Tuesday, September 01, 2009

Can Prayer Really Change Things?

Can prayer really change things? Does God hear us? Does he care? Does he bring faster, more complete healing to people sometimes when we have prayed for them? Does his arm of safety reach out to people for whom others have prayed? What impact does prayer have on the actions of God and the future of our lives?

Those of us who have prayed a lot know that we don't always receive what we've requested from the hand of God. We've had people whom we loved, and for whom we prayed fervently, continue in sickness and die – even while we prayed.

Yet, those of us who have prayed a lot also know that there have been times when we have made requests out of desperate hope and experienced something great for which we have to thank God with a heartfelt "Hallelujah!" Praise God!

It's difficult to balance out truths like his ways are not our ways (Isaiah 55:8-9) and "the prayer of a righteous man is powerful and effective" (James 5:16). We must trust him, and in our trust we will not stop praying! That's Life at Work!

What have you prayed for and received a tremendous answer from God? What have you prayed for, but didn't get what you requested; and how are you dealing with that?


Tim Archer said...

Surely this is one of the great questions of Christianity. Do we dare believe in prayer? When we say, "All we can do is pray," are we saying that all hope is gone? Or do we mean that we still have our greatest hope?

One of my favorite faith stories happened in Argentina. One of our sisters had an alcoholic, abusive husband. We were praying for some way to help her, when it struck me that we should be praying for him. We began to pray for him that night. The very next day, when someone went to their house, he met them with tears running down his cheeks, saying that he wanted to change his life. I refuse to see it as coincidence.

Grace and peace,
Tim Archer

Josh K. said...

This is one of the most troubling questions of life in my opinion. We have to admit that God isn't consistent with how he answers prayer (and he never promised he would be, I suppose.)

I guess the question is this: if I pray for something to happen, does that increase the chance of it happening? If I pray for a loved one to be healed, do they have a better chance of getting better? If 1,000 people pray for them to be healed, does that increase the chances even more? I don't think either question can be answered "yes." So that leaves me wondering about the value of intercessory prayer. Cynical? perhaps. But it's the reality I've come to accept.

Terrie said...

Wow! This subject is very thought provoking. And yes I have had a wonderful answer to my prayers before that was just unbelievable! It was while Jonathan was in college at OC, the summer before his junior year. We had already put Amy through school at OC and Jonathan was half way through, but, the expense was just overwhelming (you know this! :-)) So, we were talking in private and wondering How we were going to send April to college there, and how were we going to tell her she couldn't go, because she wanted to go there so bad! I was working at the Yukon Head Start and I was very unhappy there. I had interviewed for several jobs over the past couple of years, at OC, in hopes of getting a job there and getting a staff discount, to help with the expense and was praying constantly that I would be able to get a job there. But, nothing was working out for me. Then the beginning of August I got a packet from Head Start telling us the schedule for starting school, and what was in store for us and would start in a week's time, and I just broke into tears! I called Tom and told him about it and just cried and said how I hated this job and didn't know what to do. He told me to call them and tell them that I was quitting! I said "But, what will we do?" He said that I could find another job and everything would be ok until that happened. He told me to have Faith that God would make it work out. So, after saying another prayer, I called them and told them and they were very understanding and wished me luck. Then within 30 minutes a guy from the business office at OC called me and asked me if I was still interested in the last job I had interviewed for. I told him "Yes" while my heart did a little dance in my chest, and he asked if I could come on Monday morning. I told him I could and asked if this was for another interview and he said, "No, this is to go to work." I said I could be there, said goodbye, hung up the phone, and screamed and fell to my knees and said "Hallelujah! Praise God!" April came running and asked what had happened! It was so unbelievable! I felt like as soon as I showed my faith that God would answer my prayers, and quit my job, that He had answered my prayers! That job was the greatest job I had ever had!