“Is anyone among you suffering? Let him pray. Is anyone cheerful? Let him sing psalms. Is anyone among you sick? Let him call for the elders of the church, and let them pray over him, anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord. And the prayer of faith will save the sick, and the Lord will raise him up. And if he has committed sins, he will be forgiven. Confess your trespasses to one another, and pray for one another, that you may be healed. The effective, fervent prayer of a righteous man avails much. Elijah was a man with a nature like ours, and he prayed earnestly that it would not rain; and it did not rain on the land for three years and six months. And he prayed again, and the heaven gave rain, and the earth produced its fruit.”
James 5:13-18 NKJV
Power of prayer
I find myself reflecting on prayer again. It is funny that it has taken the stripping away of most things held dear in my life to bring me to the point where the only thing I can count on, is the most powerful thing in the universe. Because Jesus Christ, God in the flesh, came to live a sinless life, be rejected, crucified on the cross for the sins of humanity, the debt has been paid, and we have access to God.
Jesus made a way for followers to pray and have contact with the Father. We also have Jesus interceding on our behalf, and if that were not enough, we have the Holy Spirit taking our feeble petitions and presenting them to the Father as they ought.
The passage in James chapter five, is a great reminder of the power and broad reach of prayer. When we are suffering, we should pray, when we are cheerful, we are to sing psalms, praises to our God. When we are sick, we seek the prayers of the elders and the saints. I have had the opportunity to both give and receive prayer in those moments when the elders gather to intercede on someone’s behalf.
Then there is the prayer of confession. I remember what life was like before I met Jesus, and the constant drag on my soul, as I had so may things in my life that haunted me. Thanks to Jesus, I live free from the self condemnation because I know that I am forgiven. Sometimes, I find myself holding back from confessing, from agreeing with God over something I have done. I find myself back in the days, before the Lord.
“Blessed is the man to whom the Lord does not impute iniquity, And in whose spirit there is no deceit. When I kept silent, my bones grew old Through my groaning all the day long. For day and night Your hand was heavy upon me; My vitality was turned into the drought of summer. Selah”
Psalms 32:2-4 NKJV
It is easy to neglect prayer. Our nature as humans is to seek to do things when we find ourselves facing a difficulty. We try as might to figure it out. We seek to be our own answer to prayer. All we have in the end is stress, and an encroaching hopelessness. Even worse, we can begin to doubt God, though we neglected to go to Him in the first place.
In those moments, praying is the answer.
“I sought the Lord, and He heard me, And delivered me from all my fears. They looked to Him and were radiant, And their faces were not ashamed. This poor man cried out, and the Lord heard him, And saved him out of all his troubles.”
Psalms 34:4-6 NKJV
I have learned that the Lord is gracious, even when we find ourselves letting doubt and unbelief dilute our faith. The greatest remedy in these moments is the word of God. In it I can see documentation of His faithfulness though the ages. I also go to my memories, the many Ebenezer stones of remembrance, where God delivered me. I am amazed at how many times He has provided before I even knew I had a problem or need.
Brothers and sisters, let us make prayer the our first thing we do in dealing with any problems. Let us make a habit of abiding in the Lord, of seeking Him first. In abiding in Christ, we have the greatest power, far greater than any power we have on our own.
Living as a Christian is living a life of prayer. It is the hallmark of the believer, and for what we are known. We are truly living in an evil generation. Prayers should be about passion. I have found that my time with the Lord: reading Scripture, writing, and prayer, have become the greatest pleasure in my life. It is hard to communicate the power of walking in the Spirit.
My time has transformed my life and my love, as I was one who was a fortress unto myself. He has made me a strong witness as I go out into the world to tell of Him, fully equipped for whatever may come.
“Let love be without hypocrisy. Abhor what is evil. Cling to what is good. Be kindly affectionate to one another with brotherly love, in honor giving preference to one another; not lagging in diligence, fervent in spirit, serving the Lord; rejoicing in hope, patient in tribulation, continuing steadfastly in prayer; distributing to the needs of the saints, given to hospitality.”
Romans 12:9-13 NKJV
Most of us tend to look upon the pursuits of the faith, as drudgery, obligatory acts that we are supposed to do because we are Christians. I approach it with passion because I remember what I was like before Jesus saved me, and I know what He has done in me. I seek Him with the utmost gratitude, for the miracle that is my life today.
Run to the throne, my people! Avail yourself of the infinite power available to you as you approach the Father in prayer.
THE PRAYER CHAIR IS OPEN! Send me your requests!