God has provided us with powerful encouragements to prayer (writes J.C. Ryle in Practical Religion).
- We have a way opened up for us by Jesus Christ. ‘The name of Jesus is a never-failing passport to our prayers. In that name a man may draw near to God with boldness, and ask with confidence. God has engaged to hear him.’
- We have an advocate and intercessor presenting out prayers to the throne of grace. Jesus Christ mingles our prayers with his own. ‘Poor as they are in themselves, they are mighty and powerful in the hand of our High Priest and elder brother.’
- The Holy Spirit is ever ready to help our infirmities in prayer. We do not pray along, but with the Holy Spirit pleading in us (Rom. 8:26.)
- There are exceeding great and precious promises to those who pray. “Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you: for every one that asketh receiveth; and he that seeketh findeth; and to him that knocketh it shall be opened.” (Matt. 7:7, 8.). “All things, whatsoever ye shall ask in prayer believing, ye shall receive.” (Matt. 21:22.) “Whatsoever ye shall ask in my name, that will I do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son. If ye shall ask any thing in my name, I will do it.” (John 14:13, 14.). Consider also the parables of the friend at midnight and the importunate widow? (Luke 11:5, and 18:1.)
- There are wonderful examples in Scripture of the power of prayer….’Prayer opened the Red Sea. Prayer brought water from the rock and bread from heaven. Prayer made the sun stand still. Prayer brought fire from the sky on Elijah’s sacrifice. Prayer turned the counsel of Ahithophel into foolishness. Prayer overthrew the army of Sennacherib.’ ‘Prayer has healed the sick. Prayer has raised the dead. Prayer has procured the conversion of souls.’