Prayer is supposed to be one of the most important aspects of a Christian’s faith. Through prayer, we have unlimited, unblockable access to the ears of God. And, through prayer, He even speaks to us, whether through direct words, inspiration or the acts of others.
However, when you’re new to praying or if you’ve done it for a long time and feel it’s stale, you might have a hard time believing that prayers work. What we’d like to suggest is that prayer always works … just not necessarily the way you expect.
Why you might think prayer doesn’t work
Perhaps you think prayer is transactional. Perhaps you’ve been taught that if you don’t hear an immediate answer that you’re “doing it wrong” or “don’t have enough faith.”
The truth is, prayer is not transactional. Being a dedicated follower of Christ and praying fervently does not mean that God owes you a favor. God thinks in ways we cannot fathom. His thoughts are so beyond ours that He may be working out a response to your prayer or an action in your life that you don’t even realize.
Also, prayer is not subject to a measurable amount of faith. Jesus wants you to believe for yourself, not more or less fervently than anyone else. Your faith is yours, and God wants you to believe.
Jesus said, “If? There are no ‘ifs’ among believers. Anything can happen.”
No sooner were the words out of his mouth than the father cried, “Then I believe. Help me with my doubts!”
- Mark 9:23-24 (MSG)
Even when this is hard, He still hears your prayers, and still responds, even in ways you don’t expect.
Why prayer works
Prayer always works in one sense because it is always heard. God does not turn His ear away from the praises, questions, concerns, pain and lamenting of His children.
Praying without expectation is always powerful. When you pray with expectation, you’re praying transactionally and expecting results. Pray for prayer’s sake, for communing with the Lord and simply trusting in His will and good plans for you.
Additionally, pray when you mean it. Mouthing empty words along with a congregation during a service does not enrich your soul or open your heart to God. Praying with groups can be great, but just be sure your heart is in it, and when you’re praying alone too.
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