Monday Devotion: Agnes Sanford on Prayer

Agnes Sanford was born to Presbyterian missionary parents in China in 1897. Indeed, she might have learned about Christianity from her parents and came to know the sole purpose of life on earth. She got married to an Episcopalian priest and lived for years in New Jersey. She had an uncomplicated faith and confidence on God for healing through his power. She lived a very Christ-centered life. She never entangled herself with so-called denominations, complex questions of creed, or structural belief on God. She just concentrated on the practicality of prayer. Consequently, God used her as an effective instrument to bring healing in many lives. Millions of copies of her books on healing prayer hit the market then.

This selection is taken from Sanford’s much loved book “The Healing Light[1]. The book talks much about the practicality of prayer that encourages Christian believers to put their wavering faith to the test. Furthermore, the writer recommends having faith, and exercising it with discipline. Her trust on God was childlike. Thus, she experienced God’s healing through prayer.

The writer guides us through an experimental prayer. It says that we should keep praying continuously for the subject. Prayer teaches us to learn from God for better adjustment. It needs submission and teachable heart. Therefore, the writer quotes from the beatitudes of Jesus Christ that the poor in the spirit are the blessed, and they inherit the Kingdom of Heaven. People who humbly acknowledge their spiritual weakness and poverty can learn from God through prayer. Once man comes to know that creeds are imperfect; human being is incomplete, and his mind is limit to understand all truths of God can learn to pray ceaselessly.

Likewise, our fervent prayer produces result – meekness. It is humility that drives us into the unshakable faith to learn from God. Then we can understand the laws of nature. Prayer needs submission. Without meekness, one cannot submit himself in prayer. Eventually, meekness to God teaches us to conform to the greatest laws of God: faith and love. This is how the beatitudes on the Mount of Olive will be fulfilled that the meekness shall inherit the earth.

For the vivid understanding on prayer, Sanford contributes four simple steps into prayer. These four steps guide the readers to produce fruit through prayer. These chronological steps develop our perception toward prayer: source of our life outside of ourselves; asking God for his life-giving power; believing that his power is coming to us and accept it by faith; be thankful to God for what he has given to us; and finally to notice that whether we have operated God’s given light and life properly or not.

Some people are afraid to pray specifically since they have doubt in their own prayer. Interestingly, they should test God’s power by prayer. They fear to experiment their prayer, and it is the result of natural lack of understanding God’s power. Yet people who fear to put their prayer to experiment pray for the world’s most complex objectives regarding peace, and salvation of perishing souls. Faith should be tested through specific prayer requests. For the success of experiment, there ought to be contact between God and man through prayer. So the writer has reservation that if people do not have confidence on their own prayer for little things, probably their intercession for the world is of little force. The skepticism of the writer about such kind of prayer leaves hope that enough prayer-power can accomplish its work within twenty-four hours to change the world.

Hence, prayer should be experienced to achieve the objective of prayer. The objective should be simple and personal. Seeking God’s will is the core objective of prayer since God’s power does not work contrary to his own will. God’s will is the unbiased law for operating his divine power through prayer. The writer has illustrated this idea in comparison to water which is impossible to flow uphill. In addition, a man after God’s own heart who seeks God’s will remains in the laws of God and put these laws in to practice during prayer. Basically, God’s will is perpetually revealed in his nature, a nature of love. Thus, the law of love is the will of God.

Here, the writer has given some significant ideas to pray with zeal. I am still dealing with my short-comings while I pray. It is the bitter reality that if I cannot pray for a specific request, then praying for the whole world seems impractical. Sometimes, I am afraid to pray for specific request due to fear of being disappointed if my prayer is not answered. The writer has shed light on my attitude of prayer that the prayer which addresses the will of God shall be answered. We as a church should depend only upon prayer. It is the key to talk with God, and know his will. God will not answer any of our prayer which is against his will. Present churches do not give much priority to prayer, so they do not spend much quality time in prayer. We can see the significance of prayer in Jesus’ life. How he experiments his prayer with specific prayer request, and puts all his faith into test. When church approach is like childlike, only then she can exercise her faith in disciplined way. Church should put God first and know his will, and pray to him for healing and salvation of the world.


[1] Agnes Sanford, The Healing Light (New York: Ballantine Books, 1983). The is her most popular book which addresses issue of divine healing in an ordinary language. People from all walk of lives can easily understand. It is worth reading.


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