I love social media platforms as a tool for our ministry outreach. Many of us have connected with others that are experiencing a need and seeking prayer. We also have an opportunity to share in a moment of celebration.
I was convicted by the Holy Spirit a short while ago about my response to prayer requests. I developed a habit of responding to online prayer requests by typing a word or phrase informing the individual that I was praying for him or her. Other times, people would ask me in-person to pray for them. I think there is a danger in telling someone I am praying for them and then not following through. I now stop and pray for people and specific situations and I will send individuals an electronic note letting them know that I am praying for them and their situation.
The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much. This is the last part of a Bible verse found in James 5:16. The words effectual and fervent convey an intensity with which we should be praying. Our prayer life should be about more than just going through the motions. Our prayer life should be energetic, purposeful, and intense. In 1 Thessalonians 5:17 (KJV), the Bible reminds us to pray without ceasing.
Pray without ceasing is a call to continually be in prayer over situations in your life and the lives of others for whom you are praying. An attitude of a continuous prayer life ensures that your thoughts are on God and of God. You are constantly reminding yourself that God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble, Psalm 46:1 (KJV).
I have found an often-forgotten prayer spot to be the altar. Many Christians think of the altar as the place one responds to an invitation for salvation. And while that is a great place to experience the saving grace of Jesus, it is not the only time one should visit the altar. Stepping out to the altar during worship time, during invitation, or anytime the Holy Spirit moves you is the perfect time. It is a place where you can cast your cares upon Him. But, it is also a great place to lift Him in praise, to intercede on behalf of others in prayer, and to seek supplication of your own needs. Going to the altar in prayer isn’t about saying how great we are. It is about demonstrating our need for Jesus in our lives. We never know when a demonstration of our faith might be the key to someone stepping forward to start their faith walk.
You might be thinking, wait a minute, the Bible says in Matthew 6:6 (NLT), “But when you pray, go away by yourself, shut the door behind you, and pray to your Father in private. Then your Father, who sees everything, will reward you.” The key is the motivation of your heart. If you are doing something, even prayer, publicly to demonstrate how mighty you are, that is evidence of pride. In all things, we must walk humbly and obediently to what God is calling us to do.
It is Biblical to pray in private, out of the sight of others. But you can offer a prayer or a praise while you are riding in a car, standing in line at the local grocery store, or while fixing dinner. And even when we do not know what to pray, the Bible says this in Romans 8:26 (KJV), “Likewise the Spirit also helpeth our infirmities: for we know not what we should pray as we ought: but the Spirit itself maketh intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered.”
I absolutely believe in the power of prayer. I want to close with an encouragement. When your heart is hurting in a situation – pray. When you’re walking through a storm with a friend or loved one – pray. When you have slipped in your faith walk – pray. Just take time to have a little talk with Jesus. When we are genuinely in relationship with someone, we seek time with them and we talk with them. A strong prayer life is evidence of this.