Prayer is the act of communicating, listening and talking with God, our Father through Jesus Christ to help us develop our relationship with God. Imagine not being able to talk, speak and communicate with your father, mother or even your spouse. In any relationship communication is important to growing with and learning that person; the lack of communication will cause it to deteriorate very quickly. The ability to talk to God our father is one of the greatest privileges we obtain by having a relationship with God. (See Religion vs. Relationship article in the July issue of So Divine Magazine).
There are many accounts in the Bible where prayer worked signs, wonders and miracles beyond anything anyone could ever imagine. Take for instance Peters break out from prison where the church and Peter prayed for his release (Acts 12), or Hannah’s prayers for a son for over a year where she promised to serve God if he answered her prayer (1 Samuel), or Daniel’s miraculous escape from the lions den, which the priority of praying every morning noon and night that caused him to be thrown into absolute death, guaranteed his freedom (Daniel 6). These are just a few examples of when “prayer in faith” is proven to work.
“Prayer in faith” is praying because God instructs us to. Our task each and everyday is to pray, believe and trust that by keeping our requests before God and living for him day by day he will answer. So many of us seem to get discouraged when difficulties arise; we think God is so far away that he cannot possibly hear our prayers. At times we conveniently find the time to fall on our knees and pray to God when we are in trouble or when things don’t seem to be going our way. If we truly believe that prayer works we will do as God instructs us to and pray without cease to pray and not give up (1 Thessalonians 5:17, Luke 18:1).
We pray to God our Father, through his son Jesus Christ and the Holy Spirit moves on our behalf as a result of our prayer requests. Even when we do not know what to pray for or how to pray the Holy Spirit intercedes on our behalf to help express thoughts we may not know how to put in words (Romans 8:26-27). The use of huge elaborate words will not necessarily mean more to him, nor yield a faster answer from God; truthfully what he yearns for is obedience, humility, and honesty when we talk to him. That being said just prayer alone is not enough. Prayer doesn’t mean we ask God for everything we “want” or think we “need” sit back and wait for the blessings to pour down from heaven. Prayer and action go hand in hand. Through prayer God prepares our hearts, minds and souls for a mighty move from God. So often we think our prayers go unanswered because it doesn’t line up with how we envision the end result. Through the blood shed by God’s son Jesus Christ we have the power to ask for anything and it shall be given unto us; his children. The Lord’s Prayer states “…Gods will be done, on earth as it is in heaven…”(Matthew 6:9-13). We must realize the importance of the “turning point” when we pray. This is the point when we realize it’s not about us; it’s about God and his will. The sooner we learn, understand, and submit to that the sooner our prayers will touch the heart of God.
Prayer is not some hocus pocus, black magic or sorcery of any kind used to impress or strike fear in others; nevertheless, there is power, wonder-working power in prayer. Prayer admits our own limitations and opens our eyes to the power of God. Prayer is still God’s force in solving our problems but we MUST meet God halfway (Nehemiah 4:9). When we pray to God he hears our prayers. As we persist in prayer we grow stronger in character, faith, and hope. God promises to answer any and all prayers from a pure heart (James 5:16). God hears the prayers of the righteous and the upright (Proverbs 15:8, 29; 1 Peter 3:12). Not only are we to pray for our needs and ourselves, but we are to pray for others as well. Our neighbors, friends, co-workers, people in authority and even our enemies as Paul gave instructions to the church to pray for people all around the world so that their visions and ours will be conducive to spreading the gospel (1 Timothy 2:1-4).
I recall watching a clip of Tyler Perry movie “Madea’s Family Reunion.” In this scene a huge fight between the mother (Lynn Whitfield) and daughter (Lisa Arrindell Anderson) broke out due to years of hurt and pain for both women; all hope seemed to be lost to repair this relationship. At this point one of the family members began to sing an old Negro spiritual entitled “Pray On Just A Little While Longer.” (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=loPLar5z8KA&feature=related). Growing up in church the elder members of my church used to always talk about how much they used to and still pray when situations seem to hit rock bottom; knowing that God would make everything alright. As his children we must learn talk and walk with God.
In conclusion, pray when you’re thankful, pray when you’re ill, pray when your heart is broken, pray before important decisions, pray when you just don’t know what else to do. Jesus prayed for all who follow him and believe in him (John 17:20). Knowing that Jesus prayed for us should indeed give us confidence as we go to talk to God. We must welcome him into our thoughts, and share ourselves with him, our feelings, thoughts, and concerns. Prayer still works. Just ask and you shall receive; with God nothing is impossible.