“PRAY FOR ME”
The above is uttered time and time again when one is about to face some challenge or situation requesting a divine intervention. However, it is mainly requested of pastors or a prayer warrior and not usually by a pastor of others. But the expression, “pray for me,” or more specifically, “Pray for us,” speaks of the Apostle Paul’s request for his colleagues and himself to be strong in the face of “unreasonable” and “wicked men” so that “the word of the Lord may run swiftly” (II Thess. 3:1, 2).
Prayer is absolutely necessary for each follower of God, and as such, must be embraced, practiced and applied. Accordingly, I seek to share a few principles of prayer and a request.
What Is Prayer?
According to one individual, “prayer is the language of dependence.” It denotes a communication between man and God. For instance, we observe in Luke 18 where we find two men going up to the temple to pray and one, a Pharisee, “prayed thus with himself,” but the other one, a tax collector, “would not so much as raise his eyes to heaven,” but cried out to God, “be merciful to me a sinner.” So essentially, prayer is the pouring out of the heart, whether in gratitude or in petitioning the Divine One, as seen in Psalm 54:2 where the psalmist says, “Hear the words of my mouth oh God.” Three points emerge from the text: 1. There is the person who is praying. 2. The prayer is directed to God the receiver of prayer. 3. It is through our words that we communicate with God. However, even the most eloquent petitioning does not impress God, but the sincerity of the petitioner, for Romans 8:26, 27 states that “the Spirit makes intercession for us with groaning.” Therefore, I find the words by Ellen G. White most assuring: “Prayer is the opening of the heart to God as to a friend” (STC p. 94).
Prayer Is Not a Gift
I deliberately seek to convey this message when I travel different places fulfilling preaching appointments that prayer is not a gift. According to I Cor. 12, Rom. 12 and Eph. 4, one will look hard and wide but will not find prayer listed among the gifts. One can also argue that there are some other gifts not listed in any of the chapters. However, I do not believe that prayer should be regarded as a gift. Despite the fact that there are some people who pray well and consistently being considered as prayer warriors, it is my opinion that God did not include prayer as a gift, for it would imply that only certain people would possess this gift. For example, not every person has the gift of teaching, healing, or speaking in tongues, but everyone may call on the name of the Lord in prayer. And I think for good reasons, Jesus intended that it should be that way, for we find the saying “men ought always to pray and not to faint” (Luke 18:1). Therefore, notwithstanding our lack of eloquence or comfort in praying, we may simply learn to call on the name of the Lord and cry out to him for sustenance, protection, and salvation. And the Bible assures us that God will hear the prayer of a penitent heart or a sincere seeker. Therefore, is it any wonder that the hymn writer says, “What a friend we have in Jesus, all our sins and grief to bear, what a privilege to carry everything to God in prayer”? So I encourage you today to pray, for we serve a God who takes note of our words and as noted already, the Holy Spirit transmits and presents our prayers to God.
A Prayer Request
For the next eight days, along with scores of individuals, I will be travelling to Moldova to participate in an extensive GC out-reach involving some 4,300 evangelistic endeavors in eastern Europe in eight countries: Armenia, Belarus, Bulgaria, Georgia, Moldova, Romania, Russia, as part of Total Member Involvement (for a full story visit: https://news.adventist.org/en/all-news/news/go/2017-02-02/enormous-evangelistic-endeavor-kicks-off-in-eastern-europe/he). I solicit your prayers that God will keep me in good health and that I would preach the word of God with power, conviction, and in clarity. Additionally, I pray that the Holy Spirit will descend upon me and all who will be proclaiming His Word. Also, I ask that you keep our families in prayer and that God will protect them while we are separated during this period.
Additionally, I wish to include the crusades that are being conducted by Pastor Shian O’Connor in the North Bahamas Conference, and by Pastor Leonardo Rahming in the South Bahamas Conference as well as the others to be commenced shortly. Undoubtedly, the recent visit of Jerry and Janet Page from the General Conference during the past week has proven to be a blessing to members and workers, in preparing the ground for outreach. Unfortunately, due to health reasons, Pastor Jerry and Janet could not continue their ministry to the Cayman Islands Conference. But we praise God for the impact they had in the South Bahamas Conference, North Bahamas Conference, and the Turks and Caicos Islands Mission. Personal reports coming to me speak to personal victories, forgiveness and assurance of salvation. People who were cold toward each other are now communicating freely. I need not say that prayer works, and I’m even more convinced that we need to pray more than ever before for the outpouring of the Holy Spirit and for wisdom in these trying times. So in accordance with the prayer initiative of the Atlantic Caribbean Union, I encourage you to pray until something happens. The focus this week has been on National Leaders. Therefore, I employ you this Sabbath to spend some time during the pastoral prayer to lift up all of the national leaders in your respective country. God still answers prayers!