There is no doubt that believers need to pray. Just learning from Jesus who gave Himself to prayer, the bible is replete with stories of Him going away to pray on several different occasions. I believe all these documented accounts are for our benefit – to provoke us to pray. Jesus Himself admonishes us to pray and never to get tired of praying. Indeed Jesus told the parable of the unjust judge just to let us know that heaven definitely does not mind hearing our voices as often as possible though some people would like to have us believe the opposite. Furthermore, the parable lets us know that it is not unusual or strange for a believer to get tired of praying when it appears the answers are not coming and He said we must not to give up even when we feel like doing so.
Luke 18: 1 “One day Jesus told his disciples a story to show that they should always pray and never give up.”
One thing I can say for believers who reside in the same geographical location as I do, is that they pray. Apart from all the uncertainties and challenges we face that would make any normal person pray, in most pentecostal churches in our area, we are taught to pray and pray aggressively such that this spiritual exercise even takes on a very physical dimension. We totally shake our heads, bodies, clap our hands and so on. I guess satan knows from looking at us, that whilst the fight is spiritual, if he wanted to make it physical we won’t be caught unprepared. Some of us even have mountain tops where we go to pray, just like Jesus did, ensuring that we are close enough to heaven as we possibly can get when we pray. Let me add please that a number of these people have had their prayers answered. So by all means, if any of these things I have described will help you, go ahead and do them. My intention is not demean any of them.
James 5: 16 “Confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The earnest prayer of a righteous person has great power and produces wonderful results.”
The real issue though is this – where are our hearts when we make these many prayers with all that physical intensity? What is the state of our hearts and how sincere are we? Please let me reiterate that I have no problems with all the physical expressions and/or manifestations, but is that physical intensity an expression of what is going on in inside you? Fervency in prayer has to begin on the inside and has a lot to do with the state of one’s heart. At the risk of being accused of being judgmental, I would like you to honestly ask yourself if the heart with which you approached God has ruined your “fervent prayer” even while you were still physically fervent? Why do we want to waste all that physical energy when we know that nothing is happening in the spirit realm? It is time to be honest with ourselves as we come to the place of communion with God.
Luke 18: 11 “The Pharisee stood by himself and prayed this prayer: ‘I thank you, God, that I am not a sinner like everyone else. For I don’t cheat, I don’t sin, and I don’t commit adultery. I’m certainly not like that tax collector! I fast twice a week, and I give you a tenth of my income.”
We have shared the parable of the Pharisee and the publican for so long that we seem to have lost the essence of it and started to act like the Pharisee ourselves. Remember the Pharisees prayer was ignored by God. His words gave expression to the state of His heart and God obviously despised what was revealed. We need to pray now more than ever before but please let us pray prayers that God would hear and be moved to answer. The world appears to be upside down; whilst it has been said that these are all signs of the end times, God’s desire is that Jesus finds faith when He returns but if we continue like we are will He? I personally think it is time to be very serious and stop playing games. Unsuspecting Christians are captured and killed in various parts of the world; some are even beheaded: it will be sad if one believer was killed because our prayers were not effective and lacked the capacity to cause God to move to answer. My point is this, it is time to do all that we need to do to make our prayers effective.