“…praying at all times in the Spirit, with all prayer and supplication.” Eph 6:18
“ Rejoice in hope, be patient in tribulation, be constant in prayer.” Romans 12:1`2
“Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.” I Thessalonians 5:16-18
“Confess your faults one to another, and pray one for another, that ye may be healed. The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much.” James 5:16(KJV)
“I tell you, though he will not get up and give him anything because he is his friend, yet because of his impudence he will rise and give him whatever he needs.” Luke 11:8
How often and for how long do you pray? (Now don’t worry, God isn’t hovering with a stopwatch.) For what do you pray, past your personal wish list? Do you pray at all?
God’s Holy Word is clear and consistent about prayer. Pray often about everything.
Have you ever heard the phrase, “foxhole Christian”? I do believe its genesis was one of the Big Wars, with the point being some bow before the Almighty only in times of travail. Might that describe you? Do you speak often to your Father about all things big and small, or do you consult Him only when you’re in a bind? Or maybe there’s something you’re sure you really, REALLY need. Is it your yearning what brings you before the Father?
Let’s ponder a few of the phrases from the passages above:
- Pray on all occasions with all kinds of prayers
- Always keep on praying
- Faithful in prayer
- Pray continually
- Fervent prayer accomplishes much
Would you describe your prayer habits as faithful? Consistent? What about “fervent” as described by Brother James? Do you think there could be any correlation between your prayer faithfulness and your fitness faithfulness? Oh! Ouch. That one just popped right out of my pen. As Sister Joyce Meyer might say, “I had better ask you that again: Do you think there could be any correlation between your prayer faithfulness and your fitness faithfulness?”
Brothers and sisters, we all need to constantly remember how weak, broken and sinful we are, buried down into our DNA. As Brother Paul bemoans in his letter to the Roman Church, “For I do not understand my own actions. For I do not do what I want, but I do the very thing I hate.” Isn’t that true of you? Do you find yourself, again and again, resolving to improve your food and move more frequently and fervently, but somehow willpower wains? Well that’s because it’s not about willpower! It’s about Prayer Power! Victory requires submission to the Almighty that He might transform you into His image.
Psalm 105:4 says, “Seek the Lord and His strength; seek His presence continually!”
Remember, He transforms you into a new creation filled with the Spirit of peace, patience and self-control. You cannot do this on your own, Church! This curse of ill health is a stronghold that ONLY GOD CAN CURE! And transformation requires communication through fervent, faithful prayer.
I want to share a little tidbit with you. When my pastor recently challenged his flock to heed Brother Paul’s prod in the sixth chapter Ephesians to “pray at all times in the Spirit”, he also shared Brother Luke’s words of wisdom in chapter 11:1-13. Dr. Luke is sharing the parable Jesus told after giving His disciples a prayer template, what we now call The Lord’s Prayer. The story tells of a man going to a friend’s house at midnight asking for bread to feed an unexpected guest. But despite their friendship, the man said, “Don’t bother me!” and slammed the door. But verse number eight was befuddling to me: “…yet because of his impudence he will rise and give him whatever he needs.” Now that just doesn’t sound respectful to me, especially since I had just been reading Pastor Paul’s first letter to the Roman church where he says, “…because of your hard and impertinent heart, you are storing up wrath for yourself.” (ESV)
Now I have to admit I get those impertinent and insolent and impudence words all confused. So I looked up Luke 11:8 in my other Bibles:
“…but because of his impudence…” ESV
impudent - lacking modesty; cocky boldness or disregard of others; insolent rudeness
“…but because of his importunity…” KJV
importunity (importunate) - troublesomely urgent; overly persistent in request or demand
“…yet because of his boldness…” NIV
Boldness/bold - intrepid; showing or requiring a fearless, daring spirit; impudent, presumptuous; assured; confident
OK, I thought to myself. Boldness didn’t’ sound quite so brash.
But it was the note in my NIV Life Application Bible that turned the lights on.
“Persistence, or boldness, in prayer overcomes our insensitivity, not God’s. To practice persistence does more to change our hearts and minds than His, and it helps us understand and express the intensity of our need. Persistence in prayer helps us recognize God’s work.”
Ah ha! There it is, Church. Persistence in prayer changes our hearts. It validates our need. And when the Good Lord finally answers our pleas, we KNOW He did it, we didn’t. We raise our hearts in gratitude and thanksgiving. He turned His face toward us. Glory be to God, that is true heart transformation!
So let me ask you Church, do you want to be healed? Do you want to be released from the bondage of disease and despair? Will you fasten your belt of truth, put on your breastplate of righteousness, take up your shield of faith, helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God? Do you believe in the power of persistent prayer? Are you willing to be bold - impudent - showing a fearless, daring, faithful spirit?
Then make prayer a priority.
Brashly - insolently - impudently - create time to pray, believing your God will supply all your needs according to His riches in glory in Christ Jesus.
Live Well, friends.