One of the greatest miracles we can experience is approaching God in prayer. The
simple act of talking to God and then listening for His answers can give us comfort
amid distress and peace amid sorrow. I’ve seen the power of prayer heal the sick and the dying and cast out evil spirits. I’ve seen it save a family from calamity and comfort the weary. Prayer guided me to find a faithful man to marry. Prayer guided us each time we moved and when we made career, family, and relationship decisions.
Recently, I’ve been begging God to help my many friends and family members who are struggling with major challenges. Although Heavenly Father wants us to plead for His help, He also wants us to honor Him and express gratitude to Him as we pray. I need to remember that prayer is more than giving God a laundry list of requests.
Jesus challenges us to “watch and pray always.” Here are some ways that can help us pray continually as we seek to endure the challenges of living:
• When we see the beauties of nature, we can thank God for them.
• When we pass a lonely person on the street, we can pray for him or her.
• When we feel sad, we can ask God to comfort us.
• When we are happy, we can thank God for that gift.
• When we ask God for wisdom or help, we can listen quietly for His answers.
• When we feel overwhelmed with life’s struggles, we can ask God to carry our burdens.
Reading God’s word can teach us how to pray more effectively and often provides answers to our prayers. We can remember these verses as we seek for direction and encouragement in our lives.
• When we are afraid, we can remember Isaiah 41:10, which says, “Fear not for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you, yes, I will help you. I will uphold you with My righteous right hand” (NKJV).
• When we feel discouraged, stressed out, or overburdened, we say pray, “Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace, whose mind in stayed on Thee, because he trusts in Thee” (Isaiah 26:3).
• When we don’t know what to do, we can remember to “trust in the LORD with all our heart and lean not on our own understanding; In all our ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct our paths” (Proverbs 3:5-6).
• Before we ask for anything, we should remember to give thanks to God. “ We give thanks unto thee, O God; We give thanks, for thy name is near: Men tell of thy wondrous works” (Psalm 75:1 ASV).
When I was caring for my dying mother, I needed God’s help. No longer able to see or walk, my mother required constant attention. I also had three children living at home who needed me as well. I discovered that my silent prayers were answered, even though my burdens felt overwhelming at the time. As I look back, I realize that God gave me strength, wisdom, and courage to face challenges that were beyond my own ability to endure because I asked for His help.
As we seek to live in meekness and obedience to God, forgive others, reach out to the needy, and listen carefully to God, He will direct our lives for good. The power of simple prayer can heal broken relationships, strengthen us when we are weak, and give us courage when we are afraid.
Jesus counseled his disciples to “watch you therefore, and pray always, that you may be accounted worthy to escape all these things that shall come to pass, and to stand before the Son of man (Luke 21:36). Paul said, “Pray in the Spirit at all times and on every occasion. Stay alert and be persistent in your prayers” (Ephesians 6:18).
Satan does not want us to pray. He wants us to become so busy, distracted, or overwhelmed that we forget to maintain a strong relationship with our Father. Simple prayers unlock the powers of heaven and allow us to access God’s wisdom, strength, and comfort. John Bunyan, the Christian writer and preacher who lived almost four hundred years ago, said, Pray often; for prayer is a shield to the soul, a sacrifice to God, and a scourge for Satan.”
© Carol Brown