My Bible concordance defines prayer as “Words addressed to God.” A certain person in defining prayer says — prayer is the raising up of the mind and heart to God.
Whichever of the two definitions you may agree with, it doesn’t matter to me. However, what matters is that prayer should be the most important activity in the life of a true Christian. All other activities are second to it. Reading the Bible daily, attending church worship, hearing exhortations — all are important in the development of a sound Christian life; but none of them are so important as private prayer. I say so because prayer is absolutely needed in a man’s walk toward salvation. I speak particularly of those of sound mind, especially those of us who consider ourselves baptized Christians, in an island like ours, St. Lucia. And therefore I am bold to say that no one can expect to be in the kingdom of God who does not pray.
If you could now open your Bibles along with me to John 17:9-15 you will immediately realize that Jesus was a very strong advocate of prayer.
How else can we expect to be saved by an unseen God if we have no channel of communication with Him. We can’t mail Him a letter, neither telephone Him, nor e-mail Him, or even reach Him through the internet. The best and only resort is prayer — through His son Jesus Christ.
Perhaps to give more weight to this exhortation about the “Power of Prayer,” we should take a look at the raising of Lazarus from the dead. We will find the recorded fact in John 11. Nevertheless, I would like you to turn with me specifically to verses 40 and 41 to understand clearly through what means Jesus was capable of performing this great act. In a few words, the answer is — he ‘prayed’ to the Father.
When Jesus realised that his time of death was near at hand, he went to the Father in prayer. This can be found in Matthew 26:36-44. Can you imagine Jesus, Son of God, having to pray so that he could accomplish the most difficult task ahead? Even on the cross Jesus had to pray for the forgiveness of those who were responsible for his death (Luke 23:34).
Prayer is the only way through which we can address God in these perilous times. Whenever there is a difficult problem to solve, don’t simply confide in a man for a solution. Go to God in prayer (Matt. 21:22).
What prayer can accomplish
I think, at this stage, I should outline a few things which prayer can do, that is, meaningful prayer.
- Prayer can lighten crosses too heavy for us to carry.
- Prayer can open a door for us when our way seems hopeless.
- Prayer can let in a ray of hope when all other means have failed.
- Prayer can help us against the power of our enemies (see Ex.17:8-12).
We should remember that king David was ruler over a mighty nation, and yet he had to call upon his God in Prayer (Psa. 55:16-17). And Jonah prayed to God from within the belly of the fish for deliverance (Jonah 2:1-2).
Brethren, sisters, friends, I crave your indulgence for a few more minutes to say to ussall that I want the times that we now live in to be praying times. I want Christadelphians of our day to be praying Christians. I want our ecclesia to be a praying one. I want to appeal to those who never prayed, to arise and call upon God earnestly in prayer.
II Timothy 2:7-8 advises that men should pray everywhere.
Brothers, sisters, friends, I could continue this particular subject “The Power of Prayer,” but I wish to come to a conclusion now. Before doing so, please let us read I Thessalonians 5:17, 22-23.
Finally, brothers, sisters, friends, let us bear in mind Paul’s advice to the Thessalonians — ‘Pray without ceasing.’ Amen.