In the last couple of days, I have been reading scriptures and devotionals on prayer and I dare say that it has increased my desire and passion towards prayer. It also gave me the opportunity to understand the power that prayer can unleash if we only understand the gift and power that has been placed into our hands as believers.
I ask the question, ‘Why Pray?’ because I have found out that in life, if you do not understand the ‘why’ then you will not value the ‘what’. There are various references in scripture which you may have become quite familiar with;
“Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.” 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18
“Watch and pray so that you will not fall into temptation. The spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak.” Matthew 26:41
The story of Jesus while he walked the surface of the earth also contains several references to him praying alone, with his disciples or teaching about prayer.
Critics of prayer will ask, “Why Pray? after all, if prayer works, why is there is so much evil happening and why hasn’t prayer changed the situations in the world as it is today?” I dare say that even Christians ask the same questions albeit from a different perspective. Take the case of someone who has been battling with an illness for many years and been praying for healing. The temptation is there to conclude, ‘Why pray? If nothing is changing regarding my state of health?’
There are some questions none of us can give satisfactory answers to but one thing I am absolutely certain of is that God hears and answers prayers. How He answers those prayers is another matter. Most times our challenge is in understanding what our needs really are in line with the will and purpose of God.
We are limited in our understanding of the world around us and how everything fits together but God is the One by Whom all things are held together (Colossians 1:17) He holds the big picture but we only see in parts and we can only trust that as we play our part, God is putting into motion a grand plan which is not only for our own benefit but for the benefit of mankind.
A core ingredient of prayer is faith. The Scripture says “And it is impossible to please God without faith. Anyone who wants to come to him must believe that God exists and that he
rewards those who sincerely seek him.” (Hebrews 11:6)
My children come to me when they need something and they know that whatever they need, I would not hesitate to give them. This is why Jesus remarked, “So if you sinful people know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your heavenly Father give good gifts to those who ask him" (Mathew 7:11, NLT)
In human terms, you trust the people that you know. We tend to share our fears and our worries with friends and family whom we trust. Most of the time however, the people we take our worries to are helpless to do anything about our problems even when they want to. I have been there several times in my life and I have been at the receiving end of broken promises not necessarily because those who made the promises did not want to fulfil them but because circumstances changed and I was no longer in the list of their priorities.
This brings me to the first bit about prayer that excites me, “You are always at the top of God’s priority list!” How do I know this? Oh, because God Himself said so! Jesus Himself confirmed this;
“Therefore I tell you, do not be anxious about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink, nor about your body, what you will put on. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing? Look at the birds of the air: they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they?” (Matthew 6:25-26)
You are of great value to God! If you are that valued by God, can you then think that He will not hear and answer when you call upon Him in prayer? He is concerned about your every need and He knows He can do something about them but do we believe He can?
God is interested in every detail of our lives. He looks forward to when we call on Him. Some of the circumstances we go through are there to shape us. Some answers to prayers may take a few hours, days, months or years to come through and trust me, I have gone through that cycle and I know that eventually, all prayers get answered.
Another reason why we should pray is that prayer is powerful. Paul declares in the second part of James 5:16, “The earnest prayer of a righteous person has great power and produces wonderful results.” Prayer produces results! It is not just mere words to a god somewhere that you hope may or may not answer. No prayer to God goes unanswered! I have heard the phrase, “Prayer changes things” and I believe it is true. I have seen the results of prayer in my life and in the life of others to be 100% certain that this is true.
The scripture also highlights one important fact. There are some things that are powerful but not effective, therefore useless but prayer is both powerful and effective. If there is no
other reason you can find to pray, this is one good reason. There is power in prayer and when you pray, you can expect results!
You may ask, “Steve, are you saying that every prayer you have made has been answered?” My answer is “Yes, but not every response was the way I expected” Sometimes when the answers came, I didn’t understand it and even in some cases, I was bewildered but eventually it became clear to me what the answer to my prayer was.
I believe prayer is a gift from God. It is also a weapon of warfare to help us fight the battle against our common enemy, the devil. It is no wonder therefore, that the enemy attacks us daily to prevent us from praying because he knows that the prayer of a righteous man or woman is powerful and effective!
Get your prayers on today. Pray for yourself, your family, your neighbours, your church, your city, your country and the world. Together, we can make things change with prayer.