The Lifeline of Prayer

Shirley_Dobson_150 Shirley Dobson

I learned to depend on the Lord early in my childhood. During those turbulent years, my mother held our little family together. Though she wasn’t a Christian at the time, she knew that she needed all the help she could get as she raised her children. So she sent my brother and me to church every Sunday, and it was there that I was introduced to Jesus Christ and invited Him into my heart.

As I learned how to pray and began speaking to the Lord, I sensed His love and care for me. Amid the chaos of our disintegrating family, this little girl found hope and comfort in Jesus. I’ve been praying and relying on Him ever since.

The many answers to prayer in my life have reinforced my belief in its power and importance. Prayer is our pathway not only to divine protection, but also to a personal, intimate relationship with God. That’s why I am so honored to be in my twenty-second year as chairman of the National Day of Prayer Task Force. I count it a privilege to play a small part in calling people of faith to their knees.

Jesus demonstrated the significance of this intimacy with God to His disciples. He “often withdrew to lonely places and prayed “ (Luke 5:16). He “went out to a mountainside to pray, and spent the night praying to God” (Luke 6:12). He even told the disciples the parable about justice for the persistent widow “to show them that they should always pray and not give up” (Luke 18:1).

I have often wondered why the Bible places such a heavy emphasis on prayer, especially since Jesus reminded us during the Sermon on the Mount that “your Father knows what you need before you ask him” (Matthew 6:8). When I mentioned this to my husband, his response was both simple and profound: “Well, God desires a relationship with each one of us, and there is no relationship in eavesdropping!”

Indeed, the Lord desires personal, two-way conversation with me – and with you. You are His child. He wants you to seek Him, to love Him, and to spend time daily with Him. When you do, He hears and responds. Jesus said: “When you pray, go into your room, close the door and pray to your Father, who is unseen. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you” (Matthew 6:6).

If Christians would follow through on this truth, we would change our lives and the course of history. After all, just as prayer is important for us as individuals, it is also important to entire nations. One of my favorite Scripture verses is 2 Chronicles 7:14: “If my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then will I hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and will heal their land.”

As I reflect on this verse, I am encouraged. Prayer groups are springing up throughout America. Our nation’s leaders are openly asking for prayer support from the public. As a matter of fact, members of both houses of Congress met recently in the Rotunda of the U.S. Capitol for a time of prayer and reconciliation. In the midst of our tumultuous times, God may be preparing hearts for a new openness to seeking Him through the lifeline of prayer.

How about you? Are you ready to renew or increase your own commitment to prayer? Do you want contentment in your heart and peace in your world? If your answer is yes – or even maybe – then let me introduce you to the National Day of Prayer’s four-step approach to effective communication with God. It’s simple, practical, and biblical. We call it P.R.A.Y. – Praise, Repent, Ask and Yield.

The apostle Paul urged that “requests, prayers, intercession and thanksgiving be made for everyone…that we may live peaceful and quiet lives in all godliness and holiness. This is good, and pleases God our Savior” (I Timothy 2:1-3). Let’s please God by actively seeking, through prayer, “peaceful and quiet lives” – for ourselves, our spouses, our children and grandchildren, our friends, and our nation.

Are you ready to know certain peace in uncertain times? Good. It’s time to P.R.A.Y.