31 January 2024

Why doesn’t everyone experience the tremendous power of prayer in the same way? District Apostle Jürg Zbinden from Switzerland asks this question in his article for our Spotlight series—the third one on our 2024 motto. His answer has to do with expectations.

The disciples of Jesus knew about prayer, but when they heard Jesus pray, they were so moved that they asked the Master: “Lord, teach us to pray” (Luke 11: 1). We too probably grew up with our own ideas of how we should pray. However, under the serving of the Holy Spirit in the house of God, the desire matured within us: we want to be able to pray like Jesus. He is our greatest model, after all.

Prayer is a dialogue with God. This dialogue should be a heartfelt need for us. It was like that for Jesus. He liked to talk to His Father and did so often because He loved Him more than anything. What about us? The love of Christ drives us to prayer! If this love burns in our hearts, we will seek the closeness of God. The simple fact of knowing that we are always loved and understood by our heavenly Father brings comfort and confidence.

Unfortunately, for some people today prayer is comparable to going to the social welfare office, so to speak. You only go there to ask for help if you have to cope with financial distress. For others, it is like calling the fire brigade when the house is on fire. The list of examples could easily be continued.

The following little incident made me smile and gave me something to think about at the same time.

In one of our districts, preparations were underway for an event that was to take place largely outdoors. The weather was quite pleasant and all the brothers and sisters were looking forward to the special event. But suddenly, contrary to all forecasts, dark rain clouds appeared. Very worried, the organisers turned to one of the leading ministers and asked him to pray with them for good weather. Everyone came together and sent a fervent prayer to God. The faith of the ministers was strong. They were convinced that the Lord would help. The leading minister must not have been so sure that the weather would hold, however. He went to one of the brothers, gave him some money, and told him to buy some umbrellas, “You never know …”

Our prayer should be carried by childlike faith and trust in God. This not only delights our heavenly Father, but the person praying experiences peace and certainty. And he or she will feel secure in God’s proximity. Truly, prayer works!


Photo: Frank Schuldt