“O God, listen to my cry! Hear my prayer!”
A classic children's nighttime prayer is: “Now I lay me down to sleep”. The website Unsolved Mysteries.com claims: “The prayer was first found in print in Thomas Fleet's New England Primer, the first edition, in 1737. As a nursery rhyme, it first appeared in 1840 in London Jingles by J. G. Rush”.
As a child, how many of you prayed this prayer at bedtime? Although there are several versions, the one I said as a child went like this: “Now I lay me down to sleep...I pray the Lord my soul to keep...if I should die before I wake...I pray the Lord my soul to take. Amen”. Once that particular prayer is learned as a child, those sweet words always remain tucked in your heart.
The act of prayer is the personal surrender to the Lord Jesus Christ. The purpose is to turn to Him at every turn, in every matter, regardless of consequences. An example of turning to Him under great duress, is Todd Morgan Beamer. Beamer became known for his bravery by joining a group of three other passengers to form “a plan to take the plane back from the hijackers” of United Airlines flight #93 on 9/11/2001. Others joined the group, and Beamer became known by saying his last words: “Are you ready? Okay. Let's roll” as they stormed the cockpit to avoid it crashing into the White House or the U.S. Capitol Building in Washington, D.C.
I want to point out another very important point about Todd Morgan Beamer that oftentimes gets lost in the shuffle. Beamer tried to make a credit card call through a phone located on the back of a plane seat, but was routed to a customer-service representative, who passed him on to an airphone supervisor. Along with the “FBI agents who were listening in on the call”, one of the last requests he made to the airphone supervisor was to recite the Lord's Prayer and the 23rd Psalm, and he prompted others on the plane to join in. (Wikipedia). A. W. Tozer stated: “All prayer is comfortable when the heart is having fellowship with God and the inner eyes are looking upon His blessed face”, even when said under great pressure.
God's people's prayers are their voice of faith trusting that He comprehends and understands whether they are praying for themselves or interceding (standing in the gap) for another person. Intercessory prayer is a blessed gift that you can quietly and freely give to others at any time or place. In the Book of James it states: “..pray for one another...the earnest prayer of a righteous person has great power and wonderful results”.
Charles Spurgeon stated: “God keeps a file for our prayers--they are not blown away by the wind, they are treasured in the King's archives. This is a registry in the court of heaven wherein every prayer is recorded”. Whether it be a child praying a memorized prayer at nighttime; or a person praying under great duress; or a person standing in the gap for another person, God's people can be assured that He listens and pays attention to their prayers.
“Praise God, who did not ignore my prayer and did not withdraw His unfailing love from me” (Psalm 66:20).
Lord God, we praise You and thank You for hearing our heartfelt prayers. Amen.
~ Ann Brock Ludington