Of all the present privileges and opportunities given to us as Christian men, there is none greater than the privilege of prayer. By prayer, I mean the direct, instant access we have with the God of the universe. I mean the direct audience that we have with Almighty God to be heard, to be listened to, to be fully understood. We have a wide open door, an urging, an invitation from the All Knowing, All Powerful, Infinite God, OUR OWN HEAVENLY FATHER, to ask Him for anything, to tell Him anything and we are promised by God to expect that He will answer.
Do you grasp the extraordinary protection and therapy offered to us by God through the gift of prayer to give our anxieties, our worries, our fears, our pain, our anguish, our despair, our discouragements, our deep hurts, and experience the balm of God, protecting us from total collapse, mental, and emotional breakdown, and complete and utter self destruction?
Do you understand the comfort, the tremendous tender, compassionate comfort and consolation that God personally brings to our soul through the act of verbally and emotionally dumping on God through the conduit of prayer!?
Do you grasp for one moment how incredibly blessed you really are to be given this high privilege and this powerful, supernatural gift from God himself? It cost Jesus everything to give it to you, would you not honor His great sacrifice by using it every single day?!
Do you understand for one moment that God has given you every single thing you currently have and will ever have? Your heart, your lungs, your brain, your eyes, your mouth, your ears, your legs, your hands, your personality, your temperament, your gifts, your talents, your capacity to learn, your eternal salvation, your clear conscience given to you as a gift of Jesus Christ grace through the gospel, your total and complete forgiveness of sins, your wife, your children, your job, your car, your house, your food, the air you breathe! Do you not grasp that He deserves to have you sincerely and enthusiastically thank Him every single day for these things?!
Do you grasp and understand that your Heavenly Father is eager to listen to you, eager to answer you, eager to help you, and waits on high to show His compassion and goodness to you?!
Men, prayer has been and is the most powerful and important gift in my life! Prayer is the ability to talk and communicate with God, to request anything that I need, whether physical needs, financial needs, emotional needs, relational needs, wisdom, insights, direction, burdens, fears, any and every desire and request; I can bring them right to God and He promises to answer me, to help me, to grant me what I ask, what I need, and sustain me! This is incredible and it is all over the Bible, in the Psalms, and the New Testament as well!
Yet, I have observed through my decades of ministry work with tens of thousands of Christians that very, very few are devoted to prayer. Very, very few are accustomed to a vigorous, fervent prayer life and they are weak, spiritually anemic, and often defeated as a result. Very, very few have a rigorous, daily habit of prayer.
Think with me for a moment of these verses, which by the way, have had a profound impact on my life.
Psalm 116:1-2 NLT, “I love the Lord because He hears and answers my prayers. Because He bends down and listens, I will pray as long as I have breath!”
James, “You have not because you ask not.”
Matthew, “Ask and you will receive, seek you will find, knock and the door will be opened.”
James, “The fervent prayer of a righteous man has great power and wonderful results.”
Psalm 55, “Cast your burdens on the Lord and he will sustain you, he will keep you from collapse.”
Jeremiah, “Call to me and I will answer you and I will tell you great and mighty things you do not know!”
Philippians 4:6, “Don’t worry about anything, instead pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank Him for what He has done.”
Men, these are incredible passages of scripture with supernatural promises from God attached to the very act of sincere, fervent prayers offered to God from our mouths! Yet, so many spend so few minutes of their days devoted to earnest prayer.
I have seen men work up a sweat at the gym. I have seen them exert themselves remodeling their house. I have seen them all fired up over a game, a meaningless game. I have seen guys train for their ultra marathon, or triathlon, or some other young guy/old guy competition.
Where are the men, the dads, who are fervent in prayer? Who wrestles with God in prayer? Who sweats in prayer? Who cries out in prayer? Who bathe their entire lives, their work, their families, their soul, their marriage, their parenting in prayer? Where are the men who put the same vigor, effort, passion, and intentionality into asking God for things as they do try to close a million dollar sales deal with a customer of theirs?
Men, you will get out of prayer what you put into it! I mean that with all my heart. Notice that in James as the writer tells us about Elijah, it does not say “the prayer of a righteous man has great power”, it says the “FERVENT prayer of a righteous man has great power.”
Do you know what that means? Here is its meaning: impassioned, passionate, intense, vehement, ardent, emotional, deeply felt, zealous, animated, enthusiastic, spirited, hot!!!
During the last 43 years of my life, I have prayed with many other men and I have to tell you, most of the time I wanted to go to sleep. The prayers were so lethargic, boring, lifeless, unemotional, stoic, anything but fervent, emotive, energetic, or desperate or with any deep conviction.
In a few months, I will be 63 years old! I tell you, as God is my witness, nothing is more important in my life than prayer. I do not miss a day seeking the God who loves me, in prayer. I pray over everything. I unashamedly, uninhibitedly ask God for our needs, all my needs. I cry out to Him for my children, my grandchildren, I cry out to Him for those of you reading this, for those I mentor. I pray over my finances, my health, my marriage, my spiritual growth, my love, my thoughts, for wisdom and insight, everything! I ask God for many things every single day. I pray over this ministry, I pray, and pray, and pray. All the 32 years of my preaching would have had no power, no impact whatsoever, had I not devoted myself to the practice of fervent prayer!
I may not have a doctorate, I may not have a masters degree, I may not have a shiny white smile or any of the things that men say I need to succeed, but I have a prayer life that they don’t have. I have this all-powerful gift from God that I am determined to use, and use, and use, and use, till my very last breath.
I beg you men, PRAY. I beg you to start today and develop a habit of daily prayer. Get up earlier, go out and pray. Take your lunch break and go pray. Pray in your car, pray in your garage, pray in the park, or pray on a walk. Set your heart to pray. Pray with emotion, pray with conviction, pray with desperation. Pray with specificity. Put some effort and umph into your prayers. Put some emotion into them, some passion into them, and lay hold of God, and watch him move in your life, in your circumstances, in your marriage, in your children’s lives, and your work because you honored God, you wrestled with God, you trusted God and you devoted yourself to prayer.
Do you really believe you need the blessing of God in every aspect of your life? Do you actually believe the words of Jesus, “Apart from me you can do nothing”? Will you be a praying man?! That one thing will determine the rest of your life.
In closing, I would like to share this. I wrote it to myself years ago, I share it now with you.
In closing, please, please listen to these messages on prayer as they will help you understand it and act upon it.