Over the years God has caused me to realise the true power of prayer. Prayer being an expression of our worship of God, my prayer life ought always to be improving, always drawing me to a closer walk with God. Prayer is the life-line of believers. As soon as a believer loses fellowship with God through prayer, his moral strength and Godly living will fall into shambles. What remains will be a mere image of true piety, put on so as to maintain a favourable standing in the eyes of men.
Take the Biblical example of Peter. Jesus told him, “Watch and pray.” Had he but done these two things, no doubt his moral courage would have held. Because he failed to pray, his cutting off Malchus’ ear was nothing more than an image of true moral courage, put on, no doubt, to satisfy his own self-confidence. Had he watched with Jesus, would not God have given him the strength to flee temptation and cling to his Master?
So it is with the believer of today. He walks with Christ in a glorious relationship of prayer and watchfulness, but when he begins to be lax and spend less time in prayer, the devil comes and whispers, “It is but for a season; you may always begin again later.” Thus the Christian is convinced to lay down prayer, and thus become totally disarmed and vulnerable to the attacks of the devil. He then falls into the trap of the church of Sardis, who had a name that they lived, but were truly dead. Note that at the end of the armour of God in Ephesians, Paul instructs that we pray “always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, and watching thereunto with all perseverance and supplication for all saints.”
Once the Christian has been convinced to lay down his weapons, he begins to fall prey to the attacks of the devil. This does not happen suddenly; it happens over a period of months, if not years. It begins subtly, so subtly that only those who are immersed in the word of God and are spending time daily in prayer may see the trap. “A prudent man,” Proverbs tells us, “forseeth evil, and hideth himself, but the simple pass on, and are punished.”
It requires a prudence beyond our human strength to perceive this evil afar off. If one is to live a godly life in this world, he must have a living relationship with God. A life of prayer is essential to every Christian. Paul exhorted the Thessalonians, “Pray without ceasing,” and again, “In everything give thanks.” And again, to Timothy, “I exhort therefore, that, first of all, supplications, prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks, be made for all men.”
Jesus Christ himself gives us instruction in prayer. Note that He does not say, “if you pray,” but, “when you pray.” Prayer is assumed as a vital part of Christian living. Prayer for a Christian is as breathing for the body – so vital to the functioning of the body that were it to be discontinued, the body would soon die for lack of oxygen. Even so for Christians, if prayer is discontinued, the spirit will whither, let down its guard, and fall easy pray to the devil and his darts.
Many a strong man who has neglected prayer has fallen to the temptations which the devil threw at him. I have already mentioned Peter, so let us look at some other instances.
Cain, when he went out of the presence of the Lord, slew his brother (Genesis 4:8).
Balaam, when he went to God to have his own desires fulfilled rather than to have communion with God, caused the people to commit immorality (Revelation 2:14, Numbers 23-24).
Samson, when his commitment to God’s principles lagged, fell into immorality and disobedience, however, when he turned back to God in prayer, God wrought a wondrous victory. (Judges 16:28-30)
On the other hand, it is interesting to note that the man after God’s own heart – David – is also the man who has the most prayer recorded under his name in the entire Bible – in the Psalms. (Acts 13:22) Did he fall? Yes. Was his life one of failure? No. As we turn to God in prayer, He can make holiness out of havoc; righteousness out of a wreck.
One example of those whose prayer reaped great rewards would be Peter. Though he failed and fell in the garden, when he cried out to Jesus for salvation in the fearsome storm, Christ held him up. (Matt 14:31-32) Also, Job’s friends were spared the wrath of God when Job prayed for them. It is also interesting that God turned his blessing back to Job when he prayed. (Job 42:7-10)
Yes, even the very Son of God prayed while on earth. How can I help but engage in this awe-inspiring activity? It is not just my responsibility or duty to pray, it is my God given priviledge!
I hope you have been encouraged through this small exortation… May the Lord bless each one of you as you continue to seek His face through prayer!