From the writings of the Rev. Billy Graham
Prayer is not a futile cry of desperation born of fear or a way to get what we want. Many people pray only when they are under great stress or facing some crisis. People who have never prayed may find themselves calling out to God when they are in an airplane during engine failure, or during extreme turbulence. Soldiers often say that the first time they ever uttered a prayer to God was in the height of battle. Unless this kind of prayer calls on God to save their souls, it is too shallow to be genuine. Yet there seems to be an instinct in people to pray in times of danger.
The first prayer God stands ready to hear is the prayer of repentance. “Have mercy upon me, O God, according to Your loving kindness. … Wash me thoroughly from my iniquity, and cleanse me from my sin” (Psalm 51:1-2).
When we begin walking with God in our new life in Christ, prayer becomes the key that opens to us the treasures of God’s mercies and blessings “new every morning” (Lamentations 3:23).
In the evenings prayer is the key that shuts us up under His protection and safeguard. “I will both lie down in peace, and sleep; for You alone, O Lord, make me dwell in safety” (Psalm 4:8).
Oh that we would give ourselves continually to prayer (Acts 6:4). People that spend time in daily prayer and in the study of God’s Word grow strong in faith and never stay discouraged for very long. Prayer is for every moment of our lives, not just for times of suffering or joy, or even asking for something, but prayer is a place where we meet God in genuine conversation. This is a great gift that is seldom opened.
(This column is based on the words and writings of the late Rev. Billy Graham.)