Prayer's Value in Tribulation
By Emanuel Daugherty
Tribulation comes into the life of a Christian in many forms and can be described in many different words and terms—heartache from loss, extreme illness, death, loss of health incurring long periods of suffering and anguish, financial hardships, family troubles (husband and wife, parents and children, between siblings, etc). It can come from extended separations from the family and the church, especially during wars and world conflicts. Tribulation may come by religious discord between brethren, persecutions from those within and without the body of Christ. Affliction of heart and soul may come upon us when difficult decisions are to be made—job changes, church problems, marital discord, moves, etc. These things and many more can cause afflictions and tribulations to God=s people.
doubt, some of the tribulations that come our way are unexplainable and
have neither rhyme nor reason. We have no control over these things,
are other times when we wonder how we got ourselves into this
“mess” that has
resulted in distress and tribulation. The stresses of life bringing on
hardships and afflictions often come as a result of sinful activities
characterized by less than faithful service, poor attendance to the
making decisions without considerations of Christ and His kingdom,
materialistic in preferring the things of this life with spiritual
pushed into the background. Jesus said, “Seek ye first the
Prayer is of great value and importance to the saints in all times and seasons of life. It is a mainstay to the saint and a basic and fundamental part of being a Christian that we pray concerning all matters, and it is to be a constant in our daily life. We are to “pray without ceasing” (1 Thessalonians 4:17). Someone has said, “If a thing is worth worrying about, it is worth praying about.” This would lend emphasis to the value of prayer especially in times of tribulation and affliction, and prove to be indispensable.
During this past year I suffered from what the medical profession would call the “two biggies”—cancer and heart bypass. As far as I know from subsequent tests and doctor reports, the surgeries to remedy these things were successful. What part did prayer play in my recovery from this tribulation in my life? As a Christian who believes what the Bible teaches about the power of prayer, that God hears and answers prayer, and as one who trusts in the efficacy of prayer, I must say that prayer has tremendous value during times of tribulation!
First, there is the “calming effect” that prayer has on the anxious, agitated soul. When in the face of crisis one can turn the problem over to God our Maker, the one who knows us more intimately than we can know ourselves, it is a great comfort. Peter said, “Casting all your care upon him; for he careth for you” (1 Peter 5:7).
Second, there is the factor of “ultimate trust”; i.e., while doctors and medical personnel are doing the operation, we ask God to be in charge of things, that he will oversee all the proceedings and bring about the desired result. “And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose” (Romans 8:28).
Third, prayer=s value is seen in tribulation because of “the blessed assurance” it provides. There is the assurance that God loves us and wants what is best for us. “Be careful [anxious, NKJ] in nothing; but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God” (Philippians 4:6). There is the assurance that he hears and answers our prayers. “O thou that hearest prayer, all flesh shall come unto thee” (Psalm 65:2).
Fourth, There is the removal of “the fear factor” that whatever the outcome, all is well—if we sleep in the recovery room or if we sleep “in the arms of Jesus,” it is well with my soul. “For me to live is Christ, but to die is gain” (Philippians 1:21).
Fifth, prayer=s value is seen in tribulation in that it can be said to be “the last resort.” When the most skilled people in their professions can’t help, when all the wisdom and knowledge of men is at a loss, when the most loving of one’s family and friends can do nothing, when the night of despair is the darkest—“Where could I go but to the Lord.” God who is Omniscient and Omnipotent, Eternal and from Everlasting to Everlasting, who loves us more than we love ourselves and sent His only begotten Son to save us, He will listen to the cries from the innermost depths of our hearts.
When the tribulations of life put us in a tailspin, don’t forget to pray. Prayer is faith in action, and reflects one’s true commitment to the Father of all.
“Blessed be God, even the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies, and the God of all comfort; who comforts us in all our tribulation, that we may be able to comfort them which are in any trouble, by the comfort wherewith we our selves are comforted of God” (2 Corinthians 1:3-4).