It can be hard for us mortals to imagine, but God can hear and pay attention to billions of people at once! We pray to a God who hears and answers.
The largest crowd I have ever spoken to was around 12,000 to 15,000, just a sea of faces stretching all the way to the back of a cavernous building.
What would it have been like if I had asked the attendees if they had any questions? What if every one of them had started talking at the same time? There is no way I could have understood or intelligently responded to the resulting cacophony.
But that would be no problem for God.
Does God hear me?
Did you pray this morning? How many other people went before God at that same time in prayer? How many went to Him in gratitude for another day of life? How many others prayed in anguish, asking for His intervention for relief from some terrible problem? Millions? All speaking to God simultaneously!
Those of us who are teachers have likely experienced several of our students trying to ask something at the same time. And we might have held up our hands and said, “Now wait a minute, one at time!”
But God has no such limitations! With His awesome mind, He is able to hear and answer an unlimited number of individual, personal prayers—prayers from all over the world.
And even if there are millions speaking at the same time, God is able to give each one the attention that makes it like having a private audience with the Creator of all the universe.
Recently I saw a short article titled “Innovation of the Week.” It read:
“Researchers in Australia unlocked internet speeds high enough to download ‘more than 1,000 high-definition movies in less than a second,’ said BBC.com. Using a single fiber-optic wire linked between two campuses in Melbourne, the team ‘logged a data speed of 44.2 terabits per second,’ or roughly a million times faster than the average internet speed in the U.S.” (The Week, June 5, 2020).
Imagine Internet speeds a million times faster than the one you use each day—able to receive and download more than 1,000 high-definition movies in less than one second!
Yet that is not a fraction of the speed of the mind of the God we pray to! He never has to say, “Now hold on a second, one prayer at a time,” or “Get in line, you’ll have to wait, since there are several ahead of you.”
Wouldn’t it be nice to have help to avoid making a lot of mistakes, unwise choices and decisions that create pain and difficulties for us? Well, there is such help available. God’s help is there for us to call upon, and He tells us it is there for the asking.
“So I say to you, ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives, and he who seeks finds, and to him who knocks it will be opened’” (Luke 11:9-10; see our article “How to Pray”).
“In all your ways acknowledge Him, and He shall direct your paths” (Proverbs 3:6). Many people who do pray, pray only in a very general way and often in just memorized or repetitious prayers with little thought given to what they are saying. Things like: “Thank you for the food. Bless me today. Give me this job. Cause this person to like me. Pay my debts for me.”
But notice that the admonition in this proverb is to acknowledge Him in all our ways. This includes the big things and the little things going on in our lives. Acknowledging Him would also include seeking His wisdom and will. In other words, “Is what I’m asking wise and in harmony with God’s will and His Word?”
This might mean recognizing that some of what we are praying for is very selfish or unwise and would lead us down a path that would not be good in the long run.
Prayer for anxiety, worry and fear
Paul echoed these points in his letter to the Philippian church: “Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus” (Philippians 4:6-7).
To not be anxious means to not be overly worried about things. As the Contemporary English Version reads: “Don’t worry about anything, but pray about everything. With thankful hearts offer up your prayers and requests to God.”
With all that we see going on around us today, there is plenty to fear and worry about. Horrible diseases, natural disasters and violence filling our city streets cause us deep concern not only for our own personal safety, but also for that of our loved ones.
Paul was inspired to say that the antidote to excessive worry is prayer. And the resulting fruit of this kind of relationship with God is an inner peace that is greater than anyone can otherwise experience.Paul was inspired to say that the antidote to excessive worry is prayer. And the resulting fruit of this kind of relationship with God is an inner peace that is greater than anyone can otherwise experience.
“Call upon Me in the day of trouble”
This is not to say that prayer will take away every single trouble—past, present and future—from our lives. There is no one who goes through life without some problems. But with God’s guidance, we will have fewer of them.
Note that David says the righteous will be delivered out of their troubles. He doesn’t say they won’t have troubles, for everyone does.
“The righteous cry out, and the LORD hears, and delivers them out of all their troubles. The LORD is near to those who have a broken heart, and saves such as have a contrite spirit. Many are the afflictions of the righteous, but the LORD delivers him out of them all” (Psalm 34:17-19).
That deliverance doesn’t always come immediately. We can pray that He will give us the strength while we wait on His intervention. “Seek the LORD and His strength; seek His face evermore” (1 Chronicles 16:11).
Often there are things we can learn during the trial as well. “Call upon Me in the day of trouble; I will deliver you, and you shall glorify Me” (Psalm 50:15).
All the righteous men and women of the Bible viewed prayer as a source of strength and peace in their lives. We are even given examples of people praying several times a day.
David, a man after God’s own heart, regularly went before God in prayer. “Evening and morning and at noon I will pray, and cry aloud, and He shall hear my voice” (Psalm 55:17). He often began his mornings with prayer. “My voice You shall hear in the morning” (Psalm 5:3).
It is God’s will and delight that we recognize the good things He does for us on a daily basis. “Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, in everything give thanks; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you” (1 Thessalonians 5:16-18).
We are even told that God delights in prayer: “The sacrifice of the wicked is an abomination to the LORD, but the prayer of the upright is His delight” (Proverbs 15:8).
Armor of God prayer
Paul wrote about putting on the whole armor of God. It is a good thing to spend some time in prayer each morning to seek God’s help in facing what might come up in our lives that day.
“Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord and in the power of His might. Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places. Therefore take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand.
“Stand therefore, having girded your waist with truth, having put on the breastplate of righteousness, and having shod your feet with the preparation of the gospel of peace; above all, taking the shield of faith with which you will be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked one. And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God; praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, being watchful to this end with all perseverance and supplication for all the saints” (Ephesians 6:10-18, emphasis added throughout; see our article “How to Put on the Armor of God”).
Prayer of the righteous avails much
Prayer is always associated with those who are called righteous or devout in the Scriptures. Righteousness means doing what is right—obeying God’s commandments (Psalm 119:172). If we are truly striving to obey God but sin, we will repent of that sin and God will “cleanse us from all unrighteousness” (1 John 1:9).
James wrote, “The effective, fervent prayer of a righteous man avails much” (James 5:16).
At first, the Church that Jesus began was composed of Jewish converts who accepted Him as their Messiah and Savior. But soon, as prophesied, God began to add those of other races and nationalities. One of the first was a gentile by the name of Cornelius. If you read the story of his conversion, you’ll notice that he had already seen the value of regular prayer.
“There was a certain man in Caesarea called Cornelius, a centurion of what was called the Italian Regiment, a devout man and one who feared God with all his household, who gave alms generously to the people, and prayed to God always” (Acts 10:1-2).
Through the study of God’s Word, the Bible, we can come to know God on a deeper level and be able to pray with faith and confidence that He cares deeply for us, always hears us and desires to help us through the difficult times of our lives.Those prayers of his did not go unnoticed.
“About the ninth hour of the day he saw clearly in a vision an angel of God coming in and saying to him, ‘Cornelius!’ And when he observed him, he was afraid, and said, ‘What is it, lord?’ So he said to him, ‘Your prayers and your alms have come up for a memorial before God’” (Acts 10:3-4).
“Help in time of need”
As stated earlier, there is no one who does not from time to time have to deal with serious problems in his or her life. If we have made prayer a regular practice in our lives, we will already have God close to us when these things come upon us.
“The LORD is near to all who call upon Him, to all who call upon Him in truth” (Psalm 145:18).
Through the study of God’s Word, the Bible, we can come to know God on a deeper level and be able to pray with faith and confidence that He cares deeply for us, always hears us and desires to help us through the difficult times of our lives.
“Let us therefore come boldly to the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need” (Hebrews 4:16).
Prayer of faith
Whether we need God’s intervention, comfort or simply guidance and wisdom to make good decisions, we can pray with confidence that His help is available to all who ask in faith.
“If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all liberally and without reproach, and it will be given to him. But let him ask in faith, with no doubting, for he who doubts is like a wave of the sea driven and tossed by the wind” (James 1:5-6).
God tells us, “Call to Me, and I will answer you, and show you great and mighty things, which you do not know” (Jeremiah 33:3).
Check out our articles “Prayer of Faith” and “Five Keys to Answered Prayers,” along with some of our other related articles on prayer, to make this tool for strengthening your relationship with God a daily part of your life. You’ll be amazed at the good fruit it will bear for you.