Lately I have been reading a book by Dr. John R. Rice on the subject of prayer. For those of you who aren’t familiar with Dr. Rice, let me give you just a little of his background. John R. Rice was born in 1895 in Texas and became a great Christian leader during the 20th century. Though he was best known as being an evangelist, he also wrote over 200 books on various aspects of the Christian life. The book I am currently reading is on prayer. (Prayer, Asking and Receiving, published by Sword of the Lord Publishers in 1942.) If you are able to find a copy, I would encourage you to get it and read it.
One of the things I love most about this book is that it is full of scripture. The book opens with – “O thou that hearest prayer, unto thee shall all flesh come.” (Psalm 65:2) Rice wrote – “…when we limit God’s willingness to answer prayer, we are guilty of the horrible sin of unbelief.” As the title of the book indicates, Dr. Rice believed that prayer is more than a conversation with God or a form of worship. Prayer is asking and then receiving. I must say that studying the principles laid out in this book has encouraged me to be more faithful and fervent in my prayers.
In 1980 John R. Rice went home to be with the Lord at the age of 85. Not only did he faithfully serve the Lord throughout his life;he left behind him a great legacy of Christian servants as well.
Why do we fail to pray the way that we know we should? There could be several reasons:
1. We do not believe that our prayers will do any good. Perhaps somewhere in the past we prayed for something and God did not answer it in the way we asked and therefore we think it is useless to pray.
2. We do not pray because we have concluded that God is going to do whatever He wants to do and therefore there is no need for us to try to intervene.
3. Or perhaps there is some sin in our life that is blocking our relationship with Him.
Whatever the reason is for why we do not pray, we must move beyond that reason and learn how to communicate effectively with our heavenly Father. Paul tells us that the cure for the sin of worry is prayer. (see Php 4:6-7) Jesus said that the secret to finding the strength we need for daily living is through prayer. (Lk 18:1) And James says that it is in response to our prayers that God often moves in a miraculous way. (James 5:16-18)
“O thou that hearest prayer, unto thee shall all flesh come.” God is waiting to hear and to work through our prayers.