I once saw a sign outside a church that said, “Seven days without prayer leads to one weak”. The meaning of this was that if we don’t pray throughout the week then we will be weak spiritually. 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 says,
“Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, in everything give thanks; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.”
Praying and giving thanks in our prayers is important; according to the Bible. We should have a continual attitude of thankfulness whenever we pray. Easier to say than to do though.
And we should pray at all times. Not sometimes, occasionally, when we feel like it but ‘pray continually’ as the NIV puts it.
I was reminded as well this week of the power of prayer through talking to a non-Christian friend. Now I know that there are literally a million answered prayers (and more) that I could choose from to illustrate the power of prayer from a Christian perspective but this was from a non-Christian.
So we were chatting away in one of our regular catch-ups and he told me the story of how he became married to his best friend’s husband’s sister….
Growing up they were best of mates in a purely platonic way; that was until they got to college. They decided to go out with each other and she admits it was to get over the boyfriend issue. For him it was great and he really loved being in a relationship with her. She though started seeing another boy and decided to let him find out through the usual gossip.
When he did find out, he was very upset and they fell out, as you can imagine, rather acrimoniously.
They both left college and they both went to separate Universities. Since she was a year younger than him, she went a year later.
When he found out that she was at a University that wasn’t very far away from him he decided that actually since they had parted on bad terms (and even though it wasn’t his fault) he really should try and see if he could clear the air with her. So he decided to drive over to her University and after asking around he managed to leave a message with one of her friends from her accommodation block. She was away that weekend.
When she came back she got a message back to him to meet up in the Refectory on campus.
They were both quite nervous about meeting up but after some awkward small talk she asked him why he wanted to meet up. He said that it was to clear the air and put things right. Her face went pale. He asked her what the problem was and then she explained where she was that weekend he left her a message.
She was on a Christian retreat and the theme one evening was on forgiveness, as the scripture says,
“For if you forgive other people when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive others their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins.” Matthew 6:14-15
The organisers asked everyone to write down someone in their lives who they needed to ask forgiveness from and to ask God for an opportunity to do exactly that.
So she wrote down his name on a piece of paper and popped it into the ‘forgiveness box’; said a prayer and didn’t think about it again until she got the message that he wanted to meet up.
God answers prayers, and sometimes quicker than we realise. God answered her prayer even though she didn’t really think anything more was going to happen.
She patched things up with my friend and more importantly her faith was strengthened knowing that God had answered her prayer and giving her faith to expect similar answers to her prayers.
Now God doesn’t always answer us in the way that we would like but often that’s when we need to stop and ask ourselves what the motivation is behind what it is that we are asking God.
The important ‘take home’ point is this though; never stop praying to God. Pray in every kind of situation for all things. Involve God in your everyday life, not just in your devotions or just on Sunday. Pray to Him when you go to work or school and pray when you’re at school or work. Whether resting or playing; involve God in everything.
Prayer should be a natural as breathing.
Prayer is building relationship with our Heavenly Father who loves to hear us talk to Him.
And how should we pray? Well the mnemonic of A.C.T.S. (Adoration Confession Thanksgiving Supplication) has been useful to me over the years but the more important point is we should,
“And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the Lord’s people.” Ephesians 6:18
Let’s not only pray for ourselves but also those around us; all of the Christians we know and don’t and also those that we encounter in our everyday lives. Such as the teenagers hanging around, the pensioner who lives by themselves, the single mum struggling with her children, etc. I could go on but I’m sure you get the point.
Never cease in praying.
Oh, and my friend. Well his female friend fell in love with a Christian man who had a Christian sister and she introduced the sister to him and; now they are married.
Prayer is powerful!