What do the next twelve months hold for us as Christians? What are we purposing to do for Him? More quiet times with our Bibles? More use of our talents in His work? More opportunities for testifying? More time for prayer? Prayer to the Christian is one of the essentials for spiritual survival.

Elijah was a man of like nature with us, and he prayed fervently. “And he prayed again” (James 5:17,18). What cries, what pleadings, came from the lips of the holy prophet at mount Carmel, as he besought God to send showers of rain! Picture the scene of the waiting prophet, the watching servant, and the Mighty God etching in His sky the distant cloud as small as a man’s hand. This was His token of prayer answered; the showers of blessing followed (1 Kings 18:42-46). “And he prayed”.

Prosperity has deprived us of equalling the simple living quarters of Elisha. But we are not deprived of the privilege of doing what Elisha did; making them a place of prayer. This is where he brought the boy; and closing the door he prayed to the Lord. He gave his whole being to this challenging situation by stretching himself out upon the lad until their mouths, eyes, and hands met. God answered by restoring the boy to life (2 Kings 4:10). Every family needs its prayer room; a place where we can close the door, give ourselves wholly to the situation of concern, and speak to God about it in the confidence of faith, despite our sorrow of heart. Prayer will demand a price from us. Did the disciples realize this when they asked the Lord, “Teach us to pray, even as John also taught his disciples” (Luke 11:1)? John’s disciples fasted often (Luke 5:33). Fasting is self-denial, and they deprived themselves physically in order to learn to pray, and so benefit spiritually.

Many a treasured project, or planned arrangement, might have to be sacrificed for the needed time of prayer. Whatever the cost, whatever the sacrifice, full repayment will come from the One “Who loves to answer prayer”. I have heard your prayer, I have seen your tears; surely I will heal you”, was God’s answer to Hezekiah (2 Kings 20:5). There will be many tears in the year ahead, perhaps more than last year. But the One who put the tears of praying David into His bottle (Psalm 56:8), has our prayers in His golden bowls (Revelation 5:8). This is how much He values our prayers. What of you and me?