On our own, few of us can do much that we would call “amazing”. But, bring God into the equation and suddenly anything is possible. When we pray, amazing things become more likely because we are asking an amazing God to act.
- “And the Lord said to him: “I have heard your prayer and your supplication that you have made before Me; I have consecrated this house which you have built to put My name there forever, and My eyes and My heart will be there perpetually” (1 Kings 9:3, NKJV)
- “I, the Lord, the God of your ancestor David, have heard your prayer and seen your tears. I will heal you, and in three days you will go to the Temple. I will let you live fifteen years longer. I will rescue you and this city Jerusalem from the emperor of Assyria. I will defend this city, for the sake of my own honor and because of the promise I made to my servant David.” (2 Kings 20:5-6, GNT)
- “As soon as you began to pray, an answer was given, which I have come to tell you” (Daniel 9:23, NIV)
- “For everyone who asks, receives. Everyone who seeks, finds. And to everyone who knocks, the door will be opened.” (Matthew 7:8, NLT)
- “And if you ask for anything in my name, I will do it for you so that the Father’s glory will be shown through the Son.” (John 14:13, NCV)
- “After they prayed, the place where they were meeting was shaken. And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and spoke the word of God boldly.” (Acts 4:31, NIV)
- “If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask God, who gives generously to all without reproach, and it will be given him.” (James 1:5, ESV)
- “pray for each other so that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person is powerful and effective. Elijah was a human being, even as we are. He prayed earnestly that it would not rain, and it did not rain on the land for three and a half years. Again he prayed, and the heavens gave rain, and the earth produced its crops.” (James 5:16-18, TNIV)
In response to prayer, God has promised His presence, healed, granted wisdom and knowledge, sent angels and done miracles of all kinds. We are encouraged to pray expectantly, with faith, believing that our God still acts in amazing ways today.
Anyone who has ever prayed knows that for whatever reason these amazing responses to prayer don’t happen every single time. Jesus prayed in Gethsemane that he be allowed to escape his impending crucifixion, but that didn’t happen. Sometimes we must accept God’s will as not being the answer we want. His will is what is best for us and although it may at times be His will to heal or grant a way out, for example, equally it might sometimes not be.
Yet, just because amazing things don’t happen every time doesn’t mean we should give up or simply turn our prayer times into nothing more than telling God about our day and fatalistically leaving it all up to Him. The examples of many biblical characters, including Abraham (Genesis 18:16-33) and Jacob (Genesis 32:22-30), suggest that we should wrestle with God, asking for things to happen rather than succumb to fatalism.
Every time we pray, something amazing does in fact happen – God listens. The Ruler of the universe cares about what we have to say, cares about how we feel and cares about what happens to us and this world. Even if we don’t see something miraculous or incredible happen very often, it is still amazing to know that God listens to us.
Let’s not give up believing that God still does amazing things when we pray. Do share any stories you have that might encourage others. Hold on to the hope that God can change things. Keep praying and one day you may experience something truly amazing.
© Joe Lenton, July 2012
Thank you for your post. It both fills us with fresh courage and faith and determination, and also raises a question few seem to have a satisfactory answer for. In a future post I hope you might address the question of “At which point do we accept God’s will as not being the answer we want? Is there a point when we must change our prayer in response to that? And how may we determine that that moment has come, rather than carry on wrestling with the prayer which is not God’s will?” This is a challenge I believe many would appreciate practical help with!
Thanks for the suggestion. I may well write some thoughts on that at some point, although I wouldn’t claim to have a definitive answer – I think there is much mystery involved in our dealings with God!