A Translation of "Fred's Epistle to the Ukrainians."
A few days ago I tried to turn my radio on but couldn't get a sound out of it. I pressed the switch to "on" several times but it wouldn't respond. I thought my faithful little radio finally wore out after many years of service, but I kept examining it and finally found that although the switch was on, the wire leading to the electrical current was disconnected. Connecting it brought instant life to the radio.
It dawned on me that a similar situation is possible between us and God. To function properly believers must be connected to The Power, -- linked to God. Prayer connects us to God. It is the main line of communication between God and us. It is more than just a "911" emergency line. It serves our every need in maintaining a proper relationship with God, and it must remain open.
Jesus taught that prayer should be constant. "Men ought always to pray" (Lk.18:1). "Pray without ceasing" (1 Thes. 5:17). Prayer is more than "we" talking to God, it includes giving God opportunity to speak to us. It is a two-way connection. There are important things God wants to tell us, things we really need to hear. "Watch ye therefore, and pray always, that ye may be accounted worthy to escape all these things that shall come to pass, and to stand before the Son of man" (Lk. 21:36) .Keeping our hearts open to the Lord will bring us a flow of important information, instruction and advice. "I will hear what God the Lord will speak: for He will speak peace unto His people" (Ps. 85:8).
Prayer becomes the open channel through which God grants us faith to know that -- "all is well." "Abide in Me, and I in you...he that abideth in Me, and I in him, the same bringeth forth much fruit: for without Me ye can do nothing" (Jn. 15:4,5). "You will keep in perfect peace all who trust in you, whose thoughts are fixed on You" (Isa. 26:3 - NLT)
Prayer becomes the channel for God's grace to flow through us. "In everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God" (Phil 4:6). "Seek the Lord and His strength, seek His face continually" (1 Chron. 16:11). "Hitherto have ye asked nothing in My name: ask, and ye shall receive, that your joy may be full" (Jn. 16:24). "Ask and it shall be given you...for everyone that asketh receiveth" (Mt.7:7). "Pray in the Spirit on all occasions...always keep on praying" (Eph. 6:18).
Prayer is more than asking God for favors. It includes worshipping Him. It is a way by which we can adore and praise Him. In prayer we thank Him and fellowship with Him. We converse with the Lord; explain our problems, share our hopes and aspirations. By prayer we intercede in behalf of others. While talking with God, He reveals, He teaches, instructs and energizes us, so we may benefit the Kingdom all the more.
If the connection to God is broken or ignored, -- no matter how good our outward appearance may seem to others (such as our education, talents, training, experience, etc.), the end result will be failure. "Except the Lord build the house they labor in vain that build it" (Ps.127:1). Nothing will work properly without a firm and binding union with God, -- the Source of Power. "For without Me ye can do nothing" (Jn. 15:5). Adam had a great union with the Lord, but when he ignored God's word, it broke the relationship, and in disappointment God cried out, "Adam, where art thou?" From outward appearances nothing seemed to change, but it did -- far more than what Adam realized at first. The prophet Isaiah declared, "Listen! The Lord is not too weak to save you, and He is not becoming deaf. He can hear you when you call. But there is a problem -- your sins have cut you off from God. Because of your sins, He has turned away and will not listen anymore" (59:1,2 - NLT).
For a moment, I thought of throwing my radio away because it didn't work. That would have been foolish, because all that was needed was a proper connection with a source of energy. If our prayer line is in any way damaged or disconnected -- Repair it! We must keep prayer alive in our hearts all day long, under any and all circumstances: -- while working, waiting, talking to someone, driving, eating, resting or whatever, -- praying from your spirit, from deep within you. "Let heaven fill your thoughts. Do not think only about things down here on earth" (Col. 3:2 -NLT). Be aware that God is patiently waiting to speak to you. By being constantly open to Him we become more familiar with His voice. "My sheep hear My voice, and I know them and they follow Me" (Jn. 10:27). "Then shalt thou call, and the Lord shall answer; thou shalt cry, and He shall say, Here I am" (Isa. 58:9).
An open line of constant prayer can be the differance between life and death, of success and failure, of happiness and misery. God says, "Come to me with your ears wide open. Listen, for the life of your soul is at stake" (Isa. 55:3 NIV). All God's successful people keep an open line of communication with Him. David said, "As for me, I will call upon God; and the Lord shall save me. Evening and morning, and at noon will I pray...an He shall hear my voice" (Ps. 55:16,17). Solomon declared, "The prayer of the upright is His delight" (Prov. 15:8). The Apostles determined, "We will give ourselves to prayer" (Acts 6:4). Paul advised, "Continuing instant in prayer" (Rom. 12:12).
Jesus said, "He that is of God heareth God's words" (Jn. 8:47). If we are His people, we must open our hearts to hear Him. Have we heard from God lately? No? Repair the prayer line of communication. Remember, it's a two-way system: --we can talk to Him, --He will talk to us. "Abide in Me, and I in you" (Jn. 15:4). Keep the communication link between God and you open. "The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much" (Ja.5:16).