I once searched a football spectator’s guide for a definition of a “Hail Mary” pass. It said such a pass is aptly named because so few are completed, it does not amount to much more than a prayer.
Where did the NFL get such a pathetic concept of prayer? Certainly not from Jesus. His promise “…ask whatever you wish and it will be given you” reveals true prayer to be an explosive spiritual force.
Even worse than secular misunderstandings of prayer are the anemic clichés that you’ll sometimes hear from believers. “All we can do now is pray” betrays the unbelief of the one speaking. Prayer is not a last resort, and such low expectations arise from failure to claim what the Lord has promised.
Failure to meet the Lord’s conditions for answered prayer also robs prayer of its potency. Christ qualified His promise with two: “If you remain in me and my words remain in you…”
The first suggests that we are to remain where we are. As believers we are to remain in Him by tenaciously clinging to Him, trusting Him, and Him only, with the same simple faith that joined us to Him at first.
The second qualification shows how important are Christ’s words! Some people talk about Christ being their Lord but show little regard for what His Word proclaims. They presume that as long as their hearts are right toward His person, they can believe as they wish. But He warned us that we dare not call him Lord if we do not do the things which He says.
A life of mighty prayerfulness is available to us. These simple conditions are the two feet by which we climb the mountain.