Well, after a month of delving into the strange and paranormal, I’m ready to get back to the normal routine. In that light, do you know that you have within your arsenal one of the most powerful tools there is? Through it untold wonders could be brought to fruition. Famous leaders and great generals have relied on it, as have many explorers and adventurers alike. Doctors have utilized its power themselves, indeed many still suggest that patients do as well. Countless people through the ages have seen its impact and trust in its power. What is it? Prayer.
Make no mistake, prayer is valuable beyond measure. Prayer, you see, is a gift, a blessing of untold worth that we should be forever grateful to possess. Through prayer, every single one of us has the wonderful ability to directly petition God, to address Him personally as a matter of thanks, forgiveness, worship, supplication, or intercession.
The call for prayer is made abundantly clear throughout scripture, with some sources noting its mention at least 650 times. Among those are found these notable examples:
Jeremiah 33:3 – Call unto me, and I will answer thee, and shew thee great and mighty things, which thou knowest not.
Matthew 6:7 – But when ye pray, use not vain repetitions, as the heathen [do]: for they think that they shall be heard for their much speaking.
James 5:16 – Confess [your] faults one to another, and pray one for another, that ye may be healed. The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much.
Matthew 7:7-8 Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you: For every one that asketh receiveth; and he that seeketh findeth; and to him that knocketh it shall be opened.
Lest some should believe that our prayers fall upon deaf ears, there are at least 450 prayers that are answered within the pages of the Bible, and no doubt countless others that were not recorded.
Jesus Himself of course is documented 25 times in scripture as praying, and from Him we received a model of how we each should pray. I’ll come back to that shortly…
So, considering the unmistakable need for prayer, indeed even the call for it, how do we apply it to our own live? Statistically, the figures are a bit disheartening. A recent survey conducted found that 45% of Americans (indeed, only 55% of polled Christians) claim that they utilize prayer and reflection a great deal when making major decisions.¹
Apparently there is even scientific evidence that supports the power of prayer as it applies to our health. In one double-blind study at San Francisco General Medical Center, where patients were randomly divided into placebo and test groups, it was found over time that, while there was no statistical difference initially, once prayer was applied to the test group some intriguing changes began to take place. Specifically, those patients which were prayed for endured “less congestive heart failure, required less diuretic and antibiotic therapy, had fewer episodes of pneumonia, had fewer cardiac arrests, and were less frequently intubated and ventilated.”²
Furthermore, according to Duke University’s Harold G. Koenig, M.D.,
“Studies have shown prayer can prevent people from getting sick — and when they do get sick, prayer can help them get better faster.” He also went on to point out that “…out of 125 studies that looked at the link between health and regular worship, 85 showed regular churchgoers live longer.“³
Interesting, isn’t it?
Now, there is something important to remember about prayer. You will not always get what you are asking for, insofar as the answer to your prayer may in fact be well different than what you expected. Sometimes your prayers may even be answered with apparent silence. No matter how god addresses your prayers, trust that He has heard them, and if your faith is truly in Him, He will answer it, even if it’s not what we specifically want. After all, He knows us better than we do, and He knows what is ultimately best for us in the end. Do not be discouraged by those “unanswered” prayers; trust that He has answered in His way.
Also, remember that Daniel, Chapter 10, demonstrates that a continued prayer may be necessary for certain things to take place in our lives or the lives of those around us. Have faith and have patience: God is listening; Are you?
So, how should we pray? Jesus Himself gave us the perfect example in Matthew 6:9-13, saying:
After this manner therefore pray ye: Our Father which art in heaven, Hallowed be thy name. Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done in earth, as [it is] in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread. And forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil: For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, for ever. Amen.
Let our prayers always seek to glorify Him, seeking His will alone, thanking Him for His blessings, asking for His forgiveness of our sin and failures, and asking Him to keep us strong against the evil of this world. This is how we are to pray, and when we put Him first in thanks and blessing, we surely cannot be disappointed with the results. And as we go forth each day we should keep in mind the words of another verse about prayer:
Pray without ceasing.
-1 Thessalonians 5:17-
- “Religion in Everyday Life,” Pew Research Center, April 10th, 2016
- “Science, Religion and Society: An Encyclopedia of History, Culture, and Controversy,” Arri Eisen & Gary Laderman
- “Science Proves the Healing Power of Prayer,” March 21st, 2015
Thank you very much, and God bless!