When I was young, my mother gave my siblings and me 5 cents for each Bible verse we memorized. This motivated us to look for the "low-hanging fruit" of short verses, finding in 1 Thessalonians 5 a treasure trove. First Thessalonians 5:16 states, "Rejoice evermore." Verse 18 says, "Always give thanks for this is God's will for you." Verse 19 tells us, "Quench not the Spirit." Verse 20 enjoins, "Despise not prophesying." Verse 22 admonishes, "Avoid the appearance of evil."
The power of prayer: Enhance your life
The power of prayer: To enhance your life and restore America is a Special Report prepared by The Washington Times Advocacy Department.
Prayer is the greatest privilege and most revolutionary power available to the Christian, and God's Word promises us its effectiveness.
Relationship is the core of effective, powerful prayer. Each of us has been given the ability to come before God's throne of grace (Hebrews 4:16) at any time to communicate with our Creator
Prayer is really kind of odd when you stop to think about it. Whether spoken aloud, or composed in the recesses of your mind, the premise is that you are attempting to communicate with something or someone outside yourself, outside this world!
Some people find that praying comes naturally, but for me that was not true. I am not embarrassed about this; after all, I did not grow up naturally able to navigate a sailboat or cook an omelet. I had to be taught these things. But nobody taught me how to pray.
E. M. Bounds, the great man of prayer, wrote: "Men are God's method. The church is always looking for better methods; God is looking for better men and women! The Holy Spirit does not flow through methods; He does not come on machinery; He does not anoint plans, but, rather, men and women -- men and women of prayer."
I can still remember the day that I fully gave my life to Jesus Christ. It was on Sept. 22, 1983. I had just turned 18 and was attending a Fellowship of Christian Athletes meeting at Presbyterian College.
I grew up in "the troubles" of Northern Ireland. It was a terrible time of bombs exploding and gunbattles raging in our streets. Sirens wailed, soldiers marched, and I will never forget the fear that would come over us when — once again — we had to evacuate our school.
Prayer is sacred intimacy. Spending hours and days with God while making decisions in marriage and building familial relations is blessed and admirable. A practice of praying has been meaningful to people throughout human history.
I stood watching in disbelief as flames reached skyward into the darkness of the Iranian desert.
I grew up in a home that offered daily proof of the power of prayer. I look back at the remarkable experiences of my life, and I know without question that my mother's daily prayers interceding on behalf of my brother and me changed the trajectory of our lives. Raised in dire poverty in inner city Detroit and Boston, the options available to me were limited. But my mother fully understood that through prayer and petition, we could present our requests to God whose power is limitless.
In the first century B.C., a severe drought in Israel threatened an entire generation. In desperation, the people asked a Jewish sage named Honi to pray for rain. What he did next became legend, as recorded in the Talmud. With the faith of Elijah, Honi drew a circle in the sand and prayed this prayer: "Sovereign Lord, I swear before your great name that I will not leave this circle until you have mercy upon your children."
Over the years, people have asked me about my daily prayer practices. Prayer is so much a part of who I am that it's quite a challenge for me to answer that question. Nonetheless, I will try.
The most famous prayer in the Bible is the one we call the Lord's Prayer. The people Jesus chose to be his closest friends and followers asked him how they could pray like him -- with power.
Prayer is like breathing. I breathe prayer in, and I breathe prayers out to a heavenly Father, believing that He hears every word and that, on His timetable, He will respond.
Many of the cultured despisers of religion in our day wonder, why is there all this concern about prayer? After all, is belief in God not merely wish fulfillment at best and a mild dementia at worst? I suppose if God did not exist we would have to come up with an explanation for the prevalence of religious faith. But such psychological charges beg the question of whether there is a God or not.
Prayer is a conversation with God. I've grown to believe it's really this simple.
When I grew up in the 1960s and went to high school, chapel attendance every day and twice on Sunday was mandatory. We did not sit down to eat without saying a prayer first. Thus, I grew up in a world where prayer was important.
Shortly after Halloween in 2005, I was told I had fourth-stage nasopharyngeal cancer and had only one year to live without treatment. To make matters worse, it was only ten days before I had closed a $330 million leveraged buyout of my company J-M Manufacturing.
Palpable anxiety looms as November gales buffet our Great Lakes shores. In this pivotal moment, was there anywhere amid these United States that a citizen was able to stand united and proud, cheerily awaiting relatives, sons and daughters, little ones, brothers and sisters, and all in the family for a Thanksgiving to remember in 2015?
Pope Francis asked the faithful to pray for him when he was elected and introduced as the pontiff March 13, 2013.
Since birth, they had known the sounds of prayer -- the call to prayer and recitations from the Koran -- 14 repetitions in five daily prayers. That was prayer.
Our history tells us that faith and public life are complementary parts of American life. But invocation of the "wall of separation" between church and state has become shorthand for a particular narrative about the history and status of religion in American life. This narrative is wrong.
Americans often take for granted that our country was born of a religious people. We sometimes discount the importance of religion as the stabilizing force that allowed us to proceed in relative calm from the chaos of war to an enduring nation guided by faith and the rule of law.
Telling grieving families that our thoughts and prayers are with them in times of tragedy or hearing people say "God bless the United States of America" at the end of a speech are common. They are part of our American tradition.
Perhaps no nation is more familiar with or has been more reliant on prayer than America. It has been inseparable from our national identity.
On the first night of votes, during every week that Congress is in session, something special happens.
Almighty God has provided ample communication opportunities with Himself to every person on earth. He talks to us through His Holy Word the Bible (and on rare occasion by direct revelation). He allows us the privilege to communicate directly with Him through prayer anytime 24/7 with no appointment necessary.
There is a beautiful painting of Jesus standing outside the door of a home, waiting for someone on the other side to open the door. The curious thing about the painting is that there is only one doorknob, and it is on the inside of the door.
Throughout the nation's history, our leaders have offered prayers as petitions and thanksgiving, to embrace our grief and sorrow, for our troops in harm's way and first responders, in times of uncertainty and crisis, during war and in peace, for protection, provision, guidance and the acknowledgment that in and of ourselves, we are wholly insufficient.
"The calamities of a bloody war seem every year more nearly to approach us and there is just reason to fear that unless we humble ourselves before the Lord and amend our ways, we may be chastised with yet heavier judgments. We have thought fit to appoint a Day of Fasting & Prayer, exhorting all, both Ministers & People to join with one accord in the most humble & fervent supplications that Almighty God would mercifully interpose and still the rage of war among the nations & put a stop to the effusion of Christian blood."
"I prayed for 20 years but received no answer until I prayed with my legs," said slave turned abolitionist statesman Frederick Douglass.
It had already been a difficult year, that first year the Pilgrims landed in Cape Cod, but now a drought was jeopardizing their corn crop which in turn could jeopardize their very existence. What would they do?
It was typical Saturday morning, sunny Southern California kinda day. Everyone seemed to be going somewhere. With urgency. With no time to wait. I stood silently anxious at the intersection of busy, residential streets. This was familiar territory. I loved this neighborhood. Lots of great memories were made here. I drove those streets daily in my car.
Often times, our most effective prayers are those we pray spontaneously alone based on the current cry of our heart. Other times, it is more fitting to join in a common group prayer, or with one person praying on behalf of all those assembled.
America is in trouble. Polling data from Rasmussen Reports shows that only one in four Americans thinks we are heading in the right direction. Sixty-nine percent of voters believe the nation is headed down the wrong track. Something is wrong, but few can identify how to get America back on the right path.
On Aug. 28, 2015, we had the privilege of releasing a feature film entitled "War Room" into U.S. theaters and over a dozen international markets. The movie introduces viewers to the concept that prayer can be a powerful weapon that will positively impact every area of our lives.
I remember vividly being on my knees in prayer. It was one week before filming my brother's and my third feature film, an inspiring, true sports story called "Woodlawn."
God is the issue. If I know how you see God, I can predict how you feel about same-sex marriage, abortion, justice and even many economic issues. I can also predict how you will vote.
As I knelt on the rocky ledge, wrapping my shaking hands around the huge full curl of horns of a Makenzie Mountain wild ram, I cried uncontrollably as the snow and rain pelted my shivering body.
These and other books can be ordered from Byron & Beth Borger's Hearts & Minds, bookstore.
Prayer can lead to life-changing outcomes. In our studies at Abide, prayer has given people peace, guidance and freedom from things like worry and addiction.