The Importance of Prayer
29 The people of the land have used oppression, and exercised robbery, and have vexed the
poor and needy: yea, they have oppressed the stranger wrongfully.
30 And I sought for a man among them, that should make up the hedge, and stand in the gap
before me for the land, that I should not destroy it: but I found none.
31 Therefore have I poured out mine indignation upon them; I have consumed them with the fire of
my wrath: their own way have I recompensed upon their heads, saith the Lord GOD.
An amazing thing happens when we do not pray. Nothing!
In the passage we have sited from the prophet Ezekiel, the nation has fallen into unrighteousness.
There is much wickedness everywhere and God has declared the nation unclean and has sent a
drought. It is symbolic of the spiritual drought among them.
The prophets have conspired together to defraud the people. What wickedness! The prophets,
who were supposed to speak out for God were seeking their own gain.
Even the priests, who were supposed to shepherd, guide and protect God's people had brought
shame to the holy things of God. There was no difference between the holy and the unholy. There
was no honor in the house of God.
The nation’s leaders were corrupt. They were destroying their own people, profiting off of their
misfortunes. The people were oppressing one another; crime was rampant; no one was safe. The
prophets were prophesying lies, telling people what they wanted to hear, and tickling the ears of
those with whom they sought favor. They were speaking when God had not spoken and saying
that God had instructed them.
Truly no one was safe in such an environment.
So God called out. "Who will stand in the gap? Who will pray for this nation? Who will make a
difference?" God was searching for someone who cared enough to pray until something changed.
But the sad fact is, God could not find anyone!
God had said that he would withhold judgment if He could find someone to pray. When He found
no one to do it, He had to pour out his indignation on the wickedness of the nation.
The amazing thing here is that God has so partnered with us that if we do not pray, He will not act.
The fate of that nation rested on the shoulders of those who would or would not pray.
Remember Sodom and Gomorrah? God would have spared the city for a few righteous, but He
could not find enough.
What a shame that God seeks for partners to work with Him, and often He doesn’t find what He is
looking for. And what a shame that His work and His people suffer because no one will take up the
task to pray. Oh, of course there are people who are praying, but what about you? Wouldn’t it
strengthen the prayer chain? Wouldn’t it improve our chances of victory over our spiritual enemy?
Wouldn’t it improve your life?
Prayer is the principle thing! Prayer is the only thing that will move heaven. Prayer gets the
attention of God. Prayer it the main thing that God wants from us. God doesn’t need our
intelligence, our talent, or our ability. He has used people with much less ability than most of us
have. What He wants from us is time spent in prayer.
The testimony about Elijah is this:
16 ..The prayer of a righteous man is powerful and effective.
17 Elijah was a man just like us. He prayed earnestly that it would not rain, and it did not rain on
the land for three and a half years.
18 Again he prayed, and the heavens gave rain, and the earth produced its crops.
Elijah was one of the most effective prophets of the Old Testament. He didn’t have any special
talents to speak of. He was not an important figure until he began to pray. But when he prayed
things began to happen.
Prayer isn’t the only thing we must do, but it is the first thing we must do. After we have prayed,
everything else will have the power of God behind it. Prayer is the key to our effectiveness.
In conclusion, I quote Leonard Ravenhill: God does his best work for the world through prayer.
Prayer forms the godliest men. The challenge of God to us is, "Call unto me, and I will answer thee,
and show thee great and mighty things which thou knowest not." Prayer forms the very center of
the heart and will of God concerning men. The possibilities of prayer are found in the illimitable
promise, the willingness and the power of God to answer prayer, to answer all prayer, to answer
every prayer, and to supply fully the illimitable need of man. Is there any work, higher work for the
disciple to do than His Lord did? Is there any loftier employment, more honorable, more divine,
than to pray for men?