In times when I have struggled with prayer, I have sought out examples of prayer that worked in the Bible and found encouragement, challenge, and inspiration to ‘fight the good fight of faith’ in prayer. If prayer were not vital in our lives I do not believe that God would have included it as a directive in the Bible. If prayer does not ‘avail’ or ‘produce’ positive result, then it is a futile and useless exercise. If I did not believe that prayer worked I would not pray! I do not intentionally engage in worthless or meaningless exercises that do not work. I prefer to do things that have a purpose and engage in practices that produce positive results. I do not find it redemptive or beneficial to go through religious exercises that are only for show but without power and purpose.
Let me list a few examples in the Bible of Prayers that Produced or will Produce. These are not listed in order of importance but as they have come to mind.
THE PRAYER OF JABEZ – 1 Chronicles 4:10
1 Chronicles 4:10 – “Now Jabez called on the God of Israel, saying, “Oh that You would bless me indeed and enlarge my border, and that Your hand might be with me, and that You would keep me from harm that it may not pain me!” And God granted him what he requested.” NASU
The name Jabez means, ‘to grieve, sorrowful.’ His mother named him Jabez because she ‘bore him in pain.’ His prayer has been used by many in Christendom and most focus on the first two aspects of it, ‘bless me indeed’ and ‘enlarge my border.’ He also asked that God’s hand be on him and divine protection keeping him from harm and pain! The last portion of the verse is, in my mind, the most important of all – “And God granted him what he requested.” HALLELUJAH! That’s the objective of prayer – THE ANSWER! He prayed, he specified what he was needing or desiring and GOD GAVE IT TO HIM! Would he have gotten it without prayer? I cannot say absolutely yes or no but HE DID PRAY and GOD DID ANSWER!
THE LORD’S PRAYER – Matthew 6:9-13
Matthew 6:9-15 – “Our Father who is in heaven, Hallowed be Your name. 10′ Your kingdom come. Your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven. 11′ Give us this day our daily bread. 12 ‘And forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors. 13’And do not lead us into temptation, but deliver us from evil. [For Yours is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever. Amen.’ 14 ” For if you forgive others for their transgressions, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. 15 “But if you do not forgive others, then your Father will not forgive your transgressions.” NASU
This is a powerful prayer and beautiful pattern for our daily prayer but tragically some stop at the end of verse 13 but we dare not stop there for verses 14 & 15 are critical as well. If we begin with our petition we are disrespecting God so we begin prayer with recognition of Him, His person, presence, and power. The Bible tells us that we enter God’s gates with thanksgiving and His courts with praise. Praise conditions our heart to shift our focus from us and our situation to Him and His Power. We are to pray the prayer of submission to the will of God on earth and in our lives. Then we pray for our needs and follow that with forgiving others. We recognize the spiritual warfare in which we are engaged and pray for God’s deliverance and protection and conclude with recognition and testimony of His Purpose, Power, Person, and Name! We anchor this prayer with FORGIVENESS, giving and receiving!
I want to address a bit more on this topic so I will stop here for today and pick up tomorrow with a few more examples of Powerful Prayer in the Bible! God, bless you richly as you embark on today’s portion of your life journey.