On March 17, 1860, an announcement appeared in the Sacramento Daily Union about a new method to convey information from the East in record-breaking time. Fifty horses had been placed at strategic sites along a planned route. Riders would carry packets of mail from one post to the next.
Soon, however, the fabled Pony Express was obsolete, replaced by the Transcontinental Telegraph, then the telephone. Now we have the Internet, texting, Skype, and so many expanding means of communication that as soon as we master one of them, it’s consigned to the storeroom of technological antiques.
But the world’s greatest communication technology hasn’t changed. We can still uplink with heaven at any time. Our prayers can cover the globe in the twinkling of an eye, and our earnest petitions can fly heavenward.
Prayer Is User-Friendly, Even for Children
Prayer is communication with heaven that moves us beyond our initial salvation experience and into a friendship with a God who speaks to us in His Word and listens to us in prayer.
Deuteronomy 4:7 and 8 (NIV) tells us, “What other nation is so great as to have their gods near them the way the LORD our God is near us whenever we pray to Him? And what other nation is so great as to have such righteous decrees and laws…?” The way to draw near to God is by prayer and the study of His great decrees in the Bible.
Even children can learn the secrets of a meaningful prayer life. James Rogers of the Alabama Conference of the Methodist Episcopal Church told about Annie Clayton. As a child, she and her sister, Vanie, took a long walk one morning to collect scraps of wood as fuel for heating their family’s home. As they returned, Vanie collapsed from the lingering effects of cholera.
Annie, only five, was helpless. They sat beside the road not knowing what to do. Finally Vanie said, “You know, Annie, a good while ago mother told us that if we ever got into trouble, we should pray, and God would help us. Now you help me get down upon my knees, and hold me up, and we will pray.” There, the sisters prayed earnestly for someone to help them. Then they waited to see how God would answer.
Far down the street, they spotted a man who walked out of a factory and looked curiously up the street. But the man went back inside. He came out again, looked up the street, and reentered the factory. Then the man walked out a third time with his hat on.
Approaching the children, he said in a broken German accent, “O children, what is the matter?” When they explained, he hoisted Vanie up in his arms and carried her home.
Once the girls were delivered, the gentleman told his story. He was the proprietor of a factory and had been working on payroll checks. Suddenly his vision had blurred. He had an impression that someone wanted to see him, so he stepped outside and tried to focus his eyes up and down the street. Seeing no one, he returned to his desk. The darkness in his vision was worse, and the impression even greater. So he walked outside again, puzzled. Then he returned to his work a second time. But now, he found himself unable to write. The impression on his mind was urgent. So he fetched his hat and walked up the street until he saw the girls who had prayed earnestly for someone to come along.[i]
Some Communication Tips
We can pray as effectively as those young girls. Our prayers can draw forth God’s answers and achieve divine results. Here are some of the simplest communication techniques for “leaping upward” in prayer.
- Establish a regular prayer pattern.
- Have a simple method or routine to your prayers.
- Learn the benefit of praying Scripture.
- Learn to pray aloud sometimes.
We don’t need the Pony Express or a phone, just prayers—it is our greatest means of drawing near to God.
Dr. Jeremiah is the founder of Turning Point for God, and serves as Senior Pastor of Shadow Mountain Community Church in El Cajon, California. For more information about Turning Point go to www.DavidJeremiah.org
[i] From the book, Touching Incidents and Remarkable Answers to Prayer by Rev. S. B. Shaw (Grand Rapids: S. B. Shaw Publisher, 1893), segment entitled “Annie and Vanie’s First Real Prayer.”
Poets and painters have tried to capture it. Singers and psychologists have tried to analyze it. But nothing describes love more perfectly than God’s Word. Dr. David Jeremiah gives a guided tour of the Bible’s definitive passage on the subject: First Corinthians 13.