In a fast paced world, financial prosperity may often give certain appearances. Such appearances may present themselves as holding a higher worth than abstract things, such as prayer. Yet, as much as money can do to help finance jobs, businesses, and even ministries, its power is incomparable to that of prayer.
In a movie entitled "The Eastern Bride" (2006) - (distributed by ChristianMovies.com), the setting is in the Middle East. There is a scene where the character "Pete De Jaeger", a foreigner, is led by Masud (Pete's friend and guide) to the home of Neser. Neser is a man who has been beaten, had the pages of his Bible torn out, as well as has had his children taken away (sent to a Muslim school) because of his conversion from Islam to Christianity. Additionally, Neser's wife has "died out of a broken heart" and no lawyer will take up his case because of his conversion; he has broken the religious law and could never win his children back. Pete's emotional reaction is that of unbelief and a desire to do something about the matter. He states "and yet you (Nesser), are strong, how?" Nesser states that some people both visited and prayed with him; they also took him a Bible and explained it to him. He is now "learning how to trust God for everything". Pete finally states, "I wish I could help; I guess I could, could just pray, and ask others to pray too.", with an expression of doubt. Neser, remarks, "Why do you feel it is so little? How it makes my heart glad that a stranger would ask God's help for me. How does that make me feel? Huh? And what answer might God give to your prayer." The scene closes with Pete, Neser, and Masud all praying together.
Throughout my life, I have faced many challenges. One of the greatest ones has been placing a higher value in the positive effect that money may have over prayer; especially in supporting a Christian or ministry. For many years I have given what little I could to Christians or ministries. Yet when hard times fell, with lack of a job and finances that only stretched enough to pay off debts, there was little I could do to serve others financially. So this past year, God has worked through me to learn to serve others through service, but above all, prayer. The effects are amazing upon the lives of those whom I serve, as well as my own.
Praying for a person, is of more value than gold. Throughout the course of this past year I have prayed for several people. Through a short-term job, I have been of service and prayed with a young man who suffered the loss of lodging as well as financial challenges; God answered and provided for his needs beginning the following day. I have also prayed for missionaries passing by the bookshop where I work at, and God has been with them. I have prayed for a man whose heart is on fire for God and open to His leading over passing out Bibles to people. I have also prayed for church leaders whose hearts are on fire for God and service for the people God has placed under their care. Just today, having only spoken briefly with an older couple who were passing by at the bookshop, I prayed with my heart and fire; that God would be with them throughout their journey and provide for all of their needs.
There is a scripture that states "... The effective, fervent prayer of a righteous man avails much." (James 5:16). This is not a form of righteousness that results in self-praise or pride. On the contrary, it is a product of the work of the Holy Spirit within one's life. The scriptures state that "... the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, long-suffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control." (Galatians 5:22-23). Additionally, when you were without Christ, there was the absence of the Holy Spirit; there was an absence of the "fruit of the Spirit". However, "... [you are now] light in the Lord. [Therefore] walk as children of light (for the fruit of the Spirit [is] in all goodness, righteousness, and truth), finding out what is acceptable to the Lord." (Ephesians 5:8-10).
Please note that I am not perfect nor righteous by my own efforts or strength. It is only through the process of perfection, a daily refinement by God's Spirit, that I can begin to witness unto others His work within my life. Additionally, it is through this refinement that I am able to change more and more into the image of Christ's character and express such righteousness as described in the scriptures. Are there times where I fail to meet such an expectation? Yes, however, once His conviction has come upon my heart, I seek Him and work with Him to continue to press forward in accordance to His will over my life.
In closing, I have shared my prayer encounters and lessons with you, so that you don't under estimate the power of prayer. I both encourage and challenge you to arise with the authority that God has invested in you and pray with your spirit unto God Almighty. As you pray, intercede for yourself, close ones, love ones, and even strangers; especially those of the faith. You never know what God may speak through you for that person for which you are praying.
Rich blessings to you men and women of prayer, and may the Spirit of the Living God continue to work within and through you!
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R. A. Gómez