Along with our faith in God, prayer is one of the important essentials in our Christian walk. Jesus "spake a parable unto them to this end, that men ought always to pray, and not to faint" (Luke 18:1) as did the apostle Paul saying for us to: "Pray without ceasing" (1 Thessalonians 5:17). Jude said to be: "building up yourselves on your most holy faith, praying in the Holy Ghost" (Jude 1:20) as well as James telling us to: "Confess your faults one to another, and pray one for another, that ye may be healed. The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much" (James 5:16). Anyone reading the Old as well as the New Testament can clearly see that prayer, along with our faith, is one of the key fundamentals for an effective relationship with our Maker. And it's through faith and prayer that we can partner with God and change not only our own lives, but the lives of others as well.
On the other hand, our lacking in faith and prayer can have a negative effect as well. We can see this to be true when the disciples asked Jesus why they themselves could not cast the devil out of a man’s son. For Jesus said: “Because of your unbelief: for verily I say unto you, If ye have faith as a grain of mustard seed, ye shall say unto this mountain, Remove hence to yonder place; and it shall remove; and nothing shall be impossible unto you. Howbeit this kind goeth not out but by prayer and fasting." (Matthew 17:20-21) So we can see that the disciples could not cast the devil out because of their lacking in faith and prayer. Thankfully, they had Jesus come to their rescue to cast the devil out of the man's son.
Jesus said: The harvest truly is great, but the labourers are few: pray ye therefore the Lord of the harvest, that he would send forth labourers into his harvest (Luke 10:2) Wow, did you just grasp that? Jesus is telling us to ask God to send people out to share the Gospel. Now, does this mean that no one would be saved if we don't pray for this to happen? Also, would we still be unbelievers if others didn't pray for us as well? Only God Himself knows that answer. However, just look out in the harvest fields (the world) and see all the people who need to be harvested into God's Kingdom.
Let's remember what Jesus said while praying to the Father for those who believed: "I pray for them: I pray not for the world, but for them which thou hast given me; for they are thine. And all mine are thine, and thine are mine; and I am glorified in them" (John 17:9-10). And then afterward he prayed for us as well when he said: "Neither pray I for these alone, but for them also which shall believe on me through their word; That they all may be one; as thou, Father, art in me, and I in thee, that they also may be one in us: that the world may believe that thou hast sent me" (John 17:20-21).
We are also reminded of what Paul said to Timothy: "I exhort therefore, that, first of all, supplications, prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks, be made for all men; For kings, and for all that are in authority; that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and honesty. For this is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Saviour; Who will have all men to be saved, and to come unto the knowledge of the truth." (1 Timothy 2:1-4) So let's take the time to always be in an attitude of prayer, asking God to work and intervene not only in our own life, but the lives of others as well.
You have Not, Because you Ask Not
(Excerpt From: Torrey, R.A. “The Power of Prayer.”)
You will find these seven words in James 4:2, the seven closing words of the verse, “Ye have not, because ye ask not.” These seven words contain the secret of the poverty and powerlessness of the average Christian, of the average minister, and of the average church. “Why is it,” many a Christian is asking, “that I make such poor progress in my Christian life? Why do I have so little victory over sin? Why do I win so few souls to Christ? Why do I grow so slowly into the likeness of my Lord and Savior Jesus Christ?” And God answers in the words of the text: “Neglect of prayer. You have not, because you ask not.”
“Why is it,” many a minister is asking, “that I see so little fruit from my ministry? Why are there so few conversions? Why does my church grow so slowly? Why are the members of my church so little helped by my ministry, and built up so little in Christian knowledge and life?” And again God replies: “Neglect of prayer. You have not, because you ask not.”
“Why is it,” both ministers and churches are asking, “that the church of Jesus Christ is making such slow progress in the world today? Why does it make so little headway against sin, against unbelief, against error in all its forms? Why does it have so little victory over the world, the flesh, and the devil? Why is the average church member living on such a low plane of Christian living? Why does the Lord Jesus Christ get so little honor from the state of the church today?” And, again, God replies: “Neglect of prayer. You have not, because you ask not.”
Let us be careful not to get so caught up in our “Church Agenda” that our prayer time gets push aside to a weekly or even a biweekly meeting. For I can tell you that there is nothing more important than our time of prayer. And let's remember that it was our prayer to God that first changed our own lives as well. So, I encourage you to go through the bible and read for yourselves some of the prayers of God’s Saints such as Salomon, Daniel, Hannah, Abraham’s servant, and Nehemiah to name a few. All these changed lives and the course of history through prayer and their faith.
Let us also not forget about our Savior Jesus Himself: Who in the days of his flesh, when he had offered up prayers and supplications with strong crying and tears unto him that was able to save him from death, and was heard in that he feared; "Though he were a Son, yet learned he obedience by the things which he suffered; And being made perfect, he became the author of eternal salvation unto all them that obey him" (Hebrews 5:7-9) So we see that Jesus through prayer was heard and was victorious and became the author of our salvation. So if Jesus needed to pray, how much more do we.
All Scriptures are taken from the King James Version unless noted otherwise