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I have been a Christian for many years. I have been a Christian minister for a large portion of that time. Yet there are many aspects of prayer that are beyond my comprehension.
On one hand, prayer is such an easy practice that even a child can do it. In some ways, children are the best at praying. Yet there are other aspects of prayer that history’s greatest minds have failed to comprehend. Perhaps everything related to God is like that. Some verses in Scripture contain simple, straightforward truths that even the newest believer can grasp. But those verses also have heavenly dimensions that baffle the most learned theologians.
One of those verses, for me, is John 16:23. Jesus told his disciples, “. . . Most assuredly, I say to you, whatever you ask the Father in My name He will give you.” When Jesus begins a statement by saying, “Most assuredly,” it is usually because what he is about to say will be difficult for us to believe.
Whatever I ask? That promise far exceeds my own experience. I recall many times I have not received what I asked of God. The crucial qualifier, of course, is the phrase, “in My name.” Jesus’ name reflects his character, will, and purposes. When you pray what is on God’s heart to give, you will receive it.
That truth makes me want to learn what is on God’s heart! I am also troubled by the requests I’ve made that God declined to grant. Do those experiences reveal how little I know of God’s heart and will?
There is another verse I understand in principle but fall short in practice. First Peter 5:7 says, “Casting all your care upon Him, for He cares for you.” Casting calls for us to take action. We cannot remain passive. The longer I hold on to my cares, the more heavily they weigh on me. But God does not say he will take our burdens from us. He invites us to cast them on him.
The invitation to cast our cares upon Christ is a wonderful gift of God. God is fully prepared to assume every one of our burdens. How sad that we do not pray more, and we do not cast more.
As you read this wonderful book, fully embrace the marvelous, gracious gift of prayer. Next to our salvation, it may be the greatest gift God has ever given.
President, Blackaby Ministries International
Co-author of Experiencing God and author of The Ways of God.
There are several ways the people of God can confidently know and faithfully do the will of God. These ways include, but are not limited to, regularly reading the Bible, the indwelling of the Holy Spirit, circumstances ordained by God, affirmation by other believers, the natural world created by the Lord, and sincere prayer. In this 40-day devotional, the focus is prayer.
In fact, The Gift of Prayer was written with three goals. First, to teach believers how to live a life of sincere gratitude toward the Lord through a life of fervent, humble, and sincere prayer. Second, to demonstrate the power of prayer through examples of God’s response to the petitions of His people. Third, to unleash the power of prayer in the increasingly angry, anxious, hurried, and hurting world in which we live.
With regard to teaching believers to have a heart of gratitude through fervent prayer, it is important for every child of God to see the daily working of the Lord in the midst of the peaks and valleys of life. When we consider the protection and provision of the Lord in view of our past prayers, we can gratefully go to Him with our present requests, and look forward to going to Him for our needs tomorrow. Just as our physical needs are met by our “daily bread,” so too does God hear our daily prayers and meet our daily needs. In many ways, God’s answer to a heartfelt prayer is our daily spiritual bread.
The second purpose of The Gift of Prayer is to record specific instances when God has answered the prayers of His people. By conveying these examples, the hope is that the effectiveness of prayer will be put to the test and found to be incredibly powerful. What that means to you, the reader, is that your most pressing prayer request right now can be lifted to the Lord right now. Don’t delay. God answers prayer.
The third goal is to be part of a great movement of the Holy Spirit by unleashing the power of prayer. In so doing, the hope is that we would experience a great spiritual revival in our day. A true global revival would require the powerful working of the Holy Spirit, faithful preaching of God’s Word, a commitment to discipleship, a renewed emphasis on missions and evangelism, and, of course, fervent prayer. There is no doubt that prayer will, by necessity, be an arrow in the quiver of a global revival. It is my prayer that this book would be part of such a remarkable movement of God Almighty.
The great hope of this book, therefore, is to help turn our hearts back to our first love, which is our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. He is our greatest treasure. Such an effort would require us to draw closer to Him in faithful, fervent, humble, and sincere prayer. Indeed, our prayer life will need a serious “faith lift” if we are to become the people of God that He calls us to be. Amen.
Prayer warriors make the world a better place by interceding on behalf of others. The humble prayers of the people of God can supernaturally overcome discord and disharmony in the world around us.
While the age of social media has allowed the voices of conflict to run rampant, we must amplify the good work of the earnest prayers of multitudes. While there are many prayer ministries in church life, this book is dedicated to those who make their prayer ministry one that is alive and active, always searching for ways to care for others.
One of the ways this takes place is through a ministry we started in July of 2022 called Drive Thru Prayer. The results of these fervent prayers have been incredible, and countless people have had the course of their life changed by the Lord through them. Recipients of these prayers may not even be aware that someone is praying on their behalf. All prayer warriors are indeed special followers of Christ.
One such prayer warrior is a friend and pastor who recently went home to be with the Lord. Pastor Juan Humes was a pastor’s pastor, and his prayers are legendary to all who were blessed to know him. While his shoes cannot be filled, we can certainly endeavor to walk in his footsteps.
Thus, I dedicate The Gift of Prayer to all those, like Pastor Juan Humes, who, despite the many challenges in their own life, seek to sincerely help others through faithful and fervent prayer.
~Philip William Calvert
“As a respected author with a myriad of life experiences leading to interesting and thoughtful commentary, Dr. Calvert has done it again. His series of biblical devotionals has added so much depth to my daily quiet time with the Lord. With the inclusion of stories from the Drive Thru Prayer ministry, his insight encourages us to build our spiritual life on the firm foundation of prayer. Praying with real people who come to Drive Through Prayer with real problems shows how prayer affects people carrying tremendous burdens. Looking into the eyes of those struggling through today’s issues without God is painful, but seeing those same eyes shine with hope after they receive a heartfelt and loving prayer is incredible. God’s Word will not return void. It is our duty to share that glorious hope with a very lost and hurting world. The Gift of Prayer draws us back to our first love, Jesus Christ, through authentic, fervent, humble, and sincere prayer."
~ Mary Tillman, Drive Thru Prayer Coordinator, Trinity Baptist Church
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