What is the Power of Prayer?
Does prayer really change things?
How does prayer work?
Why is prayer necessary?
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With God being God, why would he require we ask for something before granting it? Why would any of our petitions be of importance?
Essentially, why doesn’t God just do the thing?
I know that may come across whiny, selfish, arrogant and rude. Though I question and then wrestle with the doubt that comes tagging along, there’s no hidden motive to undermine or uncover some little-known, mind-blowing secret.
I really mean it. How does prayer work? Why is it necessary? Essentially, “God, why do you see fit to involve us in this asking and receiving, rather than just doing what you see fit?”
Are All Prayers Answered?
Every prayer is heard and I believe each one is answered. It’s just that often they’re answered differently and with far less fanfare than requested. We face an agonizing situation and pray for favor or healing or rescue. Down the line, it turns out God did not grant us favor with the loan officer or provide healing of our neighbor or rescue us from a situation that was no fault of our own, or maybe it was. Still, undoubtedly, faithfully He was there.
He called to us in our pain. He sent his spirit to us to remind us what we already knew. His words stayed fresh in our minds even when they were hard to cling to. We leaned in and we found him. His promises were fulfilled in countless ways.
The circumstance wasn’t changed, but we were. He was our strong tower. He loaned us his strength, his armor, his readiness. Our perspective changed with our proximity to him. We gained a better understanding of our relationship with him. We begin leaning more on God confidence vs self confidence.
We experienced the power of prayer, even though he answered differently than requested.
Psalm 23 NRSV
The Divine Shepherd
A Psalm of David.
1 The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not want.
2 He makes me lie down in green pastures;
he leads me beside still waters;
3 he restores my soul,
He leads me in right paths
for his name’s sake.
4 Even though I walk through the darkest valley,
I fear no evil;
for you are with me;
your rod and your staff—
they comfort me.
5 You prepare a table before me
in the presence of my enemies;
you anoint my head with oil;
my cup overflows.
6 Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me
all the days of my life,
and I shall dwell in the house of the Lord
my whole life long.
While knowing that God hears and answers each prayer according to his supreme will and desire, is a great comfort, it doesn’t tie the topic of prayer up in a sweet bow.
[bctt tweet=”The power of prayer begs to be unwrapped & fully known. It is both remembrance & battle cry. It’s a request to tear down, forgive, & build up. It’s our route to God’s presence, even in unexpected places.” username=”@rachelmayew”]
“…I urge you to boldly believe for whatever you ask for in prayer—believe that you have received it and it will be yours. And whenever you stand praying, if you find that you carry something in your heart against another person, release him and forgive him so that your Father in heaven will also release you and forgive you of your faults.”
Mark 11:24-25 (TPT)
Why Do We Pray if God Has a Plan?
What exactly is our role as the asker? As the believer? Must we pray for the pre-determined result in order for it to play out according to his will? Why does he involve us with our fragile, highly distractible, impulsive human desire? If the opposite is true and he carries out his will without us praying about it, then why are we told to pray without ceasing?
[click_to_tweet tweet=”It’s clear that my 2+2=4 of prayer, “We Believe + We Ask”, isn’t equaling “We Receive” the way I understood it as a kid. #prayer” quote=”It’s clear that my 2+2=4 of prayer, “We Believe + We Ask”, isn’t equaling “We Receive” the way I understood it as a kid.”]
In all my questioning and grappling to understand the power of prayer, here’s what I know. God wants the best for us. He loves us. He wants us near him. God is perfectly fine with respectful questioning and when asked from a humble stance, he answers graciously. He meets us in our wrestling and he provides rest to all those who are burdened and are in need.
Are you tired? Worn out? Burned out on religion? Come to me. Get away with me and you’ll recover your life. I’ll show you how to take a real rest. Walk with me and work with me—watch how I do it. Learn the unforced rhythms of grace. I won’t lay anything heavy or ill-fitting on you. Keep company with me and you’ll learn to live freely and lightly.
Matthew 11:28-30 (MSG)
I invite you to read Jesus’ instructions on prayer, via the Lord’s Prayer (Matthew 6:5-15), from a few different translations of the Bible. Then, write it out as a personal prayer to God in your own words and voice.
Here are 3:
Here’s a link to another post, which also has to do with the power of prayer, specifically in written form. I don’t always write out prayers. It can be a tad labor intensive and is far from necessary. But sometimes it brings focus that I just can’t achieve otherwise.
“I write to discover what I know.”
While we can study understand the character of God, it is clear we cannot predict him or uncover all of his mystery. We could never master the subject! You probably have questions on the power of prayer, too. I’d be honored if you shared them with me so we could explore them together.
I’m really excited to kick this series off as I prayerfully write to understand.
Read more in this series here:
Prayer: God, I come humbly to you and lay out all of my questions to you. Thank you for welcoming questions and inviting us to come confidently to you. I am so pleased to worship you in your sovereignty and mystery. You alone are worthy. Though I don’t always understand your methods or plans, I don’t want that to get in the way of coming to you. I thank you for opening communication with us through the death and resurrection of your son, Jesus Christ. May I never take that for granted!
I love this “Be Still” Prayer Journal. Having a specific place for times I choose to write my prayers, or journal my thoughts on God and how he’s moving in my life, creates a personal treasure. Reading older entries helps me zero in on prayers I thought went unanswered, and lets me trace his hand in my life. This journal includes a different verse on every page, which I love. The spiral bound book means no wasted pages and there’s a hard surface included for writing anywhere, anytime!