Often when terrible situations occur, people ask, but where is God? How can such a thing have happened? There is much we do not understand about occurrences in life, and inexplicable situations abound. Yet, I have learnt in all these years of walking with God that He never gets it wrong. And experience has shown that some situations, at least some could have been avoided had there been sustained and requisite prayer. And some will be overcome faster if and when we pray.
A prayer problem
One problem with prayer is that it only appears necessary when it is too late. Many people feel no need to pray as long as everything is going well in their lives, revealing not only an inadequate understanding of the purpose of personal prayer but also of the responsibility of the believer to pray for the nation, the family and all that God desires to do. The whole issue of being prayerful must be separated from our sense of personal wellbeing. There is a tragic self-absorption that makes us oblivious to potential danger around us.
If I’m feeling good so I see no need to pray save hurl a few brief thank yous at God from a distance, I am living in disobedience to the clear instruction of Jesus as to the subjects of my prayer. We do not pray only so we can be fine. We pray so that the will of the Father may be performed on the earth. And the will of the Father extends beyond our very great person, extends to our families, our community, and our nations.
Every crisis is an opportunity to propel oneself into a fearful dimension of prayer. The gap between what is and what should be is cause for radical prayer mobilisation not for depression or anxiety. If things change by prayer, which they do, then let us change things. And prayer is addictive, once you begin, you keep going. Let whatever challenge you are going through turn you into a warrior, and beyond the challenge, enlist in God’s radical prayer army.
Communing with God
In prayer, we enter a realm where all things are possible. In prayer, we commune with a Being of limitless and unfathomable wisdom, knowledge and capacity. He is the Almighty God, the omniscient and omnipotent One. He is also the self-revealing One and imparter of knowledge. I am not just throwing words around. I merely want us to pause and consider who exactly it is that we are speaking and listening to when we pray.
Everything we need to know about every challenge or crises is known to Him and He communicates it to us in prayer. And that is fundamental. Prayer thus is gaining knowledge from God. It positions you in a place where you begin to see. Not only do you receive peace, rest and joy, but also a strong sense of and confidence about the future.
Rest is an inevitable consequence of true praying, and rest is indeed one of the things God wants to give us in a crisis. The written Word takes shape in the heart and brings peace. Also, the rest of God Himself is reassuring. When you commune with God and become conscious of His presence, you realise that He is never anxious, never terrified, and never worried. That reassures.
We all know someone or some people who see every situation ending in disaster. They see no good in any solution proffered and would rather expect the worst. But we are encouraged in every challenging situation to believe that by our prayer, things will change. We’ve seen how powerfully Elijah changed things by his prayer and how we are exhorted to adopt the same frame of mind as Elijah.
1 John 5.14 says,
‘Now this is the confidence we have before him. Whenever we ask anything, according to his, will he hears us? And if we know that he hears whatever we ask, we know that we have what we have asked him for.
This Scripture is the antithesis of doubt and panic. It leaves no room for the hedging and the hee-hawing that marks much of our attitude towards prayer. It is a clear statement of divine willingness to assist. It even charges us to be confident before God concerning answers to prayer. That is amazing. May you have this confidence from now on. May you, even as you navigate your way through the crisis of life, be filled with confidence that He has heard and answered your prayers
Truly, as we saw earlier, prayer is stepping into the realm of possibilities. Everything God wants is potential reality. All it takes for it to become my reality is that I pray as He wants and that I believe.
• What does God want for you?
• What has he offered you?
• What has he promised you?
Choose to believe it is done. If you are facing a life-threatening situation right now, tell God you want to live to fulfil your destiny. He did not plan for any of His children to die young. Ask Him for long life so you can serve Him fully and do all He put you into the earth to do.
Yes, we can overcome any crisis of life by prayer. Help, rest and peace are available. Divine intervention is also available.
Prayer is necessary
Finally, not only is prayer effective, but it is also necessary. Some situations have no solution outside prayer. And God only intervenes when men pray. Irrespective of the nature or scope of the crisis, His intervention is to be sought.
Think of Solomon’s dedication of the temple. He prayed, deeply, passionately and comprehensively. He sought to obtain the favour of God on his people and His mercy if they were to go astray. And so he covered a whole range of potential misdeeds, mishaps and crisis situations in his plea for mercy.
He cried for divine intervention in the event of famine, pestilence, blight, mildew, locust, grasshopper invasion as well as sin, exile, deportation, plague, illness, etc, etc. He asked that in all these situations when the people resort to prayer, God be gracious and answer. He understood that prayer is the only comprehensive remedy to human failings and afflictions.
Prayer must be the default reaction of the believer. It’s the answer to every human dilemma. When do we pray? We pray all the time. When there are situations of sin, we must pray. And Solomon said, ‘when these people sin against You and You are angry with them, and hand them over to the enemy’, recognising the human potential for grave error. And even in their state of exile, He asks that God show mercy and bring them back.
Even when we have sinned against God, when we cry out to Him, He will hear, forgive and heal. He does not hold people in captivity. That is the devil’s mission statement. He holds people in torment and chains of anxiety. All torment, fear, bondage and anxiety must go. Break them off yourself and break them off the people you are praying for.
May you overcome every crisis of life successfully. Shalom!
This article is an excerpt from an upcoming book Overcoming the crises of life.