– E.M. Bounds
Prayer is not a last resort; it is our first priority. It’s not the least we can do but the most. Here are three ways that prayer succeeds when all else fails.
Failure Brings Us to Him
When we encounter failure–and everyone does–we are driven to our knees, and that is where we find our help. The psalmist wrote, “God is our refuge and strength. A very present help in trouble” (Psalm 46:1). Yes, “a refuge for the oppressed, a stronghold in times of trouble.” (Psalm 9:9) “Therefore let all the faithful pray to you while you may be found; surely the rising of the mighty waters will not reach them.” (Psalm 32:6). If failure brings us to God in prayer, then that failure has actually brought us success.
Only Jesus Opens Doors
In Jesus’ message to the church at Philadelphia, He said, “I have placed before you an open door that no one can shut. I know that you have little strength, yet you have kept my word and have not denied my name” (Rev. 3:8). When Paul and Barnabas went to Antioch, “they declared all that God had done with them, and how he had opened a door of faith to the Gentiles” (Acts 14:27). The point here is that only God can open doors, and Jesus is the One Who holds the key to a door that might be shut before you, for it is written, “The words of the holy one, the true one, who has the key of David, who opens and no one will shut, who shuts and no one opens” (Rev. 21:7). So relax. If a door hasn’t opened for you yet, trust the Keyholder, for only He can open doors that we cannot. If it doesn’t open, it was not best for us to walk through it anyway. Don’t do what I’ve done and try to jimmy the lock or kick the door open. That always turns out badly for me.
Drawing Closer to God
When we feel that God is far from us, the Word of God reminds us that “the LORD is near to all who call on him, to all who call on him in truth” (Psalm 145:18). If He feels far, call on Him. Call on Him, and He will draw near to you because all who call on Him in truth will be heard by Him. What does it mean by saying we’re to “call on him in truth?” This means that we must honestly confess any unconfessed sins. We must confess our failures and those things we are responsible for–our actions and those consequences that resulted–praying truthfully about our failures.
When you fail, run to Him, as He is your refuge. Pray for Him to open a door you think you’re supposed to go through or close the door tight if it’s not best for you. Call on Him truthfully, and He’ll draw close to you because prayer succeeds when all else fails.