Some of my earliest memories as a new believer are of times when I invited a few zealous friends over to my house for a prayer meeting. I certainly STARTED my Christian experience committed to asking, seeking, and knocking.
Unfortunately, over the years unanswered prayer has eaten away at my faith. I HAVE experienced significant answers to prayer on many occasions, for which I am extremely grateful. However, more often than I would like to admit, petitioning prayer and intercession have become something I do out of obedience to the scriptures and all too often my heart struggles to believe anything will change as a result of my prayers.
For about a year now, God has been challenging me on this. I have been feeling the tug of the Holy Spirit, calling me to a deeper prayer life, whispering to my heart there is something more.
Recently I started praying about my prayer life. Sounds funny, but for the first time in a long time, I can sense faith for God to answer prayer growing in my heart once again.
In order to strengthen this stirring, I have decided to also start reading about prayer. Most recently I have found alot of encouragement from INTERCESSORY PRAYER: How God Can use Your Prayers to Move Heaven and Earth by Dutch Sheets
Reading this book has challenged me to ask a very important question that I realize I must be able to answer for myself with deep conviction and a strong biblical foundation:
DO MY PRAYERS REALLY MAKE A DIFFERENCE?
It was startling to admit there has been a part of me that doesn’t really think my prayers do make a difference. Here are some of the thoughts that have tripped me up:
- God is sovereign and all powerful! He knows what is best, and He will do what He wants to do, with or without me.
- Often in my limited perspective and somewhat self-centered thinking, I pray for the wrong things anyway.
- Even if I pray for the right things, God is going to do them whether I pray for them or not.
What do you think? Does prayer make a difference in what takes place in the world around us? I would love to hear your thoughts and maybe some scriptures that have helped you in answering these question.