May 19, 2013

Living On A Prayer


There is a popular song made famous by the singer called Bon Jovi that I borrowed the title from this morning.

Part of the lyrics are as follows.

Whooah, we're half way there
Livin on a prayer
Take my hand and we'll make it - I swear
Livin on a prayer

Now I do not normally listen to what we might call ‘worldly music’, but there is an  app for the iPad called Song Pop which I play with some of my online friends quite frequently and this song is a part of that game. You only hear a small bit of the song before you have to guess, and so I have heard the chorus as it is written above.

However, last night I woke up with the phrase ‘living on a prayer’ running through my mind. I haven’t played the game this week, so I thought it a bit odd of a song in my mind until I began to think on it more.

There is a powerful meaning in those words and it likely affects us all. In fact, if we are willing to admit it, most of us actually do live on a prayer.


If we grew up in any kind of Christian home, we probably learned from an early age to say our prayers before we went to bed, and maybe to pray over our dinner as well. Today that small moment of time we give to God has all but disappeared in the lives of most people. And while at the time it was a cute, repetitive action to get us to acknowledge God or perhaps to ask for a blessing, it was in fact genuine for many.

The version most of us are aware of says,

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.

But did you know the words were slightly different in an earlier version published in 1711?

When I lay me down to Sleep,
I recommend my self to his care;
when I awake, I give myself up to his Direction.

If we did give ourselves up to his direction, we would probably live a better life and not just be living on a prayer.

Living On A Prayer?

So, what does it really mean to be living on a prayer?

For most of us,  is means we are barely getting by. It might be because of health issues, or family stresses, but its likely that many of us think of living on a prayer as living paycheck to paycheck, nothing left over at the end of the week.

Perhaps it is due to a lack of a budget, or we don’t make an account of what we are spending,  and so if we see something we just by it. But it is also possible that we are getting by because the job we have doesn’t really support us financially.

I met a single mother yesterday while she was working in a local store. I do not recall how it all came up, but  she remarked how she was working seven days a week to take care of her small children.  I wondered if she even gets to see her kids, or how much she has to pay a babysitter to be able to work two jobs.

It is possible that a mother or family friend might watch the kids while she works since they realize that she is just getting by. But when it comes down to it, any bigger issue related to health or housing would devastate any sort of savings she might have. It is probably not a choice, but it has become a lifestyle due to need.

A lot of us are in the same boat; living on a prayer, hoping to just get by. It isn’t easy to live that way but many times we have no other choice it seems. Or do we?

Unanswered Prayers

Many times it seems that no matter how much we pray we do not see the answers.  If you have been praying for a situation for a long time and don’t see anything happening, do not feel alone. We all go through the same thing many times.

It can be very discouraging not seeing prayers answered and sometimes we have no idea why. We might blame ourselves, or perhaps think God is not interested in what we have to say, or some would say it just wasn’t meant to be.

Sometimes it might just be life, or perhaps it could even be a trial of our faith. However, I find myself asking is some of it because the only time we pray is when we are in need?

Prayers Answered

In James 5:16, the Bible says, ‘the effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much.’

Part of the problem with most of us praying is that we rest the power of prayer on ourselves rather than God. If we do not see results, we think we did not pray hard enough, or perhaps we are asking for the impossible. It doesn’t depend our methods or our ability but rather in Christ. It isn’t us that makes prayers happen. When we leave it in His hands and trust His timing, things will work out much better.

So what does fervent mean in this passage? It means do not give up on believing when we do not see the results expected or at the moment we thought we needed it.

In John chapter 11, we can read the story of the raising of Lazurus, one of Jesus’s friends from the dead. He grew sick and his sister Martha sent word to Jesus that if He would come and pray Lazurus would get better. It took four days for Jesus to get there and by the time He showed up Lazurus was dead.

Martha told Jesus, ‘if you had been here sooner, my brother would not have died.’  Her faith had been diminished because she thought that the answer was in just being there, when God had a better way to do it.  We can read the story and find out that Lazurus died so that the glory of God might be revealed. Again this goes back to believing in our own ability rather than in our prayers.

There is a great song about this story on YouTube. 


Timing is everything.  He is always on time.

Living On A Prayer

Noted theologian, Oswald Chambers said, ‘Prayer does not equip you for greater work;  it is the greater work.’

Many times we tend to think that our ability  or our righteousness is what brings the miracles. However, Jesus said if we have faith the size of a mustard seed mountains can be removed.

So what we really should be doing is living on  a prayer, but not in the way most people think.

We are commanded to pray. Not just to bring needs to God, but to have a constant communication with Him. If the only time we talked to our loved ones was when we needed something it would be a very one sided and selfish attitude.  It doesn’t bring us a smile when someone is all about themselves, or like a child throwing a tantrum when they don’t get their way, and in a way, that is the same thing with Christ.

Not saying that He punishes us by withholding prayers, but that He needs us as much as we need Him. He isn’t a free candy store. I know I am simplifying the situation considerably but hopefully you can understand what I mean.

In Matthew 6:9-13, Jesus gave us an example of how to pray.  While most consider this the Lord’s prayer, if we break it down and use our own words, it is an outline of how to get our prayers and needs answered.

Our Father which art in heaven, Hallowed be thy name.

Before we even begin to ask, give Him the glory. Take time to let God know how much you appreciate Him being in your life. Show some love and some humbleness.

Thy kingdom come, Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven.

In a nutshell, this part is saying. God have your way in my life and in every situation. Give Him the control of everything.

Give us this day our daily bread.

This is where we let Him know what we need. Ask what you have need of.  Matthew 7:7

And forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors.

Asking forgiveness of what we have done wrong and also forgiving those who have done things that hurt or upset us as well. It is important that forgiveness goes both ways.

And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil:

Keep us from messing up. Please give us protection. Do not let us fall into traps that cause ourselves or others harm.

For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, for ever.

Again,  give Him the glory, the praise, bless His name. Tell Him you love Him. Not just for what He has done but simply because He is.


It is finished. That is my prayer God. Amen is like putting a stamp on a letter and mailing it. Or pushing send on a text or email.  It sends the blessings and the requests to God.

So What Does It Take?

Living on a prayer takes several elements to see results. But it is always worth it.

  • A Need

  • Consistency

  • Faith & Trust

  • Patience

  • Praising

  • A Thankful Heart

And then you will truly be Living on a Prayer.