Do My Prayers Change Peoples' Lives?

a mothers love for her adult kids begging in prayer believing god god's got this god's soveriegnty and prayer hope in god irresistible grace pray and trust prayer works praying for others praying for the lost Mar 26, 2023

If you are just now landing on my blog posts, you will want to know that this post comes just after a discussion of God's irresistible grace and man's free will. We've been pondering simple things like that on this website these past few weeks. :) 

Much of my interest in prayer is rooted in my belief that prayer changes things.  I mean, if prayer didn't do anything, why would any of us pray? 

And because I believe that prayer fulfills a mysterious cog in the wheel of God's divine intervention in the affairs of mankind; when we pray for people, I believe that God-things (which are good things) happen in their lives.

Do our prayers change peoples' lives? Yes, I believe that they do.

Let me explain how this works by sharing what our prayers can and can't do in other people's lives.

1. Our prayers will never release supernatural activity that is contrary to God's good pleasure.

When we pray, we yield ourselves to the knowledge and wisdom of God. We're mindful that His thoughts and ways are not ours. (Isaiah  55:8-9). When we don't do this, we can wear ourselves out waxing eloquent before the throne of grace, as we map out very good plans for ourselves or our loved ones. But our plans will always fall short of the plans God has for us and for them! 

As PT (my good husband Tom) says, "It doesn't take a PHD to know..." that we cannot possibly know what God knows when we approach a particular situation. The apostle Paul said it like this, "We see in the mirror dimly, while God sees clearly. (I Corinthians 13:12) So, when we pray, we can discuss all of our plans in great detail, bundle them up and present them before His throne; we can beg God's approval; quote Scripture while we wait and watch; and never see the "answer" to our prayers because we are watching for God to do our thing instead of His.

Thankfully our prayers will never replace God's higher thoughts and ways. We will fail gloriously in our prayer lives when we insist on calling the shots. Unfortunately, we might give up praying all together, rather than swallow the pill of humility that is willing to pray, "not my will but Thine be done." 

2. Our prayers can (and do) release God's work in the lives of others.

Wait, did I just write that  our prayers release God?! Is God captive? Are His hands tied? Does He have some kind of self-imposed zip-ties that are only removed by our prayers? 

I don't know. What do you think? 

Here are a few verses that blatantly tell us God does whatever He wants to do whenever He wants to do it. 

Psalm 115:3-4, "Our God in heaven does whatever He wants to do." 

I Chronicles 29:11-12, "Yours, Lord, is the greatness and the power and the glory and the splendor and the majesty, for everything in the heavens and on earth belongs to You. Yours, Lord, is the kingdom, and You are exalted as head over all. 12 Riches and honor come from You, and You are the ruler of everything. Power and might are in Your hand, and it is in Your hand to make great and to give strength to all."

Proverbs 21:30, "No wisdom, no understanding, and no counsel will prevail against the Lord."

By the way, those are all good verses to tag onto my #1 point.

Here are a few verses that tell us God does some of what He wants to do only when we ask Him to do it.

Matthew 21:21-22, "And Jesus answered them, 'Truly, I say to you, if you have faith and do not doubt, you will not only do what has been done to the fig tree, but even if you say to this mountain, ‘Be taken up and thrown into the sea,’ it will happen. And whatever you ask in prayer, you will receive, if you have faith.'” 

Jeremiah 33:3, "Call to me and I will answer you, and will tell you great and hidden things that you have not known."

I John 5:14-15, "And this is the confidence that we have toward him, that if we ask anything according to his will he hears us. And if we know that he hears us in whatever we ask, we know that we have the requests that we have asked of him."

 When we pray, God responds to our prayers by doing things that He otherwise might not do. Therefore, our praying opens heaven's floodgates to release God's riches stored there. So while we cannot manipulate and maneuver God to perform at our beck and call, we can petition Him on behalf of another and know that in answer to our prayers, God will become actively engaged in their lives.

I don't know why prayer works this way, and to be frank, I don't care. I'm just grateful that God's given me something I can actually do when my heart is breaking for the people we both love (He and me) who are seemingly lost as two geese in a hailstorm. 

3. Our prayers impact how hard (or easy) it will be for our loved ones to have relationships with God that are good. 

If you land on the side of believing that God's grace is irresistible, you will pray fervently that God choose to extend His grace to the heart of your loved one in a way that he/she will be confronted, and thereby immersed in it.

All God has to do is extend His grace by opening their blind eyes, and deaf ears, and then resurrecting their spirit from the dead. The methods He chooses to use are up to Him (and may look far different than what you would've come up with). But when you pray believing, you will not only plead for your loved ones' soul; you will also declare your complete confidence in God knowing better than you how to draw (your person) into a personal encounter with Him.

Until you see them resurrected, my advice is to ask and keep on asking, to knock and keep on knocking. Be like the persistent widow (Luke 18) and relentless neighbor (Luke 11). Jesus told us 2 parables to make this point: 

Persistence pays off! 

Don't stop praying. Jesus never said, "I sure wish y'all didn't pray so much!" If you get concerned that you're praying the same thing over and over again, try asking God what He wants to hear from you. He might enjoy hearing you thank Him for answering your prayers before He answers them. This kind of forward-confident praying demonstrates your faith.

If you land on the side of believing that God lives within a self-imposed boundary that allows room for your people to exercise their free will in response to God's extravagant grace gift; you will pray that God orchestrate circumstances in the lives of your people so that the influence of the gospel will go toe to toe with the powers of darkness that have clouded their thinking. 

You won't back down from the threat of evil overtaking them. Like the mother who chased Jesus down begging Him to free her daughter from demonic oppression, you will go after Jesus on your loved ones behalf. 

Maybe thinking that your person has the power to reject God; will fuel the fight in you. And maybe knowing that God wants what you want in their life will kick you into divine drive. Then realizing that there are powers of darkness warring against powers of light...and that there are human dynamics coming into play; you will invite the LORD to sharpen your sword (the Word of God); to clarify your mind (giving your discernment on what to say and what not to say); and purify your heart (by guarding it against bitterness, hurt and angst that will be a natural by-product of making yourself available); and you will do your darnedest to partner with Him in drawing them to the Truth.

What if, God knew they were going to need you praying for them, and He is counting on you to do your part as He does His? He definitely knows the outcome. He also knows what He's promised to give you (And God doesn't mess with us by promising something that He won't deliver.). God knows the end from the beginning and that is why He chose to share the burden of His heart with yours. It's our job to do the praying. His job to do the answering.

This whole thing might be just as much about the intimacy we develop with Him in this fight ,as it is about the victory for our loved ones.

Prayer changes peoples' lives--including our own.

"For this reason, since the day we heard about you, we have not stopped praying for you. We continually ask God to fill you with the knowledge of his will through all the wisdom and understanding that the Spirit gives,"

Colossians 1:9

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