Prayer and Happiness belong together. No one can be happy if they don’t have peace of mind. The child of God who trusts his heavenly Father will have the promise of Christ; "Peace I leave with you; My peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you. Do not let your heart be troubled, nor let it be fearful.” John 14:27.
Through prayer one communes with God and is at home with the universe. He is at peace with nature because he knows nature is God. He is at peace with others, even though they may be at war with him. He has the peace of Christ in his heart.
Jesus Christ was always happy, Jesus was never worried. Jesus gave us an example of prayer. He prayed at His baptism; He prayed all night before ordaining the apostles; He prayed on the mountainside after refusing to be made king; He prayed before telling His disciples of His coming crucifixion; He prayed before His Transfiguration; He prayed before healing the sick; He prayed before raising Lazarus from the dead; He prayed on His way to Gethsemane and in Gethsemane; He prayed for His murderers, "Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing." Luke 23:34. His last words on the cross were a prayer. Jesus Himself told his disciples a parable to show them that they should always pray and not give up. Luke18:1.
Prayer is taught from Genesis to Revelation. God desires that we should pray to Him. Every sincere prayer is acceptable to God. Wherever a soul reaches out after God, there the Spirit’s working is manifest, and God will reveal Himself to that soul.
We are to pray for counsel and strength in every time of need. We are to pray for the healing of the sick, for casting out evil spirits. We are to pray in Christ’s name and this is very important. What does it mean to pray in Christ’s name? “And I will do whatever you ask in my name, so that the Father may be glorified in the Son. You may ask me for anything in my name, and I will do it.” John 14:13-14.
In that wonderful book, The Desire of Ages, by E.G. White, the greatest spiritual life of Christ ever written, we find these suggestions about praying in the name of Jesus Christ: “In Christ’s name His followers are to stand before God. Through the value of the sacrifice made for them, they are of value in the Lord’s sight. Because of the imputed righteousness of Christ they are accounted precious. For Christ’s sake the Lord pardons those that fear Him… They may expect large things if they have faith in His promises. But to pray in Christ’s name means much. It means that we are to accept His character, manifest His spirit, and work His works. The Savior’s promise is given on condition. ‘If you love me,’ He says, ‘ keep my commandments.’ He saves men, not in sin, but from sin; and those who love Him will show their love by obedience. – Pp. 667,668.
God hears our prayers even they are not put into words. There was that poor demoniac, a man under the control of evil spirits, whom Jesus met at the Sea of Galilee. In place of prayer, he could utter on the words of Satan, yet deep down in his heart was an unspoken appeal for help, and Christ heard it. “No cry from a soul in need, though it fail of utterance in words, will be unheeded. Those who will consent to enter into covenant relation with the God of heaven are not left to the power of Satan or to the infirmity of their own nature. They are invited by the Savior, Let him take hold of my strength, that he may make peace with me; and he shall make peace with me. Isaiah 27:5.
God hears the yearning of your heart, the real prayer of your soul. Christ is now in heaven before the right hand of the Father’s throne, and these He presents our prayers as if they were His own, All sincere prayer is heard in heaven. It may not be eloquently expressed, it may not be placed in the nest grammatical form, but God hears and understands it. Every awkward, stammering word is made beautiful and fragrant in the incense of Christ’s perfection.
A nobleman once came to Jesus and asked Him to heal his son who seemed to be suffering from an incurable disease. This man had made certain reservations concerning his belief in Jesus. Unless his petition was granted, he would not receive Him as the Son of God. As the officer waited in suspense, So Jesus said to him, "Unless you people see signs and wonders, you simply will not believe."John 4:48.
This nobleman had some faith, for he asked Christ to heal his boy. His love for his son burst through his unbelief, The royal official said to Him, "Sir, come down before my child dies." John 4:49. Then his faith took hold of Christ, and Jesus said to him, "Go; your son lives." The man believed the word that Jesus spoke to him and started off. John 4:50. That very hour those who watched the dying child said they saw a mysterious change—the dim eyes brightened, the flush of fever gave place to the glow of returning health. The family was amazed and there was great rejoicing. While the father was still some distance from his home the servants came out to meet him to relieve his suspense, but he showed no surprise at the news they brought. So he inquired of them the hour when he began to get better. Then they said to him, "Yesterday at the seventh hour the fever left him." John 4:52. At the very moment that the father’s faith grasped the assurance of Christ’s statement, “Thy son live,” divine love touched the dying child.
Why do we not have more direct answers to prayer? God is anxious to help us as He was to help this boy. “The Savior longs to give us a greater blessing than we ask; and He delays the answer to our request that He may show us the evil of our own hearts, and our deep need of His grace.” You see, the nobleman wanted to see the fulfillment of his prayer before he believed. But he had to accept the word of Jesus before his request was heard. So we, too, must try in God’s promises. We must believe Him, not because we see or feel that He hears us, but because of His promise that He will hear us.
“When we come to Him in faith, every petition enters the heart of God. When we have asked for His blessing, we should believe that we receive it, and thank Him that we have received it. Then we are to go about our duties, assured that the blessing will be realized when we need it most. When we have learned to do this, we shall know that our prayers are answered. God will do for us ‘exceeding abundantly’, ‘according to the riches of His glory.’ And ‘the working of His mighty power.’ (Ephesians 3:20, 16; 1:19.)
One reason that our prayers are not answered is that we lack faith. Sometimes our petitions are answered but not in the way we expect. Other times the answer is delayed. In either case, the child of God must trust in God and pray as the Lord Jesus Himself prayed, Father, if you are willing, take this cup from me; yet not my will, but yours be done.” Luke 22:42. Sometimes our prayer is not “Thy will be done,” but “Thy will be changed.” But should it be that? No.
And remember this; Prayer is not merely demanding things of God. Too many of us are like the prodigal son when we pray, “Father, give me…” Luke 15:12. Prayer is communion. Prayer is a two-way road. Prevailing prayer is not only petition, it is thanksgiving, adoration, praise, submission to the will of God. God desires that we ask things of Him, but He also wishes to speak to us. Often as we linger before Him in quietness, some text of Scripture is brought to our minds and we are deeply impressed with our duty. God is longing to speak to us through His Holy Spirit.
Another thing, prayer is not a substitute for work. God will strengthen us, He will guide us, but we should not ask Him to do for us what He has given us the ability to do for ourselves. For instance, we must learn the multiplication table in order to do our mathematical problems. We should not expect God to put it into our mind without any effort. He has given us our mind, He has given us our muscles; and He expects us to use them. The aim of prayer is not merely to get something that we want from God, but is find out what He wants us to do.
There is such a thing as agonizing, prevailing prayer, prayer that goes to the heart of things and finds the will of God and does it. Jesus prayed all night, Jacob wrestled with the angel. Daniel sought the Lord with prayer and fasting. Paul prayed to the Lord again and again. So we, too, need to pray, but we must pray in faith. Remember, prayer is not a monologue, but a dialogue—fellowship, and understanding, and abiding in the presence of the Lord.
Meditation is a very important part of prayer. When we pray, let us linger before the Lord in silence. David was a man of prayer, and we read of his experience especially in Psalm 63:5,6: My soul will be satisfied as with fat and rich food, and my mouth will praise you with joyful lips, when I remember you upon my bed, and meditate on you in the watches of the night; Notice, he was satisfied, filled with peace and happiness when he meditated before God in the quietude of the night.
All Christians pray, for certainly one who does not pray is not a true Christian. But many do not receive the power and peace and happiness that they desire because they do not quietly commune with God. Their hearts are restless. They want to be up and going, but it takes more than a go-getter to ge things from God. We must—
“Take time to be holy, speak oft with thy Lord; Abide in Him always, and feed on His word; Make friends of God’s children, help those who are weak, Forgetting in nothing His blessing to seek.” –W.D. Longstaff.
In Psalm 4:4 we read: “In your anger do not sin; when you are on your beds, search your hearts and be silent.” To some, this listening side of prayer is a new idea. Of Course, we must not go to extremes. We must be sure that any word that comes to us is in harmony with God’s written Word. His message to us will never be different from that. Satan is always ready to install his ideas, but God is ever near to help and to guide us.
Moreover, all prayer must be sincere. We must come to God honestly and mean what we say. There must be repentance in our lives, godly sorrow for sin. We must confess our sins and make restitution. In order to be answered, prayer must be based on an honest willingness to do God’s will.
Let us never forget the story Jesus told about the unjust judge un Luke 18:1-8: “And he spoke a parable unto them to this end, that men ought always to pray, and not to faint; saying, There was in a city a judge, which feared not God, neither regarded man: and there was a widow in that city; and she came unto him, saying Avenge me of my adversary. And he would not for a while: but afterward he said within himself, Though I fear not God, nor regard man; yet because this widow trouble me, I will avenge her, lest by her continual coming she weary me. And the Lord said, Hear what the unjust, judge said. And shall not God avenge his own elect, which cry day and night unto him, though he bears long with them? I tell you that he will avenge them speedily. Nevertheless when the Son of man cometh, shall he find faith on the earth?
The word avenge here does not mean “revenge”. It simply means “to give justice.” The Judge was a hard man. He would not give justice because it was right to give it, but because his widow wore him out, by her continual coming. The Lesson Christ wants us to learn is that, if it was possible to get justice from this sort of man by troubling him, should it not be much easier to get justice from God who is willing to help up and avenge us of our adversaries? God is ready and waiting to come to our rescue. If He delays, it is not for the same reason that prompted the unjust judge to delay his answer.
Does it sometimes seem that God does not hear our prayers? Yes, we must admit that it is true. Are we to keep on praying? Yes. This parable was given to teach us that “men ought always to pray, and not to faith,” not to stop. God may be working on your case right now. He knows all about it, but “the Lord seeth not as man seeth.” 1 Samuel 16:7.
God cannot force people to come to Him, for He has limited Himself with the free will of man. We are asking the impossible when we ask God to covert someone by using force. But He can use us to bring about that desired end if our hearts are pure.
We are living is a solemn time of this world’s history, but Christians should be happy, even in the midst of it all. Why not? Their sins have been forgiven, and they are at peace with God. They are justified, sanctified, saved, children of the Most High, walking with God. No wonder they are happy in His love. Jesus said, “Peace I leave you, my peace I give you. “John 14:27. That’s His legacy, and what wonderful words they are! His peace is that quiet assurance that comes from confidence in God. When Jesus spoke these words He was nearing Calvary. He was soon to die the cruel death on the cross, yet He did not waver. His heart was filled with peace. He knew the Father and He trusted in Him. So He rested in this blessed knowledge and peace. And He gives it to us – oneness with the Father, fellowship, communion.
Ah, my friends, you may have it through prayer and communion with God – quietude, joy, rest, contentment, faith, hope, love; no fear, no worry, no anxiety, but peace which passes all human understanding. In every experience the believer will have a source of strength because he is tuned in to the Infinite. The same power that swings the plants on high and sets suns aflame, is ours.
“Prayer is the key in the hand of faith that unlocks heaven’s storehouse, where are treasured the boundless resources of Omnipotence.” – Steps to Christ, p.99. Friend, use the key. Include praying as a daily habit. Search the Scriptures for examples of prayer. Study them carefully and follow those examples. You, too can commune with God anywhere, anytime; and soon you will be led into deep things of His Word.
Remember, God always speaks to you directly in the same way that He speaks in the Holy Scriptures. Never does He contradict Himself. So commune with Him in reading the Holy Bible and in personal, private prayer and meditation.
“Prayer is the soul’s sincere desire, Uttered or unexpressed; The motion of hidden fire That trembles in the breast.” --- James Montgomery.
"Pray, and let God worry."
~ Martin Luther
“There is no other activity in life so important as that of prayer. Every other activity depends upon prayer for its best efficiency.”
~ M.E. Andross
"Prayer is not so much an act as it is an attitude, an attitude of dependency, dependency upon God."
~ Arthur W. Pink
"Prayer does not fit us for the greater work, prayer is the greater work."
~ Oswald Chambers
"There are more tears shed over answered prayers than over unanswered prayers."
~ Teresa of Avila
"Do not pray for easy lives. Pray to be stronger men.
Do not pray
for tasks equal to your powers, pray for
powers equal to your task."
~ Phillips Brooks
"Faith in a prayer-hearing God will make a prayer-loving Christian."
~ Andrew Murray
"Prayer is the root,
the fountain, the mother
of a thousand blessings."
"There is not in the world a kind of life more sweet and delightful than that of a continual conversation with God."
~ Bro. Lawrence
"Try to feel the need for prayer often during the day and take the trouble
Prayer makes the heart large enough until it can contain God's gift of Himself."
~ Mother Teresa
* Prayer is a way in which we talk to God, and a way to ask for his assistance in giving us the strength and guidance to overcome obstacles
in our life.
"Wishing will never be a substitute for prayer."
~ Ed Cole
"God shapes the world by prayer. The more praying there is in the world the better the world will be, the mightier the forces against evil…"
is a period of time set aside to contemplate the Lord,
listen to Him, and allow Him to permeate our spirits."
~ Charles Stanley
"The prayer power has never been tried to its full capacity…
if we want to see might wonders of divine power and grace wrought
in the place
of weakness, failure and disappointment, let us answer God’s standing challenge,
“Call unto me,
and I will answer thee, and show thee great and might things which thou knowest not."
~ J. Hudson Taylor
"The great people of the earth today
are the people who pray,
(not) those who talk about prayer…
but I mean those who
take time and pray."
"Seven days without prayer makes one weak."
~ Allen E. Vartlett
"There is nothing that makes us love a man so much as praying for him."
~ William Law
"Without God there is for mankind
only a wavering future, an eternal dread of every darkness."
--Jean Paul (1763-1825) German novelist and humorist
"There are more tears shed over answered prayers than over unanswered prayers."
~ St. Theresa of the Child Jesus
"Love is sufficient of itself; it gives pleasure by itself and because of itself. It is its own merit, its own reward. Love looks
for no cause outside itself, no effect beyond itself. Its profit lies
in the practice.
Of all the movements, sensations
of the soul,
love is the only one in which the creature can respond
to the Creator and make
some sort of similar return however unequal
though it be.
For when God loves,
all he desires
is to be loved in return.
The sole purpose of his love is to be loved, in the knowledge that those who love him are made happy by their love of him."
~ Saint Bernard of Clairvaux
"Rich is the person who has a praying friend."
~ Janice Hughes
"It is possible to move men, through God, by prayer alone."
~ Hudson Taylor
"God speaks in the silence of the heart. Listening is the beginning of prayer."
~ Mother Teresa
"Our prayers must mean something to us if they are to mean anything to God."
~ Maltbie D. Babcock
"Don't pray when it rains if you don't pray when the sun shines."
~ Satchel Paige, 1974
"I would rather train twenty men to pray, than a thousand to preach; A minister's highest
mission ought to be to teach his people to pray."
~ H. MacGregor
"Prayer is not merely an occasional impulse to which we respond when we are in trouble:
prayer is a life attitude."
~ Walter A. Mueller
* God's answers are wiser than our prayers.