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Does Prayer Actually Do Anything?
Does Prayer Actually Do Anything?

by | Dec 13, 2021 | Pastor

Jesus makes outrageous claims about prayer.  Ask and it will be given to you.  Seek and you will find.  Knock and the door will be opened to you (Matthew 7:7).  He doesn’t say “Ask and it might be given, seek and you might find, knock and the door might be opened.”  No, he’s definite.  He wants us to be certain that our Father answers prayer.   

          If you’re not certain that the Lord hears and answers prayer, you’ll pray vaguely, in general terms: “Dear God, bless and sustain us with grace”  While that kind of prayer has a place in group prayers, it’s silly in your private prayer life.  James 4:2 says You do not have because you do not ask, and prayer like this is not truly asking.  Ask specifically for what you need.  That’s not only a more effective way to pray, it’s more honest.  Over time God will either grant that prayer, remove the desire, or answer it in a way that is better than you anticipated.

          A prayer request becomes a dialogue with God.  It’s not that he wants to withhold grace, but he wants to give what is best.  Our prayer requests are sometimes too small. 

          But the real key to prayer ”that one that turns us on to prayer like nothing else” is the following belief:  “God’s will for my life is better and more satisfying than my will for my life.”  In other words, when we pray, we pray to get not what WE want but what GOD wants. 

          Let’s be honest, some people respond by saying “Well what good is prayer if it doesn’t get you what you want?”  And that is the crisis point that we reach when we’re immature about prayer.  We don’t honestly trust that God’s will is better.  We’re still very self-centered about prayer. 

Take the example of praying for healing. I do pray for others’ healing and I’ve occasionally seen miraculous results.  In fact, I wonder why I don’t see miracle healings more often.  One reason is that God often heals over time, not immediately.  But a deeper reason is that often God doesn’t want to bring merely healing, he wants to bring health.  And health involves lifestyle change and heart change and character change.  That takes time.  It’s the difference between the patient who comes to the doctor for a pill that will enable him to keep eating vast quantities of fatty foods and the patient that is ready to learn how to enjoy healthy food. 

          Are you frustrated with an unanswered prayer?  Ask God if he’s trying to get you to see a bigger picture.  Be specific with your request, but tell him you trust him with the outcome.  And keep a journal of prayer requests – you’ll be amazed at how often he does indeed answer prayer.

          And do you ever spend time just thanking him?


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