John 16:24 (King James Version)
Let’s consider the words of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. He assures us that if we ask for anything in His name, we shall receive it. This tells us that there is great power in our prayers to God. If we believe this to be true, then why is it that many of us have such a weak and inconsistent prayer life?
The condition of the church reflects this problem; we seldom send our requests to the Almighty. The reason, I believe, is that many Christian don’t truly believe in the power of prayer. Where do these doubts come from?
There are two reasons I think are the origin for our prayer doubts. The first is our response to unanswered prayers. When we don’t hear from God about a request we have, we assume that God doesn’t really care for us and will not meet our needs. As a result, those Christians who think this way resort to attempting to fulfill their needs themselves rather than relying on God. The second reason for doubt is when a prayer is answered, but the answer isn’t what we wanted to hear. Such people become bitter towards God because they feel entitled to get whatever they want from the Almighty. When they do not get their way, they “pout” and stop talking to God.
These reasons not to pray reveals a lack of understanding of what prayer really is for. In regards to unanswered prayers, I would like to point out that just because God doesn’t answer right away, does not mean that He doesn’t care. Instead, it reveals that God knows us better than we do. We may want the answer right then and there, but we may not be ready to receive it yet (despite what we think). He’s silent because He wants to test our hearts. Are our motives in our request geared towards God or are they geared toward ourselves; if we become impatient in His silence then the answer is clear. We must turn away from our selfishness and seek what God would want us to do.
As for those who feel entitled to having their needs met, their attitude towards prayer only shows their lack of spiritual maturity. Prayer isn’t about getting what we want, but it is about getting to know the Lord. As I mentioned earlier, the Lord knows us better than we do. What we think we need, may not be good for us in the long run; as a result, He gives us a better alternative.
There’s indeed power in prayer, if it’s used for the purpose that it was given: to have a dialogue with the Almighty. Let us make our requests to the Lord and He will give a reply. The answer may not be what we expect or it may take a long time for it to be fulfilled, nevertheless we must be joyful for the Lord’s provision. His choices for us are far better than any we could come up with. I would rather wait for His best than try to get what I want now and feel shamed for not waiting.