by Alan Walter
“If we are weak in prayer, we are weak everywhere” (Leonard Ravenhill). When one ponders that thought for a while it becomes convincing that Ravenhill was absolutely right. The reverse is also true; thus, we utilize the great resource that God has made available to us. We do not need one more thing to validate the need for prayer; we just need to pray! In the spiritual realm, there are many battles to be fought in which prayer is the only capable weapon.
Alfred Lord Tennyson said, “More things are wrought by prayer than this world dreams of.” Who can deny the fact that the prayer of faith gets results? God wants us to ask, seek, and knock. He wants us to come boldly into His presence, fully assured of His glad welcome. He inspires our tenacity and perseverance in prayer! When God reveals a promise, we can hold onto it with bulldog faith. Though the battles may rage, God’s promises are true. If you want to be able to enjoy a great blessing, then be persistent in your prayer life!
Perhaps you have been persistently praying. I commend you. Let me encourage you not to relent! Hang on to God’s Word no matter your circumstances.
Maybe you have only been reactionary to life’s circumstances as they come your way, and have not really embraced the idea of forward moving faith. May it strongly dawn on you that this is a new day! God has a promise that fits you perfectly. He has a plan for your life and an intended blessing for your soul through the powerful privilege of prayer!
“Next to the wonder of seeing my Savior will be, I think," said Dwight L. Moody, "the wonder that I made so little use of the power of prayer.” Perhaps his statement strikes you as it struck me – “O Lord! Help me to make much use of prayer!” May we not make the mistake of failing to pray as we ought! Everyday living requires prayer. It matters not whether all is well or if your whole world is caving in.
When you are put in an impossible situation, your talent, logic, and education will not solve your problem. Only God can. That is why you pray and ask God for His supernatural help. God told Jeremiah “Call unto me, and I will answer thee, and show thee great and mighty things, which thou knowest not” (Jeremiah 33:3).
Our God is strong to deliver and mighty to save, but He must be persistently petitioned by the prayerful. Otherwise man would get the glory, and God has declared that He will not give His glory to another. Oh, for a prevailing Church, a sanctuary where the sweet incense of prayer is continually ascending from the altar of sacrifice and service! What amazing transformations would take place! Rivers of salvation would flow out to the thirsting multitudes, and deserts would become gardens laden with the flowers and fruits of the Holy Spirit.
It is the business of the Church to be continually performing spiritual miracles. A praying Church will bring people out of their spiritual graves. Its members will prevail in prayer until stones have been rolled away and the dead have come forth.
The only way the Church can rise and shine is on the wings of prayer. Perseverance in prayer will lift her above the elements of this world, and clothe her in the garments of purity and power. Then she will have faith that will remove mountains, and a glittering sword of truth with which she will conquer every foe.
Habakkuk was a man of prayer who appeared on the scene unannounced. Who he was and of what family or tribe he was born, we are not told. From his book, we understand that he was a man who wrestled with God. He interceded in prayer and stretched out in faith as he sought to rend the heavens and bring down the power of God his people so desperately needed. The question for us is, how do we utilize the indispensable value of prayer?
Tom S. Brandon offers a helpful outline: pray directly, submissively, earnestly, boldly, unitedly, militantly, continually, thankfully, and responsively. Consider this:
Pray directly. Pray like all those in the Bible prayed. Nehemiah just talked to God. So did Habakkuk. We must remember that if we need power in our times, we need only ask God for it. Jesus said, “Ask, and ye shall receive” (John 16:24).
Pray submissively. Pray with a yielded will to the Lord. James 4:6-7 gives the key to God’s grace: humbling ourselves before Him. The importance being broken before God is clearly spelled out in 2 Chronicles 7:14. King David humbled himself in such prayer when he said, “The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit: a broken and contrite heart, O God, thou wilt not despise” (Psalm 51:17).
Pray earnestly. “The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much” (James 5:16). Fervent means “stretched out.” A track star stretches out all he has to run his race. This picture can be applied to fervent prayer. Praying earnestly means hungering and thirsting after righteousness. It is reflected in the cry of the psalmist, “O God, thou art my God; early will I seek thee” (Psalm 63:1). God gives spiritual power when His Church reaches the point of desperation in prayer.
Pray boldly. Confident praying is found in 1 John 5:14-15. Bold praying is faith-praying, and it is faith-praying because it is according to God’s will. Jesus said, “What things soever ye desire, when ye pray, believe that ye receive them, and ye shall have them” (Mark 11:24).
Pray unitedly. God’s plans for the Church have never changed. If Pentecost is to be repeated, we must tarry with one accord at the footstool of mercy until power has been received from on high.
Pray militantly. Ephesians 6:10-18 describes militant prayer. After all, prayer is spiritual warfare, because Satan fights the Church. We are to wear our spiritual armor and pull down spiritual strongholds (2 Corinthians 10:4-5).
Pray continually. Paul instructed his readers on how to pray: “Praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, and watching thereunto with all perseverance and supplication for all saints” (Ephesians 6:18). Furthermore, he admonished, “Pray without ceasing” (1 Thessalonians 5:17). Likewise, Jesus taught, “Men ought always to pray, and not to faint” (Luke 18:1).
Pray thankfully. The spirit of the Church is to be thanksgiving (Philippians 4:6-7).
Pray responsively. Jesus said, “Behold, I stand at the door, and knock: if any man hear my voice, and open the door, I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with me” (Revelation 3:20). He is standing outside the Church waiting for someone – even one person – to respond.
A man visited Wales in 1904 to learn the secret of the Welsh revival. The leaders of the revival arose and said, “There is no secret. ‘Ask and ye shall receive.’”
That is the answer. May we get back to the basics and realize anew the indispensable value of prayer!
Brandon, Tom S. "The Church’s Prayer Life." Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan Publishing House, 1985.
Tennyson, Alfred. "Morte D’Arthur.”
“Secret of the Welsh revival.” The Revival Library.
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