Tuesday, September 14, 2010
The Place and Power of Prayer
“Now when Daniel learned that the decree had been published, he went home to his upstairs room where the windows opened toward Jerusalem. Three times a day he got down on his knees and prayed, giving thanks to his God, just as he had done before.” (Dan.6:10). Here we find the real secret of this man’s greatness. Daniel was a captive in Babylon and yet in this instance he was not subject to the laws of the king. He was not subject to the directions that were imposed upon him. He was really concerned about doing the will of God. He knew God's will, and whatever the circumstance or occasion, he was governed by that will in spite of the danger and opposition that this aroused. He was a true and faithful man. Daniel’s example validates the place and power of prayer.
A Newsweek poll indicates that most Americans seem to agree concerning the power of prayer:
54% report praying on a daily basis
29% say they pray more than once a day
75% pray for strength to overcome personal weakness
73% think prayers for help in finding a job are answered
79% say God answers prayers for healing someone with an incurable disease
87% say that God answers prayers
We should note that how many people believe in something is not a guarantee of its existence, or that even people regularly practice it. There is much about prayer that we don’t understand. Yet this we know: the prayer of a righteous man is powerful and effective. (James 5:16). What a source of blessing and encouragement to the Christian! How hopeless life must be for the skeptic who knows nothing of prayer.
Before his death from myelodysplasia(preleukemia), the famous scientist Carl Sagan wrote his final book entitled, The Demon-Haunted World: Science as a Candle in the Dark, in which he included prayer along with astrology, spoon-bending, witches, ESP, spiritualism and repressed memories as examples of the persistence of irrationality. Sagan persisted in his agnosticism until his death, with no appeals to God, and no hope for an after-life. How lonely and how sad to face eternity with no assurances.
A great song that many of us have grown up singing in the church says, “Oh, how praying rests the weary! Prayer can change the night to day: so, when life seems dark and dreary, don’t forget to pray.”
Daniel gives us a wonderful example of how powerful a weapon prayer is in the spiritual battle that is raging. About just how much prayer can bring us closer to God. (James 4:8)
In a sin-racked world, we have no other hope. Thanks be to God for the avenue of prayer!