Posted by: glorifyhim1 | February 6, 2015

Does Prayer Really Work?

Does Prayer Really Work?

 

Does prayer really work? This week I’ve promised to pray for quite a few people, some who are facing serious challenges. In addition, the mayhem we witness in the world around us from plane crashes, train wrecks, and natural disasters to unbelievable acts of terrorism, all scream out for prayer. But does it really work? And if it does, then how do we explain the countless prayers that seem to go unanswered? Could it be that we’ve got this prayer thing all wrong?

 

I think I can safely say that most believers have struggled with the issue of prayer. And while I can’t speak for other believers, I can say that for me, personally, it is those very struggles that have helped me to know that yes, prayer does indeed work. At the same time, however, those same struggles have also confirmed to me that I’ve often had this prayer thing all wrong. And between these two extremes, I’m come to know both the wonder and privilege of prayer.

 

Luke tells us that one day after Jesus had prayed, one of the disciples asked Him: “Lord, teach us to pray, as John also taught his disciples” (Luke 11:1b).

 

“So He said to them, ‘When you pray, say:

Our Father in heaven,
Hallowed be Your name.
Your kingdom come.
Your will be done
On earth as it is in heaven.
Give us day by day our daily bread.
 And forgive us our sins,
For we also forgive everyone who is indebted to us.
And do not lead us into temptation,
But deliver us from the evil one.’”

(Luke 11:2-4)

 

 

It seems like such a simple prayer, but, oh, it says so much. Look with me at just a few of the things that this simple prayer points out to us when we pray.

 

  • Our Father in heaven, Hallowed be Your name.

When we hallow our Father’s name, we honor Him as holy. We revere and respect all that His name represents.

 

  • Your kingdom come.
    Surely, we are praying for God’s kingdom to finally be realized and for Christ to reign. But when we say these words, we need to ask ourselves what we are doing to advance His kingdom. Am I praying, witnessing, and living my life in a way that can help God’s kingdom?

 

  • Your will be done on earth as it is in heaven.
    Praying for God’s will indicates that we should be renouncing anything that is counter to His Word and teaching. We should be living in obedience to God.

 

  • Give us day by day our daily bread.

When I bring my daily needs before my Heavenly Father, I recognize Him as the ultimate giver and provider of my physical needs. But I also realize that he gives me work and provides opportunities for me to meet those needs.

 

  • And forgive us our sins

Daily, we have battles that we win and lose. We mess up and make wrong choices. Although Jesus is constantly interceding for the believer in Heaven (see Romans 8:34), we need to recognize that unconfessed sin separates us from God. We must consistently confess our sin and seek cleansing.

 

  • For we also forgive everyone who is indebted to us.

As we seek God’s unending forgiveness, we are reminded of our need to extend the same mercy and forgiveness to others.

 

  • And do not lead us into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one.

We pray daily for God’s protection and deliverance, recognizing that we are no match for Satan and the temptations he hurls our way. We bring every temptation and trial straight to God.

 

Praying the way Jesus taught demands that we come to God in faith, believing that He is a God we can trust with every aspect of our lives. He provides our daily bread, forgives us of our sin, and enables and delivers us during our times of testing and trial.

 

But praying the way Jesus taught also requires that we take an honest look at ourselves in relation to our Holy Father. Does my life help others see my Father more clearly? Do I hallow His name with my life? Do I seek to promote God’s kingdom on earth in my attitudes and actions? Do I do what God asks of me to meet the needs of others? In other words, could I be God’s answer or means of providing for another one of his children? Am I honest about my sin with God? Do I agree with Him about my sin and sincerely seek to be forgiven and cleansed? Do I honestly relinquish past hurts and forgive those who have sinned against me, or do I withhold my forgiveness until I feel they deserve it? And finally, do I daily dress up in the Armor of God (Ephesians 6:10-18) recognizing that I am no match for Satan and his schemes?

 

Yes, I’ve learned that prayer indeed works, but perhaps not always the way I thought or expected it to work. Sometimes answers have come in miraculous ways. At other times answers have come as God tenderly walked with me through my struggle, strengthening and enabling me. At these times, I’m learning that I need to be praying for the miracles that He may be working in other realms that I cannot see or understand – as He works even the bad things out for good (see Romans 8:28). And at still other times, answers may come as God works in me to be the answer to someone needing to see the hand and heart of Christ.

 

I can remember, as a child, my first bumbling attempts at prayer. I didn’t know how to pray, but now I know that even then God was listening and drawing me to Himself. There are so many things that I have talked over with God through the years. As I look back over my life today I can see how He faithfully answered many of those prayers in ways that I can see. There are some things that I still don’t really understand, but through the tears and struggle, He has given me peace. There’s much in the spiritual realm that I know I’ll never be able to fully comprehend and understand, but I do know that prayer works, my friend. It works in advancing God’s kingdom. It works in the lives of those for whom we pray, and it works in us. And prayer surely works in all those invisible realms that we will one day see. What a privilege to pray!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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