"As I think about our power, or rather our lack thereof, it reminds me of our need of power in our work and daily lives today," says Cody Francis.

October 18, 2023

Generator Prayers

We barely think about the advantages of electricity until the power is gone. As I write, a large windstorm blew through our area and knocked out power for several days.

Even though I know that the power is off, I find myself turning on a light switch or turning on the faucet, only for nothing to happen. Our lives are altered significantly when the power is cut, and suddenly simple things become much more difficult or impossible. 

As I think about our power, or rather our lack thereof, it reminds me of our need of power in our work and daily lives today. Jesus promised the disciples, “But you shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you ….” (Acts 1:8). Jesus knew this was what the disciples needed more than anything else. Thus, He said, “Tarry … until you are endued with power from on high” (Luke 24:49). They needed the power of the Holy Spirit to touch their hearts and touch the hearts of those around them. How did they receive this “power from on high”? “These all continued with one accord in prayer and supplication” (Acts 1:14). Prayer was the key that connected them to heaven’s infinite powerhouse. 

As the disciples needed that “power from on high,” so we need this power today. How do we receive the power that energized the early church and “turned the world upside down” (Acts 17:6)? The same way that they did—communing with God in prayer. “Prayer brings power.” (“In Heavenly Places,” page 83.) It is not that prayer itself is power, but it is prayer that connects us with the true source of power. 

The problem is that too many times we treat prayer as a generator. I am very thankful to be able to turn on a generator and supply the lack that a power outage brings. We can run water, cook, charge devices, etc. while the generator is on. A generator makes a very helpful backup power supply in an emergency, but prayer is not a generator. Too many times we pray when we are facing a crisis. We pray when we don’t know what else to do. We pray in an emergency. We should pray all those times, but prayer should not be limited to emergencies or formalities. If we only really pray during emergencies, we are treating prayer as a generator. When “prayer is the breath of the soul,” then it becomes “the secret of spiritual power.” (“Gospel Workers,” page 254) Breath is a constant, life-giving activity and thus prayer should be a constant, live-giving connection with God. Prayer is not a generator. Prayer is the powerline connecting us to the never-failing, constantly supplying powerhouse of the universe. My prayer is that prayer be our powerline and not our generator. 

Cody Francis is the ministerial director for the Michigan Conference.