Scripture Reading: 1 Thessalonians 5:15–18
Is there any way that we can scientifically test the effectiveness of prayer or measure its potency?
I. Compare the lives of those who prayed and those who didn’t.
A. Saul consulted a medium when he faced his enemy (1 Samuel 28), but David consulted the LORD (Psalms 18:3).
B. Hezekiah prayed when enemies (2 Kings 19:14–20) and illness (20:1–6) threatened him, whereas Asa turned to the Syrians (2 Chronicles 16:1–7) and physicians (vv 12–13).
C. The disciples slept while Jesus prayed (Matthew 26:39–42), and only Jesus endured the trials of that night.
II. In what ways can prayer help us?
A. It can help us during physical illness (James 5:15).
B. It can help us overcome depression (1 Samuel 1:7, 18).
C. It can rid our hearts of hatred (Matthew 5:43–44).
D. It can heal a broken marriage (1 Peter 3:7).
E. It can give us strength to face temptation (Matthew 26:41).
F. It can bring about forgiveness (Matthew 6:12; Acts 8:22).
III. There are some things that prayer will not do.
A. It will not eliminate every temptation or difficulty (Matthew 4:1ff).
B. It cannot be used for selfish purposes (James 4:2–3).
A. Daniel knew that prayer could get him in trouble with the king (Daniel 6), but he also knew that prayer had never been a mistake.
B. When life seems dark and dreary, don’t forget to pray!