Many people have asked me, “Why is it necessary for me to pray? God already knows everything, and knows what He will do in each situation. How can my prayers make a difference?”
These are good questions. Does prayer make a difference?
I prayed earnestly for several years for my perspective of God’s will to be done in a certain situation that was very close to my heart. Eventually, I came to understand that God’s ways are so far above my ability to understand that I should never try to instruct Him or think I can understand His mind. I can understand His heart of love to some extent, but His mind? Wow… how prideful. I claimed promises, and I believed with my whole heart that He would do as I asked, because I believed with my whole heart that I knew His will in this situation, and most of you would have told me I saw it correctly.
Oh, how great are God’s riches and wisdom and knowledge! How impossible it is for us to understand His decisions and His ways! For who can know the Lord’s thoughts? Who knows enough to give Him advice? Romans 11:33-34 (NLT).
When the opposite of what I was praying for happened, I felt like God had slapped me in the face. It was faith-shaking, I can tell you.
So, were my prayers needed in that situation? And if so, what difference did they make?
I can tell you that they made a big difference for me. God responded to me throughout that time in ways He hasn’t very often, since, and brought me to a place where I trusted Him enough not to give up on Him when He showed me that His plans were different than mine. I can tell you, now: His ways were right, and so much bigger than I could imagine.
I needed/need prayer.
Prayer is the breath of the soul. It is the secret of spiritual power. No other means of grace can be substituted, and the health of the soul be preserved. Prayer brings the heart into immediate contact with the Well-spring of life, and strengthens the sinew and muscle of the religious experience. Neglect the exercise of prayer, or engage in prayer spasmodically, now and then, as seems convenient, and you lose your hold on God. The spiritual faculties lose their vitality, the religious experience lacks health and vigor. Ellen G. White – Gospel Workers page 254.
But is there an even bigger purpose in my praying?
I believe there is: If our world has been given over to Satan, then he is the one who calls the shots, for the most part, down here. God can step in and interfere with Satan’s rule when someone from the land of the enemy asks Him to. He may not do things in the way we believe He should (as in my case, above), but He is able to step in and do what He knows to be best, from His eternal perspective.
It is a part of God’s plan to grant us, in answer to the prayer of faith, that which He would not bestow did we not thus ask. Ellen G. White – The Great Controversy page 525.
Is it possible that the world/our country/our community/our church/our family/ourselves are in the poor condition we see because we haven’t bothered to pray in faith for God to accomplish His will (not ours) in whatever is going on?
Our constant prayers are needed. They tune our hearts to the heart of God, so that when He is working we recognize it as coming from Him because we’ve only asked according to His will.
It is my prayer for you as well as myself, that our communion with God is growing steadier and more constant, and that it is real spiritual breathing. These are the prayers that unleash the power of God!