Page 4 - January 2021 - Truth & Tidings
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Introduction                          be influenced, and His purpose is fixed.
          Scripture indicates that prayer is cen-  So are we to conclude that if what He has
        tral to the Christian life. It was said of   decreed is rigid, it is futile to appeal to
                                              Him? I think not.
        the newly saved Saul of Tarsus, “Behold,
        he prayeth” (Act 9:11).  The Lord Jesus   Scripture does tell us that the “effectual
        “spake a parable unto them to this end,   fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth
        that men ought always to pray, and not to   much” (Jas 5:16), and Elijah is cited as
                                              exemplifying that. So the Word of God
        faint” (Luk 18:1). Paul wrote, “Continue   encourages us to see great value in prayer
        in prayer, and watch in the same with   and  to  believe  that  God  does  answer
        thanksgiving” (Col 4:2), just one of many   prayer: “Call unto me, and I will answer
        NT injunctions encouraging a healthy   thee, and shew thee great and mighty
        prayer life. Thus, by illustration and in-  things, which thou knowest not” (Jer 33:3).
        struction it is clear that prayer is crucial.  I repeat, there is something unfathomable
          Congregationally, among all assembly   about that, but it seems to indicate that
        activities, prayer is portrayed as a major   God’s sovereign decrees take into account
        function. From day one of the church,   the prayers of His believing people, and
        believers  “continued  stedfastly  …  in   thus there is the invitation to “come boldly
        prayers” (Act 2:42). When Paul outlined   unto the throne of grace” (Heb 4:16). In
        the pattern for the prayer meeting, he   fact, it is not merely an invitation; it is a
        made it the “first of all” item in his house   summons, a command in Scripture: “Pray
        of God teaching; it is as important as that   without ceasing” (1Th 5:17). Are we obey-
        (1Ti 2:1). Why, then, is the prayer meeting   ing that command?
        the Cinderella of assembly gatherings?  Be clear, prayer does help: “Ye also help-

        An Enigma                             ing together by prayer for us” (2Co 1:11).
                                              “This shall turn to my salvation through
          If prayer is so vital individually and   your prayer, and the supply of the Spirit
        collectively, what is its purpose? Undoubt-  of Jesus Christ” (Php 1:19). Paul believed
        edly, there is something puzzling about   that while God was superintending his
        it. We know from the Word that we are   circumstances, the prayers of the saints
        dealing with a God who “worketh all   were a considerable factor in each new
        things after the counsel of his own will”   development. An old adage is that “prayer
        (Eph 1:11), and so we refer to Him as being   moves the hand that moves the universe.”
        sovereign. “Who hath been his counsel-
        lor?” (Rom 11:34). The question infers   An Exchange
        that He does not need advisors, cannot   As we probe some of the reasons for
        ¹ All Scripture quotations in this article are from   praying, Paul’s words to the Philippians
        the KJV.                              are apt: “Be careful for nothing; but in

        4    TRUTH kTidings   January  2021
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