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The Importance of Prayer

By:  Dr. Tom Walker

McDowell CountyDr. Tom Walker

 

We are going to look at several Scriptures in this article to justify how important prayer is in the life of the believer. We will begin with a verse out of Matthew 21:22 which says, “And all things, whatsoever ye shall ask in prayer, believing, ye shall receive.” Those words of our Lord alone, if there were no other verses in the Bible to verify how important prayer is, would be enough. The greatest sin of our day among believers may very well be prayerlessness, failing to communicate regularly with the Lord Jesus.

Prayer Has a Procuring Power

Matthew 21:22 implies that God is interested in every part of our lives. Note the words “all things.” That means there is no part of our lives that God is not interested in. He wants to provide completely, thoroughly, utterly, and unquestionably.

Coupled with the words “all things” we find another keyword “whatsoever.” “Whatsoever” seems to be an all-inclusive word. God gives, gives, and keeps on giving regarding His born-again children.

James wrote in another place in God’s Word, “Ye have not because ye ask not” (James 4:2). There are many provisions we would have if we would only ask God for them. Why do without something important, when we could ask God for what we need and receive it through faith?

Another verse says in Matthew 7:7, “Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you.” Who in their right mind would turn down an opportunity like this promise from a faithful and holy God? I am thoroughly convinced many of us are doing without because we have not asked, sought, and knocked. We must believe that God is going to be true to His Word, acting as the faithful and dependable One.

Prayer Has A Healing Power

James also says, “Pray for one another that ye may be healed” (James 5:16). Healing can come to our lives through prayer. I have been a pastor now for some forty-five years. There have been many of my church members who have been sick, yet through the prayers of God’s people, they have recovered.

There was a man in Zion Hill years ago the doctors had about given up on and said he had about a year to live. The sick church member lived many years after the year in which they said he would die. God responded to the cries of His people.

Does God save all the sick every time we ask Him to heal them? No, he does not. There is a will that is higher than ours; that is God’s will. We should pray about healing by giving God our desire to be healed; we should believe He can heal, and then we should leave the healing matter to the Lord. If He wants to take us home through the illness we have, that is O.K. If God wants us to be home with Him, then who are we to say what we want is more important than what He wants.

Some folks think all you need to do is name and claim your healing. That is false because God does not always do what we want to be done when we want it done. We must realize we are to shut up to God’s will.

Jesus prayed on one occasion when the cross was looming before Him in Luke 22:42, “Father, if thou be willing, remove this cup from me: nevertheless, not my will, but thine, be done.” The human side of Jesus wanted to shun the cross, but His Deity side said, “Not my will, but thine be done.”

Prayer Has an Enlightening Power

We are enlightened through our prayers and the prayers of others. Ephesians 1:16-18 tells us, “Cease not to give thanks for you, making mention of you in my prayers; That the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give unto you the spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of him: The eyes of your understanding being enlightened; that ye may know what is the hope of his calling….”

                The Apostle Paul gives mention of the words, “The eyes of your understanding being enlightened; that ye may know…” We pray about a lot of matters concerning ourselves and others, but how often do we pray as the Apostle Paul did in Ephesians 1:16-18? How often do we pray for a greater spirit of wisdom, a greater knowledge of the Lord,  and that our eyes of understanding may be more wide open to get a taste of the hope of our calling and the riches of the glory in the saints of God? I dare say not as often as we should.

If you know someone who has too much darkness and needs more light and understanding, why not pray as Paul did in Ephesians 1?  You may need to pray this for yourself, for your children or grandchildren, or for fellow church members.

Proverbs 10:13 tells us, “In the lips of him that hath understanding wisdom is found: but a rod is for the back of him that is void of understanding.”

Proverbs 16:22 says, “Understanding is a wellspring of life unto him that hath it: but the instruction of fools is folly.”

Prayer Has A Calming Power

Philippians 4:6-7 says, “Be careful for nothing; but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God and the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.” It is human nature to worry about things that will probably never happen or things that may come out the way that we cannot change. Paul told the church at Philippi, “Be careful for nothing” (v.6). The apostle addresses over-anxious care or what we might call worry.

I am convinced that we need to worry less and do more. If we were doing more, we would worry less.

Instead of worrying, he recommends prayer and supplication. You cannot pray and worry at the same time. One of our great hymns says in its lyrics, “I cast on Him, my every care, and wait for thee, sweet hour of prayer.”

If you want an antidote for being disturbed, nervous, uneasy, distraught, or ruffled in spirit, I can recommend a good one. It is the same on Paul recommended- that being prayer.

When we pray our hears are kept or guarded. It is then that peace overcomes our troubled and agitated hearts; we can experience sweet peace that passes all understanding.

Some people have the philosophy, “Why pray when we can worry.” Instead of having that state of mind, one should say, “Why worry when we can pray.” Prayer commits everything to God and leaves our anxieties, our cares, our concerns with the Lord Jesus.

Peter said it well when under the inspiration of the Holy Ghost he wrote, “Casting all your care upon him; for he careth for you” (1 Peter 5:7). Instead of worrying about everything and creating ulcers as large as a grapefruit, why not cast your cares upon Christ? The verb tense of the word “casting” in I Peter 5:7 is aorist tense in the Greek New Testament, which speaks of a complete act that occurred in the past. When the Bible uses the word regarding God which says He “careth”, it is present tense which speaks of an ongoing, continual, perpetual caring the Lord has for me and you.

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Dr. Tom Walker is President of Foothills Bible College and Pastor of Zion Hill Baptist Church in Marion, NC.

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