effective”? 

I just heard from our second son that his nurse girlfriend working in Emergency at their big city hospital is super stressed out and they’re both exhausted. She’s on the front lines during this crisis, so they could both get hit with this virus thingy any time. So we sent a message to say we’d be praying for the two of them. 

But are we saying we’re praying for them because that’s our automatic reaction as Christians to a need, or do we believe our prayers are truly “powerful and effective” as James 5:16 say they are? 

Well, I’ve come to believe that our Christian prayers are the lifeblood of our nation, and without our prayers this world is dead, lifeless and utterly without hope, based on the following line of thought:

That, first of all, Jesus told his fellow countrymen, ”you have no life in you,” John 6:53. Tough words for anyone to say to fellow countrymen, that “In actual fact, dear chaps, you are the walking dead, and you don’t have any life in you, whatsoever. What you need more than anything, then, is to ‘pass from death to life,’ John 5:24.” 

But they can’t “pass from death to life” because they’re “dead in their transgressions and sins,” Ephesians 2:1. They are merely dead fish, floating downstream, belly up. And that’s the condition my fellow non-believing countrymen are in when I think about praying for them. So how on earth are my prayers for them going to be effective?  

Well, it’s been “made known to us,” Colossians 1:27, “the glorious riches of God’s mystery, which is Christ in you, the hope of glory.” Jesus is my source of life, in other words. And that’s how we, when we were dead fish too, suddenly came to life. It’s because Jesus injected his life Into us.   

So “Christ is now my life,” Colossians 3:4, or as Paul phrased it in Galatians 2:20, “I no longer live, but Christ lives in me.” Jesus’ way of phrasing it was “apart from me you can do nothing” in John 15:5, but attached to him like a tree branch to a trunk and we can “ask whatever we wish, and it will be given to us,” verse 7. Wow. Alive – and with that kind of power too. 

But what can we pray for that would release that power? 

Well, since we know the only way dead fish come to life is through the injection of Christ’s life into them, then obviously what we pray for is that Jesus will inject his life Into them – but how? 

Through our prayers; that’s how. That’s why Paul so depended on the prayers of the church, because he knew this is how God had set things up. When Paul was dead in the water too in 2 Corinthians 1:8-9, he found himself being “raised from the dead” (verse 9) and delivered from many “a deadly peril” (verse 10). And the reason for him passing from death to life was, “as you help us by your prayers” in verse 11. It was the prayers of his fellow Christians that carried that kind of power. It was through their prayers that Christ’s life was injected into him and he was raised from the dead to carry on. 

Jesus injects his life Into us, therefore, so he can inject his life Into others through us, so they receive his life in them in whatever circumstances they need his life in – like those on the front lines of caring for others in this crisis right now, who need the strength to carry on when they’re dead in the water too.

This is why I believe our prayers are the lifeblood of our nation. We’re under attack by “a deadly peril” too, and like Paul said in verses 8-9 it’s “beyond our ability to endure,” to the point that many people could soon “despair even of life” as well, and “in their hearts feel the sentence of death.” My son and his front lines girlfriend are nearing that stage already.

But God has set things up so that “the prayer offered in faith will make a sick person well,” and “the Lord will raise him up,” James 5:15. It’s the prayers of people who believe God works this way – that through their prayers Jesus will inject his life Into people exactly according to their circumstances and need – that carry real power. 

And based on that belief, that’s when “The prayer of a righteous man is powerful and effective.” And right now our nation depends on those who believe that. The prayers of God’s people truly are the lifeblood of our nation, therefore.  

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