What Is Prayer? :: by Jim Torres

Let us start with collective prayer as it happened last Sunday at my church. We all gathered together to pray for our country, which is in very dire straits in various ways. We reminded God of His promise, “If my people who are called by my name will humble ….etc.” I first heard that prayer over forty years ago, and look where we are as a country today. We must put feet on our prayers AND VOTE.

We can’t and shouldn’t expect God to heal our land for the way we’ve abandoned Him. We Christians, more than others are responsible for the direction of our once noble country. The way I see it, our country has crossed the red line and must now face the consequences. The best we can hope for is one last great revival, not to salvage the country, but to bring others to the saving knowledge of Jesus Christ in these final hours.

You can ask a half dozen Christians, “What is prayer?” And you’ll get a dozen different answers. In Christianity there is always a new “revelation” by dreamers about prayer, even though Jesus has already told us what it is and how to do it. One of the latest is that we should wake-up at five in the morning and prepare some green tea, no sugar, get your Bible and lay your hand on it and repeat after me etc.

Of course, I’m being facetious, but you get the picture. Another of these unisex/one size fits all prayers was the reading of a little booklet known as the prayer of Jabezz. However, that prayer was the man Jabezz’s selfish prayer and his alone. Today you can find thousands of that former five dollar little booklet at the dollar store for a buck. I wonder if the propagator of that idea made any money. Apparently that was what he was after.

Then there is the six-foot four, three hundred pound man in Sunday school class whose voice register becomes femininely soft and delicate. He knows all the right words such as whence, thy, thee and cometh. Everyone is impressed, just as he knew they would be. Maybe he should be a deacon or some such entity everyone thinks, including himself. And how about the churchy prayer warrior.

Prayer warrior? What is that? Try as you might you’ll never find that term used in the Bible. Jesus said for us to go into a private place to pray and not like the Hypocrites who like to put on face of contrition for others to see their piety. He also said, “pray without ceasing” and also, “through prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God.” We should pray real prayers and study the Bible to get to know God’s will, get to know Him better and to thank him for everything.

Some people want you to pray for them about their children’s grades, while people are starving and dying all over the world. Worse than that, Christians are being persecuted like never before and are even being beheaded for their faith, as we pray for traveling mercies. Traveling mercies, prayer warriors and other Christian jargon are an impediment to true faith.

We don’t need gimmicks, candles, prayer beads or prayer shawls or someone to alert you to a time of prayer. Prayer can happen anytime, anywhere and under any circumstance, but Jesus said not to say repetitive prayers, those that are said over and over. He gave us a guideline and said to pray like this:

“Our Father who is in heaven, hallowed be thy name, give us this day our daily bread and forgive us our sins as we forgive the trespasses of our fellow man and lead us not into temptation but deliver us from evil for yours is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever, Amen”.

Don’t pray the prayer verbatim, say it in your own way of speaking. He understands and wants your heartfelt prayers just to hear your voice calling out to Him.

I awaken with a prayer of thanksgiving for a good night’s rest. I thank God for each and every meal no matter where I am. I pray while I’m driving, and thank God for the music on my radio. God is on my mind throughout the day, usually about how I might please Him. I thank God for the opportunities of the day before I hit the sack, sometimes on my knees but more often on my back.

My life has been a steady stream of prayer for over forty years, and God knows my voice well. So when a deacon called me while I was in the hospital to offer prayer for my life threatening situation, I declined. I had been talking to God all day and evening. I did what I always do, I placed my life completely in God’s hands and was in a serene state of readiness for any outcome. Nevertheless, I recounted all the Scripture promises that I had read over the years to remind Him of them. Hey, after all, I’m human too.

Consider this verse of Scripture: “And my God shall supply all of your needs,” if you give Him first place in your life. You’ll notice that there is a specific pre-condition. For many of us, that’s the last thing we want to do. Do you want God to notice you more readily? Then get involved in doing His will.

When Joshua was in prayer too long and quaking in fear about what lay ahead, he was reproved by God, “Enough prayer already, get up off your knees and do what I told you to do!” So we should also get up off our knees, leave everything in God’s hands, have faith (believe in God’s faithfulness) and stand on our feet and go.

By the way (a few words about the movie industry).

Fury is an okay movie, made primarily for men. But the F- bomb was used throughout it for no good reason. However, this very same movie talked about salvation, God and Christ. It even quoted Scripture! Could it be that filmmakers are finally coming around to speak of these things openly? I certainly hope so.

There is another family friendly movie titled, 23 Blast that just opened. It is the story of a blind young man who overcomes this huge obstacle and plays football in spite of it.

The movie, Exodus will be screening soon, but already Christian Bale is bad mouthing Moses. That is not a good sign. This movie may well be another Noah like fairy tale.

Yours truly,

Jim Torres “Towers”