Prayer

Maggie and I have believed in prayer all of our lives. We have both had some spectacular answers to prayer that I could only call "miraculous." We have also had the sad experience in 45 years of pastoring, of seeing the most precious and godly people grow old, suffer all the  physically and heart bruising problems common to man. All of our prayers seemed to go unanswered for them. 

There are two major theological positions that we have to decide between, before we pray. Is God sovereign, completely in charge, or have we somehow gained that position? The bible answer is that God makes the decisions to answer prayer or not. His reasons are often a mystery to us. 

Jesus prayed in the garden: "(Mat 26:39 NIV) "Going a little farther, he fell with his face to the ground and prayed, "My Father, if it is possible, may this cup be taken from me. Yet not as I will, but as you will."

Most of us know in our hearts that we are not wise enough to decide what is best. I believe that God is too loving, merciful, and kind to give us a bad gift. 

This doesn't make prayer less powerful, but more powerful. C. S. Lewis wrote: "When we pray God has left for himself a discretionary power. Had He not done so, prayer would be an activity too dangerous for man and we would have the horrible state of things envisioned by Juvenal: Enormous prayers which Heaven in anger grants."

Each morning Maggie and I have breakfast together, and then we both pray for all of our friends, family, and those we meet who ask us to pray for them. We are both busy, but refuse to omit this hour long time before the throne of our loving heavenly father. 

We know that prayer is powerful, it changes us, and also that it is often answered in a beautiful way by God. I think that many people believe prayer is just a coincidence. When I pastored a church in Marion, Indiana years ago I discovered that the more I prayed, the more coincidences happened. 

One Sunday Morning a lady member came to the front and ask me to pray for her. I started to, but heard the Lord say: "Ask Elmer to pray for her." So I did. She had a very painful stiff neck, and when he prayed for her - she was instantly healed. She turned her head from side to side and told everyone how marvelous it was.

At the door when people were leaving she stopped to talk to me. "You know, she said, I've never had much confidence in Elmer, but from now on I'm sure going to believe in his prayers. Two wonderful gifts were given by God that morning. 

How marvelous that God has allowed each of us to use the power of prayer for others. There is no greater joy than praying for those we love and anyone who ask for our prayers. Many mothers and fathers pray for their children all the days of their life and are absolutely certain that God hears their prayers.

Maggie and I have a time each morning when we gather up all the concerns, needs and problems that we have collected the day before. Then we pray about them, taking the time to call each one over before God. It's a blessing to us, and a blessing to all those who need our prayers.  

It's an exciting way to live because we get to participate with the Lord in the wonderful and sometimes miracleous gifts he gives to others. 

 

"Prayer is a Golden river at whose banks some die of thirst while others kneel and drink."


Albert Schweitzer said:
"No ray of sunshine is ever lost. But the green which it awakes into existence needs time to sprout. All work which is worth anything is done in faith."


Prayer is not ask- ing. It is a longing of the soul. It is daily admission of one’s weakness.  It is better in prayer to have a heart without words than words without a heart.

 

Mohandas K. Gandhi (1869–1948), Indian political, spiritual leader. Young India (23 Jan. 1930).

 

[Matthew 15:7-9]

 

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It's interesting that all of the prayers of Jesus were answered but Matthew 26:39 and this  one. 

(John 17:20-21 NIV) "My prayer is not for them alone. I pray also for those who will believe in me through their message, {21} that all of them may be one, Father, just as you are in me and I am in you. May they also be in us so that the world may believe that you have sent me."

The leaders of most  Denominations, and even Independent churches, often work diligently every day to see that his final prayer will never be answered. Yes, I know that we can't allow false doctrine to corrupt our faith, but the struggle is most often over money, control, property and power.

Many Christians have  stopped this sin by obey-
ing Paul's teaching in Ist Corinthians 12
:12-27 He clearly taught that all born again and converted spiritual believers in Jesus Christ were his body. 

They love, support, care for, and work with anyone who is a  member of the body of Christ, without asking  what church they belong to.