THE GIFT OF PRAYER
Paul’s final gift for us this Advent is the gift of prayer. Ephesians 6:18 says, “pray at all times in the Spirit,” and Verse 19 asks the reader to “pray for me.”
Pray at all times. Sounds remarkably like 1 Thessalonians 5:17: “Pray without ceasing,” doesn’t it?
Pray in the Spirit. That sounds a lot like Romans 8:26, which says that when we don’t know how to pray or what to pray,
“… the Spirit helps us with our weakness. We do not know how to pray as we should. But the Spirit himself speaks to God for us, even begs God for us with deep feelings that words cannot explain.” (Romans 8:26, NCV).
Is there any greater gift to open on this Christmas Day than the ability to connect in prayer with God the Father? He shows His love for us and His desire to communicate with us by sending Jesus to us.
What a sweet gift it is to be able to offer prayers on behalf of others.
There are countless stories of answered prayer. One of my favorites is from George Muller, who served the Lord over 150 years ago. He was a man who took seriously the charge of God to take care of widows and orphans. Throughout his life, he reportedly cared for over 10,000 orphans. He was characterized as a man of prayer. It is said he prayed about everything and expected each prayer to be answered. He never asked anyone, other than God, for funds to operate over 100 different homes for children in England and throughout Europe.
From his journal:
“During the summer and autumn of 1866 we had also the measles at all the three Orphan-Houses. After they had made their appearance, our special prayer was:
1. That there might not be too many children ill at one time in this disease, so that our accommodation in the Infirmary rooms or otherwise might be sufficient. This prayer was answered to the full… yet God so graciously was pleased to listen to our supplications, as that when our spare rooms were filled with the invalids, He so long stayed the spreading of the measles till a sufficient number were restored, so as to make room for others, who were taken ill.
2. Further we prayed, that the children, who were taken ill in the measles, might be safely brought through and not die. Thus it was. We had the full answer to our prayers; for though 262 children altogether had the measles, not one of them died.
3. Lastly we prayed, that no evil physical consequences might follow this disease, as is so often the case; this was also granted. All 262 children not only recovered but did well afterward. I gratefully record this signal mercy and blessing of God, and this full and precious answer to prayer, to the honor of His name.”
Two-hundred sixty-two children with measles in an orphanage. In the 1860s. None of them died. That’s unheard of! A true answer to prayer.
It is a gift to be able to pray, and it is a joy to see how God answers our prayers! May I encourage you to keep praying and to keep looking for Him when you feel like you have prayed and prayed and prayed and you have not seen God’s answer? He will answer you. In His time and by His will. He will answer with what is best for you and the situation. You may not be able to see that His answer is best but trust it. In time, you will see our Father God’s mighty and loving hand. What a gift! God so loves it when we pray. I heard a man once paint a beautiful word picture that went something like this: Maybe one day, when we get to heaven, God will welcome us with a gleam in his eyes and a smile and say, “You kept me busy with your prayers!”
So, gear up when you feel like a cloud is over you and when you feel attacked by the enemy. Pray up. God is here for you. He gave us His son, through whom we connect with Him. When you are thankful for answered prayer, be sure to let God know you are overwhelmed with His love and grace!
Father God, thank you for the gift of prayer … to be able to talk with you and seek your face. Thank you. Help me trust that you are answering my prayers in your timing and by your will. May I be able to see that you only want what is best for me. In Jesus’ name. Amen.
WAS THIS PLAN HELPFUL? It was adapted from the book “The Greatest Gifts – a 25-day Christmas devotional.” You can find more info and other resources at RichRonald.com.