All Christians Need to Embrace the Power of Prayer

When the disciples walked the earth with Jesus, they had the privilege of being able to ask him any question they wanted. (We have that same privilege as well.) But of all the things that they asked Jesus, one of the things that sticks out above the others is when they asked him to teach them to pray.

“One day Jesus was praying in a certain place. When he finished, one of his disciples said to him, ‘Lord, teach us to pray, just as John taught his disciples’” (Luke 11:1).

What is it about prayer, or what is the power of prayer, that would cause the disciples to want to learn how to do it correctly? A basic definition of the power prayer is when you invite heaven’s resources to intervene in your earthly situation. Since heaven’s resources are unlimited, then you are inviting the omnipotent God into the equation and asking him to fix or do something about your circumstance. When you grasp that, then you are getting hold of what the power of prayer is.

What Does the Bible Say about the Power of Prayer?
There are numerous scriptures throughout the Bible that encourage us to pray and highlight the true power that is in prayer. Here are just two.

“Then they cried out to the Lord in their trouble,
and he brought them out of their distress.
He stilled the storm to a whisper; the waves of the sea were hushed. They were glad when it grew calm, and he guided them to their desired haven”

(Psalm 107:28-30).

“’Now, Lord, consider their threats and enable your servants to speak your word with great boldness. Stretch out your hand to heal and perform signs and wonders through the name of your holy servant Jesus.’ After they prayed, the place where they were meeting was shaken. And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and spoke the word of God boldly” (Acts 4:28-30).

From these two verses and so many others, you can see that one of the powers in prayer is when God’s people ask for his help in their current situation.

Why Is Prayer So Powerful?
There is an old expression that says, “God helps those who help themselves.” Many people think this is in the Bible, but it is not. Not only is this not in the Bible, but this is also not really true. If you hold onto this type of thinking you will nullify prayer’s power.

When you think about what the real power of prayer is, it is not coming from a person who believes they can help themselves, but from a person who knows they can’t.

In the gospel of Luke, Jesus told this parable, and when you understand it you will understand what the power of prayer is.

“To some who were confident of their own righteousness and looked down on everyone else, Jesus told this parable: ‘Two men went up to the temple to pray, one a Pharisee and the other a tax collector. The Pharisee stood by himself and prayed: ‘God, I thank you that I am not like other people—robbers, evildoers, adulterers—or even like this tax collector. I fast twice a week and give a tenth of all I get.’

‘But the tax collector stood at a distance. He would not even look up to heaven, but beat his breast and said, ‘God, have mercy on me, a sinner.’

I tell you that this man, rather than the other, went home justified before God. For all those who exalt themselves will be humbled, and those who humble themselves will be exalted’” (Luke 18:9-14).

There is a stark difference between these two men praying. One came with full confidence, knowing he had done everything right and his praying was just the icing on the cake of his self-righteousness. The other one could barely lift his eyes toward heaven, yet he is the one that experienced the power in prayer. There were two simple but important reasons why:

  1. Reality

If there is a key to experiencing power in prayer, it is making sure you pray from a place of reality. What I mean by this is that you don’t hide the truth of your situation and how you feel about it.

One reason we never have real times of breakthrough in prayer is because we often approach God like the Pharisee, either falsely believing we have it all together or thinking we must get it together before we approach God, because “God helps those who help themselves.” The truth is you need to come to God just the way you are, bring the situation just the way it is and be open, real, and honest before God. This is what God wants from you and when you do this, you position yourself to experience the real power in prayer.

  1. Humility

I mentioned earlier that statement about God helping those who help themselves. The truth is the opposite. God helps those who realize they can’t help themselves – those who cry out to him for his help. When you invite heaven’s resources into your situation, that means you are acknowledging that what you have is not enough.

If you are repenting of sin, you are admitting you don’t have enough righteousness on your own.

If you are praying for opportunities, you are admitting you can’t create them on your own.

If you are praying for wisdom, you are admitting you don’t have all the answers.

It does not matter what you are praying for, when you humble yourself and recognize that without God’s help this is not going to happen, then you have positioned yourself to know and experience what the power of prayer really is.

Does Prayer Physically Aid Us?

As great as the spiritual benefits are from prayer, there have been studies that show there are physical ones as well. Admittedly this is not my area of expertise, but here is information from a 2009 study:

“A 2009 study by Koenig and colleagues found that six weekly in-person Christian prayer sessions with patients at a primary care office lowered their depression and anxiety symptoms and increased their optimism.”

Because God understands fully all the benefits of prayer, it is no surprise that he would encourage us to do it. It is why verses like this make more sense.

“Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you” (1 Peter 5:7).

As these patients continued in prayer, their anxieties and worries were lowered. This happens because in prayer, they transferred their anxieties from themselves to God and allowed him to carry them.

In prayer God is not just concerned about your need, he is concerned about you as well. Part of the reason God desires you to pray is because he knows it is good for your health. The things you let go of and give to God are not only good for your spirit, but they are also good for your body and mind too. This is a power of prayer that we most certainly overlook.

Is There Anything Prayer Cannot Do?

As powerful as prayer is, there is one thing that prayer, faith, or anything else can’t do. Prayer cannot supersede or override the will of God. You can pray as much as you want, for as long as you want, and with as much faith as you can muster, but it will not change what God has willed to do. For this reason, one of the most powerful weapons in prayer is agreement with God’s will. Not only are we encouraged to pray God’s will be done (think the Lord’s prayer) we are also assured that when we pray according to God’s will, he will do what we are praying for.

“This is the confidence we have in approaching God: that if we ask anything according to his will, he hears us. And if we know that he hears us—whatever we ask—we know that we have what we asked of him” (1 John 5:14-15).

When we consider this verse, we get an even better understanding of the power of prayer. The real power of prayer is when your will and desires come into alignment with God’s will and desires. When this happens, there is nothing that God will not do in answer to prayer because your prayers are already aligned with what he wants to do in the first place.

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A Few Bible Verses That Christians Get Wrong

The Bible is the most important book ever written. The one true God chose to reveal Himself to us through the written word. Amazing and humbling!

Yet sometimes we get it wrong. We misunderstand or misapply the truth God has given us. Although there are countless causes, through my experience I’ve seen two primary problems crop up again and again.

Perspective – Too often we read God’s Word with our own purposes and goals in mind. But the Bible is all about God. When we read it with His eternal purposes in mind, we will better grasp the truth of His Word.

Context – The Bible may have unlimited applications, but its meaning never changes. It means the same today as it did when it was written. To understand the original meaning, we must pull back and understand the context – of the passage, of the chapter, of the book.

Here are 10 verses that are often misunderstood due to perspective, context, or both:

  1. Corinthians 10:13

“No temptation has overtaken you except what is common to mankind. And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can endure it.”

Many Christians claim this verse as a “promise” that God will never allow them to experience more difficulties than “they can handle.” Yet, the larger passage (1 Corinthians 10:1-13) deals with temptation and our ability to withstand it. God promises He will always provide a way for us to say “no” to temptation. In fact, Paul learned by experience that God will allow us to face circumstances “beyond our ability to endure” so that we will learn to rely on Him (see 2 Corinthians 1:8-11).

  1. Proverbs 22:6

“Start children off on the way they should go, and even when they are old they will not turn from it.”

Misunderstanding Proverbs 22:6 as a promise has led to grief for many parents. The book of Proverbs is wisdom literature, which offers general principles for successful living. A proverb is not a promise. Instead, let us use it as a tool for wise parenting and decision-making, and entrust our children to our faithful God!

  1. Matthew 7:1

“Do not judge, or you too will be judged.”

Is all “judging” wrong? Jesus did condemn a harsh, critical “judging” motivated by a self-righteous, hypocritical attitude. But in the whole of Scripture, God clearly commands Christians to lovingly point out sin and exhort each other to holiness. It is not our place to determine their motives, but it is our responsibility to gently identify behavior God has already judged to be “sin.” The goal is to reconcile that person with God and others and to keep the sin from spreading (Matthew 18:15-17, 1 Corinthians 5:5-7, Hebrews 12:15, James 5:19-20).

  1. Psalm 37:4

“Take delight in the Lord, and he will give you the desires of your heart.”

If I find joy in God, will He fill my life with all the things I value and enjoy? Wait – remember context and focus. In this psalm, David contemplated the age-old question of why evil people seem to prosper while the righteous often struggle. David wrote to encourage his readers – and us – to widen our perspective, to live in light of eternity and to set our hope in God’s everlasting purposes. When we commit ourselves (delight) to God’s capable hands, our desire for the righteous to prevail will be realized in His timing.

  1. James 1:2-3

“Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance.”

We would think that James meant we could find joy in Christ in spite of our trials. That makes more sense! Yet, James really did say – and mean – because of our trials. While God cares very much about our physical circumstances, James knew He uses trials to refine our faith and make us more like Jesus. That is something to rejoice about!

  1. Matthew 18:20

“For where two or three gather in my name, there am I with them.”

Considering just this verse, we might believe that Jesus is with us only when we are with other believers. But the context of the larger passage is church discipline. When another believer sins, if he will not listen to one, two or three fellow believers should bring the matter to the church (Matthew 18:15-20).

  1. Romans 8:28

“And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.”

Does God control all the circumstances of our lives to make things turn out great for us? Let’s take a step back to grasp the glorious truth of Romans 8:28. First, this promise is not for all people, just Christians who love and follow Jesus. Second, in the larger context, (Romans 8:18-39), Paul reminds us that although we must temporarily endure earthly suffering, God works through it to continuously work out His greater, eternal plan for us (Romans 8:28-30). The “good” God is working towards is not temporary, earthly “success,” but the eternal purpose of us being “conformed to the likeness” of Jesus (Romans 8:29).

  1. Habakkuk 1:5

“Look at the nations and watch – and be utterly amazed. For I am going to do something in your days that you would not believe, even if you were told.”

If we read this verse by itself, we might believe God is going to do something wonderful and glorious before our eyes. Well, He definitely did, but probably not what you’d expect. God sent the prophet Habakkuk to pronounce judgment on Judah for turning away from God. The amazing thing God planned was to send the brutal nation of Babylon to conquer His people and carry them into captivity. This verse should stand as a strong reminder that God does discipline His children.

  1. Jeremiah 29:11

“‘For I know the plans I have for you,’ declares the Lord, ‘plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.’”

This verse is definitely a promise. But it’s a promise for a particular people in a particular time. Through the prophet Jeremiah, God promised that after Judah’s pre-determined exile in Babylon, He would bring them back to the Promised Land. We often misappropriate promises. And while God does make a lot of promises to all believers, this particular promise isn’t one of them.

  1. Philippians 4:13

“I can do all this through him who gives me strength.”

Philippians 4:13 is probably the most misused verse in the Bible. We pull it out of the surrounding passage and hold it out as God’s obligation to empower our plans and dreams. Yet, Paul was writing about being content no matter his earthly circumstances. He could endure any difficulty or physical need through the strengthening power of Christ. Oh yes, Philippians 4:13 is a great promise indeed! Jesus will give us the strength we need to endure desperate need. His empowering presence will be with us through every difficult circumstance.

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Christian Prayers for Forgiveness

I hope everyone reading this is having an AMAZING start to their week! I had a close friend of mine lie to me about something over the weekend, and when I discovered the truth I decided that it would be best to forgive my friend instead of keeping a grudge against her. I truly believe that forgiveness is a very important Christian rule that mus be taken seriously. I know that forgiving someone who wronged us is difficult at times, but if you do forgive then you can work on your friendship instead of allowing it to disipate.

Enough of me rambling, here are some Christian prayers about forgiveness that I would like to share with everyone today…if you have any prayers of forgiveness that you would like to share with me I would very much appreciate that!

Pray in true faith with these powerful words of forgiveness and be forgiven by the grace and mercy of our Lord. May these prayers for forgiveness bring you peace and comfort.

Prayer to God for Forgiveness of Sins


Even while I encourage you to pray this prayer, I caution you that saying words alone will not save you. Prayer doesn’t save. Only Christ can save. But prayer can be a means of reaching out to the Lord in true saving faith. If you pray these words in faith, Christ will save you. You can be sure of that.

Lord Jesus, for too long I’ve kept you out of my life. I know that I am a sinner and that I cannot save myself. No longer will I close the door when I hear you knocking. By faith, I gratefully receive your gift of salvation. I am ready to trust you as my Lord and Savior. Thank you, Lord Jesus, for coming to earth. I believe you are the Son of God who died on the cross for my sins and rose from the dead on the third day. Thank you for bearing my sins and giving me the gift of eternal life. I believe your words are true. Come into my heart, Lord Jesus, and be my Savior. Amen.

Prayer for Forgiveness and Salvation


Lord, Father all-powerful, and ever-living God, I thank you, for even though I am a sinner in the kindness of your mercy you have fed me with the precious body and blood of your Son, our Lord Jesus Christ. I pray that this holy communion may not bring me condemnation and punishment but forgiveness and salvation. May it be a helmet of faith and a shield of goodwill. May it purify me from evil ways and put an end to my evil passions. May it bring me charity and patience, humility and obedience, and growth in power to do good.

May it be my strong defense against all my enemies, visible and invisible, and the perfect calming of all my evil impulses, bodily and spiritual. May it unite me more closely to you, the one true God and lead me safely through death to everlasting happiness with you. Lead me, a sinner, to the banquet, where you with your Son and Holy Spirit, there is true and perfect light, total fulfillment, everlasting joy, gladness without end and perfect happiness for your saints. Grant this through Christ our Lord.

Prayer for Forgiveness and Deliverance


O Christ, my Creator and Redeemer, Almighty Lord God, forgive the sins of all who are joined to me by friendship or blood, and for whom I pray, or have resolved to pray, — and all your faithful people. Deliver them from all evil, preserve them in all good, and bring them to eternal joy; for your honor and glory. Amen.

Short Prayer to Forgive Others


Dear Lord, I thank You for the power of forgiveness, and I choose to forgive everyone who has hurt me. Help me set [name anyone who has offended you] free and release them to You (Romans 12:19). Help me bless those who have hurt me (Romans 12:14). Help me walk in righteousness, peace, and joy, demonstrating Your life here on earth. I choose to be kind and compassionate, forgiving others, just as You forgave me (Ephesians 4:32). In Jesus’ name, amen.

Short Prayer to Forgive Yourself


Father, today I ask forgiveness of all the negative and harmful words I have spoken about myself. I do not want to abuse myself in such a way again. Transform my thoughts and let me understand how marvelously you made me. Change my habits so I use my tongue to speak hope and favor upon my life. In Jesus’ name.

Prayer for Forgiving Others


Dear Merciful Lord, thank you for your gift of forgiveness. Your only Son loved me enough to come to earth and experience the worst pain imaginable so I could be forgiven. Your mercy flows to me in spite of my faults and failures. Your Word says to “clothe yourselves with love, which binds us all together in perfect harmony.” (Col. 3:14) Help me demonstrate unconditional love today, even to those who hurt me.

I understand that even though I feel scarred, my emotions don’t have to control my actions. Father, may Your sweet words saturate my mind and direct my thoughts. Help me release the hurt and begin to love as Jesus loves. I want to see my offender through my Savior’s eyes. If I can be forgiven, so can he. I understand there are no levels to your love. We are all your children, and your desire is that none of us should perish.

You teach us to “let the peace that comes from Christ rule in our hearts.” (Col. 3:15) When I forgive in words, allow your Holy Spirit to fill my heart with peace. I pray this peace that only comes from Jesus will rule in my heart, keeping out doubt and questions. And above all, I am thankful. Not just today, not just this week, but always. Thank you for the reminder, “Always be thankful.” (Col. 3:15) With gratitude, I can draw closer to you and let go of unforgiveness. With gratitude, I can see the person who caused my pain as a child of God. Loved and accepted. Help me find the compassion that comes with true forgiveness.

And when I see the person who hurt me, bring this prayer back to my remembrance, so I can take any ungodly thoughts captive and make them obedient to Christ. (2 Cor. 10:5) And may the confidence of Christ in my heart guide me into the freedom of forgiveness. I praise you for the work you are doing in my life, teaching, and perfecting my faith. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Forgive and Awaken Us


Lord God, heavenly Father, we all like sheep have gone astray, led away from the right path by Satan and our own sinful flesh. Graciously forgive us all our sins for the sake of your Son, Jesus Christ and awaken our hearts by your Holy Spirit, that we may abide in your Word and in true repentance and a steadfast faith continue in your Church to the end and obtain eternal salvation; through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one true God, now and forever Amen.

Bible Verses about Forgiveness


1 John 1:9 – If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.

James 5:16 – Therefore, confess your sins to one another and pray for one another, that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person has great power as it is working.

Matthew 18:21-22 – Then Peter came up and said to him, “Lord, how often will my brother sin against me, and I forgive him? As many as seven times?” Jesus said to him, “I do not say to you seven times, but seventy times seven.

Matthew 6:14-15 – For if you forgive others their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you, but if you do not forgive others their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses.

Colossians 3:13 – Bearing with one another and, if one has a complaint against another, forgiving each other; as the Lord has forgiven you, so you also must forgive.

I would love to read any prayers of forgiveness that you would like to share with me!

Thank you so much for taking time out of your day to ready my blog, and please subscribe to my blog if you enjoyed what I have to share!

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Pray for Strength and Rejoice in Hope: Seven Prayers for Hope

May these prayers for hope encourage your heart, soul, and mind!

A Prayer for Hope
Lord, help me to hear you saying, “I am your hope” over all the other voices. Lord, your word says, you are the hope for hopeless so I’m running to you with both hands stretched out and grabbing on to you. Fill me up with hope and give me a tangible reminder today that hope is an unbreakable spiritual lifeline (Hebrews 6:19-20). God, you know those things in my heart that I barely dare to hope for, today I give them to you, I trust them to you, and ask that you because I know that you can do more than I could ever guess, imagine or request in wildest dreams (Eph 3:20). God, you are my hope and I trust you. Amen.

The Lord Bless You with Hope
May the Lord show you the greatness of his goodness, that you overflow with thanks every day. May the Lord bless you abundantly with rest for the heart, power for virtue, wisdom for life, and patience in suffering. May the Lord bless you with joyful hope, and one day with the inexpressible joys of eternal life.

Prayer for Faith, Hope, and Love
Almighty Lord God, give us true faith, and make that faith grow in us day by day. Also give us hope and love, so that we may serve our neighbors according to your will; through your Son, Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. Amen.

Prayer for Hope
Heavenly Father, I am your humble servant, I come before you today in need of hope. There are times when I fell helpless, There are times when I feel weak. I pray for hope. I need hope for a better future. I need hope for a better life. I need hope for love and kindness. Some say that the sky is at it’s darkest just before the light. I pray that this is true, for all seems dark. I need your light, Lord, in every way. I pray to be filled with your light from head to toe. To bask in your glory. To know that all is right in the world, as you have planned, and as you want it to be. Help me to walk in your light, and live my life in faith and glory. In your name, I pray, Amen.

My Hope and Refuge
Ah, Lord God, Holy Lover of my soul, when you come into my soul, all that is within me will rejoice. You are my glory and the exultation of my heart. You are my hope and refuge in the day of my trouble. Set me free from all evil passions, and heal my heart of all inordinate affections, cure and cleanse me within, that I may be made fit to love, courageous to suffer, steady to persevere. Nothing is sweeter than love, nothing more courageous, nothing fuller nor better in heaven and earth; because love is born of God, and cannot rest but in God, above all created things. Let me love you more than myself, and love myself except for you, and in you all that truly love you, as the law of love commands, shining out from yourself. Source: Thomas à Kempis

Hope in God’s Promise
O Father in heaven, look upon all your people who struggle with anger, anxiety, doubt, frustration, guilt, hopelessness, loss, memories, lack of patience, pain, regret, sadness, selfishness, temptation and weakness. Your Holy Word tells us “All things work together for the good of those who love God, who are called according to his purpose.” And that means that you make all these things work for your good purpose in our lives, even when we do not understand. Remind us of your invitation, “Cast all your cares upon me,” and of your assurance that goes with it, “because I care for you.” …through your Son, Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

A Prayer for Hope Today
Lord, help me to hear you saying, “I am your hope” over all the other voices. Lord, your word says, you are the hope for hopeless so I’m running to you with both hands stretched out and grabbing on to you. Fill me up with hope and give me a tangible reminder today that hope is an unbreakable spiritual lifeline (Hebrews 6:19-20). God, you know those things in my heart that I barely dare to hope for, today I give them to you, I trust them to you, and ask that you because I know that you can do more than I could ever guess, imagine or request in wildest dreams (Eph 3:20). God, you are my hope and I trust you. Amen.

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How We Know that God Really Does Hear Our Prayers

One of the greatest struggles encountered by many of God’s people is prayer. Our three deadly enemies, being the world, our own flesh, and the devil are all involved in keeping us away from this divine discipline. But even in the midst of our times of prayer, any one, or a combination of these enemies can rise up to distract us from fellowship with the Lord.

The world tends to increase our time spent away from prayer by busying, or overburdening us with things like work, school, and other necessary things. When it comes to our flesh, it wants nothing at all to do with the things of God. Flesh cries out to be satisfied—and prayer does not do that. “For the flesh lusts against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh; and these are contrary to one another, so that you do not do the things that you wish” (Galatians 5:17).

Satan of course, is an enemy of prayer because he and his horde of principalities and powers know what can happen when the child of God invests quality time with the Lord.

Whether it is through intercessory prayer, petitions, or simply desiring to hear from Him for guidance, we are ultimately strengthened through our prayer times. Prayer has been designed by God to enrich the life of every believer. Even at its most basic level, prayer touches God. It is not “busy work,” i.e., something that we do just to say that we did it. Through it we are able to enter into intimate fellowship with the Lord.

Prayer also engages us into spiritual warfare. As stated previously, there are spiritual forces arrayed against us when we pray. Satan will do all that he can to frustrate our faith, and if we are not careful, he can convince us that God either does not care, or that He is not listening. In times when this does take place, we know immediately that the devil is a liar, because God has given us His Word which assures us that we can know that he hears us when we pray.

Five essential ways that we can know that God hears our prayers:

  1. He Hears Us Because We Do Not Treasure Sin
  2. He Hears Us Because We Know That He Is Able
  3. He Hears Us Because We Come Boldly to His Throne
  4. He Hears Us Because We Have Humbled Ourselves
  5. He Hears Us Because We Pray According to His Will

Some may quibble over which of the spiritual disciplines are most important. While each one may be involved more in one discipline over another, the truth is that they all share equal value to the child of God. Each draws us into God’s presence in its own powerful way. However, when we pray, we should listen carefully to His voice, because we know that our prayers have been heard by Him.


What Is the Power of Prayer?

What is the power of prayer? How can prayer bring a person back to life? How can it heal the sick? How does prayer comfort those who are anxious or sinking into the depths of depression? Why do Christians pray for their future spouses or pray prayers of protection over their children as they send them off to school? How can prayer impact those who don’t know Jesus or help in a time of crisis like a pandemic?

The answer is found in one pivotal scripture. In Matthew 18:18-20, Jesus tells us about the power of prayer when he said,

“Truly, I say to you, whatever you bind on earth shall be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven. Again I say to you, if two of you agree on earth about anything they ask, it will be done for them by my Father in heaven. For where two or three are gathered in my name, there am I among them.”

There are dozens of real-life accounts in the Bible where Jesus and other disciples battled in prayer. God shut the heavens and prevented rain from falling for three years at Elijah’s request. He parted the red sea for Moses to lead His people through. He cast out demons; Jesus healed the sick and gave sight to the blind, and, on more than one occasion, raised people from the dead, like Lazarus.

Do we realize the power we have available to us when we take our authority in prayer? If we did, we would be praying in Jesus’ name more. There would be no such thing as doubt, fear, or anxiety because we would be on our faces before God, storming the heavenly realms in battle with the darkness and evil forces in our world.

Talking to God
So, what exactly is the power of prayer? The power of prayer isn’t in the words you utter. It’s not about what you pray or even how you pray. Prayer can be defined as talking to God, but it is much more than that. Prayer is an act of worship that glorifies God and reinforces our need for Him. Through living a life of prayer, we communicate with the very source of and purpose for our existence.

It is our fiercest weapon against the enemy and all things in this fallen world. Priscilla Shirer is the author of the Fervent: A Woman’s Battle Plan to Serious, Specific, and Strategic Prayer says, “Prayer is the portal that brings the power of heaven down to earth. It is kryptonite to the enemy and to all his ploys against you.”

Another well-known author, Mark Patterson says, “Prayers are prophecies. They are the best predictors of your spiritual future. Who you become is determined by how you pray. Ultimately, the transcript of your prayers becomes the script of your life.”

In other words, who you become, the circumstances in your life, and the core of your character are all determined by what you talk to God about. According to the Bible, the power of prayer is, quite simply, the power of God, who hears and answers prayer. Consider the following:

God Is All-Powerful
The Lord God Almighty can do all things; there is nothing impossible for Him (Luke 1:37). The character and heart of God is the very fabric of the gospel. When we close our eyes, get on our knees, the spirit of God whispers, “I am the Lord, the God of all mankind. Is anything too hard for me?” It’s as if to say to our hearts, no need is too great or small.

God Asks Us to Pray
He invites, encourages, and wants us to talk to him. We are to come to him in faith, (James 1:5), with persistence (Luke 18:1), with thanksgiving (Philippians 4:6), within his will (Matthew 6:10), and from a heart that is right with God (James 5:16).

In fact, in Luke 18:1 we read, “And he [Jesus] told them a parable to the effect that they ought always to pray and not lose heart.” Hebrews 4:14-16 talks about Jesus as our High Priest and says He can sympathize with us.

Hebrews 4:16 says, “Let us then with confidence draw near to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need.” We have been given access to the very throne of God through prayer.

He Answers Our Prayers
The Lord God Almighty answers prayer. “I call on you, O God, for you will answer me” (Psalm 17:6). “The righteous cry out, and the LORD hears them; he delivers them from all their troubles” (Psalm 34:17). In John 16:23-24, Jesus makes a stunning, sweeping, glorious promise to us:

“Truly, truly, I say to you, whatever you ask of the Father in my name, he will give it to you. Until now you have asked nothing in my name. Ask, and you will receive, that your joy may be full.”

In other words, when we ask God to give us a love for our neighbors, he does. When we ask for patience, he begins to tend to our hearts, uprooting areas of impatience and then provides opportunity to practice patience. When we ask him to be near to us, his presence sweeps in and surrounds us like a cozy blanketed embrace filled with his peace and strength.

Even when we lack faith or have very little faith. Sometimes learning to trust God with our prayers is like being a toddler. We wobble, waver and fall. But he doesn’t chastise us. Instead, he encourages us to get back up and try again with his hands held out as he says, “Because of your little faith,” He told them. “For I assure you: If you have faith the size of a mustard seed, you will tell this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it will move. Nothing will be impossible for you” (Matthew 17:20).

Power of Prayer and How Do I Tap into It?
The power of prayer isn’t in the person praying. It’s not a magic formula. It isn’t keywords. It is an open heart, humble and filled with awe of who our mighty God is. Rather, the power resides in the God who is being prayed to.

1 John 5:14-15 tells us, “This is the confidence we have in approaching God: that if we ask anything according to his will, he hears us. And if we know that he hears us — whatever we ask — we know that we have what we asked of him.”

In fact, Jesus rebukes those who pray using repetitions or those who pray in public to seek attention or those who don’t have the right heart, “And when you pray, do not keep on babbling like pagans, for they think they will be heard because of their many words. Do not be like them, for your Father knows what you need before you ask him” (Matthew 6:7-8).

Psalm 107:28-30 reminds us, “Then they cried out to the LORD in their trouble, and he brought them out of their distress. He stilled the storm to a whisper; the waves of the sea were hushed. They were glad when it grew calm, and he guided them to their desired haven.” There is power in prayer!

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How Does Prayer Change Us?

Prayer is the power tool for Christians to communicate with the Lord. It is our way of realizing that we have needs and the only provider of our needs is the Father in Heaven. The Bible tells us that He will never leave us, as it is written in Scripture,

The LORD Himself goes before you and will be with you; He will never leave you nor forsake you. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged” (Deuteronomy 31:8).

And we can lay our worries to Him because He promised to take care of us, as is written, “Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you” (1 Peter 5:7).

As we pray, we can feel a change in our spiritual life. We are closer to God because we continuously communicate. Through prayer, we acknowledge that His love for us is infinite, and He will never leave us. Truly, there is power in prayer and it can change us in many ways. How does prayer change us?

Changes Us by Knowing God Better
Prayer changes us by making us closer to God and knowing Him better. The Holy Spirit guides us through prayer. The Bible tells us that Jesus assured us that after His resurrection, the Holy Spirit will be with us forever and that the Holy Spirit is all around us to give us wisdom in knowing God.

The Bible also tells us, “For I do not go away, the Counselor will not come to you. But if I go, I will send Him to you” (John 16:7).

It is written that through a very good relationship with God, through prayer, we are able to experience God’s omnipresence through the Holy Spirit. For this reason, we know God better because we experience Him in our daily lives.

But grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. To him be glory both now and forever! Amen (2 Peter 3:18).

It is also through knowing God that we are able to understand God’s nature. We know that he will never leave us and that He is the great provider, but only through prayer that we may experience knowing him more. And that God’s love for us shines brighter than anything else.

For the word of God is alive and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart (Hebrews 4:12).

Changes Us by Listening
Prayer also changes us by improving our attitude on listening to what God wants. Most of the time, we are always focused on presenting our request to God and praying constantly that our requests are answered.

Sometimes, we forget to listen to God and acknowledge that it is His will that should be followed. “Whoever gives heed to instruction prospers, and blessed is the one who trusts in the Lord.” (Proverbs 16:20).

Listening to God is not an easy task. It requires constant discipline, and we can only achieve training through continuous prayer and practicing His command.

Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me — put it into practice. And the God of peace will be with you (Philippians 4:9).

However, there will come a time when we are tempted to not follow His command or His will. That is why, we have to train our minds to avoid the noise of the world and instead, listen to God and God alone.

We can do this by continuously learning about God and communicating through prayer as we strengthen our faith in Him, as Scripture says, “But solid food belongs to those who are full of age, that is, those who by reason of use have their senses exercised to discern both good and evil” (Hebrews 5:14).

Changes Us through Patience
Prayer also changes our lives by patience. Because as we pray, we are required to be patient in listening to God’s will. As Jesus Christ said,

Truly I say to you, If you have faith, and doubt not, you shall not only do this which is done to the fig tree, but also if you shall say to this mountain, Be you removed, and be you cast into the sea; it shall be done (Matthew 21:21).

However, human as we are, we are sometimes impatient. We become tired of waiting for our prayers to be answered. Do not fret. The Bible tells us that:

Have you not known? Have you not heard, that the everlasting God, the LORD, the Creator of the ends of the earth, faints not, neither is weary? There is no searching of his understanding. He gives power to the faint; and to them that have no might he increases strength. Even the youths shall faint and be weary, and the young men shall utterly fall: But they that wait on the LORD shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint (Isaiah 40:28-31).

Continuous prayer can change us and make us patient. Our communication with God will tell us that He will answer our prayers according to His will.

Changes Us through Faith
Prayer changes us by nourishing our faith in God. As we communicate with God, we learn that He is truly our great provider and it is only through God that we can receive impossible breakthroughs in our lives.

However, there are circumstances when we feel hopeless, especially when trial after trial happens to us. Remember, it is only in God’s will that we can understand the totality of each situation. As the Word says, “Knowing this, that the trying of your faith worketh patience” (James 1:3).

And “Though you have not seen him, you love him; and even though you do not see him now, you believe in him and are filled with an inexpressible and glorious joy, for you are receiving the end result of your faith, the salvation of your souls” (1 Peter 1:8-9).

We are reminded that there is an inexpressible and glorious joy as we continue our faith in God because we know through Him, we can achieve impossible things.

Continued prayer to God makes us remember God’s promises to His faithful servants. That is why it is important for us to continue and communicate daily through prayer.

Changes Us through Our Inner Strength
Prayer has the power to change us by building our inner strength through Christ Jesus. As stated in Psalm 46:1-3,

God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble. Therefore we will not fear, though the earth give way and the mountains fall into the heart of the sea, though its waters roar and foam and the mountains quake with their surging.

The Father in Heaven promises to be the refuge in times of harsh circumstances. Therefore, prayers have the power to change circumstances to a better one by changing our inner perspectives to that of a perspective that has faith in Christ Jesus and the Father in Heaven.

Our life depends heavily on our prayer life and spiritual life. That is also true with our inner strength. As we pray, our inner strength is being built to be stronger and stronger until we become prepared for whatever circumstances we face because the Father in Heaven has promised in Isaiah 43:1-3,

Do not fear, for I have redeemed you; I have called you by name, you are mine. When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and through the rivers, they shall not overwhelm you; when you walk through fire you shall not be burned, and the flame shall not consume you. For I am the Lord you God, the Holy One of Israel, your Savior.

Whenever we need strength, we can count on God to be there in endless ways as written in Proverbs 18:10, “The name of the Lord is a strong tower; the righteous run into it and are safe.”

And rest assured your path is right as long as you have constant communication to God through prayer.

Changes Us through Ultimate Surrender
Prayer changes us through our ultimate surrender to God. Prayer is a form of worship and only through worship, we are able to surrender ourselves through God. As Scripture says, Therefore I urge you, brethren, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies a living and holy sacrifice, acceptable to God, which is your spiritual service of worship (Romans 12:1).

Through ultimate surrender, we can rest all our worries to the Lord, “Rest in the Lord and wait patiently for Him; Do not fret because of him who prospers in his way, Because of the man who carries out wicked schemes” (Psalm 37:7).

Finally, we are reminded that, indeed, prayer is our most important tool in communicating with God. It is also equally important if we have faith in Him and we know Him better, which can be achieved through continuous prayer.

Having a continuous communication with the Lord will help us and lead us to the right path. A stronger prayer life changes us through our inner strength, through ultimate surrender, through patience, by listening, by knowing God better, and through faith in Christ Jesus as the Bible tells us,

Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the LORD your God will be with you wherever you go (Joshua 1:9).

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How Can We Be Sure God Hears Our Prayers?

Talk of prayer is evident in the Christian home, church, and Holy Bible. We talk about prayer as a means of gaining wisdom, making important decisions, and otherwise living life as God desires for us. Why?

There are numerous examples of people using prayer in the Bible for the same reasons. In some of these instances, prayer is evoked to bring about healing over physical or emotional ailments and even victory over enemies in battle. We can conclude then that prayer at some level is a conversation between the person (or persons) praying and God. Yet, in order to fully comprehend prayer, there first needs to be an understanding of communication.

Communication is the basic foundation for any relationship, friendly, romantic, business. Humans utilize communication through spoken language and also nonverbal body language. Communication is vital in the life of a Christian, not just in how we relate to other people, but more importantly to God. Our language, spoken or otherwise, constantly affects our relationship with Him and our ability to live out His commandments.

At its root, there are three pieces to communication: “the sender, the message, and the recipient.” In prayer, Christians alternate between the roles of sender and recipient. When we operate as the sender, we pray to God seeking some sort of spiritual discernment. We send a message, which God receives. When God answers our prayers, we become the recipient, taking in the message that He sends.

Studying communication explains how prayer fosters a relationship between ourselves and God, and with other people. However, this does not explain the need for prayer in the Christian life. Nor does having communication with God mean He is listening to us. How are we to be sure? For these answers, we must turn to the Bible for insight.

Does God Hear Our Prayers?
We know that prayer is our way of communicating with God. The Bible helps us to further this understanding by giving us examples of how others pray and what they prayed about. One great example comes from Matthew 6 when Jesus presents the Lord’s Prayer. During the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus draws a comparison between true believers and hypocrites. He calls for those following His teaching to not pray out in the open to be seen and admired by others (Matthew 6:5).

Instead, Jesus advocates for a more personal and intimate conversation with God, one that does not to be heard by others to be heard by God. Important to note is that Jesus does not say to only pray in private, but that public prayer done for admiration is wrong. In this sermon, He goes on to recite the Lord’s prayer which embodies all the reasons why Christians pray.

“Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name. Your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.” (Matthew 6:9-10)

Jesus himself informs us of our greatest responsibilities as Christians (Mathew 22:34-40). With this in mind, we can confirm that prayer helps us to live a life dedicated to loving God and others. When we pray, we make our requests known to God, which helps us efficiently live out our responsibilities. Thus, according to Jesus, prayer is intimate, personal, and often private. When we pray, we may seek things to benefit ourselves, but any and all things should redirect us to fulfilling the first and second greatest commandments.

This explains why we pray to God. We pray because of who God is, our Father in Heaven, the one who grants us salvation, the one who guides us through life. We pray in order to live out His will as He has deemed for believers. Like Jesus, there were many figures in the Bible who used prayer to communicate with God. We can follow all of their examples of how to pray, when, and what to communicate to God.

One question still remains though, how do we know God hears our prayers. The Bible too answers this.

How Do We Know That God Hears Our Prayers?
The entirety of the Bible can be read as a love story, a story of God caring so much about humanity that He sacrificed His son in an act of redemption. How do we know God hears our prayers? He loves us.

We know that God hears our prayers because of the prayer accounts presented in the Bible. People tell the story of God answering their prayers, how they prayed, and what they prayed about. The aforementioned example of Jesus in Matthew 6 is just one account of many. And there are lines in the Bible of God himself speaking, that reaffirm He hears our prayers.

“You will seek me and find me, when you seek me with all your heart.” (Jeremiah 29:13)

Not being able to hear God as we would another person does not mean we cannot find Him. We also don’t pray to other people, meaning our relationship with God is bound to look different. Our relationship with God is governed by our faith and not by our ability to see Him or audibly hear him (2 Corinthians 5:7).

This information lets us know that God hears our prayers. We can look at the evidence in the Bible and the evidence in our own lives of God answering our prayers. God may not act when we want, or exactly how we want, but God does act when we pray according to His will. Knowing that God hears our prayers makes us better equipped to communicate with Him.

What Can We Learn from the Way People Prayed in the Bible?
Prayer Is Honest

“How long, O Lord? Will you forget me forever?
How long will you hide your face from me?”
(Psalm 13:1)

Psalm 13 is a great reflection of the human experience of suffering. David prays to God with questions. He is not only seeking insight, but deliverance. His words show that he is not approaching God timidly, but openly bearing his anguish. His words are so dramatic as to question God. Nonetheless, David ends on an upbeat note, saying that he will remain trusting in God.

When we pray, we can share with God our positive experiences, as some of the psalms reveal. However, we can also talk to God about our suffering. Much like the conversations we have with peers, everything we discuss does not have to be positive. God wants to be a part of every aspect of our lives, including the moments of despair and desperation.

Prayer Is Constant

“Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.” (1 Thessalonians 5:16-18)

We are called to pray every day. Much like any relationship with a person, what we invest in our communication is what we will get out of the relationship. The more we commune with God the stronger our bond. There is no time limit the Bible issues on prayer. Quite the opposite. As Christians, when we learn to pray without ceasing, we will begin to see God is all aspects of our lives. However difficult, the benefits are worthwhile.

Prayer Is Not Instantaneous

“But he said to me, ‘My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.’ Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me.” (2 Corinthians 12:9)

Paul serves as a great example of someone who prayed for God to deliver Him from suffering, but God did not. God had His reasons, and Paul was fortunate enough to learn why. When we pray, God may not answer certain prayers when we want, how we want, or at all. We have to trust His reasoning and timing.

Prayer Brings Healing

“Therefore, confess your sins to one another and pray for one another, that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person has great power as it is working.” (James 5:16)

Prayer has the power to bring about miracles, whether God is performing the miracle Himself or working through someone. As we seek to bring God’s kingdom to Earth, our prayers for spiritual discernment will put us on the path God sees fit. All the while we can include in our prayers, moments of gratitude, thanking God for the highs and lows of life knowing that He is present always.

The Lord’s Prayer

There are many aspects of prayer. Ultimately, we can conclude that prayer is vital for a relationship with God. Prayer allows us to communicate with Him in a way we do not with other people. Through our words and our actions, we have the ability to live a life that is God-centered like Jesus, or not. Part of power resides in prayer. With this in mind, we can recite the Lord’s prayers with greater wisdom as to how we pray and why we should.

“Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name. Your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.

Give us this day our daily bread, and forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil.”
(Matthew 6:9-13)

Amen.

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What Are the Prayers of the Faithful?

The Prayers of the Faithful are a collection of corporate prayers that are spoken at western liturgical churches, such as Anglican, Catholic, Methodist, and Lutheran churches. As the name suggests, faithful followers of Christ gather together as a church body to make intercessory petitions for the Church, global issues, individuals, and their community.

Are the prayers of the faithful known by other names?

The Prayers of the Faithful also recognized as General Intercessions or Universal Prayer.

What Are Their Origins?
The Prayers of the Faithful were most likely inspired by the public prayers that took place in Jewish synagogues. With the commencement of the Early Church, this practice of making corporate petitions for the community and individuals in need was encouraged by Christian leaders, including Timothy (1 Timothy 2:1-8).

In the second century, the continuation of the Prayers of the Faithful are noted predominantly in the writings of the Christian apologist Justin Martyr. In his First Apology, which was published in AD 155, Justin Martyr addressed the Emperor Antoninus Pius, claiming that Christians were the “best helpers and allies in securing good order” for the Roman Empire.

Accordingly, Christian theologians such as Augustine of Hippo, who lived from AD 354-430, continued the conviction of practicing the Prayers of the Faithful. Augustine of Hippo was even said to have written, “Here we do not speak evil of anyone” on the walls of his lodgings.

By the fourth century, Roman rite mass included nine prayer petitions called “Solemn Prayers of Intercession,” which are still observed at Good Friday Mass today.

Over time, the practice of speaking the Prayers of the Faithful subsided. However, the Second Vatican Council, which mediated between the Catholic Church and modern-day society, reinstated the Prayers of the Faithful as the universal prayer in the 1963 Sacrosanctum Concilium, which is the Constitution on the Sacred Liturgy.

In Chapter Two, point 53, it states:

Especially on Sundays and feasts of obligation there is to be restored, after the Gospel and the homily, “the common prayer” or “the prayer of the faithful.” By this prayer, in which the people are to take part, intercession will be made for holy Church, for the civil authorities, for those oppressed by various needs, for all mankind, and for the salvation of the entire world.

Are the Prayers of the Faithful Mentioned in the Bible?


The Prayers of the Faithful find their origins in 1 Timothy 2:1-8:

I urge, then, first of all, that petitions, prayers, intercession and thanksgiving be made for all people — for kings and all those in authority, that we may live peaceful and quiet lives in all godliness and holiness. This is good, and pleases God our Savior, who wants all people to be saved and to come to a knowledge of the truth. For there is one God and one mediator between God and mankind, the man Christ Jesus, who gave himself as a ransom for all people. This has now been witnessed to at the proper time.

And for this purpose, I was appointed a herald and an apostle — I am telling the truth, I am not lying — and a true and faithful teacher of the Gentiles. Therefore, I want the men everywhere to pray, lifting up holy hands without anger or disputing.

When Are the Prayers of the Faithful Performed during Mass?


Roman rite Mass consists of four parts:

  1. The Introductory Rites
  2. The Liturgy of the Word
  3. The Liturgy of the Eucharist
  4. The Concluding Rites

The Prayers of the Faithful are performed at the conclusion of the Liturgy of the Word.

How Are the Prayers of the Faithful Structured?
The Prayers of the Faithful follow the General Instruction of the Roman Missal, a document providing detailed guidelines on the celebration of Mass and the Roman rite, which is the predominant liturgical rite of the Roman Catholic Church.

The Structure of the Prayers of the Faithful
The Prayers of the Faithful consist of three parts:

  1. A brief introduction by the presider of the liturgy, who invites the congregation to pray.
  2. The speaker of the petitions then proceeds. The congregation is encouraged to vocally affirm the speaker’s petitions by replying with brief invocations such as, “Lord, hear our prayer.”
  3. The conclusion or oration to the Prayers of the Faithful is given by the presider.

Prayer Guidelines
Included in the guidelines is that the following four intentions should be included in all compositions of the Prayers of the Faithful:

  1. Prayer for the Church
  2. Prayer for public and governing authorities and for the salvation of mankind
  3. Prayer for those burdened by adversity or difficulties
  4. Prayer for the local community

The scope of prayer is designed like a funnel, where the petitions are first directed globally and are then tapered down micro-economically.

How Often Are the Prayers of the Faithful Performed in the Church Calendar?
The Prayers of the Faithful are performed at Sunday and weekday mass. They are also performed on special occasions, such as weddings, baptisms, and religious holidays, where the petitions are composed to align with the occasion at hand. They are also performed at funerals.

Who Can Offer the Prayers of the Faithful?
Customarily, the Prayers of the Faithful are performed by deacons or lectors. Often priests perform the petitions during a weekday Mass.

However, the Prayers of the Faithful can also be performed by a cantor, who traditionally sings solo verses or passages during the mass. Alternatively, a lay faithful from the congregation can also present the corporate petitions.

How Effective Are the Prayers of the Faithful?
Matthew 18:20 encourages us that when we come together in prayer, God is in our midst. James 5:16 also states that we should pray for one another, as our righteous petitions are powerful and effective.

Corporate prayer exemplifies the strength of our petitions and evokes intense divine responses, additionally, it also encourages church unity, disciplines us to put other’s needs before our own, and allows us to co-operate with God as the Body of Christ, all of which was Jesus’ aim when He founded the Church.

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What Are the Benefits of Prayer?

Prayer. To some, it’s a way of life, but to others, it can be mysterious or complicated. Oftentimes, it’s referred to as a Christian discipline, which can make it sound difficult or oppressive.

However, prayer is a wonderful thing that provides many benefits. These benefits go beyond the individual praying.

In this article, we’ll define what prayer is and look at some of the benefits prayer provides.

What Is Prayer
People define prayer in various ways but the simplest way to describe it is communication with God.

There are different kinds of prayer and many ways to practice it. Benefit-producing prayer isn’t recited but is communication that comes from the heart.

Some Benefits of Prayer

  1. Prayer changes our focus. It’s easy to get caught up in the circumstances going on around us, good or bad. Praying directs our focus away from here on earth to God in heaven.

Think about the things of heaven, not the things of earth (Colossians 3:2, NLT).

Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith… (Hebrews 12:2).

  1. Prayer brings us closer to God. Because prayer is communicating with God, it helps us build our relationship with him. It’s one of the many ways we can get to know him better.

Draw near to God and He will draw near to you (James 4:8).

The LORD is near to all who call on him, to all who call on him in truth (Psalm 145:18).

  1. Prayer ushers us into God’s presence. In the Old Testament, people needed the priests or prophets to talk to God for them. But when Jesus died, the veil in the temple was torn in two, opening the way for us to talk to God ourselves.

The curtain in the sanctuary of the Temple was torn in two, from top to bottom (Matthew 27:51).

Let us then approach God’s 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).

  1. Prayer is a way to help others. There are two ways this is true. One is praying with someone and the other is praying for someone. One is done in person (or over the phone), while the other is done in your private time.

Pray for one another, that you may be healed (James 5:16).

And so, from the day we heard, we have not ceased to pray for you, asking that you may be filled with the knowledge of his will in all spiritual wisdom and understanding, so as to walk in a manner worthy of the Lord, fully pleasing to him, bearing fruit in every good work and increasing in the knowledge of God. May you be strengthened with all power, according to his glorious might, for all endurance and patience with joy, giving thanks to the Father, who has qualified you to share in the inheritance of the saints in light. (Colossians 1:9-12, ESV).

  1. Prayer helps calm us. The world is full of things that bring anxiety into our lives and prayer can restore our peace.

Give all your worries and cares to God, for he cares about you (1 Peter 5:7, NLT).

Be anxious for nothing, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus (Philippians 4:6-7).

  1. Prayer brings about change. The familiar phrase prayer changes things is true. Sometimes the things that change are circumstances, while other times we are the thing that prayer changes.

The prayer of a righteous person is powerful and effective. Elijah was a human being, even as we are. He prayed earnestly that it would not rain, and it did not rain on the land for three and a half years. Again he prayed, and the heavens gave rain, and the earth produced its crops (James 4:16-18).

I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit within you; I will remove your heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh (Ezekiel 36:26).

And the List Goes On and On
The benefits of prayer can’t be exhausted. Prayer helps us find direction in life. It can prevent us from making wrong decisions and falling into sin. Through it, we can learn to submit to God’s will.

Prayer helps us receive forgiveness and love. It also helps us love our enemies as we understand how we were once God’s enemy but, through Jesus, we are friends and heirs.

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Does Prayer Ever Fail Us?

We all struggle with prayer. This is the case for the most seasoned of Christians and those newest in the faith. We wrestle with unanswered prayer; we struggle to find the appropriate language for our petitions; we may even occasionally feel a lack of spiritual vitality as we pray. For every Christian there are times where the act of praying seems harder than it should be.

Despite our struggles, God promises to hear our prayers. Not only does God promise to hear, but God promises to respond. Jesus affirms this. His parable of the persistent widow is told specifically to encourage the disciples to “pray and not give up” (Luke 18:1). The availability of God’s presence, met in prayer, is foundational to our understanding of God.

And yet, we have all found ourselves in times of discouragement resulting from unanswered prayer. If I pray for a friend’s healing, and that healing does not occur, did my prayer fail? Did I not pray enough, or in the right way? Was there a phrase, a psalm, or a spiritual discipline I should have used which would have unlocked God’s righteous power upon my friend?

Prayers left unanswered seem to condemn us. During these times, we often harbor an unsettling question; “Does prayer really work?” Or, put another way, “Did prayer fail us, or did we fail prayer?” Neither option appears encouraging to our faith.

Is there a third option? Is there a way to faithfully believe that our prayers are powerful and effective, while at the same time giving voice to our frustrating prayer experiences? Can we believe that our prayers can cause miracles to occur, and still recognize that we may not see them take place? In short, if we want to believe that prayer never fails, what do we need to know about prayer to affirm this?

Prayer Is about God’s Will, Not Our Own
Prayer is not about you or me. Prayer is about the power and presence of God. This means that our experience of prayer might not be exactly what we wish it to be. Prayer is more about God’s will and plan than our own.

When the disciples ask Jesus to teach them to pray, he instructs them to pray “Our Father, hallowed be your name. Your kingdom come. Give us this day our daily bread” (Luke 11:2). This is the way Jesus himself prayed to the Father. Thus, it is a model upon which we build our own life of prayer. “The Lord’s Prayer” continues to govern the prayer-life of Christians to this day.

Because we are so familiar with these words, we often overlook the structure of the prayer itself. Jesus did not offer the disciples a simple poem to recite. Christ’s instruction highlights an important spiritual movement within prayer itself.

The first petition of the prayer is to pray that God establish God’s kingdom and will on earth, and in our lives. This sets the tone for everything else that follow. Essentially, we open ourselves to God’s will before we issue our petitions and requests. Prayer, at its heart is about aligning ourselves with God’s work in the world.

This is the prayer that Jesus himself modelled. When alone in the Garden of Gethsemane, just prior to his betrayal and crucifixion, Jesus prays that his upcoming death pass him by. Jesus offers a prayer about his own life, and his future experience of the cross.

Yet as he does so, Jesus grounds this prayer in the ultimate desire for God’s will to be fulfilled. “My Father,” he prays “if it is possible, may this cup be taken from me. Yet not as I will, but as you will” (Matthew 26:39). For Jesus, prayer was never about getting what he wanted, it was about living out the will of the Father.

If we wish to pray like Jesus, we can never make prayer about establishing our own kingdom. James writes “You do not have because you do not ask God. When you ask, you do not receive, because you ask with wrong motives that you may spend on what you get on your own pleasures” (James 4:2-3). It takes a certain amount of holy stubbornness to keep our vision on God’s will and kingdom.

Prayer Is about a Relationship, Not a Response
Our heartfelt desire for God to establish the kingdom frees us to pray for specific things in our lives. We long for the kingdom to be revealed in us, and through us. Such a longing not only informs what we pray for, it also gives us boldness in prayer. We can pray for healing.

We can pray for change of circumstances. We can pray for divine intervention. In doing so we are praying that God’s kingdom is revealed in these places. Such things are open and available to us precisely because God invites us to join in the work of the kingdom. This is part of the relational covenant we enjoy with God.

This relationship we have with the Lord, however, does not promise us that God will always respond in the way we would like. Occasionally, the will of God confronts us, and challenges us. The prophet Isaiah reminds us that God’s ways are beyond our ways, God’s thoughts beyond our thoughts (Isaiah 55:8).

Like a parent who cannot say “Yes” to every whim or wish of their child, God often moves in ways unexpected. This means, even our most holy and righteous requests need to be presented in humility.

Like Job crying out God, sometimes the Lord does not always provide answers to our questions; like Jesus responding to the death of Lazarus, sometimes Christ’s response appears delayed. These are experiences we all walk through.

Yet none of these experiences mean that our prayers have failed. What these experiences point us to is that God is active beyond the limit of our finite understanding, perception, or desire.

The true grace in prayer is not that we always get what we want. The true grace, extended to us by our heavenly Father, is that there is nothing that cannot be voiced. There is no request, lament, petition, or prayer that God will not receive in love. Ultimately, prayer is never about the response we receive; it is always about the relationship we enjoy with our savior.

There Is No Secret
The fact of the matter is there are no secrets loop-holes for prayer. Yes, God dwells close in prayer; yes, we can hear God’s voice; yes, God answers prayer. These are promises rooted in scripture. While these are a reality for us, they do not dictate a prayer-experience of perpetual positivity.

Could it be that our struggles in prayer challenge us to move past a myopic, self-pleasing understanding of prayer? After all, a prayer-life that is safe and comfortable rarely transforms our lives.

Struggles with prayer encourage us to push past a desire to chase after easy answers and comfortable feelings. True prayer is not dependent on an emotional experience. Believing that praying rightly somehow equates to warm and fuzzy emotions, or a divine “yes” to every request, is misguided. This is to set our vision on ourselves, instead of the presence and will of God.

Prayer is a journey; it is not a skill we master. Prayer, for the follower of Jesus is a way of being, an internal movement of heart and spirit through which we respond to the Lord’s presence in us, and in the world.

We need to recapture the radical notion that struggles in prayer may, in fact, be an invitation to journey deeper into the kingdom. Prayer is not simply something that we add onto our lives, it is the very ground out of which our life grows. To be frustrated with prayer is to be formed by it.

Christian prayer involves wrestling. It involves lament. It involves argumentation. It involves persistence. We see this in the lives of the faithful men and women of scripture. We should not, therefore, be discouraged or disheartened when it occurs for us.

Prayer places us before the Lord, who, at times, confronts, and challenges us. Prayer never fails because prayer, at its foundation, is about reaching out to Jesus. And because Jesus never fails, so too can we be confident in our prayers.

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