I trust that you and yours are doing well.
You may be wondering, once again, why I am writing to you so much on spiritual matters. Well, the reason is, as I said to you earlier, the spiritual aspect of your life is the most important part of your life. It is the very center of your existence. If you get this part of your life in order, everything else will fall into place. Jesus Christ said:
“But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.”
– Matthew 6: 33
In this letter, I want to speak to you specifically about the all important matter of prayer. There is great power through prayer to God. And there are great benefits from God in prayer. You will find as you trail through life that you will need God, and prayer invites God to work in, through, and for your life. Notice what God says through His prophet Jeremiah as to what He (God) will do if you pray:
“Thus saith the Lord the maker thereof, the Lord that formed it, to establish it; the LORD is his name; Call unto me, and I will answer thee, and shew thee great and mighty things, which thou knowest not.”
– Jeremiah 33: 2-3
Even though Jesus Christ is God, He still spent quality time in prayer while He was upon planet earth. You may recall that one time He got up a “great while before day” (Mark 1:35) and prayed. On another occasion, He taught His disciples how to pray; and then in the Garden of Gethsemane before His crucifixion, He prayed earnestly and fervently. And then at another time, “He spake a parable unto them to this end that men ought always to pray and not to faint.” (Luke 18:1)
As you can see, prayer is highly esteemed in the sight of God. I lovingly urge you to make prayer an integral part of your daily life. Here are some of the great benefits that I have found through prayer:
1. The Almighty God has liberty to work in your life.
2. Through prayer, we invite God to lead us and guide us through the labyrinth of life.
3. Through prayer, we can receive the very wisdom of God.
4. Through prayer, we can gain the power of the Holy Spirit to do that which is right.
5. Through prayer, we can gain peace of heart and mind no matter what we are going through.
6. Through prayer, we can gain the boldness, courage and confidence to help others.
7. Through prayer, we can find favor in the sight of God and man.
8. Through prayer, we can obtain financial, material and physical blessings.
These are just some of the blessings that I have received through prayer unto God. I can say not only in theory, but by experience, that “Prayer changes things.” Prayer has changed my life and it can change yours as well.
As I close this letter, dear friend, I would like to leave you with some suggestions on how to pray and when to pray. First, the best and only pattern to follow that our Lord gave to us is what is commonly called “The Lord’s Prayer,” which is found in Matthew 6: 9-13:
“After this manner therefore pray ye: Our Father which art in heaven, Hallowed be thy name. Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread. And forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil: For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, for ever. Amen.”
Now you do not have to pray this same prayer, but you can use it as a guide in your own prayer life. According to Jesus’ pattern of prayer, you should:
1. Praise God first.
2. Put His will before yours.
3. Ask for your daily provisions.
4. Ask for forgiveness of sin.
5. Ask God to keep you from evil.
6. Give God the glory.
Lay everything on your heart and mind before God and enjoy His peace.
As far as when to pray, pray as God leads you, as I mentioned to you in a previous letter. But it is also good to follow the example of David and Daniel of old and pray at appointed times. In other words, schedule your time so that you include special quality periods in your day for nothing else but for prayer unto God. It is good to keep regular times to pray as well as to pray in between those times as God’s Holy Spirit prompts you.
Keep praying, for prayer is truly where the power is.
“Prayer succeeds when all else fails.” – E. M. Bounds
“We must focus on prayer as the main thrust to accomplish God’s will and purpose on earth. The forces against us have never been greater and this is the only way we can release God’s power to become victorious.” – John Maxwell
“Man is a being of spirit.” – Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr
“Prayer does not equip us for greater works — prayer is the greater work.” – Oswald Chambers
“I learned as never before that persistent calling upon the Lord breaks through every stronghold of the devil, for nothing is impossible with God. For Christians in these troubled times, there is simply no other way.” – Jim Cymbala
“Prayer is never the least we can do.” – A. W. Tozer
This chapter is an excerpt from my book, Letters to Young Black Men. Click here to find out more or to purchase the book online.