Excerpt From The Book, Keys To A Revolutionary Life
The gun sounded at 4:58 pm, the first of 21 shots. Queen Victoria had arrived for the ceremonial opening of the gates to the Town Hall of Sheffield.
The Queen carried in her hand a golden key with instructions to insert the golden key into its proper keyhole to the gates and turn it. The gates of the Town Hall of Sheffield would fly open.
Queen Victoria followed her instructions and inserted the golden key into its keyhole and turned it. In that moment, the Town Hall gates of Sheffield flew open.
In the same way, Jesus Christ knows something.
- He knows what opens heaven’s gates.
- He enables us to believe that if we use the golden key of prayer, it will open the gates of heaven. (1)
The golden key of prayer is available to us. Sadly, we seldom use it to open the gates of heaven. Days pass without praise to God or bringing our needs to a faithful Father. We breathe a word of thanks at mealtime. We profess to pray throughout the day by “mentally conversing with God by the attitude of our hearts.”
We should meditate upon God and His word throughout the day. However, time for effectual, fervent, private prayer seldom fits into our busy schedules.
We demean prayer by making it a last resort. “If you can’t do anything else, at least you can pray,” we say. Or we declare, “All I can do is pray.” How sad that we make prayer the refuge of the last resort.
Others counsel you to pray like it all depends upon God, and act like it all depends upon you. To act like everything depends upon you demeans prayer and the God Who answers prayer. It implies equality between prayer and action.
Others endorse the philosophy of Jeff Olson, author of The Slight Edge. He believes that anyone can build the life (s)he desires and experience success.
In effect, such attitudes deify mankind and humanize God. It robs God of His sovereignty. A more correct statement would say, pray like it all depends upon God, because it does.
Prayer Holds The Key To God’s Success
Prayer is the key to God’s activity in our lives. The Bible abounds with examples of this truth.
- Prosperity and prayer link together in the successful journey of Abraham’s servant to find a wife for Isaac.
- Prayer was the key to God’s prosperity in Nehemiah’s life. He longed to return to Jerusalem to rebuild its walls. Nehemiah prayed to God Who heard and answered Nehemiah’s prayer. Nehemiah returned to Jerusalem and rebuilt its walls.
Daniel believed in prayer, too. It occupied an essential part of his life. He prayed, not as a last resort, but as a first priority, and he tasted the full prosperity of God.
Daniel’s example speaks to our need to “…come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need.” (2) In Daniel 2, we find the first recorded prayer of Daniel.
We Need To Pray For Wisdom.
Daniel prayed for wisdom concerning his pathway. King Nebuchadnezzar dreamed a troubling dream. He woke up, however, before it concluded and he forgot it. So, the king called all of his magicians, astrologers, and sorcerers to come and show him his dream and its meaning. But, they failed.
Frustrated and furious, the king ordered the slaughter of all of Babylon’s wise men, including Daniel. When Daniel heard the evil plan, he pleaded with the king for additional time to determine the interpretation of the dream.
After meeting with the king, Daniel went home and called a prayer meeting with his companions. He faced a difficult dilemma, but he knew the value of prayer.
They asked for wisdom from God for Daniel, and God gave it to him. (3) During the night, God revealed to Daniel in a vision the secret of the king’s dream. Daniel believed God and found wisdom from Him.
A growing uncertainty about the future brings us anxiety. Confusion and uncertainty cloud our minds. In spite of this, we can obtain wisdom from God for our pathway through prayer. We read God’s promise in James 1:5:
“If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him.”
God cares for His children. He hears our prayers and gives us wisdom freely. He clears the fog of confusion from our minds, and by His Spirit gives generous wisdom to those who ask in faith.
Our Prayers Should Include Praise To God.
Daniel’s prayers included praise to God. God gave to Daniel Nebuchadnezzar’s dream and its interpretation. Daniel praised and extolled the name of God for His answer. In fact, Scripture devoted more explanation to his praise than to his petition. (4)
Too often, we minimize the importance of our praise and worship of the Father. We fill our mouths with arguments advocating our appeals before God. We seldom adore Him.
We repeat the mistake of the Samaritan lepers whom Christ healed. Like those ungrateful lepers, we go on our way without honoring the One Who hears and answers our prayers. (5)
Our prayers should always include praise to God. He deserves glory and honor as the All-Sufficient One. He calls us to enjoy Him. Through praise, we sense His presence in our lives. The pleasure of His presence overflows into spontaneous celebration as praise completes our enjoyment of God.
We Should Pray In a Private Place.
Daniel found a private place to commune with God. He did not settle for a grab bag prayer life. He went to a specific place to pray and to praise God. Daniel set a certain place and a specific time for prayer, which helped him to establish the habit of prayer. (6)
Jesus often left the crowds and departed alone to a private place to pray. In fact, Christ taught His followers the value of private prayer. (7)
Most Christians seldom take the time for private prayer. We pray while we do something else. Rarely does our schedule include time alone with God. The clamor and clatter of life drowns out the still, small voice of God. We can only hear it in the quiet of the closet. Private prayer brings public provision.
We Need To Pray Persistently.
Daniel also prayed persistently. In Daniel 6:10, it says he went to his chamber to pray as he often did. Devotion to the private place became a pattern in his life. He communed with God regularly and faithfully.
When teaching on prayer, Christ taught His followers to ask, seek, and knock. (8) The Scriptures urge the child of God to persist in prayer. It reveals in James 4:2: “Ye have not because ye ask not.”
Prayer, alone with God, brings the riches of heaven into our lives.
Prayer should accept God’s Pardon For Sin.
Again, Daniel prayed for pardon. In Daniel 9, we read that he humbled himself and confessed his sin and that of his nation against God. God heard Daniel, responded to his cry, and forgave him.
Unconfessed, unrepented sin in our lives closes the gates of heaven. Psalm 66:18 says: “If I regard iniquity in my heart, the Lord will not hear me.”
God promised in 1 John 1:9: “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.”
When we confess and repent of our sins, the prosperity of God thrives in us. Further, the forgiveness of our debtors assures its benefits.
A few years ago, a business trip took me through Indianapolis, Indiana. While waiting for my plane, I stopped at a store in the airport. They had on display an electric toy car that ran through an obstacle course. I was disappointed when it abruptly stopped.
It stopped running because its power failed. Its battery needed recharging. This fine toy had to wait for its propelling power to make it work.
This story remarkably pictures the life of the Christian. As that toy car cannot run without power, neither can we carry through to completion the will of God in our lives without the power of God. The power to accomplish the will of God comes as we wait for it in daily prayer.
Truly, as Alfred Lord Tennyson said: “More things are wrought by prayer than this world dreams of.”
Prayer provides an indispensable function in God’s design for success. God hears our private pleas and rewards us openly. Praise to God bursts forth from our hearts for His goodness.
Biblical Law #4: Persistent, daily prayer leads to God’s success in our lives.
- Aquilla Webb. 1001 Illustrations for Pulpit and Platform. Richard R. Smith, Inc. New York, NY. P. 134.
- Hebrews 4.16.
- Daniel 2.18.
- Daniel 2.19-23.
- Luke 17.11-19.
- Daniel 6.10.
- Matthew 6.6.
- Matthew 6.6.
© Thomas P Hill. Website: www.masterministries.org.