Second book of Chronicles 7:14 says: “if my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and I will forgive their sin and will heal their land.” (NIV)
Prayer is one of the greatest privileges God has given to man. It amazes me that I can come into the presence of God, the Creator of this universe, and talk with Him. Prayer is basically talking with God. It is simply expressing your heart and spending time with Him. It is not a one way activity, God speaks, we listen, we speak and God listens to our hearts.
In all these years in my ministry I discovered two things about prayer: Everything God is and has is available through prayer. Man cannot do anything on earth without God. Prayer is an opportunity to enjoy intimacy with God. Prayer is all about relationship with Father God. God longs to have relationship with you. To know God is to realize that we are in relationship, covenant relationship with Him.
The habit of prayer marks a true Christian.
Prayer is letting God know what’s on your mind. Prayer is asking God for something you want or need. Prayer is thanking God for His mercy, forgiveness and unconditional love. Praying is more about what is going on inside a person, the attitude of the heart, than the actual words or actions. Praying isn’t for the effect it has on others but rather for the effect it has on God. Prayer has an effect. We may not get what we want, but we will get what is best.
Prayer is to faith what breath is to life. How a man can live and not breathe is past my comprehension, and how a man can believe and not pray is past my comprehension too. Jesus prayed much and He taught much about prayer. His life and His works, as well as His teaching, are illustrations of the nature and necessity of prayer. He lived and laboured to answer prayer.
The necessity of prayer
Prayer is needful for salvation. God’s entire plan is to take hold of fallen man and to seek to change him and make him holy. When we realize our condition, we need to stay in God’s presence and ask for the inside transformation.
Prayer produces great blessings. There are wonderful examples in Scripture of the blessings of prayer. Nothing seems to be too great, too hard, or too difficult for prayer to do. It has obtained things that seemed impossible and out of reach. It has won victories over fire, air, earth, and water. Prayer opened the Red Sea. Prayer brought water from the rock and bread from heaven. Prayer made the sun stand still. Prayer brought fire from the sky on Elijah’s sacrifice.
Men must do God’s work in God’s way, and to God’s glory, and prayer is a necessity to its successful accomplishment. One of the first evidences of a spiritual awakening and a new refreshing from the presence of the Lord will be that God’s people will begin to pray with that definite, confident assurance that their God will hear and answer their prayers.
The power of prayer and its implications
We see in the whole of the church history some remarkable examples of the power of prevailing prayer. These examples should encourage us to lay hold of God’s strength in the exercise of this important duty. In the study of the characters of some of the Old Testament heroes there are three things of which they seem to have had considerable knowledge.
First, they knew how to repent. Second, they knew how to pray. And third, they knew how to make the best of their failures, as well as the most of their victories.
Abraham the Father of the faithful is considered to be a remarkable example of the power of prevailing prayer. This we may gather from the manner of his pleading for Sodom. Abraham without the advantage of any material temple or written form of worship or the privilege of an open Bible, was nevertheless able to meet all the requirements of God in such a manner as to be admitted into His own council chamber, where he had the privilege of pleading in soul contact with his God (Genesis 18:17).
It will be remembered, when Moses was on Mount Sinai, that the children of Israel quickly turned aside from the commandments of the Lord and committed a great sin in that they made themselves gods of gold. Because of this God purposed to cut them off as a nation. The prayer of Moses was so intense that he was prepared to make the greatest possible sacrifice. He practically said: “put me out of Thy promise, out of Thy covenant. Blot me, out of Thy book, but forgive Israel their sin”.
The NT’s teaching on prayer is dominated by Christ’s own example and teaching. His dependence on his Father in his mediatory work expresses itself in repeated prayer, culminating in his High Priestly prayer (John 17) and the agony of Gethsemane with the prayer from the cross.
The apostle Paul in his letter to the Ephesians tried to explain the power which God has placed at the disposal of believers, but he had to acknowledge that it is exceeding greatness. Prayer is only real prayer when inspired by Him and Holy Spirit. No matter how great our petition, His promise is always exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think. We also know that which we have proved again and again of its power and reality in our lives, and what we have witnessed of its power among others.
Prayer has a vital place in the life of the Christian. Spiritual growth is impossible apart from the practice of prayer. Just as the key to quality relationships with other people is time spent in communication, so the key to a growing relationship with the personal God of heaven and earth is time invested in speaking to Him in prayer and listening to His voice in Scripture. Our prayer life is important in both its private and its public aspects.
We must live out our trust in God, and much of that comes by the reality of prayer. In times that are good, we humble ourselves in prayer as we give the praise and thanks to God for all that goes well. In times that are hard, we encourage ourselves by praying, remembering that this is ultimately God’s work. The key element in prayer is not how loud we pray, nor how energetic we are in our prayers (this is not say that these are wrong), but how sincere our requests are as we make them known unto God.
This article is a challenge and a motivation for you, to better life of prayer!
How is your prayer life?