He [God] saw that there was no man, and wondered that there was no one to intercede… [Isa 59:16, ESV]
A traveller to China visited a temple on the day of a great festival. There were many devotees who came to worship the idol enclosed in a sacred shrine. The visitor noticed that most of the devotees brought with them small pieces of paper on which prayers had been written or printed. They would wrap these up in little balls of stiff mud and fling it at the idol. Fascinated by what he observed, he asked someone the reason for this practice. He was told that if the mud ball stuck fast to the idol, it guaranteed that the prayer would be answered. However, if the mud fell off, that meant that the prayer was rejected by the god.
We may smile at this peculiar way of ensuring that our prayers are heard. But isn’t it very similar to how many of Bible-believing, Spirit-filled believers approach prayer? How few of us know what prevailing prayer really is! Most of us would confess that we believe in prayer and can claim to have experienced the power of prayer at some time in our lives. And yet we pray so little…how great must be God’s wonder today!
Prayer is the key which unlocks the door of God’s treasure-house. All real growth in the spiritual life – victory over temptation, strength through trials, dangers, disappointment or loss, vibrancy in witness – is impacted by the depth of our prayer life. God wants to do wonders in our midst in the coming days. But he wants us to pray – he needs us to pray.
A wise old saint once said: Satan laughs at our toiling, mocks at our wisdom but trembles when we pray. During this coming week let’s cry out to Jesus as the disciples did: Lord, teach us to pray! We are never so high as when we are down on our knees before him in worship.