December 25, 2011
The Gift of Prayer
This Advent Daily Devotional is focusing on the gifts God gives us, as uncovered in the book of Ephesians.
Pray at all times. Sounds remarkably like 1 Thessalonians 5:17 “Pray without ceasing” Doesn’t it?
Pray in the Spirit. That sounds a lot like Romans 8:26, which says that when we don’t know how to pray or what to pray, the Spirit helps us in our weakness and prays for us with groaning too deep for words.
Is there any greater gift to open on this Christmas Day, other than gift of the Christ-child Himself, than the ability to be able to connect with Holy God in prayer?
And it’s a gift to be able to offer prayers on behalf of others.
There are many, countless stories of answered prayer. One of my favorites is from George Muller. He was a man who took seriously the charge of God to take care of widows and orphans. Throughout his life, he reportedly cared for over 10,000 orphans. He was characterized as a man of prayer. It is said he prayed about everything and expected each prayer to be answered. He never asked anyone, other than God, for funds to operate over 100 different homes for children in England and throughout Europe.
From his journal: “During the summer and autumn of 1866 we had also the measles at all the three Orphan-Houses. After they had made their appearance, our especial prayer was:
1. That there might not be too many children ill at one time in this disease, so that our accommodation in the Infirmary rooms or otherwise might be sufficient. This prayer was answered to the full; for though we had at the New Orphan-House Number 1 not less than 83 cases, in Number 2 altogether 111, and in Number 3 altogether 68; yet God so graciously was pleased to listen to our supplications, as that when our spare rooms were filled with the invalids, He so long stayed the spreading of the measles till a sufficient number were restored, so as to make room for others, who were taken ill.
2. Further we prayed, that the children, who were taken ill in the measles, might be safely brought through and not die. Thus it was. We had the full answer to our prayers; for though 262 children altogether had the measles, not one of them died.
3. Lastly we prayed, that no evil physical consequences might follow this disease, as is so often the case; this was also granted. All the 262 children not only recovered, but did well afterwards. I gratefully record this signal mercy and blessing of God, and this full and precious answer to prayer, to the honor of His name.” 
262 children with the measles in an orphanage… in the 1860’s. None of them died. That’s unheard of! A true answer to prayer.
It is a gift to be able to pray and it is a joy to see how God answers our prayers! And may I encourage you that when you feel like you have prayed and prayed and prayed and you have not seen God’s answer, to keep praying and to keep looking for Him. He will answer you. In His time and by His will. And He will answer with what is best for you and the situation. You may not be able to see that His answer is best, but trust it. In time, you will see the mighty and loving hand of our Father God. And what a gift!
So, when you feel like a cloud is over you… like our soldiers in Desert Storm… when you feel attacked by the enemy…. Gear up. Pray up. God is here for you.
And the most tangible gift of His presence is in the gift we celebrate today, Jesus. Merry Christmas!
Father God, thank you for the gift of prayer… to be able to talk with you and seek your face. Thank you. Let me trust that you are answering my prayers, in your timing and by your will. May I be able to see that you only want what is best for me. In Jesus’ name, Amen.
© 2011. Rich Ronald
 Answers to Prayer, p. 63, from George Muller’s Narratives, compiled by A.E.C. Brooks, Published by Moody Press, Chicago