Prayer – the very utterance of the word reminds us that it acts as a medium to connect with God. A simple version of the definition says, ‘Prayer is talking with God.’ Prayer opens the channel for us to communicate with our Creator. He listens to us when we pray, and He answers us when we wait in His presence.
People of faith have known the power of prayer since time began. The Bible says in 1 John 5:14 and 15 “14 Now this is the confidence that we have in Him, that if we ask anything according to His will, He hears us. 15 And if we know that He hears us, whatever we ask, we know that we have the petitions that we have asked of Him.” Also, in the latter part of James 5:16 we read “…The effective, fervent prayer of a righteous man avails much.”
There are some incredible prayers in the Bible and some very remarkable people who prayed them. Of course, in their own eyes they were not remarkable at all. They felt they were as ordinary as you and I feel. But they touched the heart of God in one way or another and were included in the scripture to be examples for us. We too can pray incredible prayers.
We can see miraculous answers. We can affect history. We can touch the heart of God. Our prayers in God’s hands are not as ordinary as we think. Someone mentioned that the power of prayer does not rest with the one who is making the prayer but with the One who listens to it.
All the great heroes of the Bible, from Abraham to Hannah (the mother of the prophet Samuel) to John the Beloved disciple, were people of fervent faith and devotion. One after another, they demonstrated the power and peace available through prayer and communion with the Creator. Just as how those wonderful men and women lived an example life, we are called with a purpose to lead such a model life and be faithful heroes for our great God in these times and for the generations to come if the Lord tarries!
My dear friends, prayer is a wonderful privilege. Hebrews 4:16 says God has opened the door to His throne room and invited His children to enter His presence with their petitions. Jeremiah 33:3 says He has promised to hear us when we call. And, he has promised to answer our prayers when we pray according to His will as stated in 1 John 5:14-15. We all know that there are many privileges and promises associated with prayer. I want to remind us from this passage that prayer is also a powerful endeavor
There is something special about entering God’s presence by yourself to talk to Him in secret. It is something we should all do and should do often. Private Prayer is our inner being crying out for help, fellowship and spiritual nourishment! It is born out of our need and the assurance that God is there to meet that need and answer our prayer. Abraham Lincoln said, “I have been driven many times to my knees by the overwhelming conviction that I had nowhere else to go.” We have all experienced the power of private prayer. We have experienced those times when we called on the Lord in the secret place of prayer and He heard us, and He answered us graciously.
And then there is another thing called corporate prayer. There is a special dynamic power that comes into play when God’s children come together, united in faith and purpose, to seek the face of the Lord in prayer. I would like to remind the instance from the Bible where corporate prayer brought forth a mighty miracle! There were attacks and James the brother of John, one of the disciples of Christ was put to death by Herod.
Another disciple Peter was also imprisoned and was sitting on death row awaiting his own execution. The believers of the early church joined and prayed fervently for Peter’s life to be spared. Acts 1:5 mentions there were constant prayers made to God for Peter. People poured out their hearts in prayer before the Lord as they sought His face for Peter’s life.
And just as James the brother of Jesus mentioned in his book in chapter 5:16, fervent prayers avail many results. It is not prayer that is sluggish, lifeless, unconcerned, casual, halfhearted; it is prayer that pours forth from a burdened heart. That kind of prayer reaches heaven and moves the hand of God. And we know the answer was the miraculous deliverance of Peter from the prison by the Angel of the Lord.
Faith matters in Prayer
When we pray, we must pray in faith. Faith is the essential ingredient that marks the difference between answered and unanswered prayer. Hebrews 11:6 says “without faith it is impossible to please God and anyone who comes to God must believe that He is God and He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him“. And Matthew 21:22 says, “And whatever things you ask in prayer, believing, you will receive.”
When Peter was released from prison, he went to the house where the church had met to pray. He knocked on the gate, Rhoda came out to see who was there, heard his voice and went and told the church that Peter was outside. They did not believe her, but assumed that he must be dead, and that it was his spirit at the gate.
Warren Weirsbe said, “God could get Peter out of a prison, but Peter couldn’t get himself into a prayer meeting.” Yet, when they investigated, they discovered that it was Peter himself, and they were “astonished.” Why were they amazed? After all, they had been praying for this very thing, hadn’t they? They were surprised because they were just like us!
Often our best praying is done in an atmosphere of unbelief. On our best day, we are marked by a lack of faith. I praise God that my faith does not have to be perfect; it just must be exercised.
We are a lot like that father who brought his son to Jesus to have the demons cast out. He believed the Lord could do it, but he was still filled with doubt and fear. And we all plead the same way that father did in Mark 9:24, “Lord, I believe; help my unbelief!”
Jesus gave a befitting response to the disciples who later questioned Him about their inability to cast out that demon from the boy. Let’s read Matthew 17:20 “So Jesus said to them, ‘Because of your unbelief; for assuredly, I say to you, if you have faith as a mustard seed, you will say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it will move; and nothing will be impossible for you…’”
Friends, if we live in this world and speak to God in prayer, we will often be “astonished” at His answers. Let us not worry about cultivating big faith; let us concern ourselves with developing simple, childlike faith in the supreme power of our Heavenly Father! My dear brothers and sisters, all that is needed is you and I should be able to get a hold of the Lord. We need that as individuals, and we need that as a group of believers or as a Church. That will happen if our priority is to seek God always!
Something good always happen when people of God pray! I encourage you today to be such a person of prayer and one who is filled with the Word of God, so we know the appropriate promise to claim based on the situation we are in! That is how the prayer heroes of the Bible prayed and accomplished victories and received many miracles from God.
I encourage you to set your focus on God and align yourselves with Him so we can receive the most blessings and knowledge that God has in store for us. And as you persevere in prayer, you will begin to experience God unraveling greater and deeper spiritual insights.