The last couple of weeks we have spoken about literacy and leadership. Both need to be fully developed in our Christian walk if we are to be effective and fruitful believers. Another daily exercise that is essential to a Christian’s spiritual walk is prayer.
What is prayer? It should be just as important as our breath––just as oxygen is needed for us to breathe, prayer is needed to survive in our Christian walk or we will spiritually suffocate. Prayer is to be understood as an intimate time of communion with our heavenly Father. It is a sweet fellowship, a growing relationship––not a repetitious chant from memorized Scriptures or prayers.
Intercession stems from the heart to the heights of heaven, it fights for those whose lives hang on the brink of hell fire. Those Saints who find themselves in grave circumstances need God’s divine intervention. They would ask other believers to join them in battle and intercede on their behalf. Our prayers can enter any realm, the domain of kingdoms or countries, in any part of the world. Prayer is a part of our spiritual weaponry; it intrudes onto the spiritual battlefield and engages our enemy in open spiritual warfare: praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, being watchful to this end with all perseverance and supplication for all the saints— (Ephesians 6:18).
Within our isolated closets, prayers can be uttered in secret. Most people are familiar with the movie War Room, a marriage drama that gave its viewers lessons in the realities and results of powerful prayer. Passed down from the older generation to the younger, was the importance of writing a list of prayers and then taping them to the wall of a closet. This was to become a person’s very own personal prayer room, dedicated to fighting the spiritual battles we may face, on our knees.
Heavenly help is at our fingertips, it is ours for the asking, if only we would pause to pray. If only we would get down to the business of putting prayer into practice––prayer changes things. You can pray in any position, prostrated on the ground, kneeling or standing––eyes open or closed.
So what are the hindrances to prayer? The main reason is sin; it separates us from God so that He will not hear us: But your iniquities have separated you from your God; and your sins have hidden His face from you, so that He will not hear (Isaiah 59:2). Unbelief and doubt will cause us to waver in prayers (James 1:6). Keeping record of answered prayer in a journal will add credence to our faith and encourage us to pray even more earnestly (Colossians 2:4-6).
Perhaps another reason is that Christians get embarrassed or intimidated by others when called on to pray out loud? I suggest we quickly get over being bashful––the best way is to make a daily practice of personal prayer. What we pray in private will make us bold in public… what if the timid consider prayer partners for a good start? Jesus taught us: For where two or three are gathered together in My name, I am there in the midst of them (Matthew 18:20).
As a body of believers we have been recently challenged by our pastor to fast a meal for a day and then build upon that habit. Caution was advised to those having aliments; in this case you should check with your doctor before fasting. For those who can, it is an added discipline to the Christian life. As you deny yourself, you will find God will give you authority over your flesh and enable you to resist temptation.
This is certainly a crucial year politically for America. Before this coming election it would be good to fast. Let us learn from Queen Esther’s example when the Jews faced annihilation. She implored her people to fast for three days, night or day. Why are we not driven to our knees in prayer–––perhaps for the same reasons we are not thirsty for God’s Word. We are distracted, comfortable like the ‘Frog in the Kettle’.
Second Chronicles 7:14 calls on God’s people to pray for their backslidden nation; our Holy God tells us: If My people who are called by My name will humble themselves, and pray and seek My face, and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin and heal their land.
Answers to our prayers hinges on the word if––will Christians answer the call to pray? If we, in true humility seek the face of God, in sincere repentance of our wickedness, He will answer. Then we shall see change. Do you not want to see the Holy Spirit ignite a fire in the hearts of a backslidden nation? The winds of revival begin with prayer. Pivotal prayer is the answer but it depends on one word––if.