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Question:
I wanted to ask you about what you believe about the power of prayer, since that is often all you ask for. It has always been confusing to me to pray when God already knows His plan and our days are numbered exactly. Can prayer really change the outcome of a situation? Do you believe the more people that pray, the better the chance of an answered prayer?

Answer:

Prayer is communication with God. We don’t surprise God with anything or inform Him of something He isn’t aware of, so while prayer is a pleasing act of worship that God enjoys, it’s primary benefit is for US. It reminds us of who we are dependent on. It keeps our focus on God. It reminds us to ask God for help, direction and wisdom.

I say primary BENEFIT… for God, it is His desire and enjoyment of relationship and communication with His children. When our earthly children call us for advice or to ask for our help, it doesn’t really “benefit” us, but we enjoy it because it builds our relationship with them, which we long for.

Yes, God knows our plans, our thoughts and the outcome of EVERYTHING, but GOD HIMSELF commands us to pray, so the fact that He “knows” must not be relevant to “why?” we pray. Since our prayer, in reality, is not “needed” (in the strictest sense; God NEEDS nothing) by God, then we know that God tells us to pray because it is what is best FOR US.

Can prayer “change” an outcome? Depends on whose eyes you are viewing from. From God’s, no… He already knows the result, so philosophically, prayer cannot “change” what God already knows will occur because He already knows “the change” ahead of time, so it’s not really a change to Him.

However, from OUR perspective, the fervent prayer of the righteous is powerful and effective… from OUR point of view. We are commanded to pray, God tells us pray, so prayer must be beneficial and useful. We know in fact from mountains of anecdotal evidence that prayer effects every aspect of life, from our point of reference.

Do we think if MORE people pray, our daughter Abby will be healed for example? No. I’ve addressed this in the past several times. We are not trying to coerce God, or force His hand. His Will will be done and in fact was determined before the foundations of the earth were ever laid. We continually gather more praying friends into the fold because we have seen how many lives have been touched, how many hearts have been strengthened, how many spirits have been renewed and how many people have shown love and received love because of one little girl laying in a hospital bed in Oklahoma.

It is a testament to the power of God that He can affect so many lives and bond so many together in a common act of love. I mean really… in the grand scheme of things, humanly speaking, what difference does it make if one little four year old orphan girl has cancer? Humanly speaking, NONE, except to her family. So what does it say about the spirit and love produced by Christianity that tens of thousands of people can be knit together in common prayer because of this one insignificant (humanly speaking) child? What joy must our Heavenly Father get to see a large multitude of His children come together in love on behalf of ONE of their little sisters?

We constantly grow the circle of love around Abby because of what it does for US, for THEM, for YOU, for HER. It has also resulted in so much encouragement and love for Abby, Michelle and I. We don’t do it for that reason, but we do not discount this benefit.

For everything there is a season. Michelle and I have enjoyed seasons of giving, serving, teaching, loving and sacrificing for others. We count it all joy that during this short trial for us, God has given us a season of support, encouragement and a multitude of new friends. For everything there is a season…. You reap what you sow. Bless God that his promises are true.

PS: WHAT ARE YOUR QUESTIONS FOR ME? Ask here. To give a gift of support, click here.