“He turned his face to the wall, and prayed unto the Lord saying, I beseech thee O’Lord, remember now how I walked before thee in truth and with a perfect heart, and have done that which is good in thy sight. And Hezekiah wept sore” (II-Kings 20:2).
I do not believe most Christians have a good understanding of the awesome power of prayer. We are so impatient—we must be doing something—and that something places us in danger of not allowing God time to answer our prayers. Rest assured God never commands you to Wait” unless He is going to do something, and waiting is a major challenge for Christians today, especially in our prayer life. We have an irrepressible urge to prove our Christian prowess when we need to wait and let God work.
God asks us to “wait” like the photographer when sitting for a portrait. He says “hold it,” the camera flashes and we breathe a sigh of relief. Many of Jesus’ disciples and followers in the early Church were imprisoned after his death. Fortunately, the Church had little-to-no political or economic power and zero influence with their Roman rulers to secure their release or relief. Fortunate may sound contradictory, but as inappropriate as it sound with no earthly help, they turned to Heaven to get relief in this violent struggle. The Church committed to fervent and continual prayer for the believers suffering persecution.
In each imprisonment and difficult situation, as a result of prayer, God would send His angel to comfort or deliver His servants from their troubles. Peter and Silas were awaiting execution and Paul had been beaten brutally with more beatings to come. If there is some small doubt in your faith and prayer life keeping you from believing that prayer works, there is a secret here for you to learn. After beating your head against the wall for so long without finding relief, you throw up your hands and walk away tired, exhausted and broken-hearted.
Consider the energy wasted and disappointments you may have avoided if you had learned to pray like the early Church prayed in time of trouble! The apostle Paul would later say; “I live by the faith of the Son of God.” This faith is not Paul’s faith in Jesus Christ, but the faith the Son of God has imparted to him—“the faith of the Son of God.” It is no longer faith in faith or faith for the sake of faith, but a faith which surpasses all conscious understanding it is the same faith of the Son of God. “And Jesus answering said unto them, Have faith in God” (Mark 11:22).
God has a single Divine purpose for us, we are to be like Jesus, we must pray to the Father and believe with every ounce of our being that He hears and will answer our faith-filled prayers. We hear, see and read so much about the words and doctrines of men today maybe we need to know more of what it means to believe the Word of God. “And it shall come to pass, that before they call, I will answer while they are yet speaking, I will hear” (Isaiah 65:24). That is if we learn to pray, not with our faith but with faith in God. You must pray until you absolutely believe God.
Life’s difficulties and unforeseen emergencies drive us to moments of intense prayer. Why? Because when the believer becomes the prayer there is nothing that can resist its power. In the Old Testament the prophet Elijah on Mount Carmel bowed down on the ground, with his face between his knees, the man himself became the prayer. The scripture does not give the specifics of Elijah’s prayer, but God heard and answered it. Sometime prayer needs to be so intense that it overwhelms the spoken word, the spirit of the saint and the Spirit of God becomes one and the saint’s whole being communicates with God.
It is in such a time as this when the groanings of the Holy Spirit “which cannot be uttered” become the prayers that God will not refuse. Satan and the powers of evil cannot withstand the power of this kind of fervent prayer. The world needs more of this co-joined and full-bodied prayer. God has opened doors for us in advance of our knocking, promised to help before help is needed and He has taken the liberty of removing the stumbling blocks from our paths before we reach them. Yet, we seem to only remember God’s outstretched hand when we are on the edge of disaster. Too many Christians do this, and are forever absorbed with worry about imaginary difficulties lying in wait in their future.
Growth in your faith in the power of prayer is not measured by the fact that you have not stopped praying, but that you have a deeper insight and understanding of who you are praying to and why. It makes it easier to understand Paul’s exhortation; “I have to lead my life in faith, without seeing Him” (II-Corinthians 5:7). Although, you may not see Him, He is there, without God there is “no relief and no release” from the troubles of life. Through diligent prayer we realize that God’s reach is not beyond our grasp, His outstretched hand is always less than an arm’s length away.
Wherever there is pain, prayer brings mercy and relief. When the heart is filled with self-doubt, prayer brings a renewed confidence in your faith that you can work through it. When the body is tired and near exhaustion, prayer brings understanding, patience and renewed strength. Above all, where there is fear, prayer brings the love of Jesus and the courage to approach the throne of God without fear or trepidation. Although, our needs and circumstances may have changed over time the faithfulness of God remains the same.
The rich blessings of God are not given to everyone who is born, only to those who are born of faith into the faith that only Jesus the Son of God can impart to you. “The effective, fervent prayer of a righteous man avails much” (James 5:16), I pray you will pray until you believe God, as the Church Body of Jesus Our Christ we will give ourselves continually to prayer and ministry of the Word because we believe God. He is waiting to answer your prayer today.
Grady Norman Greene, Minister of the Gospel of Jesus Our Christ