An airliner bound for
New York City was making its final preparations for landing. The
pilot, however, realized his landing gear would not lower. He pulled
the plane up and tried again. No luck. The gear was stuck.
The pilot contacted the
control tower and communicated the problem. Ground crews sprayed
the runway with foam and emergency vehicles raced into position.
"Land the plane the best you can," was radioed back to
the pilot. "Good luck."
The captain informed
the passengers of their situation and then ended, "In accordance
with international aviation codes established in Geneva, it is my
obligation to inform you that if you believe in God, you should
begin to pray."
When I read that true
story I thought, If the plane had not been in a crisis that day,
the pilot would not have told his passengers to pray. Why does it
take an emergency for people to turn to prayer?
Jesus thought differently
about prayer. He urged people always "to pray and not lose
heart" (Luke 18:1, NKJV). Lets get up close and personal
about prayer today using the six letters of the word "prayer."
Let there be no question that prayer should be a priority for Gods
people. Not just when we face trouble, or on a holiday, or now and
then. Prayer needs to be a constant priority. Jesus made prayer
a priority in His life. He is our example.
None of us are sufficient
in ourselves. I walked by a pond not long ago and saw a mother duck
and seven baby ducklings. As I walked closer, those ducklings ran
to their mother. They saw me as trouble with a capital T. They ran
to their mother because they were insufficient in their own experience,
strength and wisdom.
Left on my own Im
insufficient as well. I do not know the future. I do not have complete
strength. I cannot do my job without Gods help. Im unable
to fight the devil on my own, and I cannot guard my soul or secure
it for heaven. Prayer must be my priority. Make it so in your life.
Prayer is based on a relationship with God. Jesus said that when
you pray, you can begin with, "Our Father." Thats
I was a guest in a secular
university philosophy class. One student asked me, "Whats
so great about religion?" I replied, "Nothing. Christians
are not into religion; were into relationships with
God and with others." And one of the foundations in that relationship
with God is through prayer.
When you pray, God does
not just hear your words, He also sees your heart. Spending time
in prayer builds a relationship with Jesus. Theres nothing
more vital or rewarding than a prayer relationship with God Almighty.
As you know, the word "advocate" means one who pleads
the case for another. When we pray, the Spirit is our Advocate.
Why? Because prayer is so significant and we are so weak. My best
prayers are so feeble that Im thrilled to know I have someone
to plead my case.
Romans 8:26 puts it like
this; "The Spirit also helps us in our weaknesses. For we do
not know what we should pray for as we ought, but the Spirit Himself
makes intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered."
Thats our Advocate. Please do not forget that powerful connection
when you pray.
When we pray we must yield ourselves to God. The posture of the
body is not as important as the condition of the heart. Is your
heart yielded to God?
"How do I yield
to God?" you ask. Pray and commit these four things to God:
God, I want You to live
Jesus, help me follow
Holy Spirit, be my Guide.
Mighty Lord, think Your
thoughts through me.
Those steps will enable
you to be on a firm foundation to pray.
Some like to argue over how prayer works or debate if prayer works.
I know prayer works, for Ive seen its effectiveness. Consider
this documented case from my home state.
In the summer of 1876,
grasshoppers nearly destroyed the crops in Minnesota. In the spring
of 1877, farmers believed that the dreadful plague would once again
visit them and again destroy the rich wheat crop, bringing ruin
to thousands of people.
The situation was so
serious that Governor John S. Pillsbury proclaimed April 26 as a
day of prayer and fasting. He urged every man, woman and child to
ask God to prevent the terrible scourge. On that April day, all
schools, shops, stores and offices were closed. There was a reverent,
quiet hush over all the state.
The next day dawned bright
and clear. Temperatures soared to what they ordinarily were in midsummer,
which was very peculiar for April. Minnesotans were devastated as
they discovered billions of grasshopper larvae wiggling to life.
For three days the unusual heat persisted, and the larvae hatched.
It appeared that it wouldnt be long before they started feeding
and destroying the wheat crop.
On the fourth day, however,
the temperature suddenly dropped, and that night frost covered the
earth. It killed every one of those creeping, crawling pests as
surely as if poison or fire had been used. Grateful farmers never
forgot that day. It went down in the history books of Minnesota
as the day God answered prayer.
Friend, dont doubt
it or try to deny it. Prayer is effective.
What will be your response to becoming a man or a woman committed
to prayer? The reply God desires from us is not true or false. True,
prayer works, or false, prayer does not work thats
not the response. The response God desires from you is yes or no
yes I will pray, or no I wont pray. Let me urge you
to respond with an eternal yes.
Wherever you are reading
this right now, the Holy Spirit is near to you. Look to Jesus. Ask
His help. It is time to seek the Lord.