As born-again Christians, we believe that God is in control and that His will is done. Why, then should we pray?
We should pray because His Word commands us to (Psalm 62:8; Luke 11:9-10; 1 Thessalonians 5:17), as an act of worship pleasing to Him, and because it changes us. Our prayers should not be directed toward changing God’s mind, since we know God does not change (Hebrews 13:8), but to align our mind and heart with the indwelling mind of Christ (1 Corinthians 2:16; Philippians 2:5).
God always answers the prayers of His children who are right in their heart attitude toward Him (Isaiah 65:24), meaning they are not coming in rebellion or lusting after the flesh (James 4:3), but rather in humble submission, earnestly seeking God’s will and His face. Sometimes He answers “Yes,” sometimes “No,” sometimes “Yes, but in the right time,” and sometimes “No, because what I want to give you is even better than what you have asked for.”
It pleases God to give good and perfect gifts to His children (Luke 11:13), so if we ask Him to meet our needs in accordance with His perfect will, we can expect to be blessed. The clearest example of this is the sinner’s prayer, which is one prayer God will always answer “Yes!” because it is His perfect will that all should be saved. When the lost person realizes he is a sinner, turns away from his sin, and trusts in Christ as the Son of God, the perfect sacrifice for our sins Who died on the cross, was buried, and rose again that we also may have eternal life, God will save him.
However, the blessing we receive from prayer may not always be what we had prayed for, and it may even seem to our limited vantage point to be quite the opposite. When we ask for healing of our loved one who is sick, and that person dies, we may despair that God has not heard our prayer or cared enough for us to answer it as we had hoped. Yet if that person was saved, God has indeed given him perfect healing and perfect peace, and he will use the situation to bring good into the lives of others in ways that we cannot begin to understand until we reach glory (Romans 8:28).
Paul asked God three times to take away his “thorn in the flesh,” a physical ailment that brought him great distress, but that kept his pride in check. God said “No,” because the lesson Paul learned of God’s grace being sufficient was a far greater blessing than physical healing would have been. This lesson enabled him to rejoice and be fruitful even when imprisoned, abandoned, and in other dire straits, because he was relying on God’s strength instead of trusting in his own flesh (2 Corinthians 12:7-9).
God the Father even said “No” to His own Son when Jesus asked that if it were possible, that the cup of suffering would pass from Him, yet the Son yielded to His Father’s will (Matt. 26:39).
God sometimes allows us to go through illness or other storms of life because they bring us closer to Him. If we seek His perfect will, He may sometimes calm the storm, as He did for His disciples in the boat on the troubled sea (Matthew 8: 24-27). But at other times, His perfect answer to our prayer may be to calm us instead, bringing us the peace that passes all understanding (Philippians 4:7) and the fellowship of His suffering that conforms us to the image of His Son (Philippians 3:10).
As we pray, the Holy Spirit intercedes for us, helping us to pray in accordance with God’s will even when we don’t know what to ask for (Romans 8:26). He will teach us to trust Him (Proverbs 3: 5-6), deepening our faith (Mark 11:22-24) as we accept that He knows what we need before we ask Him (Matthew 6:8), and that He will give us what is best for us (Jeremiah 29:11). Thank God for His infinite wisdom and infinite love, so that He answers our prayers in the best possible way!
Hi Laurie - amen for prayer. The older I get the more I realise there is so much power in prayer, seen and unseen and to pray because God says so.
Hi Tracy, Thanks for your comment. God is so faithful, and just this week in our Bible study class we have seen so many sweet answers to prayer -- not always what we had asked for, but always what we needed.
May God bless you and your ministry,
At first, I want thank You for Your prayers for me: this seminary went well. My teacher even thanked me for historical proofs for the Tower of Babel. They still think, that it is myth, but maybe these informations forced someone to think more seriously about God and Bible. In Poland education is full of naturalistic and materialist elements, so if someone talk something different, he or she can be even banned. This time almost everyone was kind.
And this is one more proof, that God answers our prayers! Some months ago I prayed for mother of my friend, who went to hospital - and operation of her mother was done well.
Thank You once more!
To too many people, prayer is a ritual, and a lot of books present it as such. In reality, it is like child talking to his parent. Good communication is essential for a good relationship. If it becomes a formality or ritual, or if it is always about our desires and demands, it ceases to be real communication, real prayer.
I do agree with you that God answers all of our prayers; even if we don't like the answer, but he does answer them indeed! It is the greatest privilege to be able to come to him in prayer, yet it is sometimes the hardest thing to do! great thoughts!
Wonderful post and excellent topic; a breath of fresh air and just what I needed to hear today, so thank you. Please pray for my co-worker Marisa; she is having a difficult home problem presently and is unsaved: which is a greater problem still. God bless.
Dear Zim, Praise God for His answered prayers for your seminary test and for your mother's friend! It is a blessing to hear how God is working through you to teach others about Bible truths. May He continue to bless your studies and your teaching.
Love in Christ,
Yes, too often we come to God with a "shopping list" of what we think we want, without even thanking Him for our many blessings, asking forgiveness of our sins, or seeking to pray in accordance with His perfect will.
Thanks as always for your insights. May you have a blessed week!
Love in Christ,
Hi Betty, It is amazing to me that the Creator of all not only is available to each of us 24/7 but actually desires fellowship with us! What an awesome privilege! It is hard to pray sometimes, but Praise God that He sent the Holy Spirit to intercede for us when we don't know what or how to pray.
I heard a wise theologian say that it's as if a child (us) gathers up a "bouquet" (prayers) to present to her Father (God), but it's filled with stinky weeds and thorns (bad thoughts, misguided "prayers.)" The child's mother (Holy Spirit) carefully removes the weeds and replaces them with beautiful flowers (prayers in alignment with God's will) before presenting them to the Father.
Praise God that He loves us so much! Have a blessed week!
Dear Ian, Thank you so much for the kind words and encouragement! We will pray for salvation for Marisa, and also for resolution of her home problems in accordance with His perfect will.
God bless you too!
So good to meet you, Laurie, and I appreciate your visiting me! You'll always reel me in with a topic like this! I love prayer and am amazed that God is eager to talk to me and wants me to talk to Him. His ways are the best and He answers us accordingly!
Hi Mary, Great to meet you too! Thanks so much for visiting, commenting and following! Thanks be to God for the astounding privilege of one-on-one fellowship with Him through prayer!
May you have a blessed week!
We don't always see how God is working in our prayers. That's where trust comes in...and I serve a God I can trust!
Amen, Pamela! God is faithful. We don't always understand it now, but we will in glory.
Thank God it is His will and not my will that will be done. Too often we think we know what's best, but as that passage from Jeremiah says he always gives us what is best for us. What a good reminder of how to pray!
~God Bless You~
Hi Never Forsaken, Thanks so much for your thoughtful comments. We wouldn't let our children play with guns or eat candy instead of breakfast, but then we don't understand why our Father doesn't always give us what we think we want. Praise God that He loves us enough to give us what we need instead.
God bless you too!
Thank you. I needed this today.
Hi Laurie, very good post.
"G-d always answers the prayers of His children who are right in their heart attitude toward Him"
HaShem is good, all-seeing, and give us all grants at the appropriate time.
Hi nicolewian, You're very welcome, and thanks for visiting and for your comment!
Hi Adelle, Welcome! Thanks so much for your kind words and thoughtful comment, and for following this blog! Praise Him for His infinite love and wisdom!
Blessings and peace to you both!
Prayer changes things, especially when it is a heart felt prayer and not a rote memorized one.
God is in the prayer answering business and he still performs miracles today.
Hello Laurie, nice to meet you. I cannot imagine not talking to God, I do it all the time and my adult children and I agree in pray all the time as well. Its amazing how somethings are answered very fast while others are put on hold. I came out of a thirty year marriage, a total wreck, but I know I am a much more humble person because of it. Strangely, I never prayed to get out. It just happened, I suppose it was the right time. God is so good!
Blessings to you from Ozzie land.
Hi to A Joyful Noise,
Amen! That is why Jesus warned against "vain repetitions" but gave us a model prayer emphasizing our relationship to and worship of God, our need for forgiveness, and the need for daily prayer. The challenges of each day change, and so should our heartfelt communication with Him.
Thanks so much for your comment. Praise God that He answers the prayers of His children!
Love in Christ,
Hi Crystal Mary,
Wonderful to meet you as well! Thanks so much for your comment. God is good, all the time, and His timing is always perfect!
May God bless you and your ministry!
Good lesson on prayer. I'm glad He knows what is best for us and doesn't always answer yes. As a Father, He wants us to talk to him and express our wants much as we want our children to talk to us and even if we know what they need, we like for them to express what they want.
Thank you for sharing this encouraging post.
Thanks, Charlotte, for the kind words and comment! I like your analogy of God being like a wise parent who wants His children to speak freely with Him. Praise God that He allows us to draw close to Him in prayer not only for our needs and desires, but even when we have sinned. God asked Adam where he was and what he had done, even though He clearly knew the answers, to restore communication between Himself and His children who had sinned.
Blessings to you and your ministry!
Laurie, I gave You blog award for Your blog! It is in mine. God bless You!
Dear Zim, Thank you so much for giving me this award! It is a great honor that I truly appreciate. And congratulations to you for your award! You have a beautiful blog that honors God with lovely photos and meaningful posts, and I would encourage all my followers to visit. You can get there by clicking on Zim's name or photo above, which goes to her profile, and then going to her blog link. There is even a widget that translates the blog from Polish to English!
Well done, Zim, and may God bless you richly for your faithfulness to honor Him!
Thank you for your comments and for following me, I am following you also. My son participated in ball room dancing although he did not win, it was lots of fun. I see you have your own ballroom!
Welcome to A Joyful Noise! Thanks so much for following! Yes, we opened Rhapsody Ballroom nearly 20 years ago, 9 years before we were saved. Now, one of our ministries is to dance to Christian songs to mostly unsaved audiences, as a way of getting the Gospel message into secular settings. Sometimes we perform to Christian lyrics that I have written and that I sing to popular or classical music. God has really blessed this ministry and enlarged its scope, and it is amazing to see how He was preparing us for this even long before we were saved! God is so good!
Blessings to you and to your son also!
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