Over the last thirty years, more books have been written about marriage than in all the preceding 2,000 years of church history. But ask any pastor in America if there aren’t proportionally more troubled marriages today than in any other era. We have all the how-to books and videos, but homes are still falling apart.

The couple that prays together stays together. I don’t mean to be simplistic; there will be difficult moments in any marriage. But God’s Word is true when it says, “Call upon me and I will help you. Just give Me a chance” (see Psalm 91:15)

The same holds true for parenting. We may own stacks of good books on child rearing and spending “quality time” with our children. Yet we have more problems with young people in the church today than at any previous time. This is not because we lack knowledge or how-to; it is because we have not cried out for the power and grace of God.

The writer to the Hebrews nails down the most central activity of all Christians: “Let us then approach the throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need” (Hebrews 4:16). It doesn’t say, “Let us come to the sermon.” We in America have made the sermon the centerpiece of the church, something God never intended. Preachers who are really doing their job get people to come to the throne of grace. That’s the true source of grace and mercy.

To every preacher and every singer, God will someday ask, “Did you bring people to where the action could be found . . . at the throne of grace? If you just entertained them, if you just tickled their ears and gave them a warm, fuzzy moment, woe to you. At the throne of grace, I could have changed their lives.”

God has chosen prayer as His channel of blessing. He has spread a table for us with every kind of wisdom, grace and strength because He knows exactly what we need. But the only way we can get it is to pull up to the table and taste and see that the Lord is good. Pulling up to that table is called the prayer of faith.

Jim Cymbala began Brooklyn Tabernacle with less than twenty members in a small, rundown building in a difficult part of the city. A native of Brooklyn, he is a longtime friend of both David and Gary Wilkerson and a frequent speaker at the Expect Church Leadership Conferences sponsored by World Challenge throughout the world.