PRAYER IS A PRIVILEGE
After obedience to the Word of God, there is another essential reason you should be devoted to prayer. This second reason for the praying life is what the rest of this book is about. I hope you will read to the end. But here’s the point right up front. I can’t resist; this news is almost too good to be true. Better yet, it’s too good not to be true: Only a good and wise and sovereign God like ours would make prayer a duty and a privilege at the same time.
Let me say that again. Prayer is a privilege. It is not a burdensome duty. It is a wonderful privilege. Even though Scripture commands us to pray, we should not view prayer as something we have to do. We should view is as something we get to do.
It is a privilege to have an audience before the Creator and Sustainer of the universe. The blood and righteousness of the Lord Jesus Christ has given us access to the throne of grace. Every redeemed follower of Christ is granted an open door before the Lord Almighty. We can approach God in prayer with confidence. There we can obtain the grace and mercy we need (see Hebrews 4:16). Yet the privilege of prayer is greater still. Not only does God command us to bring our needs to Him; He also promises to hear and answer our prayers.
“Why should I pray?” you ask. Answer: Prayer works! More accurately, God works when we pray. When we work, we work. When we pray, God works. Charles Spurgeon said, “Prayer is the slender nerve that moves the arm of omnipotence.”
In Ephesians 3:14–19, Paul makes some incredible requests on the behalf of the saints. In a prayer for spiritual enablement, he asks that the saints would be able to “know the love of Christ that surpasses knowledge” (v. 19).
Come again? How can you know something that is beyond knowledge? That’s incredible. However, Paul’s remarkable prayer requests begin to make sense when you read the doxology in the next verse: “Now to him who is able to do far more abundantly than all that we ask or think, according to the power at work within us” (v. 20). This truth applies to every prayer you pray. God is more than able to answer your prayers. What a promise! Whatever you are thinking about or asking for, God is able to do far more than that for you.
Do not misunderstand me. You should not view prayer as some rigged slot machine that gives you a jackpot every time you make a request. This book is not advocating “prosperity theology.” I am not claiming that you can write your own ticket with God by faith. Prayer does not guarantee your life will be an unbroken cycle of health, wealth, success, and happiness. Prayer doesn’t work that way.
H. B. Charles Jr., It Happens after Prayer: Biblical Motivation for Believing Prayer (Chicago, IL: Lift Every Voice, 2013).