For most of my adult life, I did not quite trust in prayer. I wanted to, but did not really get into it.
I had been exposed to people who pray. I attended church all my life. I took part in Bible study groups. Also, when I was 18, my grandmother stated vehemently that my father, who had been a Canadian soldier in World War II, came home safely in answer to her daily prayers. I discovered later that he was reported missing and presumed dead while he was in Europe.
Finally, at age 48, as a very sick mother of five who was being prayed for by many, I asked God to teach me to pray. Sometime afterwards, I sensed that I was enrolled in "Prayer School" where I continue as a student even today.
Here is some of what I found in the Bible about prayer:
James 5:16b – The prayer of a righteous man is powerful and effective. (NIV)
Prayer is stored in heaven.
Revelation 5:8b – They had golden bowls full of incense (fragrant spices and gums for burning), which are the prayers of God's people (the saints). (AMP)
Prayer comes back to earth from heaven.
Revelation 8:3-5a – Another angel came and stood at the altar, holding a golden censer; and much incense was given to him, so that he might add it to the prayers of all the saints on the golden altar which was before the throne. And the smoke of the incense, with the prayers of the saints, went up before God out of the angel's hand. And the angel took the censer and filled it with the fire of the altar, and threw it to the earth. (NASB)
So now, it's easy to pray. Why do I speak into "space" believing that my "hot air" makes a difference? Every prayer that I say has a purpose. It invites God's powerful love to come into situations on earth to bless the people involved with His righteousness, peace, and joy, and to keep them according to His will.
Before Prayer School, I could not dispute the results of prayer. My grandmother believed that prayer had saved my father's life. He did survive the bombing of a military hospital after he was evacuated from the front due to pneumonia. I was born in 1952. Caring members of the church prayed when I was desperately ill, and I began to recover.
Since starting Prayer School more than eleven years ago, I have prayed for myself and for many others. I have seen strife-torn and poisonous family relationships become respectful and caring. I have seen health improve. I have seen wandering youth re-connect with their loved ones. I have seen faith grow. I have seen people find ways to manage when it looked like there was no way on earth that they could. Yes, there are still plenty of situations where I prayed and have seen little change. So, I wait in faith and keep adding more incense to the golden bowls. Following these instructions now brings me joyous satisfaction:
James 5:13a – Is any one of you in trouble? He should pray. (NIV)
1 Timothy 2:1,3 – I urge, then, first of all, that requests, prayers, intercession and thanksgiving be made for everyone. This is good, and pleases God our Savior. (NIV)
New Testament writers describe Jesus as praying steadily. His disciples asked Him to teach them to pray. How is your heart toward prayer?
Prayer: Gracious Father in heaven, thank You for Scripture and for the witness of Your saints. In the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, we ask You teach us to make powerful and effective prayers. May we see more and more of Your loving will done on earth as it is in heaven. Amen.