[notice]Alf James follows up last week’s article on “Prayer as a Practice of His Presence” with insights on the privilege of prayer and some recent testimonies on the miraculous power of prayer[/notice]
Prayer is a miraculous gift from our Holy Father, first taught to us by His Son, our Saviour Jesus Christ.
Prayer is more than a means of contact and communication with Lord God Almighty; it is our union with Him in mind, heart, soul, spirit and in truth.
The truth that through prayer each one of us (no matter how unimportant or undesirable we are in worldly terms) is able to join in communion with God Most High, Creator of heaven and earth is miraculous indeed.
Prayer empowers us to enter into His presence, yet He is above all kings and queens, above all rulers, above all presidents and prime ministers whom we would not be as bold as to even seek an audience with.
Free access to throne room
What is more, through prayer we are not only able to enter His throne room and communicate with Him, but we can do it at any time that suits us, which both amazes and shames me; for I often dare to take this miraculous, priceless gift from the Almighty for granted, and appreciate it so superficially.
It is as if He, who is King of kings and Lord of lords waits on us, who are mere specks of dust, instead of the other way round — us, who are sinners, waiting on the holy and perfect God Almighty in reverence, humility, humbly, gratefully, in praise, worship and adoration, which we should be careful to do when we pray.
We ought to regard prayer as sacred, a time of extreme honour and privilege, a time of reverential communion.
We should remember that the privilege each one of has of communicating with the Almighty is a relatively recent development that we are graced with. When our Holy Father brought His chosen people out of Egypt they could not, and would not have dared to even try and communicate directly with Yahweh.
It was only through Moses that Lord God Almighty communicated with the Israelites and later through their high priest, but then only once a year on the Day of Atonement (Yom Kippur) and only after the high priest went through a thorough process of cleansing and sanctification.
It was Jesus Christ that taught us to pray by His example to Our Father.
Jesus prayed to: seek His Father’s will; rest and be renewed in His presence; worship Him and praise His name; give thanks to Him; intercede on behalf of the sick, the lame, the hungry, and the lost; and even ask forgiveness for those who were taunting, striking and crucifying Him.
Afrika Mhlophe, Pastor of the Good News Community Church in Kwazakhele, Port Elizabeth says prayer brings the God of heaven down into every situation we face here on earth.
“It is an amazing privilege for Christians to be able to enter into God’s presence through prayer as and when we like, yet we tend to take the privilege too lightly.
“You would think that we would take advantage of such an awesome privilege as often as we could, but instead, more often than not, we take it for granted.”
Mhlophe says prayer is an acknowledgement of our inadequacy without God’s help. It is a humbling of oneself before God and acknowledging Him as our source.
Dynamic communication with God
“Prayer is what makes our relationship with God dynamic. It is how we communicate with Him and often how He communicates back to us.
“The very act of communicating with God through prayer makes our relationship with Him real and awakens our conscience towards Him.
“Part of the purpose of prayer is to delight in Him and joy in being in His presence, to be grateful for His love, to rest assured in that love, and to love Him,” says Mhlophe.
However, Mhlophe explains that whenever he enters into a time of prayer he is always conscious that he is communing with our Holy God and therefore part of what he does is to switch off his cell phone or anything that could disturb him.
“Sincere prayer should include reverencing God and coming to Him in humility,” he explains.
Mhlophe says prayer is not just an event but should fill the rest of our day through regular communication with God where we express our desires, wishes, fears, and concerns.
It is also through prayer that we often experience God’s healing power.
Mhlophe, who has experience of God’s healing power being extended through prayer, says God’s Will is for healing.
In fact, part of the great commission Christ gave His disciples was to go out and heal the sick (Mark 16:18).
Mhlophe says God wants to heal people in the same way that He wants to save people, so we should express our gratitude and thankfulness, when praying for healing, which is also an affirmation of our faith.
A recent example of God’s healing power being experienced through prayer is of Marius Pretorius who had been restricted to a wheel chair since 2010 when he suffered complications after a hip replacement operation.
Pretorius attended the Karoo Mighty Men Conference (KMMC) 2015 and in his own words: “The pastor that was praying on the Saturday morning (which was Mhlophe) asked the people that wanted to be healed to come forward, so I went”.
“While I was standing with the aid of my crutches I felt people laying their hands on me as they prayed for me. Then one pastor asked me why I came, what was it that I wanted? I told him I wanted to walk again!
“While they were praying for me I could feel both my feet become firm on the ground. My friend brought me my wheelchair, but instead of sitting in it, I pushed it myself all the way to the hill, I wanted to get to the Cross at the top!”
Walked for first time in 6 years
From one who had been restricted to a wheelchair, Pretorius was transformed by God’s healing power through prayer to a man walking for the first time in six years and pushing his own wheelchair in thanksgiving.
Video clip: Marius pushes his wheelchair.
Another who encountered God’s power through prayer at KMMC 2015 is Jacques Lingenfelder who underwent a profound experience of salvation at the conference and was due to be baptised on the Sunday morning.
However, he dearly wanted his wife, Suzel, to witness his baptism and decided to return to Port Elizabeth to fetch her after the Saturday-night service.
Lingenfelder, who is something of a motor-mechanic, explains that shortly after leaving Middleburg his car overheated. Although he managed to get back to Middelburg, he said the car was overheating severely.
Ellenor Lotter and Ruthi van der Merwe, who were both working at the KMMC 2015 headquarters, had stopped for petrol and witnessed Lingenfelder’s predicament.
Lotter and Van der Merwe offered to pray for Lingenfelder and the difficulty with his motor car.
Lingenfelder says after the prayer the car that had overheated was miraculously and instantly restored to running order.
He drove all the way to Port Elizabeth to fetch his wife in tears of gratitude and joy; then he drove back to KMMC where he was baptised the next morning with Lotter, Van der Merwe and his wife witnessing the event.
Lingenfelder says the faith of the two women taking his hands in prayer the night before beside his broken-down vehicle, changed his life, then and there, forever.
Dr Leon Nell, a medical practitioner from Port Alfred, says he would be unable to practice medicine without prayer and the ability to rely on our Holy Father’s guidance.
Nell, who is the son of a Minister and gave his life to Christ when he was five-years-old, says prayer is both a vital aspect of his medical healing practice and his relationship with God.
However, he says he believes it is important that we do not pray generalised or formulae prayers but pray earnestly, from the heart, in faith, according to God’s Word and His Will.
Praying His will on earth as it is in heaven
“You can’t just pray your own ideas; God’s desire is for us to pray down His Will on earth as it is in heaven. You have to pray the Word.
“Smith Wigglesworth said something to the effect that: ‘if you pray about the Word of God it is a sign of unbelief; you have to receive the Word of God and then pray the Word, which will have mighty effect’,” says Nell.
He explains that while prayer is an essential part of his life he has learned to be specific and obedient to God’s Will when praying.
“Sometimes in my quiet time the Lord gives me a word, then during the day He directs someone into my path with a specific need and I am compelled to share His Word knowing it is meant for that person.
“I have found it important to be sensitive to what God tells me every day, because somewhere along the line someone is going to need His Word,” says Nell.
As an explanation Nell says his father was recently in hospital in the intensive care unit.
“I asked God: ‘He is 78, what kind of prayer should I pray’? God said to me that if I pray the wrong prayer he might die.
“God said many people are dead unnecessarily, because people have prayed the wrong prayers. He said I must come against the spirit of infirmity and I must pray against the powers of death.
“Although I thought I knew the Bible, I had to go through the scriptures to find the specific healing scriptures and ensure they were applicable to my father and family’s lives.
“After praying something in the heavens happened and from being in a coma he woke up. I told him that God had said he still has a mandate to preach.
“Now, six weeks on he has a new vision and God has given him fresh revelation, which was a personal lesson for me: that God will bring us to hard places and He will test His Word in us.
“We are told in 1 Peter 1 that our faith will be tested and proved like gold, which is tested by fire.
“I am at a complete loss unless I put the Word of God first, because I know we will be tested, as our faith in His Word can only be confirmed and established by being tested,” says Nell who believes strongly that prayer is not just a discussion between us and God; it is a mandate for His Will on earth and is a test of our faith in both His Word and Will.