Have you ever thought these things about prayer? Come on you don’t have to be bashful! I have thought these things plenty of times and really fought this silent tug-a-war, this fear, this struggle of crying out to God and seemingly not getting any answers while seeing everyone around me getting their prayers answered. What was the difference? Why did it seem like God just didn’t hear me. It’s a struggle I think we all face until we realize the truth behind God’s Word. He says that He hears us even before we speak. Let’s look at what God’s Word really says about prayer!
I’d love to take you on a journey—a quick one—through Acts 12 and pull out some things about prayer along the way that I hope will encourage both you and me! So let’s figure out why we should pray!
In Acts 12 we come in the middle of increasingly intense persecution of the early Church. During preparation for Passover the king at the time killed James, and imprisoned Peter, two prominent members of the early Church. Here we meet the very first reason why we need to pray! Prayer gives us supernatural awareness and is a weapon we fail to use effectively too many times in life. It was interesting to me that they said it was during the days of Unleavened bread, or Passover. Perhaps they were too wrapped up in ritual to spend the needed time in prayer. During Passover there is a lot of preparation and ritual, and at this same time persecution for the Believers was increasing! So while they were in preparation for a joyous occasion destruction was moving closer to their door. This was the time to be focused on prayer and seeking direction and they missed it!
Prayer gives us eyes to see what’s happening around us. Elisha prayed that his servant would see the chariots of fire surrounding them to protect them when they were warring with Syria and immediately the servant was able to see (2 Kings 6:16-17). How much are we missing when we don’t pray? How much are we not ready for because we didn’t spend the time in His presence!?
Second, persistent prayer brings results. Yup that’s it. The effective and fervent prayer of the righteous avails much (James 5:16b). Our consistent focused prayer brings the change we want to see. When the Believers decided to focus and cry out to God for their brother, Peter, they saw his freedom come. Acts 12, reads “But Peter continued knocking, and when they opened, they saw him and were amazed (Acts 12:16)”. Their prayers worked! Peter was released! Sister, brother, this could be your story. Your focused prayer and trust that He will answer can bring about the freedom you want to see in your life. What is that prayer you stopped praying? What is that thing you decided God didn’t care about? Why did you stop? God says that when we call—when we pray-- He will listen (Jeremiah 29:12). He even says “Before we call He answers; even as we speak He’s hearing (Isaiah 65:24)”. Our Lord hears us. He hears and longs to answer our prayers. He longs to be gracious to us (Isaiah 30:18).
Finally prayer breeds miracles! So yes, they saw Peter freed but how did Peter escape!? Peter didn’t gnaw through his chains and beat down the guards to valiantly escape the bowels of the Roman prison. No, it was a true miracle! As they prayed (without their knowledge, might I add; that’s a whole new blog) God was orchestrating Peter’s freedom. When our prayers look like they are nowhere near being fulfilled God is working on our behalf. While the Believers prayed God sent an angel to release Peter from that prison. What thing do you think God isn’t answering? What if He was working on your behalf and you didn’t even know it? Daniel learned this first hand! In Daniel 10, God says don’t fear because from the very first day when you set your heart to understand and humbled yourself before your God, you words have been heard…” and He came because of Daniel’s words (Daniel 10:12). God is coming because of your words -- because of your prayers!
This is why we must pray! It keeps us aware of what is happening in the earth and in our lives. God always reveals what He’s going to do to the prophets first (VERSE NEEDED) and we are all prophets (VERSE NEEDED)! Don’t you want to know what God is going to do? Persistent prayer brings results. God says He answers every prayer. We have to pray to get answers! And finally, prayer breeds miracles. What miracle do you need to see? What thing are you looking for?
See God earnestly wants to be gracious to you. He wants you to see the abundance of His love for you through answered prayer. What are those things you’re afraid to pray for? What are those things you kind of pray for but don’t really pray like you mean to because you don’t believe He’ll answer? All we have to do is pray it and believe it will come. He’ll do all the rest. I challenge you to write out a prayer, stick it somewhere you can see it, and wait for it to come to past.
Challenge: Write out that prayer—you know THAT prayer. Stick it somewhere you can see it. PRAY and WAIT for the answer. He will surely answer!