Prayer is an important way in which we establish a proper relationship with God. But why sometimes doesn’t God hear our prayers? How should we pray to receive God’s praise? I was confused by these problems in the past. But now I have a new knowledge of prayer through a special experience.
Flu Breaking Out, I Prayed for My Son
There has been a large-scale flu outbreak recently, and many people have gotten sick, especially children. Because of their young age and poor immunity, many children had cold and fever. There were relevant reports and posts both on WeChat Moments and in Wechat groups. Seeing that every major children’s hospital was overcrowded, and that it took a few hours to line up, I prayed to God in my heart, “God! Everything is controlled in Your hands. My son has a weak constitution. I don’t know whether he can overcome this or not. Oh God! I’m willing to entrust my son to You and may You protect him.”
Seeing my classmates and friends were busy taking their children to see a doctor, I felt very happy that I could rely on God. However, sometimes I would still worry about my son, so I always prayed to God for him.
I was born into a Catholic family, and since I was young, I observed all kinds of religious rituals with my parents, among which various prayers impressed me most. Rosary prayer was the most basic one we Catholic had to keep. Every night we would pray the Rosary. First, we made the sign of the cross with the crucifix on our fingers and prayed the Apostles’ Creed; next, we prayed the Our Father, ten Hail Marys, the Glory Be, and prayed mysteries for each of the five sections of the rosary, and then prayed a Hail Mary. The prayers were very long, and it was really not easy to finish all of them.
“Nine-day prayer” was also another kind of prayer in Catholicism, which meant praying for the same wish for nine days in a row so as to gain the Lord’s favor and help. We also had a prayer-book, in which there were different prayers for different wishes. Before praying, we would intensively meditate on our wishes; then we would read the related words in the book; after finishing these words, we would say Our Father, Hail Mary, The Glory Be, then meditate, and say the Closing Prayer to end the prayer. It was really not easy to finish this prayer either, and at that time I thought it a godly manner. But as time went on, I found that many of my wishes failed to come true. I couldn’t help but start to wonder: “Isn’t it said that as long as we pray for the same wish for 9 days in a row then it will come true? Why haven’t my wishes been realized? If such prayer cannot help us get our wishes, then why do we keep praying in such a way?” Thus I became somewhat unwilling to attend this prayer, but seeing everyone else in the church did so, I had no choice but to keep on acting this way.
Held up by the disease, she felt extremely painful. She had been praying sincerely to the Lord, but why did her condition not improve but become more and more serious? How did the fellowship of a good friend in Christ make her find the right way to pray for the disease, and get out of predicament?
Regarding the apostle Paul’s words “pray without ceasing” (1 Thessalonians 5:17), many people interpret them as constantly speaking to God and consider it a very difficult thing to accomplish. In fact, praying without ceasing is not some sort of outward ritual. Instead, it refers to us Christians honoring God as great, relying on and looking to God, communicating with God in our spirits and living before God at all times. Praying without ceasing does not hold to a certain format, nor is it limited to a fixed time or place. Regardless of whether we are free or busy, strong or weak, whether our environment is comfortable or harsh, whether we have difficulties or not, or whether we have made transgressions or not, we can pray to God and communicate with Him. Even when our hands are busy doing something, we can still pray to God in our hearts. Whether we are sitting on the bus, working, or preaching, we can always pray to God, draw close to Him with heart, and quiet our hearts before the Lord. In short, we can practice praying at any time and any place.
We Christians cannot be without prayer to God. Yet do you know how many religious prayers are there among those we make in our real life? Now please read this gospel article “The Tragedy of Religious Prayers”.
by Liu Shuo
One day, I came back home from the church meeting, my legs still aching. I sat on the bed, patting my two legs and humming a hymn weakly, “We have to praise Jehovah, because all things are out of Him. He is the Ruler of the heavens and earth and all things. There is no other God like Him …” Just as I was singing, my husband opened the door and came in. Seeing him back, I was very excited and asked, “You have finally come back. How come you go out so long this time? It’s nearly two years.”
I had been eaten up with lumbar disease and no improvement was found after taking many various dugs, so I lived every day in the torture of disease. Seeing me in pain, my neighbor preached the gospel of the Lord Jesus to me. After coming to the church, I heard the pastor preach the following words, “We believers in the Lord should rely on prayer in everything, because it is said in the Bible: ‘Therefore I say to you, What things so ever you desire, when you pray, believe that you receive them, and you shall have them’ (Mark 11:24). ‘And the prayer of faith shall save the sick, and the Lord shall raise him up; and if he have committed sins, they shall be forgiven him. Confess your faults one to another, and pray one for another, that you may be healed. … Elias was a man subject to like passions as we are, and he prayed earnestly that it might not rain: and it rained not on the earth by the space of three years and six months. And he prayed again, and the heaven gave rain, and the earth brought forth her fruit’ (James 5:15-18).”
Prayer is a way for us Christians to maintain a proper relationship with God, especially prayers in the morning and at night. But many people often do not receive the Lord’s response or feel His presence. So, how should we pray so that the Lord will listen?
Recently, I read an article about prayer on the internet, which caused me to recollect my former attitude toward prayer. When I was 9, I turned to the Lord, for I saw the manifestation of the Lord’s power in my mother. Having suffered many diseases for many years, thanks to the Lord, my mother got up from the sickbed. From then on, she has a good health, and is even capable of working for 10 hours every day, which can be witnessed by all those who know my mother.
When I was learning the Bible, I saw the Lord’s words: “Come to me, all you that labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest” (Matthew 11:28). In addition, the preachers often said, “The Lord came not to enjoy man’s service, but to serve man,” “Everything we pray for to the Lord will be heard.” I was influenced unconsciously. I was further convinced that the Lord Jesus was a God who would bestow upon all of us believers grace and blessings, a God who would resolve all of our difficulties, and a God who would heal us of all of our diseases, and that He would answer all our prayers. Just as David said, “Yes, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for you are with me; your rod and your staff they comfort me” (Psalms 23:4). So, before I went to bed, went out, attended an examination, began school…, I always prayed to the Lord and asked Him to protect me, and bestow upon me grace and blessings. The Lord Jesus became the Lord of my family, and moreover, He became my crutch, my doctor, and my teacher …
Brothers and sisters, peace to you in the Lord. Today let’s fellowship about the truth regarding prayer. As is known to all believers in the Lord, prayer is indispensable to us followers. If a Christian does not pray, he does not deserve to be called a Christian. Through prayer we have faith to practice the Lord’s teachings; through prayer we are enlightened and guided by Him; through prayer our work and dedication can be after His heart; through prayer we can come out of weakness time and again; through prayer we can have enough strength to take up the cross and drink from the bitter cup…. Obviously, the entire life of a Christian cannot be separated from prayer. However, many believers say, “Why can’t my prayers obtain the Lord’s answer? Why does He not hear my prayers? Why can’t I feel His presence in my prayers?” If you have the same confusion, then it is likely that something is wrong with your prayers.
Praying is an important part of everyday life for Christians. But do you know why Christians need to pray and how to enter into true prayer? Let us look for the answers together in Sister Kexin’s experiences …