Sisters and Prayer

The Privilege of Prayer

We have this assurance: "The effectual, fervent prayer of the righteous man availeth much"(James 5:16). And again, "All things whatsoever ye shall ask in prayer, believing, ye shall receive" (Matt 21:22) We do believe it! Therefore we have confidence and receive strength from the very act of sending forth our petitions in prayer.

It is apparent, that while we who have learnt and accepted the way of truth are privileged to be able to approach the Father in prayer and be heard, we can also lose this privilege. A solemn thought! The children of Israel provide our example. They were God's chosen people and privileged to present their petitions to Him. Yet we read in Ezekiel 20:1-3 of the time when God would hear them no more. "Are you come to enquire of Me? As I live, saith the Lord God, I will not be inquired of by you." And the reason is stated clearly in Isaiah 29:13: "This people draw near to me with their mouth, and with their lips do honour me, but have removed their heart from me." So John exhorts us, "Let us not love in word, neither in tongue (as did Israel), but in deed and in truth." "Beloved, if our heart condemn us not, then have we confidence toward God. And whatsoever we ask, we receive of him, because we keep his commandments, and do those things that are pleasing in his sight."

It matters not when or where we send forth our prayers, God will hear them if they proceed from the heart. Nevertheless, there is a suitable mode of addressing Him. Solomon exhorts: "Keep thy foot when thou goest to the house of God... be not rash with thy mouth, and let not thine heart be hasty to utter anything before God; for God is in heaven, and thou upon earth; therefore let thy words be few" (Ecc. 5:2). Jesus emphasised this principle in His Discourse on the Mount, and gave us the perfect prayer as an example--in five short verses! We must remember our position. Vain repetitions, extravagant language, and a dramatic style do not impress God.

What a responsibility, then, is attached to this wonderful privilege of being permitted to approach theThrone of Grace in prayer, assured that our prayers will be heard. By this means, we draw near in faith, make known our desires, and gain thereby strength, courage, and help in time of need. By its means, we honour His great Name, in rendering praise and thanksgiving for the many wonderful blessings showered upon us every day.

Submitted by Sister Donna Rankin to Encouraging Words. From Selah