Does Prayer Help Anything?
"The effective, fervent prayer of a righteous man avails much" (James 5:16). Prayer is one of the most powerful tools the Christian has in his possession. Yet, it is sadly one of the most overlooked and under-used tools God has given us. Just imagine how long we would stay on the phone with God if we could talk directly to Him. In essence we do have this kind of communication. Jesus said, "Men ought to pray always and never loose heart" (Luke 18:1). Since prayer is such a powerful tool, how can we become a more prayerful people? There are three principles to strengthen our prayer life.
1. Realize the Power of Prayer. In times of trouble and distress of heart God's people are to turn to Him. Peter tells us to "cast all our cares upon Him for He cares for you" (1 Peter 5:7). Paul encouraged the Christians in Philippi to "Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God" (Philippians 4:6). Until we realize that "prayer moves the hand the moves the world", we will not use it regularly.
2. Realize the Purpose of Prayer. All too often prayer becomes a "give-me session" where all we do is ask God to give us certain things and tell Him what we need. In the Bible, prayer is more often than not a time for God's people to praise and magnify His holy name (Daniel 9:4; Matthew 6:9). Instead of rushing immediately into telling God what we need, we should take the time to laud His holy name. When we do praise God in our prayers, it should humble us and cause us to realize the proper priorities in life.
3. Realize the Patience of Prayer. Many people give up on prayer because they do not get an immediate response, or so they think. There is NO unanswered prayer (John 9:31). The response may be different than what we expect. It may come at a later time. Or, the answer may be "No" (2 Corinthians 12:7-9). Please realize that God knows what is best for us in His infinite wisdom and knows what is best for us as finite beings who do not know what the future holds.
If we truly realize that prayer is one of the most powerful tools we have to praise God, then we will begin to use it more. May God give us the strength to be a more prayerful people!
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