Prayer Illustrations

  • church crecheMost Holy & Majestic Father,

    There's so much "hype" around Christmas time. I have to admit that I enjoy all the jolly jingle and festive frolic as much as anyone. But, Lord, as I enter into the fast-paced season ahead, help me walk slowly and quietly.

    Let me stop and listen to the angels sing of the greatest news ever told!

    Let my heart, mind and soul join the chorus, "Glory in the Highest!! The Messiah has been born!"

    Among all the bright sparkling lights and cheery holiday tunes, let my spirit travel once again toward Bethlehem to honor and worship Jesus, my King, The Prince of Peace, the Lord of Hosts, Mighty Counselor, Son of God, the Lamb. All Your love, mercy and power somehow made flesh in the tiny form of a humble baby born in a manger. Let me worship the only One who is able to take our sin away and reconcile men and women with God once again!


  • Irish landscapeMay there always be work for your hands to do;

    May your purse always hold a coin or two;

    May the sun always shine on your windowpane;

    May a rainbow be certain to follow each rain;

    May the hand of a friend always be near you;

    May God fill your heart with gladness to cheer you.

  • sky raysI asked God to take away my pride,
    And God said, "No."
    He said it was not for Him to take away,
    But for me to give up.

    I asked God to make my handicapped child whole,
    And God said, "No."
    He said her spirit is eternal,
    While her body is only temporary.

  • prayer2A voyaging ship was wrecked during a storm at sea and only two of the men on it were able to swim to a small, desert like island. The two survivors, not knowing what else to do, agreed that they had no other recourse but to pray to God.

    However, to find out whose prayer was more powerful, they agreed to divide the territory between them and stay on opposite sides of the island.

    The first thing they prayed for was food. The next morning, the first man saw a fruit-bearing tree on his side of the land, and he was able to eat its fruit. The other man's parcel of land remained barren.

  • prayer3Show me the suffering of the most miserable;
    So I will know my people's plight.

    Free me to pray for others;
    For you are present in every person.

    Help me to take responsibility for my own life;
    So that I can be free at last.

  • hospital bedThe priest was preparing a man for his long day's journey into night. Whispering firmly, the priest said, "Denounce the devil! Let him know how little you think of his evil!"

    The dying man said nothing.

    The priest repeated his order. Still the dying man said nothing.

    The priest asked, "Why do you refuse to denounce the devil and his evil?"

    The dying man said, "Until I know where I'm heading, I don't think I ought to aggravate anybody."

  • book1In line at the bookstore, I couldn't help noticing the two bestsellers the person in front of me was prepared to purchase:

    "Conversations With God" and "How to Argue and Win Every Time."

  • chairA man's daughter had asked the local minister to come and pray with her father. When the minister arrived, he found the man lying in bed with his head propped up on two pillows.

    An empty chair sat beside his bed.

    The minister assumed that the old fellow had been informed of his visit. "I guess you were expecting me," he said.

    'No, who are you?" said the father.

    The minister told him his name and then remarked, "I saw the empty chair and I figured you knew I was going to show up."

  • pray childPrayer of a child:

    "Bless my mom and dad... and dear God, take good care of Yourself.

    If anything happens to You, we're sunk."

  • meal familyLittle Mikey and his family were having Sunday dinner at his grandmother's house. Everyone was seated around the table as the food was being served. When Little Mikey received his plate, he started eating right away.

    "Mikey! Please wait until we say our prayer," said his mother.

    "I don't need to," the boy replied.

    "Of course, you do," his mother insisted through gritted teeth. "We always say a prayer before eating at our house."

    "That's at our house," Mikey explained. "But this is Grandma's house and she knows how to cook."

  • blind caneI was listening to a lady who called a radio pastor. The pastor was a wise, grandfatherly gentleman who has that calm reassuring voice that can melt all fear. The lady, who was obviously crying, said, "Pastor, I was born blind, and I've been blind all my life. I don't mind being blind but I have some well meaning friends who tell me that if I had more faith I could be healed."

  • keys and remoteOn Friday I had mentioned that my keys, all of them (car, apartment and church keys) had gone missing. There were 2 electronic key fobs, and keys that would not have been easy to replace that promised me no end of irritation and expense.

    I have been asking the Lord (rather sheepishly) to help me find them. But I had planned on beginning the process of replacing them on Monday. Today, after our church service in Chinatown was over, I moved over to our other building to join our Lunch Fellowship small group. On the way over, I noticed an older man who appeared like so many others I have seen walking by. Unkempt, unshaven and talking to himself. As I passed by him I heard him muttering something like “found some keys”. The words didn’t register in my head until after I entered the building. When the words hit me, I jumped back outside the door, hoping the man was still there, and he was. I quickly got his attention and asked him, “Did you just say you found some keys?”

  • grandparents and grandchildrenOur son had only heard his grandfather pray at Thanksgiving, Easter, and other special occasions; when he typically said a long prayer over the food.

    One night, after a fun camp-out and fishing trip, grandfather (to our son's surprise) asked a very brief blessing on the food. With a gleam in his eye, our son grinned at his Grandfather and said,

    "You don't pray so long when you're hungry, do you, Grandpa?"

  • deerThe Wednesday-night church service coincided with the last day of hunting season.

    Our pastor asked who had bagged a deer.

    No one raised a hand.

    Puzzled, the pastor said, "I don't get it. Last Sunday many of you said you were missing because of hunting season. I had the whole congregation pray for your deer."

    One hunter groaned, "Well, it worked. They're all safe."

  • LongfellowHenry Wadsworth Longfellow was filled with sorrow at the tragic death of his wife in a fire in 1861. The Civil War broke out that same year, and it seemed this was an additional punishment. Two years later, Longfellow was again saddened to hear his own son had been seriously wounded as a lieutenant in the Army of the Potomac.

    Sitting down to his desk, one Christmas Day, he heard the church bells ringing, and ringing. It was in this setting he wrote:

  • child boyLittle Johnny had been misbehaving and was sent to his room. After a while, he emerged and informed his mother that he had thought it over and then said a prayer.

    "Fine," said the pleased mother. "If you ask God to help you not misbehave, He will help you."

    "Oh, I didn't ask Him to help me not misbehave," said Little Johnny. "I asked Him to help you put up with me."

  • lottery ballsA guy named Joe finds himself in dire trouble. His business has gone bust and he's in serious financial trouble. He's so desperate that he decides to do something he rarely does: ask God for help. He begins to pray...

    "God, please help me, I've lost my business and if I don't get some money I'm going to lose my house as well. Please let me win the lotto".

    Lotto night comes and somebody else wins it.

    Joe again prays...

    "God, please let me win the lotto! I've lost my business, my house and I'm going to lose my car as well."

    Lotto night comes and Joe still has no luck.

    Once again, he prays...

    "God, why aren't you helping me??  I've lost my business, my house, and my car. My wife and children are starving. I don't often ask you for help and I have always been a good servant to you. PLEASE just let me win the lotto this one time so I can get my life back in order...  "

    Suddenly there is a blinding flash of light as the heavens open and Joe is confronted by the voice of God himself:

    "Joe, meet me halfway on this one...Buy a ticket!"

  • body piercingI am a 3-tour veteran of Vietnam and frown on body piercing (anywhere).

    As I was approaching Vietnam by air in our squadron, I looked down at the jungle and although I couldn't see anything going on, I knew there was danger there.

    I tried to pray, but my mind was so taken up with what was going on, I couldn't. The only prayer that I could come up with was,

    "Lord, I know you made me with the exact number of holes that you wanted me to have. I ask you to let me leave Vietnam with the same exact number!"

    Mac McComas, MCPO USN, Ret. (Used with Permission)

  • trees lanewayA quotation from an invocation delivered by Rev. J. McCoy opening a prayer meeting in Georgia Camp Meeting.

    "Oh Lawd, give thy servant dis mawning de eyes of de eagle, and de wisdom of the owl, connect his soul wid the gospel telephone in de central skies.

    Luminate his brain wid de sun of heaven; turpentine his imagination, grease his lips wid possium oil, loosen his tongue wid de sledge hammer of thy power, lectrify his brain wid de lightenen of thy word, put petual motion in his arms, fill him plum full of de dynamite of thy glory; noint him all over wid de kerosene of thy salvation, den deah Lawd, set him on fire".

  • university buildingBeing interviewed by the school administration, the eager teaching prospect said: "Let me see if I've got this right.

    You want me to go into that room with all those kids, and fill their every waking moment with a love for learning. And I'm supposed to instil a sense of pride in their ethnicity, modify their disruptive behavior, observe them for signs of abuse and even censor their T-shirt messages and dress habits.

    You want me to wage a war on drugs and sexually transmitted diseases, check their backpacks for weapons of mass destruction, and raise their self-esteem.

  • rocking chairsThe wives of two Baptist pastors, had a friendship that was unending.

    Were sitting together as they worked - their husband's clothes they were mending.

    One said to the other, "My poor John is so discouraged with preaching.

    He's about ready to give it up - there are no souls that he's reaching."

    He said nothing is going right - no new faces does he ever see.

  • phone handheldOne of my duties as church secretary is to answer the phone and refer calls. The telephone rang one day with an urgent caller on the other end. He needed to talk to the senior pastor.

    I quietly opened his office door to find him praying. I returned to the phone and politely told the caller,

    "I'm sorry. He's in conference long distance."

  • "Simple Prayer"

    pray boyMy son Gilbert was eight years old and had been in Cub Scouts only a short time.  During one of his meetings he was handed a sheet of paper, a block of wood and four tires and told to return home and give all to "dad".

    That was not an easy task for Gilbert to do.  Dad was not receptive to doing things with his son.  But Gilbert tried.  Dad read the paper and scoffed at the idea of making a pine wood derby car with his young, eager son.  The block of wood remained untouched as the weeks passed.

  • winter nightThe highway was bare, not a car was in sight and bright moonlight on fields of surrounding snow on this January night made for easy visibility—I hardly even needed headlights.I had been away for the better part of a week and was eager to get home. So I pressed on the accelerator and sped up to seventy miles an hour. It was just past ten o’clock and there were few other travelers on the road. When I left the airport in Regina, Saskatchewan, the temperature was close to thirty degrees below zero, but with no wind and a perfectly clear night, I had the highway to myself.

    I turned off the Trans-Canada highway, route number one, and was headed north and east on Saskatchewan route ten toward Manitoba and my home in the town of Dauphin. I would get home somewhere around two AM. I turned on my radio and settled in for a long uneventful ride home.

    After about half an hour the thought struck me, “what a waste of time listening to the radio.”

    As a pastor, I would encourage my congregation in their relationship with God and here I was wasting time which might be usefully invested. Pleased with the thought, I turned off the radio and began a dialogue with The Lord. I imagined Jesus in the seat next to me and began talking. I cannot remember a thing I spoke, but I do remember saying out loud, “OK, now it’s your turn if you have anything you want to say to me. I am willing to listen.”

    A few moments went by then as clear as can be, not audibly, but in my mind or spirit, I heard these words: “Slow down.”

  • storm cloudsA passenger jet was suffering through a severe thunderstorm.

    As the passengers were being bounced around by the turbulence a young woman turned to a minister sitting next to her and with a nervous laugh asked,

    "Reverend, you're a man of God. Can't you do something about this storm?"

    To this he replied, "Lady, I'm in sales, not management."

  • pig upcloseA Christian farmer spent the day in the city.

    In a restaurant for his meal, he sat near a group of young men. After he bowed his head to give thanks for his food, one of the young men thought he would embarrass the old gentleman.

    "Hey, farmer, does everyone do that out where you live?"

    The old man calmly replied, "No, son, the pigs don't!"

  • prayer2In a small Midwestern conservative town, a business owner began to construct a building for a new bar. The local Baptist church started a campaign to block the bar from opening with petitions and prayers.

    Work progressed, however, right up until the week before opening, when a lightning strike hit the bar and it burned to the ground.

    The church folks were rather smug in their outlook after that, until the bar owner sued the church on the grounds that the church was ultimately responsible for the demise of his building, either through direct or indirect actions or means.

    In its reply to the court, the church vehemently denied all responsibility or any connection to the building's demise.

    As the case made its way into court, the judge looked over the paperwork at the hearing and commented, "I don't know how I'm going to decide this, but as it appears from the paperwork, we have a bar owner who believes in the power of prayer, and an entire church congregation that doesn't!"

  • heather and christineI heard Marianne call from the bedroom, “Harold, come here. I can’t find my jewellery box!” We had just returned from a brief visit away from home, following our move half way across the country.

    Our family moved to Port Alberni, Vancouver Island the summer of 1980, where I had accepted the call to be a pastor in the community. We put our home in Manitoba up for sale, and moved into the church manse next door to the church on a large, steep and wooded lot overlooking the harbour and pulp and paper mill. The highway in and out of town turned into a main street at the bottom of the church property. 

    By late summer we had settled into the house that was to be our home for several years, and the family next door had two girls about the same age which helped greatly in easing some of the loss they felt.

    Marianne and I had close friends who lived two hours drive away near the community of Mill Bay. Their proximity was as welcome to us as Carolyn and Kathy were to Christine and Heather—friendly faces in a place far from what used to be home. One sunny week end we decided to visit our friends. We had acquired a box of pears from the trees of a generous donor and would finish the canning process upon our return. The house was locked and we set out for a brief day and a half away from home.

  • The Risk of InnocenceTiny, helpless
    swaddled in hay
    washed, clothed, fed
    carried each day.

    Poverty, heat
    occupied land
    Romans, cruel Herod
    Palestine sand.

  • scales balanceThe Weight of Prayer (Author Unknown)

    Louise Redden, a poorly dressed lady with a look of defeat on her face, walked into a grocery store. She approached the owner of the store in a most humble manner and asked if he would let her charge a few groceries. She softly explained that her husband was very ill and unable to work, they had seven children and they needed food.

    John Longhouse, the grocer, scoffed at her and requested that she leave his store. Visualizing the family needs, she said: "Please, sir! I will bring you the money just as soon as I can." John told her he could not give her credit, as she did not have a charge account at his store.

  • child and dadA man had a habit of grumbling at the food his wife placed before him at family meals. Then he would ask the blessing. One day after his usual combination complaint-prayer, his little girl asked, "Daddy, does God hear us when we pray?"

    "Why, of course," he replied. "He hears us every time we pray."

    She thought about this a moment, then asked, "Does he hear what we say when we're not praying too?"

  • money2A businessman who needed millions of dollars to clinch an important deal went to church to pray for the money. By chance, he knelt next to a man who was praying for $100 to pay an urgent debt.

    The businessman took out his wallet and pressed $100 into the other man's hand. Overjoyed, the man got up and left the church.

    The businessman then closed his eyes and prayed, "And now, Lord, that I have your undivided attention..."

  • umbrellaAn old pastor stood in his pulpit addressing the congregation about the drought that had lasted for at least 8 months.

    As all stood filled with faith, he told the congregation they would gather that night for prayer.

    "Folks we are going to pray for rain so come prepared to see God move in a great way."

    That night as many assembled the old pastor stood and asked a simple question.

    "Folks, where are your umbrellas?"