“[God] hears us whenever we ask him; and since we know this is true, we know also that he gives us what we ask from him” (1 John 5:15 TEV).
Do you ever wonder if prayer really works? You’re praying about something and Satan whispers to you, “This is a waste of time. Forget it! Who do you think you are? What do you think you’re doing? God is not listening. Don’t waste your time.”
Prayer works because God is in control. The basis of all miracles is God’s sovereignty. Why does he do one and not another? Because God is in control. We have to trust his wisdom and his goodness.
Ephesians 3:20 says, “God … is able to do far more than we would ever dare to ask or even dream of—infinitely beyond our highest prayers, desires, thoughts or hopes”(TLB).
Prayer can do whatever God can do. His resources are available to you. Twenty times in the New Testament it says, “Ask.” It’s encouraging to know that things that are out of my control are not out of God’s. I may not be able to change a situation, but I can pray, and God can change it.
I know exactly what some of you are thinking right now: “If I can pray and ask God to change things, and if God is really in control of everything, why don’t I get everything I pray for?” Good question. Here are three reasons:
- God is not a genie. You don’t just put in a prayer and get whatever you want. If every prayer were answered, we’d be spoiled brats. Do you give your children everything they ask for? I hope not. You know what’s best for them. You can see the bigger picture. If you can see the bigger picture for your kids, how much bigger is the picture God can see?
- Sometimes Christians pray in conflict. If two Christians are praying at the Super Bowl for different teams, who’s God going to answer? Obviously, God can’t answer every prayer at the same time. But I think the real reason is this:
- God knows what’s best, and you don’t. If you think you do, that is very presumptuous. The Bible tells us, “We are sure that [God] hears us if we ask him for anything that is according to his will” (1 John 5:14 TEV). Look at the phrase “according to his will.” The attitude of your prayer needs to be: “Lord, this is my prayer request, but thy will be done.” That’s what Jesus prayed in Luke 22:42: “Father, if you are willing, take this cup from me; yet not my will, but yours be done” (NIV).
Talk It Over
- Why is it important that God is good and sovereign?
- “Prayer can do whatever God can do.” How do your prayers reflect what you believe about God’s sovereignty?
- How can you show God that you desire and trust his will and not your own?