In as much as I really dislike it when people use prayer to somehow manipulate our reluctant Father in heaven into doing something positive for His children, it is equally troublesome if God’s people don’t pray because they think God’s knows it all already.
When Elijah was on Mt Carmel and the fire from heaven had burnt the sacrifice prepared, the rain did not fall on the land until Elijah had prayed, not once, but seven times.
Nothing in our relationship with God should ever be regarded as routine. Furthermore, although we live in the ‘age of grace’, it does not mean we should no longer pray. That doesn’t necessarily mean our prayers need to be long or eloquent, after all, the Holy Spirit intercedes for us with groans words cannot express (Romans 8:27). Yet, every Christian should pray and we should be known as people of prayer.
Elijah’s servant was probably tired of running to the horizon to see whether Elijah’s prayers were being answered but that is exactly what he did, no less than seven times before he saw a cloud the size of a human fist (1 Kgs 18:42-44; cf. James 5:17-18).
James also reminds us that “you do not have because you do not ask” (James 4:2c). The parable of the persistent widow and the unjust judge in Luke 18 reminds us that we need to be persistent in prayer, not because we need to badger God into submission, but because our Father in heaven loves to give good gifts to His children, ultimately for His glory and their eternal benefit.
So, prayer is the avenue through which we go to receive what God has promised. All of us must walk that avenue daily. Yes, our Father God can do all things, but His power often requires the prayers of His people. So, let us be people of prayer as we go into 2018. JZ.