By Joy Haney
“And all things, whatsoever ye shall ask in prayer, believing, ye shall receive” (Matthew 21:22).
Power in prayer is the greatest power in the world. It is greater than power of wealth, power of oratory, power of song, or any other power. You can see the greatest things happen through prayer. It is a privilege to pray. Prayer is a treasure house of good things. We are invited to come boldly to the throne room of God with our needs and petitions, and He will hear us. Prayer gives strength when you feel you are fainting. Time spent in prayer brings joy when there is sorrow. Prayer is a release from pent-up tensions and problems. Prayer clears the vision, steadies the nerves, defines duty, and stiffens the purpose.
Prayer will inspire you to live each day as if it were your last, for when you pray you get a glimpse of eternity. Your world becomes larger. Prayer causes you to reach your goals. It helps to organize the mind. It energizes you! Prayer is like charging a battery. Prayer is energy.
Prayer will cause you to reach the highest level of achievement. It will help you be the master of a situation instead of having the situation master you. It will lift your thoughts to the level of winning.
Prayer is a place of refuge where one meets with God. It brings protection and safety to the one who prays. S. Chrysotom said it like this: “The man without prayer is as the fish out of water, and gasping for life.” Just as the fish gasps for life without being in water, so do people fight for life’s breath when they do not pray. They are gasping and struggling for life when they cut themselves off from spending time in the rivers of God’s presence. Communion with God brings life and peace!
Without prayer, a person becomes a dry, thirsty land and opens himself up to depression. He is unprotected from spirits that would attach themselves to him. S. Chrysotom wrote the following: “The man without prayer is as a city without walls, and open to all attacks.” Prayer is a spiritual covering for the mind and heart. In God’s presence there are protection and healing. Prayerlessness can cause frustration and a nagging sense of unhappiness because when people do not reach up and touch divinity through prayer, they chain themselves to a never-ending cycle of self. Prayer lets God come into your life and thoughts, and it brings new understanding of things.
Milton said, “The end of all learning is to know God, and out of that knowledge is to love and imitate Him.” How can one know Him if they do not spend time with Him in prayer, and how can they become like Him if they do not know Him? Prayer, if practiced by the masses, would totally change the world. There are miracles and answers to questions just waiting for them if they would only choose to pray to God and invite Him into their lives.
Prayer is the life line in God’s blessed hands. How carefully he holds us in the darkest and most uncertain hours. But, oh how safe we are. “He knoweth our frame. He remembereth that we are dust,” “I will never leave thee nor forsake thee.” “Fear thou not for I am with thee; be not dismayed. I am thy God. I will strengthen thee; yea, I will help thee; yea, I will uphold thee with the right hand of my righteousness.” He was near Abraham on his mountain with Isaac. He was with Moses at the Red Sea. Everything came out just right with Jacob, Joseph and Benjamin. He was with Daniel in the den of lions; with the three Hebrew children. He refreshed Elijah by the coming of the angel. He never fails. He always has His own big, big plans. We can hold stead through prayer and how wonderfully everything will come out.
More things are wrought by prayer
Than the world dreams of,
Wherefore let thy voice
Rise like a fountain for me night and day.
For what are men better than sheep or goats
that nourish a blind life within the brain,
If, knowing God, they lift not hands of prayer
Both for themselves and those who call them friend?
Bound by gold chains about the feet of God.
– Alfred Tennyson
Medical Doctors Thoughts on Prayer:
Many doctors attest to the power of prayer as the following paragraphs demonstrate: Alexis Carrell, MD, a French surgeon and biologist who won the Nobel Prize for medical research in 1906, wrote an article in the March issue 1941 Reader’s Digest. He entitled it “Prayer is Power.” Following is a portion of that article:
Prayer is the most powerful form of energy that one can generate. The influence of prayer on the human mind and body is as demonstrable as that of secreting glands. Its results can be measured in terms of increased physical buoyancy, greater intellectual vigor, moral stamina, and a deep understanding of the realities underlying human relationships.
If you make a habit of sincere prayer, your life will be very noticeably and profoundly altered. Prayer stamps with its indelible mark our actions and demeanor. A tranquility of bearing, a facial and bodily repose, are observed in those who inner lives are thus enriched. Within the depths of consciousness a flame kindles. And man sees himself He discovers his selfishness, his silly pride, his fears, his greed, his blunders. He develops a sense of moral obligation, intellectual humility. Thus begins a journey of the soul toward the realm of grace.
Prayer is a force as real as terrestrial gravity. As a physician, I have seen men, after all other therapy has failed, lifted out of disease and melancholy by the serene effort of prayer. It is the only power in the world that seems to overcome the so-called laws of nature; the occasions on which prayer has dramatically done this have been termed miracles. Only in prayer do we achieve that complete and harmonious assembly of body, mind, and spirit which gives the frail human reed its unshakable strength.
George Schilling, MD, who practices internal medicine in Stockton, California, shared with me the following in an interview with him on March 4, 1996: We have witnessed people who have been made better by prayer and strong belief Prayer groups have prayed for some of my patients, and the prayer has helped them to be healed or their health improved. I have a couple who have been on the edge of death several times, and it was the prayers of people in prayer groups that have brought them back. I have another terminally ill lady whom I am treating
who has cancer of the pancreas. She has strong belief in God and has a group praying for her and, to my amazement, is better. Their dramatic improvement cannot be explained scientifically.
Dr. Will Mayo of the world-famous Mayo Clinic said the following: “I have seen patients that were dead by all standards. We knew they could not live. But I have seen a minister come to the bedside and do something for him that I could not do, although I have done everything in my professional power. But something touched some immortal spark in him and in defiance of medical knowledge and materialistic common sense, that patient lived!”
Larry Dossey, MD, wrote about something that happened during his residency at Parkland Memorial Hospital in Dallas, Texas. He encountered his first patient with terminal cancer. The cancer had spread throughout both of the man’s lungs. Dr. Dossey told him what treatments were available but what little they could do. The man chose no treatment. Yet, whenever Dr. Dossey stopped by his hospital bedside, the man was surrounded by visitors from his church, who were singing and praying.
A year later, when Dr. Dossey was working somewhere else, a colleague at Parkland called to ask if he wanted to see his old patient. Dr. Dossey wrote back, “See him? I couldn’t believe he was still alive. At the hospital I studied his chest x rays. I was stunned. The man’s lungs were completely clear. There was no sign of cancer.” “His therapy has been remarkable,” said the radiologist, look over my shoulder. Therapy? I thought. There wasn’t any unless consider prayer.
Dr. Dossey wrote, “I had long given up the faith of my childhood. Now I believed in the power of modem medicine. Prayer med an arbitrary frill. So I put the incident out of my mind. Years passed and I became chief of staff at a large urban hospital. Then one day in the late 1980s I came across a study done by Randolph Byrd, a cardiologist at San Francisco General Hospital. To my amazement I found an enormous body of evidence: more than one hundred experiments exhibiting the criteria of good science. . . . Scientists, including physicians, can have blind spots. The power of prayer seemed to be one of them.”
Famous Peoples Thoughts on Prayer
I believe it is impossible to live well without prayer, and that prayer is the necessary condition of a good, peaceful, and happy life. The Gospels indicate how one should pray, and what prayer should consist of
– Leo Tolstoy
In the midst of President Woodrow Wilson’s difficulties in international negotiations, he, too, felt the need of divine guidance. When Mr. Wilson arrived at a cabinet meeting, his face wore a solemn look. It was evident that serious affairs of the nation were on his mind. He said to
the cabinet members: “I don’t know whether you men believe in prayer or not. I do. Let us pray and ask the help of God.” The twenty-eighth President of the United States fell upon his knees with the members of the cabinet, and offered a prayer to God for help.
– Told by Aquilla Webb
I have been driven many times to my knees by the overwhelming conviction that I had nowhere else to go. My own wisdom and that of all about me seemed insufficient for the day.
– Abraham Lincoln (During the Civil War)
In 1787 when the Constitutional Convention was on the verge of total failure over the issue of whether small states should have the same representation as large states, Benjamin Franklin offered a suggestion. He said, “Gentlemen, I have lived a long time and am convinced that God governs in the affairs of men. If a sparrow cannot fall to the ground without His notice, is it probable that an empire can rise without His aid? I move that prayer imploring the assistance of heaven be held every morning before we proceed to business.”
The motion carried. From then on prayer was offered each morning. The change after prayer was introduced was so dramatic that in a short while a compromise was reached which is still in effect today. I can take my telescope and look millions and millions of miles into space, but I can lay it aside and go into my room, shut the door, get down on my knees in earnest prayer, and see more of heaven and get closer to God than I can assisted by all the telescopes and
material agencies on earth.
– Sir Isaac Newton
In conversation with Professor S. F. B. Morse, the inventor of the telegraph, the Rev. George W. Hervey asked this question: “Professor Morse, when you were making your experiments yonder in your room in the university, did you ever come to a stand, not knowing what to do next?” “Oh, yes, more than once,” he answered. “And at such times, what did you do next?” asked Rev. Hervey. “I may answer you in confidence, sir,” said the professor, “but it is a matter of which the public knows nothing. I prayed for more light” “And the light generally came?”
“Yes, and may I tell you that when flattering honors come to me from America and Europe on account of the invention which bears my name, I never felt I deserved them. I had made a valuable application of electricity, not because I was superior to other men, but solely because God, who meant it for mankind, must reveal it to someone, and was pleased to reveal it to me.” In view of these facts, it is not surprising that the inventor’s first telegraph message, sent over a forty-mile line between Washington and Baltimore, was “What bath God wrought?”
True Stories of Answered Prayer
One Sunday night in April 1912, an American woman was very weary yet could not sleep because of an oppression of fear. At last she felt a burden of prayer and with tremendous earnestness began to pray for her husband then in the mid-Atlantic, homeward bound on the
Titanic. As the hours went by, she could get no assurance and kept on praying in an agony until about 5:00 in the morning when a great peace possessed her and she slept.
Meanwhile her husband, Colonel Gracie, was among the doomed hundreds who were trying frantically to launch the lifeboats from the great ship, whose vitals had been torn out by an iceberg. He had given up all hope of being saved himself and was doing his best to help the women and children. He wished that he could get a last message through to his wife and cried from his heart, “Good-bye, my darling.” Then as the ship plunged to her watery grave, he was sucked down in the giant whirlpool. Instinctively he began to swim under water, ice cold as it was. Suddenly he came to the surface and found himself near an overturned lifeboat. Along with several others, he climbed aboard and was picked up by another lifeboat, about 5:00 in the morning, the very time that peace came to his praying wife!
The two most famous legions in the Roman army were the Tenth Legion and the Thundering Legion. The Tenth Legion was composed of Caesar’s veteran shock troops. In every great emergency, it was upon that legion he called, and it never failed him. The Thundering Legion was the name given to the Militine Legion in the days of the philosopher emperor yet one of the worst persecutors of the church Marcus Aurelius. Tertullian tells how the legion won that name, the “Thundering Legion.” In AD 176, the army of the emperor was engaged in a campaign against the Germans. In their march the Romans found themselves encircled by precipitous mountains, which were occupied by their savage enemies.
In addition to this danger, the army tormented by thirst because of the drought. Then the corner of the Praetorian Guard informed the emperor that the Militine Legion was made up of Christians and that they believed in power of prayer. “Let them pray, then,” said the emperor. The soldiers of the legion bowed on the ground and earnestly besought God in the name of Christ to deliver the Roman army. They had scarcely risen from their knees when a great thunderstorm arose, accompanied by hail. The storm drove the barbarians out of their strongholds, and, descending from the mountains, they entreated the Romans for mercy. His
army delivered from death at the hands of the barbarians, all delivered from death by the drought, the emperor decreed that this legion should be thereafter called the “Thundering Legion.” He also abated somewhat his persecution of the Christians.
– Told by C.E. MaCartney
Millions of copies of Warner Sallman’s Head of Christ painting hang in homes around the world. The picture presents Jesus as a man of strong personality, rugged health, with the marks of character and leadership. Following is the artist’s life that shaped his view of Jesus:
In 1917, the young artist was told by his physician, “You have tuberculosis of the lymph glands. Without surgery I believe you have about three months to live!” Warner Sallman left the office in a daze. He was concerned for the young singer who had recently become his bride and for their baby that was soon to be born. When he told his wife about the doctor’s prognosis, she said, “We will pray and thank God for the three months. We will ask Him to use us to the limit, and if He will mercifully give us more time, we shall be grateful for it.” Together they knelt in
trusting prayer. A marvelous healing took place. Warner Sallman never needed surgery. For many years he remained in robust health, dedicating his life to Christ.
A miracle took place for Lloyd B. Wilhide of Keymar, Maryland. It was just an ordinary day, when crisis overtook him and he prayed to God for help. His words are as follows: “Ask and it shall be given you,” Jesus said. I’ve always believed this but never so totally as the day of the accident in 1978. I was seventy-five years old. The grass on our 121-acre dairy farm needed cutting, so I hitched a set of mower blades to my tractor and went to work. The tractor was huge, and for added traction on our up and down Maryland terrain, its rear wheels were filled with five hundred pounds of fluid, and a two-hundred-pound weight hung from each hub. When I finished the job, I was on a slight uphill grade near our chicken house. I switched off the ignition and climbed down from the high seat. I was unfastening the mower blades when the tractor started moving backward.
I tried to twist around and jump up on the seat, but I didn’t it. The tractor’s drawbar hit me in the knees, knocking me flat, and the seven-hundred-pound left wheel rolled over my chest and on top of it. I struggled for breath. The pain was agonizing. I knew I was facing death, and I made my request. “Please, God,” I begged, “release me.” At that moment the tractor began to move. It went forward to free my chest, and to my astonishment it moved uphill! My dog and then a farmhand found me, and after six broken ribs, two fractures, and twelve days in the hospital, I was back talking with the Maryland state trooper who called to investigate the accident “I won’t try to explain it officially,” he told me, by a dozen men couldn’t have moved that tractor off you.” Twelve men or twelve hundred, it didn’t matter. Asking God’s help did.
Prayer pulls the rope below and the great bell rings above in the ears God. Some scarcely stir the bell, for they pray so languidly; others give an occasional pluck at the rope; but he who wins with heaven is the man who grabs the rope boldly, and pulls continuously, with all his might.
Success Story: James Lewis Kraft
James Lewis Kraft was born in Ontario, Canada, in 1874 to Mennonite parents. He learned to pray at an early age and was always God-conscious. At the age of twenty-eight, he moved to Chicago. He was stranded with only sixty-five dollars in his pocket, so with that he bought a horse and wagon. He then went to the wholesale warehouse district and bought cheese, which he took into the city and sold to small stores, saving merchants from having to make the trip.
He began working on a special cheese that became known as processed cheese and was granted a patent for this in 1916. Walter B. Knight wrote the following about Kraft: “Years ago a young man began a small cheese business in Chicago. He failed. He was deeply in debt ‘You didn’t take God into your business. You have not worked with Him,’ said a Christian friend to him. Then Mr. Kraft thought, ‘If God wants to run the cheese business, He can do it, and I’ll work for Him and with Him!’ From that moment, God became the senior partner in his business. The business grew and prospered and became the largest cheese concern in the world!”
James L. Kraft, Canadian/American entrepreneur and inventor, helped to create Kraft Foods Inc. He served as the company’s president from 1909 until his death in 1953. The Kraft blog on the Internet has this to say about Kraft Foods: “Hard work, imagination and a commitment to bring the world its favorite foods have helped us grow into a company that touches more than a billion people in more than 150 countries.” This is certainly success! When you take a God-fearing young man with only sixty-five dollars, who made God his senior partner, and see his dream become a business that today touches more than a billion people; that is success!
Pray Without Ceasing
Unanswered yet? But you are not unheeded:
The promises of God forever stand;
To Him our days and years alike are equal;
Have faith in God! It is your Lord’s command.
Hold on to Jacob’s angel, and your prayer
Shall bring a blessing down sometime, somewhere.
Unanswered yet? Faith cannot be unanswered;
Her feet are firmly planted on the Rock;
Amid the wildest storms she stands undaunted,
Nor quails before the loudest thunder shock.
She knows Omnipotence has heard her prayer,
And cries, “It shall be done sometime, somewhere.”
-Ophelia Guyon Browning
I exhort therefore, first of all, that supplications, prayers, intercessions, thanksgiving, be made for all men.
I Timothy 2:1 (American Standard Version)
I refuse to live a cheap life and think chaffy thoughts.
I refuse to surrender to worry,
fear, prejudice and bitterness.
I resolve to bathe my mind with the waters of peace and love.
God is my guide, my shield and my exceeding great reward.
I refuse to permit anything small, mean, coarse or vulgar to remain in my heart or mind.
My soul shall breathe only the breath of God.
– Dean C. Dutton
Prayer gives you courage to make the decisions you must make in crisis and then the confidence to leave the result to a Higher Power.
– General Eisenhower
This article “Learn To Pray, For Prayer is Power” was taken from the book “Seeds For Success” by Joy Haney and may be used only for study and research purposes only.