Paradoxes of Prayer

Mark 1:35 Now in the morning, having risen a long while before daylight, He went out and departed to a solitary place; and there He prayed.

Luke 11:1 His disciples said to Him, “Lord, teach us to pray…”

Jeremiah 33:3 Call to Me, and I will answer you, and show you great and mighty things, which you do not know.

Matthew 7:7-8 “Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives, and he who seeks finds, and to him who knocks it will be opened.”

Hebrews 4:16 Let us therefore come boldly to the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need.

Philippians 4:6 Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God.

1 Thessalonians 5:17 Pray without ceasing.

These are beloved verses about praying,
but all of us have learned
some of the paradoxes of prayer.

Prayer is easy, even a child can do it.
And it’s hard. It requires positive commitment to pray and not to do other things.

Prayer is simple, as simple as obedience to the next thing the Father says.
It is complex, the inexplicable invasion of the invisible.

Prayer is dramatic enough that the answer makes headlines in the newspaper.
It is also without fanfare, as a matter of course, about the mundane, like lost keys.

Prayer works according to the promises of God.
Sometimes it appears not to work, but always God is at work.

Prayer will be misunderstood and even resisted. (The seven last words of the church are “We’ve never done it that way before.”)
It will at times be grabbed like a life preserver thrown to a drowning man.

Prayer is rejoicing and hilarious at times.
Sometimes it is with tears, weeping with the Father’s heart over a city or the church or your prodigal.

Prayer is war, and the language of the war room is appropriate: strategies, targets, “Prayer Force” saturation intercession.
It is intimacy, our hope for peace and rest in our faithful Shepherd.

Prayer will be opposed by the enemy.
Yet it will hit the bulls-eye with the accuracy of a sharp-shooter.

Prayer is infinitely powerful and a priceless privilege.
It is abjectly humble and an absolute necessity.

We need radical faith (1 John 5:14-15)… and radical submission to the will and timing of God, knowing our times are in His hands (Ps 31:15a).
We need radical vision… and radical waiting on God.
We need radical obedience to tread in new places… and we need new levels of trust to rest in God’s character, by faith content to see only what He lets us see.
We need God to teach our hands to war… and we need to learn to sit down and enjoy a feast of His presence in the battle, right before the eyes of our enemies.
We need to hear God’s marching orders… and we need to wait to let Him go before us (2 Sam 5:18-25).
We need what God can do… and we surrender to let Him do it through our prayers.


Taken from Prayer Portions, page 15. © 1991, 1992, 1995 Sylvia Gunter.

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