“Prayer means power, and more prayer means more power.”
- E.M. Bounds
As we enter the Christmas season, having come through some of the most challenging days of our lives, we must pause and remember Isaiah 9:6-7, where we read “For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders. And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.”
May I encourage you to pause right now and ponder Jesus Christ and His incredible influence in your life? Would you take some time this next week to simply get alone in His presence and pray? We need His counsel, we need His might, and we need His peace in our lives right now.
In Psalm 121, we read that “our help comes from the Lord.” This passage says that He will not let you slip, that He watches over you, and that He will keep you from harm. These are wonderful promises. When we pray, we humble ourselves at His feet and we come into fellowship with Him. He then guides, directs, and enables us and when we leave the prayer closet, we are assured that we have heard His voice and know what to do. This allows us to walk in His peace, which still amazes me, by the way. In the middle of this crazy pandemic we can have peace. We get to pause the noise and step into what God has called us to because we have heard from Him in prayer.
If you are trying to manage the issues of your life and your ministry without time alone with God and in His Word, my question for you is, “How’s that working for you?” God is the maker of heaven and Earth. He owns it all and is in control of it all. Remember that He stands at the door of your heart and knocks…open the door. He has not forgotten you. He has not let you down. He does hear your prayers and cares about them and you. He loves you and will answer your prayers of faith.
I know there are times that our prayers are not answered according to our desires or timeline. I must confess that I sometimes get impatient when God takes more time than I had hoped to answer a prayer. I also have learned that He sometimes chooses to answer a prayer differently than I anticipated. In spite of how I may want it done, He is God and knows best, is sovereign, and does things His way. Most of the time when my prayers are not answered exactly how I envision, it’s about me. God is working something out in me that needs attention and so the answer to my prayer gets delayed until I learn the lesson that He intends. Often, it’s because I need to get refocused or get my flesh out of the way so that He will get all the glory. Sometimes it’s a question of whether or not I pray with faith to believe.
How do we get the faith for prayers of faith? The Bible says that “faith comes by hearing and hearing by the Word of God.” I understand this to mean that I need to spend time with God in His presence and His word to build my faith. I recognize that time alone with God is one of the most critical parts of my Christian walk. I cannot lead myself, my family, or my ministry without it.
I’ve told this story before, but I am always reminded of it when talking about prayer. When I was working for David Wilkerson, I was on my way to my car one moonless night when he came out of nowhere and said, “Jerry, this is the wood, hay, and stubble.” It so surprised me that I jumped, barely catching what he had said. I asked him, “Sir, what do you mean?” He pointed to the office complex, the warehouse full of books, and the vehicles and said, “All this is wood, hay, and stubble, and it will all burn up. What matters the most is that we know Him.”
He was saying that none of the buildings, cars, books we have written, or any of our ministry accomplishments really matter. What truly matters is that we have the love and wisdom to put effort into our relationship to know Him more.
I pray you have a wonderful Christmas season as you rest in the love of Christ and in the assurance that the Child who was born is the Prince of Peace, your Wonderful Counselor, and your Mighty God.
Jerry Nance, PhD
Global Teen Challenge