Prayer is the success formula in the life of the believer (or it should be). To pray means to enquire, to call upon the Lord, to intercede, to ask, to cry out to the Lord. God is the omnipotent, wise Creator whose arm is never too short to help (Numbers 11:23). He has the knowledge, insight, power, love and willingness to help us in distress, trouble and awkward situations.
The key to prayer is faith and the key to faith is the Word of God, the Bible.
Prayer is based upon a personal knowledge of and relationship to God. God is invisible, so faith that He exists and rewards those who earnestly seek Him, is necessary. Without faith it is impossible to please God (Hebrews 11:6). Faith is based on a knowledge of the whole Word of God, the holy Bible. Romans 10:17 says, ‘faith comes from hearing the message, and the message is heard through the word of Christ.’ (The Word is 75% Old Testament and 25% New Testament. If a person disregards the Old Testament, he loses 75% of the opportunity to build his faith.)
God does not automatically supply our needs or help us in times of trouble, if we do not call on Him. The simple reason is that He would then have to help all people; everyone’s needs would be fulfilled; and many people would flock to God for the benefits. For this reason He told us to pray and then He has the ‘legal’ right to help us, without disadvantaging anybody. Those who do not pray, cannot blame God for not answering, because they never asked. If we have faith in God’s Word and allow the Holy Spirit to lead and teach us, prayer is not a drudge or a scary religious exercise. It is a way for us to find help in situations where we are helpless (Ephesians 3:20, ‘to Him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us’).
The value of prayer is especially seen in times of persecution. The church has always been persecuted. No believer is guaranteed immunity from persecution by the devil. We are guaranteed that God will help us when we call, believe and trust Him. What does the believer lose who doesn’t pray? A lot. He makes life difficult for himself.
In a certain sense prayer is very scientific. In science, statements are based on experiential evidence. Prayer is also based on ‘evidence’ found in the Word of God. Prayer is most effective if God can be reminded how He helped the people in the Bible. The better one knows the Bible (from Genesis to Revelation) the more one knows how God helped His people and the more faith one has in God’s power to help in difficulties.
An example of Word based prayer:
Request: ‘God, please help me with this difficult problem to relocate to another city. The firm I am working for is downscaling and relocating, but it will involve changes, especially for the children.
God: why should I help you?’
Answer: ‘Because I am your child (through the blood of Jesus).’
God: ‘Accepted, but give Me a reason why I should help you in this case.’
Answer: ‘God, when Eliezer was sent on a difficult mission to find a wife for Isaac, he called on you for help and guidance (Genesis 24:12) and you gave him success (Genesis 24:48). We respectfully remind you that you have no favourites (Romans 2:11), and that you are a powerful, omnipotent God who wants us to consult you (Psalm 46:1). It is written in 1 Chronicles 5:20 that you helped the Israelites because they cried out to you during the battle and you answered their prayers since they trusted you. We know that you will help us to handle the situation effectively (vs 22). We rely on your guidance. Thank you Father.’
This is just an example, because we need the guidance of the Holy Spirit in every situation. For each request He leads us to a part in the Bible that is our ‘template.’ It is like the right medicine for a specific illness. The beauty of prayer is that it is the help of a wonderful Father for his needy child. Since we ask according to His will (as in the Bible), we have the guarantee He will answer and help (1 John 5:14-15).
In our busy lives, the more we read the Bible and use it to pray, the more we will accomplish. Neglecting the powerful Word of God is a waste of huge potential benefits for us. The more we talk to God, the better we get to know Him. We will spend an eternity with Him, so we might as well get to know Him personally as the Great Father who delights to help.
Warning: The devil is aware that a praying believer is a dangerous one, so he will do his best to prevent believers from reading the Bible and praying.