Pillar Journal

Remember the Value of Prayer

Remember that in the waiting time between sowing and reaping, plants are growing. Keep watering them with your prayers.

The disciples wanted to learn to pray because they saw the place that prayer had in the life of our Lord (Luke 11:1). We should always remember these five truths:

  1. prayer is essential for the well-being of your own soul;
  2. prayer is essential for you to fulfill your calling in your family, church, and nation;
  3. prayer is one of the most Christlike activities you can engage in;
  4. prayer is God’s appointed means of distributing the blessings of His kingdom and the gifts of Christ to His people;
  5. and unoffered prayer, not unanswered prayer, is our greatest problem—for they who ask not, have not (James 4:2).

We must value praying, however, even when we do not see answers. It can be God’s mercy to deny us answered prayer in order to foster growth in believing submission to Him. Faith’s roots often grow deepest in the soil of unanswered prayer. William Carey labored as a missionary in India for eight years before baptizing the first convert from Hinduism to Christ.1Timothy George, Faithful Witness: The Life and Mission of William Carey (Birmingham, Ala.: New Hope, 1991), 131. Yet in those years Carey learned to live for the glory of God alone. He wrote, “I feel that it is good to commit my soul, my body, and my all, into the hands of God. Then the world appears little, the promises great, and God an all-sufficient portion.”2As quoted in George, Faithful Witness, 104. God’s delay became marrow for Carey’s soul. That still happens today to believers when, exercised in prayer by God’s silences, they find more of God Himself. God is always greater and more valuable than His answers. The greatest mercy is to find God, not His mercies. Then we discover that when we ask for silver, God may wrap His silences in gold that doesn’t perish! William Bridge said, “A praying man can never be very miserable, whatever his condition be, for he has the ear of God…. It is a mercy to pray, even though I never receive the mercy prayed for.”3William Bridge, A Lifting Up for the Downcast (Edinburgh: Banner of Truth, 1990), 55.

If unanswered prayer can be valuable, how much more valuable answered prayer can be! The Lord Jesus Christ has told us that a life of asking, seeking, and knocking is a life of receiving, finding, and opening doors to us (Matt. 7:7). God has a way of either answering our prayer or giving us something even better—that is, what we should have been asking for in the first place. Never underestimate the importance of prayer. Referring to events recorded in Acts 12:1–10, Thomas Watson said, “The angel fetched Peter out of prison, but it was prayer that fetched the angel.”4Thomas Watson, A Divine Cordial (Wilmington, Del.: Sovereign Grace Publishers, 1972), 18. I once visited a woman who was ill, and after praying for her physical needs and for her soul, I apologized for not being able to do anything more. She wisely rebuked me, saying, “Pastor, you’ve done something more important for me than the physicians—you’ve prayed for me!”

Pray, persevere in praying, and do not grow weary or faint (Luke 18:1). Remember that in the waiting time between sowing and reaping, plants are growing. Keep watering them with your prayers.

Excerpt from
How Can I Cultivate Private Prayer?
By Joel Beeke