In the Old Testament, the first example of prayer was done by the servant of Abraham who was sent to the family of Bethuel, son of Milcah, for the bride who would be Isaac's wife (Genesis 24:12-14). His prayer was answered when Rebekah, the daughter of Bethuel, agreed to go with him and be married to Abraham's son Isaac. She became the mother of Esau and Jacob, who was later named Israel by God, at Peniel. (Genesis 32:22-32) Jacob prayed to God to be saved from Esau's anger, and his prayer was answered.
Old Testament tells us examples of God's power in answer to the prayer of His people, like when Joshua took the city of Gibeon, on a day when the sun stood still. He praised God before the Israelites and that prayer of praise was recorded in the Book of Jashar.(Joshua 10: 1-13) Other examples of prayer was that of Hannah, who cried out to the LORD because she was barren. She became the mother of the Prophet Samuel who anointed David King of Israel. David composed many psalms that were forms of prayer and worship songs. Solomon, David's son, also prayed asking for wisdom, (2 Chronicles 1:7-12) and dedicated the temple to God (2 Chronicles 6:4-42). Other examples of prayer were done by Jehoshaphat, Nehemiah, Daniel, Jonah and the other prophets.
In the New Testament, Jesus Christ showed His disciples how to pray, something they saw Him do. Jesus would always go to a solitary place to pray. The reason for this was to commune with God in the absence of noise and distraction, and the need to give to Him full, undivided, and reverent attention. Jesus also taught the Apostles' Prayer - beginning with praise, acknowledgement of Who God is, and declaring His will over all the earth and over all of heaven (Matthew 6:9-13). Thereafter the prayer presents the human needs and concerns common to all men. Jesus Christ the Son of God Himself prayed to the Father. His obedience and submission to God the Father was also an example for all of us when we pray -we can trust God to hear us.
"Jesus replied, 'I tell you the truth, if you have faith and do not doubt, not only can you do what was done to the fig tree, you can say to this mountain, throw yourself into the sea, and it will be done. If you believe, you will receive whatever you ask for in prayer."
When Jesus was brought to the tomb of His friend Lazarus, Jesus wept and prayed aloud: "Father, I thank You that You have heard Me. I knew You always hear Me, but I said this for the benefit of the people standing here, that they may believe that You sent Me." (John 11:41-42)
Prayer knocks on the gates of Heaven and touches the hem of God's Power. God hears and answers the prayers of those who earnestly seek Him. Nothing is too difficult for Him and all things are possible to Him, the God Who makes the sun stand still, Who can part the waters of the Red Sea, and Who answers with fire from Heaven.
"I Am the LORD of all mankind. Is anything too hard for Me?" (Jeremiah 32:26)
Prayer also changes the hearts of those who oppose the Gospel and facilitates protection for all believers (Acts 4:23-31).
Peter was miraculously set free from prison (Acts 12:5) because the church was earnestly praying for him. Saul, the persecutor of Christians was converted because of the prayers of the early saints of the church. (Acts 9:1-19).
Prayer softens hardened hearts that resist the Gospel. It prepares the soil of their hearts to receive the Seed of the Word of God, and be receptive to the Good News of Salvation.
Prayers moves mountains of opposition, it topples down walls of unbelief, breaks the chains of sin and addictions, it opens doors to healing and miracles, and it manifests God's glory in His mighty awesome answers.
We may not pray perfect prayers, but we can pray in great faith, trusting the Word of God that declares we are His children because of Christ in our hearts. We call with confidence "Abba" (Father) and we know He hears us (Romans 8:15-16). God said "Before they call I will answer, while they are yet speaking, I will hear." (Isaiah 65:24) God hears us and knows our hearts, He answers us out of His great Love and Goodness. The God Who promised to answer prayers will never lie, He is Faithful and True. Call on Him today.
"Call unto Me and I will answer you..."