How many times have we heard “prayer changes things?” Probably more than we can count. The fact is, we all need to pray. We all need to pray more. We all need to pray with faith, believing God will answer our requests.
The Word of God has much to say on the subject of prayer. You can find scores of prayers throughout the Bible, prayers offered up to God by a wide range of personalities and differing walks of life. Reading these prayers gives us hope, knowing God is no respecter of people; it is good to know if He blessed one, He will certainly bless another.
I want to list some prominent prayers found in God’s Word. All scripture references, unless otherwise noted, are from the King James Version. If I miss one of your favorite passages, it is certainly not intentional. This list is not offered as all-inclusive; just highlighting some that mean a lot to me.
To begin, I think it’s appropriate to quote a basic concept regarding prayer and God’s thoughts about it. I still believe this is fresh and relevant in today’s world.
II Chronicles 7:14 If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land.
Several points in this scripture need to be addressed. If is a big word. I believe the Lord is saying there is a possibility His people will not do what He asks. Perhaps you have been so inclined with your own children, too. The promise of hearing, forgiving and healing is conditional. We do our part, and God will do His part.
In II Kings 19, we find King Hezekiah and his people under siege by the armies of the king of Assyria. This is a terrible position to be in, and great fear comes on Hezekiah and his people. How would you react in a situation like that? King Hezekiah did the right thing: he made his way to the house of God, then sent word to the prophet Isaiah. Hear the urgency in the king’s words: “And they said unto him, Thus saith Hezekiah, This day is a day of trouble, and of rebuke, and blasphemy: for the children are come to the birth, and there is not strength to bring forth.” (II Kings 19:3)
The king of Assyria sent another letter to Hezekiah, and just like he did before, Hezekiah made his way back to the house of God. This time, though, he spread the letter before the Lord and began to pray. After only one hundred twenty six words, the king was through with the prayer. What a power-packed prayer it was! It wasn’t long until the prophet Isaiah heard from God and sent word to the king God had heard his prayer. When we pray in faith, God will hear us, too. Suffice it to say, God took care of the situation because Hezekiah prayed and believed the Lord would do for him and his people exactly what God had promised.
In II Kings 20, we find Hezekiah sick and about to die. Isaiah delivered a message from God to the king in person. Can you imagine how you would feel if a God’s prophet came to you and said, “Thus saith the Lord, Set thine house in order; for thou shalt die, and not live.”? The situation was real, and the king knew Isaiah’s words were true. What would you do? Hezekiah did the only reasonable thing he could have done, and that was to turn his face to the wall and begin to pray.
A prayer of just thirty-one words may not seem like much, but it touched the Lord’s heart. Here’s the interesting part, before Isaiah made it to the middle court, God told him to turn around and go back inside to give Hezekiah an answer. Now, that was a powerful prayer. The king touched heaven with a short, sincere, heartfelt prayer, and God was moved by it into action. Where are those who can pray like that? Where are the people who know how to get hold of God’s heart. We need more people who know how to pray.
King David was a man after God’s own heart. To be sure, David was a man of prayer; the Psalms are full of references to prayer. Reading the psalms gives insight into how David and others prayed. I think Psalm 65:2 brings prayer into sharp focus for us: “O thou that hearest prayer, unto thee shall all flesh come.” If we want victory in our lives, then we must pray by calling on God.
Our land is in need of a great revival from one coast to another. I am not referring to just a series of meetings where nothing happens. I am referring to genuine, powerful, anointed, Holy Ghost, life-changing revival. Any church can hold meetings, and many do, but without the power of God in the midst. Many people are hungry to see a genuine move of God in these last days like so many times before. Psalm 85:6 declares “Wilt thou not revive us again: that thy people may rejoice in thee?” This prayer should be our heart’s cry. To revive again means there must have been revival before. Let us cry to God in heaven to send Holy Ghost revival to our nation.
Finally, Jesus is the great teacher who was pleased to train His disciples on matters of prayer. In Luke’s gospel, chapter 11, one of the disciples came to Jesus and asked if he and the others could enroll in the School of Prayer. Class was in session, and they wanted to get trained by the Son of God. Could they have done any better? No, Jesus knew how to pray, and gladly began the instruction. Verses 2-4 declare “When ye pray, say, Our Father which art in heaven, Hallowed be thy name. Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done, as in heaven, so in earth. 3 Give us day by day our daily bread. 4 And forgive us our sins; for we also forgive every one that is indebted to us. And lead us not into temptation; but deliver us from evil.”
Matthew 6:9-15 9 After this manner therefore pray ye: Our Father which art in heaven, Hallowed be thy name. 10 Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven. 11 Give us this day our daily bread. 12 And forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors. 13 And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil: For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, for ever. Amen. 14 For if ye forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you: 15 But if ye forgive not men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses.
Would you like to enroll in the School of Prayer and ask Christ to be your instructor? Many people have done just that; some stay in the beginner’s class and others move into more advanced training. I suppose you can move into many degree programs with Christ as both instructor and head of the school. What about you today? Will you enroll and begin your training? Will you pray?
A couple of Sunday mornings ago, the Spirit of the Lord began dealing with our church about prayer. It is so urgent and necessary, especially in the days we are living in. My wife mentioned having a prayer meeting during the evening service, and that certainly agreed with my spirit. We came together for the purpose of calling on God, and out of that meeting, the Spirit of the Lord directed us to meet for forty nights of prayer. We are into our second week, and I must tell you, the Lord is changing us. We are hearing reports of God’s grace and power as we meet together nightly. We have even canceled our midweek classes in order to join each other for prayer.
God is moving in a powerful way, and will always answer prayer offered up in faith. Is prayer a routine part of your lives? Do you only pray when trouble comes? Please, friend, don’t wait for the bottom to drop out of your lives before calling on God. He wants to hear your prayer; He delights in meeting your need.
If you don’t know Jesus Christ as your personal savior, why not call on Him today through prayer? He will hear you and answer you if you pray with a heart of faith. Believe He hears your prayer today.