Hebrews 11:6 “But without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him.”
Scripture says that Saul “was consenting unto [Stephen’s] death” (Acts 8:1). He was the one who watched over the coats of Stephen’s attackers (Acts 7:58). But as Stephen died, he prayed a simple prayer: “Lord, lay not this sin to their charge” (Acts 7:60).
When Stephen prayed his final prayer on earth, he didn’t have a lot of time. He didn’t have opportunity to put a lot thought or words into his prayer. He might not even have known that Saul was there consenting to his death.
I do know this: Had I been in Stephen’s place I doubt I would have had the same courage, or the same grace to pray like he did. I might have prayed for vengeance, or justice. I doubt I would have prayed for mercy. But Stephen did, and as Saul rode toward Damascus intent on destroying Christians, God busied Himself with answering Stephen’s prayer and converted one of the faith’s most ardent enemies into one of its strongest advocates. (Acts 9)
How did Stephen’s prayer do all of that?
- He patterned his prayer life after Christ’s, Who also sought mercy for His persecutors (Luke 23:34).
- He wanted God’s glory more than he wanted his own vindication (John 3:26-34).
- He prayed according to God’s will. “And this is the confidence that we have in him, that, if we ask any thing according to his will, he heareth us” (1John 5:14).
- He understood that the power behind prayer is not the words, or in the one praying, or even in amount the faith of the one praying – because even faith the size of a mustard seed can move God to answer (Matthew 17:20). It is all in the One to Whom we pray.
Prayer taps into the very omnipotence of God! That kind of power changes things, even the hardest of hearts. So often we limit ourselves in prayer because we think the answer depends on our prayer when really the only limit to our prayers is the omnipotence of God! That is real power. The only question left is: “Why don’t we prayer more?”