The Power Of Prayer

We Christians make a fatal mistake when we don't take our prayer life seriously. Prayer is when we communicate with God. When we talk to him and do so on his terms, he will listen to us. Yes, he really will. One of the biggest problems with prayer and the prayer life of many is that they won't come to God on his terms, but want to approach him on theirs. Such a man will never get anywhere with God. James laid out this principle clearly in his epistle. Here, James lays out how one can receive wisdom from the Lord.

 But let him ask in faith, nothing doubting:
for he that doubteth is like the surge of the sea
driven by the wind and tossed. 
For let not that man think that
he shall receive anything of the Lord;
(James 1:6-7 [ASV])

This is one key to getting an answer from God - faith. Not mental belief, but faith - an issue I have talked about before. You want an answer from God? You have to believe that he is and will reward you for your diligent efforts to interact with him. But most of you know that. Another? Humility - particularly spiritual humility (coupled with a repentant attitude) will open doors in the corridors of heaven (see Luke 18:13). These are two key traits for successful prayer, a person who has faith and has spiritually prepared himself to interact with God. A self righteous unbeliever has little chance of being heard, whereas a spiritually humble person who has the faith even of a mustard seed, will gain the ear of God and will certainly receive some kind of answer from the Lord.

God hears those souls whose hearts are broken and who rend their hearts before him. How many of you remember the story of Hannah and how she was derided by others because she could not bear a son. Back in those days, not having children was a sign of considerable social embarrassment. She endured the taunts of others for years because she was barren.
 So Hannah rose up after they had eaten in Shiloh,
 and after they had drunk. Now Eli the priest
was sitting upon his seat by the door-post of the temple of Jehovah.
 And she was in bitterness of soul, and prayed unto Jehovah,
and wept sore. And she vowed a vow, and said,
O Jehovah of hosts, if thou wilt indeed look on the affliction
of thy handmaid, and remember me, and not forget thy handmaid,
 but wilt give unto thy handmaid a man-child,
then I will give him unto Jehovah all the days of his life,
and there shall no razor come upon his head.
(I Samuel 1:9-11 [ASV])

Hannah lifted up her voice to the Lord and not only that, as the passage said she wept sore. She poured out her heart before the God of heaven. She eventually got the answer she sought in the person of Samuel, one of the greatest prophets/judges of the Old Testament. But she had to go through sorrow first. I often think (my own opinion) was that God wanted Hannah to have a child always, but wanted her to know who had given it her and thus raise up the child correctly so that God could use the child of her womb to his purposes and glory.

Thus God was waiting for her to come to him and dedicate the child to his service. Yes, there are times God withholds things from us so that we come to him and before we obtain them, make sure that we use them wisely and remember who it was that gave such things to us. God has his agenda and we have ours, we must line up our lives with God's agenda (will) and in Hannah's case, I think this may have been what was happening and why God had shut up her womb.

This is why this other key point in successful prayer is so important. We must pray according to God's will, not ours. This is what trips up a lot of folks. God is not a genie. He is not our slave, and he is not a celestial waiter, waiting to take our orders and serve us our desires on a silver platter. No, the reverse is the case. We are to serve him and that word service often gets lost in the translation in today's 'touchy-feely' gospel.

But God does hear prayer and particularly the prayers of those whom he see's as being his and righteous. Mind you, not self righteous, but those whom he declares righteous and has set his love upon, who honor and serve him in spirit and in truth.  The effectual prayer of a righteous man availeth much (James 5:16).

Answered Prayers

Well, we have gotten a lot of results here at this site when we all set our hearts to pray for each other.

 [This section removed as it listed specific instances of answered prayers of readers and has been removed from this public page - MSW]

Yes, God does answer prayers when we bring our supplications to him in faith. Praise his Holy name!! We get a a lot of answered prayers here from Jobs, to healing, to family situations. We pray here at this site and get answers from the Lord, for the The effectual Prayer of a Righteous Person availeth much!

I did want to pass this on as well as one reader made plain and asked me to pass on to you.

Consider all options when looking for work. One reader here wanted me to exhort you all be open to moving for work. This reader laid out a situation with a relative graduated and had to move from one state to another and found work. She said that if God is calling you to move, you should do so. I say also that if God calls you to move, you should do so. Get before God, get into your prayer closet and seek God's face.

In order for Abraham to fulfill his mission with God, he had to move. In order for me to fulfill mine, I had to move. You may get a rash of harsh and evil words spoken when you do God's will whatever his will may be, but do it nonetheless. I had to endure it, one day most of you will too. Get before God on moving for work - he may be calling you to another location for reasons that are not wholly clear to you now and has little to do with employment. Those reasons will only materialize when you do as he commands. Sometimes, God moves you because he wants to move you away from situations, people or even events that are to come. Coming out of Babylon will indeed require moving for those who live there.

When I moved to Maryland 23 years ago, I did not understand why. I really did not. But now that I have served God for many years online I have much better sense as to why. My mother hit on some of it years ago. Suffice it to say, if I had remained in California, I would have had to deal with family issues that would have been exceptionally distracting. Some of my family and particularly 'friends' have treated me pretty shabbily because I did not fit the plastic mold they had for me, I wasn't smokin', drinking and screwing every chick who wanted to leap in bed- wasn't trying to get the biggest car, the biggest house, the finest wife and many cute mistresses and have people who only liked be because I had money worship at my feet.  I wasn't 'cool' and frankly never wanted to be. I have always felt that those who feel they must fit in with fleeting social cues are superficial, lack character and lack an inner 'anchor'. They tend to be fair weather friends and often turn into foul weather enemies.

They never understood me and never wanted to. I was not the kind of person they wanted to show off to their friends and was often treated like the 'black sheep'. But that was good for me. It taught me early on that many relationships in this world just gotta go and that includes some family. Christ warned us of this in the gospels on several occasions. That we have to forsake all or at least be willing to and that was not a figure of speech. Family was very much included in those things that may have to go (Matt 19:29).

One reader here wrote me about a month ago about some serious family issues they were dealing with. They were indeed very serious. But in these times of crazy Americans, anti-depressant addicted, opioid addicted and often mentally unstable people, family problems are just going to be par for the course. We must prepare ourselves for family members who are going to flip out and become dangerous to us. The side effects of some of those anti-depressants may be worse than the 'disease' of feeling a little low. They can include suicidal thoughts and turning you literally into a maniac.

My point here is an important one. God's guidance on these issues is essential and prayer is the way we communicate with God. God sometimes has to protect us from relationships he knows we want to keep and he knows that we need to cut loose of before they do us serious physical, emotional or spiritual harm. One of the key aspects of holiness is separation.

Wherefore Come ye out from among them,
and be ye separate, saith the Lord,
And touch no unclean thing; And I will receive you,
And will be to you a Father,
And ye shall be to me sons and daughters,
saith the Lord Almighty.
(II Corinthians 6:17-18 [ASV])

We must come out and be separate. Living and walking in the light is going to make us 'persona-non-grata' in a great many places, including some family gatherings. We just are not going to be welcome.

Don't be offended nor bitter. Don't be dismayed or confused about it and if I may offer one little tidbit of personal (not spiritual) advice, let me offer it here as it may prove useful to you in the future.

Never go anywhere that you are not nor don't feel 100% welcome. Don't burden family with your presence if some of your family members don't want you there. Don't bless such a table with the blessing of one of God's true servants if you are not welcome. Don't be angry, do your best not to be hurt, but mark it for future reference and never go where you are not 100% welcome.

Don't burden the home of another with the presence of a saint if a saint's presence is not wanted. If they would rather have a drunken fornicator who deals pot on the side present at such a function than you, take a hint... you probably should not be there anyway.

You must represent God in all you do and oftentimes we may not understand why some family start to treat us badly - often it is because the devil has been working on them. Take such recognition of your faith and their desire to be away from you as a badge of honor, not as a sign of shame. There is something fundamentally different about you and your walk and those who walk in darkness don't want that light around them.

I exhort you all to toughen up, develop thick skin and learn to take the slights and even hatred others will have of you, not as a sign of shame but of evidence that your life is shining in a way that those who know not God, don't like. How do you think those believers in China are dealing with the stuff they have to go through - they go to a prayer meeting and get arrested! Being arrested may be shameful or seem so in the eyes of the world, but it is not in God's eyes not when you are there because of your faith in God. YOUR FAITH IS GOING TO COST YOU. Sometimes your job, sometimes you may do time, sometimes your marriage, sometimes your friends and sometimes your family. YOUR FAITH IS GOING TO COST YOU.  So count the cost and when you come to that 'toll booth' along faith's highway, make payment joyfully as such toll booths are also signposts you are on the right road.

So brothers and sisters, pray... really pray and go wherever it is that God leads you. Do this and God will surly be with you as you go, even as he was with Abraham, when he pulled up stakes and left Ur of the Chaldees to a place that God did not even tell him.

Have faith, fear not and one thing I believe that should be also said here is this. Even within the Church there is a separation taking place. Those who follow the commandments of God (as revealed in the Bible) and those who make light of them, dismiss them or teach others to rebel against them. This separation has been going on for some time and it is intensifying. I have a reader here (a former pastor) whose Church Separated from a major denomination over false teachings and apostasy. So in these dangerous times, I exhort you all to pray,  pray regularly and pray in the spirit that God may guide and keep you in these deceptive and dangerous times.

In Christ,

Brother Mark

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