Monday, September 07, 2009

Essential Prayer

"Pray continually."

I still like the King James, "Pray without ceasing."

"Pray all the time!" is good, too.

Do I have to pray? Is there a minimum requirement? Some religions emphasize a particular number of times to pray each day. Christians haven't been given a number, and the ambiguous "Pray continually" translates into "Pray once or twice a day… over your meal… maybe."

Was the last nationwide impromptu push for prayer on September 11, 2001?

Is prayer essential? No, it isn't.

I don't mean by that, "God doesn't demand that we pray." I mean that many of us do not consider prayer essential enough to do it persistently. I'm not basing that conclusion on a survey where the question was asked, "Do Christians consider prayer to be important?" I'm basing it on my personal observation that worshippers of God have not prayed as often or as fervently as we would if prayer were truly essential to our lives.

Don't wait to pray in your closet or in a room where there are no disruptions. Pray now. When someone tells you some good news, pray with them – right then and there. When a sister voices her concerns, pray with her – right then and there. When you're talking on the phone with a brother who is job hunting, pray with him – right then and there. When you are texting someone stuck in their home with the flu, text them a prayer.

Pray all the time! That's Essential Prayer! That's Life at Work!

Tuesday, September 01, 2009

Can Prayer Really Change Things?

Can prayer really change things? Does God hear us? Does he care? Does he bring faster, more complete healing to people sometimes when we have prayed for them? Does his arm of safety reach out to people for whom others have prayed? What impact does prayer have on the actions of God and the future of our lives?

Those of us who have prayed a lot know that we don't always receive what we've requested from the hand of God. We've had people whom we loved, and for whom we prayed fervently, continue in sickness and die – even while we prayed.

Yet, those of us who have prayed a lot also know that there have been times when we have made requests out of desperate hope and experienced something great for which we have to thank God with a heartfelt "Hallelujah!" Praise God!

It's difficult to balance out truths like his ways are not our ways (Isaiah 55:8-9) and "the prayer of a righteous man is powerful and effective" (James 5:16). We must trust him, and in our trust we will not stop praying! That's Life at Work!

What have you prayed for and received a tremendous answer from God? What have you prayed for, but didn't get what you requested; and how are you dealing with that?