THOUGHTS ON PRAYER

The prayer of the righteous person is powerful in what it can achieve. James 5:16 (CEB)

Of all the times during my lifespan, this seems to be one of the most crucial periods for believers to vigorously engage in prayer. Friends are coping with serious medical conditions; some are dealing with economic crises; relational stresses are threatening families; and the political and global situations are unprecedented. If we ever need to be effective in prayer, now is the time.

If we are to pray all the time (I Thess. 5:17, Rom. 12:12), our physical position must be inconsequential. If right-standing with God signifies power in prayer (above), the form of our prayer—formal or informal, spontaneous or read, silent or said aloud—has no significance. It appears that God is primarily concerned with relationships—between us and him and us and others—when it comes to prayer.

Here are just a few of my gleanings from Scripture about prayer:

• The focus of prayer is relating to God and not about getting answers. (I Chron. 16:11, Psa. 145:18, Song of Sol. 2:14 and many others)
• We must be reconciled to him and others before we pray. (Matt. 5:23, I Peter 3:7, Luke 6:27, 28)
• God listens to our prayers. (I John 5:14, Jer. 29:12, Psa. 145:18, Heb. 4:16)
• God always responds to prayer in his time, according to his will, and in his way. (Mark 11:24, Jer. 33:3, Matt. 6:6, I John 5:15, Jas. 4:2b)

When my children were first away at school, I knew that almost every time they called, they wanted or needed something. As their mother, I was happy to respond to meet their needs when I could. But the day finally arrived when they called just to chat. What a joy. We had moved beyond need to relationship.

How happy God must be when we talk with him just because we enjoy his company.

Our Father in heaven, teach us to pray and to come to you just to enjoy your presence. AMEN.

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