The average religious person believes that GOD is powerful but that HIS power is modified to some degree by what man is willing to do. Nowhere is this demonstrated any more clearly than in the common consideration of "prayer" as being a force of its own. How many times have we heard the phrase, "we believe in the power of prayer" or "prayer changes things"?
Hardly a week goes by that someone does not send me a "chain letter" of sorts that implies that if we all bind our wills together in prayer that we can somehow cause a force to be exerted which can alter GOD's mind and even change the course of history. Sadly, most of these "prayer chain letters" are sent by folks who profess to be "Christians" but by their participation in such demonstrate a total ignorance of what true prayer is. Surely, we are living in times when it is difficult to find a clear vision of the truth of GOD and most believe (I am speaking here of those that "profess" to be those who believe in JESUS CHRIST) that GOD is only able to act as men "allow" HIM to. Such a god as this is hardly the GOD of the bible who reveals HIMSELF, as that ONE who is "in the heavens: he hath done whatsoever he hath pleased." (Psa 115:3) Nowhere has HE ever revealed HIMSELF to be dependent on the actions of men or enabled by the same.
The heathen believe that their "prayers" will be heard because of their repetition, (see Mat. 6:7) which has prompted men to design "prayer wheels" and rosary beads, phylacteries, etc. It is easy to see the errors of such inventions, but the same idea is carried on by those who might eschew the use of such mechanisms but still think that prayer is enhanced by a constant barrage of requests.
Prayer is primarily the work of GOD in the hearts of HIS children. Paul said, "And because ye are sons, God hath sent forth the Spirit of his Son into your hearts, crying, Abba, Father."(Gal 4:6) He also described true prayer in this fashion, "Likewise the Spirit also helpeth our infirmities: for we know not what we should pray for as we ought: but the Spirit itself maketh intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered. And he that searcheth the hearts knoweth what is the mind of the Spirit, because he maketh intercession for the saints according to the will of God." (Rom 8:26-27) This is that prayer which is "heard" by HIM as John said, "And this is the confidence that we have in him, that, if we ask any thing according to his will, he heareth us: And if we know that he hear us, whatsoever we ask, we know that we have the petitions that we desired of him." (1John 5:14-15)
Prayer is not a "power" in the hands of men to change the will of GOD but is rather the means whereby GOD is pleased to make HIS children "conformable" to HIS will by the work of HIS SPIRIT in them. Paul said that he had "learned" to be content in whatever state he was in. (see Phil.4:11) The way that he "learned" that lesson was in the place of prayer as the SPIRIT of GOD wrought in him the language of a son crying out in dependence upon his FATHER. The modern "fakirs" tell us that it is well within the power of men to be healed if they can only "prevail in prayer and claim their healing, yet Paul said, "For this thing I besought the Lord thrice, that it might depart from me. And he said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me. Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in necessities, in persecutions, in distresses for Christ's sake: for when I am weak, then am I strong." (2Cor 12:8-10)
This is the very scenario of which the Proverb speaks, "the name of the LORD is a strong tower". The "authority" (i.e.; HIS name) of GOD is the very hope of the sons of GOD. That the true and living GOD rules and reigns both in the heavens and the earth and cannot be turned aside nor questioned in anything which HE chooses to do. (see Dan.4:35) As HE is pleased to reveal HIS purpose to give HIS children the Kingdom (see Luke 12:32), so the sons of GOD are encouraged because HE shows them that HE changes not. It is upon this promise that all of their hopes are based, "That by two immutable things, in which it was impossible for God to lie, we might have a strong consolation, who have fled for refuge to lay hold upon the hope set before us: Which hope we have as an anchor of the soul, both sure and steadfast, and which entereth into that within the veil." (Heb 6:18-19) HE has demonstrated HIMSELF to be their "strong tower". As this TOWER HE is:
Their DELIVERER. "The LORD is my rock, and my fortress, and my deliverer; my God, my strength, in whom I will trust; my buckler, and the horn of my salvation, and my high tower."(Psa 18:2) HE is our CHAMPION who has fought for us and has prevailed against all of our enemies. "What shall we then say to these things? If God be for us, who can be against us? He that spared not his own Son, but delivered him up for us all, how shall he not with him also freely give us all things? Who shall lay any thing to the charge of God's elect? It is God that justifieth." (Rom 8:31-33)
Their SHELTER. "For thou hast been a shelter for me, and a strong tower from the enemy. I will abide in thy tabernacle forever: I will trust in the covert of thy wings. Selah. For thou, O God, hast heard my vows: thou hast given me the heritage of those that fear thy name."(Psa 61:3-5) Indeed the LORD's our rock, in HIM we hide, a shelter in the time of storm. As the LORD hid Moses in a "clift of the rock" (see Ex.33:22) so HE has hid us in the ROCK of our salvation, even JESUS CHRIST the RIGHTEOUS.
Their FORTRESS of refuge. "Blessed be the LORD my strength, which teacheth my hands to war, and my fingers to fight: My goodness, and my fortress; my high tower, and my deliverer; my shield, and he in whom I trust; who subdueth my people under me." (Psa 144:1-2) When the enemies attacked in olden times men ran to hide within the secure walls of the fortress which they knew were designed to withstand the onslaughts of the attackers. So, GOD's little children are compelled to flee to HIM for they know of HIS strength and certain victory and have no confidence in their own power, righteousness, or religion. " For we are the circumcision, which worship God in the spirit, and rejoice in Christ Jesus, and have no confidence in the flesh." (Phil 3:3)
Their WATCHMAN. The walls of the fortress had towers built upon it from which the eyes of the watchmen could see the approaching enemy before those upon the walls. Even so the LORD does watch over HIS flock like the GOOD SHEPHERD which HE is. "Humble yourselves therefore under the mighty hand of God, that he may exalt you in due time: Casting all your care upon him; for he careth for you." (1Pet. 5:6-7) "The eyes of the LORD are upon the righteous, and his ears are open unto their cry." (Psa 34:15)
The conditionalists would teach us that a man must act "righteously" in order to enjoy the blessings of GOD. But those who have been taught the source of all of the "righteousness" of the true sons of GOD know that HE counts HIS own people as righteous because HE sees them in their HEAD, JESUS CHRIST the RIGHTEOUS. It is because HE sees them as righteous that they are thus called righteous and made to be those who the Proverb describes by saying "the righteous runneth into it, and is safe." As Peter said, "Lord, to whom shall we go? thou hast the words of eternal life." (John 6:68)mam