It seems like almost everything has a shelf life or is designed for obsolescence. It could be the container of milk in the fridge or the dish washer that conveniently breaks a couple days after the warranty has expired. The expiration dates remind us that much of the stuff in our lives is temporal. It is sad to realize that we even treat things that do not have expiration the same way. Prayer is one of the practices of the Christian faith that does not expire, it is actually eternal.
When we limit ourselves to thinking that prayer is temporal, we rob ourselves of one of many motivations for praying. Think about this aspect of prayer with me for a moment. Your prayers enter the presence of God. The Apostle John presents a picture of the worship of Jesus in heaven. It is here we see “and golden bowls full of incense, which are the prayers of the saints.” (Revelation 5:8) It is amazing just to ponder the journey of our prayers into God’s presence. A journey that takes our requests from the temporal presence of this life into the eternal presence of God Himself!
The obvious insight of this truth is that your prayers do not expire. Something you pray for today is not ignored, lost or even forgotten by our Creator. God has promised to answer each of our prayers with a yes, no or grow (or wait) as one pastor once stated. Your prayers are entered into the agenda of heaven to be answered in God’s perfect time. It is easy for us to forget our requests shortly after we have uttered them, yet your requests of God are not forgotten. Consider for a moment that every prayer that you have prayed is still active. Take this a step further to realize that God is even answering the prayers of others made for you even though they may no longer be alive.
I was reminded of this power of prayer this past week. Since I have become a follower of Jesus, over 36 years ago, I have been praying for people in my life and especially for my family. My prayers for many of these individuals are that they would come to a personal relationship with Jesus. My heart was burdened that God’s call in my life to minister in a different geographic location would limit me to be an example of Jesus and sharing the truth. So one of my prayers, early on, was that God would raise up followers to live and share the message of Jesus with those family members as I strove to live and witness for Jesus where He called me. This past week I learned that God had been answering that prayer in a specific way. He had been using one of His servants, a fellow pastor, for over 20 plus years to be an example and to invite one of my family members to church. A life event opened the door in this person’s life to begin seeking Jesus and attending this pastor’s church.
There are many reasons why we should pray more. I am reminded of Jesus teaching on the necessity of prayer, “And he told them a parable to the effect that they ought (meaning a necessity not optional) always to pray and not lose heart.” (Luke 18:1 )
-Pastor Joe Parkinson