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For the eyes of the Lord are over the righteous, and his ears are open unto their prayers. 1 Peter 3:12

The illimitable influence of prayer has been part of the human experience since the very beginning of our species. Prayer, so much more than a forum to talk to God for whatever reason, possesses immense underlying societal powers shaping the fate of humanity in ways that most people do not fully comprehend.

Here are five powerful ways that prayer impacts our world:

1) Individual Prayer

Prayer brings our private, personal relationship with God closer and increases our trust and respect strengthening the very roots of our faith. By acknowledging his divine power in prayer, and by believing we have access to that power from a place of love and reverence, our sense of God’s unique passion toward us is validated and infused into our hearts and minds.

Prayer gives us a resource for help when we need assistance, intervention, somewhere to turn; and we know that God is a biased ally who is always there willing to help us through anything. Just knowing that fact alters the way in which we live, how we interact with the world, how we love, our sense of appreciation, confidence, empathy. Prayer helps the individual to know that they are not alone, that they are heard, loved and worthy of God’s acceptance and of his attention.

2) Prayer For Others

Praying for others builds our humanity, our spiritual connection to our neighbors, our personal connection to God and it helps to spread Christian concepts and beliefs in healing and selfless acts of love and kindness. To pray for others, alone or in a prayer group builds community, empathy, kinship with others and uses a powerful avenue to God for unified prayer to commit acts of goodness. Praying for others is a selfless act that stabilizes our righteousness, helps those around us, builds humility, strong communities and moves humanity closer to God.

3) Mass Prayer

There is no doubt about the ubiquitous impact of prayer on humanity, how we interact with other creatures and indeed prayer’s effect on the earth in general. Typically, we see the trees and not the forest in life and this is somewhat true when it comes to prayer around the world. The massive numbers of the full forest vision of prayer expose more existential discoveries about its efficacy than is normally considered.

For instance, take just one Sunday’s worth of prayers. Take a quick inventory of souls sitting in church pews simultaneously praying in every time zone on the planet, do some math and add those not in church but still praying elsewhere and on any average Sunday it would be acceptable to assume that well over a billion prayers are released into the world and to God’s ears, maybe two billion – to be conservative, say one and a half billion prayers. . . . Every single Sunday.

Now, add to that figure the billion or so people who pray every day and at the end of the year the math suggests that God and the world receive close to 400 billion prayers. Now think of all the interventions by God to answer the hundreds of billions of prayers. And then think of all the good those prayers do and think of the great sense of humanity propagated by so many people reaching out to God – think of that astounding energy released into the universe. Such power truly is incomputable. But it is with us every second of every day. Prayer, its collective energies, indeed, has been an historically defining force in shaping our world.

4) The Miracle of Prayer

The word “miracle” is defined in the Merriam-Webster dictionary as: “an extraordinary event manifesting divine intervention in human affairs.”

Whether it is the individual in the chapel praying for a family member who contracted cancer, or a neighborhood prayer group praying for a refugee family, a nation praying for their leader’s success in negotiating a reduction in weapons or the billions of prayers sent out to the heart of God each day, the interaction from God’s answers is not the only criteria for prayer to be designated as a miracle, though it certainly is enough.

Consider, in addition, the feeling of love in one’s heart when they turn to God multiplied by 400 billion times in one year; consider the building of communities and friendships in prayer through places of worship; think about the assistance, answers to prayer received by global and local issues; the example of goodness to the rest of the world expressed through prayer; think of such a huge chunk of humanity turning to their faith in prayer to resolve conflicts. These, and many more examples of prayer too abundant to mention here make the prayer a modern day miracle that happens billions of times a day and intervenes, through God’s ears and hands, divinely, in our human affairs every second of every day.

5) Hope

It has been said that humans have two basic needs in order to survive on this planet:

  • Sustenance: food, water and shelter
  • Hope

If you remove either of these needs humankind would cease to exist.

God brings us hope by a diverse group of methods. The most powerful, most direct method is through prayer. Prayer’s first success is hope. That moment when we complete our private talk with God, as the last breaths of Amen leave our lungs something magical happens and that is the deposit of hope into our hearts and minds. And that hope then proceeds to do many things for us like calming anxiety, mitigating doubt and stress and we are transported to an altered state that exists only between prayer and reality and that is the lightened state of hope. It ends with the reality of resolution; it ends with God’s answer, whether we agree or not.

What a marvelous gift. Without prayer and the hope it brings us, how would mankind have ever moved forward through these millennia?

Conclusion

As Christians we have a toolbox in our possession. We use it sparingly, truly, wisely. Forgiveness is in that toolbox. Humility is there, baptism, turning the other cheek – we Christians have been gifted with many tools. The greatest one, perhaps the most powerful, may just be the tool that lets us talk to God one on one: that tool is prayer.

J. Alan Vokey is a Christian author of essays, poetry and an online illustrated Christian blog. He is also a fine artist, illustrator and cartoonist and his writings and artwork has appeared in publications across North America. Visit his web site at: jalanvokey.weebly.com.

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