Do you believe in prayer, the power of prayer, someone recently asked me. I said I do and then I asked, do you?
He said he did and then he asked me how often each day I prayed and how long. The questions were irritating and intrusive, but I had never really thought about that before. Prayer: how much and how long. I really couldn’t answer the questions, but I thought about them over and again.
Prayer presumes dialogue, the one praying and communicating, perhaps asking and requesting and one who listens to that prayer and responds. The prayer for the Christian is to the God Almighty, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Creator of all things and all persons. There is no greater power in the universe and if prayer taps into that power, and any portion of that power becomes available, the power of prayer becomes the greatest force available to any human being.
But there are so many different types of prayer. Jesus admonishes us to pray without ceasing, that is in all ways and always. Never stop, but how is that possible? Then He tells us at the same time that we won’t be heard because of our many words. It’s not quantity, He says but quality. Sincerity, mean what you ask and what you say. Really mean it long or short and that will be heard.
HE seems to be telling us that public prayer, open and before others may have value but not as much as prayer in private. To really pray, He says, go into your closet, your inner room, the deepest recesses of your heart and communicate – pray those secret thoughts, those deepest wants and needs. That spiritual dialogue is real and that will be heard.
And there is more. Even more to prayer. In those deepest recesses of the heart, there are thoughts and feelings that we cannot verbalize. They are in His words GROANINGS, groanings of the spirit. And then, Jesus says, there comes the HOLY SPIRIT to make intercession, to translate those groanings, those nonverbal thoughts and feelings into words. And perhaps that is the richest part of prayer for those groanings are the most realistic, the most sincere part of the spiritual life of any person. It is, says Jesus, a critical function of THE HOLY SPIRIT to make intercession, to plead our case and to help us approach the Almighty. We can take comfort in the fact that those words will be heard.
In a recent survey, 80% of Americans said that they have prayed at least once in the last three months. They never said to whom, only god, but not which god for the intellect and imagination of the human being can create many gods. If prayer is not directed to the right God, obviously it can not be heard. For the Christian, there is the God and father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the intercession of the Holy Spirit and prayer is formed in that way, channeled and directed, and that prayer IN JESUS NAME is the only prayer that will be heard. That is exclusive, singular and ONLY. Many so called prayers never make it past the rooftops.
In order to be effective, our prayers need to be:
PERSISTENT AND PREVAILING.
If our need, our request is real, we must never stop asking. Prayer so often is not once and done. Praying is a process, a deeply spiritual one and the great God Jehovah has his own timetable, not ours. The constant, persistent praying of a righteous man or woman accomplishes much. Prayer never ends. On it goes without ceasing if it is real prayer, feeling and understanding, verbalizing, asking and pleading and then thanking and praising, always thanking:
THANKS BE UNTO GOD.
Many of us pray for our great country. We pray that:
GOD WILL BLESS AMERICA.
Even as our country departs from Christian values and morals, we ask that God will intervene, change and redeem. We pray for REVIVAL in America that hearts will be changed, that the love of God will replace evil. We ask that there will be change, change back. Perhaps we wonder why those prayers are not answered, and immediately. And perhaps the answer comes:
THE NATION YOU LOVE CAN BE CHANGED BUT I NEED MORE FROM YOU!
I will not change America without you! So that, there is a partnership, a tandem, a trinitarian power, three in one as a powerful changing force at work in America. Then come the works, for this prayerful faith without works goes nowhere, is dead. If America is to be changed, says the Almighty, then get to work. YOU, with me, need to make these changes. And then things begin to happen. No matter how difficult, we plunge on energized by the promise of God:
I AM WITH YOU, ALWAYS!
The channels for prayer are always open. There is the constant presence of a Loving Father waiting and willing to hear from His children. So that, when prayer is initiated, when real dialogue with the Father occurs, the substance of that prayer is heard and it will, it will indeed be answered. Perhaps not then, or immediately, but in due course according to the divine timetable. And the answer may not always be what we wish, but different. An answer according to THE WILL OF GOD which is right, always right no matter what we ask.
So, we continue to pray for healing. Sickness and disease are everywhere and growing. Some such healing can only come from THE GREAT PHYSICIAN. And so we pray, and pray again and always for the intervention of the ONE with the ultimate power to heal, never giving up, never ceasing to ask, to seek, to knock knowing that sooner or later, God will answer and we will find. For there is no more powerful healing in this world than that which comes from the great physician.
And we are encouraged to bring all things in prayer, wherever the hurt, wherever the need may rise. All things, including the little things for nothing before God is little, nothing. But it is only the prayer which is sincere, deeply heartfelt, prayer as Jesus taught his disciples that:
THEY SHOULD ALWAYS PRAY AND NOT GIVE UP.
Prevailing prayer, praying without ceasing, never giving up! Not as one has said a “drive-by” prayer where we simply mention a few needs as we hurry on our way. But a respectful, quiet, prioritized communication which alone can capture the ear of God Almighty.
That kind of prayer does in fact change things. That kind of prayer is powerful and unleashes the power of God. If we really want God – involvement, the Almighty to hear us, and to answer and to shower us with his mercy, compassion and caring, then we approach in humility, lovingly, sincerely grateful, so very grateful that we have access through our Lord Jesus Christ. May we be inspired to pray without ceasing knowing, believing that the prayer of a righteous man or woman accomplishes much!