The one place where we can fight our battles and gain our victories is in the secret place of prayer. If we‘re devoted to the Lord from the heart, if we’re obedient to Him and what He says, and if we don’t stop praying—then we’ve found what He’s looking for in us. The Lord doesn’t passively stand by with His arms folded, watching us struggle during times of trial. He wants us to receive all we need from Him in prayer. Then, in answer to prayer, He’ll supply everything required for whatever battle we’re currently facing. But if our prayers are only halfhearted and hypocritical, do we really expect the Lord to answer them? What did Christ do before He encountered major events, crises, and victories in His life? He prayed. And after great crises and important achievements were over, Christ also prayed. Do we do the same?
Prayer that pleases God consists of much more than just providing us with overwhelming emotions, rest and peace. The main purpose of our praying should be sweet fellowship with our Lord. But if we don’t understand what God needs from us when we pray, then our praying is incomplete. We’re not finished until we’ve come to the other side of the situation we’re praying about.
When we pray “according to the will of God,” we have a guarantee that we’ll get what we’re praying for. He’ll always hear our prayers if they’re prayed in line with His will. And then, at just the right time, He’ll answer. But this, unfortunately, means that many of the prayers sent up to God He’ll never hear! People who pray according to His will get His attention all the time, and are able to hear Him speaking to them in return.
What did Jesus do before every important crisis He faced while He was here on Earth? He took time for an extended period of prayer. This is what we also need to do. When life was busier than usual, Christ gave prayer more time than usual. Yet how many of us don’t set aside any time for prayer at all when we get very busy! On some occasions, Jesus didn’t even have enough time to eat or rest or sleep—but He always took time to pray, nevertheless.
There’s another important lesson that many mighty men of God have learned from Christ. Whenever they have more work than normal piling up, they make sure they set aside more time than normal for prayer. But there are some who’ve never learned this secret. As a result, they’ve lost their power with God because they let a larger workload push prayer to the sidelines. Those who are willing to spend their nights praying to God will find days of power before men! The more our workload increases, or problems bear down hard on us, the more we need to spend time praying. In fact, our entire life should be a life of prayer!
When we pray, the Lord desires our intimate fellowship with Him. In fact, offering up thanksgiving and requests to Him should become a natural reaction for us. It should be a habit in our life as a child of God to walk with Him in faithful and continual communion. Our soul ought to be continually looking up to Him, even when we wake up in the middle of the night. There’s no point in our walk when we should ever lay prayer aside! “The eyes of the Lord are upon the righteous, and His ears are open unto their cry” (Psalm 34:15). God lives inside His people. He listens for every thought and cry we make in prayer. Are we, in return, listening so we can hear from Him? We really shouldn’t be telling ourselves that we ought to be praying—we should feel that there’s no way we can survive unless we are praying! When it becomes that important to us, that’s when we’ll make sure to take time to pray.
Twenty-one days straight Daniel prayed, but he received no answer the whole time. Then, on the last day, an angel came and informed him that “…from the first day that thou didst set thine heart to understand, and to chasten thyself before thy God, thy words were heard…” (Daniel 10:12). We need to continue to pray until our answer comes, or the Lord tells us to stop. Yet we usually tend to give up just because God doesn’t answer the same day that we pray! How often does it happen that, right when our answer to prayer is about to come, we’ve already quit praying! If we’ll pray in faith that God hears us, and then have patience, in due time we’ll find the answer to every problem in our lives.