The way to be powerful and effective is through fervent prayer. On the night when Jesus was wrestling in prayer with his mission to die on the cross, his disciples couldn’t keep their eyes open, much less support him in prayer. So Jesus said to them, “Watch and pray, lest you enter into temptation. The Spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak” (Matthew 26:41).
Prayer is a fundamental, indispensable weapon in our struggle against evil spiritual forces. In the book of James, we read that “the prayer of a righteous man is powerful and effective” (5:16). A simple prayer can rally the forces of heaven to protect us from harm. Through prayer we gain the strength and knowledge we need to overcome temptation, discern God’s will, or receive anything else we need. God gives supernatural wisdom and power to those who trust him and he longs to do just that.
It's sad when believers see prayer as nothing more than the recitation of a wish list or a last-ditch call for help. So many people spend their prayer times begging God for things they want, asking him to fulfill their selfish desires. God doesn’t promise to answer those kinds of prayer. But when we pray according to his will, and for what we truly need in advancing the kingdom, he answers.
When we move in God’s will, we can depend on him to open doors for us — to make a path and guide us as we go along. We can feel his constant presence as we go about our daily tasks. He is there to help us through personal crises: financial attacks, sickness, so much more. We can always be assured that he will never leave us alone or forsake us.
Fervent prayer is a lifestyle of going to God with every need and concern and question, then learning to obey when we sense him answering. It is petitioning God for direction before we move and then going in the direction where we see him pointing. I am convinced that if we do that, if we live our lives in earnest wisdom and try to move in the direction he leads, then even if we go the wrong way from time to time, God will eventually make it right.
Nicky Cruz, internationally known evangelist and prolific author, turned to Jesus Christ from a life of violence and crime after meeting David Wilkerson in New York City in 1958. The story of his dramatic conversion was told first in The Cross and the Switchblade by David Wilkerson and then later in his own best-selling book Run, Baby, Run.