articlesqa February 17, 2018 mover of mountains and lord of valleys
Ifeoluwapo Eleyinafe Article by Ifeoluwapo EleyinafeCreator and author of thinkheaven.com

Pre­vi­ous­ly, we de­fined prayer as a con­ver­sa­tion be­tween you and God about the world around you and the world with­in you. This con­ver­sa­tion, which usu­al­ly be­gins as a de­sire to get some­thing from God, leads to a greater knowl­edge and af­fir­ma­tion of God’s Love for us and our love for God. Let us ex­plore this a lit­tle more by look­ing at in­stances of prayer in the Bible.

When you read about prayer in the Bible, we are rarely told about the com­mon every day prayers. These are al­most a pre­sump­tion and only lat­er is it men­tioned in a pass­ing verse that such and such per­son prayed. In­stead we are told about the prayers dur­ing mo­men­tous oc­ca­sions or the prayers that ef­fect great change. Some­times, the change is in­stan­ta­neous. But some­times this is not the case. Daniel, Han­nah, Eli­jah and Naa­man all ex­pe­ri­enced pe­ri­ods in their lives where con­tin­u­ous prayer was re­quired in or­der to ef­fect a change.

This pat­tern puz­zles me. 1: Why does the Bible NOT re­peat­ed­ly em­pha­size that we should pray? There seem to be more vers­es that talk more em­phat­i­cal­ly about our need to read the Bible and to obey God. 2: Sim­i­lar to the first ques­tion, why does the Bible speak more of­ten about the great mo­ments of prayer and not de­tail for us the every­day prayers? God is not try­ing to im­press us so what does He Want to im­press upon us? 3: Fi­nal­ly, why do some prayers take longer to an­swer than oth­ers? And even fur­ther, why are the an­swers to some prayers de­layed even in eter­ni­ty Rev­e­la­tion 6:9-11?

Be­tween Heav­en and Earth

I sup­pose all the ques­tions above re­volve around one truth: my prayer ex­press­es my na­ture as a union of eter­ni­ty and time. Read the pre­vi­ous sen­tence again and let it sink in. We were made by God from tem­po­ral earth and eter­nal spir­it Gen­e­sis 2:7, Ec­cle­si­astes 3:11, Luke 23:46. We only have oc­ca­sion to pray be­cause we can see from eter­ni­ty while ex­ist­ing in time. This fun­da­men­tal as­pect of our na­ture is what sep­a­rates us from an­i­mals. With­out this na­ture, there would be no cities or wars or sci­ence or what­ev­er. There­fore, when­ev­er any man or woman prays to God, they are ex­press­ing the very foun­da­tions of their na­ture. And so, in an­swer to 1, just as a new­born baby will breathe and keep breath­ing with­out be­ing told, so also we will al­ways pray with­out be­ing told. The spir­i­tu­al ana­log of the breath of life is prayer.

Now we are told to pray to God be­cause, through sin, we of­ten pray to our­selves. So also, Je­sus taught us how to pray and in the dif­fi­cult day, He told His dis­ci­ples to “Watch and pray” Luke 22:45-46. But note, Je­sus taught how to pray. Prayer was pre­sumed. And even the com­mand to “watch and pray” en­com­pass­es the fol­low­ing: “Don’t for­get to take spir­i­tu­al breath when you are in dread. Oth­er­wise, you will fall into temp­ta­tion.” So also in phys­i­cal life, he who stops breath­ing when be­ing chased by a lion will lose strength and be­come prey. Yet no one ever tells you in day to day life to breathe. It is as­sumed. So also prayer is pre­sumed as a base­line be­cause prayer is even more foun­da­tion­al than breath.

Mover of Moun­tains, Lord of Val­leys

But un­like prayer, it is not dif­fi­cult to con­vince some­one not to hold their breath for too long. In fact, the max­i­mum record­ed time pos­si­ble is 22 min­utes and 22 sec­onds. But prayer is more vi­tal, more ba­sic than breath and so, like young David in the field, prayer is eas­i­ly for­got­ten. In­stead, when we are in the val­ley of the shad­ow of death, we stop pray­ing and in­stead be­gin to fear evil. And as we said in How To Fear, what­ev­er you fear, you will even­tu­al­ly wor­ship.

Yet we rarely feel the im­me­di­ate ef­fects when we stop pray­ing. We don’t un­der­stand that our be­ing, com­posed of eter­ni­ty and time, nev­er goes silent. Just like the stars in the sky that will al­ways ra­di­ate light, so also, our be­ings will al­ways ra­di­ate prayer. There­fore, as soon as we stop pray­ing to God, we im­me­di­ate­ly start pray­ing to oth­er gods. Con­se­quent­ly, in­stead of grow­ing, we be­gin to with­er and in­stead of know­ing 1 Corinthi­ans 2:10-16, we wal­low in ig­no­rance.

If prayer is so so crit­i­cal, then why do we ever stop? It is be­cause prayer ap­pears to be weak. When the house is on fire, it would seem that our fo­cus should be to get to safe­ty or call 911. Talk­ing to God about the fire does not seem to be the most im­me­di­ate of con­cerns. We do not eas­i­ly no­tice that just as we were saved by the “fool­ish” gospel, so also moun­tains are moved by the “weak­ness” of prayer Matthew 17:20, 1 Corinthi­ans 1:21, 25 2 Corinthi­ans 12:7-10. So in an­swer to 2, one of the rea­sons the Bible fo­cus­es on the prayers of saints in crit­i­cal mo­ments is to show us how pow­er­ful­ly the Almighty God re­sponds when through prayer, we humbly tell Him our weak­ness.

Let us not lose courage when the bat­tle is thick and let us not be in a hur­ry when the fire is hot. Let us not pray to our­selves by flee­ing in fear or by rush­ing in to fix a prob­lem. In­stead, let us pray to God and seek His Pow­er to aid us. It only takes one sec­ond but when He Hears His lit­tle child cry­ing, He moves moun­tains to help her.

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“Set your minds on things that are above, not on things that are on earth.” - Colossians 2:3

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