The Difference Prayer Makes

By: Kristen L. McNulty

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Recently I was reading through Mark 14, I found myself stuck at the encounter between Jesus and His disciples at Gethsemenae.

You probably can recall the scene. Following their meal in the Upper Room, Jesus leads some of His disciples away to the Mount of Olives. Repeatedly Jesus warns them to stay up and pray. Instead they all fall asleep and shortly afterwards end up deserting Him. I don’t think that this is a coincidence.

We find over and over again in the Bible that when Jesus says something, there is a good reason for it. So why did Jesus ask the disciples to deny their bodies of sleep and instead pray? He knew that the next twenty-four hours were going to be chaotic- not only for Himself, but for His followers. Yet for some reason Jesus still asked them to forgo the sleep that would have rejuvenated their bodies. I honestly believe that Jesus asked them to do this because He knew the truth that a rested body is of little use to us if our spirit is disconnected from God.

Had the disciples spent those precious moments in prayer maybe they would have had a much different perspective when they saw Jesus on the cross. Maybe they would have never ran away in the first place. Maybe some of them would have even boldly preached in the time between Good Friday and Easter Sunday. Maybe the story might have of looked much differently.

But we can never know for sure what difference the disciples prayers would have made. We can know however, that there would have been a difference. Prayer doesn’t always necessarily change circumstances, but it does have the potential to change us.

We, like the disciples, have the opportunity to be strengthened and changed through prayer. I think though, that too often we participate in our own version of sleep and ignore spending time connecting with our Heavenly Father. As a result, I am convinced that we miss out on a lot.

Samuel Chadwick once wrote:
“The one concern of the devil is to keep Christians from praying. He fears nothing from prayerless studies, prayerless work, and prayerless religion. He laughs at our toil, mocks at our wisdom, but trembles when we pray.”

The reason Satan fears prayer is because that very connection with God changes everything. It can turn a trembling follower into a bold disciple. It can strengthen the weak and heal the sick. It can open some doors and shut others. It gives us grace and it feeds us life. It can change and transform. It can redeem and restore. It can make a difference.

Hebrews 4:16 says: “So let us come boldly to the throne of our gracious God. There we will receive His mercy, and we will find grace to help us when we need it.” In reality, we never know when we will need grace throughout our days, which leads me to believe that we always need to be prepared in prayer.

Besides, prayer is one of the few methods of communication we have with our Heavenly Father, so doesn’t it just make sense to take advantage of that? To seek God throughout our day and build a relationship through both the quiet moments and chaotic times. To build a lifestyle that allows us to truly “pray without ceasing” (1 Thess. 5:17).

This is not to mean that we quit our jobs and spend hours a day on our knees, but rather, that we bring God with us wherever we go and allow Him to make our life a prayer. Whether that’s in the workplace, at school, in our homes, or in our thoughts and actions. And as a result, power things will happen because prayer does make a difference.

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This devotional was aired as a part of the Making A Difference Christian Radio Show.