Prayer gets things done

Partnering God in His work

A spiritual activity

In the article “praying isn’t natural” we looked at the fact revealed by Jesus to the Samaritan woman at the well that worship (of which prayer is a type) isn’t a natural thing but a spiritual activity. This being so, as we live in the natural world rather than an exclusively spiritual one we will always find prayer something we will have to make an effort to do. But effort has it’s rewards. In this article I want to continue to look at some more of the things which make prayer less than easy for us.

King David - A man of prayer

King David wrote a big chunk of the Psalms in our Bibles. Many of these are prayers so maybe he can help us see what it takes to become a person whose life is filled with prayer. David is described as a “man of prayer” so with all the practice he had surely prayer came easily to him.

You might think so but these words in the Bible tell a different story: “So your servant has found courage to pray to you.” (1 Chronicles 17:25) David needed to find courage to pray to God! What is going on here and what hope is there for us if even a warrior king like David needed to find courage to pray? 

David had seen God do some mighty things, some of them terrifying and he had what has become rather old fashioned in the church today—a fear of the Lord. Not fear as in terrified but fear as in awe and reverence of someone very powerful. This is a good thing. David had a good understanding of who God is. And we should learn from him. If we have any fear in coming to God in prayer it should be for this reason, not because we think we can’t pray.

That verse I have just quoted begins with the word “so,” “so your servant has found courage to pray to you”. What is it that gives David the courage to speak with God? Not someone in a book he had just read, but God himself. I have mentioned before in many places about God taking the initiative in our relationships with Him and here it is again. David’s prayer is in response to God coming to him and making great promises of blessing to him. God coming to David gives him the courage to pray. Is God welcome in your life so that you can have the courage to pray?

Is God welcome in your life so that you can have the courage to pray?

Two more examples from David to help you grow in your prayer life

There were many years between God making his promise to David and David becoming King. David was at pains for God’s hand not to be forced and to wait for the divinely appointed time.

In our prayers we need to trust God to answer our prayers in His way and in His time—not ours.

David committed a great sin in taking and marrying Bathsheba. She was not available to him. David’s relationship with God was damaged by his actions and he had to confess his wrong doing to put things right.

We too need to confess our sins to maintain our right relationship with God

We do not know what to pray

Next we see prayer does not come naturally to us because “we do not know what to pray.” These words are from Romans 8:26. If the instruction book itself tells us that we do not know what to pray for then what hope is there for us? The verse continues like this: ”but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groans that words cannot express.” We find prayer hard, not knowing what to say, but God’s spirit himself prays for us. Again we can overcome the difficulties of prayer through God’s initiative. God has placed his Spirit in every believer as a seal of ownership when we come to Him in faith and that Spirit helps us come closer to God.







Yes, you read that right: our prayers can change the course of history.






God has chosen to include us—he is not an autocrat—we can get things done.

Prayer changes things

Prayer is the main way of us getting to know God in a personal relationship. There are two other reasons for us to pray in addition, and I want us to take even more encouragement from these.

Not only does God think it is great when we talk with him but He is actually willing to let us change the course of something, be it a person’s life, a nation etc. Yes, you read that right: our prayers can change the course of history. This is one way in which Christianity stands distinct from many other religions. God has shown us that we are not victims of fate destined to do this or that. We are in a living relationship with the creator and through that relationship we are in a position of responsibility over that creation (Genesis 1:28).

Let’s swiftly look at one example where someone in the Bible has changed an outcome through prayer. In 2 Kings 20:1-7 King Hezekiah becomes ill and Isaiah the prophet is sent by God to tell him that he is going to die. Hezekiah prays and cries to God and before Isaiah has even left the building God tells him to go back. The new message is that God has heard Hezekiah’s prayer and is going to give him another fifteen years of life. Not only did God hear him; not only did God allow a different outcome but the change was instigated instantly. I think that is staggering, do you? Contemplate the awesome gravity of what happened when Hezekiah prayed— then try to get your mind around the fact that we can do that too. God will act when we pray.

Powerful and effective

We could go on with other examples which should take our breath away but we are going to change our angle of approach on this point to be further encouraged with our praying. James 5:16 says, “The prayer of a righteous man is powerful and effective.” Don’t you agree that this is a great piece of encouragement? Our prayers, when we are right with God, are powerful and effective. This is the “proof text” of our example above. Through our prayers we can get things done. I think that is fantastic. God has chosen to include us—he is not an autocrat—we can get things done. We are not powerless. We are not falling through life, pushed here and there. Through prayer God has made us powerful people. Let’s engage with that power and cause change in our world.

(place holder)

Return to top       Return to Home Page

This article © Linda Faber 2006-2009.