Prayer is a fascinating topic. We discuss it, hear sermons on it, read testimonies about it but really, how often do we actually pray? A wise man once said ‘a person without prayer is like a tree without roots.’
I am an advocate for prayer because I believe I am a man of faith today because God was faithful to my praying mother. I like these words from Abraham Lincoln: “I remember my mother’s prayers and they have followed me. They have clung to me all my life”
Prayer is an important party of our faith. Paul in his letter to the Colossians said: “Devote yourselves to prayer, being watchful and thankful.” (Colossians chapter 4, verse 2)
It is impossible to experience a truly loving relationship with anyone, if there is little or no communication. God invites us to share with Him and He is always available. We are aware of great crisis in the world today. God has a solution. " … if my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then will I hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and will heal their land." (2 Chronicles chapter 7, verse 14)
He instructs us to talk to Him. “Call to Me, and I will answer you, and I will tell you great and mighty things, which you do not know.” (Jeremiah chapter 33, verse 3) So in the face of the world news, the riots and terrorism, the political unrest, marriage laws and the mounting issues of the day, ‘call to Me’, seems to be a great invitation.
When I was a newly minted ‘born again’ Christian the book Knowing God by J.I. Packer was an integral part of my discipleship learning. Dr Packer wrote: ‘Men who know their God are before anything else men who pray.”
Last August Barna Research released a survey ‘Silent and Solo: How Americans Pray’. While prayer is a common practice across the Christian community, Barna found 79 percent of individual believers prayed at least once in three months in America.
Think of that! In the midst of civil unrest, the threats they have from North Korea and Iran, the personal issues within the population and the prayer tally is once in three months a little more than a quarter of believers pray. Are they taking God seriously?
The Barna survey says most of those who do pray choose to pray by themselves. Of those who pray, 82% pray in silence. Those who pray audibly with another person or group are 2 percent. The same number, 2 percent, prayed collectively with a church.
The survey analyzed the topics of prayer. Sixty two percent were ‘gratitude and thanksgiving.’ Sixty one percent prayed for family and community needs. Forty nine percent looked for guidance in a crisis. Others were health and wellness 47%, safety in daily tasks and travel 41%, a sense of peace 37%, blessings for meals 37%, concerns for nation and government 24%, concerns about global problems and injustice 20%, other was listed at 8%. (Silent and Solo: How Americans Pray, barna.com)
What holds us back from prayer? Author and teacher A. W. Tozer said, “Almost every day of my life I am praying that ‘a jubilant pining and longing for God’ might come back on the evangelical churches…..I believe God wants us to long for Him with the longing that will become lovesickness, that will become a wound to our spirits, to keep us always moving towards Him, always finding, always seeking, always having and always desiring.” (Man. The Dwelling Place of God, A.W. Tozer, Christian Publications)
Prayer or talking to God is a natural response to our relationship with Him. Chinese believer Watchman Nee faced great difficulties for his faith. He wrote: “Prayer is a kind of service. It ought to be placed in a preeminent position. Satan always maneuvers to put other things concerning the Lord before prayer and to place prayer at the very last. However much people are reminded about the importance of prayer, not many really appreciate it. People are usually enthusiastic in attending meetings for ministry, Bible study, and so forth. They will find time for such meetings, but when it comes to the prayer meeting, the attendance is surprising so minimal.” (The Prayer Ministry of the Church, Watchman Nee, Christian Fellowship Publishers Inc.)
Have you ever prayed and God answered, “No!”
One of my great heroes of faith was Corrie ten Boom. Her dramatic story was told in ‘The Hiding Place’ The sequel ‘Tramp for the Lord’ had this challenging testimony: “When I was in prison camp in Holland during the war (WWII), I often prayed, ‘Lord, never let the enemy put me in a German concentration camp.’ God answered no to that prayer. Yet in the German camp, with all its horror, I found many prisoners who had never heard of Jesus Christ. If God had not used my sister Betsie and me, they would never have heard of him. Many died, or were killed, but many died with the name of Jesus on their lips.” (Tramp for the Lord, Corrie ten Boom, Billy Graham Evangelistic Association).
Just before His crucifixion Jesus started preparing His disciples for the Church Age. He would soon depart and the Holy Spirit would come to anoint and empower the saints. He spoke to His faithful with inspiring words. “You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you that you should go and bear fruit, and your fruit should remain, in order that whatever you ask the Father in my name he will give you.” John chapter 15, verses 16,17)
How does fruit grow? On a living vine! We live in Christ. The fruitfulness flows out of our relationship with Him. Do it now. Ask the Father!
Ron Ross is a Middle East consultant for United Christian Broadcasters (Vision FM). Previously he was radio news editor for Bridges for Peace in Jerusalem, Israel.
His career started at WINTV (Email: firstname.lastname@example.org)
Ron Ross previous articles may be viewed at