mover of moun­tains and lord of val­leys

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.

“… Morn­ing by morn­ing He Awak­ens; He Awak­ens my ear to hear as those who are taught.”
- Isaiah 50:4

Wanna reach out and ask me some ques­tions? Or do you want clar­i­fi­ca­tion on some­thing writ­ten here? If so, write me a let­ter. I’d love to hear from you and I’ll respond. I bet your hon­est ques­tion will pro­duce insights that will ben­e­fit other read­ers.