What is Prayer and How Does it Work?

November 13, 2020 at 11:58 AM 16 comments

This is a tough one. Truthfully, many Christians think we know a great deal about prayer but it continues to be a bit of a mystery for me. I do pray. I do exercise faith in God’s ability to solve problems and direct my steps and I’m sure you do the same. The Bible tells us that He is very interested in our lives and wants what is best for us. Of course, that “best” is the fulfillment of His will for our personal lives.

Have you ever prayed and come to realize that God is going to answer that prayer? It’s happened to me many times and I am so grateful that the Holy Spirit attests to the fact that the prayer was heard and an answer would be forthcoming. However, there are also times when I speak to God in prayer and actually have no faith that He will respond in the positive. It’s weird. It’s like my prayers don’t go above the ceiling in my home. They go out of my mouth or mind and drop back down to the floor. I’m not sure if I’m supposed to persevere in prayer because of a “lack of faith,” or if the answer to that prayer is a flat out “No” or “Not yet.” It’s frustrating at times because it would be so much easier for us if when we talked with God, we could see His face, hear the tone of His voice and essentially come to realize what it is He wants, as He did in Jesus when Jesus walked this earth and interacted with His disciples and others.

Being with people and communicating directly with them provides feedback immediately. But we do not have that luxury when we talk to God. Our relationship with Him is based on faith and the truth of His Word (written or in the Personage of His Son, Jesus). There’s so much we have to learn to understand about this relationship and if we are not seriously into His Word, we’ll never learn. Moreover, without His Word, we can quickly and very easily go off track and into the area of “feelz” to determine what God wants or what He is doing.

Let me provide an example for you. I know a family member who is an alcoholic and has done drugs in the past. He can go through 5-7 packs of cigarettes in a matter of days. He has been through at least three rehabs for alcoholism and has attended many AA meetings. He was just visiting us from California because it appeared as though he and his wife were getting ready to split up. While he was here, he bought two large bottles of Jameson whiskey and a liter of ginger ale. From the time he got up to the time he went to bed, he had a glass of whiskey in his hand. When he wasn’t drinking, he was smoking and in between he’d eat as many sweet things as he could. Most alcoholics will try to satisfy their cravings for alcohol with sugary treats because the high content of sugar tends to do what the high content of sugar in hard liquor does.

To listen to him talk, one immediately notices a constant slurring of words. Sometimes in the middle of a sentence he will simply stop, screw up his face as though thinking really hard and eventually find the word he was looking for, which could take 30 seconds or more. It’s awkward. He is a handyman by trade and though he has some great ideas, the execution of those ideas comes up short often. He was helping me with a few of the jobs I needed done here (and I was grateful for the help), but his work is so haphazard and shoddy that I wound up redoing specifics with another family member who was also visiting.

While he is working, there is a constant stream of consciousness coming out of his mouth as if to help him focus on the job at hand. This, coupled with trash talk and foul language got tiring.

His fingers have swollen a great deal from all the alcohol intake. He is constantly bobbing back and forth and talks to himself and/or repeats the same three notes as though humming the start of a tune. To see him in this condition knowing that he has tried to kick the habit is frustrating.

I tell you all this as background. I’m not condemning him at all. My heart goes out to him. I’m saddened and frustrated at the same time. Between his smoking and his alcoholism, chances are great that he is literally killing himself. I also noticed a bulge on the back of his neck. While it might simply be a problem with a vertebrae, it could also be pointing to something much worse like a type of cancer that is painless.

When we talked to him about spiritual things and he told us that he was “fine.” He and God are “good.”

He did go to church with us and sat in on the adult Sunday school class I taught on two Sundays. He attended the service with us and heard the gospel presented on both Sundays.

I spoke with other family members about this man who just turned 54 but looks at those he is in his late 60s, and we all shared our frustration together. The other family member said, “We are praying for him. Our whole church is praying for him. We’ve tried talking to him. We just do not know what to do.”

God tells us that He wants no one to perish and all to come to repentance (2 Peter 3:9). So we know that part of our job is to pray for people. I’ve realized again that I can convince no one of their need for Jesus and the salvation He offers because of the work He did on the cross as a substitute for us. I can share that info but I cannot convince.

I have prayed for this man to see his sin, to recognize his addictions and to understand that he needs what Jesus offers. Even if/when he does receive salvation, he has a hard road ahead of him because there is no guarantee that God will immediately remove the cravings for alcohol. He might, but He is under no obligation to do so.

While praying for him, I found that my prayers fell flat. In essence I wasn’t believing what I was praying. There appeared to be no working faith in me on behalf of this family member. It’s not like I don’t have faith because there have been many times of praying for situations or people where my faith expressed to God seemed evident. His response to those prayers seemed clear as well.

What was I to do? Tons of people are praying for this family member and yet there is no change. He’s actually worsening. Jesus tells us of the corrupt judge and the widow. She kept “nagging” at the judge to give her justice and the judge kept refusing, right? Eventually though, because he wanted some peace of mind, he gave her what she wanted just to get her out of his hair (Luke 18). Jesus says that God will respond even more quickly. Hold that thought.

Then we have all of Paul’s comments about prayer and how often we should pray (without ceasing; 1 Thess 5:17) and that God wants to hear our prayers. James says something interesting regarding prayer as well. In James 5:16 he says, “the fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much.” The context there is speaking of confessing our sins to one another. When we confess sin that we’ve committed against others (in word or deed), and follow that up with prayer, there is forgiveness and a drawing closer together. This glorifies God and causes growth in both of the people involved – one who confessed and one who was willing to set it aside and forget it. We should do this as far as we are able (Romans 12:18).

Moreover, Paul tells us not only to pray, but to rejoice! (1 Thess 5:16-18). There is ample Scripture that testifies about our need for prayer in general. But why do some things appear to take a lifetime while other things happen very quickly? I don’t know, but if I could guess, I’d have to say that there is a huge difference between our “timeline” and God’s.

What I mean by that is that we are stuck in time on earth, on this physical plane. God is not. He is outside of time though He can come into time whenever He wishes (as Jesus did while He lived on this planet and during the Theophanies in the Old Testament. But God is not sequestered, restricted or bothered by time as we are now.

What IF, we are to pray for a person’s salvation once, then praise God for it all the rest of the time, instead of constantly repeating the same request for that person’s salvation?

During this frustrating time with this family member, I woke up at about 3:30 one morning and kept thinking about this situation and prayer and God’s response to our prayers. Then I thought, “When I continue to ask God for the SAME thing to happen it seems like I’m doing that because I didn’t believe He would do it, so now I am asking again!

What if I simply ask once then praise Him for His response to that situation every time after that? I think by doing that, I am building my faith and actively releasing the situation to God and trusting Him to deal with it as He sees fit.

Going back to the idea that God is outside of time, and a day with the Lord is like a thousand years (2 Peter 3:8), etc., what if when people began praying for this family member, God already ANSWERED it? No, it’s not yet accomplished as far as we can tell, but it will be accomplished in God’s timing.

Since God exists outside of our time and is not controlled by it and is omniscient, He literally sees everything at once. How could it be otherwise? The cross is always before Him. Our requests are always before Him. Our lives all at once are always before Him because He knows the end from the beginning. From His perspective, it all happens at once. This is why Jesus could honestly say just before being crucified that Satan IS defeated now though he is allowed to continue working against God.

In fact, Satan is actually just as bound by time as we are because of his fall and the rebellion he caused in Adam and Eve. Through that, he became inextricably bound in our time and is somewhat restricted because of it.

I don’t know if I’m making sense or not frankly, but it is starting to become more clear to me. I began thinking of this family member and realized that he doesn’t have a chance. God has been asked and God will respond in a way that glorifies Him. Whether this family member is saved today or at the end of his life before going into eternity makes no difference. *The fact that he will be saved I believe, is a done deal.* My heart is free to praise God for His provision.

I am spending my time literally praising (not asking), God for what He is going to do in this family member’s life. I think it will be fascinating to see and as I say, it may take more years to come to fruition before anyone actually sees it. That is totally in God’s hands as He wills and as He chooses.

I have concluded that continuing to ask God for the same thing over and over is actually a sign of doubt, not faith. We ask, then we should spend our time praising God for His response to that prayer. That, I believe is the evidence of faith.

Let me know what you think, will you? I’m still fleshing this out and though I did not reference many Scriptures in this article, I may break this down more in future articles. I’m realizing just how fascinating prayer is and what a privilege it is for all Christians to participate in that process. For me, I need to spend more time focusing on the aspect of praising God for His answers to my prayers. Amen?

 

*for clarification on this, please read the next article in this series found here: https://studygrowknowblog.com/2020/11/16/prayer-and-praise/

Entry filed under: Atheism and religion, christianity, Cultural Marxism, Demonic, devil worship, Eastern Mysticism, emergent church, Emotional virtue, eternity, Religious - Christian - End Times, Religious - Christian - Prophecy, Religious - Christian - Theology, salvation.

News and Notes Update: November 11, 2020 Prayer and Praise

16 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Prayer and Praise | Study - Grow - Know  |  November 16, 2020 at 11:55 AM

    […] my last article in this series, I spoke of a number of things related to prayer; what it is and how it works. Certainly, it was […]

    Reply
  • 2. Daniel  |  November 14, 2020 at 9:42 PM

    The subject of prayer I believe is involved and difficult to explain quickly and simply. To repetitively ask the same thing over and over as spoken about, is an expression of doubt despite the parallel with the parable of the judge and the widow in Luke 18 but I suggest not exhaustively.
    There can be 2 types of insistence. We can insist in repetitive requests because we are told so and supposedly the nagging will wear out the “wits” of God. No so! God is greater than being bothered. But if we come again and again driven by an unbeatable love that is empowered by the Holy Spirit, it is in reality testing our depth of intentions.
    Are we praying as prepared to give all that we have even ourselves for the thing that we are asking for? God is love but is our commitment in our prayer of that quality? What is driving our motive to pray? Is it the essence of love or of little concerns from religious perspective and duty?
    Is it not written that the Holy Spirit intercede for us? Therefore, it may be that we need to intercede as the Spirit of God does for us, that we would do for others, to move the hand of God.
    Is it not the Holy Spirit who is in us, God as love, that should entice us to pray? If not perhaps our prayers are worth no more than stubble taken in the bypassing wind.
    The prophets of Baal prayed to no event but, the prophet of God Elijah saw fire come down. So should we, modeled on Elijah’s love for God to obedience in His leading, need to be moved by the Holy Spirit as to kindle the fire of intercession and move the hand of God. So to ask what is it that is moving us to pray? For the people of the world often refer to do so.
    The answer to prayer may depend on it to become the will of God.

    Reply
    • 3. modres  |  November 15, 2020 at 7:38 AM

      You make some interesting points, Daniel and thanks for sharing them. I’m going to continue discussing this subject.

      Reply
  • 4. Lynn Holzinger  |  November 14, 2020 at 6:18 PM

    These are all questions about prayer I have had and still have. I lead a prayer group for prodigals and every week we pray the same things for them. And I’ve wondered at times, like you, if it’s necessary. But how do you answer the parable of the widow and the unjust judge? Luke 18:1 says it’s a parable to show that at all times we ought to pray and not lose heart and then goes on to tell us about a widow who kept saying the same thing every time she came. We should persevere and not be discouraged because the answers don’t come immediately. the parable is about justice and not salvation, so does that make a difference? You told us to hold that thought when referring to this parable, but did you ever go back to it? Maybe I missed it.

    Also, why do you say this relative of yours will be saved? I don’t know of anywhere in the Bible that guarantees someone will be saved if we pray for them to be. Believe me, I have searched. At one time, I believed God spoke to my heart and told me to stop fretting; that my son would be in heaven. And I again wondered if I should keep asking since He had already answered me. But I was never quite convinced God had spoken because it was outside of Scripture. And the more I study hearing the voice of God outside Scripture, the more I think He doesn’t do that. And now I’m left with praying the same things every time…open his eyes, soften his heart, bring to his mind what he heard and followed growing up, etc.

    I think if I was convinced that my son would be in heaven, then I would agree that I didn’t need to keep asking, but in order to be convinced, I would need to see it taught in Scripture. Are you saying this parable teaches God will answer “yes” to our requests for someone’s salvation? Because I have prayed for many, many people’s salvation at least once over the years.

    I hope this makes sense and isn’t too confusing.

    Reply
    • 5. modres  |  November 14, 2020 at 6:44 PM

      Hi Lynn, I guess as I try to puzzle my way through the whole thing, I tend to think ASKING for God to do something according to His will ONCE then praising for His response to it is all part of praying for something. Prayer involves requesting, praising and accepting, not simply requesting. I think the point Jesus was making in parable of the woman and the corrupt judge is that the corrupt judge finally gave the woman justice in spite of his corruption and non-caring attitude so how much more quickly will God provide for those whom He loves? If you or I pray for someone’s salvation is that His will? I believe it is but you’re right there is no biblical guarantee.

      Regarding my family member, if I spend my time simply asking God for the same thing every time I pray I end up promoting unbelief in myself. I never get beyond that request because I’m not seeing it happen. However if I pray for his salvation then praise Gods for that answered prayer however long it takes, then I’m no longer concentrating on the CURRENT situation for my family member but what WILL eventually be however long that takes. In other words I believe God will answer my prayer (and others who are praying for my family member’s salvation), in His time and in His way because the original prayers are compatible with God’s will.

      I’ve also realized this: my family member May very well have to sink much lower until he’s ready to come to God. If I wasn’t trusting Him through praise for the eventual outcome, it would be easy to be discouraged because of circumstances that I’d see. But I can look beyond all that through praise knowing God will work things out according to His will and purposes.

      Praising God for His as yet unseen response is evidence of faith in Him in my opinion. Praying the same thing repeatedly is often done because we focus on the situation itself and when we see no change we go back to asking again for the same thing as if God is deaf or preoccupied. Praising God for the thing we have asked for in prayer allows us to see well past current circumstances leaving all the particulars to Him.

      I’ll have more articles on this soon.

      Reply
      • 6. Maranatha Today  |  November 17, 2020 at 9:28 PM

        Hi Modres, thanks so much that’s great! Look forward to your article.

        Did you see the full report? This is the best link# to use. It goes straight to it. She laid out the whole Plandemic and culprits and whistleblowers etc in a very easy to read way.

        Blessings…somehow we will get information out that will inform people of the deceit that has been taking place and affects ALL of us. God’s on His throne laughing though…Jesus has already won!

        stopworldcontrol.com/full/#

      • 7. modres  |  November 17, 2020 at 9:42 PM

        Thx Maranatha. I’ll go thru report again to make sure I haven’t missed anything. I’ve watched numerous videos of hers where she is overwhelmed emotionally because of what she says this vax can do to our RNA. I have found other sources of info as well that provide a practical reason why receiving the eventual mark of the beast means no chance salvation.

    • 8. modres  |  November 14, 2020 at 7:05 PM

      Another thing…why can’t you praise God the He will open your son’s eyes, that He will soften His heart and remind your son what he was taught etc. instead of continuing to ASK God to do those things, PRAISE Him for doing those things. If you praise Him for these things I believe you’ll see a notable difference in the way you think about how God is working in your son’s life. Your focus will not be on circumstances your son might be involved in but on what God WILL accomplish on your son’s life. I also believe it is easier to persevere in praising God for His work than in continuing to ask God for the same thing over and over which I believe promotes tendencies to doubt.

      I’m wondering if you should try to refocus your prodigal group so that instead of asking for the same things each week you begin praising Him for His response in His way and in His time.

      Reply
      • 9. Lynn Holzinger  |  November 16, 2020 at 8:32 PM

        Thanks! I am definitely bringing this up with the group. I like it! I still need to study more about the widow and unjust judge because it doesn’t make sense to me that the Bible contrasts the unjust judge with God.

      • 10. modres  |  November 17, 2020 at 7:41 AM

        Hi Lynn, I know what you mean about the widow and unjust judge. I think the story is to show the extreme contrast between the judge and God because of the question Jesus asks at the end.

        Here is a commentator I highly respect and may answer your questions: https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/dcc/luke-18.html

      • 11. Maranatha Today  |  November 17, 2020 at 2:55 PM

        Hi Modres, Please I know you are busy, but please take time to check out this website by Dr Carrie Madej…she has put together all the important information in a very succinct fashion which exposes this Plandemic fully. I am asking you to help spread the word. If a video of the doctors on the steps in Washington can go viral in a day, I am sure this information could to by God’s grace. May are thinking of taking this vaccine Modres…to their peril.

        It’s even worse than we originally thought…But God…we know He’s in control but if we can save people from harming themselves I believe this will be a thing that will glorify Him in the end.

        Blessings to you and your wife.

        https://www.stopworldcontrol.com/full/#

      • 12. modres  |  November 17, 2020 at 6:56 PM

        Thx Maranatha. I’ve listened to a number of videos and have downloaded several. I agree that too many are too willing to roll their sleeves up with no concerns. I’ve got more info on these vaccines in an upcoming article and will include Dr Madej info and a video. YouTube is deleting these videos and Twitter and Facebook are censoring them.

  • 13. Maranatha Today  |  November 13, 2020 at 12:44 PM

    Thanks for a great thought provoking article especially with all that’s happening around the world with the wickedness playing out and the known culprits still getting away – in our eyes – diabolical atrocities…But God!

    I’ve continued to pray my Psalms Playlist because I feel lead to continue to send up incense to the Lord this way…yes prayers for my unsaved too but I feel this whole Plandemic playing out and the number of innocent people that are being harmed by this agenda makes this the most important thing on my mind.

    We know God has heard our prayers and I personally feel safe, but my peeps over in UK are still not fully awake and I am having to battle against fear of bad news…once again…But God…we trust Him no matter what! He’s given us the spirit of power, love and a sound mind…YES!

    Things are heating up over in UK…just when I think I can’t hear anything worse about this Plandemic…😱

    https://summit.news/2020/11/12/uk-pm-meets-with-bill-gates-to-discuss-implementing-global-vaccine-program/

    Boris Johnson’s Dad wrote a book originally called “The Marburg Virus” and other books about depopulation!

    Initially published in 1982 as The Marburg Virus, Johnson’s The Virus reveals uncanny parallels with the current corona virus: the outbreak of a mysterious and deadly disease, the origins of which are traced to a medical student infected by a green monkey. It features an epidemiologist as its hero and a desperate search for a vaccine…

    In the afterword to his re-released The Virus Johnson, 79, says, ‘Will the fight again COVID-19 be as successful as my fictional hero was in fighting the Marburg Virus?…Thinking back to my own book, and its eventual happy ending, I can’t help feeling that Governments around the world, our own included, need to be ruthlessly focused on the search for an antidote or a vaccine. Without in any way diminishing the importance of precautionary measures of containment or mitigation, mass immunization would surely prove a crucial factor in stopping the spread of COVID-19 or in preventing further outbreaks, e.g. the “second wave” we are hearing about’.”

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Stanley_Johnson_(writer

    Thanks for all your encouraging articles…we rest completely in Him.

    Reply
    • 14. modres  |  November 13, 2020 at 5:53 PM

      Hi Maranatha,

      As usual, thank you for your comments, information and links. I was NOT aware of Boris Johnson’s father and books he’s written. Pieces now fall into place much better!

      Isn’t amazing how Bill Gates has become the defacto scientist even though he’s not a scientist? It appears as though the baton was passed to him from David Rockefeller prior to his death. Gates is relatively young compared with many of the “elite” like Rockefeller, Soros and others in that arena. It just boggles my mind that Gates has become the go-to guy about viruses and vaccines even though he was unable to keep viruses off his Windows operating system.

      Let’s face it, since Gates pushes the Left’s agenda so handily and has a ton of money, he’s a perfect fit for them.

      Thanks again for the information. Much appreciated!

      Reply
      • 15. Maranatha Today  |  November 14, 2020 at 3:58 AM

        Hi Modres, yes more and more pieces of the puzzle are coming together and at breakneck speed…

        Bill Gates is a narcissistic, socio-psychopath who also suffers from Dupers Delight….

        You can skip the song and watch from MM10:44 and see what I mean.

        Here’s more about this mental psychotic behavior

        I don’t just chalk this behavior down to lying…this is a very serious situation we are in as Gates is quite happy to kill millions if not billions to gratify his sick mind! As you rightly said…”can’t even keep them off Windows operating system!”

        We have to address this with a spiritual mindset…we have a man who has given the world access to knowledge through his computers and I think he must see himself as a “god” who should rightly make the world better by eradicating us as we are like a virus in a computer!

        His father is still alive as is Adolf Johnson’s and both believe in Eugenists!

        I believe Adolf has to give in and play along after he got CV19. I don’t think UK will Brexit either.

        The link below shows some of the power players pushing this NWO socialist/communist agenda!

        https://drive.google.com/file/d/1zWIOp_MhVEQ1vH0tRpRqojm0qxnXMwww/view?usp=drivesdk

        God’s not abdicated His Throne…He has to last say…hopefully Jesus will come soon. We trust and rest in Him.

        Blessings to you and your wife.🙏

      • 16. modres  |  November 14, 2020 at 7:19 AM

        Amazing isn’t it? With respect to Boris his “about face” after he got CV makes me wonder if they put a “kill switch” I him. Weird.

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