PRAYER AND THE ROLE OF THE BELIEVER
by paul hoffmaster
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One of the favorite verbalizations of Christians is the phrase, “Pray for me.” In many churches, there is even a supplemental sheet in the Sunday bulletin containing all the prayer requests. When one is feeling the pressures of the Christian life, a request is presented to anyone who will listen. When a sickness or similar crisis affects the Believer, an “all points bulletin” will be issued to the Christian constituency. Not only is the local church invited to intercede, but all other churches, no matter their theological differences. There seems to be a mind set in some Christians that the more people involved in prayer, the greater the odds of their prayer being answered. Maybe they believe that having more petitioners will be a boast to their own questioning faith. There is nothing wrong with requesting prayer from others, but realize that God hears your prayer and will act according to His own will and your own faith. If you are going to call for prayer assistance, choose those who exhibit an active and expectant faith.
Prayer requests submitted to others need to be responded to immediately. When someone asks you to pray for them, do it right then. I know it might shock the requester, but if you don’t do it immediately, you might forget to pray later. When someone requests your prayer assistance, don’t try to get all the details; hear the need and pray accordingly, although one needs to be cautious when it comes to the prayer of agreement. Make sure the request lines up with the Word and is not something that corresponds with fleshly desires and lusts. (James 4:3) There needs to be caution with “unspoken requests.” How can we pray effectively if we don’t know the need?
Many Believers are unaware of the role they are to play in bringing about the answer to someone’s prayer request. The majority of fulfilled prayer requests are answered through other Believers! Many times Christians are the instrument that God uses to reveal His will and direction. God heard the prayers of the Children of Israel while they were in bondage and told Moses He was going to deliver them. However, God used Moses to bring about their deliverance, and thus answered their prayers. (Exodus 3:7-10) Let us pause between our requests and present ourselves before Him as being available to bring about His answers. Many answers have failed to be realized because we don’t understand that the supernatural can be conveyed through the natural. Instead of waiting for a lightening bolt to write the answer in the sky, learn to see the human messenger as a possible conveyor of God’s response. Many prayer responses are hindered because Believers have not made themselves available to God.
What a privilege we have in being able to pray, not only for ourselves, but for others. What an honor to be able to enter the Throne Room of God and express our needs to Him through the name of Jesus. What a joy it is to know the importance of prayer both in the asking and in the answering. Always remember, prayer involves both vertical as well as horizontal action.
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