The lifeline of the Christian life is prayer. Just as the Hebrews writer states, “Without faith it is impossible to please God¨ (Heb 11:6 NIV), so it is with prayer. Without a prayer life, it is impossible to maintain a close relationship with God.
Over the years, I have learned how prayer opens the door to clear visions and exceptional victory in our lives. Some of the most terrifying temptations and treacherous trouble I have faced as a Christian were conquered by the power of prayer. Here are some of the lessons I have learned about prayer in the nearly six decades I have placed my trust in God.
1. Prayer is an invitation to talk to God. It is the vehicle through which we communicate with the God of the universe. During my prayer time, I not only petition God to meet my needs, but I also call upon him to address the needs of untold others. Prayer is more than mere conversation; it is a time of revelation, a time when we discover a portion of the character of God and an exposure about the essence of who we are. The prophet Isaiah gives us a probing understanding of what happens when we are in communion with the Lord. Notice the revelations Isaiah describes in chapter 6 as he is in the presence of God.
Verse 1: He saw the Lord.
Verse 5: He saw himself (a sinful man; a man of unclean lips).
Verse 5: He saw the people who also had unclean lips.
2. Prayer requires effort and energy. Prayer is not for the lazy and indifferent. Prayer is work, but it soon becomes a labor of love and devotion as one remains faithful to the task. E. M. Bounds makes a bold statement regarding the word of prayer, pointing out: To no other energy is the promise of God committed as to that of prayer. Upon no other force are the purposes of God so dependent as this one of prayer. The Word of God dilates on the results and necessity of prayer. The work of God stays or advances as prayer puts forth its strength. Prophets and apostles have urged the utility, force and necessity of prayer. (The Complete Works of E. M. Bounds)
3. Prayer delivers power. The late Dr. Marcus H. Morgan, pastor of Emerald Church of God, would often recite the following lines: “Little prayer means little power; much prayer means much power; and no prayer means no power.¨ I have discovered this quote to be true in own life when I have neglected my prayer life. Just as prayer equals power, the lack of a consistent prayer life equals powerlessness. One of the main lessons I have learned is to not pursue any matter of life without first taking time to saturate that matter in prayer. In Luke 11:9-10 Jesus instructs us to Ask, Seek and . . .Knock. These are all action verbs and they invite us to participate with God in prayer if we expect to open the door of power and faith.
Lord, lead me into the prayer that delivers power into my life, relationships, and ministries. Enable my prayers to be more than mere conversations, but rather times of revelation, times to discover who you are and how you want to shape me so you can use me effectively. Amen.
– Dr. Alvin Lewis, Retired; Former Pastor, Central Community Church of God, Jackson, Mississippi