Why do I pray? Do I really believe that God answers prayers?

These are the questions I have been wrestling with the past few months. I have been praying ever since I can remember. When I was younger, they were simple prayers; prayers focused on me and what I wanted. My prayers grew up as I did. And today, I find that I pray for much more than just myself.

prayerI can’t tell you why God “answers” some prayers and not others. Despite this, I believe prayer works. I believe that God does hear our prayers and takes action. How do I know this? I know this because I have experienced answered prayers. How do I know they were answered? Because I was praying. And because I was praying, I was able to see what God was doing in front of me regarding the situation I was praying for. It may not have worked out exactly as I had wanted it to be, but I know the end result was God responding.

Prayer is mentioned over 300 times in the Bible! We’re not going to look at all those verses, but here are a few that help us understand prayer:

God is listening for our prayers:The eyes of the Lord are on the righteous, and his ears are attentive to their cry;Psalm 34:15 (NIV)

We should pray for what we need: “In the morning, Lord, you hear my voice; in the morning I lay my requests before you and wait expectantly.Psalm 5:3 (NIV)

We can pray about anything:Let us then approach God’s throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.Hebrews 4:16 (NIV)
Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God.  And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” Philippians 4:6-7 (ESV)

God answers prayer: “Therefore I tell you, whatever you ask in prayer, believe that you have received it, and it will be yours.Mark 11:24 (ESV)
The prayer of a righteous man is powerful and effective.” James 5:16b (NIV)
Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you.” Matthew 7:7 (ESV)

I’ve been challenged lately to pursue God through prayer. I can’t explain why I’ve been challenged this way, other than to say that I am sick and tired of trying to figure things out on my own. I am tired of working towards an end result without God guiding me. That is why I am committing to pray more regularly and consistently. I am praying because I have seen God work and I know that when I pray, I give control to God and allow Him to work.

A great “Yay God” moment happened when a few friends from New Life and I got together and we committed to praying for more leaders in our Student Ministry. We prayed and then later that evening I got a text from a person wanting to meeting up and catch up on life. As we met the following day, I realized that this might be an opportunity for me to ask this person if they would consider leading with the students. She was completely surprised but as we talked about it we both agreed to pray about it. Within the next week she messaged me that she would like to lead. God answered this prayer. I am continuing to pray for even more leaders.

So, just as I have asked myself these questions recently, I am now asking you:

Do you pray? Why do you pray? Do you really believe that God answers prayers?

If you don’t pray, my encouragement for you is to start praying. Maybe it is just for 5 minutes a day, but start praying. Put God to the test and pray to see how God acts. If you already do pray, then I encourage to you to be more specific and intentional with what you pray for. Then, see what God does.

Spend time praying today and every day and see how God work in your life and the lives around you.

– Tom

Now to him who is able to do far more abundantly than all that we ask or think, according to the power at work within us,Ephesians 3:20 (ESV)