Why was it necessary for Christ, the Son of God, to pray? He often withdrew from the crowd surrounding Him to a solitary place to pray. He sometimes spent entire nights in prayer. What benefit did He derive from prayer?
Jesus prayed often and earnestly. In the letter to the Hebrews, it is written, “In the days of His flesh when He had offered up prayers and supplications, with vehement cries and tears to Him who was able to save Him from death and was heard because of His godly fear” (Hebrews 5:7). We know that an angel came from heaven and strengthened Him as He fought through the agony in His soul there in Gethsemane, praying fervently. And it was on this occasion that He gave His disciples the admonition, “Watch and pray, lest you enter into temptation” (Mark 14:38).
Also, we know that Jesus prayed specifically for Peter, that his faith would not fail (see Luke 22:31-32). In his High Priestly prayer (John 17), the Lord Jesus prayed especially for His disciples and His church. He also prayed for us, for you and me, for it says in John 17:20, “I do not pray for these alone, but also for those who will believe in Me through their word.” Oh, how good it is to know that Jesus prayed for all who believe in Him – including you and me! The closer we know the Lord Jesus Christ and the more intimate fellowship we have with Him, the greater will be our appreciation of prayer, and the more we will make use of it.
Why was it necessary for the disciples to set everything else aside and adhere to prayer and the ministry of the Word (see Acts 6:4)? They had received the baptism of the Holy Spirit on the day of Pentecost. Was that not enough? What was the purpose of their prayers? If they had not prayed so much and so earnestly, would the mighty miracles have taken place among them? Were not these miracles and signs and the powerful work of God’s Holy Spirit in saving souls precisely the direct results of their earnest and persistent prayers? Most certainly!
Were not the prayers of the faithful an incentive and a source of strength for such courageous witnesses of Jesus Christ such as Stephen, who was not afraid to preach Christ fearlessly, even before the enemies of the Lord? Even when he was stoned to death, it was the prayers of the whole congregation that contributed greatly to giving him such tremendous joy to the end. Without a doubt, these prayers contributed much to making his face shine like the face of an angel.
Who could question that through the earnest prayers of the church the fire of the gospel was kindled and kept burning until the midst of the terrible persecution, when one day around noon the divine light entered the heart of one of the most feared persecutors and began to shine brightly there, namely in the heart of Saul of Tarsus?
Earnest prayer is a mighty flaming sword in the hands of the Holy Spirit to drive back the evil spirits and to triumph over all satanic powers. We are struggling with the invisible forces of evil. How necessary it is that in the church a constant and uninterrupted stream of prayers goes up to God.
Where are the men and women today who earnestly and persistently plead for the anointing of the Holy Spirit so that the church can work in the power of the Spirit and that signs and wonders may be done in the mighty name of Jesus? Is not earnest and fervent prayer one of the most necessary needs of the church today?
We thank God for the prayers of God’s children that ascend to His throne. But there should be more earnest prayer warriors who have a burden for lost souls. If all the redeemed earnestly call out to God, the results will not be lacking. May God send a revival by which the windows of heaven may be opened so that the blessings of God may flow through the land like a mighty stream and that dear souls may be saved!
We often pity Peter because he did not realize the danger he was in when the Lord Jesus admonished him just before His crucifixion. He did not think it at all possible that he would ever deny his Lord, and yet it happened soon after because he was not watching and praying. We commiserate with the disciples because they could not keep watch there in the Garden of Gethsemane for an hour.
But do we see our own needs today? May God help us to increasingly see the need for earnest prayer! At that time, it was difficult for the disciples of the Lord to realize this. Their example should serve as a warning to us, stirring us up and spurring us on to prayer. God grant us more earnest prayer warriors who persevere in prayer and supplication! Earnest prayer will not remain without effect. A mighty working of the Spirit of God will be the result, so that sinners will begin to look within themselves and exclaim, “What must I do to be saved?”