Prayer is one of the vital things that we learn from the Word of God. The great men and women of faith prayed, and that they prayed fervently. The Lord Jesus Christ showed us a perfect example of a life of prayerfulness when He walked on earth.
- After His baptism in the Jordan River, the Lord started His ministry by praying and fasting for forty days and forty nights (Matt. 4: 2). He didn’t dive headlong in carrying out God’s purposes, but equipped Himself spiritually with prayers and fasting.
PRAYER (WITH FASTING) IS A POWERFUL WEAPON AGAINST TEMPTATION. After praying and fasting, the Lord Jesus was tempted by the devil thrice. But being full of the Holy Ghost (Luke 4: 1) and equipped with spiritual power and strength from prayers and fasting, He was prepared to fend off the devil’s temptation.
Watch and pray, that ye enter not into temptation…(Matthew 26: 41)
PRAYER (WITH FASTING) PREPARES US TO CARRY OUT GOD’S PURPOSES FOR US. We cannot go to battle without God’s anointing, without being equipped with power from on high. The Lord Jesus began preaching the Gospel and healing all that were sick, after He had prayed and fasted and had triumphed over the devil’s temptations. In our Church, where healing is obtained by the laying on of hands in Jesus’ name, prayer with fasting is widely practised.
- The Lord Jesus showed us to seek God first thing in the morning.
And in the morning, rising up a great while before day, he went out, and departed into a solitary place, and THERE PRAYED. (Mark 1: 35, emphasis added)
It should not be our schedules, our agenda, our planned activities that should saturate our minds first thing in the morning when we wake up, but the hunger and need for God’s presence. We enter into His presence with heartfelt praise and worship, and pray fervently, our hearts and minds focused only on Him. We place into His hands our plans for the day, because only through Him that these will prosper.
- The Lord Jesus showed us to seek God at the end of the day.
After teaching all day and feeding the multitude (Mark 6: 34-42), He didn’t stretch out Himself on a comfortable bed and took the much-needed rest. Instead, after sending away the disciples and the multitude, He went to a mountain to pray.
And when he had sent them away, he departed into a mountain TO PRAY. (Mark 6: 46, emphasis added)
- The Lord Jesus showed us to pray without ceasing. He prayed all night!
And it came to pass in those days, that he went out into a mountain to pray, and continued there ALL NIGHT IN PRAYER TO GOD. (Luke 6: 12, emphasis added)
In our Church, Jesus Miracle Crusade International Ministry, we have Overnight Prayer Meeting every Friday, from 8:30pm to 4:30am of the following day. This is shown via live webcast at www.jmcim.tv (Philippine time).
- The Lord Jesus showed us to pray agonizingly.
He did this at Gethsemane. He showed us how to pray, pouring out our hearts and souls for us to be heard. And even if sometimes we don’t receive what we’re agonizingly praying for, God will give us strength to surrender to His will, just as He had done to Jesus.
In the preceding discussion, we saw how the Lord lived in prayerfulness. If He Himself did it diligently, then we should believe that prayer really works.
There are those who sometimes get weary in praying and even doubt if it even works at all. I’ve experienced those kinds of feelings. But I’ve come to realize that prayers become ineffective due to the following reasons:
- OUR PRAYER LACKS FAITH. It’s like praying mechanically and not in the spirit, a going-through-the-motions kind of praying. Just to be said that we prayed, but we’re not really expecting anything. I believe a lackluster prayer can in no way reach God’s hearing.
So then because thou art lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will spue thee out of my mouth. (Rev. 3: 16)
But the Lord Jesus teaches us to PRAY AND BELIEVE:
And all things, whatsoever ye shall ask in prayer, believing, ye shall receive. (Matthew 21:22)
And to be diligent in seeking God:
…for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him. (Heb. 11: 6)
- WE GROW FAINT when we don’t receive what we’ve been praying for for a long time. The fervor in our prayers gradually ebbs until we lose the desire altogether and give up.
The Lord Jesus Himself reminds us to NOT GROW FAINT in our prayers, and tells a parable about it in Luke 18: 1-8:
…that men ought ALWAYS TO PRAY, AND NOT TO FAINT. (Luke 18:1, emphasis added)
And again in Luke 11: 5-13, He teaches us to be PERSISTENT IN OUR PRAYERS for it will produce the much-desired fruits:
…yet because of his PERSISTENCE he will rise and give him as many as he needs. (Luke 11:8, emphasis added)
And in closing:
…The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much. (James 5: 16)
Photo source here.