James 5:16 says, “The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much.” The Lord shows His power through the prayers of His people. James 5:17 says, “Elias was a man subject to like passions as we are, and he prayed earnestly that it might not rain: and it rained not on the earth by the space of three years and six months.” Now that is power!
We as God’s people must be stirred by the fact that the Lord’s power has not diminished; what has diminished, however, is our effort to seek His power through prayer. In Luke 18:1 we read of Christ, “And he spake a parable unto them to this end, that men ought always to pray, and not to faint.” Praying must be prevalent in our lives. In 1 Thessalonians 5:17 Paul exhorts us to “pray without ceasing.” Why the admonition from these two verses, “always to pray” and “pray without ceasing”? The answer is because either victory or defeat lies in the balance.
Such was the case with Moses in the Old Testament when the Israelites were in battle with the Amalekites. Exodus 17:10, 11 says, “So Joshua did as Moses had said to him, and fought with Amalek: and Moses, Aaron, and Hur went up to the top of the hill. And it came to pass, when Moses held up his hand, that Israel prevailed: and when he let down his hand, Amalek prevailed.” The world prevails in our lives when we “let down” in the area of prayer, but we have victory over the world when we “lift up” our hands in prayer. First Timothy 2:8 says, “I will therefore that men pray every where, lifting up holy hands, without wrath and doubting.”
E. M. Bounds wrote a book entitled Power through Prayer. I highly recommend it because of the force of his presentation. There is a statement in this book that I would encourage you to contemplate: “The power of work, the mastery over self, the deliverance from fear; all spiritual graces and results are much advanced by prayer.” No matter how great or small the need, we need to pray about it.
Several years ago I searched many stores trying to find a nutcracker, but I couldn’t find one anywhere. One day, after another fruitless search through store after store, I told my wife that I was going to pray that the Lord would provide me a nutcracker. That same day I went for a fivemile run. I got to the halfway point, and when I turned around to go back, I looked down—and right in the middle of the road was a nutcracker! I picked it up and sprinted back to my house as fast as I could. I knocked on our door, and when my wife opened it I held up the nutcracker and said, “The Lord answered my prayer!” Zechariah 4:10 says, “For who hath despised the day of small things?” I rejoiced over that definite answer to prayer, and I have kept that nutcracker as a reminder of the Lord’s provision in even the smallest of matters.
I have consciously made it a habit to pray about everything. A good pastor friend of mine who is now in Heaven, Dr. Al Bradshaw, told me that he prayed about everything. He told me that when he had to make hospital visits he always prayed for the Lord to supply him a parking space, and the Lord always provided him one.
Another friend of mine who is also now in Heaven, Dr. Charlie Kittrell, related the following story to me. One day he came home and found his wife crying; when he asked her what was wrong, she said there was no food in the house. Dr. Kittrell told his wife to have all their children sit at the kitchen table. Then he prayed, “Dear Lord, You said You would always take care of us. Lord, we don’t have any food and I am counting on You to provide food for our family.” When he finished praying, there was a knock at the door. He opened the door and a nearby neighbor was standing there with a big pot of soup. He told Dr. Kittrell that his wife had made more soup than they needed, and he wanted to know if they could use it! What a wonderful heavenly Father we have who can meet every need, whether great or small.
In 1997 my wife and I were praying for a new truck. One day I got a phone message to call a certain friend of mine. I called him, and he told me his aunt had just passed away and left him her entire estate. He said, “The Lord has not given me all this money to hoard, so my wife and I just ordered you and Sharon a new truck for the ministry.”
It is always thrilling to see the Lord answer prayer His way! It’s always best to keep our hands off and let Him do the providing. I trust you are challenged to pray according to 1 John 5:14: “And this is the confidence that we have in him, that, if we ask any thing according to his will, he heareth us.”
Jerry Sivnksty is an evangelist based in Starr, SC. He may be contacted at P.O. Box 141, Starr, SC 29684.
(Originally published in FrontLine • January/February 2008. Click here to subscribe to the magazine.)