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McCoy: The power of prayer
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Psalm 17:6-7 (New Living Translation): I am praying to you because I know you will answer, O God. Bend down and listen as I pray. Show me your unfailing love in wonderful ways. By your mighty power you rescue those who seek refuge from their enemies.


We learn about cause and effect from the time we are born.

As toddlers, we learn that if we drop things, they will fall. I remember the days when my children were babies. They learned by doing something again and again. For countless hours, we would play games, and with each game, the children would discover laws of nature in a real way. The game that I loved the most was the one where baby drops something from the high chair, and mom picks it up. This one never got old for the baby, and I would watch with intent the look on his face as he bent over the side and watched the object fall to the floor. Then, he would keep watching to make sure it didn’t jump back up. As soon as I picked it up and put it back on the high chair, he would re-enact the entire scene.

We did this countless times, and each time he would watch the object fall. After about the 10th time, I would usually respond with, "Yes, gravity still works." You can bet that I grew tired of this game long before he did.

Not long ago, I remember reading about one person who had done an "experiment" with prayer just so he could report that prayer had no effect. He reported that in the case study that he performed, the sick people who were prayed for responded no differently to medical treatment than the ones he had not prayed for. Therefore, he concluded, his prayer had no effect on whether people healed or not.

The Psalmist reminds us that God hears every prayer: "I am praying to you because I know you will answer, O God. Bend down and listen as I pray."

God not only hears us when we pray, God listens intently to the cries of our hearts. While our circumstances may or may not change, God will walk with us through those circumstances. I believe in the power of prayer to change us in ways that others may not always see or report in their news articles. I believe that change comes inside our hearts and minds as well as in our physical circumstances.

Like the baby learning that gravity is dependable, when we pray, we learn that God is dependable. God will answer our prayers in ways that others may not always see. God shows us God’s "unfailing love in wonderful ways." Through prayer, God can change our circumstances, and more importantly, God can change us in our circumstances.

For what circumstances in your life do you need to pray today?



Jan McCoy is associate pastor of First United Methodist Church of Covington. She may be reached at