The Interesting Truth About Prayer: The Journey Of Prayer
A pastor once said, “Once God has spoken that something will happen or that He will do something, you don’t need to pray about it.” His reason for saying this is that God cannot lie (Numbers 23:19) and His Word will always accomplish whatever He intends it to (Isaiah 55:11). I agree with the pastor because it’s true, but it is not the entire truth; people often say you shouldn’t pray for what God has already given you. Again, I agree because this is true, but there is more to be understood about this. Even though God has spoken that something will happen, it is important for us to pray to Him about that thing for two main reasons: One, the Bible teaches us to put God in remembrance of His Word (Isaiah 43:26).
God isn’t unrighteous that He would forget His own Word, however, God is looking for partnership here on earth (2 Chronicles 16:9). He wants to know if we’re actually interested in doing this thing—I mean this Heaven come to Earth thing. Do you actually want to see His will be done in your lifetime? Or are you willing to let it pass you by and allow Him to manifest His promises in those to come after you? The reality is that God may promise me something today, but, because I did not put Him in remembrance of His Word, it may not come to pass until years after I’ve passed away. If so, He remains faithful to His word, because He did what He said He would—I just didn’t get to witness it. The story of Hezekiah reveals some of what I am saying, and you should check it out ☺.
The second reason to pray about things God has said will happen, is because sometimes the things God promises are conditional: take for example God’s promise to heal the land in 2 Chronicles 7:14:
14 If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land.
Meet the “if.” The “if” provides a condition to the promise that He gives. In this case, the actual promise depends on “if” the people choose to “humble themselves, pray…” or not. In other cases, things, such as disobedience, un-forgiveness, or simply just a person’s character that isn’t ready to receive that blessing, may uphold the answer to a prayer. The truth is that, God’s Word(s) or promise(s) coming to pass in our life can sometimes be based on us continuing to believe what He said will happen; the point at which we stop believing His word, may be the point at which we disqualify ourselves from witnessing His glorious promise(s) (see 1 Corinthians 15:1-2 and Matthew 21:22).
A brief example of this is when God told the Israelites that they would inherit the promise land. Unfortunately, because the majority of the Israelites stopped believing in God, they didn’t enter the promise land. Only Joshua and Caleb’s families entered in because they CONTINUED TO BELIEVE all the way up until the fulfillment of the promise (read Hebrews 4). We see that the Word of God manifesting in their lives, was dependent on their ability to continue to believe.
This is why prayer is a place. When I enter into my place of prayer, I meet with God and I pray about the same things over and over sometimes—it’s not because I’m trying to persuade God to do something that He still has to think about; in fact, sometimes God will tell me beforehand, that He will do something and I still pray about it anyway—it’s not that I feel some special assurance, that once I pray, I expedite the process or even make Him want to do it more. When I run to my place of prayer, what I find is a memorial of who God is and what He has done.
PRAYER IS A PLACE! I’ve learned that praying for things that God has already given me, isn’t for His sake, but it’s for my sake. You see sometimes going through life or even throughout one’s day, one can get so caught up in what external circumstances reveal; God may have spoken one thing to you, but your circumstances tell you the exact opposite. This can be very discouraging.
Here’s an example: I recently prayed for a sister in Christ who was feeling ill. After we prayed her illness actually got worse. What do you think happened to my faith? I’ll tell you this much, my faith was NOT shaken! I ran to my place of prayer and began to feed off of God’s faithfulness. God has promised us healing in His Word, so it wasn’t that I didn’t pray according to God’s will. But in the midst of the adverse situation, I ran to my place of prayer to be reminded of who God was and what He had promised. Remember Genesis 28? Jacob built a memorial of where God had met Him and told him many promises. That memorial is like a place of prayer: a place where we can retreat when life tells us contrary to the promises and Word of God. Prayer is a place of refuge where we can remind God what He has said and more importantly remind ourselves in order to keep our faith strong. The memorial Jacob made was a place to remind Him of the encounter he had with the Living God. Anytime he returned to that memorial, he would remember what the Lord had promised Him and he would have the strength to continue to believe for it.
Acts 10:1-4 “There was a certain man in Caesarea called Cornelius, a centurion of the band called the Italian band, 2A devout man, and one that feared God with all his house, which gave much alms to the people, and prayed to God always. 3 He saw in a vision evidently about the ninth hour of the day an angel of God coming in to him, and saying unto him, ‘Cornelius. 4 And when he looked on him, he was afraid, and said, ‘What is it, Lord?’ And he said unto him, ‘Thy prayers and thine alms are come up for a memorial before God.”
Meet Cornelius. Cornelius is described as a man who prayed to God “always.” Don’t be discouraged if you pray to God about some of the same things over and over again, because there’s a good chance Cornelius did too. Now once God answers your prayer, you can chill out. If you read the entire chapter of Acts 10, you’ll find that Cornelius’ prayer was to see the message of salvation brought to the Gentiles. I’ll tell you a secret: whether or not Cornelius prayed to God about the gospel being brought to the Gentiles, God was going to do it anyways! We know this because it was prophesied about in the Old Testament that God would do so. Howbeit, Acts 10 lets us know that Cornelius’ prayers became a memorial before God! God took special notice of this man’s humility and faithfulness to praying for what was already God’s will.
Cornelius was desperate, hungry and thirsty to see God’s will be fulfilled. Not only that, but Cornelius was invested in seeing God’s will be done in his life; that’s why he continually prayed for it. As a result, Cornelius had a special experience when the angel of God encountered him. In addition to this special encounter, where God encouraged Cornelius, because Cornelius had spent time in his place of prayer seeking God’s will, he also received specific instructions on how to see God’s promise manifest. Can you believe that? God actually invited Cornelius on a step by step journey on how He was going to manifest the promise, all because Cornelius had spent time in his place of prayer, meeting with God.
Here’s the conclusion of the matter: Build your place of prayer by praying always. Everything can happen around you in life, but when you enter into prayer, your spirit connects with God in another place. In Psalm 77:6, David says that he communes in his own heart and his spirit makes diligent search. Prayer is a place that we go to when we turn into ourselves and commune with the God on the inside. Something happens when you get on your knees, close your eyes and begin to set your mind on God and begin to desire Him. When this happens, the real you is taken to another place. Your mind, will, and emotions melt in the presence of God and now your spirit is in full drive as you cry out to God for His help and His hand. In the place of prayer come stillness, order and relief. The reason why this happens is because when you pray with faith you enter into His presence. That’s the best place to be.
Oluwatobi Oke is a young entrepreneur from the University of Maryland College Park who is the CEO of Good Lord Clothing. He's the Vice President of Bethel Campus Fellowship and attends Hope Christian Church In Beltsville Md. He shares the Gospel through rap music and considers himself a worshipper rather than a rapper. Not to mention he plays the Congo's.