The miracle of miracles in the earthly career of our Lord is the raising of Lazarus from the dead. This was remarkable for its prayer accompaniment. It was really a prayer issue, something after the issue between the prophets of Baal and Elijah. It was not a prayer for help. It was one of thanksgiving and assured confidence. Let us read it:
“And Jesus lifted up his eyes and said, Father, I thank thee that thou hast heard me. “And I know that thou hearest me always. But because of the people that stand by, I said it, that they may believe that thou hast sent me. ”
It was a prayer mainly for the benefit of those who were present that they might know that God was with Him because He had answered His prayers, and that faith in God might be radiated in their hearts.
Answered prayers are sometimes the most convincing and faith-creating forces. Unanswered prayers chill the atmosphere and freeze the soil of faith. If Christians knew how to pray so as to have answers to their prayers, evident, immediate, and demonstrative answers from God, faith would be more widely diffused, would become more general, would be more profound, and would be a much more mighty force in the world.
What a valuable lesson of faith and intercessory prayer does the miracle of the healing of the centurion’s servant bring to us! The simplicity and strength of the faith of this Roman officer are remarkable, for He believed that it was not needful for our Lord to go directly to his house in order to have his request granted, “But speak the word only, and my servant shall be healed. ” And our Lord puts His mark upon this man’s faith by saying, “Verily I say unto you, I have not found so great faith, no, not in Israel. ” This man’s prayer was the expression of his strong faith, and such faith brought the answer promptly.
The same invaluable lesson we get from the prayer miracle of the case of the Syrophenician woman who went to our Lord in behalf of her stricken daughter, making her daughter’s case her own, by pleading, “Lord, help me. ” Here was importunity, holding on, pressing her case, refusing to let go or to be denied. A strong case it was of intercessory prayer and its benefits. Our Lord seemingly held her off for a while but at last yielded, and put His seal upon her strong faith: “O woman, great is thy faith! Be it unto thee even as thou wilt. ” What a lesson on praying for others and its large benefits! Individual cases could be named, where the afflicted persons interceded for themselves, illustrations of wonderful things wrought by our Lord in answer to the cries of those who were afflicted. As we read the Evangelists’ record, the pages fairly glisten with records of our Lord’s miracles wrought in answer to prayer, showing the wonderful things accomplished by the use of this divinely appointed means of grace.
THE possibilities of prayer are gauged by faith in God’s ability to do. Faith is the one prime condition by which God works. Faith is the one prime condition by which man prays. Faith draws on God to its full extent. Faith gives character to prayer. A feeble faith has always brought forth feeble praying. Vigorous faith creates vigorous praying. At the close of a parable, “And he spake a parable unto them to this end, that men always ought to pray, and not to faint, ” in which He stressed the necessity of vigorous praying, Christ asks this pointed question, “When the Son of Man cometh, shall he find faith on the earth?” If more information is required on prayer and faith please see my blog at http://byfaith-enterprises.blogspot.com and leave a comment. For prayer or any questions you may have, I will answer back as soon as I can. Keep praying to the Great I AM.