A couple of years ago I had the privilege of speaking at the Desiring God National Conference with John Piper, Jerry Bridges, and John MacArthur. But perhaps the greatest privilege was being with the other speaker, Dr. Helen Roseveare, missionary to the Congo. (Dr. Roseveare's biography is in Noel Piper's book Faithful Women and Their Extraordinary God, which you can read online.) I recently ran across this story from Helen:
"A mother at our mission station died after giving birth to a premature baby. We tried to improvise an incubator to keep the infant alive, but the only hot water bottle we had was beyond repair. So we asked the children to pray for the baby and for her sister. One of the girls responded. 'Dear God, please send a hot water bottle today. Tomorrow will be too late because by then the baby will be dead. And dear Lord, send a doll for the sister so she won't feel so lonely.' That afternoon a large package arrived from England. The children watched eagerly as we opened it. Much to their surprise, under some clothing was a hot water bottle! Immediately the girl who had prayed so earnestly started to dig deeper, exclaiming, 'If God sent that, I'm sure He also sent a doll!' And she was right! The heavenly Father knew in advance of that child's sincere requests, and 5 months earlier He had led a ladies' group to include both of those specific articles."
Here are six quotations about prayer I find enlightening:
C.S. Lewis said, "The moment you wake up each morning, all your wishes and hopes for the day rush at you like wild animals. And the first job each morning consists in shoving it all back; in listening to that other voice, taking that other point of view, letting that other, larger, stronger, quieter life come flowing in."
John Bunyan said, "He who runs from God in the morning will scarcely find Him the rest of the day."
J. Sidlow Baxter said, "...Men may spurn our appeals, reject our message, oppose our arguments, despise our persons—but they are helpless against our prayers."
Martin Luther said, "Pray as if everything depends on God, then work as if everything depends on you."
Stuart Briscoe said, "When our children were small and we were trying to teach them to pray, we had three kinds of prayer: 'Please prayers,' 'Thank you prayers,' and 'Sorry prayers.'"
Here’s one more quotation, from a Puritan, that offers us a remedy for those we resent, envy or detest:
William Law said, "There is nothing that makes us love a man so much as prayer for him."
Seriously, if you pray for someone long enough, your heart toward him will change. You will gain vested interests in his welfare and will want God to work in his life, and bring blessing to him. If it’s someone who hurt you, you pray for him. If you find yourself resenting your father, mother, husband, wife, employer, or pastor, faithfully pray for them. Over time, watch what happens. Nanci and I have experienced this. You will too.