Terry Ruonavaara | The Voice of Zion October 2017 --
Prayer is indispensable in our life of faith. It is the means by which we share the deepest feelings of our heart with God. Let us not doubt that the Heavenly Father hears even our weakest sigh.
God has given man a way to speak with Him from the heart. This is a gift from God. He wants us to use this gift. We also want to remember that man is not saved by praying. Our salvation is only attained by believing our sins forgiven through the merit work of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.
King David had a simple but very important prayer to God, “Search me, O God, and know my heart: try me, and know my thoughts: And see if there be any wicked way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting” (Ps. 139:23,24). David knew his own tendency to stray and wanted God to preserve him in faith. By prayer he brought this inner worry to the ear of the Heavenly Father. He was unsure of even his own thoughts. He was not confident in himself as once in his life when he had deeply fallen. He pleaded with God to examine his heart, lead and guide him. His prayer was that of a humble child of God.
James has written that the “fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much” (James 5:16). It means that the prayer of a believer is powerful. God knows our prayers even before we pray for something. Sometimes God answers our prayer right away, and sometimes He answers them at a later time. He does not always answer in the way that we would want Him to, but He answers in the way that is best for us. At times we may pray for something to change in our lives, but later on we see how God has guarded our lives, and we realize that the change that we prayed for has not occurred. God has instead patiently allowed our lives to continue as He has planned. In this way God has brought us closer to Him.
God knows our hearts; He knows our needs. His Word reminds all people to first pray for what is most important, that is the finding of God’s kingdom and eternal life. We pray in the Lord’s Prayer, “Thy kingdom come,” which expresses our heartfelt desire that God’s kingdom would come to me personally through the Holy Spirit. Jesus emphasized this later in the same chapter: “Seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you” (Matt. 6:33). Jesus’ words underscore that the most important purpose of a person’s life is eternal even though he or she has temporal concerns too. We remember how Cornelius prayed to God continuously. The Heavenly Parent knew Cornelius’ heart and his sincere prayer for peace of conscience. God answered his prayer and sent Peter to his home where he was able to believe his sins forgiven.
In prayer, we ask God for much in our lives. Often we pray for temporal things in this life. We also pray for our parents, for our children, and for our loved ones. We pray for those who are struggling with burdens and trials. We pray especially for those who have lost the gift of living faith. And we pray that we would personally be able to continue our own endeavor of faith.
Prayer is God’s gift to us and the means by which we can bring all our cares to Him. Let us not doubt that our prayers are heard. Neither let us despair of His goodness toward us. Remember to thank God for all the blessings that He has given in our lives. The Creator has given us life and in prayer we say, “Thy will be done.” God’s will is always best.