Author: Ron Graham
Prayer and Salvation
—Prayer in Conversion
There are things we must do to be saved. We ought to do those things prayerfully. We ought to come to Christ obeying, but also come to Christ praying. Prayer is essential in the over‑all process of conversion to Christ.
1 Jesus’s Promise
Jesus made this promise: "Ask and it will be given you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. For all who ask receive; all who seek shall find; and to all who knock, the door will be opened ...Your Father in heaven will give good gifts1 to those who ask him!" (Matthew 7:7-11 in part).
1Note:— Good Gifts In the parallel passage it says “the Holy Spirit” (Luke 11:13).
Whilst it is true that God gives food and clothing, his good gifts go far beyond that. God gives gifts that pertain to eternal life. As Jesus went on to say..."
"Enter through the narrow gate. For wide is the gate and broad the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through that wide gate. But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life, and there are few who find it." (Matthew 7:13-14).
This shows that when Jesus taught us to pray (to ask, seek, knock) he had salvation and eternal life in mind more than worldly things. He also indicated that the way of salvation is difficult to find and to follow. That is why we need to be prayerful.
2 Seeking the Lord
Everyone should "Seek the Lord while he may be found; call on him while he is near" (Isaiah 55:6).
As Paul said in Athens, "From one blood God made all the nations, that they should inhabit the whole earth; and he marked out their appointed times and the boundaries of their lands. God did this so that they would seek him and perhaps reach out for him and find him —although he is not far from any one of us" (Acts 17:26-27).
We must seek God prayerfully. "If my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray, and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and I will forgive their sin and heal their land" (2 Chronicles 7:14). This is just as true for those who desire to be among God’s called and chosen people.
Notice in the following quotes how prayer and seeking are linked.
"The dwellers in one city shall go to another, saying, 'Let us go speedily to pray before the LORD, and to seek the LORD of hosts..." (Zechariah 8:21).
"You have said, 'Seek my face.'
My heart prays to you,
'Your face, LORD, do I seek.'"
"Then you will call on me and go and pray to me, and I will listen to you. You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart. I will be found by you says the LORD" (Jeremiah 29:12-14).
3 Three Good Examples
I'll leave you with three fine examples to consider. These were people who were prayerful and whose prayers to God helped them to be saved by his grace.
Cornelius was a good man who, among other things, "prayed to God always". God gave him the opportunity to hear words by which he could be saved (Acts 10:1-5, Acts 11:14).
Saul of Tarsus
Saul (later to be the apostle Paul) had his conversion in Damascus after he had seen a vision of Christ while on the road to the city. Ananias was called by God to minister to Saul which led to Saul’s conversion.
God drew attention to the fact that Saul was praying. "And the Lord said to Ananias, 'Rise and go to the street called Straight, and at the house of Judas look for a man of Tarsus named Saul, for behold, he is praying'" (Acts 9:11).
Lydia heard about Jesus, and became a disciple, at a place of prayer. Sooner or later, prayerful people find God, hear his word, and are saved (Acts 16:13-14).