The Verse of the Day for May 6, 2015 brings to mind the power of prayer. A published Examiner.com article on prayer is adapted as the following blog is re-posted on Dr. J’s Apothecary Shoppe on the day before the National Day of Prayer:
In its simplest form prayer is communication with God. For the Christian believer, however, this conversation should not always lapse into a monologue of personal petitions. Brother Lawrence reminds us, prayer is a unique privilege: “There is not in the world a kind of life more sweet and delightful than that of a continual conversation with God.” Indeed, prayer should be ongoing in every Christian believer. Jesus Christ declared that men ought always to pray and not to faint. The subject of prayer has been examined over the centuries, and believers today seek to more fully comprehend its amazing power.
The Bible has also revealed a number of kinds of prayer which form the bedrock of our relationship with God through Jesus Christ in whose name we pray:
1 Timothy 2:1 introduces four types of prayer or ways of communing with God.
I exhort therefore, that, first of all, supplications, prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks, be made for all men.
With these prayers we entreat our Father with specific requests. Such petitions focus on our necessity, expressed as a personal need, rather than God’s sufficiency to supply it. White-hot zeal and insatiable hunger ignite prayers of supplication. Strictly speaking supplication also conveys an accompanying attitude of prayer, noting the “the effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man avails much.” (James 5:16)
To intercede means to plead or mediate on behalf of another person. Intercession will involve meeting with someone on behalf of someone else. Those who act as intercessors are also described as “standing in the gap” or “making up the hedge” which provide protection. (Ezekiel 22:30)
As we acknowledge the magnitude of God, we offer prayers as an expression of our personal devotion. Other examples included in this category are the “prayer of faith,” “prayer of agreement” and “prayer of dedication or consecration;” also the prayer Jesus taught his disciples or “The Lord’s Prayer.” Paul reminds believers to be “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)
Thanksgiving should be an essential part of our ongoing conversation with God. Literally it is “giving of thanks” as an expression of “showing oneself grateful.” It is an all-encompassing “attitude of gratitude” involving everything we do and say: “In everything give thanks, for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you.(I Thessalonians 5:18)
This introductory discussion of prayer is by no means exhaustive. Countless volumes have been written and continue to be produced on this topic of vital concern for Christian believers who are exhorted to “Pray without ceasing.”
Sometime ago I heard the story of someone who had prayed, and God answered her prayer in a most unexpectant way. A statement was made at the end of the story which inspired this poem:
We Pray—God Answers
Therefore I say to you, whatever things you ask when you pray,
believe that you receive them, and you will have them.
We pray, asking to receive and seeking to find.
If we knock, the door shall be opened all our days,
For God answers prayer in one of three sovereign ways:
Sometimes we pray and find that the answer is “yes.”
In Christ each promise is “yes” and “amen”,
For God is not a man that He should lie.
He has already spoken—What shall we say then
But give thanks, for when we call Him, He hears each cry.
Other times we find that the answer is “not yet.”
We need more patience so that after we have done
All the will of God, as sons we might be instilled
With confident assurance given to each one,
Set as an empty vessel, yet to be fulfilled.
Or God may say, “I have something better in mind.”
Before we abandon hope, feeling left behind,
Though it may seem we cannot pass another test,
But if we stop and think a moment, we will find
God, our all-wise Father, really knows what is best.
The accompanying video features the song “Pray for Me” by Michael W. Smith who reminds us to pray for one another: