The Importance of a Healthy Prayer Life
By Dan Blankenship
Have you ever had one of those moments in your life where you felt the power of prayer completely rejuvenate your soul? I know I have. I have sent prayers up to the Lord that I felt might be too selfish, too general, or too trivial, only to discover that the very act of praying, which I consider actually talking to the Lord, had given me a renewed spirit.
In Luke, Chapter 18: 9-14, Jesus uses a parable concerning a Pharisee and a tax collector. Jesus makes it perfectly clear that we are to humble ourselves when we pray, exalting God with the words that we speak to Him. While the Pharisee bragged to the Lord about his own goodness, the tax collector begged God for forgiveness, openly admitting that he was without righteousness. Jesus finishes his commentary by telling us that “For everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, and he who humbles himself will be exalted.” (Luke 18:14 NIV).
2 Chronicles 30:27 (NIV) makes it clear that our prayers reach the Lord: “The priests and the Levites stood to bless the people, and God heard them, for their prayer reached Heaven, his holy dwelling place.” Today, we are no longer required to have a priest, minister, or pastor offer up prayers on our behalf. Jesus has provided us his services as the connection to the Father. The curtain of the temple was torn in two the very moment Jesus succumbed to the cross (temporarily succumbed, that is). If we don’t pray in the name of the Son, we are not using the pathway Jesus provided for all who call upon His name.
I sometimes think of prayer as the most amazing cell phone plan ever created! There are no monthly fees, no charges for text-messaging, and no contracts to sign. In fact, there isn’t even a phone to worry about damaging. No, we radical believers in a Risen Savior actually need no manmade devices to communicate with our King. And we never have to worry about a busy signal or being redirected to voicemail. Jesus, the Great Mediator, has granted us access to the President of the Universe 24/7. How can we not take advantage of such a glorious gift? How can we not comprehend the importance of a healthy prayer life? The answer to both questions is we can’t!
In 1999, St. Luke’s Hospital in Kansas City, Missouri published controversial findings that concluded intercessory prayer can make a difference in the healing and recovery of patients who don’t even know others are offering up prayer on their behalf. Of course secularists ridicule the study as flawed, but I don’t believe the goal of cardiac researcher William Harris, Ph.D. was to prove that prayer works. I believe his study was an attempt to show that more studies need to be done. Though I doubt that a hundred studies showing prayer makes a difference in people’s lives would convince those that have a hardened heart.
Most of us do not have time to conduct a clinical experiment on the power of prayer, but most of us do have time to converse with God on a personal level. From my personal experience, and from speaking with others who pray on a daily basis, I see nothing to discredit the belief that a healthy prayer life and good health are not spiritually connected
Source: Rauch, Catherine. “Probing the Power of Prayer,” CNN.com, January 18, 2000, http://archives.cnn.com/2000/HEALTH/alternative/01/18/prayer.power.wmd/
"If we don’t pray in the name of the Son, we are not using the pathway Jesus provided for all who call upon His name." Thank you for the reminder! The bit about "being redirected to voicemail" made me smile. I enjoyed this article. I found it easy to read and understand. Thank you.