- March 7, 2018
- Christian Living
Can you imagine a life without prayer? The Bible may be the standard by which Christians live their lives, but without a personal connection with the Father, the Christian experience would be drastically different. We may approach prayer through an assortment of strategies, language formalities, and more, but there’s no mistaking its importance. We can discover the power of prayer in the Bible when we look at the lives of the heroes of the faith, but what if we told you that you can learn some of these same truths by listening to today’s Christian songs? Let’s look at how these popular songs cover the power of prayer and what it means for the Christian journey.
God Is With Us
One of the most encouraging things for us to know is that God is with us. As we go about our day, he is walking with us and, not only seeing what we experience, but feeling it as well. Digging back to 1995, Jars of Clay’s “Love Song for a Savior” captures this feeling of knowing God fully and enjoying His presence. Our pursuit of God through prayer, worship, and studying the Bible takes us to new depths where we can bond with Him fully as the song “By Your Side” from Tenth Avenue North describes. He feels our every heartache and sees the doubts and distractions that life throws our way. This aspect of the power of prayer is most appreciated when trials appear. Ryan Stevenson’s “Eye of the Storm” is a great reminder that no matter how bad things get, God is walking with us.
There Is Hope Even in the Storm
If you think about the stories in the Bible, you will remember the importance of storms. Among the several times in which weather played a factor in the work that God was doing are the story of Jonah and Jesus traveling in a boat with the disciples. The former is a storm meant to keep a man of God from abandoning His calling while the latter is a moment where Jesus is able to display the power of God flowing through Him. The imagery of dark clouds and difficult times can also be found in many of today’s Christian songs. One of the more obvious references is in Casting Crowns’ “Praise You in This Storm.” Something to keep in mind concerning the power of prayer is that our signal to God is much more reliable than the cell service we enjoy each day. No matter what hard times you’re facing, the truth of God being with us hasn’t changed. The storm can’t whip Jesus. We see that fact celebrated in the Aaron Shust song “My Hope Is In You.” Another popular Christian song that tackles the subject of storms is “Blessings” by Laura Story. As we said before, storms form for different reasons. We may not know the reason why we’re going through our present situation, but we can remember that the power of prayer brings us hope even in the storm.
God Never Changes
Now that we know that God’s presence isn’t dependent upon our circumstances, we should think about if there is ever a time in which God changes. What if God isn’t answering our prayers the way in which we hoped? This is the topic picked up in MercyMe’s 2017 hit “Even If.” Battles are much harder when we constantly feel like we’re losing. Even though it may hurt, how we feel doesn’t change who God is. “Even If” we don’t get what we want (even something that is unselfish and clearly good), it doesn’t mean that the power of prayer has been diminished. God is merely at work in an unanticipated way.
We also see that God never changes in Meredith Andrews’ “Not For a Moment (After All).” God may not work in the timeframe that we would like, but He is always in control and watching over your life. This consistency is why Rend Collective refers to God as “My Lighthouse.” He is a fixed point by which we can navigate this life. The power of prayer exists because the Lord never changes. As Hebrews 13:8 reminds us, “Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever. Natalie Grant also recognizes the eternal glory of God in “King of the World.” Here she is performing the song at the 2017 K-LOVE Fan Awards.
Our Prayers Are Heard - The Power of Prayer in Today’s Christian Songs
We know that God is all powerful and that He cares for us. How amazing is it that we can be heard by the Creator of the universe any time that we need Him? No matter what we’re going through, if it’s big enough to worry us, God wants to know about it. That’s why “Let Us Pray” by Steven Curtis Chapman (we know, not that contemporary) is such a great song on prayer. We should take advantage of every opportunity we have to talk to God. Part of what makes God the perfect recipient of our prayer is that He knows our story, our fears, and our dreams. Like Jeremy Camp says in “He Knows,” God is understanding audience whom we can run to whenever we are struggling. Another great thing about how God is willing to hear to us is that we don’t have to run through a series of rituals in order to come before Him. In a moment of pain or confusion we can immediately call on his name, much in the same way that Plumb illustrates in “Need You Now (How Many Times).” Just knowing that God cares enough to listen can make all the difference. Take the words from Lauren Daigle’s “O’Lord” for example: “Oh, O’Lord, O’Lord I know You hear my cry / Your love is lifting me above all the lies / No matter what I face this I know in time / You’ll take all that is wrong and make it right.” We don’t have to know how He will accomplish it all so long as we trust that He can and that He cares.
Our Human Strength is Limited
For anyone who has played the “church game” before coming to faith in Christ, it’s a verifiable fact that we cannot work our way to holiness. When we come to Christ we are still the imperfect creatures with limited abilities, but the power of prayer allows us to call upon a higher source to carry us through. “Different” by Micah Tyler is all about learning to change through Christ. Prayer plays a massive role in this journey.
If you’ve ever hit this breaking point, you know that sometimes prayer can become an act of desperation. “I Need a Miracle” by Third Day tells us that while God shouldn’t be our last resort, He is able to work things out in a way that no one and nothing else can. For a song that is a little on the nose for this point, Matthew West’s “Strong Enough” is reflective of 2 Corinthians 12:9 when it says “power is perfected in weakness.” It’s through the recognition of our weakness that we see the ultimate source of strength in God.
Prayer is Effective
The Book of James says that the “effective prayer of a righteous man can accomplish much.” If we didn’t believe in the power of prayer then it would seem to be a fruitless exercise. There are different outcomes that we could be seeking from prayer. Sometimes we need an attitude adjustment like Brandon Heath sings about in “Give Me Your Eyes.” We’ve talked some about why God is dependable when it comes to prayer, but Chris Tomlin brings up a good point in “Whom Shall I Fear (God of Angel Armies).” We know that God has innumerable angels at his disposal on top of His already established omnipotence and omniscience. How could prayer not be the best course of action? “Giants Fall” by Francesca Battistelli reminds us of the Biblical account of David and Goliath, where God gave the former the victory in spite of David having every reason to be afraid. Prayer can be effective for whatever giants we may be fighting.
Prayer Is a Two-Way Conversation
Sometimes we get in such a rush with our prayers that we forget that communication has to go both ways. While we may not hear an audible voice each time we pray, God can speak in a number of ways. Big Daddy Weave’s “Jesus I Believe” shares the emotions we often feel when we desperately need God to act. Sometimes that answer comes in medical test results or receiving a call from an old friend, other times you might feel like God has placed a certain action on your heart. Sometimes we are hungry to feel the power of prayer and just can’t find the words to say. “Word of God Speak” by MercyMe is all about seeking wisdom from God and finding answers from the Bible and God’s presence.
Like All Communication, Prayer Style Varies
Depending on our situation, where we are, or who we are praying with, the style in which we pray might change. Just like you may talk differently at work or school than you talk at home, discussing things with God may look different each time we pray. Tauren Wells’ “Hills and Valleys” shows us what prayer looks like in both the good times and the bad. We always have a reason to pray, whether it be in thankfulness or out of need. If you’re someone who has grown up in church, you’re likely used to the more religious aspects of the faith. You may even be burnt out or otherwise hurt by the bureaucracy of it all. “Real Love” by Blanca strips things down to the basics and offers up a prayer of authenticity that many of us have felt from time to time. The power of prayer isn’t found in an impressive vocabulary, but by approaching the throne of grace in authenticity, humility, and love.
Prayer Can Be Communal - The Power of Prayer in Today’s Christian Songs
Prayer can be very personal. After all, we’re opening our hearts to the God of the universe so that He can calm our fears and refine us over time. There are times, though, when prayer can be a communal activity. The power of prayer can really be felt when a large group comes together. This is a feeling typically achieved in large arenas like where Passion and Chris Tomlin recorded “White Flag.” Christian anthems like this really inspire us to examine our lives and seek to spread the gospel. Both prayer and worship songs in large groups can be used to get everyone on the same page before being sent out (which is certainly the hope of the Passion events.) Sometimes the mission is not to go out but to restore what is here before us. “Heal Our Land” by Kari Jobe is a song that spreads this message concerning the power and presence of God. We must invite God into the work that we are hoping to accomplish if we want there to be true change. Another great song with a similar vision is “Holy Spirit” by Francesca Battistelli.
Prayer Isn’t Just About What You Want
The most basic kind of prayer we think about involves bringing a list of needs to God. Our relationship with God shouldn’t only consist of a grocery list, though. There are so many things you can be doing in your time of prayer. “Whatever You’re Doing (Something Heavenly)” by Sanctus Real talks about advancing beyond this basic view of Christianity and surrendering to God’s greater will. A vital part of prayer is giving God the respect and adoration He deserves. “What a Beautiful Name” by Hillsong Worship is just one of the many praise and worship songs that glorify God for who He is. Another song about removing ourselves from the center of attention is “Thy Will” from Hillary Scott.
We could keep going on about the power of prayer, as there are hundreds of Christian songs that could be added to this list, but you can tell just how important prayer is to the Christian experience. The K-LOVE Fan Awards seeks to honor the artists who are making an impact on the Christian community and using their skills to bring glory to God. Each year we bring together the biggest musicians, actors, and more for the ultimate fan experience. Find out how you and your family can join us by clicking on the link below.