Celebrate Benefits of Prayer

Celebrate Benefits Of Prayer

Chapter Three

Celebrate Benefits Of Prayer
Pray In Faith, Believing 45 What Could God Do With A Church Full Of "Calebs"? 53
Receiving God's Power And Enlightenment 47 Who Is In Control? 54
Prayer Is Simply Talking To Jesus! 49 Prayer Style Changed – Wonderful Results 56
Uninhibited Thanksgiving And Praise! 51 Discussion Questions 57

Proverbs 3:5-6; James 5:16

Pray In Faith, Believing

When our third child was ten days old, he started projectile vomiting, the milk shooting out of his stomach and bouncing off the wall. Frantically I called the doctor several days but he thought I was just a young mother who was over concerned. Not knowing what to do, I prayed. I finally took him to the emergency room. We were told that Daniel had pyloric stenosis; the opening out of the stomach was closed. He needed immediate surgery but he was dehydrated. If we had waited three more days, he would have died.

This started a frantic search for a surgeon to do the operation. The first one contacted demanded cash up front, which of course, we did not have. We decided that Bill should take the two older children and go to Good Friday Service he was conducting at the mountain church where he was interim pastor. "Ask the people to pray specifically for the right surgeon," I implored.

Finally I called the doctor who had delivered my first baby. I had taught his son in first grade so we had become friends. He stated that he was sorry he did not perform those operations but would see what he could do. My job was to pray, to trust and to wait. Finally, the call came, "I have found a team to operate tomorrow and they are contributing their time." I prayed, praising God.

The next day, the surgeon prayed with us before operating. We had never met him before, but we were delighted to discover he knew how to pray. Assuring us that he had done hundreds of these operations and that it would only take forty-five minutes, he left us in the waiting room.

However, we became concerned after an hour passed, so we prayed again. When an hour and a half passed, we were getting rather anxious, wondering what was happening. We prayed again, committing the operating staff and our precious baby into God's hands. Two hours passed. The only thing we could do was to wait and pray, then trust God and the surgeon. Finally after two hours and forty five minutes, the doctor appeared and said, "Do you remember me praying that God would guide my hands?"

Yes, we did.

He then stated that he felt God directing him to cut diagonally, rather than horizontally as he always had. He was glad he did because he would not have been able to get at it, the bottom of the stomach was wrapped around the spinal cord. Although it took much longer than expected, the operation was a success. Coming out of the operating room, the baby reached up and pulled the I-V out of the vein in his forehead, as if to say, "I won't be needing this anymore!"

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The surgeon had prayed, then he listened and followed the guidance he received. How many times in life do we pray, then proceed to do a job in the same way we always have before?

From that experience, we learned the value of praying in faith, believing. We prayed, the church prayed, the nurses prayed, the surgeon prayed. Then we all rejoiced that God heard and answered our prayers.

"Thank you, Father, that you are a mighty God who hears and answers our prayers. Thank you for the people who love us and lift up our needs before you."

AFFIRMATION FOR THE DAY: Believing that God has given us the opportunity to come before him with our petitions, let us appropriate this power of prayer.

– Laura Drewer –


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John 15:1-8

Receiving God's Power And Enlightenment

We never fully appreciate power until we lose it. A tremendous power outage covered most of the western states this week, and, although I did not feel the effects of the shortage, thousands of people were inconvenienced by it. Watching news coverage made me realize how connected we are in this great land. One power plant in California triggered a chain reaction of electrical surges at other power plants throughout seventeen states. Power on which we depend can be wiped out in an instant because of some glitch hundreds of miles away.

The power of electricity is awesome and incomprehensible. We daily depend upon this power, and as I said earlier, we do not give it much regard until we lose it. If we lost our ability to generate electricity, we would find a way to survive, but it would be difficult.

While talking about this experience, I was drawn to the realization that ultimate power belongs to God. He is "all powerful," or as we say in old liturgy, "God is Omnipotent!" Like the power I need to operate this computer comes from a large generator, the power I need to live comes from the One who generates all power. The little black cord which plugs into the wall is the channel through which the power from the generator reaches my keyboard. The channel though which I receive power from God is called prayer.

Is there a power shortage in your life? Are you plugged into God and receiving from Him the grace you need every day? Some of us are "wind-up" believers. When we need some extra help from God, we wind-up our prayer life just enough to get us through the crisis. Some of us are solar-powered Christians, enjoying the fullness of God as long as life is bright and cheery, but when dark clouds roll by, we lose our energy. Some of us are battery-powered Christians. Having stored our faith in some past experience, we find that the charge we once had is too soon drained. But those who are plugged in and turned onto God find the power they need is available to them in abundance, regardless of life's circumstances.

A person who neglects to pray is like a lamp which is never turned on. They both sit in darkness and are void of power. Don't be like the lifeless lamp. Get turned on to God. Get plugged into the power of prayer and stay "current."

"I believe in You. I believe You are the Son of God. I believe You are the source of all creation and You hold all things together. Lord Jesus, allow me the joy of experiencing Your power. Allow me the privilege of entering into Your presence with my prayer…"

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AFFIRMATION FOR THE DAY: The time has come to cease talking about prayer and start praying.

– Thomas Duckworth –


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1 Peter 1:3-9

Prayer Is Simply Talking To Jesus!

A man's daughter had asked the local pastor to come and pray with her father. When the pastor arrived, he found the man lying in bed with his head propped up on two pillows and an empty chair beside his bed. The pastor assumed that the old fellow had been informed of his visit. "I guess you were expecting me," he said. "No, who are you?" "I'm the new associate at your local church," the pastor replied. "When I saw the empty chair, I figured you knew I was going to show up." "Oh yeah, the chair," said the bedridden man. "Would you mind closing the door?" Puzzled, the pastor shut the door. "I've never told anyone this, not even my daughter," said the man. "But all of my life I have never known how to pray. At church I used to hear the pastor talk about prayer, but it always went right over my head. I abandoned any attempt at prayer," the old man continued, "until one day about four years ago my best friend said to me, 'Joe, prayer is just a simple matter of having a conversation with Jesus. Here's what I suggest: Sit down on a chair; place an empty chair in front of you, and in faith see Jesus on the chair. It's not spooky because he promised, "I'll be with you always." Then just speak to him and listen in the same way you're doing with me right now.' So, I tried it and I've liked it so much that I do it a couple of hours every day. I'm careful, though. If my daughter saw me talking to an empty chair, she'd either have a nervous breakdown or send me off to the funny farm."

The pastor was deeply moved by the story and encouraged the old guy to continue on the journey. Then he prayed with him, and returned to the church. Two nights later the daughter called to tell the pastor that her daddy had died that afternoon. "Did he seem to die in peace?" he asked. "Yes, when I left the house around two o'clock, he called me over to his bedside, told me one of his corny jokes, and kissed me on the cheek. When I got back from the store an hour later, I found him dead. But there was something strange, in fact, beyond strange – really weird. Apparently, just before Daddy died, he leaned over and rested his head on a chair beside the bed."

"Jesus, help me to realize that, although I cannot see you with my physical eyes, you are 'more real' than anyone or anything else in the Universe! O Jesus, you are not merely a past hero in history to be admired, but you are a living divine Person to be loved and worshiped. 'Jesus, Lover of my soul, let me to thy bosom fly, while the nearer waters roll, while the tempest still is high; Hide me, O my Savior, hide, till the storm of life is past; Safe into the haven guide; O receive my soul at last!'"

AFFIRMATION FOR THE DAY: Though unseen, Jesus is not unknown. Because His power is unlimited, His love unwavering, and His wisdom incomparable, I will cast all

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my cares on Him, knowing that He cares for me! Now I shall live with joy unspeakable, and then someday I shall die undisturbed as I lay my head in the lap of Jesus!

(Author of story is unknown)

(Prayer and Affirmation by Ron Christian)


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Psalms 42:1-11

Uninhibited Thanksgiving And Praise!

When Jesus taught that we must be like a child in order to enter the Kingdom of God, I believe he had my wife's cousin's three-year-old son in mind. At his birthday party he was delighted to inform everyone that it was his birthday and he was "free" years old. Before partaking of the barbecue dinner, D.J. 's dad offered a prayer for him which went something like this:

Dad: "Our heavenly Father, we thank You for these past three years and all you have done for us in good times and bad…"

D.J.: "And for the bike."

Dad: "We thank you that you have given us such a good son, and thank you for our family and friends…"

D.J.: "And for the bike."

Dad: "We thank you for the meal we are about to eat…"


Dad: "and for the bike… Amen."

The shining new bicycle which was parked in the driveway was the focus of the day. Although-mom and dad paid for the bike, this young boy recognized where the gift truly came from. He was deeply awed at the greatness of this gift. He was thankful and he wanted God to know it! This young child of God was not one bit hesitant to give thanks where thanks was due.

I wondered whether I give thanks to God with such enthusiasm. I know it has been a long time since I did! That bicycle was such a simple little gift, yet it meant the world to this happy child. When was the last time I gave thanks to my God for the simple joys He brings to me? When was the last time I just blurted out from my heart, "Thanks for the ______ God"?

It is this kind of child-like excitement which excites God. He told us in His Word to be like little children and to receive all of His precious gifts with effervescent appreciation. Look into life with awe and see the mysteries of God revealed openly. He will stir your heart with gratitude!

Here are some suggestions I would like to make in order to help you see life again like a little child. Stick your nose in the grass and watch the tiny bugs crawl along the earth. Drive away from the city lights some night and count the stars (don't stop until you reach 1,000). Gaze intently into the eyes of someone you love. Watch a child playa game. Join that child in the game.

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What a great lesson I learned from this "birthday boy." I am truly thankful. Tonight when I lay my sleepy head on my pillow, I will whisper, "Thank you, God, for the exciting message you revealed to me today… And for the bike!"

"Lord, I have taken Your many blessings for granted. I have even come to expect them without asking. Forgive my lack of zeal when I pray. And grant that, when I pray, I will acknowledge your steadfast faithfulness to me."

AFFIRMATION FOR THE DAY: I will praise Thee, O God. I exalt Thy name. I acknowledge Thee to be the Lord!

– Thomas Duckworth –


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Joshua 14:10-12; Psalms 78:41; Matthew 7:7-8

What Could God Do With A Church Full Of "Calebs"?

"Give me this mountain". "As my strength was then, so is my strength now…" Can you imagine an 85 year old man wanting to climb a mountain? Caleb did! "Impossible", you say? Matthew 17:20 says, "Nothing shall be impossible unto you". In Matthew 19:26, Jesus said, "With men this is impossible; but with God all things are possible"! Consider the title again: What could God do with a church full of "Calebs"?

While pastoring a church in Central California, we discovered we needed more room. Our funds were limited, but we believed that Nothing Was Impossible with God. The people prayed, asking God for the impossible. There was an empty lot next door to the church. It seemed perfect, however the owner refused to sell. Believing this was God's will, several "Calebs" walked over the property, claiming it in the Name of Jesus. Not only did the owner reconsider, he sold it for a reasonable price. Now, we needed a building.

Some old army barracks were being auctioned in a neighboring town. Men from our church were elected to look into buying one. Our representative was out-bid each time until the last building was offered. His bid was so low, we wondered if it would even be considered. Ours was the only bid submitted. We now owned a building – rather, two buildings. The barracks we purchased was so long, we had to cut it in half. If God be for us, who can be against us? Romans 8:31.

The day those buildings arrived was a time of rejoicing. The community, however, was not quite so excited. They couldn't imagine what we intended to do with those ugly old barracks. God makes "all things beautiful in His time". After we remodeled, they were beautiful. The community was pleased. One building stood next to the church on the main street of town. It consisted of two offices, two restrooms, and plenty of Sunday school classrooms. The other was located behind the church. It was transformed into a kitchen and fellowship hall. The community responded favorably, and the Mayor of the town participated in the Dedication Service.

There are still Calebs today, asking God for the "Impossible". If you have needs, try praying, walking or climbing, if necessary, but claim the "Impossible'.

"Dear Jesus, I believe, help Thou my unbelief."

AFFIRMATION FOR THE DAY: I will close my eyes to the impossible and look to the God of possibilities. I will not limit the Holy One of Israel.

– Lowell Weller –

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Proverbs 3:5-6

Who Is In Control?

My husband returned early from painting a house, complaining of pain in his shoulder. Thinking it was from lifting the equipment and painting above his head, he took an aspirin and laid down. After eating a sandwich, he said the pain was very severe so I called the doctor. He suggested that we go to St. Peter's Hospital, 45 miles way, in Olympia.

We started out in a light shower that soon turned into a drenching deluge. I murmured that I did not like to drive in the rain and I complained that I certainly did not want to get on the freeway. I prayed aloud, "Lord, go with us," then we entered the freeway. The windshield wipers were dispensing rain to the east and west, yet I had trouble seeing. I griped.

Suddenly, over the side of the car there appeared a beautiful little rainbow coming up from the street and resting on the hood. "Look, Bill," I explained, "God sent us a rainbow!" Then Bill replied, "Look, Laura, there is also a rainbow on my side, resting on the hood." That rainbow stayed with us all the way down I-5.

When we arrived, Bill was taken into the emergency room and I was left alone in the waiting room. I was exuberant with the warmth of God's presence, yet I was very cold and deeply concerned about my husband.

Finally, after two hours, a nurse informed me that Bill was being admitted to the Intensive Care Unit. A large blood clot had been discovered and he had indeed suffered a heart attack. She told me to go home as it would probably take all night to dissolve the bloodclot. I was overwhelmed with guilt. Why had I driven him to the hospital instead of calling an ambulance? Could this have been prevented if I had called 911 immediately when he first arrived home? I plummeted to the depths of despair.

Driving home alone in the dark, through the rain and fog, I was overwhelmed with doubt, fear and grief. We had just celebrated our 40th anniversary with a trip to Victoria. We had thought about going there when we were first married but we only had $45 and that was the amount for the rent. Now was I going to lose him? I had seen my father die of a heart attack when I was only twelve and that memory was as fresh as yesterday. I questioned and doubted if I had been a good wife.

Driving up over the last hill, the rain and fog dissipated and a full moon appeared out of the clouds. Then three deer dashed in front of my car, stopped on the side of the road and stared at me. "Yes, God, I know you are still in control. You are the great Creator of that shiny moon and this beautiful earth. You made those deer and tonight you

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protected them. You made Bill and me, and I know we are in your hands. You sent us those miniature rainbows earlier to assure us of your presence. Forgive me for not trusting you completely." Then I started singing, "One day at a time, sweet Jesus, that's all I am asking of you… please teach me to take one day at a time."

"Dear Lord, thank you for revealing yourself through your creation when I doubt and worry. Thank you for the reminder that you care for my every pain."

AFFIRMATION FOR THE DAY: God controls the universe and He reveals it in beautiful ways at unexpected times.

– Laura Drewer –


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Mark 14:36; Romans 8:15; Galatians 4:6-7

Prayer Style Changed – Wonderful Results

It started with dizziness! Nothing seemed to help! Physicians were unable to find the cause. Several months later I had a heart attack! The main artery, leading to my heart, was 99% blocked. The arteries on the left and right had blockages also. After 10 angiograms and 5 stent implants, a quadruple by-pass was preformed. I probably would not have survived without these procedures. I thank the Lord and the doctors for saving my life.

As I studied the above Scriptures, I believe God revealed truth to me. I have read, from Bible scholars, that Abba Father means "Daddy." I tried calling, "Daddy, Daddy", when I did not feel well. The chest pain and headaches subsided. The Lord led me to Philippians 4:6 "…by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your request to God." The phrase, with thanksgiving, spoke to me. I began including "praise", with my petitions. The result? I felt better, slept less, and worked more.

According to Mark 14:36, Abba Father reveals intimacy; a closeness between God, the Father, and Christ, His Son. Romans 8:15 says "I have been adopted into God's family and need not live in bondage again." Galatians 4:6-7 reveals I am no longer a slave, but a son. I am an heir of God through Christ. What a difference since I began praying "Abba Father" or "Daddy, Daddy", coupled with "Thanksgiving. I cannot prove this method of prayer, theologically. I only know it is working for me. Life is now worth living.

Archbishop Trench wrote: "Prayer is not overcoming God's reluctance; it is laying hold of His highest willingness".

"Abba Father, Daddy, Daddy, I want to say 'Thanks' for truth that is adding joy and meaning to my life."

AFFIRMATION FOR THE DAY: I will look seriously into the duties and privileges of God's Son-ship. Every prayer and petition I will offer thanksgiving.

– Lowell Weller –


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Discussion Questions

  1. Share a time (occasion) in your life when you realized that God had dramatically and decisively answered your prayer, through divine empowerment and intervention.

  2. What is the 'channel' (or 'channels') by which you personally receive the 'power of God' which enables you to live a victorious Christian life? Have you ever experienced a 'power surge' in your spiritual life? How did you become aware of such a 'power surge', and what steps did you take to 'solve' this serious problem in your spiritual life? How do you (as a believer) stay 'plugged' into God on order that you may receive from Him the grace which you need every day?

  3. From your own experience (or from the experience of friends whom you know rather well) share ways in which you have sought to make the "presence of Christ" more real in your life of prayer (similar to the old man in the 'devotional' who placed an empty chair in front of him to visualize Jesus sitting on the chair).

  4. In your 'prayer life', are you increasingly learning to become 'childlike' in your prayers (i.e., are you learning to become uninhibited and unselfconscious and exuberant in your praise and thanksgiving to God for the 'simple joys' He brings to you)?

  5. What can you do to intensify your zeal and enthusiasm and fervency during your 'prayer times'? Is it true that when you 'act enthusiastic', you will eventually 'feel enthusiastic'?

  6. Have you personally, or has your church corporately, received an answer to prayer that (from a 'human viewpoint') seemed to be 'Impossible'?

  7. Can you think of a time (occasion) in your life when, during a personal or family crisis, you sensed the reassuring presence of God very near to you? Did God use a 'material object' or the 'words of an individual' or a 'wonder of nature' to remind you of His powerful presence and tender love?

  8. Is it possible for you (as a believer) to approach God with great intimacy, and at the same time to maintain an attitude of profound reverence and awe and 'holy fear'?

  9. Tell to what degree you agree (or disagree) with the following statement: "Prayer is not overcoming God's reluctance; it is laying hold of His highest willingness."

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