|Hear Me When I Call
by Elmer Morgan
Church of Christ
Most Christians regard prayer as of great value, but many do not use it as they should. Some of the severest critics of prayer include those who profess religion but find no place for prayer because they do not believe that God intervenes directly in the affairs of men.
Years ago when the United Nations was formed in San Francisco, the opening session was commenced with silent prayer. Protestant, Roman Catholic, Orthodox, Jew, Mohammedan, Sikh, Hindu, Buddhist, Shintoist, and Confucianist bowed together. Had they not believed that God could and would hear, why would they pray?
If the naturalist is right, then prayer is useless. If the natural laws that rule the universe cannot be broken, not even by the God who made them, then the notion of miracle or supernatural is foolishness. The naturalist insists that the dead cannot rise. But God intervened and raised Jesus from the dead. God can, if He chooses, override natural causes and rain where there is no natural cause, or He can cause a virgin to become pregnant and give birth to a child (having never known a man). God does intervene in the natural order in response to prayer.
We, who believe in the power of prayer and pray because Christ told us to and taught us how, will continue and never be surprised or overwhelmed at His answers. The enjoyment and the benefits of prayer are essential to the spiritual well-being of any Christian. Some Christians believe more in counterfeit prayer, declaring such a prayer never gets as high as the ceiling. I think it is better to leave it to God as to who He hears and does not hear. Belief in prayer is a far cry from effectiveness in prayer. Those who confess they believe in the value of prayer, however , may not practice it.
There is much confusion in the Christian world about prayer. One prays that her son will return from the war, and he is killed. Another prays that her son will return, and he does. Another does not believe in God or prayers, and her son comes home safe and sound. One man prays that today it will not rain because he is having a golf party. Another prays for rain on the crop he is depending on for a living. This complexity of prayers may explain why so many refuse to get very much involved with any kind of prayer life. To wrestle with the problem is sure to help us grow in the Lord and to better understand what the Lord was trying to teach His disciples. That is the purpose of this little book. We all need to get beyond the infant stage of spiritual development. Glowing platitudes and unfounded assertions are not the signs of maturity in one's prayer life. I have found it much easier to teach the one who knows he does not know how to pray than to help the one who thinks he knows it all. Unfortunately, prayer does not reduce itself to an either/or; it is neither black nor white. What is in the heart of the one doing the praying may very well make the difference in the sight of God.
To question in regard to prayer may very well be a healthy experience, but the questions should be mature in understanding such questions like "Did I lack faith to believe? "Was there sin in my heart?" "Was my prayer not in accord with the will of God?" "Is this designed to bring me closer to God, or to teach me some other lesson?" One writer has stated that the Christian can ask "When?" "Where?" "How long?" and "What?", but he cannot ask "Why?" There is no Biblical basis for such a statement. Why can't I ask why? The answer may be the very therapeutic agent needed for the moment to help me to keep my sanity.
With all this in mind, the purpose of this book is to throw some light on the dark places of prayer and to help us grow a little in the Lord in this matter. The subject is vast. In my study are many books on prayer, all of which I use in growing. Their influence in my life has been a real blessing, and now, after years of study and experience, it is time for me to make my contribution to my friends and brethren whose lives I might touch through this means.
The pilgrim who walks through the world that is not his final home needs all the help he can get. God in His love and wisdom has provided many kinds of help, but one of the greatest blessings is the gift of prayer. If you pray no prayers, there will be no answers. If you sow no seed, there will be no harvest. If you send no ships out, there will be no ships to come in. Ask, and it shall be given unto you. Come, let us study together that we might learn the things of God which will make life better on earth here and now, and assure us of an eternal home in heaven after a while.