Does Prayer Work?
A friend of mine recently asked me why I pray. In the few seconds I took considering how I’d answer… she asked a second question “Does prayer work?” I attempted to keep the answer simple and honest. I told her that prayer keeps me close to God. That it reminds me that He is sovereign and in control. That I don’t have to rely on my (failing) strength.
I’ve thought a lot about that conversation with my friend. It caused me to thank God for the gift of prayer. When you think about the question ‘does prayer work?’ It really depends on what you consider the ‘work’ prayer can do. I believe that as Christians, we can say with full confidence that prayer most certainly works! Let me share just a few ways that I hope encourage you about the work prayer does in our lives.
- Prayer Brings Us Closer to God
If I wanted to get to know someone better, I’d probably arrange a coffee catch up at The Park. Getting to know someone through conversation naturally brings you closer together. It’s common sense. Mind you, if I were to speak about myself the whole time, I wouldn’t get to know the other person very much at all. Same goes with prayer.
In prayer we have the opportunity to converse with God. I personally like to start my prayers by declaring and thanking God for who He is. Of course, God knows who He is! I’m reminding myself and praising Him as I declare those truths. I think it’s incredibly humbling and reassuring to remember who I’m praying to. In prayer, my conversation with God brings me closer to Him…I tell Him what’s weighing me down, I confess my sin and thank Him for His grace, I thank Him for His mercy which is new each day, I ask He will intervene, strengthen, heal, restore, renew, reconcile… I thank Jesus for making it possible for me to come in prayer so freely. In prayer I (try) to be still and quiet, to remember His promises and to listen to His promptings.
If you want to be closer to God…spend time with Him in His Word and in prayer. James 4:8 says ‘Draw near to God, and He will draw near to you.’
- Prayer Strengthens Our Faith
As our head and hearts align to who God is, we come to a place where we acknowledge who is in control of our lives. What a relief that is! What a relief we don’t rely on our own (failing) strength. In prayer we are reassured that God is sovereign. In prayer we demonstrate our faith in God, that He will do as He has promised in His word: to bless our lives abundantly more than we could ask or hope for (Ephesians 3:20).
- Prayer Really Does Change Things
We’re called to pray without ceasing (1 Thessalonians 5:17). We don’t pray to deaf ears. Our prayers aren’t in vain. God hears and acts to our prayers! In His perfect wisdom and infinite power; He responds. C.S Lewis wrote about ‘The Efficacy of Prayer’. These words helped me further understand this incredible truth about prayer:
Can we believe that God really modifies his action in response to the suggestions of men? For infinite wisdom does not need telling what is best, and infinite goodness needs no urging to do it. But neither does God need any of those things that are done by finite agents, whether living or inanimate. He could, if he chose, repair our bodies miraculously without food; or give us food without the aid of farmers, bakers, and butchers; or knowledge without the aid of learned men; or convert the heathen without missionaries. Instead he allows soils and weather and animals and the muscles, minds, and wills of men to co-operate in the execution of his will. “God,” said Pascal, “instituted prayer in order to lend to his creatures the dignity of causality.” But not only prayer; whenever we act at all he lends us that dignity. It is not really stranger, nor less strange, that my prayers should affect the course of events than that my other actions should do so. They have not advised or changed God’s mind—that is, his overall purpose. But that purpose will be realized in different ways according to the actions, including prayers, of his creatures.
Jesus often prayed. Jesus taught His followers how to pray. His example should be enough motivation for us to be earnest in prayer. We can be confident that prayer works, friends! Prayer in changes our heart, it draws us closer to God, it strengthens our faith, prayer affects the course of events in this life…and so much more! If anyone ever asks you ‘does prayer work?’ I hope you answer them with a heartfelt YES.
‘pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus in you.’ (1 Thessalonians 5:17-18)
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