One night, my son, Kim Jr. confessed to me a childish wrong. Kneeling, he prayed, “Dear Jesus, make me a man, like daddy — ‘the Major’ — wise and strong. I know you can!” As he slept, I knelt beside his bed, confessed my sins and with a bowed head prayed, “O God, make me a child like my little Kim here … pure, genuine, trusting God with faith sincere.” This is a thoughtful reminder for us to take the same stand and pray with childlike faith. His prayer was sweet, short and straight to the point, and transformed his bedroom with the mighty power of God’s spirit. “After this prayer, the meeting place shook, and they were all filled with the Holy Spirit. Then they preached the word of God with boldness.” Acts 4:31 — New Living Translation.
Kim taught me we too can reach our Lord through talking directly to him and experience a wonderful exchange that leads to the heart of God. Prayer can indeed capture the intimacy that God desires to have with each of his children when personal circumstances overtake us, such as depression, stress and fear. Spiritual dialogue with God is more than simply the saying of words or thinking of thoughts. Instead, personal prayer brings us into synchronization with the spirit of God as we talk to him. You see, prayer has the power to be more than a reaction to God. It’s a true uninterrupted connection with him that moves the heart and life of a believer.
In his book titled “Love-Slaves,” Samuel Logan Brengle understood the power of prayer when he wrote: “Real prayer is something more than a form of words, or a hasty address to God just after breakfast, before the meeting, or before going to bed at night. It is an intense, intelligent, persistence council with the Lord, in which we wait on him, and reason and argue and plead our cause, and listen for his reply, and will not let him go till he blesses us.” In the King James Version of Isaiah 40:31, it reads: “But they that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint.”
While growing up, you may have been taught to “speak when you are spoken to.” My kids will tell you that this is true. My parents expected and strongly encouraged us to give an appropriate reply when we were spoken to verbally, but also when the message was in the nonverbal form of an act of kindheartedness. Either way, it called for a thoughtful response. Praying exercises our faith that teaches us to build Godly habits of being proactive in responding frequently to God who longs to hear from us. Like little Kim Jr., our requests become pure and genuine, trusting God with faith sincere. As we seek God in prayer, we put our faith into action. “And without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him.” Hebrews 11:6 — NIV
Prayer is our direct response to talk to God in a spiritual and practical way that expresses the needs, joys and hopes for a better relationship with him. We are given an opportunity to speak back to God with sentences of heartfelt convictions and passions that acknowledge his love and which say “Yes, Lord do you hear me now?” I am thankful that he has given me another chance to express back to him with a grateful heart how much I love him. Our prayer life reflects, and reflection permits us to dig deeper into the sensitive spots of our heart and share with God the stuff he already knows.
A vital prayer life can smooth the progress of us keeping focused on seeing our daily needs, while expressing them. God, who has the power can change them without reservation, but with spiritual resolve. Kim Jr. reminded me that there is power, in prayer and God has not changed. His ear is just as quick to hear the voice of a real prayer and his hand is just as long and strong to save as they ever were. “Behold, the Lord’s hand is not shortened, that it cannot save; neither his ear heavy, that it can not hear: But your iniquities have separated you from your God, and your sins have hid his face from you, that he will not hear.” Isaiah 59:1-2, KJV.
So, pray for Godly comprehension, Christly guidance and for spiritual courage in all personal predicaments and avoid the unpleasantness of fear or despair by talking to God and maintaining a special relationship with him. God will give you powerful childlike faith through prayer as you comfort the distressed, counsel the misdirected and lead many to the wonderful counselor. It’s there; just have a little talk with Jesus!
Maj. K. Kendall Mathews is the regional coordinator for The Salvation Army.