Give ear, O Shepherd of Israel, thou that leadest Joseph like a flock; thou that dwellest between the cherubims, shine forth. Before Ephraim and Benjamin and Manasseh stir up thy strength, and come and save us. Turn us again, O God, and cause thy face to shine; and we shall be saved (Ps 80:1-3 (KJV)).
Beloved, is praying session, are you ready!!!!? So far, we have been discussing on the topic “Importance of Prayer”. We considered among other things the need for “constant, persistent, sleepless, overcoming prayer” as found in Eph 6:18. Also last week, we mentioned that there many things accomplished by praying among which we said that prayer promote Spiritual growth. Today, we will furthering our discussion on it and that will bring the series to a close .
Secondly, Prayer brings power into our work. If we wish power for any work to which God calls us, be it preaching, teaching, personal work, or the rearing of our children, we can get it by earnest prayer. A woman with a little boy who was perfectly incorrigible, once came to me in desperation and said: “What shall I do with him?” I asked, “Have you ever tried prayer?”
She said that she had prayed for him, she thought. I asked if she had made his conversion and his character a matter of definite, expectant prayer. She replied that she had not been definite in the matter. She began that day, and at once there was a marked change in the child, and he grew up into Christian manhood.
How many a Sunday-school teacher has taught for months and years, and seen no real fruit from his labors, and then has learned the secret of intercession, and by earnest pleading with God, has seen his scholars brought one by one to Christ! How many a poor preacher has become a mighty man of God by casting away his confidence in his own ability and gifts, and giving himself up to God to wait upon Him for the power that comes from on high! John Livingstone spent a night, with some others likeminded, in prayer to God and religious conversation, and when he preached next day in the Kirk of Shotts, five hundred people were converted, or dated some definite uplift in their life to that occasion. Prayer and power are inseparable.
Thirdly, prayer avails for the conversion of others. There are few converted in this world unless in connection with some one’s prayers. Prayer often avails where everything else fails. How utterly all of Monica’s efforts and entreaties failed with her son, but her prayers prevailed with God, and the dissolute youth became St. Augustine, the mighty man of God. By prayer the bitterest enemies of the Gospel have become its most valiant defenders, the greatest scoundrels the truest sons of God, and the vilest women the purest saints.
Oh, the power of prayer to reach down, down, down, where hope itself seems vain, and lift men and women up, up, up into fellowship with and likeness to God. It is simply wonderful! How little we appreciate this marvelous weapon! The prayer of the righteousness will He uphold for nothing impure will be found there, so continue upright with the Lord:
“The prayer of the upright is his delight.” Prov. 15:8
This is as good as a promise, for it declares a present fact, which will be the same throughout all ages. God takes great pleasure in the prayers of upright men; He even calls them His delight. Our first concern is to be upright. Neither bending this way nor that, continue upright: not crooked with policy, nor prostrate by yielding to evil, be you upright in strict integrity and straightforwardness. If we begin to shuffle and shift, we shall be left to shift for ourselves. If we try crooked ways, we shall find that we cannot pray, and if we pretend to do so, we shall find our prayers shut out of Heaven.
Are we acting in a straight line and thus following out the Lord’s revealed will? Then let us pray much and pray in faith. If our prayer is God’s delight, let us not stint Him in that which gives Him pleasure. He does not consider the grammar of it, nor the metaphysics of it, nor the rhetoric of it; in all these men might despise it. He, as a Father, takes pleasure in the lispings of His own babes, the stammerings of His new-born sons and daughters. Should we not delight in prayer since the Lord delights in it? Let us make errands to the throne. The Lord finds us enough reasons for prayer, and we ought to thank Him that it is so.
Yes, we are enough reasons for prayer and we must not slack concerning it.
Another, important reason which prayer accomplished is that Prayer brings blessings to the church.The history of the church has always been a history of grave difficulties to overcome. The devil hates the church and seeks in every way to block its progress; now by false doctrine, again by division, again by inward corruption of life. But by prayer, a clear way can be made through everything. Prayer will root out heresy, allay misunderstanding, sweep away jealousies and animosities, obliterate immoralities, and bring in the full tide of God’s reviving grace. History abundantly proves this. In the hour of darkest portent, when the case of the church, local or universal, has seemed beyond hope, believing men and believing women have met together and cried to God and the answer has come.
It was so in the days of Knox, it was so in the days of Wesley and Whitfield, it was so in the days of Edwards and Brainerd, it was so in the days of Finney, it was so in the days of the great revival of 1857 in America and of 1859 in Ireland, and it will be so again in your day and mine. Satan has marshalled his forces. Christian science with its false Christ— a woman—lifts high its head. Others making great pretensions of apostolic methods, but covering the rankest dishonesty and hypocrisy with these pretensions, speak with loud assurance. Christians equally loyal to the great fundamental truths of the Gospel are glowering at one another with a devil-sent suspicion. The world, the flesh and the devil are holding high carnival. It is now a dark day, BUT—now “it is time for Thee, Lord, to work; for they have made void Thy law.” (Ps 119:126). And He is getting ready to work, and now He is listening for the voice of prayer. Will He hear it? Will He hear it from you? Will He hear it from the church as a body? I believe He will.
If the above will be real brethren, come let us go farther with God in prayer.
Then He went a little farther, fell to the ground, and began to pray that if it were possible, the hour might pass from Him.—Mark 14:35
Some Christians are satisfied to have only a surface relationship with Christ. Others desire to share the holiest moments with Him. On the night Jesus spent in sacred prayer in the Garden of Gethsemane, the people responded to Him in various ways. There were those who were so indifferent to Jesus that they were unaware He was even in the garden. Then there was Judas, who knew where Jesus was but was too busy with his own schemes to join Him. The rest of the disciples joined Jesus in the garden, but they were distracted by sleep. Jesus told them the urgency of the hour, but they did not comprehend it. There was the inner circle of disciples, Peter, James, and John. They initially prayed with Jesus, yet even they could not grasp the significance of the moment. Ultimately, Jesus prayed alone. He went farther than His disciples and prayed longer. At the greatest moment of intercession in human history, there was no one willing to go with Jesus and watch with Him.
Throughout history God has looked for those willing to yield everything to Him and His desire to redeem a world. At times God has marveled that no one was willing to go with Him (Isa. 63:5; 59:16). The prophets seemed to grasp more than the common people, for while society carried on as though nothing were wrong the prophets agonized and wept over what they knew God was preparing to do.
God is calling you to go deeper in your prayer life with Him. If you are willing to be the person Jesus can take with Him into the most sacred moments, you will experience things only the angels shared with Jesus in the garden that night.
Is there any amongst us who will like to go a little with Jesus? Start today, start earnestly and you will receive answers to your prayers.
Don’t forget, the prayers of the upright man will He uphold. Are you one?
Dearly beloved, I solicits your prayers for my entire families as we prepare to lay to rest our father in May 1, 2014. Pray for divine provisions, protections and guidance all through the process.
Remain blessed in the Lord.
Evang. Ifeoma Ohondu.