The Power of Prayer

The Power of Prayer


The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much (James 5:16).

Purpose of the Illustration

  1. To illustrate how prayer quiets a turbulent heart and clears a disturbed atmosphere.


  1. One glass.

  2. A small pitcher or bottle.

  3. A soda straw or any other small tube through which you can blow.


  1. A half-glass of limewater which may be purchased at the drug store.

  2. Or a few spoonfuls of lime, with which you can make your limewater. Put the lime in a quart of water, and let it set for several hours or days until it is clear. Then pour off the water you want to use. You may put this in a large bottle.

  3. A small amount of acetic acid.

  4. Or a small amount of vinegar.

Method of Procedure

  1. Pour the glass half-full of lime water.

  2. Blow your breath into it through the straw.

  3. Then when cloudy pour the acid or vinegar into it until the water clears again.

Chemical Reactions

  1. When you blow into the limewater it becomes cloudy.

  2. The vinegar or acid clears it.

Cautions and Representations

  1. Be sure that the limewater becomes cloudy when blown into.

  2. The small amount of lime which blows up and clouds the water represents the many irritations which come into a person's life. Be sure to practice this experiment at home to see how cloudy the water will become, and stop blowing when it is fairly cloudy. The carbon dioxide from the excessive blowing will clear the solution  just  as  acetic acid or vinegar will.

  3. The vinegar or acid stands for the power of prayer, which clears the soul of these irritations.

"My day is just ruined," said Natalie, as she started for the office and saw that the frisky puppy had snagged her last pair of nylons.

She had been awakened by the tinkling call of the alarm clock and had immediately felt that something was wrong. She was right! Someone, probably her mischievous young brother, had set the alarm back thirty minutes.

She tried to rush through her toilet, but her father was locked in the bathroom, where he was shaving for an early appointment; breakfast was late, and then the toast was burned and the coffee too hot. By the time she had eaten her breakfast there was not a moment left—or so she thought—for prayer. As she started for the office, she knew that there was a busy day ahead, and that her employer would be unpleasant because she was late.

The bus was crowded and she stood the entire five miles of the ride. Set out your apparatus and materials. She felt nervous and worried. When she arrived at the office she was upset even more, for the office manager reprimanded her sharply for misplacing an important letter the day before. For a moment she thought she would resign and look for another position, but then she remembered mother's hospital bills—she had promised her father she would help him with them—and knew she could not afford to miss even a day's pay.

By midmorning her head ached violently and her heart did too. When noon came she was utterly discouraged. "No prayer... too busy for my morning watch . . . that's the trouble," she said to herself as she left the office to go to the drug store where she usually ate a bowl of soup and a sandwich.

As you speak hold the clear glass of limewater so that the audience can see it and then blow into it gradually, until it finally becomes cloudy. By noon Natalie's poor heart was irritated and her happiness was clouded.

On the way to the drug store she stopped, turned around and went back to the office, where she bowed her head on her desk—for the office was vacant—and in silent prayer she talked with her Heavenly Father. Suddenly the nervous tension was gone. The irritations of the morning seemed trivial. She felt calm and happy. In a flash she recalled where she had filed the letter. Looking up, she smiled and said softly. "Thank you, Heavenly Father." And she promised herself that never again would she go without her morning season of devotion.

You Christians have experiences which are very much like Natalie's. Your heart is happy and there are no irritations, and all of a sudden something dark sweeps over you and you become cloudy like this. Bubble the water. The day is ruined, and you are sensitive, fretful and easily upset. When you have time to pray, you can clear all these irritations away; just as you can clear away these bubbles. Pour the acid or vinegar into the water.

Prayer is a tremendous tonic; it is a settler of irritations; it is the link which connects us with the heavenly reservoir of peace, and floods the soul with "peace like a river."

If you are disturbed and do not know what to do next, pray. If heavy-hearted, pray. If in doubt as to the decision to make, pray. If in need, pray. Prayer is man's method of finding God, and God's plan for giving peace to the soul, and conversing with man. Prayer clears away the clouds in your life and calms your heart.

Note: You may use this experiment to illustrate the power of a godly person's influence. Use as a text, "Be thou an example . . ." (I Timothy 4:12). You may show how people, when they are in trouble or in need, will come to a Christian and have peace restored by talking and praying with him.

Or you may let the glass of limewater represent the condition of the human heart before it is forgiven and cleansed. The heart seems placid and the life is smooth, but when troubles arise there is a violence within— bubble the water. The evil within becomes evident and changes the entire life. When Jesus comes in, forgives the sins, blots out iniquity, He acts as a clearing power in the sin-roiled nature and soul. In this case the acid represents the "blood of Jesus Christ his Son [which] cleanseth us from all sin."

If this is the application, you will want to have several glasses of limewater of different strengths, so that when you blow into each one the cloudy condition will vary. This makes it possible to show how Christ is able to forgive and cleanse all hearts, whatever the type or degree of sin. Hold in mind that there are no degrees in being a sinner—a sinner in God's sight is a sinner— but that there are degrees in the depths of sin to which different people go. All sinners need the forgiving blood applied to their lives.

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