Prayer and the Bible

Part 2

Salvation is Impossible without Prayer.

The Scriptures clearly teach that God requires prayer, and that through prayer his plan for the salvation of the world is to be realised. (We state the matter plainly that the philosophy of prayer may appear more evident.) It is true that with God all things are possible. But God has made some things impossible. When Jesus prayed: "Father, all things are possible unto thee; take away this cup from me"; but a little later: "O my Father, if this cup may not pass away from me, except I drink it, thy will be done"; he understood that it was not possible. To redeem man from death Jesus must drink the cup of suffering and die the just for the unjust (Mark 14: 36; Matt.26:42). God had made it impossible for the world to be saved out of death by another method.

Had it been possible for the world to be saved from death without prayer, Jesus would not then have been required to pray. Neither would he have impressed upon his disciples the necessity of prayer; nor would the Apostles have been so insistent in their exhortations to all believers in Christ to pray constantly.

For to state the philosophy of prayer simply—if men desire to gain the glorious liberty of the children of God, they must overcome the forces of evil. But none have the strength within themselves to fight evil. God alone can supply this power; and he is willing to give it in the way appointed. He cannot send down his saving power to earth until he has there a kindred heart in communication with himself, through whom he can operate. God works by love and persuasion; not by fear and force. His plan is to win men from under the banner of Satan, the usurping prince, and convert them into willing worshippers. He does not want men to be slaves. At present they are slaves to sin, and slaves to Satan; but God desires their liberation and willing allegiance; and he has provided a way by which all may come to him for the necessary power to fight for their freedom. Prayer is the line of communication between the fighter and the base of power. The struggling earth cries to God for help, because it finds no help in itself to overcome the powers of evil; and God requires this heart‑felt prayer, for it is a spirit force against which spiritual forces of evil cannot stand (Eph.6:12‑18).

In the meantime only the few can direct the power of prayer aright; and while misunderstood and even hated by the world, these are really fighting the battle on behalf of the world (1 John 3:1; John 15:18,19; 17:14). They understand the dire distress of humanity because of the sin and fall of Adam in the beginning, and fervently pray for the liberation of themselves and all mankind, not so much from individual present ills, as from the great general condemnation to death, and the cruel dominion of Satan. These scripturally‑enlightened few know the true need of the human race, and, like their Lord and Master Jesus Christ, they long for its everlasting salvation (John 10:10). These prayers, like the prayers of Jesus, are meritorious, because they are carefully thought out in line with Jehovah's Plan of Salvation as revealed in the Living Word.

We must recognise that the act of praying is not in itself necessarily meritorious, for it is after all a natural tendency. Ultimately, when the knowledge of the Lord covers the earth as the waters cover the sea (Isa.11:9; Zeph.3.9), the inherent praying‑faculty will be cultivated and developed and properly directed, so that all men may then pray acceptably (Isa.58:9; Psa.65:2; Job 33:22‑26). But it is an enviable favour to know how to pray acceptably in the present dark night of sin and death. It is given to very few to have this special knowledge (Isa.53:11; Hos.4:6: Rom.10:2; Mark 4:11,12). Yet the privilege is not withheld from any who earnestly desire to use it (Matt.5:6).


Next time
Prayer a Necessary Office