Join us on our new podcast each weekday for an interesting story, well told, from Charisma News. Listen at charismapodcastnetwork.com.
In today’s culture, prayer has been all but forgotten. Like a powerful muscle that atrophies from neglect, the believer who fails to pray becomes extremely carnal and rife with all kinds of issues. A believer who neglects prayer is like a fish that avoids water. Prayer is literally the lifeline of the Christian.
To top it off, the word prayer has become cliché in this culture. It has become a term we use when we want to provide encouragement but have nothing of substance to offer. Believers and nonbelievers alike use it, freely saying, “I’ll keep you in my prayers,” only to never pray at all. The promise to pray serves as little more than a dismissive end to an uncomfortable conversation for which there are no apparent answers.
When a national tragedy strikes, even those who have had a hand in kicking God out of the schools, the government, the courts and the public arena start talking about prayer. The truth is, God and prayer cannot be expelled from any of these arenas as long as believers continue to walk the earth.
As a pastor I have told people I would be praying for them, and though I diligently followed through to do so, I left the conversation thinking, I wish I could do something more. Like others, I sometimes feel praying is the least I can do—when, in fact, it is the greatest and most productive thing we can do for those who are facing the battering ram of life.
Life has a way of extracting hope from its participants, but prayer re-establishes hope. Hope anchors the soul and allows the fresh sunshine of the love of God to come pouring in. Like the breaking of the day after a dark night of despair, prayer causes the believer to emerge from trouble with a new lease on life and anticipation for the future.
Are you ready for that kind of prayer?
The Time for Audacious Prayer Is Now
Before reuniting with his brother Esau, Jacob prayed all night. He was determined to receive assurance from the Lord that his brother would not kill him the next day. So intense was that prayer meeting that Jacob emerged with a name change and a limp that would mark his every step for the rest of his life (see Genesis 32).
Have you ever had the audacity to go before the Lord with such passion for the burden you were carrying that you decided you would not leave until you were able to emerge with an answer? The desperate cry of the righteous in a prayer closet strikes a chord in the heart of God.
The Bible is a book about fervent prayer and the resulting answers to those prayers. From Genesis to Revelation, the power of audacious prayer is emphasized virtually from chapter to chapter and verse to verse. One would be hard-pressed to read the Bible without coming to the conclusion that prayer actually does change things. In fact, prayer changes everything. Faith and prayer are the tandem vehicles that move things from the realm of the spirit to the natural arena. They cause the unseen to become reality.
Contemporary Christians would do well to once again pray over their families and lives in an audacious manner. The promise to reverse negative circumstances is only guaranteed to those who pray: “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 I will hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin and heal their land” (2 Chr. 7:14, NKJV).
If we humble ourselves in prayer and turn from our wicked ways, He will “heal our land.” What does God mean by “our land”? Our land is not only our nation and world but also our lives. He has promised to heal the lives of those who are serious about prayer and righteous living.
Jesus Himself implored us to pray audaciously: “Then He spoke a parable to them, that men always ought to pray and not lose heart” (Luke 18:1). He told His followers, “Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives, and he who seeks finds, and to him who knocks it will be opened” (Matt. 7:7-8). These are not the words of some popular success guru; these are the words of Jesus!
Peter Kreeft, author and professor of theology at Boston College, made this observation concerning prayer: “I strongly suspect that if we saw all the difference even the tiniest of our prayers to God make, and all the people those little prayers were destined to affect, and all the consequences of those prayers down through the centuries, we would be so paralyzed with awe at the power of prayer that we would be unable to get up off of our knees for the rest of our lives.” What a great admonition concerning prayer! Only eternity will reveal the effects prayer has had on this world and in the lives of untold scores of individuals through the centuries.
Intimacy Leads to Audacity
For the believer, all intimacy with God is born out of trust that has been developed in times of prayer. Intimacy leads to faith and audacious praying. Faith and audacious prayer produce the miraculous.
Individuals who have a consistent prayer life over the long haul can testify to personally witnessing the power of the living Christ at work in their lives. They trust God, and they trust His Word. Praying people become persons of great faith.
In the first-century church, miracles were in abundance. When one looks at the behavior of these believers, we readily discover prayer was one of the foundational stones of their existence.
I believe God is calling His children back to their prayer closets. If we will begin to commune with Him and possess the audacity to pray, the miraculous will once again become the norm.
Desperation is the environment in which miracles are birthed. Most people never contend for a miracle until the possibility of all human help has been exhausted. That is not intended to be an indictment; it is just a fact. We try everything in our power to alleviate the dilemma that we face. Then, when we have come to the end of ourselves, we turn to God in audacious prayer. That is just the way we are wired. God knows this, and He is always standing at the end of the path with His hands outstretched saying, “Come unto Me” (Matt. 11:28).
7 Vital Reasons for Audacious Prayer...
- Continue reading >>
For the month of August we are celebrating the 40th anniversary of Charisma. Join us for giveaways each weekday, pages from our past, and more. We're including an anniversary special where you can get 40 issues of Charisma for only $40!