This has been an interesting week for me. As I reflect back over this week, I can see that God has been trying hard to work on me and my character. Probably the most important of these lessons has to do with the power of prayer.

I will be honest with all 2 of you that actually read this blog. About mid-week I began to experience serious doubts that prayer is worth my time. It is so hard to find time with all the demands that a family and work can put on you. The times that I was alone and quiet were not good because I would be so tired that I would try to pray and fall asleep.

It just has not been working for me at all.

SIDE NOTE: There is a song that I referenced in a previous blog that fits with the idea of trusting in God even when it seems He is not there. I appreciate God bring this song up on my Ipod as I write this blog entry… Please take time to read the lyrics especially if you are struggling with doubt about God. Never Alone-God Is With You.

Then I recieved a phone call yesterday out of the blue from a friend. He shared with me a story of the power of prayer in his life and how he prayed out loud in front of his family for somethings and God answered his prayer.

You would think, with the way my week was going, that I would be put off by that but the opposite happened. It greatly encouraged me. I think deep down inside me, I know the value of prayer and the importance of it but with all the frustrations that I have experience in the last two weeks – that belief in prayer got buried and the devil saw that as a foothold.

My friend probably has no clue the effect his story of the power of prayer had on me but I am thankful he shared it with me. This morning I spent some awkward time in prayer with the Lord but that is what happens when it has been a while since you’ve prayed.

With all that said, I want to take a look at what the Bible says about prayer and see what we can learn from it…

I want to start this journey in the book of James for a couple of reasons – 1. I know there are passages that refer to prayer and 2.It is just an awesome book from a great source (who better than the half brother of our savior!)

James 5:16
Confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The earnest prayer of a righteous person has great power and wonderful results.

I get from this that effective prayer happens when you are prepared. We need to be working on getting rid of sin in our lives. The more we strive to be right with God and right with each other the more effective our prayers will be.

James 1:5-8
If you need wisdom–if you want to know what God wants you to do–ask him, and he will gladly tell you. He will not resent your asking. But when you ask him, be sure that you really expect him to answer, for a doubtful mind is as unsettled as a wave of the sea that is driven and tossed by the wind. People like that should not expect to receive anything from the Lord. They can’t make up their minds. They waver back and forth in everything they do.

I love how James is just right there in your face. “If you need wisdom…just ask!” duh! When you do ask – expect an answer! Duh! If you can not make up your mind why would God or anyone for that matter want to work with you! Duh! It is so straight forward – Thank you James – This is what I need.

Next I would like to look at examples of prayer of the faithful…

Mark 1:35-38
The next morning Jesus awoke long before daybreak and went out alone into the wilderness to pray. Later Simon and the others went out to find him. They said, “Everyone is asking for you.”

But he replied, “We must go on to other towns as well, and I will preach to them, too, because that is why I came.”

Who better to look to for what prayer is all about than Jesus – Our savior. Right before this passage in Mark Jesus experience mobs of people all day and well into the night wanting to be healed or see a healing. I believe the whole point of this quiet time was to reconnect with His Father and get His focus back. Verse 38 makes that clear – “that is why I came” Our time in prayer with God can keep us on the right track or get us back on the right track.

James 5:17-18
Elijah was as human as we are, and yet when he prayed earnestly that no rain would fall, none fell for the next three and a half years! Then he prayed for rain, and down it poured. The grass turned green, and the crops began to grow again.

Elijah is an awesome example of prayer in action. This passage reminds of the power of prayer in the hands of a faithful follower of God. His prayers are also what called fire down from the heavens as he faced off with 400 prophets of Baal. There was no shortage of righteousness in the life of Elijah and that is evident in the effectiveness of his prayers

1 Chronicles 29:10-12
Then David praised the LORD in the presence of the whole assembly: “O LORD, the God of our ancestor Israel, may you be praised forever and ever! Yours, O LORD, is the greatness, the power, the glory, the victory, and the majesty. Everything in the heavens and on earth is yours, O LORD, and this is your kingdom. We adore you as the one who is over all things. Riches and honor come from you alone, for you rule over everything. Power and might are in your hand, and it is at your discretion that people are made great and given strength.

This prayer of praise happens right at the end of David’s reign. After all the ups and downs that David went through in his life at the end of his life he was still able to praise the almighty. Another very important reason for prayer is to bring honor and glory and praise to our father no matter what your experiences are or have been, just like David did.

I Timothy 2:1
I urge you, first of all, to pray for all people. As you make your requests, plead for God’s mercy upon them, and give thanks.

This verse is really good. I just found it right now. Paul makes it clear to his apprentice Timothy. Prayer for all your people is very important in Worship. Part of praying is bringing your requests before the Lord for all people and seeking God’s mercy on their behalf – And of course, like David – give thanks.

Prayer is something that is very important to our walk. Don’t neglect it, do what you need to do in order to communicate with God on a regular, daily, if not hourly basis. At the same time, “let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles”(Hebrews 12:1, NIV) so that we will grow in right relationship with God and in effectiveness with our prayers.

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