Have you ever found yourself in a spiritual rut? I know I have. Life gets busy, the church feels like one more thing on your to-do list, and prayer feels both cumbersome and ineffective.
The Power of Prayer
There are two kinds of prayer — the prayer of form and the prayer of faith. The repetition of set, customary phrases when the heart feels no need of God, is formal prayer. We should be extremely careful in all our prayers to speak the wants of the heart and to say only what we mean. All the flowery words at our command are not equivalent to one holy desire. The most eloquent prayers are but vain repetitions if they do not express the true sentiments of the heart.
But the prayer that comes from an earnest heart, when the simple wants of the soul are expressed just as we would ask an earthly friend for a favor, expecting that it would be granted—this is the prayer of faith. The publican who went up to the temple to pray is a good example of a sincere, devoted worshiper. He felt and knew that he was a sinner, and his great need led to an outburst of passionate desire,
“God be merciful to me a sinner.”
After we have offered our petitions, we are to answer them ourselves as far as possible, and not wait for God to do for us what we can do for ourselves. The help of God is held in reserve for all who demand it. Divine help must be combined with human effort and energy. But we cannot reach the heights of heaven without climbing ourselves. We cannot reach those heights by the prayers of others when we ourselves neglect to pray; for God has made no such provision for us. The unlovely traits in our characters are not removed and replaced by traits that are pure and lovely, without some effort on our part.
The power of prayer is undeniable to those who pray regularly. True stories of prayer making a difference in a moment, a life, or the world inspire each of us to examine and strengthen our faith life regularly.
“Reach deep inside to access the power of praying to change our lives and change our hearts.”
In our efforts to follow the example set us by our Lord Jesus, we shall make crooked lines. Yet let us not cease our efforts. Temporary failure should make us lean more on Christ.
There it is. The fuel that drives everything: prayer.
While I have no scientific measure of how “popular” a prayer might be, nor is popularity to be equated with quality, there is something about the following prayers that make them surely among the world’s most favorite prayers.