Prayer moves the heart of God. It’s so powerful that it can change the way God acts. What a shocking statement! We have been given a fantastic opportunity to come before the living God to converse with Him, and yet prayer is one of the most underutilized elements of the Christian walk.
What is Prayer?
Prayer is the essential communication link between the visible and the invisible world.
Prayer is the primary way for the believer in Jesus Christ to communicate their emotions and desires with God and to fellowship with God. It is a device God gives for connection with Him because without it, there is no communication. This access is available, but it must be utilized.
Prayer is releasing what God has intended to do.
In Genesis 1:26, we see the Lord declare over mankind, “And let them have dominion.” He created man in His image to act on His behalf in the visible realm as the Lord acts in the invisible realm. God created us like Him so we could communicate with Him to exercise His will in history. Man was dubbed his legal representative in history. God wants to work on earth but like invisible sound waves, he wants to do it through a vehicle to take what is invisible and make it visible.
Why does God want us to Pray?
Prayer expresses our trust in God and is a means by which our trust in Him can increase. As children look to their fathers to provide for them, so God expects us to look to Him in prayer. Since God is our Father, we should ask in faith. Jesus says, “Whatever you ask in prayer, you will receive, if you have faith” (Matthew 21:22, Mark 11:24, James 1:6–8, 5:14–15). Humble, trusting people pray. Self-reliant people do not.
Prayer brings us into deeper fellowship with God, and He loves us and delights in our fellowship with Him.
In prayer God desires to partner with us to be involved in activities that are eternally important. When we pray, the work of the kingdom is advanced. In this way, prayer gives us opportunity to be involved in a significant way in the work of the kingdom and gives expression to our greatness as creatures made in God’s image.
Reasons We Don’t Pray:
We allow the enemy to mess with our thinking about prayer. The enemy knows how powerful prayer is, so he lies to us in hopes that he can prevent the prayers of the saints from furthering the kingdom of God.
If you really believed that spending time in prayer would change things, you would prioritize prayer in your life. If you really believed spending time in prayer would bring revival, you would pray more. If you really believed prayer would transform your marriage, kids, and city, you would pray more. There are people that would rather spend 10 minutes online looking for a solution instead of spending that 10 minutes going to the God of the solution.
Complacency is a very dangerous place to live. Beware of the flesh nature that wants to bury its head in the sand and act as if everything is fine.
Why We Should Pray:
Prayer Changes the Way God Acts
Failure to ask deprives us of what God would otherwise have given to us. We pray, and God responds.
“Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God.”
“And I tell you, ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives, and the one who seeks finds, and to the one who knocks it will be opened.”
There is a clear connection between seeking things from God and receiving them. When we ask, God responds. We see this happening many times in the Old Testament. The Lord declared to Moses that he would destroy the people of Israel for their sin, but Moses went to prayer.
“And the Lord said to Moses, “I have seen this people, and behold, it is a stiff-necked people. Now therefore let me alone, that my wrath may burn hot against them and I may consume them, in order that I may make a great nation of you.” But Moses implored the Lord his God and said, “O Lord, why does your wrath burn hot against your people, whom you have brought out of the land of Egypt with great power and with a mighty hand? Why should the Egyptians say, ‘With evil intent did he bring them out, to kill them in the mountains and to consume them from the face of the earth’? Turn from your burning anger and relent from this disaster against your people. And the Lord relented from the disaster that he had spoken of bringing on his people.” -Exodus 32:9–12, 14
In verse 14, we see the word relented. This word shows up 108 times in Old Testament, and 41 of those times it means to repent or change your mind. God changed His mind because Moses prayed. Moses’ appeal for God to change His mind succeeded because God had only threatened judgment, not decreed it. A divine intention is not an unchangeable divine decree. A divine intention is conditional depending on how the listeners respond. A divine decree is a sworn declaration that is unconditional no matter how the listeners respond.
When God threatens to punish His people for their sins He declares,
“If my people who are called by my name humble themselves, and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and heal their land.” -2 Chronicles 7:14
If and when God’s people pray (with humility and repentance), then he will hear and forgive them. The prayers of his people clearly affect how God acts.
“If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” -1 John 1:9
We confess, and then He forgives. If we were really convinced that prayer changes the way God acts, and that God does bring about remarkable changes in the world in response to prayer, as Scripture repeatedly teaches that He does, then we would pray much more than we do. If we pray little, it is probably because we do not really believe that prayer accomplishes much at all.
The good things that happen in your life are because your will exercises God’s will to accomplish good in your life. We pray in the Lord’s prayer, “Your will be done on earth as it is in heaven.” Here is how you pray…nothing good is going to happen if you don’t pray. The breakthrough you want to see in your family is not going to happen if you don’t pray. It is God’s will and desire to bless but you won’t see it if you don’t pray. Are you going to exercise your will to move God’s will to earth? In what areas of our lives does God want us to join hands with Him?