Prayer Changes Everything?

The title of this post is a common slogan seen on bumper stickers and heard around Christian circles. And while I certainly am a staunch advocate of prayer, I’m not sure prayer can change everything.

At least I’m not sure ALL prayer changes things.

The Bible has a lot to say about prayer. There are numerous examples of awesome prayers given in the Old Testament. Jesus himself taught a lot on how to pray to the Father. The epistles of James and Peter even have very important things to say about how to pray.

The Bible, in fact, has so much to say about prayer it’s stunning some of the garbage being taught in church regarding prayer. But how many of these silly prayers are heard every Sunday? (Little side confession here: I’ve said far too many stupid prayers myself over the years and am sure I’ll continue to do so).

My wife and I served on an altar prayer team at our previous church. At a designated time during the church service the pastor would call the prayer team forward and anyone in the congregation needing prayer for anything could come to a couple at the altar and have them pray with them about whatever they needed prayer for.

Over the couple of years we did this we have had so many people come to us wanting us to pray with them about stuff that I just couldn’t believe they were asking for. Far too many of these were mature Christians requesting things that they should have known better than to ask for.

For instance, we had one woman whose son hadn’t made a house payment in 4 months wanting us to pray that God would allow her son to keep the property until he could find a better job. He had a good paying job already, he had just ran into some financial difficulty and wasn’t making his house payment….I prayed for God’s will to be done and wisdom for her son. She wasn’t pleased.

Another time a lady living in an extramarital relationship with her boyfriend who was admittedly not a Christian, approached and asked we pray for her relationship with her boyfriend to get better. I prayed for her salvation and for her eyes to be opened, not their happiness.  She also wasn’t happy with my prayer

Again, a lady approached wanting prayer for her brother that had left his wife for another woman, started drinking and using drugs and had become meaner than all get out. I asked if she wanted prayer for his salvation and she said “no, he’s a believer already”…… She wasn’t happy when I prayed for his salvation.

I noticed a Christian lady we know post a prayer to her Facebook page thanking God for something he had done in her life recently.

A couple of years ago her husband ran off and left her for another woman. She was devastated. He left her with a mortgage and three teenage sons. She walked away from the house to move closer to a new boyfriend, was about ready to pay off her van, left her church to attend a new one, and took her three teenage sons away from their friends……She posted a prayer of thanksgiving to God that she was now able to buy a new motorcycle. I kid you not.

And this is why I can’t believe that all prayers to God change everything.

The Bible says that when we pray in Jesus’ name, we receive whatever we ask. I gotta ask: How many of our prayers are really being prayed according to the heart and will of Jesus?

We wonder why it seems at times our prayers go unanswered. We wonder why it seems so much chaos is in our lives; why so much is going wrong. Could it be that maybe our prayers are actually being answered? Could it be that so many of our prayers are actually originating out of our own hearts rather than the heart and will of God?

One thing I am for certain is that as I get older, and hopefully wiser, I’m so thankful God didn’t answer  so many of my stupid prayers.

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Filed under Bible, Church, Churchianity

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