December 2000

"The prayer of a righteous man is powerful and effective."
James 5:16b 

    Built on the premises of faith and walking on the path of righteousness, is prayer.  Prayer is merely communication with God.  It is anytime we verbally or non-verbally express our thoughts, dreams, desires, and/or ideas with the Creator and open ourselves to receive a response.  Like any form of communication, in order for prayer to be effective, it must work both ways.  Not only do we offer our questions, requests, and praises to our Lord, but we must also learn how to recognize His reply.  It's easy to offer prayer, but it takes much more patience and skill to learn how to acknowledge the answers.

"Ask and it will be given to you, seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you.  For everyone who asks receives; he who seeks finds; and to him who knocks, the door will be opened."
Matthew 7:7 

     Some believe that prayer is an attempt to change the mind of God.  This is false thinking since we know that God is omniscient and that God's ways far exceed our own understanding; that God knows our hearts and minds better than we know ourselves.  When we pray, we are asking God into our lives, to illuminate our path and show us how we can best live out His will for our lives.  Prayer changes US.  It shows us how we can live more fully in the light of heaven.  It directs our paths to the perfect and pleasing will of the Lord.  It allows us to examine our lives and root out the evil which has prevented us from receiving the many blessings in our lives which God has to offer us.  Prayer comforts our souls and unites us with the Source of All Things.  The unifying power of prayer helps us to not change the mind of God, but to change our own hearts and minds, conforming to His mind.  

"In anguish I cried to the Lord, and he answered by setting me free."
Psalm 118:5 

    Another form of prayer is intercessory prayer.  This is more than mere interaction with the Creator, but takes on an added dimension because we are praying for another person.  We are interceding on their behalf.  Intercession allows us to "stand in the gap" between someone about whom we are concerned and God in order to bring divine guidance into another's life.  It can be done for purposes of protection, healing, inspiration, guidance, etc.  We can ask the Holy Spirit to be a part of another's life and bring about the will of God in this person's life, or at least make it more apparent to them.  Since we all have free will, it is impossible to coerce a person to make a choice or to do something they choose not to do, yet with God, all things are possible.  The Spirit's presence in our lives puts a shield of protection around us and surrounds us with circumstances which will help guide us to make the right decisions.  

"In anguish I cried to the Lord, and he answered by setting me free."
Psalm 118:5 

   Not only should we turn to God in prayer for our needs and the needs of others, but prayer helps to fortify our faith and keep us on the path of life.  It is necessary to make prayer a conscious and constant part of our lives in order to maintain and nourish our relationship with the Creator.  Those who are living in the will of God are going to be tempted the most, for these are the ones the enemy seeks to destroy for they have the power to win hearts for the cause of righteousness.  Therefore, we pray for protection from the snares of the enemy.  We pray to stay on the path and to avoid temptation and evil.  Prayer keeps us focused and keeps us from straying.  When we neglect our prayer life, we are opening ourselves up to the possibility of sin.  Therefore, we must be vigilant in our prayers, always seeking to do God's will and constantly asking for strength and protection from the plans of the enemies all around us who seek to destroy us.

" in harmony with one another; be sympathetic, love as brothers, be compassionate and humble.  Do not repay evil with evil or insult with insult, but with blessing, because to this you were called so that you may inherit a blessing.  For, 'Whoever would love life and see good days must keep his tongue from evil and his lips from deceitful speech.  He must turn from evil and do good; he must seek peace and pursue it.  For the eyes of the Lord are on the righteous and his ears are attentive to their prayer, but the face of the Lord is against those who do evil'."
I Peter 3:8-12

    As people of God, we will always have enemies: those who hate us and launch all kinds of lies against us.  We know that the truth shall always prevail and that the victory will always belong to the Lord and not to the powers of darkness.  We are called to pray for our enemies; to not repay evil with evil.  We are called to bless those who curse us and love those who hate us.  This is easier said than done-- a difficult task.  Yet, when we pray for our enemies and offer them our care, concern, and genuine love, we keep ourselves holy and do not give the enemy the response which he is attempting to provoke from us.  Showing those who seek to destroy us our love, forgiveness, and grace gives them a chance to seek that same peace and draw them into the same righteousness.  Our actions will speak loudly and clearly to them; more so than words could ever accomplish on their own.

"Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you..."
Matthew 5:44

    Prayer is a powerful tool in the arsenal of spirituality.  Prayer has the power to overcome adversity, to change hearts, to heal broken bodies, and to restore shattered relationships.  Prayer changes things.  Many times it is we who are changed.  Prayer produces miracles and nurtures hope.  Therefore, pray at all times and experience the grace of God at work in your life.

"This, then is how you should pray: Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name, your kingdom come, your will be done on earth as it is in heaven.  Give us today our daily bread.  Forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors.  And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one."
Matthew 6:9-13

�  I am using the male gender to represent God in this article.  However, it is implied that His is the proper English denotation for both the masculine pronoun and for  those of mixed gender, for I believe that God is truly both Mother and Father, Male and Female.  Please understand that in this context He/His is standing to represent both He and She.  It's just more aesthetic to write it this way.

� 2000 Jennifer N. Ayers, Starr-Rhapsody Creations. No part of this article may be printed or copied without written consent from the author.  

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