Brethren, the theme of our lecture is the efficacy of prayers. Your greatest problem in life is that many of you do not believe in the power of prayers. You do not understand that prayer is the only medium through which your request can be made to God, and it is only by prayers that God can grant your requests, of course through intercession by Our Lord Jesus Christ.
What Is Prayer?
Prayer is the expression of man's dependence upon God for all things. It is a means of grace that has a large value, for it affords the privilege of close communion with God especially when one is alone with Him in supplication.
In Matthew 16:18, Our Lord Jesus Christ said to Peter: "Thou art Peter, and upon this rock I shall built my church, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it, and I will give unto you the keys of the kingdom of heaven." The keys purported to have been handed over to Peter was a symbol of Prayers, and that is why it is parabolically said that: "Prayer is the key of heaven, and Faith unlocks the door."
As a child of God, whatever are the circumstances confronting you, do not quarrel or fight with, abuse or curse any person. Do not murmur or blaspheme against God. But tell God your desires. "Let your moderation be known unto all men. The Lord is at hand. Be careful for nothing; but in everything by Prayer and Supplication, with Thanksgiving let your requests be known unto God." Phil 4:5-6. St. Matthew in his gospel directs: "And all things whatsoever you shall ask in prayer, believing you will receive." (Matt 21:22). Once you make your requests known to God, the God of peace who passes all understanding, will grant all your requests.
Is there any of you who believes fervently in the power of prayer? Your greatest handicap is that you do not pray always. You either feign shy or feel too lazy to pray. Realizing that prayer affords you the privilege of close communication with God, you should pray always. St. Paul in his First Epistle to the Thessalonians 5:17 confirms that people should pray unceasingly.
This is further confirmed by Acts 6:4, when the Apostles declared: "We will give ourselves continually to prayers," and Luke 18:1: "Men ought always to pray and not to faint." Wherever you find yourself kneel, knock your head on the ground, and give thanks to God, requesting Him to do what you wish, and He will not fail to do it for you. No matter your difficulties and problems, never be worried. Do not quarrel at all. Simply communicate with your Father. He will readily solve your problems and difficulties. If you are hungry, He will fill you abundantly. Whether you are poor and wretched, sick and helpless, have a difficult case in the court, do not tell any person but communicate your problems to the Father in prayers. He will enrich you, heal you, discharge and acquit you.
If you are a hardened criminal, whether you are a thief, a liar, a fornicator, a murderer, place it before your Father and ask that He should change you and cause you to forsake these vices. He will graciously do it.
If you consider that you cannot be socialized with the attributes of the kingdom, whether love, truth, honesty, patience, humility, self-control, simply kneel down and commune with the Father, and He will endow you with these attributes. If you are recalcitrant, or always annoyed, do not worry yourself, just tell your Father in prayers, and He will take them away.
It is the height of stupidity and dishonor to testify that you have refrained from fornication and theft, not knowing you are exposing yourself to danger. Simply confess to the Father and He will right all wrongs.
I want to use an earthly situation to illustrate a heavenly situation for you. There was a certain village which was always invaded by thieves and robbers who molested the villagers. Before visiting any person's house for the purpose of plundering, they would send a letter informing the person of their intention to visit on a scheduled date. Everything was done to stop their activities but there was no success. The government could not legislate against them, the Police could not control them because they had their own police and army.
On one fine night a wealthy woman, realizing the situation of things knelt down and started to pray that God should provide employment for all the thieves and robbers because it was not their pleasure to steal but because of lack of employment. As she was praying, little did she know that the thieves had already taken positions in the compound and even inside her rooms. The spies among them had already hidden under the bed. She did not quite end her prayer before the robbers started coming out one by one, masked to hide their identity. They all expressed surprise at the type of prayer she offered, and that they thought she would abuse and curse them for their actions. They told her that since she did not utter disgraceful and abusive words, they would go back without taking anything from her house, and that no robbers will ever break into her house and steal. They confirmed in their confession that it was not their pleasure to continue to molest innocent people but that they had neither jobs nor any form of livelihood to maintain their families, some of which had a numerical strength of twelve. They could not feed and clothe them. They were only forced by circumstances to steal.
Their explanation evoked a deep sympathy from the woman who was moved to give them money, but they maintained that they would not take anything from her since she had prayed God to provide them with jobs. Having been impressed by the woman's action they went away with the hope that God would provide them with employment. The woman's prayer worked like magic. That same week all of them gained employment in fulfillment of the woman's request, and the activities of invasion and piracy ended automatically. That is the Efficacy of Prayer.
God Is Your Only Hope
How many of you believe in the moral of this story? As a result of your lack of patience, you beat up people, thrash your children, take others to court in order to compel compliance instead of taking everything to God in prayer. You can force a horse to the stream, but you cannot force it to drink. Why do you not take your requests to your Father? Whenever you are faced with any situation you cannot solve, just go into your room, kneel down, knock your head on the ground and give thanks to God mentioning the problem. If you have no money, ask Him and He will give you. But if you rather go to people to assist you in your penury, no person will be ready to help you.
If You Have Trails And Temptation, Take It To God In Prayers
It is not advisable to report your problems to your fellow man. Tell them to the Father who has the answer for everything. Do not lobby or bribe your boss to promote you, for he will not be able to do it. Pray to God, and He will promote you. If your house is on fire, do not invite the fire brigade, for they may delay; but pray to the Father, and He will extinguish the fire when you least expected.
Pray to Avert Temptation
At any moment of your life, prayer is very efficacious. Our Lord Jesus Christ realized this fact; and that was why during the time of His trial, the most critical period of His life, advised His disciples to watch and pray lest they enter into temptation. Matthew 26:36-41 "Then cometh Jesus with them into a place called Gethsemane, and saith unto the disciples, Sit ye here, while I go and pray yonder. And he took with him Peter and the two sons of Zebedee, and began to be very sorrowful and very heavy.
Then saith he unto them, My soul is exceedingly sorrowful, even unto death: tarry ye here, and watch with me.
And he went a little further, and fell on his face, and prayed saying, O, my Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me: nevertheless not as I will, but as thou wilt.
And he cometh unto the disciples, and findeth them asleep, and saith unto Peter, What, could ye not watch with me for one hour?
Watch and pray, that ye enter not into temptation: the spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak."
You do not appear to believe the power of prayers because when you are asked to pray unceasingly, you want to do everything by the promptings of the flesh. But you do not start to serve God yet. A similar key given to Peter has been given to you in this age, that you should pray unceasingly and that you should make your requests known to God by prayer and supplication.
Pray Without Ceasing
If you read Acts 4 you will discover what happened to the Apostles and how they were saved through prayers. When they had been threatened, the Apostles lifted up their voices in prayer:
Acts 4:29: "And now, Lord, behold their threatenings; and grant unto thy servants, that with all boldness they may speak thy word." Acts 4:31:"And when they had prayed, the place was shaken where they were assembled together; and they were all filled with the Holy Ghost, and they spake the word of God with boldness."
You who lament, cry and weep, stop crying and tell your Father all your requests. Pray any moment of your life. That is why he advises that you should refrain from sin because if you begrudge any person, your prayers will be hindered. You can solve all you problems with prayers. That was why Peter and John answered and said unto them, in Acts 4:19-21:"Whether it be right in the sight of God to hearken unto you more than God, judge ye. For we cannot but speak the things which we have seen and heard. So when they had further threatened them, they let them go, finding nothing how they might punish them, because of the people: for all men glorified God for that which was done."
It is through prayer that the Gospel came down, and through the Gospel everything is calmed down. St. Paul in his Epistle to the Romans 15:30-31 said: "Now I beseech you, brethren, for the Lord Jesus Christ's sake, and for the love of the Spirit, that ye strive together with me in your prayers to God for me; That I may be delivered from them that do not believe in Judea; and that my service which I have for Jerusalem may be accepted of the saints."
In everything with prayer and supplication let you request be known to God, and the God of peace who passes all understanding shall keep your heart and mind through Christ Jesus.
Paul knew the efficacy of prayer that was why he always asked that he should be prayed for. Prayer solves all sorts of problems. There is nothing that prayer cannot accomplish. James in his general epistle 5:16-18, bears eloquent testimony when he said:
"Confess your faults one to another, and pray one for another, that ye may be healed. The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much. Elias was a man subject to like passions as we are, and he prayed earnestly that it might not rain: and it rained not on the earth by the space of three years and six months. And he prayed again, and the heaven gave rain, and the earth brought forth her fruit."
I have taught you everything but you do not want to understand and experiment if prayer can or cannot do anything at all. When you read Isaiah 37:1-36, you will discover the real power of prayer. From the distant past, there was nothing prayers could not do. At any state of your life, pray to God to guide you. When you are undertaking a journey, pray to God. If you are serving, pray to God first. A spiritual chorus says those who pray will have life.
Always remember the efficacy of prayers.
Here endeth our short lecture. Amen
Thank You Father.