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Prayer Can Change Things

May 6, 2020 |

Jesus spent a lot of time in prayer during His earthly ministry. He prayed for Himself (see John 17:1–5). He prayed for His disciples (see John 17:6–26). With His dying breath, He prayed for His enemies (see Luke 23:34).

The apostle Paul was a prayer warrior as well. In almost every one of his New Testament epistles, he talks about praying for the recipients of his letters. In 2 Timothy 1:3 he writes, “Without ceasing I remember you in my prayers night and day.” In 1 Thessalonians 5:17, he instructs the Thessalonian believers to “pray without ceasing.”

From a certain perspective, then, the conclusion seems obvious. Neither Jesus nor Paul would have invested such time and energy in a pursuit that ultimately made no difference. So prayer must change things, somehow.

On the other hand, anyone who’s ever lost a loved one or struggled for years—despite continuous, fervent prayers—may question whether prayer changes anything at all. Perhaps the best way to reconcile these opposing positions is to say that prayer can change things in one of three ways.

Prayer Can Change Things in Bold, Dramatic Ways

In Matthew 17:20, Jesus says, “For assuredly, I say to you, if you have faith as a mustard seed, you will say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it will move; and nothing will be impossible for you.” Occasionally, God gives us stark evidence of prayer’s extraordinary power. His demonstrations rarely, if ever, involve a displaced mountain. Instead, they involve everything from a sudden cancer remission to an unexpected job offer to a reconciliation that seemed impossible.

These answered prayers tend to have a polarizing effect. On the one hand, the people whose prayers are answered have something for which they can praise God for the rest of their lives. They have evidence on which to build their faith. Other people, whose prayers seemingly weren’t answered, may wonder why God refuses to work in such a dramatic way in their lives.

As time passes, even the people who did experience a dramatic answer to prayer may wonder why God doesn’t answer other requests in a similar manner. That may explain why such sudden, dramatic answers to prayer are relatively rare.

Prayer Can Change Things in Increments

Prayer can change things in gradual, sometimes imperceptible, ways. The apostle Paul, as we mentioned earlier, prayed for the believers in Rome, Corinth, Galatia, Ephesus, Philippi, Colosse, Thessalonica, and elsewhere. Based on certain passages in his letters, we can conclude that his prayers were answered. Yet the changes he prayed for in people’s lives didn’t happen overnight. They occurred as part of their spiritual growth.

Likewise, when you pray to become more like Christ, God doesn’t immediately imbue you with a dozen Christlike qualities. When you pray for patience, courage, or discipline, He doesn’t immediately gift you with the patience of Job, the courage of David, or the discipline of Daniel. Instead, He gives you opportunities to grow in a particular area. He allows you to face circumstances that call for patience, courage, or wisdom, and He guides you through them.

Sometimes we fall into the trap of praying for just enough from God to become independent of Him. We ask Him to answer our prayers fully and immediately so that we won’t have to turn to Him again. But that’s not what He wants for us.

Look at the way He answered the Israelites’ prayers for food in the wilderness in Exodus 16. He didn’t fill their tents with a year’s supply of manna. Instead, He sent a day’s worth for them to collect and enjoy. God’s desire is for His people to turn to Him daily for our provisions. So He often answers our prayers in ways that bring us back to Him day after day.

Prayer Can Change Us

This is the aspect of prayer that largely goes unexplored in our search for answered requests. When we pray, our ultimate aim is to align our will with God’s. The problem is, we often go about it by trying to bend His will to fit ours. When that doesn’t happen, we question the efficiency of prayer or accuse God of not caring for us.

However, if we stay faithful to Him and continue to pray, in time He will bend our will to fit His. He will work in and through us to change our hearts. He will open our eyes to His work. He will give us the wisdom to recognize the perfection of His plan. He will loosen our grip on our own expectations.

Look at Matthew 26:36–39 for context. After Jesus prayed in the Garden of Gethsemane for God to remove the cup of suffering from Him, He was ready to face what lay ahead. Yet God had not removed the cup of suffering from Him. The physical and spiritual agony of the crucifixion still awaited Him. Jesus’ prayer had not changed His circumstances, but it had changed His spirit.

The reason is that Jesus’ other request had been granted. After He prayed for the cup of suffering to be removed, He added these words: “Nevertheless, not as I will, but as You will.” His second, and primary, request was that God’s will would be accomplished through Him. And that’s exactly what was going to happen through His crucifixion.

That’s all the assurance Jesus needed for His spirit to be revived. His prayer created a change because His will was aligned with God’s.

54 comments on “Prayer Can Change Things

  1. Dominic Ray Gonzaga says:

    I’ve been blessed reading this. Thank you!

    1. Amanda Tanuvasa says:

      Thank you for such insight and confirmation. Praise God I can testify that I have been blessed to be a recipient of many answered prayers. God’s timing is ALWAYS perfect.

  2. Bah Armstrong says:

    Very beautiful and elaborate message on prayer. It is well loaded and edifying.

  3. Kambiz Nasseri pourtoussi says:

    Thank you that was a good reas

  4. Ann kibathi says:

    This has encouraged me on prayers and have also learnt about prayer and expectations after praying.

  5. Ronald Kazira says:

    Powerful encouragement, I’ve learned to pray through God’s will!
    God bless yo ministry!

  6. Claudia says:

    Thanks

  7. Marvin says:

    Amazing. That is how I feel but after reading I felt a comfort.

  8. Angai says:

    Useful one

  9. Mencotti Karen says:

    This is one of the greatest challenges I face when talking to atheists and agnostics. “Why does God allow suffering?” and,”Why didn’t God answer my prayers?”
    The two questions are related, I think. A failure on our part to recognize that God is beyond our understanding. He sees the Big Picture that we can’t. Our minds are not capable of grasping the enormity of God.

  10. Edith Minnicks says:

    Great article, which I will read again and pass on to others. Thank you.

  11. Latonya Fuller says:

    Thank you for this powerful lesson on prayer. I am constantly learning how PRAYER changes things. I had a Pastor who once taught how Prayer changes, things, situations, conditions and people. I so understand how prayer changes things in increments as it does me. As I mature in Christ as I lay before Him wholeheartedly I begin to visualize His will and release my will to line up with God’s. Again, thank you so much for this powerful teaching on prayer. It has really opened up my understanding this morning.

  12. Brenda Braden says:

    Prayer does change things in God’s time not mine. I know I might not see my prayers answered, but I will continue to have fair8 that God will listen to them all

  13. David H Cole says:

    Good

  14. Ryan Scheffler says:

    This is such a beautiful reminder of the power of prayer and so encouraging to those who have forgotten that our will should align with God’s will. Thank you for these words of encouragement. May God bless us all.

  15. Lr says:

    This was a great blessing for me today.

    1. Agatha Ayemere-Okojie says:

      This is a very encouraging words of God. It reminds us that with God all things are possible, we have to put our trust in Jesus knowing He is the alpha and omega.

  16. Mwansa says:

    Of late I have found myself praying and asking God to give me just enough but not that I want to become independent of Him, but to trust in Him even more….

  17. Yvonne Kolinski says:

    I believe prayer changes things when we are praying in the perfect will of God the Father.

    1. CAPTAIN MULEHI says:

      Powerful article. I have been blessed and challenge .

  18. Elizabeth Etteh says:

    Thank you for the write up. It has encouraged me to pray even more. Often our focus is more on our problem and desired solution than our relationship with God. This I believe will help people understand better.

  19. Elizabeth Etteh says:

    Thank you for the write up. It has encouraged me to pray even more. Often our focus is more on our problem and desired solution than our relationship with God. This I believe will help people understand better.
    This my first time of responding to this. Check properly,please

  20. Hannah Miller says:

    This was absolutely wonderful and much needed for me today.
    I do trust God perfect will in my life .
    I so enjoyed the explanation of when Jesus was praying to his father to let the cup pass from him but he knew what he had to do

  21. Comfort Oyenekan says:

    11 May 2020 I believe Prayer walks when are you pray according to the will of God for your life and with open mind also believe that’s it we walk .prayer walks that is why we pray and I believe in prayer many thanks

  22. Abel Modungwa says:

    The text answered my concern that though i believe i will be ansswered it was taking long. may His plan be done about my life.

  23. Catherine a Nkhoma says:

    Thank you

  24. mark mullins says:

    Whatever is in a man’s heart the Mind follows let God’s will be done whatever HE Infuse in man spirit So be it

  25. Yvonne Muse says:

    Thanks for the lesson on prayer, I’m in tune with the word of God. I often pray not my will but thy will be done. Thanks you , I really needed to read this today!!!

  26. Josephine says:

    Great piece. Very clear. After reading this I now understand the relationship between the word of God, our prayers and God’s will. God bless you for opening my spiritual eyes to this very important topic.

  27. JAMES KARIUKI says:

    Very encouraging

  28. Marie O says:

    What an eye opener that even before we pray, God Knows our needs and has a plan for our lives. He loves us to the point where He only wants the best for us. Thank you for inspiring me to intensify my prayer life.

  29. Gideon Koroka says:

    Praise the Lord for the powerful straight forward reading. I am blessed beyond because I am in my prayer season, thus this gives me immense push towards God’s pressence through prayer without ceasing and according to his will.

  30. Tina says:

    I believe prayer should be part of our kingdom community and us for me prayer is my life in Christ Jesus thanks for this wonderful blessed May our God blessed you all

  31. Louis says:

    Yes indeed Prayer Changes Things. We may not understand how God works. His ways are different from us. Hold on, steadfast surely Prayer will change our lives. Blessing to me.

  32. nomboniso Madolo says:

    prayer works. God want us to pray according to his will and have faith in him. be still and wait in him.

  33. Thembisa says:

    Thanks for your information it helped me a lot, and to be patient

  34. Dee says:

    This is very refreshing and amazing. Some times we pray for God to change things in our life for our own benefits, we turn to forget to pray for his will be done.

    L

  35. Sushila FRANCIS says:

    Thank you for this word on prayer . I am asked this question all the time why Gods not answering my prayers . Then they say what’s the use of praying because He’s not answering me . So many people have lost hope because they feel God don’t care about them . Thank you will send this word on prayers to all of them . God bless you for all you do.

  36. Akpa Benjamin Samuel says:

    This is powerful. The power of prayer influences changes in our lives & activities.

    1. Myron says:

      Praise YAHVAH-YHVH THIS IS VERY POWERFUL IT HAS GIVEN ME INSIGHT AND CONFIRMATION. It is YAHVAH’S will and His word is His will. Stand on the promises not the process. Aman, Amen, and OMEIN

  37. Phil says:

    I am blessed by these words and yes I believe that prayer has changed my life

  38. Steve Sedems says:

    Amazing!!! Am blessed and encouraged to pray more… Can’t stop now. thanks

  39. Christina Henderson says:

    Very encouraging.

  40. Denise says:

    Today of all days I needed this scripture

  41. Adeline says:

    God do answer prayer, what I have learnt is that, we need to be patience because God’s timing is not our timing for His thoughts and ways are above. Thanks for reminding us that God answer prayers if we are not praying amiss.

  42. Adeline says:

    Prayer changes things, what I have learnt is that, we need to be patience because God’s timing is not our timing for His thoughts and ways are above us. Thanks for reminding us that God answer prayers if we are not praying amiss.

  43. Miriam Harris says:

    Thanks for encouraging me to keep praying, and not to give up!!

  44. Okateun says:

    Thank you for encouraging me. We will understand better when we see Him.

  45. Owusu-Ansah Yaw says:

    This article has been all Christians who have had the chance to read it. It is so inspirational and enlightening.

  46. Oladeji, Peter says:

    I believe that prayer changes issue of life

  47. Virginia says:

    Thank u for teaching n encouraging us abt prayer. I really need this n to get closer n closer to God.

  48. Ashley woods says:

    The 2 things that stuck out to me was Prayer can change things in Increments and prayer can change us. They really spoke to my heart.

  49. Dorcas Mojekwu says:

    However, if we stay faithful to Him and continue to pray, in time He will bend our will to fit His. He will work in and through us to change our hearts. He will open our eyes to His work. He will give us the wisdom to recognize the perfection of His plan. He will loosen our grip on our own expectations. *THIS THE CONCLUSION OF THE MATTER!* I AM REALLY BLESSED BY THIS INSPIRATION..GOD BLESS YOU!

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