An Unusual Breath
Dr. Ralph Colas
Broadcast on the ACCC Living Faith radio program, March 1971
[This concludes Dr. Colas’ series on “The Unusual,” previous posts are An Unusual Birth, An Unusual Bully, and An Unusual Boldness.]
Some time ago, the United States sent a Midas Missile into orbit 2,100 miles above the earth. This satellite sent out 350 million tiny copper needles which were designed to form a giant radio reflective belt around the earth. It was to place in space a 5-mile-wide band of hair like reflectors which scientists could use to bounce radio waves halfway around the earth on frequencies not now available.
My subject today is “An Unusual Breath,” I refer to prayer. This is a form of space communication which is sadly neglected—I mean communication between earth bound man and the God Who inhabits every inch of space.
Is prayer a real sustaining help to you? Or on the other hand, is it a mere formal observance? True prayer takes the form and character of worship, adoration, praise, communion, fellowship, intercession, petition, thanksgiving, and blessing.
The Lord Jesus said in Luke 18:1 that “Men ought always to pray and not to faint.”
As we think together on this unusual breath that is prayer, let me ask you to note with me the privilege of prayer.
Someone has said, “God had only one Son who lived without sin, but He has had no Son who lived without prayer.”
We are given the privilege of prayer that is granted to none other of God’s creatures. Do you look upon it as a privilege or as a duty?
Prayer is simply opening the door to our problems, joys and sorrows. We then permit the Lord to come in and to share and help us with them.
What a glorious privilege—an unusual breath—prayer is.
Prayer is not only a privilege, there is also the power of prayer. Our Lord said, “Men ought always to pray and not to faint.” “To faint” means to “lose heart” or to “grow weary.”
When we are growing weary and become tempted to give up and to throw in the towel, it is time to pray. It has been said that “Satan trembles when he sees, the weakest saint upon his knees.” Prayer is not a force among forces, it is rather above forces. Prayer makes available the very power of Almighty God.
A chemist cannot comfort a heart with a test tube and neither can a mechanical engineer build a bridge to bring together a couple whose home is about on the rocks. But, God can do those things by His power and ability through the unusual breath—prayer.
Consider also, the practice of prayer. “Men ought always to pray,” said the Lord.
The words “to pray” suggest action. Prayer is the barometer of the Christian faith. Just as the barometer acquaints us with the weather conditions, so prayer reveals our spiritual condition.
Spiritual energy, strength and power are maintained through prayer. Sometimes we wonder why things are going backwards for us in our busy schedules of living.
We mumble and grumble, we fume and we spurt
We mutter and sputter, our feelings get hurt.
We can’t understand things, our vision grows dim.
When all that we need is a moment with Him.
There are some things for which we ought not to pray. For example, we should not ask God to ignore sin, violate His will or to do for us that which He has given us power to do for ourselves. One example is that of the lady who spoke to her pastor and asked him, “Pastor, do you think God would do anything about my being overweight?” He answered, “This kind goeth out only by fasting.”
Prayer is not to be an excuse or an effort to shut out or to escape from the realities of life. Instead, it should be the way by which we allow God’s power to work in and through us. Less hurry on our knees would mean less worry on our feet.
It is true that there are hindrances to answered prayer. We know of times in our Christian experience when the heavens seem as brass and God’s ear deaf.
This situation should drive us to our knees to discover, if possible, the reason our prayers are not answered. Here is the place where the prayer of the Psalmist should be ours: “Search me, O God, and know my heart: try me, and know my thoughts” (Psa 139:23). David added in Psalm 66:18, “If I regard iniquity in my heart, the Lord will not hear me.”
Prayer is that unusual breath when we communicate with our great God. Are you too busy to pray? If so, you probably are busier than God wants you to be. There ought to be that special time and special place each day when we spend time in the garden of prayer.
Notice the words that I share with you that express what I mean.
In the secret of His presence, how my soul delights to hide!
Oh, how precious are the lessons which I learn at Jesus’ side.
Earthly cares can never vex me, neither trials lay me low.
For when Satan comes to tempt me, to the secret place I go.
Would you like to know the sweetness of the secret of the Lord?
Go and hide beneath His shadow: this shall then be your reward;
And when e’er you leave the silence of that happy meeting place,
You will surely bear the image of the Master in your face.
Jesus said in Matthew 6:6, “But thou, when thou prayest, enter into thy closet and when thou hast shut thy door, pray to thy Father which is in secret; and thy Father which seeth in secret shall reward thee openly.”