In Luke 10:41-42, Jesus tells Martha,
“Martha, Martha, you are worried and troubled about many things. But one thing is needed, and Mary has chosen that good part, which will not be taken away from her.”
To dedicate a period of time each day listening to Jesus and to prayer is to choose, as Mary did, “the better part, the one thing needful.” It means that we have realized that meeting God in prayer is the most important thing we can do each day. We read in Exodus 33:11 that “God spoke to Moses face to face, as a man speaks to his friend.” What a wonderful thing it is for us, too, to develop this kind of intimacy with God whereby we speak to Him in prayer each day “face to face.” As Christ also spoke with His Father, so we not only have the right but, as His child, a holy privilege to speak to Him in prayer each day “face to face.”
The people of God whose prayers are recorded in the Bible and in the prayer books of the Church, seldom ever read a book on prayer. They seldom ever attended a seminar on prayer. They seldom ever took courses or heard lectures on prayer. They seldom ever heard a sermon on prayer. They just prayed! And the prayers of the Church are so important because the whole theology of what we believe about God is to be found in those prayers. What we believe is what we pray, and what we pray is what we believe. Now Satan fears prayer because God hears prayer. Satan will stop at nothing to distract and discourage a person from prayer. If he succeeds as this, he separates us from our greatest source of power. This is why the church fathers keep stressing that to pray a person must struggle to their last breath.
In praying for those we love, we must remember: 1) the love of God that wants the best for them, 2) the wisdom of God that knows what is best for them, and 3) the power of God that can accomplish it. Mother Theresa was asked once why her sisters spent several hours a day praying in chapel instead of devoting that time to their work in the streets of Calcutta. Mother Theresa replied, “If my sisters were not in chapel praying two or three times a day, they would not go out into the streets of Calcutta at all.”
In the Bible, we read that Elijah prayed, and God sent fire from heaven to consume the offering on the altar in order to showed that He is the One True God (1 Kings 18:17-40). Elisha prayed, and the son of the Shunammite woman was raised from the dead (2 Kings 4:17-37). Jesus prayed at the tomb of Lazarus, and Lazarus who had been dead four days, came walking out of the tomb (John 11:1-44). The thief on the cross prayed and he received his answer to his prayer immediately as Jesus said to him, “today you will be with Me in paradise” (Luke 23:39-43). St. Paul prayed and churches were born in Europe and Asia Minor (Acts 9:22-31). St. Peter prayed and Dorcas was raised from the dead (Acts 9:36-42). These are just a few examples of prayers from the people of God in the Bible.