It was getting close to 1:00 am
before Jen and I finally went to bed. Falling asleep
has never been a problem for me, but sleep often eluded
Jen during particularly busy times with the ministry.
During each of the previous four nights, she would lie
down to sleep, only to have her mind filled with
unfinished business and plans for the next day.
Invariably, she would get out of bed and be awake until
her body finally crashed between four and five o’clock
in the morning. Needless to say, she was physically and
emotionally exhausted. So this particular night, Jen
asked me to lay hands on her and pray for her to get
some rest. I was happy to oblige, so I laid a hand on
her head and went to the Lord in prayer. After about
two minutes of praising God and asking for the Holy
Spirit to give peace and rest to Jen, I said a quiet
“Amen,” and opened my eyes. Jen was snoring quietly,
and slept hard for the next eight hours.
I wonder why
it sometimes takes us so long to remember to turn to God
in prayer. Prayer is the most powerful tool God has
given us. Think about it for a moment. Almighty God,
Creator of the universe, Master of all life, Controller
of all natural and physical laws, the omnipotent Lord
who was, and is, and is to come, has an open-door
policy, and actually invites us to talk with Him.
Through prayer, we are able to confess our sins, ask for
forgiveness, and submit to salvation through Jesus
Christ. Through prayer, we can heal and be healed.
Through prayer, we can encourage and be encouraged.
Through prayer, we can fight back the attacks of Satan
and his band of demons. Through prayer, we can do
God spoke to
Jeremiah and said, “Call to me and I will answer you
and tell you great and unsearchable things you do not
know,” (Jeremiah 33:3). What an awe-inspiring
passage! Reading that verse always makes my heart skip
a beat. This isn’t a promise only to one of the great
prophets, though. James tells us to “come near to
God and He will come near to you,” (James 4:8).
Through prayer, we are able to be closer to Almighty God
than to anyone or anything else on this earth! This is
an amazing and humbling gift!
What can we
pray for? The Bible tells us to pray for healing (James
5:16), for wisdom (James 1:5), and for peace of mind
(Philippians 4:6). We are even told to go beyond these,
and to “pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all
kinds of prayers and requests,” (Ephesians 6:18)!
Granted, we must not confuse God with Santa Claus, but
we are not restricted in the requests we present to
God. Accompanying this is another wonderful promise.
In Mark 11:24, Jesus tells us, “whatever you ask for
in prayer, believe that you have received it, and it
will be yours.”
At times, it
can be hard to pray. Sometimes we harbor sinful
thoughts that can interfere. In Mark 11:25, Jesus said,
“And when you stand praying, if you hold anything
against anyone, forgive him, so that your Father in
heaven may forgive you your sins.” Immediately
after telling us to “come near to God,” in James 4:8,
James tells us, “Wash your hands, you sinners, and
purify your hearts, you double-minded.” Pride can
inhibit prayer (Matthew 6:5), as can a lack of faith
(Mark 11:24, James 1:6). Some people interpret Jesus’
instructions in Matthew 6:5-6 as a prohibition against
praying in public. This conclusion misses the mark.
Jesus was warning us not to be prideful or showy with
our prayers. Our words are not the most important part
of the prayer, and can often get in the way if we are
focusing on how we sound to others, rather than on what
we’re saying to God. He knows our heart and soul, and
knows what we need before we even ask!
find my mind is so cluttered, it’s hard to find a
starting point in my prayer with God. It’s often
difficult to take the swarm of worries, troubles,
praise, thanks, and concerns that fill my mind and
present them in an orderly manner to God. I found out I
don’t have to. I mentioned “praying in the Spirit”
earlier. This can also be accompanied by what some call
“praying in tongues.” I like to think of it as a
broadband data dump to God. In its essence, praying in
the Spirit means not worrying about the words. God
knows your heart, so just open your heart and soul to
the Holy Spirit. Jesus said, “your Father knows what
you need before you ask Him,” (Matthew 6:8). That
being said, if words are difficult in coming, don’t
worry about the words! God knows your heart, and He
knows your needs. Open your heart and soul to God, and
let the Holy Spirit do the talking for you!
James said, “The
prayer of a righteous man is powerful and effective,”
(James 5:16). Remember God’s words to Jeremiah,
“Call to me, and I will answer you and tell you great
and unsearchable things you do not know.” Prayer
can move mountains, if we have faith (Mark 11:23).
Knowing how we should pray is important, but it is
equally important to know “when” to pray. The answer to
this is clearly and explicitly defined in 1
Thessalonians 5:17, “Pray continually.”
Jen and I have both witnessed God working miracles in
our lives through prayer. He has given us inspiration,
where previously there was none. He has healed us from
physical afflictions on more than one occasion. He has
stilled our hearts and minds, and imparted His peace on
our souls. We have felt the unmistakable presence of
the Holy Spirit when we’ve humbled ourselves before
God. Yes, prayer is powerful, and I intend to “pray