Have you heard about the two missionaries who agreed that once a year, they would get together to go hunting on the first day of the deer hunting season? For several years, this had taken place.
While hunting in the forest in a clearing in the woods one year, they saw a huge bear feasting on berries. The bear heard them, stood up to see better and turned toward the friends. The friends quietly said to each other, “What do we do?” One friend said, “Shoot the bear!” “We can’t!” replied the other friend, “Bears are protected in this area. The fine is $10,000.”
Instantly, the two men run away from the bear. They ran into the woods for protection. They could hear the deep panting of the bear gaining on them with every breath. They were running around with a bear (bare?) behind. “What should we do?” one friend asked the other. “Pray!” was the swift reply. They both stopped and prayed: “Father in Heaven, please make this bear a Christian. Amen!”
After the prayer, the bear stopped dead in his tracks. The two missionaries could not hear the bear any longer. They slowly turned around to see what the bear was doing. The bear was kneeling on the ground with his massive arms folded in quiet reverence. Then they heard a groan from the bear that sounded like: “Father in Heaven, bless this food that I am about to partake. Amen.”
The moral of this story is to be careful of what you pray for. You might just get it!
One thing I have learned in 43 years of ministry is to never, never, ever, ever underestimate the power of prayer. We, the people, tend toward self-reliance, which often gets in the way of our need for prayer. We want to do everything on our own. Think about it. Prayer invites God to be involved in our lives. I’ve discovered that ministry is doing what God just said to do in a prayer.
Author Corrie Ten Boom asks this question about prayer. “Is prayer your steering wheel or your spare tire?” In other words, is prayer your first resort or last resort? Ten Boom challenges us as people and a nation to make prayer a first resort rather than a last resort. She’s trying to get us to embrace something most of us already know about. She’s not saying anything new. She’s saying it in a way that hopefully will move us from knowledge about prayer to the application of prayer, especially for our nation right now.
Real prayer is proactive, not reactive. It’s the coffee, not the cream. Prayer is tuning into the God channel. We aren’t created to live in reaction to circumstances, world groupthink or evil raising its ugly head. We are made to live in response to God. But it’s hard to hear from God if we are not near God. For example, a jet plane looks small when we are far away. But when we are near the jet plane, we see it is enormous and powerful. Just like if we are far from the Lord, we view God as small and unable. But the nearer we draw to God, the more we see God is the great, big, almighty God. For most, the closer to God, the more powerful the prayer life. Why? They see God is All-Mighty.
So, why should we pray? It’s communication and communicating with God. Prayer releases spiritual power when God is behind it and our hearts are in it. And the greater the prayer, the greater the power. Prayer links our burdened hearts to God’s inexhaustible resources. Jesus could go through Calvary because He prayed at Gethsemane. Prayer touches heaven and often changes Earth. That’s called on Earth as it is in heaven.
Pastor Dan Steffen of Pure Heart Church once spoke about someone who came to his church because he needed prayer. The person was in a health crisis. When their prayer team gathered around the person to pray, the person said, “Would you please pray for me like you mean it.”
Prayer works best when you mean it, not when it’s written or traditional. Prayer is a heart issue.
People often ask me, “Why was there so much power in the books of Acts in the Bible?” One answer is prayer.
In chapter 1, the early church continually prayed. In chapter 2, the first Christians broke bread and prayed. In chapter 3, Peter was on the way to a prayer meeting when he said, “Silver and gold have I none … in the name of Jesus, walk.” And the man began walking, leaping and praising God because of prayer. In chapter 4, the church didn’t have an earthquake; they had a prayer quake. In chapter 5, they prayed in one accord in Solomon’s portico. In chapter 6, they devoted themselves to prayer and living out God’s word. In chapter 7, while Stephen was stoned, he prayed the same prayer as Jesus — “Father, forgive them.” In chapter 8, the Samaritans received the Holy Spirit “after prayer.”
In chapter 9, Dorcas was raised from the dead after prayer. In chapter 10, the Samaritans received the Holy Spirit after prayer. In chapter 11, Peter recalled the great white sheet vision. When did he receive it? In the hour of prayer. In chapter 12, Peter is in jail. What did the church do? They had a prayer meeting. In chapter 13, the first apostles and missionaries were sent out following prayer. In chapter 14, the first elders were picked out from among the church after prayer. And when you choose an elder, you had better pray! After prayer is the God–people connection.
Let me summarize prayer this way. Prayer is talking to God about the issue and then talking to the issue about God. Selah!
Pastor Ed Delph, Foothills Focus Columnist www.thefoothillsfocus.com
2023-11-19 07:00:00 , www.thefoothillsfocus.com – Vivrr Local Results in features of type article