What is the power of prayer?

woman with hands lifted towards the sky

I’ve been in church my entire life and I can’t tell you how many times I’ve heard preachers mention “the power of prayer”. But what is the power of prayer? Is there some magic formula that will cause all your prayers to be answered? Once someone discovers the answer is God then obligated to give us whatever our little heart desires? I hope you understand that is not how it works at all. God is not Santa Claus or a genie granting wishes. This is His world and we must play by His rules if we want His blessings on our lives. Here are some things I’ve learned about prayer that I’ve learned through my life experiences.

praying at the cross

It’s Not Our Power

Prayer is communicating with God and all power comes from Him alone. We are just vessels but oh how sweet when God uses us to answer someone’s prayer! I’ve been on both sides of that and it’s the greatest thing ever. God uses His people to bring about His plans on this earth. And we don’t have to have fancy degrees, speak eloquently or be super popular. All we must do is be willing and He will handle the rest. Imagine what would happen if everyone was willing.

hands folded in prayer in church

We Don’t Always Get What We Want

Remember that song by the Rolling Stones “you don’t always get what you want”? Sometimes the answer is no. God is not obligated to tell us WHY it’s no but sometimes we see later that God was saying no to protect us. Sometimes we might never know. He just wants us to trust Him that He knows what’s best for us and has our best interest at heart.

When I was in my early 20’s, I spent several years in an emotionally abusive relationship. When I first prayed about it, God clearly told me no. I didn’t listen and ended up going through a lot of unnecessary drama and pain before it finally ended. Once I surrendered that area of my life to God, He brought a kind, loving man into my life and we’ve been happily married almost 18 years. 

When I was pregnant with my daughter, I wanted a certain birth plan that God clearly told me no about. I still don’t know why, and I might never know why. But she was born healthy and beautiful and it could very well be that God was sparing us some complications or even tragedy if I had gotten my way.

Some things we might not have the answer for this side of heaven. I’ve had three miscarriages, one of which occurred in the 2nd trimester. I begged God for the life of my baby boy, but God chose to let him go to heaven instead. I will probably never know why. It took me time to get out of the mindset that God was being cruel. God never changes and neither does His love for us even in the face of difficult circumstances. I don’t have all the answers but I’ve chose to put my trust in the one that does.

Sometimes God doesn’t change the situation, He changes US.

man praying at the alter

Delayed Prayer Doesn’t Always Mean No

Sometimes it takes a long time, even years, to see the answers to our prayers. Sometimes the answer is “wait.” Waiting is something we don’t enjoy doing in our society. But this is another area where God asks us to trust Him. If you aren’t seeing the answer, maybe God has a reason it’s not the best thing for you right now. Maybe there is something else He wants to accomplish in you first. He sees the big picture while our view is very limited, that’s why it’s important to trust Him.

It’s possible we might not see the answers to some prayers in our lifetime. Moses never got to the promised land, but God still fulfilled His promise to him. Long after Abraham was gone God was fulfilling His promise that his descendants would be like the number of stars in the sky. When God makes a promise, He will always fulfill it in His own way and in His own time. His ways are not our ways and His thoughts are not our thoughts. Isaiah 55:8-9

man running

Run From Sin

If there is sin in your life, get rid of it, repent and do whatever it takes to avoid going down that path again. It might mean letting go of some relationships or even moving to another location. Whatever it takes, don‘t walk but RUN from sin. That path leads to nothing but destruction.

If I had cherished sin in my heart, the Lord would not have listened. Psalm 66:18


Trust In God

When you are in right standing with God, you can be sure that when you pray, He hears you. Sometimes the answer will be no, sometimes it will be yes and sometimes it will be wait. Whatever it is you can trust Him because He said in His word:

I know the plans I have for you says the Lord, plans to prosper you and not to harm you. Plans to give you a future and a hope. Jeremiah 29:11

You are worth more than the sparrows (Matthew 10:31) so be confident that God hears your prayers. He knows what you need and He will take care of you.

open Bible

Scriptures On Prayer

Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. Matthew 7:7

Jesus replied, “Truly I tell you, if you have faith and do not doubt, not only can you do what was done to the fig tree, but also you can say to this mountain, ‘Go, throw yourself into the sea,’ and it will be done. 22 If you believe, you will receive whatever you ask for in prayer.” Matthew 21:22

The eyes of the Lord are on the righteous, and his ears are attentive to their cry. Psalm 34:15

This is the confidence we have in approaching God: that if we ask anything according to his will, he hears us. And if we know that he hears us—whatever we ask—we know that we have what we asked of him. 1 John 5:14

two people praying together

Prayer Requests

Again, truly I tell you that if two of you on earth agree about anything they ask for, it will be done for them by my Father in heaven. Matthew 18:19

If you have any prayer requests I would love to come into agreement with you. You can email me at barbra@gracegetsthelastword.com.

                 For His Glory,

Barbra Jones

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