Praying with Power in the New Year

Carolyn Dale Newell

Carolyn Dale Newell

Contributing Writer
Updated Jan 09, 2024
Praying with Power in the New Year

Friend, I know it creates some angst when you consider your life taking on a different course than the one you wanted, but if we are to truly have an abiding relationship with Christ and see power in our prayers and spiritual life, His will is the answer.

A new year begins. Although our circumstances may not change, we have an opportunity for a fresh start. Some people make New Year's resolutions or select a word for the year. Regardless, a brand-new year makes a perfect time to commit to powerful prayer.

The Power of Faith

My ophthalmologist explained that cataract surgery would not improve my visual impairment which caused me to be legally blind. Excitement consumed me just to know I would be free from the headaches, and looking at the world through a fog would be eliminated just by removing the cataracts.

After scheduling the surgery, I came across a verse outside of the Bible, possibly in a book or online article. I saw the Scripture with new eyes. I looked the verse up in my preferred translation to ensure it was not taken out of context. Allow me to set the stage for you:

As Jesus and His disciples walked, they saw a fig tree with leaves but no fruit. Jesus placed a curse on the tree, and the disciples heard Him. The next day, they passed by the same tree, withered from the roots (Mark 11:20), and Peter recalled the words Jesus had spoken to the tree. Peter looked at the drooping tree in amazement, pointing it out to Jesus. Then Jesus gave His disciples (and us) a lesson in faith.

“Truly I tell you, if anyone says to this mountain, ‘Go, throw yourself into the sea,’ and does not doubt in their heart but believes that what they say will happen, it will be done for them. Therefore I tell you, whatever you ask for in prayer, believe that you have received it, and it will be yours.” (Mark 11:23-24 NIV) 

The Bible actually says that if I believe, I will receive what I ask for in prayer. I had been warned against this type of thinking. Wasn’t it name-it-and-claim-it? No, not if we take it in the full context of the Bible.

In addition to this verse, God urged me to believe in a better vision. When I came home from the first cataract surgery, I saw lighthouses on my shower curtain. That morning, they had appeared only as blobs. I saw picture frames on the walls and some ugly living room curtains which needed to be replaced. The best part is that my faith encouraged other believers to believe and receive also.

Friend, what is the prayer you whisper each day? Refuse to allow doubt to prevent you from believing God will answer your prayer.

Praying for God’s Will

People often ask me how we can believe we will receive our requests while still praying for God’s will. I don’t know, but why do we assume God’s will isn’t the same as our desires? We have to trust God that even though we pray with firm faith, we still seek His will over ours. Even Jesus prayed for the Father’s will concerning the cross. Jesus was fully Man and fully God. While His deity desired to go to the cross as a sacrifice for sinners who trusted in Him, His humanness agonized over sin-bearing and the excruciating pain He would face.

“Father, if You are willing, take this cup from Me; yet not My will, but Yours be done.” (Luke 22:42 NIV)

This was the prayer of Christ in the garden of Gethsemane only hours before He was going to be crucified.

I prayed for God’s healing before my spinal fusion surgery, but that wasn’t God’s plan for me. Now that I am returning to writing and speaking, I seek God’s will for my life. The surgery was extremely difficult with a long road to recovery, but I learned many lessons throughout that traumatic event. God has shown me times when I made my own plans without consulting Him so going forward, I desire only His will.

Friend, I know it creates some angst when you consider your life taking on a different course than the one you wanted, but if we are to truly have an abiding relationship with Christ and see power in our prayers and spiritual life, His will is the answer.

Persist in Prayer

“As for me, I call to God, and the Lord saves me. Evening, morning and noon I cry out in distress, and He hears my voice.” (Psalm 55:16-17 NIV)

We can learn from David. He lived on the run several times with his enemies seeking to kill him. He fell into great times of darkness and despair. He grieved the death of a child, and his children troubled him with their choices and actions. What Did David do? He prayed morning, noon, and night.

Prayer isn’t a one-and-done event each day. Paul told us to pray without ceasing (1 Thes. 5:17). Take everything that comes up during the day to God in prayer. Pray while you drive, with your eyes open, of course. Pray while you walk. Pray while you do laundry or dishes. We don’t have to pray long eloquent prayers. It can be as simple as, “Help me, Jesus!”

Persistence goes further than praying often. It’s the continual knocking on heaven’s door. We’ve all had needs that remain unanswered: an unsaved loved one, a wayward child, or the healing that never comes.

In Luke 18, Jesus told His disciples a parable to teach them to always pray and never give up (Luke 18:1). That’s right, friend, Jesus wants us to continue praying about that unanswered prayer. He doesn’t grow weary of hearing it.

In this parable, a widow sought justice against an adversary. In that time, widows became easy prey for unscrupulous people. She continually went before a judge who neither feared God nor cared what people thought about him. Since the widow kept bothering him, although he wasn’t a nice guy, he gave her justice.

Friend, if an evil judge (who probably accepted bribery) ruled for a poor widow who could not offer him anything, how much more will Jesus Christ do for us? 

Our timing isn’t God’s timing. Many times we hear the answer, “Wait.” A delay is not a denial. Don’t allow the discouragement of a delay to hinder prayers. Instead, pray more often and more fervently.

Praying Against Spiritual Warfare

Prayer is spiritual communication. We need an awareness of the spiritual world around us. Daniel, who survived a night in the lion’s den, had a delay in an answer to prayer. God had sent an angel immediately to Daniel when he first prayed, but a demon opposed that angel for twenty-one days. Finally, “one of the chief princes came to help” (Daniel 10:13a CSB). Most likely, this was Michael, the archangel. Spiritual conflict held up the answer to Daniel’s prayer.

Paul wrote in his Epistle to the Ephesians:

“And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the Lord’s people.” (Ephesians 6:18 NIV)

The verses preceding this one describe the armor of God. We suit up in this armor through prayer.  Our spiritual resources are only accessible through prayer. That’s why Paul, through the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, instructed us to pray at all times with all kinds of prayer. Notice we are also directed to pray for all Christians. Suit up in your spiritual armor daily before you pray, keeping in mind the angelic conflict in the heavenliest places.

I pray for you, and I know as you apply these Scriptures to your prayer life that your prayers will become more powerful. Your faith will increase, as well as your desire to submit to God’s will. You will pray more often and with persistence. Your awareness of spiritual conflict will guard you against the deceptiveness of the enemy as you pray. The most important thing is that you pray.

Photo Credit: ©Getty Images/Poike

Carolyn Dale Newell headshot with dogCarolyn Dale Newell is an author and certified speaker. She knows what it is to live with blindness, but she calls her disability a gift from God. Her passion is to equip women to break free from emotional strongholds through her book, Faith That Walks on Water: Conquering Emotional Bondage with the Armor of God. You can connect with Carolyn on her website and her women’s ministry group on Facebook