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Does Prayer Change Anything?

30 July 2017



Some Christians feel that they have to come to the defense of God by instantly silencing any skepticism about whether prayer really works. The implication being that prayer should always work as the one who prays wants it to work. That we should always get the answer we prayed expecting. But the plain fact of the matter is that prayer does not always work that way. Moreover, we do not need to make sweeping claims that it does in order to justify our faith in God. The truth is we may or may not always get the answer to our prayer that we want, but nevertheless prayer does change a good many things.

In the first place prayer always changes us. No one who gets on their knees and prays with sincerity will rise up again without a change having taken place within them. This result alone is enough to justify the whole action of prayer. Prayer re-establishes the close relationship with God that we were created to have. It renews our spirit and our outlook, and rightly orients them. When we pray, we know that there is still evil and suffering in the world, but our eyes become open to see how God is also at work reconciling all things to Himself. A new spiritual power has been released in our lives. Our circumstances may stay the same as they were before we prayed, but we have been changed. And that is invaluably good.

Prayer always changes us, and frequently, when we pray on behalf of others, God does work a change in the heart of the person for whom we pray. When we pray for another person we become inspired to do more ourselves to help them. And even if there is not a single thing that we can ourselves do to help the one for whom we pray, by praying we unite our love with the love of God. By praying we are working with God in his creation.

Prayer always changes us, it frequently changes those for whom we pray, and sometimes it does indeed change circumstances that before might have seemed impossible to change. True miracles do sometimes take place as a result of the prayer of the faithful. Just this week, in the church I serve, a parishioner for whom many had been praying was healed in such a way as to make a planned surgery no longer necessary. You probably can recount similar experiences.

When we cry to God out of our dire need, and the needs of our neighbors, we are right to hope that God will answer. And in His mercy God will answer. Sometimes we just don’t want to accept that answer that we receive.


An unnamed poet once put it this way:

He asked for strength that he might achieve;
he was made weak that he might obey.
He asked for health that he might do greater things;
he was given infirmity that he might do better things.
He asked for riches that he might be happy;
he was given poverty that he might be wise.
He asked for power that he might have the praise of men;
he was given weakness that he might feel the need for God.
He asked for all things so that he might enjoy life;
he was given Life that he might enjoy all things.
He has received nothing that he asked for, all that he hoped for.
His prayer is answered. He is most blessed



One Comment leave one →
  1. Bruce Sims permalink
    30 July 2017 12:10 pm

    Reblogged this on Call 2 Witness.

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