People become inactive if they run out of energy. It is the same spiritually; we cannot live an energetic and active life of faith when we run out of spiritual strength. That is why God has given us the special times of prayer—the two daily regular prayer times in the morning and in the afternoon and the annual feasts, so that we can fill ourselves up with spiritual energy.
God’s people live holy and godly lives, looking forward to the day of God and speed its coming (2 Pe 3:11-12). God has taught us the importance of prayer to help us live a godly and meaningful life of faith every day. Now, let us see what the Bible teaches about prayer, so that we can devote ourselves even more to prayer.
Prayer is an integral, essential part of our life of faith. Prayer is not a mere formality. It is not just something we habitually do because we go to church. Prayer is the act of expressing our innermost thoughts and feelings and giving our hearts completely to God.
When we pray, we should not think that it is enough just to say a few words, but we need to tell all the desires of our hearts to God and be clothed with power from heaven. Through prayer, God continuously infuses inner strength into us. That is why the Bible tells us to “pray continually.”
Make sure that nobody pays back wrong for wrong, but always try to be kind to each other and to everyone else. Be joyful always; pray continually; give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus. 1 Th 5:15-18
The reason we should pray continually is that prayer is a tool for invoking God’s power. It is only through prayer that God’s power comes to us.
Usually there is no significant difference between fresh water in a well and salt water. However, if we put them in different containers and leave them under the sun, we can clearly see the difference between them. Fresh water evaporates and leaves nothing behind, but salt water leaves white salt crystals behind. Apparently salt water looks the same as fresh water, but in actuality it contains salt. Likewise, those who pray always have God’s power within them.
Throughout all ages—from the time of Adam to the age of the Holy Spirit we are living in now, God’s work has been carried out and accomplished through prayer. Moses, Elijah and Elisha proceeded to do everything by prayer. Jesus did so, and His disciples also did the same when they received the former rain of the Holy Spirit at Pentecost. All of them were given power from heaven through prayer.
God has taught us that prayer is the breath of the soul. If we pray eagerly, Satan can never harm our souls no matter how hard he tries. How can we be “dead” if we continue to breathe?
So, prayer is also the key to victory in the spiritual warfare against Satan. God’s power is with the person who prays, so Satan cannot approach him or her. On the contrary, the one who does not pray cannot receive power from God. The person who does not like to pray or study God’s word and is reluctant to preach the gospel—this kind of person is an easy target for Satan to approach.
Jesus awakened His disciples to the fact that prayer is so important and that it indeed has amazing power prepared by God.
A man in the crowd answered, “Teacher, I brought you my son, who is possessed by a spirit that has robbed him of speech . . . I asked your disciples to drive out the spirit, but they could not.” “O unbelieving generation,” Jesus replied, “how long shall I stay with you? How long shall I put up with you? Bring the boy to me.” . . . Jesus asked the boy’s father, “How long has he been like this?” “From childhood,” he answered. “It has often thrown him into fire or water to kill him. But if you can do anything, take pity on us and help us.” “ ‘If you can’?” said Jesus. “Everything is possible for him who believes.” Immediately the boy’s father exclaimed, “I do believe; help me overcome my unbelief!” When Jesus saw that a crowd was running to the scene, he rebuked the evil spirit. “You deaf and mute spirit,” he said, “I command you, come out of him and never enter him again.” The spirit shrieked, convulsed him violently and came out. The boy looked so much like a corpse that many said, “He’s dead.” But Jesus took him by the hand and lifted him to his feet, and he stood up. After Jesus had gone indoors, his disciples asked him privately, “Why couldn’t we drive it out?” He replied, “This kind can come out only by prayer.” Mk 9:17-29
That was the power of prayer. Jesus said, “This kind can come out only by prayer.” Through prayer, God fulfills everything in the spiritual realm that is invisible and beyond our grasp or control.
Usually when we pray, we may not be able to feel the power of prayer. However, if we constantly pray to God for power and blessings, our prayers are stored up in heaven and whenever we need God’s help, the power of our prayers is manifested. So, Jesus accumulated the power of prayer by praying from early in the morning every day.
Very early in the morning, while it was still dark, Jesus got up, left the house and went off to a solitary place, where he prayed. Mk 1:35
If we look closely at the life of Jesus, we can see that He accumulated the power of the Holy Spirit by praying always. Since Jesus prayed all the time—very early in the morning and late at night, the so-called miracles always accompanied Him.
The reason Jesus performed miracles, of course, was because He wanted to inspire people to have faith in God who came in the flesh, and also because He wanted to show them that God’s power comes through prayer. When Jesus cast out a demon that His disciples could not drive out, He said, “This kind can come out only by prayer.” Looking at this, we can see that Jesus always prayed so hard, even while His disciples were sleeping.
Jesus went to the Garden of Gethsemane on the night of the Passover, the day before His crucifixion, too. Thinking about His upcoming suffering, He prayed alone while His disciples were all asleep because they were very tired (Mt 26:36-46; Lk 22:39-46).
When we look at the Bible verse that says, “His sweat was like drops of blood falling to the ground,” we can imagine how eagerly and earnestly Jesus was praying at that time. His salvation work to redeem all human beings from their sins through His precious blood shed on the cross must not be hindered by Satan, so Jesus prepared Himself to receive God’s mighty power through prayer. He prayed so earnestly, in addition to thinking about the pain and suffering which He would go through.
Jesus was God who came to this earth in the flesh. Why did He pray so ardently then? Do you think Jesus could not exercise His power without praying? Certainly not. Couldn’t He go to heaven without celebrating the Passover? Couldn’t He receive the forgiveness of sins without being baptized? Not at all. Nevertheless, Jesus did all those things. He always kept on praying as well; He prayed so earnestly even to the point that the sweat running from His forehead became like drops of blood falling to the ground. Jesus did all these things as an example for us to follow (Jn 13:15).
Following the example of Christ, we, too, should have a gracious habit of praying continually, so that we can always communicate with God through prayer. When we offer the smoke of the incense of our prayers, along with all the wishes of our hearts, to our Heavenly Father and Mother, They will answer all of our prayers. Believing this, we must keep on praying.
“Pray that your flight will not take place in winter or on the Sabbath. For then there will be great distress, unequaled from the beginning of the world until now—and never to be equaled again.” Mt 24:20-21
Matthew 24 is Jesus’ prophecy concerning the end of the age. Jesus tells us, His people, to pray that our flight will not take place in winter or on the Sabbath. Doesn’t it mean that God will help us so that our flight will not take place in winter or on the Sabbath if we pray for it? Prayer is a tool for invoking God’s power, even until the end of the age.
Believing in the power of prayer, we need to pray even more fervently. If we pray for something, God will surely accomplish it. We can confirm this fact also through an event that occurred in the days of Elijah.
Some time later the son of the woman who owned the house became ill. He grew worse and worse, and finally stopped breathing. She said to Elijah, “What do you have against me, man of God? Did you come to remind me of my sin and kill my son?” “Give me your son,” Elijah replied. He took him from her arms, carried him to the upper room where he was staying, and laid him on his bed. Then he cried out to the LORD, “O LORD my God, have you brought tragedy also upon this widow I am staying with, by causing her son to die?” Then he stretched himself out on the boy three times and cried to the LORD, “O LORD my God, let this boy’s life return to him!” The LORD heard Elijah’s cry, and the boy’s life returned to him, and he lived. 1 Ki 17:17-22
It is written that Elijah cried out to the LORD. This means that he prayed to Him. When Elijah prayed for the boy, the boy’s life returned to him and he lived. Here we can also see the power of God being released and God’s work being accomplished through prayer. The history of the Bible shows us that prayer is a tool for invoking God’s power, and that those who do not pray can never experience any kind of power.
Throughout all ages, prayer has been a way to invoke the power which God has promised His people. The miracle of the parting of the Red Sea occurred as a result of Moses’ prayer. The miracle performed by Elijah and the miracle of Jesus driving out demons also took place through prayer. It was also the prayer that Jonah did when he was inside the fish. After he had finished his prayer, he was vomited out upon dry land, and then he preached the message of God to the people of Nineveh who did not believe in God. This in turn brought forth an amazing miracle; over 120,000 people repented. All this was a result of God’s power through prayer.
To accomplish God’s work, we need the power of God, not our own. There are no prophets in the Bible who tried to carry out the work of God without praying at the moment when they needed the mightiest and greatest power. Whenever they needed the power of God, they knelt down to pray, bowing down their heads and putting their hands together. Then they received power from heaven. This is how all of God’s work has been accomplished; since prayers have continuously been offered up by so many people, the blessing of salvation which God prepared for us for 6,000 years has also been able to reach us today.
To accomplish the work of the gospel of God in these last days, we need to be clothed with God’s power through prayer. When we pray, there is one thing we should keep in mind.
“Therefore I tell you, whatever you ask for in prayer, believe that you have received it, and it will be yours. And when you stand praying, if you hold anything against anyone, forgive him, so that your Father in heaven may forgive you your sins.” Mk 11:24-25
Prayer must always be accompanied by faith. Jesus said, “Whatever you ask for in prayer, believe that you have received, and it will be yours.” As for those who have not experienced the power of prayer, sometimes they just pray out of habit, without a full faith. However, if one prays with a doubtful mind, it is totally meaningless. Praying with doubt is just like trying to use a phone that does not work because its line has been cut off.
Those who have experienced the power of prayer never neglect to pray. To awaken us to the importance of prayer, God has appointed the special times for us to pray—the Prayer Week of the Pentecost, the time for the prayer of repentance from the Feast of Trumpet to the Day of Atonement, and the time for prayer and preaching during the Feast of Tabernacles. It is because a time for prayer is such a precious time when God empowers us and defeats all of Satan’s power.
Store up the power of God continuously through prayer. Those who are devoted to prayer will surely be able to achieve what others cannot do, when the moment for them to need that ability comes to them.
“Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives; he who seeks finds; and to him who knocks, the door will be opened. Which of you, if his son asks for bread, will give him a stone? Or if he asks for a fish, will give him a snake? If you, then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give good gifts to those who ask him!” Mt 7:7-11
God is full of love and kindness. As the Bible says, God surely gives all good things to those who ask Him. Even those who are evil, if their children ask for something, will give them what they ask for. How much more will our Heavenly Father and Mother grant our requests?
God never ignores our prayers. Believing this fact, let us all devote ourselves to prayer, so that we can receive abundant grace and blessings from God. When we pray, we must not doubt or give up, thinking, ‘God may not listen to my prayer,’ or, ‘I can’t do it.’
God has given us an amazing tool—“prayer.” You may have ever read the story of the magic lamp with a genie inside who grants wishes. Prayer is a God-given tool for invoking God’s mighty power to achieve our spiritual desires.
Offer up many prayers—spiritual and righteous prayers that bring forth blessings. All those prayers will be stored up in heaven, without any of them perishing. When we go to heaven, we will surely realize that God has been answering each and every one of our prayers. I want you all to receive God’s abundant blessings by earnestly asking God in prayer as much as you want, not forgetting—even for a moment—that prayer is a sacred tool of God for invoking God’s holy power.