Over coffee and croissants, my balikbayan friend shared with me her recent problem with her adult son.
His 15-year marriage was on the rocks, and he jumped into a relationship with another woman—also very married with two children.
"I was distraught so I talked to him about it," P said. "Son, I know this is your business and I should not interfere. But please consider it as parental counsel."
Her son cut in, "Leave me alone, Mom! I know exactly what you're going to say!"
"I'll say it anyway," P replied. "Fix your own marriage first before you ruin another one."
Her son marched out angrily, but not before P could say, "Only you can do something about this madness. But I can pray that the Lord may give you the proper perspective to decide what is right.”
“O, did I pray!" P said, slapping my hand. "I got down on my knees every day and asked God to please open the eyes of my son."
Months later, P's son came crying (literally) to her. “You prayers are certainly powerful, Mom! My girlfriend and I just broke up!”
P replied, "Oh, no, dear, my prayers have no power—none whatsoever. Only God has the power to do or change things.”
Like P's son, I am sometimes deluded by the thought that my prayers are powerful (especially when hordes of my friends are helping me pray for the same thing all at the same time) and can goad God to action and do my bidding.
True, in the Bible, God might have changed the course of some events as a result of someone's prayers, but in the end, it is He alone who makes the decision based on what He wants for us. Whether he gives us exactly what we want done, it is His will alone, not ours.
King Hezekiah was very sick, almost dying, and prayed for healing,
“. . . say to Hezekiah the leader of my people, Thus says the LORD, the God of David your father: I have heard your prayer; I have seen your tears. Behold, I will heal you.” 2 Kings 20:5
Our assurance: “. . . if we ask anything according to his will, he hears us. And if we know that he hears us—whatever we ask—we know that we have what we asked of him.” 1 John 5:14-15
The power is God's alone, and grace comes from Him.