Walking with Jesus
The Power of Prayer
Prayers for a City
Jeremiah Lanphier lived in New York City during the 1850s—a time of tension, when the shadow of war loomed over America. There were strikes, depressions, failing banks, long unemployment lines, and an air of simmering violence. In this setting,
Lanphier accepted a calling as a full-time city evangelist. He walked the streets, knocked on doors, put up posters, and prayed constantly—all to no visible result.
As his discouragement increased, Lanphier looked for some kind of new idea, some possibility for breakthrough. New York was a business town: maybe the men would come to a luncheon. So he nailed up his signs, calling for a noon prayer in the Old Dutch Church on Fulton Street. When the hour came, he sat and waited until finally a single visitor arrived. Several minutes later, a couple of stragglers peeked through the door.
Lanphier gave his idea another go on the following week. Twenty men attended; at least it was a start. But then forty came on the third week.
The men were getting to know each other by this time, and one of them suggested he’d be willing to come for prayer every day. Lanphier thought that was a good sign, and he ramped up his efforts for a daily prayer time.
Before long, the building was overflowing. The most intriguing element of the “Fulton Street Revival,” as they called the phenomenon, was the ripple effect. Offices began closing for prayer at noon. . . .
Fulton Street was the talk of the town, with men telegraphing prayer news back and forth between New York City and other cities—other cities had started their own franchises; other godly meetings were launching in New York.
The centre of the meeting was prayer. It was okay to come late or leave early, as needed . . . . Men stood and shared testimonies. [This was not] a place for the well-known preachers of the day—this was about the working class, businessmen who wanted to share the things of God.
Some historians went so far as to refer to the Fulton Street Revival as one of the most significant revivals of history—it lasted for two years and saw as many as one million decisions for Christ.
Given the influence of New York City, no one could estimate the national and international impact that spread out from Jeremiah Lanphier’s simple prayer meetings. (from Ronnie Floyd, Our Last Great Hope. Thomas Nelson, 2011)
WHY PRAYERS MATTER
Why are personal prayers so important?
Psalm 34:15–19; 86:5–7; 50:15; 55:16 || Isaiah 65:24
|| Hebrews 4:16 || Romans 8:26, 27; 10:12 || James 5:16
God reveals Himself through nature and different revelations, but this in itself is not enough—God invites to experience Him in a more personal way and invites us to pour out our hearts to Him in prayer.
When we pray, our hearts are drawn to Him and we can more closely meditate upon His work, His mercies and blessings. While we receive a knowledge of God by meditating upon these aspects, God invites us to share the very things that are upon our heart.
“Prayer is the opening of the heart to God as to a friend”
Ellen G. White
Pray at home with your family, or in public gatherings, but do not neglect personal prayer. Pray and let your heart be uplifted often to God. Silent prayers rise like precious incense before God.
“Through sincere prayer, we are brought into connection with the
mind of the infinite.”
Ellen G. White
GOD WILL SUPPLY YOUR STRENGTH
As we pray to Jesus in faith, we access strength far beyond our own. Unceasing prayer is the unbroken union of the soul with God. We know we can’t defeat sin or resist temptation by our own merits, but through Jesus, we access strength beyond our own limitations.
Pray a personal prayer to God at any time of the day—in fact, He invites you to do so. As you go about your day, at work or at home, uplift your heart to God. Talk with Him about every aspect of your life. As your prayer life strengthens and your heart is fixed upon God, Satan will be powerless to overcome or distract you from the love of God.
Those whose hearts are open to receive the support and blessings of God will enjoy the atmosphere of heaven.
How often should one pray?
1 Thessalonians 5:17
2 Chronicles 7:14 || Psalm 145:18, 19 || Jeremiah 29:12,13
“We need to have more distinct views of Jesus and a fuller comprehension of the value of eternal realities.”
Ellen G. White
The Bible is filled with stories of people who sought God’s help in times of trouble, and then how He delivered them in their hour of need.
Some examples of powerful prayers can be easily found in the Bible:
▪ Genesis 18:16–33
▪ Psalm 51
▪ Daniel 9:1–19
▪ John 17
When we are surrounded by struggles and trials, prayer connects us to a merciful God who draws us to Himself with loving kindness. When God is near and our thoughts are of Him, He will supply us with the strength needed to bring us through any crisis.
“Therefore, submit to God. Resist the devil and he will flee from you. Draw near to God and He will draw near to you.”
(James 4:7, 8)
What impact does prayer have on your spiritual experience?
Philippians 4:6, 7 || John 14:27; 16:33 || Psalm 9:10; 57:1 || Jeremiah 17:7, 8
Prayer helps us experience Jesus and understand the love of God. As Jesus draws near and you experience the regenerating power of God, your thoughts will turn to Him.
No chapter in your experience is too dark for Him read; there is no perplexity too difficult for Him to unravel. No sincere prayer escape the lips, of which God is unobservant or in which He takes no interest.
How does God promise to comfort us and meet our needs?
Psalm 51:17; 34:18 || Isaiah 57:15; 61:1 || Hosea 6:1
God longs for you to bring everything before Him: everything you long for, all the things that bring you joy, your anxieties and doubts—give all of these to God in prayer and allow Him to unravel those things that have become a burden to you. God will be your strength and comfort in times of difficulty.
“There is no chapter in our experience too dark for Him to read; there is no perplexity too difficult for Him to unravel. No calamity can befall the least of His children, no anxiety harass the soul,
no joy cheer, no sincere prayer escape the lips, of which our heavenly Father is unobservant, or in which He takes no immediate interest.”
Ellen G. White
“His heart of love is touched by our sorrows and even by our utterances of them.
Take to Him everything that perplexes the mind. Nothing is too great for Him to bear, for He holds up worlds, He rules over all the affairs of the universe.”
— Ellen G. White
“If it matters to you, it matters to God”
PRAYING IN THE NAME OF JESUS
In whose name should we pray?
John 15:16, 16:26–27
Matthew 28:18, 19 || Romans 1:5
|| Acts 2:38 || Malachi 1:11
Jesus instructed His followers to pray in the name of Jesus. This means more than just mentioning Jesus’ name at the beginning and end of our prayer.
Praying brings the mind and heart into harmony with the mind and spirit of Jesus. It enables us to understand and hold firmly to His promises, trust His grace, and live in a way that will bring honour to Him.
How are we instructed to put our faith into practical actions?
James 1:27, 2:16
Matthew 25:34–46 || 1 John 3:17–19 || 1 Timothy 1:5 || Job 29:12, 13; || Isaiah 1:17; 58:6–11 || Galatians 5:6; 6:9, 10
Being close to God doesn’t mean we need to retreat and live life as a hermit or in some remote place. We don’t need to permanently hide ourselves away in order to stay close to God.
Jesus lived among people, and was frequently ministering to both large crowds and a small group of followers. Jesus also found time to withdraw to remote places and be alone with God in personal prayer.
While God encourages us to spend time prayer, He equally encourages us to spend time with others in prayer. These prayerful friendships enable us to encourage and be encouraged in the service of God..
“Ask of me is the one condition God puts in the very advance and triumph of His cause”
Spending time with people enables you to have a deeper understanding of people’s needs, helping you pray more intelligently.
If you never spent time with anyone but yourself, your prayers would soon become repetitive, empty and self-serving and you would lose perspective of the needs of others.
As followers of Jesus, we are instructed to go to where the people are and share with them the good news that they are loved and have been rescued by Jesus at great cost. Because of His actions, they have the opportunity to experience the salvation of God.
“If we thought and talked more of Jesus and less of self, we should have far more of His presence.”
Ellen G. White
GOD’S PERFECT PEACE
What should be our attitude in prayer?
Colossians 2:7; 3:15, 17 || Philippians 4:6 || 1Thessalonians5:16–18
WE HAVE SO MUCH TO BE THANKFUL FOR
Sometimes our prayers dwell to much upon the lowlands of earth. Let us raise our voices in praise to God always expressing our gratitude to Him.
“Happy moments, PRAISE God. Difficult moments, SEEK God. Quiet moments, WORSHIP God. Painful moments,
TRUST God. Every moment, THANK God.””
Attitude is important—God doesn’t want us to serve Him out of duty or obligation—He wants us to serve Him willingly, cheerfully and gladly. It is our privilege to have the opportunity to give thanks to God and to live our lives in a way that will bring honour to Him.
God wants our hearts to overflow with joy and love because He has richly blessed us and asks us to be a joy to others. When we reflect on God’s goodness, we find true contentment and live a life filled with purpose.
“When it comes to life, the critical thing is whether you take things for granted or take them with gratitude..”
Every Good and Perfect gift is from Above
Jesus left the glory of heaven so that we might be saved. This incredible act should fill our lives with purpose and a passion to follow Him. Our hearts should be filled with gratitude that, because of Him, we can be free from sin and its deadly consequences.
What does Psalms 107 teach us about prayer?
Psalm 107:15, 31, 32; 34:3; 92:1, 2; 147:1 || Isaiah 63:7
When we praise God and give glory to Him, we are echoing the praises of the angels in heaven. God is worthy of all our praise, so with reverence and joy we come before Him expressing our thankfulness for all He has done, and will do, in our lives.
We need to have a more distinct view of Jesus and a fuller comprehension of eternal realities. So let your heart be drawn out and upward in prayer, that God may grant you the breath of heavenly realities.
May you keep your heart so close to God, that in every unexpected trial, your thoughts will turn to Him as naturally as the flower to the sun.
“Prayer not only changes us, but the world in which we live.
This is not because our prayers are powerful, but because the One who hears them is.”
Draw near to God and He will draw near to you.