Like every first Thursday of May since 1952, today is the National Day of Prayer. And, Paul exhorted Timothy to pray for “kings, and for all that are in authority; that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and honesty.” (I Tim. 2:1) So, I invite and encourage you to join me and many others in offering up “supplications, prayers and giving of thanks…for all men…for this is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Savior.” (I Tim. 2:1,3)
Prayer is a powerful weapon in our arsenal as we do battle with evil forces daily. It is a precious privilege as we commune with our heavenly Father, every hour of every day, in praise and in petition for our needs and for the needs of family and friends.
Just think back on the past seven days and you’ll be able to call to mind many instances where prayer was the best, if not the only, resource available to you. When I challenged some saints a few years ago to do this, I shared that a call from a woman whose brother was going into a life-threatening emergency surgery was an example of such, as well as a call from a senior saint distraught over slander that had been directed toward her; plus an email from a missionary about a grandbaby in a local hospital undergoing surgery to save its life—all of these and more in just a seven-day period. That is pretty typical, though, of just about any seven-day period, is it not?
How could we live without prayer? Through prayer we have access to the very presence of the Creator God of the universe! The Holy Spirit, our prayer partner, takes our feeble words, translates them into the language of heaven, and bears them up to our Intercessor, Jesus, who in turn gives them to our heavenly Father. The prayer of faith shall save the sick. The prayer of the destitute shall be heard by the Person who flung the stars into their heavenly courses.
Prayer is personal. Prayer is powerful. Prayer is productive. The only reason we do not have answers from God is that we do not ask. If we ask in faith, believing, He has promised to hear and to help.
What’s your greatest need today? He has all that it will take to meet that need! What’s your greatest fear? Go to Him and give your fear to God, and you’ll have courage that will dispel your fear. What’s your greatest burden? Through prayer, He will ease your burden and carry it with or for you. What’s your greatest dilemma? He has the solution, and you can realize it by going to Him and asking for help through prayer.
The only thing that will hinder prayer in your life from being answered is either not praying or not praying with a clean heart in faith. If we regard iniquity in our hearts, we cannot expect answers to our prayers; we can go through the motions of praying, but we cannot commune with God unless we are in fellowship with Him.
So, prayer is a lifeline for the believer. It is not just important, it is imperative. We will be swallowed up by the world and by life, but for the help from above that is ours through prayer. Prayer is not simply an act; it is an attitude. It is not a process or performance; it is the spiritual inhaling and exhaling of the believer. We cannot live long without it.
Counties and continents have been shaken, spiritually, through the power of prayer. Cities have experienced revivals, born of prayer, that have closed saloons and dens of iniquity. Hardened criminals have fallen before God in repentance because a mother’s prayers were ceaseless and her steel-like determination would not give up to Satan. Proud, arrogant blasphemers have cried out to God for mercy, because prayer touches the heart of God that moves the hand that holds the world. Parched lands have been moistened with the dew of heaven because a person or a community has prevailed in prayer. Discouraged, defeated servants of God—on the verge of hoisting up the flag of surrender—have been salvaged for good and for God because, 10,000 miles away, an unsung saint of God made regular visits to a closet where prayer was wont to be made.
And, it’s all because “there is an eye that never sleeps…an arm that never tires, an ear that never shuts and a love that is ‘throned on high’” in the presence of our mediator and intercessor, the Lord Jesus Christ.
So, every day—and yet in a special way on this special Day of Prayer—let us recommit ourselves to our family, our friends, our churches, our missionaries, pastors and evangelists and to His Body, the Church, in powerful, personal prayer: we can do great things for our great God after we have prayed; but we can do nothing that matters for Him and for His cause unless and until we have prayed. So, “Let’s pray!”
“I know not by what methods rare, but this I know, God answers prayer! I know not when He sends the word, that tells that fervent prayer is heard; I know it cometh, soon or late, therefore, we need to pray and wait. I know not if the blessing sought, will come in just the guise I thought; I leave my prayers with Him alone, whose will is wiser than mine own.” (Eliza Hickok)
“Pray without ceasing.” (I Thess. 5:17)