Jeff Banks and the revival choir sings: "Prayer is the key, faith unlocks the door" and as I sit here listening to Yolanda Adams, singing: "I got to pray, got to trust, got to believe" I'm reminded of the same. As I'm encouraged by these saints, I think of Paul's address to the saints in Colosse. He urges them to "Continue earnestly in prayer, being vigilant in it with thanksgiving" (Colossians 4:2).
Jesus taught us how to pray so that we would know how to communicate with our heavenly Father. Saints are always encouraging us to pray because they have tried and tested prayer and they know that it works. I too can testify of the power of prayer, and so I'm here to add another voice to the many voices that have gone before.
1. 'Prayer will fix it'*:
All marriages go through a period of adjustments and our marriage is no different. But one particular incident, a few years after starting our family, brought our marriage almost to breaking point. Thankfully, God revealed to a dear friend of ours that trouble was at home. She was led to get on her knees for our marriage. At the time that she was praying I was also having a conversation with God for deliverance in this same area. I had an encounter with God. He gave me clear instructions which I followed and as a result of my obedience, the enemy's strategy was confusedhis plan didn't work and the short-term problem was solved Prayer fixed it. But it was the obedience on my path that brought the 'fix' to fruition. Our friend also gave us marital counselling from a biblical view point which helped with the long term solution.
Having escaped the clutches of the enemy, my husband and I applied a strategy of our ownself-counselling. We made a list of the areas that needed working on. There were seven problem areas. We made our intentions known to a couple friends and invited them to join us in prayer for these seven areas, to start this seven week series of prayer. My husband and I then discussed the problem areas (individually) over the seven week period. After each area was discussed we prayed for that specific need and at the end of the seven week we applied a fast. We started to see positive results and found out that:
2. Praying brings you closer to God:
We had changed our pattern where personal prayer and devotion was concerned. Prior to starting a family we had devotion together. When we became parents and the sleepless nights kicked in, a lot of things changed including the regularity of our quiet time together with God.
We were determined to get our marriage in line with the will of God. So we started having devotion together again, during this seven week programme. Once more we were finding things to discuss outside of parenting. Devotion time was like a full-on bible study and we were applying the lessons learned to our daily lives. We found that we were getting closer to God which naturally brought us closer to each other.
We began the journey of re-discovering each other beyond mother and father. We started to pay close attention to our relationship; seeing each other as husband and wife and best friends again. We've discovered that it takes three to make a marriage workhusband, wife and God. Watching God at work in our lives is an awesome experience.
3. Praying brings new light to old situations:
The recurring issues that affected our marriage were still there because we hadn't got to the root of the problems. During the seven week process of self-counselling, we retrained our minds to look past the surface of the problems and find out what was triggering these behaviours. The lack of attention we both had, having totally evolved into parenthood, was one of the biggest problems; another was the finance issue as we now had one income. This naturally brought with it certain fears. Having identified the problem, we were then able to address the issues individually and move forward with our marriage.
4. Praying reduces and (in some cases) eradicates anxiety:
After the July 7 terror attacks in London, I found that I became quite anxious when my husband left for work. Adding this to the anxieties caused by the finance, and other fears attached to it did not do my mental status any good. But one of the things we had developed during our counselling sessions was a keen interest in prayer. We began to pray for each other's protection during our devotion sessions and before my husband leaves for work I would pray for him and he would pray for me and our son's protection throughout the day.
Another example is when my husband was going through changes within his job and became very anxious that it started to affect his personal life, he started praying about this particular situation when we have devotion and soon he was enjoying work again.
Now, we don't need an occasion to prayit is a regular affair. Developing our prayer life this way caused the anxieties to disappear. We now place all our concerns into God's care, knowing that He knows best and whatever happens, He's still in control.
5. Praying will bring renewed strength:
Nothing we did seemed to have made a difference during the time of our marital struggles. I had no intention of giving up, but I didn't see a clear path ahead. I got weary. I felt like I was stuck in a forgotten world where no one could feel my pain. I soon gave up trying to fix the problem and cried out to God for help. He understood. He was always there just waiting for me to ask for His help. He felt my pain and when I cried out He heard my cry and answered me by sending help my way.
Each day I ask for His help and by doing so, I receive the strength I need to face the new day. I learned that I only needed enough strength to face each day and that's what I continued to do. I started to focus on one thing at a time and each day got better. This highlights the power of God. Through prayer God will give us the strength that we need to get through each day.
So in the words of Sis Sonia George (a missionary and youth leader in our church) "Do not forsake the place of prayer." Prayer is our most powerful weapon against the enemy so I encourage you to USE it. Use your weapon to destroy the strongholds in your life and begin to enjoy life the way God designed it to be. Much can be said about prayer but until you start using this weapon you cannot experience for yourself the power that comes with it. By exercising your prayer muscles you will see God perform miracles in your life, just like He's doing in our lives.
Praying is the key to unlock many closed doors in our lives. So instead of watching our lives fall apart, let's begin to use our weapon, according to the instructions given in Matthew 6:9-15 and Luke 11:2-4. But be mindful of the fact that though prayer is the key, you need to exercise faith to see doors open.
God bless you as you seek to get closer to God.
Peace, Love & Blessings.
Janice S Ramkissoon, 2008.
*--Jeff Banks & The Revival Choir
Janice, a freelance writer, lives in the UK and enjoys spending time with her husband, Vince and their son, Javin. She uses her gift to encourage others towards a deeper relationship with God, through her inspirational pieces while her travel articles provide general advice for the holiday-maker.