The author does a wonderful job at explaining how prayer is powerful and we as royal kingly priests (Christians), have the authority and responsibility to be intercessors in prayer for not just our own lives but the entire world.
As Christians, we have an expectation to use our authority both for His glory and our good. In 1 Peter 2:5, Christians are called “a holy priesthood.” As priests of the new covenant, our ministry is to offer up spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ. These “spiritual sacrifices” offered by Christians, are various forms of prayer, particularly worship and intercession. The author goes over multiple verses on how God tells us to pray for our leaders and our government. In 1 Timothy 2: 1-2, Paul calls for “supplications, prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks to all men, for kings and for all who are in authority, that we may lead a quiet and peaceful life in all godliness and reverence.” The author continues by going over the importance of understanding that our prayers will be answered as long as it is God’s will. Good government is God’s will. This allows Christians to fulfill their duty to spread the gospel in a peaceful, nonvolatile environment.
In Romans 13:1-5, Paul said that “every person must submit to the supreme authorities. There is no authority but by act of God, and the existing authorities are instituted by Him; consequently, anyone who rebels against authority is resisting a divine institution, and those who so resist have themselves to thank for the punishment they will receive.” I myself am here (in prison) because I chose to rebel. I let my faith be shaken, and I fell as the ground beneath me gave way. What if Christians find themselves under an evil government? It may be corrupt, inefficient, wasteful, or actively oppressive toward Christians. How then are we to react? God’s word gives us no liberty to complain or to disobey. It does however, impose a solemn obligation to pray for our government. If we humble ourselves before God and meet His conditions, our prayers will be heard and bring about a change of government that will ensure the fulfillment of His purpose and the best interests of His people. This is done by two simple requirements as stated in 2 Samuel 23, through the mouth of David, “He who rules over men must be Just; ruling in the fear of God.” Two requirements that cuts across most motives and pressures in which we are all familiar with in contemporary politics. God promises blessings to a government whose officers fulfill two great basic moral requirements. He demands they be ‘Just’ and ‘God fearing.’ The party label is meaningless.
The author then goes on to give examples of how prayer has shaped history. He describes how prayer had brought the Jews out of the Nazi control and likewise saw to the end of Stalin’s era. At the end of World War I, the state of Israel came into being and God’s promise was fulfilled. The author lived in the midst of the war as a hospital attendant with the British forces in North Africa at the time Winston Churchill appointed an unknown officer named B.L. Montgomery as commander of the British forces. After Montgomery had called for his officers and soldiers to pray, “Let us ask the Lord, mighty in battle, to give us the victory,” the allied forces secured their first major victory for the entire war up to that time.
The author along with his wife and eight adopted daughters lived in the center of Jewish Jerusalem during the time when the Arab nations declared war on it. They realized that they were seeing the fulfillment of God’s promise to Israel, as said in Isaiah 43:5-6. They prayed for Israel’s deliverance. In Matthew 18:19, it states, “that if two of you agree on earth concerning anything that they ask, it will be done for them by my Father in heaven.” Full scale fighting broke out in Jerusalem and after they prayed; his wife Lydia uttered, Lord please, paralyze the Arabs. Soon after that, a four-week ceasefire was imposed by the United Nations. During that ceasefire, a Jewish soldier gave his testimony to the author saying, “There’s something we can’t understand. Arabs outnumbered us ten to one and much better armed than we are. Yet, at times they seemed powerless to do anything against us. It’s as if they are paralyzed!”
God had provided them with objective testimony that this was what He had done. Glory be to God! Prayer is one of the greatest opportunities, one of the greatest privileges, and one of the greatest ministries available to all Christians. There is no record of Jesus teaching his disciples to preach, but he did teach them how to pray. The author then goes on to describe the eight principles of effective prayer. God’s willingness, he is not wearied or offended by our praying. God wants us to pray. All throughout scripture we are reminded of how if we ask we shall receive. The more we pray, the more we please God.
- Reverent submission: come to God as children.
- The name of Jesus: “I am the way, the truth, the life. No one comes to the Father except through me,” John 14:6.
- Thanksgiving and praise: “Enter into his gates with Thanksgiving and into his courts with praise,” Psalm100:1.
- Boldly and without condemnation: “If I regard inequity in my heart, the Lord will not hear” Psalm 66:18. Do not allow your thoughts to condemn you or allow Satan to berate you over already confessed sin.
- For God’s glory: God’s searches your motives and his and he discerns the reasons for which we pray.
- Right relationships: if we do not forgive those who trespass against us, either will your father forgive your trespasses.
- The power of the Holy Spirit: yield to the Holy Spirit and let him pray through us.
- According to God’s word: pray according to his word.
The author then goes into how fasting intensifies his prayer. In Matthew 6:1-18, Christ gave his disciples instructions on their duties: charitable giving, praying, and fasting. The New Testament gives us numerous examples of how and when Christians fasted. In one sense, fasting is a form of mourning. Psychologically, no one welcomes the thought of mourning, just as, physically, no one welcomes the thought of fasting. In Matthew 5:4, Jesus said, “Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted.” In Psalms, David wrote of many times he humbled himself with fasting, “I wept and chastened my soul with fasting.” Fasting is also a means by which a believer brings his or her body into submission. In 1 Corinthians 9:27, Paul said, “but I discipline my body and bring it into submission, lest, when I have preached to others, I myself should become disqualified.”
Fasting brings deliverance and victory. This is told to us in the Old Testament and the New Testament. For example, Jehoshaphat, king of Judah, received word that a massive army was invading his Kingdom from the east. Realizing he had no military resources to meet his challenge, he turned to God for help. “Jehoshaphat… proclaimed a fast throughout all Judah.” The outcome as described in 2 Chronicles 20:22-30, states that there was no need for military weapons. The entire army of their enemies destroyed itself, leaving not a single survivor. It was accomplished by spiritual weapons: collective fasting, united prayer, supernatural gifts of the Holy Spirit, public worship and praise. The author then goes on to describe practical guidelines for fasting. He does this by backing it up with scripture, just as he had done with the entire book. “But without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek him,” Hebrews 11: 6.
Faith is the base of Christianity. There are physical aspects of fasting so do care and sense must be practiced. You may experience unpleasant symptoms, such as dizziness. Headache, or nausea. After a day or two, these unpleasant physical reactions usually subside. Sometimes drinking a glass of water at meals times instead of eating will fool your stomach. Also the author goes over how to avoid Constipation by before and after you’re fast to eat fruits figs prunes oatmeals or apricots it is wise to abstain from strong stimulants such as coffee or T during the fast. The author winds down the book by talking about the pilgrims and the foundation of America. The pilgrims believed that the ultimate purpose of God was to restore the church to its original condition, as portrayed in the New Testament. He goes over a recorded instances of answered prayers by fasting. These foundations are still being built upon to this day by Christians. The author ends the book with different fasts that have been proclaimed in American history. All the way from the pilgrims, to George Washington, Adams and Madison, to Abraham Lincoln. In each succeeding generation, it has been sustained and continued by the faith, prayers, and fasting of like minded believers.
In closing, I will say that I am in full understanding of my purpose here in prison. Although this is my punishment, yes, I know that I am being refined in the furnace. For as Paul said in first Corinthian 9: 27, “I discipline my body and bring it into submission, lest when I have preached to others, I myself should become disqualified.” I am learning to listen to God and accept his blessings. I am fully open and committed to following Christ and to fulfill my duty as a Christian on earth.
Why I chose to read this book?
I found this book one day after reading emails from my wife. I was reading previous emails that she had sent me and about not focusing on what I can’t control, but on what I can. I passed by the book cart as I did daily. I saw the name prince and then the word prayer. I immediately grabbed it and my heart leaped. I knew God wanted me to read this book. My wife had mentioned the author to me several times since my incarceration. I know that God is with me and using me for his glory.
What did I learn from this book?
I will say that I have a better understanding of the importance of fasting period I have practiced a form of fasting in the past by eating only in a 12 hour window and not eating in the other 12 hour window. For example, i would eat from 9:00 AM to 9:00 PM only. That wasn’t done for God so I constantly failed at it. I have a better understanding of how to pray and how and when to fast. Glory be to God!
How will this book help prepare me for success upon release?
I will continue to seek after God, using prayer for his will. I know that what I was a part of was not his will. I am fully committed to giving my life to Christ and to let him use me for his will. I will pray and fast with my wife in church for our government and world affairs. I will surround myself with like minded believers so I can be successful not only in my personal life but also my professional life. My prayers will be more meaningful, more focused, and more open to fulfilling God’s will. I am forgiven and I am on my path of redemption. Glory be to God!