Some Thoughts On Prayer
"God does nothing but in answer to prayer." John Wesley.
"The less I pray, the harder it gets; the more I pray, the better it goes." Martin Luther"
When god intends to bless His people, the first thing he does is to set them apraying." Matthew Henry
"When I pray, coincidences happen, and when I don't they don't." William Temple
"Probably the number one reason why prayer malfunctions in the hands of believers is that we try to turn a wartime walkie-talkie into a domestic intercom. Until you know that life is war you cannot know what prayer is for. Prayer is for the accomplishment of a wartime mission.... But what have millions of Christians done? We have stopped believing that we are in a war. No urgency, no watching, no vigilance. No strategic planning. Just easy peace and prosperity. And what did we do with the walkie-talkie? We tried to rig it up as an intercom in our houses and cabins and boats and car, not to call in fire power for conflict with a moral enemy, but to ask for more comforts in the den." John Piper (Let the Nations be Glad, 46).
"If God had granted all the silly prayers I've made in my life, where should I be now?" C. S Lewis, Letters to Malcolm.
"There is a general kind of praying which fails for lack of precision. It is as if a regiment of soldiers should all fire off their guns anywhere. Possibly somebody would be killed, but the majority of the enemy would be missed." C.H. Spurgeon.
"The neglect of prayer is a grand hindrance to holiness." John Wesley.
“Do you ever come to God and say, "Lord, I have worked this all out, I want you to bless it"? What is that saying? "It all depends on me. I want you to make it work, that's all." That is trying to mix the old and the new, and it will never work. You cannot do it. God will never go along with that process. He just folds his arms and says, "If that is the way you want to do it, you do it. I'll watch you." And he watches us until we fall flat on our face. But when we are discouraged, after finding out it did not work, and cry out, "Lord, help me," he says, "Here I am. I have been here all along and I am willing to work through you right now, as long as you quit working, depending on yourself." Ray Stedman. Authentic Christianity.
Sometimes when prayers aren't answered as one requests, other zealous believers comment, "You didn’t have enough faith," or "You need to increase your faith." But to make such statements is as futile as to say "Stop being sick." This gives emphasis on faith in faith itself rather than faith in God. He and He alone is to be the object and focus of our faith. In our day, however, some have extended this truth from "believing in faith" to "claiming in faith." In such cases human desire is imposed upon the sovereign will and purposes of God. To make such demands on God is contrary to the spirit of Scripture.
As an example, people who are ill or in need require healing or some form of provision in their life. In an act of faith, they petition God through prayer to answer their needs. Time passes. With no immediate answer in sight they grow weary of waiting and demand answers. In response, isolated Bible verses are used to support their insistence that God must perform according to their demands. Sadly, what begins as a sincere longing to see God work degenerates into a spirit of insistence. Ultimately, this attitude prevents a trusting rest in God's care and His provision.
Some Scriptures Well Worth Heeding
All Emphasis Added
As the Scripture says, "Whoever wants to enjoy life and wishes to see good times, must keep from speaking evil and stop telling lies. He must turn away from evil and do good; he must seek peace and pursue it. For the Lord keeps his eyes on the righteous and always listens to their prayers; but he turns against those who do evil." 1 Pet 3:10-12 (TEB)
"For the eyes of the Lord are on the righteous and his ears are attentive to their prayer, but the face of the Lord is against those who do evil." 1 Pet 3:12 (NIV)
[The just healed blind man] "We know that God does not listen to sinners. He listens to the godly man who does his will." John 9:31 (NIV)
Come and listen, all you who fear God; let me tell you what he has done for me. I cried out to him with my mouth; his praise was on my tongue. If I had cherished sin in my heart, the Lord would not have listened; but God has surely listened and heard my voice in prayer. Praise be to God, who has not rejected my prayer or withheld his love from me! Ps 66:16-20 (NIV)
If any of you is in trouble let him pray. If anyone is flourishing let him sing praises to God. If anyone is ill he should send for the church elders. They should pray over him, anointing him with oil in the Lord's name. Believing prayer will save the sick man; the Lord will restore him and any sins that he has committed will be forgiven. You should get into the habit of admitting your sins to each other, and praying for each other, so that you may be healed. Tremendous power is available through a good man's earnest prayer. James 5:13-16 (Phi)
...A good man's prayer is powerful and effective. Elijah was a man with human frailties like our own; and when he prayed in earnest that there should be no rain, not a drop fell on the land for three years and a half; then he prayed again, and down came the rain and the land bore crops once more. James 5:16-18 (NEB)
And if, dear friends of mine, our conscience no longer accuses us, we may have the utmost confidence in God's presence. We receive whatever we ask for, because we are obeying his orders and following his wishes. 1 Jn 3:21-22 (Phi)