The briefest biography in all of the Bible is buried in 1 Chronicles. The first nine chapters of this book contain the official family tree of the Hebrew tribes beginning with Adam and proceeding through thousands of years to Israel's return from captivity. The long lists of unfamiliar and difficult names-more than five hundred of them-are likely to bore even the most zealous Bible readers. When the writer gets to Jabez he pauses to share two brief verses with us. Jabez gives a simple, direct request to God. He trusted and believed that God would hear him. His prayer changed his entire life and left a permanent mark on the history books of Israel.
Sometimes Christians are guilty of not asking God for enough. We settle for second best when we could be enjoying the fullness of His Spirit in every part of our lives. God tells us we are always to be asking, seeking and knocking on His door in prayer. Why is prayer important, and does it really make a difference? There is a recurring theme throughout Scripture: Prayer on earth results in action in heaven. One of the best examples of this is found in Revelations 8:1-5. In verse 1, we are told that there was silence for about half an hour. In the verses which follow we are told that it became quiet because of a prayer. You see, when someone prays, God listens. God is attentive and carefully listening to our every word. Yes, prayer on earth results in action in heaven.
God hears the prayers of the penitent, contrite soul as noted in Psalm 51:17. He desires for us to present our needs and cares before Him, but also with purity and brokenness. Psalm 66:18-20 reminds us that if we cherish sins in our hearts, clinging to any known practice, the Lord will not hear us. We must enter His presence clean. God hears the sincere prayers of the humble. In love, our Heavenly Father will answer our prayers by giving us that which will be best for us. It would be presumptuous to claim that prayer will always be answered in the very way and for the particular thing that we desire. God is both too wise to err and too good to withhold any beneficial thing from those who follow His will.
Carey said, "Prayer-secret, fervent, believing prayer-lies at
the root of all personal godliness." Real prayer is life-creating
and life-changing. Prayer is the central avenue that God uses to transform
us. It is impossible to flourish spiritually while neglecting individual