Does Prayer Really Work?

The Lord is at hand; do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”  – Philippians 4:5-7

So, to me this verse explains to us how we can accept the gift of God’s peace in our lives, by staying in prayer, and by being thankful in all things (good and bad). Jesus wants to be center stage in our lives, and not just a part of us when we cry out during a difficult life segment. God the Father very much wants to be the first one we run to in the good and the bad. In Matthew 6 and Luke 11, Jesus shares with us HOW to pray, by giving us The Lord’s Prayer.

Our Father which art in heaven, Hallowed by thy name.
Thy kingdom come, thy will be done on earth, as it is in heaven.
Give us this day our daily bread.
And forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors.
And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil:
For thine is the kingdom, and the power and the glory, forever and ever…Amen.

There are certainly times when we as humans can relate to Psalm 22:1 when Jesus said,

“My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?”

More than once I’ve shouted and mumbled in exasperation to God, and said, “Really?! What next?!”

So, some of you may be new to prayer, or may feel intimidated by it, or are uncertain of how to pray. One method that’s helpful, is to pray bible verses. Martin Luther believed that bible study and prayer are intertwined…meaning we need both. I agree with him. We should pray as we study our bibles, and likewise our time well spent in bible study should influence our prayers. Martin Luther suggested to pray scripture effectively, could be done in four sections:

  1. Instruction: what is God teaching me in this scripture passage?
  2. Thanksgiving: what am I thankful for that God has provided?
  3. Confession: what sinful behavior(s) do I need to confess and repent to God for?
  4. Petition: what’s my response to God in this scripture verse?

Another great verse on the topic of prayer comes from 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18:

“Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances;
for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.”

So, this suggests we are to literally thank God in all the good and the bad here in life and do so all the time. To say this a bit differently would also mean that we are to thank God aloud and embrace the difficulties and challenges and struggles we each encounter here along the way. We are to look for how God is here both in and among us and here during these ups and downs. We are called to literally glorify Him in all things.

In these turbulent times 2 Chronicles 7:14 helps us as well when contemplating prayer:

“If my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and I will forgive their sin and will heal their land.”

This verse simply speaks volumes to me quite often these days. So, if we’re at all concerned with blatant wickedness in the world, John 17:15 is very helpful to ponder….

“My prayer is not that you take them out of the world but that you protect them from the evil one.”

We can and should pray for God’s hedge of protection around all of us here on earth.

So, if you’ve ever wondered if prayer works, rest assured it always does. We’ve each overheard Satan declare our prayers as a waste of time, and that we are each unworthy, and that God isn’t even listening. These are ALL lies. Prayer works because God is in control. The basis of all miracles is God’s wisdom and goodness and loving nature, as well as his generous character. We can rest assured that God has a way better perspective of our circumstances than what we have. God knows what is best for each of us. He sees our future. We can’t do that.

In the New Testament, we find the word “ASK” twenty times!  I remain encouraged and joyful that things may be out of my control but are not out of God’s control. We can each pray and expect God hears each of us and is FOR us.

As Christians we each go through difficulties, and yet still have great hope. Those who aren’t Christians and are having trouble along with the rest of us, have little to no hope by comparison. As believers of Jesus Christ, we become not just special…but extraordinary.

The world around us consumes us when we are full and leaves us empty. By contrast, Jesus takes each of us empty, and leaves us brimming full.

Prayer is the key to our hope and joy. Start today making prayer part of your daily walk.


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