Philippians 4:6 in
II Corinthians 10:5
The Bible makes itself clear on this subject. It tells you to keep the channels of communication open between you and God. If your telephone goes dead, don't you notify the telephone company as quickly as possible to get the service restored? Just as you might be waiting for a call about a new job, so are you waiting for notification from God about the posperity promised you in the Bible.
The references given above carry a profound message about prayer and how to go about it:
- Take everything to God in prayer. (Philippians)
- Set your human ego aside. (II Corinthians)
- True prayer is a private matter between you and God. (Matthew)
- Believe in the infinite power of God to help you NOW! (Mark)
With regard to setting your ego aside, Mary Baker Eddy, a renowned religious leader of the nineteenth century, was asked how she prayed. She replied, "I get Mary out of the way!"
THE SECRET OF ANSWERED PRAYER
The story of Jacob wrestling with the angel at Peniel shows what a vigorous activity prayer can be. In reality, Jacob is wrestling with his own sense of false identity as a man apart from God. He has reached a point in his human experience where he must begin to look beyond a finite and limited sense of selfhood to recognize his kinship with God, his divine sonship as the man made in the image and likeness of his God. This is something that we all must do eventually, as the sons and daughters of God.
Jacob is "left alone" as is each of us when we have a problem which we must work out for ourselves. Jacob wrestles, or prays, and in his determination to arrive at the solution, he refuses to stop praying until the answer comes. He demands his blessing! The "hollow of the thigh" is a reference to man's belief that he is himself a creator, like God. That it is out of joint shows that Jacob is recognizing at last that God is the author of all creation and that Jacob, as man, cannot exist without the divine connection.
Finally, Jacob earns his blessing. He has discovered the secret of answered prayer. It is tenacity, holding on, persisting until the blessing is given.
Suddenly, the problem with which he wrestled is reversed. No longer a threat, it becomes an "angel." It was really an angel all the time because it made Jacob fight for the good that was due him. It forced him to claim his divine rights. Jacob understands this, now, signified by "day breaketh."
What is the result? He is pronounced a prince, a divinely royal being. He is pronounced a prince having "power with God, " a clear statement of close relationship. Jacob himself recognizes that in "prevailing," i.e., in not taking "no" for an answer, he has "seen God face to face." That single statement comprises the ultimate definition of effective prayer.
True prayer is seeing God face to face, thus establishing the one-to-one relationship with divine authority that enables us to see ourselves as sons and daughters of a divinely royal house, entitled to our generous share of the royal wealth.
That makes you a prince or princess! Claim your share of the inheritance! It belongs to you. Demand it NOW!
GOD KNOWS YOUR NEED
I Kings 19:3-8
Have you, like Elijah, ever journeyed into the wilderness of despair, too worn from the cares of your world to go on living? Then take heart from this wonderful story which is proof of God's care in the most extreme situation.
The fearful Elijah is so depressed he is described as being asleep under a tree, i.e., of thinking himself cut off from the sunshine of God's love in the "bewilderedness" of believing that man can stray beyond God's range.
But God knows what Elijah needs! He sends an "angel," a spontaneous impulse of God-like thought, to rouse Elijah from deep sleep, waking him up to see that a meal is cooking on the fire, obviously prepared by divine hands as no other human is present. This means, of course, that God sustains man even when man refuses to recognize the divine connection.
Elijah, being human, takes a bite of cake and a sip of water. What does he do then? He goes back to sleep! Having partaken of God's goodness as a means of satisfying an animal appetite rather than acknowledging the source of the good by expressing gratitude, Elijah lapses into a deeper depression.
God doesn't give up. Another angel impulse races to Elijah and strikes a chord of right response. This time, he hears the voice of God telling him to, "Arise and eat; because the journey is too great for thee." Elijah understands this time that God is saying: "Wake up! There is good all around you no matter where you think you are. Partake of it, and then be grateful for it! Understand that I am with you always. What more could you need than that?"
PRACTICE REALLY DOES MAKE PERFECT
Practice praying every day. Don't let a day go by without making time for a practice session alone. You can be alone, of course, in a crowded bus or a crowded room simply by shutting out the world mentally. Do your mental work in the good times, too, when the problems that drive you to prayer are not so pressing. This will help make every day a perfect day.
Do you know what will happen if you practice as much as possible? Not only will your prayers be answered as you prosper, as supply and opportunities roll in, but also you will suddenly discover one day that you don't have to work as hard at it. You will discover that any suggestion of lack that presents itself won't be able to get through your mental door. You will find that angel thoughts, angels of supply, strong ideas that come from God, will automatically keep the problem away from you as they stand sentinel at the door of thought. God will be working full-time in your behalf without being called upon to help.