Jim Hiser

"Therefore I exhort first of all that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks be made for all men, for kings and all who are in authority, that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and reverence. For this is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Saviour, who desires all men to be saved and come to the knowledge of the truth." (1 Tim. 2: 1-4) (NKJV).

In the beautiful hymn, "What a friend we have in Jesus," the latter half of the first stanza reads: "... Oh what peace we often forfeit, Oh what needless pain we bear, All because we do not carry Everything to God in prayer." Life can be sweeter, burdens can be lifted, anxieties can be eased if we would be more constant in prayer. It is a precious privilege we often fail to take advantage of; it is a help we often fail to avail ourselves of, when we neglect the powerful aid of prayer.

We teach our children to sing "Daniel was a man of prayer." He was a man who was astute and aggressive in political matters, rising to the position of first president under the king of Babylon. Yet, he was constant in prayer, humble, and trusting. Even when his prayer life got him in trouble, he ceased not to pray, facing Jerusalem, three times a day. God delivered him from his tormentors.

David was called a man after God's own heart. Though he had troubles and sinned before God, he still was able to have this esteem in the eyes of God. Why? Just a cursory reading of the Psalms of David reveals the answer. Whether he was on the mountain tops of elation, or in the depths of despair, whatever his lot, he always took it to God. Whether to praise Him or to plead for mercy or call for help, whatever the case, he could always talk to his heavenly Father.

Jesus, the Son of God, took time for prayer. Whether it was all night long or a simple giving of thanks, He addressed His heavenly Father. He taught His disciples to pray (Matt. 6:9 - 13). He gave assurance of prayers being answered (Matt. 21:22; Mk. 11:24). Of course, successful prayers are predicated upon faithfulness to God in one's own life (Matt. 6:14, 15).

Often, one's prayers go along this line: "Lord, if you will help me out of this trouble, I will be more faithful to you." Such a prayer is futile because one cannot make deals with the Almighty! While it is right and proper to call upon God in times of trouble, let us be careful not to attach any conditions to our pleas.

There are 155 references to prayer in the New Testament. Many are the exhortations concerning prayer: "... I will pray with the spirit, and I will also pray with the understanding ..." (1 Cor. 14:15); "Pray without ceasing." (1 Thess. 5:17); "Finally, brethren, pray for us ..." (2 Thess. 3:1); "Therefore, I desire that the men pray everywhere ..." (1 Tim. 2:8); "Is any afflicted? Let him pray ..." (Jas. 5:13); "Confess your faults one to another and pray for one another ..." (Jas. 5: 16).

The Bible refers to our relationship with God as being a parent-child relationship. Parents want their children to talk with them; God wants us to talk with Him. Tell Him our troubles; tell Him our triumphs; tell Him our joys; tell Him our sorrows; tell Him our weaknesses; tell Him our strengths; tell Him what we want; tell Him what we need; tell Him all!

"And whatsoever ye do in word or in deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him." (Col. 3:17). "In the name of" means by the authority of, or in keeping with the will of God the Father. Pray confidently with God's assurance. "... the effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man avails much." (Jas. 5:16b). -5636 Cherrywood Dr., Lorain, OH 44053.


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