By Dr Edward Tamale-Sali
Being in the tough times that we are in, prayer might be on the lips and in the hearts of many for now.
However, should not be an emergency exercise which we invoke in times of trouble.
While it is okay to pray in such troubled times, it is important that we understand that the word of God as asked all people everywhere to pray always (1Thessolonians 5:17).
What is prayer?
The definition of prayer in a simple language is “the communication between a human being (you) and your creator (God).
Prayer is comparable to the oxygen we breathe. All human beings and in animal kingdom, oxygen is the key for sustaining life.
At least 21 per cent of the natural air we breathe contain oxygen. Prayer sustains and enhances our spiritual respiratory system.
This corona virus attacks the very vital organ (the lungs) and damages it to receive natural oxygen.
This is how it kills. If there is no help to have artificial oxygen pumped into this patient, that person is likely to die.
Metaphorically, Covid-19 is like sin and prayerlessness in a Christian life. Since prayer is what sustains a Christian life, the absence of it results into spiritual death.
Without prayer, you and I will die. It might be a slow spiritual death but however slow it might be, eventually it will kill your spiritual life and take away plans that God intended you to have in this earthly life.
In Jeremiah 29:11, God says that He has a good plan for you and for me. The only way you can learn about the good plans God has for your life is through prayer.
Jesus as an example
In Hebrews 5:7, we are told that Jesus was a prayer warrior.
During the days of Jesus’ life on earth, He offered up prayers and petitions with loud cries and tears all the time. In the New Testament, the words “prayer” and “pray” are used at least 25 times in connection with Him. The life of Christ had many marked characteristics, but nothing is more marked than His prayerfulness.
Jesus Christ prayed in the night because He wanted to be alone and have undisturbed communion with God. He also rose very early in the morning, a great while before day, to pray (Mark 1:35).
He prayed whenever He lost his strength, He prayed to recover what He had lost (Mark 5:30). He also prayed whenever He was weary (Mark 6:31, 33-35, 46).
Jesus prayed to guard against temptations of pride, satisfaction, or contentment, with the work already achieved.
He was truly human, subject to the same temptations we are, and He met them with the same weapons we must use, the Word of God and prayer.
It is more common for most of us to pray before the great events of life than after them, but the latter is as important as the former.
If we would pray after the great achievements of life we might achieve greater things.
As it is, we are often either puffed up or exhausted by them, and we proceed no further (Mathew 26:36; Luke 22:39-41).
When life was unusually busy, Jesus Christ withdrew into a solitary place to pray (Mark 3:20; Luke 5:15-16). We cannot be busier than Jesus Christ.
Prayer as a tool
To Jesus, prayer was a tool of construction and reconstruction of what evil had destroyed and harmed. He prayed to restore what was lost and broken.
In Matthew 19:13, we read that the little children were brought to Jesus for Him to place His hands on them and pray for them.
And He said the children should not be hindered “for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these”.
He also prayed for all of us His believers and disciples in John 17.
Jesus also taught us the importance of involving others in prayer sessions and praying with them when He took three of His disciples to pray (Luke 9:28).
Prayer was not just a tool in His hands but it was also the right tool. Jesus’ prayers were based on God’s revealed truths and were in line with a solid Biblical worldview.
Proper prayer requires us to have a truthful understanding of God and what He has revealed to us through His Word.
In such times of the pandemic, prayer is not just at the frontline against the enemy attack but our last line of defense.
We are allowed to use all other medical and economic measures for our survival but we must remember that none of all those measure-up to prayer.