I've been rereading some books I have by Merlin Carothers (Praise Works, Power in Praise, From Prison to Praise)and the lesson I'm learning from these books have been reinforced in the most marvelous way.
Basically, Merlin Carothers teaches us to praise God in every circumstance (as commanded in 1 Thes 5:16-18, Eph 5:20, etc). To even praise God FOR the tragedies, the bad, the negative things in our lives.
Most of us balk at that idea. We know God is love, and God is good. So why praise God for the bad stuff. It seems...wrong.
And yet the Bible says, Be thankful always, in ALL circumstances.
Merlin says that we can only praise God for the bad things too if we believe in an omnipotent, loving Father who is working out our situation for our good (Romans 8:28)
We accept the things God is permitting to happen in our lives as part of God's plan to reveal His perfect love to us.
Maybe He is going to do an astounding miracle that you can't see yet. Maybe He is letting you see where your faith is weak, or where you still need some growth. Maybe He is showing you where you are not depending on Him. Remember, Job couldn't see how his situation was ever going to get any better, but in the end God blessed Him twice as much as before tragedy struck.
The point is, we don't know WHY God permits certain things to happen but He DOES permit it. So He has to have a good reason.
Many many people have written to Merlin Carothers to attest to the power of praising God in bad situations. Either they changed on the inside and had some peace and joy, or the situation changed on the outside.
It's a hard thing to do - always praising God no matter what. It doesn't mean we don't share our honest feelings about the situation with Him, but we express our pain and our praise.
So now I'm reading about all of this and feeling there's some big truth being revealed when I suddenly receive an email that informs me about a prayer request sent to our church and how the situation drastically improved when the person stopped grumbling and complaining and just praised God every day. I mean, I looked up from my book and there was the email. Coincidence? I think not!
Seems like confirmation to me that this is the way to pray in power - the prayer of praise!