“May my prayer be set before you like incense; may the lifting up of my hands be like the evening sacrifice” (Psalm 141:2)
Sometimes we look at prayer that way, as the smoke of incense slowly rising heavenward. But elsewhere in the Bible we read of prayer moving far more swiftly. For instance, in Isaiah 65:24 God promises, “Before they call I will answer; while they are still speaking I will hear.”
That’s faster than “real time.” That’s God anticipating our prayer and answering it before we launch it off our tongue. Therefore, prayer is not limited by time in any way.
Nor is prayer limited by distance. For “God is not far from any one of us. For in him we live and move and have our being” (Acts 17:27-28). No matter how far we may feel from God or how far we may be from the people we pray for, our prayers will span the distance at lightning speed.
I thought about this today when I read an article about the longest shaft of lightning ever recorded – 440 miles long! This incredibly long bolt of lightning appeared over the skies of Brazil on Halloween night in 2018. It shattered the previous record held by a massive storm over Oklahoma in 2007. That bolt was 200 miles long.
But don’t get the idea that bolts of lightning are getting longer. It’s only that our technology for tracking them is growing. The 440-mile lone bolt of lightning was tracked both by photography and satellite imagery.
The amazing thing about such a monstrous lightning bolt is that conditions had to be right to generate it. As the article explained, “Lightning occurs in thunderstorms when cold air and warm air interact. The cold air has ice crystals. The warm air has water droplets. Friction from the droplets and crystals bumping together creates positive and negative electrical charges in the clouds. When the negative charges at the bottom of the clouds get strong enough, electrical energy is let out in in the form of lightning that jumps to another positive structure on the ground or in the clouds.” Plus, lightning must have a medium through which to travel – water vapor, droplets, ice crystals, ionized air. And when conditions are right, that bolt of lightning can travel 440 miles in a few seconds – 220,000,000 miles per hour or about one third the speed of light!
But prayer can travel faster and further – because God creates the right conditions to facilitate it. He takes our feeble prayers and empowers them by His Holy Spirit so that they arrive instantly to His heart. But the speed our prayers can travel is nothing to the speed at which God can answer them.
So, pray faithfully and fervently. Yes, you may be just a little speck on this tiny speck of a planet and you might easily conclude, “My voice will be lost in this vast and noisy universe.” But nothing escapes God’s notice – not the smallest atom nor the tiniest subatomic particle. God’s infinite mind tracks everything and upholds its existence – relentlessly. And the prayers of His blood-washed children rate immensely higher than any atom – or any galaxy for that matter. God’s ear is more intensely tuned into your prayer than all the radio telescopes of SETI are tuned into the radio signals of the cosmos. God hears the prayer – and the turmoil – that comes from your heart. So, pray. Pray to the living God.
PRAYER: Dear Father in Heaven, please inspire my heart to pray. Revive the faith within me, O God. Help me to see that You yearn to hear from me and You long for me to run into Your loving arms through prayer. Show me that there is no distance or delay in prayer. You hear instantly and – if it is in Your timing – You answer instantly. Show me that prayer is like breathing. I open my heart to expel my anxieties and cares to You. Then I draw-in Your life-giving presence and power. Fill me with Your Holy Spirit and energize me to pray. Through Jesus Christ, Amen.
(Information from: https://www.livescience.com/worlds-biggest-lightning-bolt-halloween-brazil.html)